Boston, MA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 01/24/2014 -- Nigeria has the potential to be a major petrochemicals producer in Africa, but is held back by the infrastructural problems and major political challenges, according to BMI's latest Nigeria Petrochemicals Report. While plans are afoot to raise polymers and fertiliser capacities, these are susceptible to delays and cancellations.
In 2013, Nigeria had olefins production capacities of 550,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) ethylene and 125,000tpa propylene with thermoplastic resins capacities of 240,000tpa linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) and 95,000tpa polypropylene (PP).
One of the many problems facing the Nigerian petrochemical industry is the lack of competitively priced and reliable feedstock supplies. While Nigeria is only just beginning to tap into its potential in natural gas, which can serve as an important source of competitively priced feedstock, the country's refining sector is still insufficient to process all of the nation's crude output or provide sufficient low-cost naphtha. The situation is likely to change if current plans are realised, with a massive growth in refinery, fertiliser and polymers capacities being proposed. However, the challenging investment environment may delay or lead to the cancellation of proposed projects.
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BMI has revised the following forecasts:
- With urea capacity set to exceed 5mntpa by 2018, Nigeria should become a major exporter of fertiliser, as well as ensuring self-sufficiency in the long-run. Africa will remain one of the lowest users of fertilisers in the world. However, we still see potential for growth, particularly in the context of base effects, as high grain prices are likely to improve incomes and allow for greater fertiliser use. Nigeria should come to dominate supply of fertiliser in the growing Sub-Saharan African market.
- The Nigerian polymers market will be largely fulfilled by imports with domestic capacities remaining small and operating well below capacity. Growth will be strong but from a low base as far as per capita consumption is concerned. Construction growth should help stimulate demand for PVC and plastic piping while agribusiness is also set to grow following a slump in 2013, leading to higher demand for fertiliser and packaging. On the downside, industrial growth in Nigeria will remain disappointing, thereby limiting opportunities for increased consumption of intermediate goods. As such, Nigeria's principal market growth areas will be in finished products.
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