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Global ethylene capacity is poised to see considerable growth of 27% from 207.58 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) in 2019 to 264.13 mtpa in 2023, led by Asia and North America.

This is according to a recent report released by data and analytics company GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

The company’s report, ‘Global Ethylene Industry Outlook to 2023 – Capacity and Capital Expenditure Forecasts with Details of All Active and Planned Plants’ reveals that around 126 planned and announced plants are scheduled to come online, predominantly in Asia and North America, over the next four years.

Ethylene capacity in Asia is expected to increase from 74.03 mtpa in 2019 to 103.33 mtpa in 2023, at an average annual growth rate (AAGR) of 8.3%. Among the countries in the region, China will add a capacity of around 20.92 mtpa by 2023. Major capacity addition will be from the active plant, Sinopec Wuhan Petrochemical Company Wuhan Ethylene Plant, with a capacity of 1.90 mtpa by 2023.

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Dayanand Kharade, Oil and Gas Analyst at GlobalData, says: "Asia will dominate the global ethylene market, mainly due to China having both the biggest number of new projects and the largest absolute capacity expansion driven by the country’s economic growth. The country is set to build around 34 ethylene projects in the next five years.”

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GlobalData identifies North America as the second highest region in terms of capacity addition in the global ethylene industry, growing at an AAGR of 4.1% from 53.60 mtpa in 2019 to 63.22 mtpa in 2023. Most ethylene capacity additions will be from the US, with a capacity of around 14.55 mtpa by 2023. Major capacity addition will be from the active plant, Exxon Mobil Corporation Baytown Ethylene Plant 1, with a capacity of 2.30 mtpa by 2023.

Kharade adds: “In North America, the low-cost abundant supply of natural gas is the primary reason for the rush in ethylene capacity additions in the US. The country is set to add large capacity through its 14 upcoming ethylene projects in the next five years.”

Within the Middle East, ethylene capacity is expected to grow at an AAGR of 4.8% from 38.77 mtpa in 2019 to 46.94 mtpa in 2023. Among countries, Iran will add around 9.23 mtpa capacity by 2023.

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Former Soviet Union (FSU) will be the fourth highest region, growing at an AAGR of 13.1% from 7.21 mtpa in 2019 to 12.18 mtpa in 2023. Russia leads in the FSU, contributing around 5.76 mtpa by 2023. Major capacity addition will be from the planned plant, ZapSibNeftekhim Tobolsk Ethylene Plant, with a capacity of 1.50 mtpa by 2023.

Ethylene capacity in Africa is expected to grow at an AAGR of 20.6% from 2.03 mtpa in 2019 to 4.63 mtpa in 2023. Egypt is forecast to be the top country in the region with capacity additions of 1.70 mtpa by 2023.

Exxon Mobil Corp, Saudi Arabian Oil Co and The National Petrochemical Co will be the top three companies globally in terms of planned and announced capacity additions over the outlook period.