Recently published research from Business Monitor International, "Saudi Arabia Petrochemicals Report Q3 2013", is now available at Fast Market Research
Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 09/05/2013 -- The Saudi Arabian petrochemicals industry is suffering pressure on margins from higher costs and a heavy maintenance turnaround schedule, although some segments saw an improvement in prices. Altogether, the effects of capacity outages and start-ups in H113 tightened the polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and, to a lesser extent, olefins markets, but led to a net gain in ethylene glycol (EG), polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene (PE).
In Q113, Saudi petrochemicals major Sabic faced a loss in profitability owing to turnarounds at some MEG, PET and LLDPE plants as well as ethylene and propylene units. However, the company said that an improvement in the sales price of most products and lower finance charges reduced the impact of the turnaround. Fertiliser has seen notable gains due to an increase in sales volumes and prices.
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Over the coming year, growth in capacity will be generated by both basic chemicals and more speciality chemicals that add value to production. Sipchem is scheduled to complete its new complex which will include a 125,000tpa EVA/LDPE plant downstream of its acetyls complex as well as 100,000tpa of ethyl and butyl acetate. Acrylic acid will also be used in an 80,000tpa super absorbents joint venture (JV) planned by Tasnee, Sahara and Evonik Industries at Jubail, also due to be completed in 2013. At the same time, Sabic is starting up an oleochemicals complex in Jubail that will have capacity to produce 83,000tpa of distilled natural alcohols for use in household products, plasticisers, lubricant additives, plastics, cosmetics and personal care. Meanwhile, Satorp is to complete its 400,000b/d full conversion refinery, with downstream capacities of 700,000tpa PX, 140,000tpa benzene and 200,000tpa of polymer-grade propylene.
Completion is due on Ibn Sina's 50,000tpa polyacetal plant, which will consume methanol produced at Ibn Sina's existing facilities and will supply Celanese's Ticona engineering plastics business. However, concerns over rapid capacity growth continue to mount due to plunging profitability as product prices have declined and softening demand in Asia has hit operating rates.
- By 2017, BMI forecasts ethylene and propylene capacities will rise to 19.52mn tpa and 7.0mn tpa respectively, with Saudi Kayan's commercial operations set to contribute most to the increase. Total PE capacity will rise to 9.28mn tpa by 2017, PP will increase to 5.60mn tpa, PS will reach 375,000tpa, and PVC will remain unchanged at 855,000tpa. Jubail and Yanbu are the focus of petrochemicals developments.
- Our projections for petrochemical capacity are based on planned projects, but it is possible that some may not come to fruition as a result of the restriction on ethane feedstock and a possible lacklustre recovery in the Chinese market at a time of rising Chinese capacities.
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