MOSCOW (MRC) -- The COVID-19 outbreak has led to an unprecedented decline in demand affecting all sections of the Russian economy, which has impacted the demand for petrochemicals in the short-term. However, the pandemic triggered an increase in the demand for polymers in food packaging, and cleaning and hygiene products, according to Hydrocarbonprocessing with reference to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
With Russian petrochemical companies having the advantage of access to low-cost feedstock, and proximity to demand-rich Asian (primarily China) and European markets for the supply of petrochemical products, these companies appear to be well-positioned to derive full benefits from an improving market environment and global economy post-COVID-19, says GlobalData.
Dayanand Kharade, Oil and Gas Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Oil and gas majors in the country are reducing spend in response to a substantial drop in crude prices and disruptions caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. Sibur Holding, one of the largest petrochemical producers in Russia, has lowered its capital expenditure (capex) outlook for 2020, which is approximately 30% lower in comparison to its initial budget. However, companies continue to evaluate their capital structure and focus on key projects ensuring sustainable growth.”
The majority of the upcoming projects in Russia are in the early stages of development, for example, pre-construction phase. Changes in supply/demand patterns, due to reduced economic activity across the globe, is likely to affect the pace of progress of these projects. Major announced projects such as Baltic Chemical project and EuroChem- Northwest Kingisepp project in Leningrad Oblast, and Gazprom and Novatek projects in Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug could face delays in startup. However, companies should continue to assess the impact based on prospective developments.
Kharade concludes: “With economic growth correlated to petrochemicals growth, the short-term outlook is expected to result in lowered petrochemical demand in the country. However, with an improving market environment, Russian producers are well-positioned to derive full benefit with the country’s access to low-cost feedstock.”
As MRC reported before, in December 2020, Sibur, Gazprom Neft, and Uzbekneftegaz agreed to cooperate on potential investments in Uzbekistan including a major expansion of Uzbekneftegaz’s existing Shurtan Gas Chemical Complex (SGCC) and the proposed construction of a new gas chemicals facility. The signed cooperation agreement for the projects includes “the creation of a gas chemical complex using methanol-to-olefins [MTO] technology, and the expansion of the production capacity of the Shurtan Gas Chemical Complex”.
Ethylene and propylene are feedstocks for producing polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP).
According to MRC's DataScope report, PE imports to Russia decreased in January-November 2020 by 17% year on year and reached 569,900 tonnes. High density polyethylene (HDPE) accounted for the greatest reduction in imports. At the same time, PP imports into Russia increased by 21% year on year to about 202,000 tonnes in the first eleven months of 2020. Propylene homopolymer (homopolymer PP) accounted for the main increase in imports.