APIC ’14: Global petchem to grow but Asia faces challenges – PIAT

15 May 2014 02:40 Source:ICIS News

PATTAYA, Thailand (ICIS)--Global petrochemical demand is projected to improve in 2014, but Taiwan and other Asian countries face particular challenges with capacity growth in China and low-cost production from the US, the Petrochemical Industry Association of Taiwan (PIAT) said on Thursday.

“With more and more new capacities coming on stream… China is going to change its position from a net importer to a net exporter in different derivatives,” the PIAT noted in its country report released at the Asia Petrochemicals Industry Conference (APIC) being held in Pattaya on 15-16 May.

The association cited purified terephthalic acid (PTA), styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) and caprolactam (capro) in particular.

The US presents another major challenge with the rise of shale gas, it said.

“The re-rise of the US as the world’s new production base for petrochemicals will surely change this industry landscape. The competition for Asian petrochemical producers in coming years will be fierce under a surplus scenario,” said the PIAT.

“Flexible feedstock slates, upgraded production facilities and integrated local utilities/logistics to minimise production cost, will be major factors to survive for Asian petrochemical producers,” it added.

In 2013, the production of six basic raw materials and 24 major petrochemical intermediates totalled 29,065,657 tonnes, an increase of 1.06% over the previous year, according to PIAT statistics.

The increase was driven by CPC’s new No 3 naphtha cracker which started up in the third quarter of 2013. Total imports fell 0.44 % while total exports grew 1.44% in 2013.

By Joseph Chang