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Middle East set for a wave of PP, PE turnarounds

  • 09/02/2018 (14:06)
Global polyolefin markets have sustained their bullish path in February, with some regions including China, Southeast Asia and Turkey hitting multi-year highs. Rising crude oil prices and tight supplies have largely propelled these increases. As a leading PP and PE exporter, the Middle East is now set for a wave of maintenances, mainly in Al Jubail and Abu Dhabi, which is likely to keep supply concerns in place for the coming term.

As for PP, more than 1.5 million tons/year of capacity is scheduled to be offline during February-March. UAE’s Borouge already shut its 400,000 tons/year PP plant in Abu Dhabi back in January for a planned turnaround. The plant is expected to restart by the end of March.

National Industrialization Company (Tasnee) plans to take its 720,000 tons/year Al Jubail plant offline on February 10 for two week-long maintenance. Advanced Petrochemical Company (APC) will also shut its 500,000 tons/year plant at the same location for around 3 weeks starting from late February. Players do not expect the producer to provide smooth allocations for March.

Several PE facilities in the region are set to undergo scheduled turnarounds. The total PE capacity that is due to be offline draws near to 4 million tons/year. Saudi Arabia’s Yanbu National Petrochemical Company (Yansab) took its HDPE and LLDPE plants offline, each with 400,000 tons/year capacity, in early February. The plants will be down for almost two months.

Saudi Petro Rabigh also planned to conduct LLDPE and HDPE turnarounds, while the plants have a combined capacity of 550,000 tons/year. The company has already halted its LLDPE operations this month, but delayed its HDPE shutdown to March after initially slating it for mid-February. Borouge also shut its 540,000 tons/year PE plant for 50 days with an expected restart by the end of March.

In March, Saudi Kayan Petrochemical will shut its 300,000 tons/year LDPE unit in Al Jubail for two weeks. Shark is also readying to conduct a turnaround at its PE lines with a combined capacity of 1.55 million tons/year in Saudi Arabia for a similar duration.

The maintenance season in the Middle East along with the recent planned or unplanned outages in Europe, the US and Asia are likely to keep global supply constraints in place.

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