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Product Profile: PTA - Purified Terephthalic Acid

Introduction

Terephthalic acid is the organic compound with formula C6H4(CO2H)2. This white solid is a commodity chemical, used principally as a precursor to the polyester PET, used to make clothing and plastic bottles.

Applications

Purified terephthalic acid (PTA) is primarily used in polyester production with polyester fibre consuming a large proportion of global output. However, polyethylene terephthalate (PET) resin production for packaging and film applications is growing very rapidly due to its success in penetrating the soft drinks and water bottles market.

A smaller proportion of PTA is utilized in the production of polyester film which had, until recently, been the material of choice for the audio recording industry.

The remaining PTA is used in making cyclohexanedimethanol, terephthaloyl chloride, copolyester-ether elastomers, plasticisers and liquid crystal polymers.

Production Process

The core technology for producing TPA has remained the same since the 1960s—crude TPA is produced by bromine-promoted catalytic oxidation of p-xylene, and purified by a hydrogenation step. However, several incremental improvements have been implemented in the TPA process over the years, covering both the main oxidation and the purification sections.

In late 2000, BP announced the development of a new-generation TPA process, called “X Technology”. The new technology achieves great process simplification by using innovative methods for water recycling and improved solid-liquid separation techniques. As a result, purified terephthalic acid (PTA) can be produced at significantly lower capital and operating costs. Another technology that has attracted renewed interest is the production of medium-quality terephthalic acid (MTA). The MTA process uses a post-oxidation system that allows for elimination of the entire purification section of the PTA process. Eastman-Lurgi and Mitsubishi Chemical are the main licensors of this technology.

Market Size

Global

The Global nameplate capacity of PTA is projected to be nearly 73 MMT in 2016. The global purified terephthalic acid (PTA) market is expected to reach USD 110.66 billion by 2025. Rising demand for purified terephthalic acid (PTA) in polyester powder coating resins, PET resins and unsaturated polyester resins for fiberglass-reinforced plastic is expected to augment industry expansion over the forecast period.

Growing consumption of the product owing to its superior properties including excellent weathering, good chemical and stain resistance, good hardness, flexibility and glass transition temperature range is projected to propel industry expansion. Rising consumption of the product in home furnishing and bottling is expected to stimulate industry growth.

Increasing demand for the PTA films in construction and commercial industries owing its superior tensile strength, good dimensional stability, high optical clarity, less moisture absorption, and excellent electrical properties is expected to spur industry size.

Worldwide around 65% of PTA goes into polyester fibre, 27% to PET bottle resin and the remaining 8% to film and other plastic end uses.

Global PTA Market: Region-wise Outlook

The global purified terephthalic acid market is projected to witness a considerable growth in CAGR from 2015 to 2025. Asia Pacific is projected to be the most lucrative market for the global purified terephthalic acid market owing to the high ratio of manufacturing industries especially in India and China. Moreover, on account of the rising disposable income along with the improved standard of living, the Asia Pacific region is anticipated to witness a steady growth over the forecast period. Additionally, the growth in the PTA consumption is expected to be driven by high demand of polyester fiber.

North America and Europe is expected to trail Asia Pacific in terms of market volume share. Europe is projected to witness a sluggish growth owing to the growing utilization of bio-based PET in the bottle and packaging industry. Also, due to migration of the textile industry from North America and Europe to the Asia-Pacific region, production of polyester fiber in these regions have been declining exponentially.

Global PTA Market: Drivers

The purified terephthalic acid (PTA) market is likely to observe a noticeable growth in the approaching years owing to a high demand for polyester resin. Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) demand is also anticipated to have a positive impact on the purified terephthalic acid (PTA) market.

The rising per capita consumption and the growing disposable income in the developing economies such as India and China, along with a significant growth of the textile, coating and packaging industries in these regions is predicted to fuel the demand for the purified terephthalic acid (PTA) market.

Industries such as the beer industry, and the household product containers industry are still dominated by the glass industry, which is an unexplored market for purified terephthalic acid (PTA) consumption, offering new opportunities for the growth of the global purified terephthalic acid market.

Global PTA Market: Restraints

Volatile crude oil prices are likely to affect the profitability of purified terephthalic acid (PTA) manufacturers and thus affecting the growth of the global purified terephthalic acid market. Moreover, stringent regulations is expected to support the use of bio-based PET and have a negative impact on the global purified terephthalic acid market growth. Other reasons which could affect the growth of the terephthalic acid market are toxicity levels which could cause eye irritation and mild skin irritations.

Indian

The first PTA capacity of 150 KTA was installed in India in 1988 and it is projected to reach around 6400 KTA in 2016-17. The demand has shown a consistent growth of 8-10% and is expected to be around 5400 KTA in 2016-17.

In April 2015, Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) announced commissioning of new purified terephthalic acid (PTA) plant having a capacity of 1,150 kilo tons per annum at Dahej, Gujarat in order to meet increasing demand for the product.

India’s domestic consumption is estimated to be about 5m tonnes/year. With domestic demand fully fed by Reliance Industries, Materials Chemicals and Performance Intermediaris (MCPI) and Indian Oil Corporation (IOC)’s units, it must now look towards export outlets. The start-up of JBF Industry’s 1.1 m tonne/year PTA lines sometime in late H1 2017 will also increase India’s PTA production capacity to 7.2 m tonne/year.

PTA producers in India have the logistical advantage to export cargoes to the Middle East markets, given the country’s proximity to the region compared with China and South Korea. The Middle East is where Indian PTA producers have been successful in 2016, fulfilling the demand of large-volume tenders from buyers.

Major Palyers

BP, Amoco Chemicals, Alfa Mexico, Reliance Industries Ltd, Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation (MCC), Sinopec, Zhuhai Biyang Chemical Co., Ltd, Luoyang Petrochemical Co., Ltd Tianjin Petrochemical Co., Ltd. Xiamen Xianglu Petrochemical Co., Ltd, Jinan Qilu Group Synthetic Fiber Co., Ltd are some of the leading producers of PTA. Technology licensors for PTA are Dupont, Mitsui, Dow/Inca, Mitsubhishi, Tuntex, Interquisa, Eastman, Lonza and Hüls/Witten.

Raw Material: Para Xylene

Cost Drivers

Crude oil is a PTA cost driver, a macroeconomic variable that can be predicted accurately to a reasonable extent. Analysts’ consensus estimates are available for crude oil prices, however PTA cost is not solely dependent upon crude oil prices, it is also dependent upon Px and heavy Naphtha margins The most important cost driver for PTA is Px margins, that is whether Px manufacturers are able to transfer Naphtha price hikes on to PTA manufacturers or not

Consumption Pattern of PTA in India

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