The Chinese petrochemicals sector is seeing more robust growth, particularly in olefins, but this is insufficient to absorb ongoing increases in capacities. Combined with feedstock cost rises, this will cause a narrowing of margins.
Coal to methanol production may ease the situation over the medium term and reduce net imports in some segments.
The total value of petrochemical production in China grew 11.6% year on year to CNY 1.72 trillion during the first two months of the year, with the value of imports rising 24.1% to US$ 19.6 billion. Exports have grown 5% to US$ 13.8 billion.
In the first four months of the year, ethylene output rose by 3.3% year on year to 5.3 million t, while primary plastics output grew 9.6% to 18.27 million t and plastic products output rose by 2.2% to 18.9 million t.
Mangalore Refinery & Petrochemicals Ltd. (MRPL) purchased its first cargo of Iranian crude since April as India prepared a 20 billion rupee (US$ 314 million) insurance fund to cover future imports.
The refinery, which is India’s biggest buyer of Iranian crude, received approximately 85 000 t on 17th August.
Managing Director, P.P. Upadhya, has indicated that the company has ordered three more shipments of a similar size.
Also in India, Indian Oil Corporation’s (IOC) Gujarat refinery is planning to invest Rs 8000 crore in the expansion of its plant, in order to raise operation levels to 18 million tpy by 2016 – 2017. The current level is 13.7 million tpy.
Following the expansion project, the Gujarat refinery will be the biggest of the IOC refineries.
The Board of the company has approved a feasibility report and now the Engineers India Limited will take up the construction work.
Growing gasoline consumption and the cost ineffectiveness of its imports for economic and security reasons have prompted the new Oil Minister, Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, to prioritise the launch of a Persian Gulf Star refinery.
‘Since 2003, seven refineries have been designed to be constructed for a daily production of 108 million ltrs of gasoline, 83 million ltrs of gasoil , 25 million ltrs of fuel oil, 17 million ltrs of liquefied petroleum gas(LPG) and 14 million t of kerosene’, the Oil Ministry’s website said.
With the formation of the new administration of President Hassan Rouhani, acceleration of effective and lucrative projects like the Persian Gulf Star refinery have topped the agenda, the website added.
The Persian Gulf Star Refinery is projected to produce three 120 000 bbl trains. Its construction began in 2003, with an initial capital investment of US$ 1.6 billion.
Once completed, the refinery will be able to raise the country’s gasoline production by nearly 35 million ltrs. The facility will supply domestic needs and will also make Iran a leading exporter of gasoline.
Edited from various sources by Emma McAleavey
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