World petroleum coke output has grown by 4% per annum since 1991, and the fastest growing market for titanium dioxide (TiO2) during the 1990s was plastics, according to two recently published reports from market analyst Roskill. Key trends in the petroleum coke, titanium minerals and pigments industries worldwide are analysed in these reports.
The Economics of Petroleum Coke (4th edition, 2003) predicts a rise in coke output from 83 million tonnes in 1991 up to 88 million tonnes by the end of 2005. Growth in Europe and North America is below the world average. However, Asia has expanded its output by about 8% to balance the market. The USA is the largest national producer of coke by far, accounting for 61% of global output and 51% of capacity. Owing to oil sands operations in the Orinoco Belt region, Venezuela will have added 6.2 million tonnes per year of petroleum coke capacity by the end of 2004, making it the second biggest petroleum coke producer.
Between them, ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips account for 17% of the world total of marketable coke capacity.
The coke review covers the market in 45 countries, and contains consumption, applications, trade and price analysis.
The plastics market for Ti02 grew by 5-6% in the 1990s. The plastics market, which uses Ti02 as pigments, opacifiers and UV stabilisers in polyethylene, polypropylene and PVC, is also expected to show by 2007 the highest growth rate, though by a lower average of 2.9%. The Economics of Titanium Minerals and Pigments (3rd edition, 2003) predicts that with an average growth of 3.5% per year, the Asia-Pacific market will be stronger than the worldwide average.
A rising demand for Ti02 with static prices reflects a more efficient use of feedstocks by pigment manufacturers. Pigment prices are expected to reach a peak in 2004, but will ‘probably still be lower than the US$2,500 per tonne level that pigment manufacturers consider to be the minimum required to support substantial reinvestment in new pigment capacity,’ according to the report. The world’s largest Ti02 producer is Rio Tinto, which accounted for around 25% of world output in 2001.