|Title:||China sulfur production, consumption, and supply gap in kilotons with dependency rate on imports in percentages for 2010 and forecast for 2015|
|Source:||China Chemical Reporter|
Start of full article - but without data
China's sulfur supply and demand kt
Item 2010 2015
Estimated sulfur output X XXX * X XXX Apparent consumption XX XXX XX XXX Supply gap XX XXX XX XXX Dependency rate on imports/% XX XX
China's sulfur resources mainly come from pyrite, associated pyrite, and natural sulfur minerals as well as sulfur recovered from smelter off-gas. Sulfur can also be recovered from crude oil and natural gas as well as the coal-to-chemicals process.
About XX% of China's sulfur resources are used to produce sulfuric acid, with the remaining XX% being used directly in the rubber, food processing and light industries as non-acid products.
China's apparent sulfur resources consumption rose from X.X million tons in 2000 to XX.XX million tons in 2010, representing an average annual growth rate of XX.X%. See table X for a breakdown of China's sulfur consumption.
At present, about XX% of China's recovered sulfur is from crude oil and natural gas. The sulfur recovered from crude oil mainly comes from the high-sulfur crude oil imported by Sinopec Group. Their refineries are mainly located in coastal regions like east China or south China. There are sour gas resources in Dazhou, Sichuan province, where Sinopec and China National Petroleum Corp are stepping up development of the Puguang gas field. This will greatly contribute to the growth of China's recovered sulfur production. About X million tons of sulfur were recovered from the Puguang field in 2010. Dazhou is expected to become China's main production region for recovered sulfur.
Imports and exports
The sulfur-based sulfuric acid capacity has been rising rapidly across China in recent years. In particular, those large and medium-scale phosphate and compound fertilizer plants are typically equipped with such sulfur-based sulfuric acid facilities, which mainly consume imported sulfur. In addition to the phosphate fertilizer industry, many X million t/a-level sulfur-based sulfuric acid plants have been erected in the developed coastal regions, such as the Suzhou Industrial Park, as developers want to obtain more steam and sulfuric acid. This will further trigger demand for imported sulfur.
China's sulfur imports have been rising since 2000, with prices also rising gradually. China's imports already accounted for about one third of the global trade. The prices for imported sulfur have been rising rapidly in recent years in part because of higher international freight rates. Import price averaged at US$XX-US$XXX/t in 2010. Globally, there will be an oversupply for sulfur in the long term, so import prices won't fluctuate in this regard.
Comparatively, China's exports of sulfur were small, at tens of thousands t per year.
Factors that affect China's sulfur demand
a. Phosphate fertilizer export policy
China initially granted tax rebates to fertilizer exports before abolishing them. Then it imposed an export duty, and later added a special export duty. The changes reflect the government's resolve to restrict exports and safeguard domestic supplies so that farmers can buy and afford fertilizers. See below the export tax policy on phosphate fertilizer and related feedstock.
Generally speaking, China's current fertilizer export policies are meant to stabilize the market prices during peak and low-demand seasons. The government first must assure ample domestic supplies and avoid any sharp price increases caused by supply shortage. This is to ensure the demand from farmers and in turn safeguard China's food security. Against the backdrop of strict export policies, growth in sulfur demand is also set to slow down.
b. Environmental standards
The State Environmental Protection Department and the State General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine jointly released the pollutants emission standards for the sulfuric acid industry (GBXXXXX--2010) on December XX, 2010. The regulation, which was effective March X, 2011, set strict standards for liquid and atmospheric pollutants emissions by sulfuric acid companies. The "emission limits" for existing facilities and new plants are different. Existing companies have a "transition period" from October X, 2011 to September XX, 2013 when they are subject to emission standards especially designed for the period. After that, existing and new plants will be treated equally.
The biggest challenge or constraint should be the requirements on the concentration of sulfur dioxide in their air pollution emissions. New plants have a limit of XXX mg/mX. Existing companies are subject to a limit of XXX mg/mX in the transition period till September XX, 2013 and XXX mg/mX after that.
At the end of 2010, there were more than XXX sulfuric acid companies in China with combined capacity of over XX million t/a. about XX% of them use sulfur as the feedstock, with the biggest single facility capable of producing XXX XXX t/a. Companies relying on smelter off-gas accounted for XX% of total, with the biggest facility at X.X million t/a. Companies based on sulfur, pyrite and smelter off-gas each hold about a third of the sector. Over half of the sulfuric acid capacity in China is with international advanced level. However, many small facilities which cause severe pollution and feature low efficiency are still in operation. About XX% of existing companies will be able to basically meet the new standards while XX% of them, mainly small sulfur acid facilities (mainly those based on pyrite), will be phased out. The implementation of the new standards will make China's sulfur acid industry an advanced one globally.
The National Development and Reform Commission has pointed in the 2011 edition of its industry restructuring guidance catalogue that the XXXXXXt/a sulfuric acid facility based on pyrite is outdated facility. They must be phased out before the end of 2011. New facility must have a minimum capacity of XXX XXX t/a.
In regions short of pyrite (pyrite concentrate), small sulfuric acid plants will be eliminated in conjunction with the construction of new sulfur-burning sulfuric acid facilities. Sulfur demand is expected to rise further by X.X million-X.X million t/a in the future.
Table X China's sulfur consumption in 2000 and 2010 (kt)
2000 2010 Consumption Apparent Share of Apparent Share of areas (sulfur consumption total/% consumption total/% equivalent)
Net sulfuric XXX X.X XXX X.X acid imports
Sulfuric acid XXXX XX.X XXXX XX.X from pyrite production
Sulfur for 2020 XX X XXXX XX.X sulfuric acid
Sulfuric acid XXXX XX.X XXXX XX.X from smelter off-gas
Sulfuric acid XXX X.X XX X.X produced from other feedstock
Sulfur XXX X.X XXXX XX consumption in non-acid production
Total XXXX XXX X XXXX XXX
Table X Phosphate fertilizer export policy
Year Policy change
April X, 2004 Tax rebate on DAP exports suspended, rebates removed to discourage exports
November A X% provisional import tax on XX products used in X,2006 fertilizers including potassium nitrate and triple superphosphate and a X% tariff quota rate on three fertilizer products including urea, lower import duties to encourage imports
June DAP export tax at XX%; October X-December XX, 2007, X-September DAP export tax at XX%. Tax changes according to XX, 2007 seasons showing a change in policymaking 2008 (X) DAP and MAP export tax at XX% in the second and third quarters, at XX% in the first and fourth ...