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Ethylene Oxide Market

Market Study on Ethylene Oxide: Looking at the Increased Need for Polyester Fibers and Resins over the Recent Past, PMR Foresees a Multitude of Opportunities for Companies Participating in the Market

A Detailed Analysis of the Ethylene Oxide Market Based on Consistently Growing Demand, and Petrochemical Industry’s Growth

Ethylene Oxide Market

The ethylene oxide market is forecasted to expand at a CAGR of 4.7% and thereby increase from a value of US$29.1 Bn in 2023, to US$40.1 Bn by the end of 2030.


Key Insights

Ethylene Oxide Market Size (2023E)

US$29.1 Mn

Projected Market Value (2030F)

US$40.1 Mn

Global Market Growth Rate (CAGR 2023 to 2030)


Historical Market Growth Rate (CAGR 2018 to 2022)


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Market Introduction and Definition

The ethylene oxide market is a crucial segment of the chemical industry, playing a pivotal role in various applications. Ethylene oxide, a key chemical intermediate, is primarily used in the production of ethylene glycol, surfactants, and other derivatives. It serves as a fundamental building block for a range of products in industries such as textiles, plastics, pharmaceuticals, and personal care. The market aims to meet the growing demand for these end-use products while ensuring efficient production processes and sustainable practices.

The market for ethylene oxide is driven by several factors. One of the key drivers is the increasing demand for ethylene glycol, a major derivative used in the production of polyester fibers, and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) resins. Additionally, the expanding applications of ethylene oxide in the production of surfactants, glycol ethers, and ethanolamines contribute to market growth.

Opportunities in this market lie in the development of innovative and sustainable production methods, as well as the rising demand for ethylene oxide in emerging economies, offering a significant avenue for market expansion.

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Market Growth Drivers

Growing Demand for Polyester Fibers and Resins

The ethylene oxide market is experiencing a robust upswing, driven significantly by the escalating demand for ethylene oxide derivatives, particularly in the production of polyester fibers and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) resins. Ethylene oxide is a crucial raw material in the synthesis of ethylene glycol, a primary component in the manufacturing of polyester fibers.

The burgeoning textile industry, fueled by increasing consumer preferences for synthetic fabrics, is a key factor propelling the demand for ethylene oxide. Simultaneously, the PET resin sector, driven by the packaging industry's growth, further amplifies the need for ethylene oxide. This interplay between consumer trends and industrial requirements establishes ethylene oxide as a linchpin for the expansion of these crucial sectors.

In addition, another pivotal driver for the ethylene oxide market lies in its diverse applications, particularly in the production of surfactants, glycol ethers, and ethanolamines. Surfactants play a crucial role in the formulation of various consumer products, including detergents and personal care items. As the demand for these products continues to surge globally, the need for ethylene oxide as a key ingredient in surfactant production remains robust.

Furthermore, the applications of glycol ethers and ethanolamines in industries such as paints, coatings, and pharmaceuticals contribute to the sustained growth of the ethylene oxide market. The versatility of ethylene oxide across these varied applications positions it as a vital element in supporting the expansion of multiple industrial sectors.

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Market Restraints

Environmental Compliance, and Regulatory Constraints

One factor that could significantly impact the performance of the ethylene oxide market is the increasing scrutiny and regulatory pressures related to environmental concerns. Ethylene oxide, while a crucial industrial chemical, is associated with potential environmental and health hazards. Stringent regulations are being implemented globally to address emissions, waste disposal, and worker safety issues associated with ethylene oxide production and usage.

Compliance with these regulations poses challenges for market participants, requiring investments in advanced technologies and processes to ensure environmental sustainability. Additionally, evolving regulatory landscapes may lead to changes in permissible usage levels and emissions standards, influencing market dynamics and the strategic decisions of industry players. Adapting to and navigating through these regulatory challenges will be imperative for sustained market growth.

Regulatory Compliance in Safety Protocols

A significant challenge in the ethylene oxide market revolves around ensuring strict adherence to safety protocols and environmental regulations. Ethylene oxide is classified as a hazardous substance, posing potential risks to both human health and the environment.

Meeting stringent regulatory compliance demands rigorous safety measures in production, storage, and transportation. Companies face the challenge of continuously adapting to evolving regulatory frameworks, investing in advanced safety technologies, and implementing robust environmental management practices to mitigate risks and ensure sustained market operations.

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Rising Demand in PET Resin Production

One active opportunity for increasing revenue in the ethylene oxide market lies in capitalizing on the growing demand for ethylene glycol, a key derivative of ethylene oxide, particularly in the production of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) resin. The expanding beverage packaging and textile industries are fueling the demand for PET resin, creating a substantial market opportunity.

Manufacturers can strategically focus on optimizing ethylene oxide production capacities and enhancing glycol production processes to cater to the surging demand from PET resin applications. Leveraging this opportunity involves aligning production capabilities with the evolving dynamics of downstream industries, thereby positioning market participants for sustainable revenue growth.

Moreover, another promising opportunity for revenue generation in the ethylene oxide market is exploring bio-based production methods. With the rising emphasis on sustainability and environmental consciousness, there is a growing interest in bio-derived alternatives to conventional chemical processes. Bio-based ethylene oxide production, utilizing renewable feedstocks, presents a strategic avenue for market participants to align with sustainability goals and cater to eco-conscious consumer preferences.

Companies investing in research and development to establish efficient and economically viable bio-based ethylene oxide production routes stand to gain a competitive edge, positioning themselves as environmentally responsible contributors to the market while tapping into a potentially expanding consumer base.

Analyst’s Viewpoint

The ethylene oxide market is on a promising trajectory, marked by robust drivers and compelling opportunities. The demand for derivatives in various end-user industries such as automotive, agrochemicals, personal care, and more is driving market growth. Key drivers, including increased industrialization, expanding applications in pharmaceuticals and detergents, and growing consumer demand for ethylene oxide derivatives, contribute to the positive outlook.

However, challenges such as environmental concerns and regulatory complexities may pose obstacles. Europe is emerging as a dominating region, driven by stringent environmental regulations and a focus on sustainability. Simultaneously, South Asia, and Oceania is the fastest-growing market due to rapid industrialization and heightened consumer needs.

Amidst these dynamics, the ethylene oxide market presents opportunities for innovation and strategic investments, enabling stakeholders to navigate challenges and capitalize on the rising demand for ethylene oxide derivatives across diverse industries.

Supply-side Dynamics

The supply-side dynamics of the ethylene oxide market are intricately tied to the production and distribution networks established by key manufacturers worldwide. Ethylene oxide, a crucial intermediate chemical, is primarily produced through the catalytic oxidation of ethylene. The market is characterized by a concentrated supply chain, with major players such as Dow Inc., Shell, and BASF holding significant production capacities. These companies leverage advanced technologies and efficient manufacturing processes to ensure a steady supply of ethylene oxide to meet diverse industrial demands.

The United States stands out as a paramount player in the ethylene oxide market, serving as a major supplier. The country's dominance is attributed to several factors, including abundant access to ethylene feedstock, technological advancements, and a well-established chemical manufacturing infrastructure.

Leading chemical manufacturers in the U.S., such as Dow Inc. and LyondellBasell Industries, contribute significantly to the ethylene oxide supply. The U.S. not only fulfils domestic demand but also plays a crucial role in catering to international markets, contributing to the stability and growth of the ethylene oxide industry. The country's strategic importance in the supply chain underscores its influence on market dynamics, making it a key determinant of ethylene oxide availability and pricing.

Market Segmentation

Which Derivatives will Contribute the Largest Revenue Share?

Ethylene Glycols Dominant on Account of Versatility, and Expansive Applications

Ethylene Glycols, including monoethylene glycol (MEG), diethylene glycol (DEG), and triethylene glycol (TEG), dominate due to their versatile applications in industries like automotive and textiles. Monoethylene glycol, specifically, plays a pivotal role in polyester fiber and resin production.

Ethoxylates, comprising ethanolamines, glycol ethers, polyethylene glycol, and other derivatives, emerge as the fastest-growing category. The surge in demand for ethoxylates is attributed to their crucial role as intermediates for surfactants and emulsifiers, meeting the rising needs of detergents, personal care items, and industrial applications. This growth reflects the market's response to the increasing demand for efficient and environmentally friendly surface-active agents.

Which is the Leading End-use Industry?

Automotive Industry Spearheads Demand Generation

The dominant category is the automotive industry, leveraging ethylene oxide for production of antifreeze, coolants, and brake fluids. The automotive sector's significant demand for ethylene oxide-based products establishes it as the leading end-user industry.

Meanwhile, the fastest-growing category is the agrochemicals sector, fueled by the escalating need for ethylene oxide in the synthesis of herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides. The increasing emphasis on agricultural productivity and crop protection propels the agrochemicals industry forward, driving the rapid growth of ethylene oxide consumption within this segment.

Top Regional Markets

North America Leads with Robust Industrial Infrastructure, and Sustainable Practices

As a result of its status as a center for renowned automobile manufacturers such as those based in France, Italy, and Germany, Europe stands as a dominant region in the ethylene oxide market due to its robust industrial infrastructure and commitment to sustainable practices. The region's well-established automotive, agrochemical, and pharmaceutical industries are major consumers of ethylene oxide derivatives.

Additionally, stringent environmental regulations in Europe drive the adoption of ethylene oxide in eco-friendly processes, enhancing its market share. The European market benefits from a mature and diverse end-user base, fostering steady growth and innovation in ethylene oxide applications. As the region continues to prioritize sustainability and technological advancements, it remains a key player in shaping the trajectory of the ethylene oxide market.

Rapid Industrialization, and Increasing Consumer Demand Elevate Asia’s Prospects

South Asia & Oceania emerges as the fastest-growing region in the ethylene oxide market, propelled by rapid industrialization and escalating consumer demand. The region's burgeoning population, coupled with expanding sectors such as automotive, textiles, and personal care, fuels the demand for ethylene oxide derivatives.

Investments in infrastructure and manufacturing facilities further contribute to the region's accelerated growth. As South Asia & Oceania undergo economic development, the increased adoption of ethylene oxide in diverse industries positions the region at the forefront of market expansion, presenting lucrative opportunities for stakeholders.

Competitive Intelligence and Business Strategy

Prominent organizations, including BASF SE, China Petrochemical Corporation, Clariant, and Dow are at the vanguard of this sector, competitive landscape of the ethylene oxide market, staying ahead requires astute competitive intelligence. Companies operating in this market need to continually assess the strategies, capabilities, and innovations of their rivals.

Understanding competitors' production capacities, technological advancements, and market positioning is crucial. By monitoring pricing trends, supply chain dynamics, and emerging market players, organizations can make informed decisions and position themselves strategically. Robust competitive intelligence enables companies to identify market gaps, assess potential collaborations or acquisitions, and ultimately gain a competitive edge in the evolving ethylene oxide market.

Formulating a robust business strategy is paramount for success in the ethylene oxide market. Companies must align their objectives with market trends, regulatory landscapes, and emerging opportunities. A well-defined strategy encompasses optimizing production processes, ensuring a sustainable supply chain, and adapting to changing consumer demands. Embracing technological advancements, investing in research and development, and exploring strategic partnerships can enhance a company's market position.

Key Recent Developments

New Product Launch

BASF SE, and China Petrochemical Corporation announced the expansion of their Verbund site located in China operated by BASF-YPC Co., Ltd. It is a 50-50 joint venture of both companies in Nanjing. The expansion will focus on increasing the capacities of many down-stream chemicals, including ethanolamines which are the derivatives of ethylene oxide.

Market Impact: The joint expansion venture by BASF SE, and China Petrochemical Corporation at their Verbund site in Nanjing is set to significantly impact the ethylene oxide market. With a particular emphasis on increasing downstream chemical capacities, including ethanolamines derived from ethylene oxide, this strategic move is poised to contribute to the overall growth and competitiveness of the ethylene oxide sector by meeting rising market demands and enhancing production capabilities.

(Source: BASF)

ExxonMobil, and SABIC announced the successful startup of ‘Gulf Coast Growth Ventures' world-scale manufacturing facility in San Patricio County, Texas. The new facility operation includes a mono-ethylene glycol (a derivative of ethylene oxide) unit. The capacity of the plant will be 1.1 million metric tons per year.

Market Impact: The successful start-up of ExxonMobil, and SABIC's 'Gulf Coast Growth Ventures' manufacturing facility in Texas, which includes a mono-ethylene glycol unit, is poised to significantly impact the ethylene oxide market. With an impressive annual capacity of 1.1 million metric tons, this operation is set to meet the growing demand for ethylene oxide derivatives, further contributing to the market's expansion and competitiveness.

(Source: Exxonmobil)

In August 2021, BASF and SINOPEC announced the expansion of their Verbund site operated by BASF-YPC Co., Ltd., a 50-50 joint venture of both companies in Nanjing, China. It includes the capacity expansion of several downstream chemical plants, including a new tert-butyl acrylate plant to support the growing Chinese market.

Market Impact: BASF and SINOPEC's joint venture, BASF-YPC Co., Ltd. unveiled plans to expand their Nanjing-based Verbund site, marking a significant development for the ethylene oxide market. The expansion, featuring increased capacities in downstream chemical plants and the addition of a new tert-butyl acrylate plant, aligns with the growing demand in the Chinese market. This strategic move is poised to enhance the overall competitiveness of ethylene oxide and its derivatives on a global scale.

(Source: BASF)

Ethylene Oxide Market Report Scope



Forecast Period

2023 to 2030

Historical Data Available for

2018 to 2022

Market Analysis

US$ Million for Value

Key Regions Covered

  • North America
  • Latin America
  • Europe
  • South Asia & Oceania
  • East Asia
  • The Middle East & Africa  

Key Countries Covered

  • United States
  • Canada
  • Germany
  • United Kingdom
  • France
  • Italy
  • Spain
  • Russia
  • China
  • Japan
  • South Korea
  • India
  • Thailand
  • Malaysia
  • Indonesia
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • GCC Countries
  • South Africa  

Key Market Segments Covered

  • Derivative
  • End-use Industry
  • Region

Key Companies Profiled

  • China Petrochemical Corporation
  • Clariant 
  • Dow 
  • India Glycols Limited
  • INEOS 
  • LOTTE Chemical Corporation
  • LyondellBasell Industries Holdings B.V.
  • Reliance Industries Limited

Report Coverage

  • Market Forecast
  • Company Share Analysis
  • Competition Intelligence
  • DROT Analysis
  • Market Dynamics and Challenges
  • Strategic Growth Initiatives  

Customization & Pricing

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Ethylene Oxide Market Research Segmentation

By Derivative:

  • Ethylene Glycols
    • Monoethylene Glycol (MEG)
    • Diethylene Glycol (DEG)
    • Triethylene Glycol (TEG)
  • Ethoxylates 
    • Ethanolamines 
    • Glycol Ethers
    • Polyethylene Glycol
  • Other Derivatives

By End-user Industry:

  • Automotive 
  • Agrochemicals 
  • Food and Beverage
  • Textile 
  • Personal Care
  • Pharmaceuticals 
  • Detergents 
  • Other End-user Industries

By Region:

  • North America
  • Europe
  • East Asia
  • South Asia & Oceania
  • Latin America
  • Middle East & Africa


- Companies Covered in This Report -

  • China Petrochemical Corporation
  • Clariant 
  • Dow 
  • India Glycols Limited
  • INEOS 
  • LOTTE Chemical Corporation
  • LyondellBasell Industries Holdings B.V.
  • Reliance Industries Limited

- Frequently Asked Questions -

The market for ethylene oxide is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 4.7% during the projected period.

The global ethylene oxide market is valued at US$29.1 Bn in 2023.

As of 2023, the UK holds the largest revenue share of the ethylene oxide market.

Some of the prominent players in the market are BASF SE, China Petrochemical Corporation, Clariant, and Dow.

The agrochemicals segment is expected to see the fastest growth during the forecast period, 2023 - 2030.

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