Russian polymer market increased by USD 2 bln

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Sales of volume polymers (polyethylene, PVC, polypropylene, polystyrene and PET) grew by USD2 bln in Russia last year. In physical terms the growth of market made 28%, and its total capacity exceeded 4.5 mln t, according to MRC Annual reports.

Polyethylene sales grew by 420 KT (by 32%), PVC sales - by 247.5 KT (34%), polypropylene - by 141 KT (22%%), polystyrene - 88 KT (29%), PET - by 98 KT (22%). Now average annual consumption of volume polymers by one Russian reached its historical maximum and makes 32 kilo per person.

A positive factor last year was the growth of domestic production of base polymers more than by 500 KT. New capacities were launched in Salavat, Nizhnekamsk, Kazan and Perm.

Despite positive dynamics in polymers production, Russian market still depends on imports which made about 1.5 mln t. Converters are forced to use in their work more than third part of imported polymers. In 2010 in many directions record parameters of imports were fixed: PE - 457 KT, PVC - 485 KT, PP - 198 KT.

Introduction of Common customs tariff had the strongest effect on polymer market last year. In 2011 analysts also expect considerable changes but they will be connected with possible Russia's joining WTO.


SABIC expects demand for petrochemical products to be equal to the level of 2010

(Arabian Oil and Gas) -- Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) expects demand for petrochemical products to be equal to the level of 2010, said Mohammed Al Madi, CEO of SABIC. Al Madi said that Asian and Middle Eastern markets will lead the bullish trend in the current year. ⌠For sure, Asia remains our best market. The Middle East is also doing well, he added.

The CEO of the largest petrochemicals producer in the Middle East said that soaring crude oil prices in the international markets will have an impact on petrochemical products.

Speaking about the feedstock situation in the Saudi Arabia, Al Madi said that SABIC should look for alternative feedstock sources. ⌠If we don't have enough ethane feedstocks, we should look for liquid feeds, he added.


China's small refineries forced to cut production

(ICIS) -- China's small- and medium-sized refineries are being forced to cut production or shut down operations in the face of soaring international crude prices, which were eating into their margins, said analysts and an industry source on Thursday. Operating rates at these refineries are currently at 46.4%, said the industry source.

With global oil prices continuing to surge amid continued political unrest in parts of the Middle East and north Africa, refiners are dealing with unabated uptrend in crude processing costs.

In China, crude processing cost increased to yuan (CNY) 5.650/tonne ($861/tonne) in March, up CNY 300/tonne from February, with refiners' profit shrinking to CNY 80/tonne from more than CNY 400/tonne last month, the source.

Given government controls on domestic fuel prices, these refiners could not pass on the high cost to customers.


Saudi PetroRabigh to invite bids for work on the second phase of its petrochemical complex

(Plastemart) -- Saudi-based PetroRabigh plans to invite bids for work related to the second phase of its giant petrochemicals complex in 1-2 months. The second phase of PetroRabigh, which will add 17 new plants, will not see expansion of refinery capacity, but the ethane cracker will be expanded by 30 mln cubic feet per day. A final investment decision on PetroRabigh Phase II would be made by the end of 2011, based on the way costs move. The financing will also determine equity partners of the expansion.

PetroRabigh is a joint venture between Japan's Sumitomo Chemical and Saudi Aramco and produces an annual 18 mln tons of refined products and 2.4 mln tons of petrochemicals. The complex is integrated with a 400.000 bpd crude refinery.


BASF to explore new investment in Brazil

(BASF) -- BASF is exploring opportunities for a new investment in Brazil. Projects under consideration include the production of acrylic acid, butyl acrylate and superabsorbent polymers (SAP). The company is conducting a feasibility study to evaluate the technical, commercial and economic viability of operating a world-scale complex in Brazil.

Decision on the plants to be built as well as on their capacities will be taken after the completion of the feasibility study, which is planned to be concluded in 2011. With this investment BASF is targeting at the growing South American market with special focus on Brazil.

To secure the competitiveness of the investment under consideration, BASF and Braskem S.A., a major chemical company in Brazil, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). This MoU defines the long-term supply conditions for propylene, which is used as feedstock for the acrylic acid production, as well as the supply of utilities by Braskem to BASF.