28 March 2002 16:23 [Source: ICIS news]
PRAGUE (CNI)--Hungarian oil and gas group MOL is aiming to position itself as a regional petrochemical champion, with olefin and polymer expansion projects at Hungary’s Tiszai Vegyi Kombinat (TVK) and Slovakia’s Slovnaft.
MOL chemical portfolio director Arpad Olvaso told CNI on Thursday that TVK will focus on high density polyethylene (hdPE), doubling capacity in 2004. Slovnaft will focus on low density polyethylene (ldPE), with a revamp of its units in the second half of this decade.
Both companies, meanwhile, will have new polypropylene (PP) capacities by 2004, with Slovnaft using feedstocks from MOL and TVK.
MOL owns a 34% stake in TVK, with an option for the 17% currently held by its allies Deutsche Bank and Magyar Kulkereskedelmi Bank. MOL also owns 36% of Slovnaft, with an option to increase that to a majority.
Speaking at the sidelines of the Central and Eastern European Chemical and Petrochemical Industry Forum, organised by Marcus Evans, Olvaso said he anticipates the next peak in the petrochemicals cycle to happen in 2004-2005.
As part of its strategy, MOL aims to focus on olefins and polymers, and considers entry at the low point of the petrochemical cycle crucial.
Olvaso said the integration of the group’s refinery and petrochemical units would be vital in coping with strong regional and domestic market demand, as well as creating synergies and efficiencies.
Eastern European hdPE demand is expected to grow 6.77% annually until the end of the decade to 647 000 tonne/year, while eastern European ethylene demand will grow 4.76% annually to hit nearly 3m tonne/year by 2010.
Olvaso said MOL is keen to create further partnerships "with companies that share the same values", either in feedstock co-ordination or market stabilisation. These may be acquisitions, such as Croatia’s chemical concern Dioki, in which the Croatian state is to privatise 49%, and Poland’s PKN Orlen, depending on developments at the stalled privatisation there.
"We’re always looking for new possibilities," he said. "One of the elements of our strategy is to involve a strategic partner in the aromatics business. We would also like to co-operate on the polymer side. These are the two key areas."
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