Boston, MA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 01/07/2014 -- Investment in Malaysia's petrochemical industry is being jeopardised by rising costs and a decline in competitiveness as the country faces a surge in US petrochemicals capacity, utilising ethane derived from shale gas. BMI's Malaysia Petrochemicals Report examines the latest project developments as well as market trends which point to the pattern of demand over the medium-term.
In 2013 Malaysian petrochemicals capacities remained unchanged from the previous year. In the olefins segment, the country had capacities of 1.74mn tpa ethylene, 1.13mn tpa propylene and 100,000tpa butadiene. Intermediate petrochemicals production capacities include 240,000tpa styrene, 440,000tpa vinyl chloride monomer, 550,000tpa xylenes and 380,000/385,000tpa EG/EO respectively. In the polymers segment, there was 975,000tpa PE (120,000tpa HDPE, 475,00tpa LDPE and 380,000tpa LLDPE), 560,000tpa PP, 260,000tpa PVC, 215,000tpa PET and 140,000tpa PS. In the fertiliser segment, Malaysia has capacities of 1.32mntpa ammonia and 1.34mntpa urea. It also hosts 1.77mn tpa of methanol capacity, with Petronas subsidiary Petronas Methanol (Labuan) dominating the market.
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BMI has made the following revisions to its forecast:
- Petronas' refinery and petrochemical integrated development (RAPID) project has been postponed to 2018, putting back 3mntpa of new petrochemicals capacity and a 300,000bpd refinery. This has a knockon effect for plans by joint venture BASF Petronas Chemicals' plans to invest in the manufacture of non-ionic surfactants, methanesulfonic acid, isononanol and other C4-based specialities at the site, all of which would boost the value added to basic chemicals production.
- Taiwan's Kuokuang Petrochemical Technology has abandoned plans to set up an integrated refining and petrochemical complex in Pengerang, Johor with capacities of 150,000bpd, 800,000tpa ethylene and 435,480tpa propylene due to poor project economics.
- Japan's Polyplastics is planning a large-scale 90,000tpa Duracon polyacetal engineering plastics plant based on methanol feedstock at its Kuantan complex in 2014, lifting polyacetal capacity at Kuantan to 120,000tpa, representing around 15% of global demand for engineering plastics.
- The domestic fertiliser industry is also set to be boosted with the Sabah Ammonia Urea (Samur) project with production capacities of 2,100 tonnes per day (tpd) ammonia and 3,500tpd urea using gas feedstock, targeted for completion in 2015.
- Malaysia ranks seventh place in BMI's Petrochemicals Business Environment Ratings for Asia with 66.6 points, down 0.2 points since 2013 due to a decline in country risk. It lies 2.4 points behind Taiwan and 3.1 points ahead of Australia. Oil and gas reserves should sustain some expansion of the country's petrochemicals sector over the next decade, but the industry is being frustrated by delays.
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