Linear Alpha Olefins (LAOs) and Higher LAOs Market Introduction
LinearAlpha Olefins(LAOs)are straight-chain hydrocarbons characterized by a double bond in the terminal or alpha positions. The production of LAOsyields an entire range of even-numbered carbon chain-length LAOs rather than a single product. Chain lengths vary from four carbons (butene-1) to more than thirty carbons (expressed as C30+). LAOs include a range of industrially important alpha-olefins,including butene-1, hexene-1, Octene-1, Decene-1, Dodecene-1, Tetradecene-1, 1-hexadecene, Octadecene-1.There are also many other higher blends of C20-C24, C24-C30 and C20-C30 range LAO fractions. At a global level, most of the LAO plants are based on ethylene oligomerization process.
The biggest outlet for LAOsare their use as co-monomers for polyethylene(HDPE and LLDPE) production while other important applications include synthetic lubricants, detergent intermediates, plasticizers, oil-field, paper sizing chemicals and other applications. The production of LAOs can be divided into either full range LAOs or on-purpose LAOs like butene-1, hexene-1 and octene-1. Each of the end-use of the application market has different characteristics and follows different trends in terms of growth, per capita consumption, regional/country coverage, customer base, quality requirements, selling channels and off-take volumes. This makes the LAO business challenging and complex one where producers have to balance the requirement of serving the LAO end-used markets as well as optimizing the revenue across the complete spectrum of all fractions of LAOs products. The global LAOs demand in 2008 witnessed a scenario where the market contracted by almost 5.0%, however, the market recovered in 2010 and by 2011; the demand bounced back to pre-economic downturn levels.
Asia-Pacific Higher Linear Alpha Olefins Market
In 2017, the demand for Higher Linear Alpha Olefins in the Asia Pacific was estimated to be 129.7-kilotons. The region is likely to witness demand growth at a rate of 3.1% in the long term forecast till 2025. In terms of applications, Linear Alkyl Benzene(LAB) which is considered under detergent intermediates accounts for the largest share roughly estimated at 27.2%. The second biggest end-use of higher LAOs was for Polyalphaolefins (PAO) application roughly accounting for 20%. This was followed by surfactants & intermediates and lubricants together accounting for more than 24%. Oxo alcohols accounted for around 10% of the total demand while all other applications including plasticizer, oilfield chemicals, paper sizing chemicals together accounted for a share of 18%.
Amongst the Higher LAOs, demand for Decene-1accounted for almost 27% followed by dodecene-1 at 23%. Tetradecene was the third largest type of Higher LAO with a share of around 17%. All other LAOs from C16 & other Higher LAOs together account for 33%. Decene-1 is expected to grow at 3.4% while all other higher LAOs (dodecene-1, Tetradecene-1 and C16& other Higher LAOs) are expected to grow at an average of around 3.0%.
Asia-Pacific Higher LAOs Demand, By Type- 2017 (129.7 Kilo Tons)