Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 08/29/2012 -- The latest Algeria Petrochemicals Report examines the potential for the petrochemicals industry in the context of future investment in upstream sectors, but warns that growth could be undermined by the poor investment climate and delays that are leading to an escalation in costs.
BMI also analyses the main export growth areas as the industry seeks to compete for a share of the European market, where domestic capacities are in decline. Furthermore, BMI explores the opportunities for long-term growth which emanate from the automotive and construction sectors - both domestically and elsewhere in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).
Recent announcements have bolstered Algeria's potential in petrochemicals, although the country is likely to fall well short of its targets due to a relatively poor investment climate. Planned investment is specifically aimed at raising the country's oil production output and gas export volumes. Algeria also possesses promising shale gas reserves, which one study estimating volumes to be 17trn cubic metres (tcm). These could provide ethane resources for new cracker capacity.
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The start-up of the 1mn tpa methanol complex, which was planned by Sonatrach and is being built by a consortium of companies led by Kuwait's Qurain Petrochemical Industries Company (QPIC), has been pushed back from 2012 to 2014 due to Sonatrach being restructured. With 1.1mn tonnes per annum (tpa) of ethylene production capacity, integrated downstream plants and low labour costs, the US$3bn petrochemical complex at Arzew should be more economical and efficient to run than smaller and often isolated European facilities.
Over the last quarter, BMI has revised the following forecasts/views:
- In Q212, Sonatrach announced plans to increase its investment to US$80bn in 2012-16 in order to expand its gas resource base and boost its refining and petrochemicals capacity. This is US$12bn more than previously announced and a massive increase on the US$45bn budgeted for 2008-2012, although it will be dependent on securing foreign investment.
- Delays in current projects indicate that the realisation of the country's full potential in petrochemicals is unlikely over the forecast period. These delays will not only raise costs and reduce margins in the long term, they will create a more opaque business environment that will undermine the industry's progress and put its significant cost advantages - in terms of domestic natural gas feedstock availability - at risk.
- Algeria ranks 10th in BMI's Middle East and Africa Petrochemicals Risk/Reward Ratings (RRRs) matrix, with an overall score of 41.1 points, up 1.9 points on the previous quarter due to an improvement in its country risk and market risk scores.
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