Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 05/14/2012 -- Kuwait could become the most dynamic driver of basic chemicals growth in the Arabian Gulf region, with the confirmation of new refining capacity leading to plans for a third integrated petrochemicals complex, according to BMI's latest Kuwait petrochemicals report.
With Gulf gas feedstock prices climbing, the relative competitiveness of naphtha-fed Kuwaiti petrochemicals will improve. The expansion of Kuwaiti refinery capacities and upstream oilfields should provide opportunities for naphtha feedstock for downstream plants, potentially making the country's petrochemicals industry one of the most dynamic. Forthcoming projects will see Kuwait's refining capacity jump from 930,000b/d to 1.4mn b/d, and will significantly boost Kuwait's naphtha feedstock potential for the petrochemicals industry.
The decision by Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) to go ahead with the country's third olefins project, Olefins III, should result in the petrochemicals industry rapidly expanding. Scheduled for completion by end-2016, the unit will be based on a mixed-feed cracker with capacities of 1.4mn tpa ethylene and around 600,000tpa propylene, using gas and liquid feedstocks. Downstream facilities will make products including PE and ethylene glycol, potentially up to 800,000tpa PE and up to 600,000tpa EG. By sourcing naphtha from domestic resources, the country still has an edge over most Asian producers.
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Kuwait's petrochemicals industry will remain highly exposed to the Asian market - particularly China, which is its main customer. While China's capacities are growing fast, BMI believes the Chinese market will slow down in 2012 as inflation rises and the government is forced to introduce more restrictive policies to dampen demand. Coupled with growth in output, measures to prevent over-heating will lead to a decline in imports and the potential for over-capacity in some segments. Kuwait may turn its attention to the Indian market, which is set for double-digit growth over the medium-term.
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