Delayed Middle East petrochem projects to come onstream

Delays to projects scheduled to start up in 2009-2010 has been to the advantage of existing players as per ICIS. This added time offers breathing space to major producers, after Q4-08; possibly the worst quarter in the history of petrochemicals. Of the 2.77 mln tpa capacity due on stream in Saudi Arabia in 2008, only 450,000 tpa started up on schedule, and 1.02m tpa by mid-July. Some off the projects scheduled to come onstream after an initial delay is start up include: Yanbu National Petrochemical (Yansab) of Saudi Arabia is scheduled to start up its 1.3 mln tpa cracker at the end of this month, followed by start up of downstream polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP) and monethylene glycol (MEG) plants. Yansab was originally due on stream in the last quarter of last year. Eastern Petrochemical (SHARQ) is expected to start supplies of high density polyethylene (HDPE) and linear-low density polyethylene (LLDPE) from its new plants in Saudi Arabia by the end of December 2009 or early January 2010. The entire complex was originally due on stream in H2-2008. Operating status of a MEG plant at the same site, remains unclear. Petro Rabigh, the JV between state oil company Saudi Aramco and Japan-based Sumitomo Chemical, was also originally expected to start up last year, with commencement of PE and PP exports by the end of August. However, only half (350,000 tpa) of the company's PP capacity had been started up. The status of Petro Rabigh's propylene oxide (PO) plant is also unclear. Equate Petrochemical of Kuwait officially announced the start-up of its PE expansion, yet again originally due last year. Equate is a JV between Kuwait's Petrochemical Industries Co, Dow Chemical of the US, and other Kuwaiti investors. By end of 2009, early 2010, Qatar’s 1.3 mln tpa Ras Laffan Olefins Co. cracker is scheduled to come onstream. The new Borouge complex in Abu Dhabi is due to start up around the same time with a 1.5 mln tpa cracker and the region's first metathesis unit - providing feedstock for 800,000 tpa of PP.
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