Global Butanes Market: Snapshot

Butane is a hydrocarbon of the alkane family with four carbon atoms attached to it. Butanes may refer to either of two structural isomers, n-butane (normal butane) or isobutene or to a mixture of these two isomers. Butane is a colorless, flammable and easily liquefied gas. Butane is heavier than the air with a density of approximately 575 kg per cubic meters at 15 degree Celsius. The boiling point of butane is approximately -1 degree Celsius whereas, the flash point of butane is approximately -40 degree Celsius.

One of the sources from where butanes are extracted is gas processing plants which are located close to crude oil or natural gas reservoirs. Basically, butane is produced as a byproduct of crude oil production and refining. Butanes are also produced as byproduct of crude oil refining in a refinery. The crude oil extracted from the reservoir is sent to refineries for extraction of various end use products like gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, lubes etc. Crude oil is processed in a fractionating tower and various products are recovered from the tower at various temperature levels, which are also known as crude cuts.

The global butanes market is expected to progress at a CAGR of 7.1% from 2019 to 2027, in terms of value. This market is expected to be valued at around US$ 156 Bn by the end of 2027 from US$ 84 Bn in 2018.

fa global butanes market

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Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) Major Application Area of Global Butanes Market

Normal butane is primarily used in liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). About two third of the butane produced globally is used in LPG. Butane is commonly referred to as LPG when it is mixed with propane in a certain proportion. LPG is mainly used for residential and commercial purposes as cooking and heating fuel. LPG is also used for chemical/petrochemical and industrial purposes as a fuel. One of the fastest growing usages of LPG is as an auto fuel; owing to its cleanliness it is gaining the market share as one of the emerging fuels for automobiles and transportation purposes.

The next biggest application of butane is in petrochemical industry where it is being used as feedstock for producing variety of petrochemicals, including primary petrochemicals like ethylene and other downstream petrochemicals like butadiene (a key raw material for the production of synthetic rubber). Butanes are also used in refineries as blending agent mixed in gasoline. Other uses of butane include as fuel in cigarette lighter, propellant in aerosol sprays such as deodorants etc.

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Residential/Commercial Sub-segment Driving Demand for Butanes in Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) Segment

The growing demand for LPG from residential and commercial sectors where it is mainly used as a domestic fuel is the major factor driving the butanes market. Butane used as petrochemical feedstock for producing ethylene and other derivatives is also driving the market for butanes owing to growing ethylene capacity in the Middle East). However, the volatility in crude oil prices and the regulatory issues owing to growing environmental concerns are the major factors inhibiting the market for butanes.

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Key Players in the Global Butanes Market

Some of the key players in the butanes market from a global perspective include

  • Exxon Mobil Corporation
  • Royal Dutch Shell
  • China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (Sinopec)
  • British Petroleum Plc
  • Chevron
  • Total S.A.
  • Conocophillips
  • China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC)
  • Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited
  • Indian Oil Corporation Ltd.

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Global Butanes Market: Recent Developments

  • On 14th February, 2020, Petroleum Ministry of Egypt announced the signing of a US$ 2.5 Billion contract for the development of lower-quality heavy fuels hydrocracking complex in Assiut, the largest oil refining project to be implemented in the Upper Egypt. The complex in Assiut would have a production capacity of 2.8 million tons annually, and the facility would also produce butane and naphtha which would be used in the production of high-octane gasoline.
  • In January 2020, as part of India’s strategy of practicing, the Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOCL) announced its plans to help Ghana’s National Petroleum Authority (NPA) expand the country’s liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) network

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