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Malaysian petrochemicals

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

In a new report from BMI, the latest developments in Malaysia’s petrochemicals industry are examined as well as market trends which point to the pattern of demand over the medium term. The report also says that investment in Malaysia’s petrochemicals industry is currently being jeopardised by rising costs and a decline in competitiveness as the country faces a surge in US petrochemicals capacity, utilising ethane derived from shale gas.

Petrochemical capacity
Last year, Malaysia’s petrochemicals capacities remained unchanged from 2012. For olefins the country had capacities of;

  • 1.74 million tpa ethylene.
  • 1.13 million tpa propylene.
  • 100 000 tpa butadiene.

Intermediate petrochemical production capacities included;

  • 240 000 tpa styrene.
  • 440 000 tpa vinyl chloride monomer.
  • 550 000 tpa xylenes.
  • 380 000 tpa EG.
  • 385 000 tpa EO.

For polymers, the capacities were;

  • 975 000 tpa PE.
  • 560 000 tpa PP.
  • 260 000 tpa PVC.
  • 215 000 tpa PET.
  • 140 000 tpa PS.

When it come to fertilisers, Malaysia has the following capacities;

  • 1.32 million tpa ammonia.
  • 1.34 million tpa urea.

Additional capacities include;

  • 1.77 million tpa methanol.

RAPID project
Petronas’ refinery and petrochemical integrated development (RAPID) project has been postponed to 2018, putting back 3 million tpa of new petrochemical capacity and a refinery with a processing capacity of 300 000 bpd. This has resulted in a knock on effect for plans by the joint venture BASF Petronas Chemicals’ plans to invest in the manufacture of non-ionic sufactants, methanesulfonic acid, isononanol and other C4 based specialities at the site, all of which would boost the value added to basic chemicals production.

Abandoned plans
Kuokuang Petrochemical Technology of Japan has abandoned plans to set up an integrated refining and petrochemical complex in Pengerang, Johor with capacities of 150 000 bpd and 800 00 tpa of ethylene as well as 435 480 tpa of propylene due to poor economics surrounding the project.

In the pipeline
Polyplastics of Japan is planning a large scale 90 000 tpa Duracon polyacetal engineering plastics plant based on methanol feedstock at the Kuantan complex this year. The new plant will lift the polyacetal capacity at Kuantan to 120 000 tpa representing approximately 15% of global demand for engineering plastics.

Adapted from press release by Claira Lloyd

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