Enormous demand in countries such as China and the feedstock cost advantages of the Middle East mean the Asia-Pacific and Middle East regions will account for more than 80% of planned PE capacity additions to 2015, according to a report by Global Markets Direct. Europe and North America will not see major growth in polyethylene production capacity in the same period. Asia Pacific region accounted for 43% of global capacity and 44% of global demand in 2008. The report predicts the region will add 12 mln tons of additional polyethylene production capacity over the 2008-2015 period, 8 mln tons of which will be in China and India.
By 2015, HDPE will account for 47% of the installed regional capacity of 42 mln tons, LLDPE 34% and LDPE 19%. HDPE dominates Asia Pacific polyethylene capacity, with 48% of installed capacity and 43% of the planned capacity additions. LLDPE is currently second place in the capacity ranking with 28% of current installed capacity. LLDPE accounts for 51% of planned capacity additions in the region.
Led by Iran and Saudi Arabia, the Middle East will also see major polyethylene capacity growth, adding 11.5 mln tons till 2015, growing due to feedstock cost advantages and the need to diversify exports from crude oil and natural gas. By 2015, Saudi Arabia will add more than 4 mln tons and Iran will add in excess of 5 mln tons, while Qatar will add 2 mln tons capacity.
Europe will face a situation of stagnant domestic demand amid considerable overcapacity. The only exception in Europe is Russia, where an additional 1 mln tons of polyethylene capacity is expected by 2015. High crude oil prices in the last five years have led to rapid growth of the Russian economy, resulting in growing demand for polyethylene in the country, while the abundance of crude oil and natural gas favours the economics of building capacity. By 2015, HDPE will account for 46% of the European PE production capacity of 20.8 mln tons, LDPE 34% and LLDPE 20%.
USA accounted for more than 83% of the installed polyethylene capacity of North America in 2008, and will see 0.5 mln ton capacity reduction to 2015 as a result of demand stagnation and declining export markets. Canada's natural gas pricing advantage will see the country add an additional 1.5 mln tons of PE capacity. The North American region will see 0.3 mln tons of new HDPE capacity added to 2015, 0.2 mln tons of LDPE and 0.2 mln tons of LLDPE. By 2015, HDPE will account for 44% of the total North American capacity of 20.8 mln tons, LDPE 18% and LLDPE 38%.