Siam Cement Group (SCG), Thai Plastic and Chemicals, QPI Vietnam (a subsidiary of Qatar Petroleum International), PetroVietnam and Vinachem have signed a joint venture agreement to invest in Vietnam's first petrochemicals complex. SCG announced the signing in a statement to the Stock Exchange of Thailand. As per GTForum, a final investment decision is expected in 2013 and commercial operation of the US$4.5 bln project is expected within 4-5 years after the start of construction. As part of the deal, Qatar International Petroleum Marketing (the exclusive marketer of regulated products from Qatar), signed a long-term feedstock agreement to supply the project's cracker with propane and naphtha, while PV GAS (a subsidiary of PetroVietnam) signed a memorandum of understanding to supply the complex with ethane. The project, which will be located on Long Son island, in southern Vietnam, will have an olefins production capacity of 1.4 mln tpa. It will employ a flexible cracker able to utilise ethane, propane and naphtha as feedstock. Supporting infrastructure will include storage facilities, port, jetty, power plant and other utilities. According to the statement, the cracker will be fully integrated with downstream production units, allowing the manufacturing of various downstream products including polyethylene, polypropylene and vinyl chloride monomer. SCG expects the majority of these products to be sold on to the domestic market. Drop in benzene prices in Asia amid softening US benzene Benzene in Asia fell by US$6.50/mt day on day February 9 to US$1190.50/mt FOB Korea, amid softening US benzene that fell to US$1,249/mt FOB USG, as per Platts. The European benzene price was assessed at $1,274/mt CIF ARA. "Traders that shorted the Asian benzene market previously are mostly gone. Traders with long positions are now starting to profit-take by selling off their cargoes," a source said.
Asian toluene on an FOB Korea basis was assessed at US$1186.50/mt February 9 down by four dollars from the day before, despite rising upstream prices. Asian isomer-grade mixed xylene prices slipped by three dollars day on day to US$1360/mt FOB Korea and US$1375/mt CFR Taiwan, shrugging off gains in upstream markets amid thin liquidity. Downstream, paraxylene fell by US$4/mt day on day February 9 to US$1646/mt CFR Taiwan/China. Market participants continued to be reluctant to fix transactions as PX end-users in China have not fully returned to the market. The Asian PX market also came under pressure in the afternoon session, dragged down by a downturn in the downstream purified terephthalic acid market. CFR China PTA price was assessed at US$1214/mt February 9, down by US$5/mt from February 8. Asian styrene for H2 March continued to climb on February 9, with the price assessed six dollars higher at US$1433/mt FOB Korea, pushed up by firm crude oil and buying interest.