"Belgium Petrochemicals Report 2014" Published

From: Fast Market Research, Inc.
Published: Fri Nov 29 2013

Belgium remains a significant petrochemicals producer in Western Europe, although the dynamics of the industry are changing in line with the wider trends in the mature domestic and regional market. A reduction of polyethylene (PE) capacity is set to be followed by expansion in polyesters, butadiene and synthetic fibres, indicating that investors are not abandoning the industry in spite of the challenges posed by the downturn in key markets, particularly the automotive sector.

In 2013, Belgium had ethylene capacity of 2.54mntpa with intermediate and aromatics capacities of 870,000tpa benzene, 890,000tpa ethylbenzene, 1.94mntpa ethylene dichloride (EDC), 810,000tpa vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) and 600,000tpa xylenes. In terms of polymers, Belgium has capacities of 1.64mn tpa high density polyethylene (HDPE), 930,000tpa low density polyethylene (LDPE), 2.1mn tpa polypropylene (PP), 475,000tpa polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and 645,000tpa polystyrene (PS). However, over the course of 2013, HDPE output was down 190,000tpa due to the closure of a plant by Dow in late 2012.

Full Report Details at
- http://www.fastmr.com/prod/723425_belgium_petrochemicals_report_2014.aspx?afid=301

Belgium's export sector is dominated by relatively low technology goods supplying downstream processors in Germany and elsewhere. However, increased investment throughout the value chain, particularly in products utilised by the automotive industry, will improve the external competitiveness of the petrochemicals sector. The Ineos ethylene terminal at Antwerp, which began operations in early 2013, equates to the addition of a cracker with 1mn tpa ethylene capacity in terms of supply availability. Not only will this shore up feedstock supplies to Ineos' EO plant, it is fundamental to the polyester production chain.

Recent Developments and Key Forecasts:

* The polyester chain will lead growth in 2014 with the most prominent development being JBF Industries' 432,000tpa PET plant in Geel, which is expected to be complete in 2014.
* Meanwhile, BASF is increasing cyclohexane oxidation capacity by 50,000tpa by end-2014.
* Lanxess is constructing a 90,000tpa polyamide plastics plant in Antwerp with capacity of 90,000tpa to begin operations in Q114, utilising caprolactam feed supply by an existing facility at the site.
* Evonik is expanding butadiene capacity at its Antwerp plant by 100,000tpa in its drive to increase its market presence in C4-based products. The expansion is set to come onstream in 2015. Growth in butadiene will serve the synthetic rubber sector, particularly in the automotive tyre sector.

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