China's C5 Petroleum Resins Makers Need to Enter High-End Markets
  The comprehensive utilization of C5 fraction and its derivatives is becoming a highlight in the petrochemical industry worldwide. Among them, C5 petroleum resins have already become a product series with the highest output, the greatest variety and the fastest development in the comprehensive utilization of cracked C5 cut fraction in the world, with the reported average annual growth of around 5% in re- cent years. The global total capacity of petroleum resins was around 570 000 t/a in 2008 and the output was 500 000 tons with hydrogenated petroleum resins accounting for 5%.

China started the development, research and production of C5 petroleum resins rather late, but developed rapidly. China now has more several large-scaled petroleum resin producers with combined capacity of 170 000 t/a. The total output was around 70 000 tons in 2009. Anyhow, the product made by Chinese companies has inferior quality with unstable indexes such as chromaticity and softening point and can only be used in low-end markets.

China's producers of C5 petroleum resins distributed in several clustering regions, close to C5 fraction manufacturers. For example, C5 petroleum resin producers in North China with LESCO CHEMICAL as the lead are located in the region close to Sinopec zhongyuan Petrochemical Co Ltd in Puyang of Henan province.

Presently, China's leading hydrogenated petroleum resin producers include Lesco Chemical, Nanjing Yangzi Eastman Chemicals Ltd. China produced 39 000 tons of C5 hydrogenated petroleum resins in 20011. Due to restrictions in technology, China has yet no dicyclopentadiene (DCPD) hydrogenated resin producers today.

China is now known as the country with the fastest growth of petroleum resins in the world, with a demand increasing at an average annual rate of 12% in recent years. Its consumption was around 149 000 tons in 2009. Of the total, the consumption of C5 hydrogenated petroleum resins was 50 000 tons, including 32 000 tons of domestically made resins and 30 000 tons of imported ones.

It is estimated that China's net import volume of C5 petroleum resins is around 70 000 tons a year. As both ExxonMobil and Eastman have constructed plants in China, now China mainly imports C5 petroleum resins from Japan and Korea. Small amounts of C5 hydrogenated petroleum resins with high softening point are also imported from Eastman's plants in the United States. Imported products have excellent quality and are expensive too,mainly used in the production of various adhesives.

To sum up,China’s demand for C5 petroleum resins is developing rapidly,and is expected to increase at an average annual rate of 8%.12%in future.Proposed the growth is 1 0%.the demand will reach 170 000 tons in 2010 and 270 000 tons in 20 1 5.The weather-resistant petroleum resins with high softening point and low chromaticity,colorless hydrogenated petroleum resins and special purpose petroleum resins will be the development focus of petroleum resins makers in the next few years·

Most Chinese ethylene producers use heavy cracking raw materials such as naphtha and light diesel.Their production amount of byproduct C5 cut fraction is usually 1 0%-1 4%of their ethylene output.Among C5 cut fractions,cyclOpentadiene and DCPD together hold 22%一23%and 1.3-piperlene accounting for 6-7%.There is a new upsurge for the construction of ethylene projects in China today.It is reported that China’s capacity of ethylene will reach 1 7 million t/a in 20 1 0,translating to 1.7 million t/a of cracked C5 cut fractions.Following,the combined capacity of cVclOpentadiene and DCPD will be 3 70 000 tons and that of piperlene will be 120 000 tons.China’s capacity of ethylene is predicted to reach 22.6 million t/a in 2015.therefore the capacity of cracked C5 cut fractions will be around 2.3 million t/a,including 500 000 t/a of cyclopentadiene and DCPD,1 60 000 t/a of piperlene.

The supply of DCPD in China will be larger than the demand in the next few years.Ninety three percent of DCPD now is used to produce unsaturated polyester.The production of DCPD hydrogenated petroleum resins with high added value will be the focus for the development and utilization of DCPD in China.

Most of C5 petroleum resins makers in China produce acyclic C5 petroleum resins and mixed C5 petroleum resins,which have an inferior quality compared with piperlene petroleum resins.Some Chinese enterprises are planning to produce piperlene petroleum resins but they must overcome the technical issues at first.

Mixed C5 petroleum resins can meet the requirements in some sectors such as road marking paints in China.Their price is cheap.Low-end markets will continue to use mixed C5 petroleum resins mainly.In China,Piperlene petroleum resins and C5 hydrogenated petroleum resins are mainly used in the adhesive market that has been occupied by imported resins for many years.The production of weather-resistant petroleum resins with high softening point and low chromaticity,colorless hydrogenated petroleum resins and special petroleum resins will be the development trend for petroleum resins producers in China.

In terms of profit,the process for the production of mixed C5 hydrogenated petroleum resins is to first conduct catalytic polymerization and then hydrogenation polymerization.The process for the production of DCPD hydrogenated petroleum resins is to first conduct thermal polymerization and then hydrogenation polymerization.On contrast,the DCPD process flow is simpler and consumes less power.

The average selling price of hydrogenated petroleum resins was around RMB20 000 per ton in 2009,with a high margin.The research and production of high-grade petroleum resins,therefore,is worth developing in China.

With the trend of using light-weight raw materials in the ethylene production in the world,advanced countries such as the United States and Japan are faced with the dilemma of C5 shortage and their production C5 petroleum resins is dwindling.China’s C5 petroleum resin makers therefore face a very big export potential and should actively expand overseas markets