A rapidly changing EU plasticizer landscape

The plasticizer landscape, at least in the EU, is subject to a lot of change and change is coming quick. In 2011 the plasticizer landscape in the EU was still dominated by phthalate plasticizers, around 80% of all plasticizers consumed were phthalates.

However change is happening as we speak and my projection is that in only a few years phthalates will lose significant share and will only represent 50% of all plasticizers consumed in EU.

The biggest change will be driven by growth of products like DOTP and hydrated DINP. DOTP is now more or less being offered at DINP prices and customers can switch to phthalate free without having to pay extra costs….This is hard to resist. Also on the supply side of things we see more and more suppliers of DOTP emerging making this shift to phthalate free possible.

BASF did announce a capacity extension of 100kt for their phthalate free product. Practically this means they will have 100kt less DINP capacity to make this happen. The knife is cutting on both sides, not only the phthalate free capacity is being extended but also the phthalate capacity is being decreased. This makes a shift to phthalate free even more realistic.

If you add up all the capacity which is being made available for phthalate free plasticizers you will find a number of around 300kt short term….

The current phthalate free market is around 180kt and will growth towards 490kt short term. This is being supported by both customer demand as well as producer push…making the shift very likely to happen.

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