Linear alkyl benzene is primarily produced as intermediate when surfactants are produced for utilization in detergents. Linear alkyl benzene is derived exclusively from petroleum derivatives such as benzene & linear paraffin. Linear alkyl benzene is converted to linear alkyl benzene sulfonate which is a biodegradable surfactant. Alkyl benzene sulfonate is used as a surfactant in household & industrial detergents, in emulsifiers in agricultural herbicides, and as a wetting agent.
The global linear alkyl benzene market is segmented into America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia-Pacific, and Africa. The market share of North America and Europe are declining because new linear alkyl benzene production facilities are being set up in emerging economies to meet their increasing demand. The increasing demand for linear alkyl benzene in developing countries reflects their gradual shift from soaps to synthetic detergents. During the years from 2012 to 2018, the demand is expected to grow at a steady rate; however, the growth rate might vary according to the region.
The growing demand from the end-users of the Asia-Pacific region is driving the demand in the linear alkyl benzene market. Asia has emerged as the largest producer as well as consumer market of linear alkyl benzene / alkyl benzene sulfonate in the recent years. The Middle East continues to be a major net exporter for linear alkyl benzene/ alkyl benzene sulfonate. Studies carried out on linear alkyl benzene have also shown that it has no detrimental impact on the environment and human health, which drives the demand for linear alkyl benzene.
The decline in demand from mature markets of linear alkyl benzene such as North America, Western Europe, and Japan is a matter of concern. The demand for linear alkyl benzene is on the decline in these markets because manufacturers of detergents are coming up with detergents that contain fewer alkyl benzene sulfonates which have very less impact on its performance. The trend towards increase in the use of liquid detergent products from traditional powder detergent products, which were the major consumer of alkyl benzene sulfonate, is restraining the demand in the linear alkyl benzene market.
The rate of the feed stock used i.e. benzene and linear paraffin can also hurt producers of linear alkyl benzene.
Some of the leading manufacturers of linear alkyl benzene include Amreya Petroleum Refining, Bisotun Petrochemical, CEPSA Quimica, Chemische Fabrik Wibarco, Chevron Phillips Chemical, Deten Quimica, Emalab, Formosan Union Chemical, Fushun Petrochemical, and Reliance Industries Ltd. (RIL).
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