Chinese will compete for naphtha cargoes with South Korean petrochemical makers

China turned into a net importer of naphtha last year following an increase in the number of petrochemical plants. In 2009, China was net short of nearly 1.8 mln tons of naphtha, and up to January-September 2010, it was net short of close to 1.2 mln tons (average of 133,000 tons/month) , as per Reuters. If growth in imports in China continues through early 2011, the Chinese players may have to compete for cargoes with South Korean petrochemical makers, who are in the process of expanding capacities. LG Chem and Samsung Total are expanding cracker capacities by 2011 to capitalise on recent strong margins, while SK Energy will restart a 200,000 tpa cracker this month after a two-year shutdown.
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