2012 will be a critical point for Brazil's petrochemical sector

19 March 2012 00:00  [Source: ICB]

Coming off a challenging fourth quarter of 2011, where earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) fell 33% year on year on 19% lower sales, 2012 will mark a critical point for Brazil's chemical powerhouse, Braskem.

This will be the year it defines the scope of its Comperj petrochemical project in Rio de Janeiro, which is expected to be the largest of its kind in Latin America.

At a time when multiple producers in the US are already defining the scope of their billion-dollar petrochemical projects based on cheap and abundant shale gas, Brazil will need to decide on its future.

The country is not lacking in hydrocarbon resources. The huge projected increase in both oil and natural gas from offshore development in the "pre-salt" formation offers feedstock opportunities for the chemical sector.

Already Braskem is progressing on projects to increase Brazil's self-sufficiency in polyvinyl chloride (PVC), as well as Mexico's reliance on polyethylene (PE) imports through its joint venture with Mexico's Idesa to build a world-scale cracker and PE facilities in Mexico.

It can do much more on a greater scale with Comperj. Here at the EBDQUIM meeting of the Brazilian association of chemical distributors (Associquim), we aim to learn more on Brazil's exciting growth plans.

By: Joseph Chang
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