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Recently Released Market Study: Kuwait Petrochemicals Report Q1 2014

New Energy market report from Business Monitor International: "Kuwait Petrochemicals Report Q1 2014"

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Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 12/31/2013 -- BMI believes the Kuwaiti petrochemicals industry was operating at capacity in 2013, although recent financial data indicate that margins are not improving. Nevertheless, the Kuwaiti petrochemicals industry is proving resilient in a highly competitive market and will retain operating rates even as Asian markets such as India and China become more self-sufficient.

In 2013, Kuwait had ethylene capacity of 1.7mn tonnes per annum (tpa) feeding downstream units that included 825,000tpa linear low-density polyethylene, according to BMI estimates. It also has 370,000tpa of benzene, 822,000tpa of xylenes, 1mn tpa of ethylene glycol, 765,000tpa of ethylene oxide and 160,000tpa of polypropylene capacity. In the fertiliser sector, Kuwait has capacities of 1.04mntpa urea and 885,000tpa ammonia. Olefins and polyolefins capacities are unlikely to increase before 2016, with the main expansion projects completed in 2009.

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Kuwait's petrochemicals industry will remain highly exposed to the Asian market, particularly that of its main customer, China. While China's capacities are growing fast, BMI believes the Chinese market is slowing as inflation rises and the government is forced to introduce more restrictive policies to dampen demand. Coupled with growth in output, measures to prevent overheating will lead to a decline in imports and the potential for over-capacity in some segments.

BMI has the following forecasts/views:

- Although investment is ongoing, the timescale for Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC)'s Olefins III project is set to slip from 2015 to 2017, which could add US$4bn to the total cost and potentially lead to scaling back of planned capacities. The complex is to be based on a mixed-feed cracker with capacities of 1.4mntpa ethylene and around 600,000tpa propylene plus downstream facilities. Olefins III will boost Kuwait's ethylene capacity to 3.1mntpa, while polyethylene will nearly double to 1.6mntpa. Any further delay would adversely affect the project as it would further diminish revenues that could have been generated had it become functional at an earlier date.
- Kuwait is expanding its global presence in petrochemicals. In Q313, the governments of Kuwait and Vietnam reached a deal to build a joint refinery and petrochemical project, which will also involve Japanese investors. The US$9bn Nghi Son Refinery and petrochemical project will be supplied entirely by crude supplied by the Kuwaiti partner in the project, the KPC. Commercial operations are scheduled to start in 2017 with refining capacity of 200,000 barrels per day. The project is expected to meet 40% of the fuel demand in Vietnam.
- Kuwait's petrochemicals rating is 60.5 points this quarter, unchanged since the previous quarter. It lies 0.1 points behind Qatar and 1.8 points ahead of Iran, in fourth place in our regional Risk/Reward Rating ranking for the Middle East and North Africa.

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