ASIA/QATAR – Demand from Asia for petrochemicals and polymer products is helping boost growth in Qatar’s petrochemical industry and fuel investment and expansion projects.
According to state-owned energy distributor Muntajat – which holds the rights to market, sell and distribute Qatar’s chemical and polymer products globally, there are plans in the country to invest US$25 billion in petrochemical capacity to produce 23 million tonnes by 2020, a significant increase from 16.8 million tonnes in 2012.
In addition to increasing production capacity, there are also investment plans underway aimed at broadening the range of petrochemical products available for sale.
Offshore production is also another avenue that companies in Qatar are following. Qatar Petroleum International (QPI), a subsidiary of Qatar Petroleum, has struck a series of agreements over the past few years to develop petrochemicals production projects in Vietnam and Singapore, among others, enabling Qatar to provide feedstock for other offshore developments and help the country expand its profile along the Asian supply chain.
According to a recent report by corporate consultants Dun & Bradstreet, Qatar’s petrochemical industry is implementing a long-term expansion strategy based on the assumption that demand from China and other emerging markets such as India will continue to grow.
Khalid Al Subaey, chief coordinator for Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding Company (MPHC), a subsidiary of Qatar Petroleum, highlighted the current increase in demand for high-density polyethylene – most commonly used in plastic packaging and bottles – as an example of a polymer product market that Qatar is looking to serve, and noted that its growth trend is expected to continue.
“The strongest demand growth is from Asia, and in particular, China,” said Subaey. “While China’s high density polyethylene demand growth rate is expected to slow somewhat over the next five years, it is still expected to be above 6%.
“China’s continued growth coupled with relatively few new capacity additions is expected to drive increasing exports, especially from the Middle East.”
Muntajat has already been busy preparing for Qatar’s push into Asia; in mid-October, it announced the opening of offices in eight Asian hubs, along with an office in Morocco to serve the North African market. Two of the new Asian offices will be in China – located in the industrial centres of Guangzhou and Shanghai – and one in India’s Mumbai. The others will be in Thailand, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Indonesia, and Pakistan.