Key Market Overview:
Cumene Market size was valued at USD 19.7 Billion in 2022, registering a CAGR of 4.2% during the forecast period (2023-2030), and the market is projected to be worth USD 27.8 Billion by 2030.
Cumene is an organic compound with the molecular formula C9H12. It is a clear, colorless liquid with a sweet, gasoline-like smell. Cumene is primarily used in the production of phenol and acetone which are important industrial chemicals used in the manufacturing of a wide range of products such as plastics, adhesives, paints, solvents, and pharmaceuticals. Cumene is produced commercially by the alkylation of benzene with propylene using an acid catalyst, such as aluminum chloride. The resulting cumene hydroperoxide is then broken down by a chemical process called cleavage, which produces phenol and acetone. In addition to its industrial applications, cumene is also used as a solvent in the production of pharmaceuticals and as a fuel additive to increase the octane rating of gasoline driving the demand for cumene in the pharmaceutical and oil & gas industries.
Additionally, the Asia Pacific is the largest consumer and producer of cumene, with China being the largest producer and consumer of phenol and acetone globally. The Chinese government has been investing heavily in the petrochemical industry to support the country’s rapid economic growth and industrialization. As a result, the demand for phenol and acetone has been increasing steadily, which has led to the growth of the cumene market in China. Moreover, the region’s rapid industrialization and increasing demand for end-use applications have also contributed to the growth of the cumene market in the region.
The increasing demand for lightweight and fuel-efficient materials in the automotive and aerospace industries has led to the development of advanced composites and high-performance plastics, requiring phenol and acetone as key raw materials as a result driving the demand for cumene. Additionally, the increasing demand for adhesives and sealants in the construction and packaging industries is also serving as one of the major drivers for the cumene market. This is attributed to the fact that adhesives and sealants made from phenol and acetone are widely used in construction, automotive, and packaging applications due to their excellent bonding properties, durability, and resistance to heat and chemicals. For instance, INEOS Phenol is a subsidiary of INEOS Group Holdings that produces phenol and acetone. The products are used in a wide range of applications, including automotive components, construction materials, and electronics.
The cumene production process involves handling hazardous chemicals that pose health and safety risks to workers and the environment. This leads to increased regulation and compliance costs, which limits the growth of the market. Additionally, the cumene production process is energy-intensive and generates significant amounts of greenhouse gases and other pollutants. As a result, the industry is subject to strict environmental regulations, thus hampering the market growth.
For instance, in the U.S., the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established air pollution control standards for cumene production facilities under the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) program. The standards require cumene producers to reduce emissions of hazardous air pollutants such as benzene, toluene, and xylenes that have harmful effects on human health and the environment. Thus, it hampers the usage of cumene in various industries and retraining the market growth.
The increasing concerns about sustainability and the environment are growing interest in developing bio-based alternatives to traditional petrochemical-based cumene production. Several research groups and companies are exploring the use of biomass and other renewable resources as feedstocks for cumene production. For instance, INEOS Phenol has introduced a new line of products called INVIRIDISTM, the company’s first bio-attributed products for phenol, acetone, and alpha-methyl styrene (AMS). The products are unique in the global phenol market as they are produced without the use of fossil fuels as feedstocks. They represent a significant innovation in the industry, providing a more sustainable and environmentally friendly alternative to traditional phenol, acetone, and AMS.
Cumene Market Report Coverage:
|Report Attributes||Report Details|
|Market Size in 2030 (USD Billion)||27.8 billion|
|By Catalyst Type||Aluminum Chloride Catalyst, Solid Phosphoric Acid (SPA) Catalyst, Zeolite Catalyst, and Other|
|By Production||Benzene and Propylene|
|By Application||Phenol, Acetone, and Others|
|By Geography||North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa|
|Key Players||Cepsa (Compañía Española de Petróleos, S.A.U.), INEOS Group Holdings S.A., KUMHO P&B CHEMICALS., INC., Royal Dutch Shell Plc., Exxon Mobil Corporation, Saudi Basic Industries Corporation, BASF SE, The Dow Chemical Company, Borealis AG., and China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec Group)|
By Catalyst Type
Based on the catalyst type segment, the market is categorized into aluminum chloride catalysts, solid phosphoric acid (SPA) catalysts, zeolite catalysts, and others. The aluminum chloride segment is dominated the cumene market in terms of revenue share in 2022. The aluminum chloride catalyst offers several advantages such as high yield, high selectivity, and ease of handling that makes it a popular choice among manufacturers. Additionally, the low cost of aluminum chloride catalysts compared to other catalyst types also contributes to their dominance in the cumene market.
Moreover, the solid phosphoric acid SPA segment is projected to witness the fastest growth in the cumene market over the forecast period. This is due to the several advantages such as high activity, low corrosion, and low environmental impact, making SPA a preferred choice for manufacturers who prioritize sustainability and environmental factors.
By the production segment, the market is bifurcated into benzene and propylene. The propylene segment holds the major share of the cumene market in terms of revenue. Propylene is the most important feedstock for cumene production, as it is the starting material for the cumene production process. Additionally, propylene is relatively inexpensive and widely available, contributing to the dominance of propylene in the cumene market.
Moreover, the benzene segment is expected to register the fastest CAGR over the forecast period. Benzene is a key component in the production of high-purity cumene, essential for the production of polycarbonate plastics that are widely used in the automotive and electronic industries. Benzene’s unique properties make it an ideal component for producing high-purity cumene.
The application segment is divided into phenol, acetone, and other applications. The phenol segment dominated the cumene market in terms of revenue in 2022. Phenol is primarily used in the production of bisphenol A (BPA), which is a key component in the production of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. The high demand for these products, especially in the automotive and electronic industries, is a key driver for the growth of the phenol segment in the cumene market.
Moreover, the acetone segment is anticipated to witness significant growth in the cumene market over the forecast period. This is attributed to the fact that acetone finds a wide range of applications as a solvent in various industries such as pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and paints & coatings. Additionally, acetone is used as a raw material in the production of methyl methacrylate (MMA), used in the production of acrylic plastics.
According to region, the cumene market is segmented into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Middle East & Africa, and Latin America. The Asia Pacific held the largest share of the cumene market in 2022 owing to the increasing demand for end-use applications, such as automotive, construction, and electronics has contributed to the growth of the cumene market in the region. The demand for lightweight and fuel-efficient materials in the automotive and aerospace industries, in particular, has led to the development of advanced composites and high-performance plastics, which require phenol and acetone as key raw materials.
However, North America is expected to witness significant growth over the forecast period. This is attributed to the increasing demand for bisphenol-A (BPA), a derivative of phenol that finds applications in various industries such as automotive and packaging.
Cumene Market Competitive Landscape:
The cumene market is highly consolidated, with numerous major players accounting for a significant market share. These players are engaged in capacity expansions, mergers and acquisitions, and new product launches to strengthen their market position and increase their market share. The following are the major key players operating in cumene market:
- Cepsa (Compania Espanola de Petroleos, S.A.U.)
- INEOS Group Holdings S.A.
- KUMHO P&B CHEMICALS., INC.
- Royal Dutch Shell Plc.
- Exxon Mobil Corporation
- Saudi Basic Industries Corporation
- BASF SE
- The Dow Chemical Company
- Borealis AG.
- China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec Group)
- In August 2022, INEOS Group Holdings S.A. acquired Mitsui Chemicals and completed assets of Mitsui Phenols Singapore Ltd for a total cost of USD 330 million. This acquisition includes the production of 410 thousand metric tons per annum of cumene. The acquisition is aimed at enhancing the competitiveness of INEOS’ business.
- In September 2021, Formosa announced expanding its cumene and phenol plant in Ningbo, China. The company will be using Lummus technology license and engineering design for this expansion. The expansion will increase the cumene capacity by 600 thousand metric tons per annum (kMTA) and phenol capacity by 400 kMTA. The expansion will be done to an existing plant that already has a cumene capacity of 450 kMTA and phenol capacity of 300 kMTA.
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