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North American petrochemical producers might see long-term cost advantage by reducing CAPEX

March 09/2021

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The shale gas advantage of North American petrochemical majors provides a boost for investments in the region, primarily in the U.S., said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

 However, the oil price crash narrowed this advantage and is likely to affect profitability. North American petrochemical majors that strive to pace investments efficiently, in line with market trends, will boost their competitiveness and seize further opportunities for growth over the long-term, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

John Paul Somavarapu, Oil and Gas Analyst at GlobalData, comments: The sudden decline in crude oil prices have distinctly affected the planned investments by the North American producers and they now need to efficiently pace investments while preserving long-term gains. GlobalData expects companies to lower their operating expenses and capital expenditures and focus on less capital intense investments to position themselves well while the market recovers."

The pandemic and the resulting impact on feedstock costs have prompted petrochemical majors in North America to announce project delays. The progress of under-construction projects was also affected due to limitations in the movement of contract personnel and travel restrictions. Petrochemical capacity additions in North America are largely concentrated in the US, leveraging low-cost feedstock through the abundant supply of ethane from shale. The U.S has around 27.2 MM metric tpy of petrochemical capacity under construction. It is followed by Canada, which is a distant second with 3.2 MM metric tpy.

Somavarapu continues: The global petrochemical industry is experiencing a paradigm shift, and feedstock options, demand patterns, government policies, and so on will play a pivotal role. North America, particularly the U.S, is at a greater advantage when considering these factors in the longer term."

The demand for polymers in North America in 2020 was affected due to weaker demand in end markets such as automotive and construction. However, as the global economy progresses towards a gradual recovery, and industrial and business activities are slated to return to normal, demand for polymers is set to strengthen and will likely reach pre-COVID levels in the medium- to long-term.

Somavarapu adds: Producers should remain flexible and manage near-term constraints to reap benefits in the mid-long term. The US, being one of the largest producers and supplier of petrochemicals globally, will look forward to seizing the right opportunities for growth."

As MRC informed previously, oil producers face an unprecedented challenge to balance supply and demand as factors including the pace and response to COVID-19 vaccines cloud the outlook, according to an official with International Energy Agency's (IEA) statement.

We remind that the COVID-19 outbreak has led to an unprecedented decline in demand affecting all sections of the Russian economy, which has impacted the demand for petrochemicals in the short-term. However, the pandemic triggered an increase in the demand for polymers in food packaging, and cleaning and hygiene products, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company. With Russian petrochemical companies having the advantage of access to low-cost feedstock, and proximity to demand-rich Asian (primarily China) and European markets for the supply of petrochemical products, these companies appear to be well-positioned to derive full benefits from an improving market environment and global economy post-COVID-19, says GlobalData.

We also remind that in December 2020, Sibur, Gazprom Neft, and Uzbekneftegaz agreed to cooperate on potential investments in Uzbekistan including a major expansion of Uzbekneftegazs existing Shurtan Gas Chemical Complex (SGCC) and the proposed construction of a new gas chemicals facility. The signed cooperation agreement for the projects includes the creation of a gas chemical complex using methanol-to-olefins (MTO) technology, and the expansion of the production capacity of the Shurtan Gas Chemical Complex.

Ethylene and propylene are feedstocks for producing polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP).

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 2,220,640 tonnes in 2020, up by 2% year on year. Only shipments of low density polyethylene (LDPE) and high density polyethylene (HDPE) increased. At the same time, polypropylene (PP) shipments to the Russian market reached 1 240,000 tonnes in 2020 (calculated using the formula: production, minus exports, plus imports, excluding producers' inventories as of 1 January, 2020). Supply of exclusively PP random copolymer increased.
Author:Anna Larionova
Tags:petroleum products, crude oil, PP, PE, neftegaz, petrochemistry.
Category:General News
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