S Korea’s Honam Petrochemical shelves Qatar JV cracker project

20 April 2010 03:52  [Source: ICIS news]

SHANGHAI (ICIS news)--Honam Petrochemical and Qatar Petroleum have shelved a plan to build a $2.6bn (€1.9bn)joint venture (JV) petrochemical complex in Mesaieed, Qatar due to the global financial crisis, the CEO of the South Korean producer said on Tuesday.

The proposed project was unlikely to be revived in the short term, said Chong Bum Shick, president and CEO of Honam Petrochemicals, at the sidelines of the ChinaPlas exhibition in Shanghai.

The Qatar project - a 30:70 joint venture between Honam and Qatar Petroleum - was supposed to include an ethylene cracker with a capacity of 1m-1.3m tonnes/year, a 700,000 tonne/year polypropylene (PP) unit, a 600,000 tonne/year styrene monomer (SM) unit, a 220,000 tonnes/year polystyrene (PS) plant, and a benzene, toluene and mixed xylene [MX] facility.

With the shelving of the Qatar project, Honam Petrochemical just decided to strengthen the competitiveness of its existing facilities in South Korea, said Chong.

The company has plans to expand its naphtha cracker in Yeosu and build new polyolefins facilities at the same site, Chong said.

"We’re also looking to establish new facilities in regions where we can obtain lower-priced raw material and where high demand growth is expected,” he said.

"We’re planning to obtain additional PE (polyethylene) and PP production capacity through a project in Uzbekistan,” he added, but declined to give details about its plans in Uzbekistan.

According to industry sources, Honam Petrochemical is in talks with state-owned Uzbekneftegas to jointly build a petrochemical facility in Uzbekistan, as part of their joint venture in oil and gas exploration.

Honam Petrochemical’s existing facilities in South Korea consist of three PP plants with a total capacity of 930,000 tonnes/year, a 370,000 tonnes/year high density PE (HDPE) plant, a 320,000 tonne/year linear low density PE (LLDPE) unit, and a 160,000 tonne/year low density PE/ethylene vinyl acetate (LDPE/EVA) plant.

ChinaPlas, the largest annual plastics event in Asia, runs from 19-22 April.

($1 = €0.74)

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Read John Richardson and Malini Hariharan’s blog – Asian Chemical Connections

By: Chow Bee Lin
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