How CTO/MTO will affect the global olefins market

Kelly Cui, Olefins Senior Consultant, discusses China’s aspiration to switch gears from being the world’s leading importer of olefins to becoming self-sufficient via CTO/MTO.

China has historically seen rapid rises in both ethylene supply and demand growth. Its supply has been dominated by steam crackers, which accounted for 98% of total supply in 2010. Demand growth was robust at 7% between 2010 and 2016, and it’s developing much faster than supply. To meet the increasing demand, China still needs other sources, such as coal- and methanol-based olefins (CTO/MTO). This method uses China’s abundant coal reserves and domestic and imported methanol resources, and it reduces China’s dependency on imports of olefins and derivatives.

A typical CTO/MTO process
In 2010, China started its first CTO unit in Inner Mongolia with DMTO technology. In the past six years, China’s CTO/MTO production capacity increased from 1% of the country’s total olefins production capacity to 17% by year-end 2016. By 2025, we expect this share to increase further to 29%.

Coal/Methanol-Based Olefins Supply in China


Source: PCI Wood Mackenzie

As China’s CTO/MTO aspirations continue, how economically competitive will they be? How will they impact Chinese olefin prices, and how do they compare with other production routes globally? Attend our annual Americas Chemicals Conference to hear more from Kelly Cui or learn more about our China’s coal- and methanol-based olefins study, which delves into the intricate details and its effects on the global market.

Kelly Cui  – Olefins

Author: Kelly Cui  – Olefins

Kelly joined Wood Mackenzie’s Chemicals team in August 2013 as a petrochemical consultant. She is based in Wood Mackenzie’s Shanghai office and oversees the China market.
Since joining Wood Mackenzie, Kelly has worked on both olefin and downstream supply & demand and cost & price analysis, she is an integral team member for most chemical consulting projects undertaken in China. Her most recent work is a China’s CTO / MTO related single client study.
Before Wood Mackenzie, Kelly was a consultant in a European petrochemical consulting company for 5 years. Kelly also had several years’ sales and marketing experience with two other chemical companies. 
Kelly graduated with a Master’s degree in Industrial Economics from Shanghai University of Finance and Economics. 

Contact: kelly.cui@woodmac.com

T: +86 (21) 6037 7337