April naphtha exports from India reduce as IOC halves exports on start of new cracker

22-Mar-10
April naphtha exports from India are expected to fall by 50,000-100,000 tons from levels of 900,000 tons seen in March as IOC halves its naphtha exports for the month. Export volumes from India for March have been at the highest level seen in 2010. However, the short supply is not expected to elevate prices or impact the markets that are currently under pressure from falling petrochemicals margins due to increased supplies. Also, end users are considering substitution of a small portion of their naphtha feedstock requirements with liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). A key reason that prices have sustained in Asia despite weak demand is the absence of influx of Western barrels coming in for May- keeping average Indian premiums for April at about US$20/ton on a free-on-board (FOB) basis. IOC has a tender to sell three naphtha cargoes, which closes on Monday and comprises a 30,000 ton cargo for April 4-6 loading from Kandla, 15,000 tons for April 5-7 loading from Haldia, and 30,500-31,500 tons for April 20-22 lifting from Dahej. The high exports seen in March were a result of more-than-expected volumes from IOC and Reliance. For March, IOC's exports are estimated at 240,000 tons vs its original target of 150,000 tons while Reliance’s exports stand at 200,000 tons vs earlier estimates at 150,000 tons due possibly to higher yield, as its new export-oriented refinery in Jamnagar raises run rate bove 100% capacity. Whereas another faction attributes the high volumes to lower domestic naphtha consumption, as fertiliser and power plants switched to cheaper gas feedstock.
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