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Vietnam facing petrochemical supply shortages

Wednesday, 20/10/2010, 08:21 GMT+7

Posted October 11, 2010
SINGAPORE (Oct. 11, 2:30 p.m. ET) -- Vietnam has lined up nine potential investment projects through to 2025, while six proposed plants are seeking foreign investments, according to Phan Minh Quoc Binh, a director at the PetroVietnam Research and Development Centre for Petroleum Processing of the Vietnam Petroleum Institute.

But even if the projects all move forward, the IndoChinese country, though endowed with significant hydrocarbon resources, would face supply shortages. The country’s petrochemical demand is expected to reach 5.4 million metric tons per year by 2020, based on 8.6 percent annual projected growth. If all planned and proposed projects are completed by 2020, the domestic supply would only cover 60 percent of the demand, he said.
Binh said Vietnam plans to set up the second petrochemical complex, comprising of 1 million metric tons per year of polyethylene capacity, 500,000 metric tons of polypropylene and 400,000 metric tons of PVC to meet the domestic demand until 2025.
Other likely projects are 100,000 metric tons of linear alkyl benzene; 150,000 metric tons of ethyl tert butyl ether; 230,000 metric tons of styrene monomer; 110,000 metric tons of polystyrene; 150,000 metric tons of ethylene vinyl acetate; 200,000 metric tons of monoethylene glycol; 400,000 metric tons of purified terephthalic acid and 180,000 metric tons of synthetic fiber.
Binh said six PetroVietnam projects were currently seeking foreign investment. These include the US$8 billion Long Son refinery at Vung Tau, which is designed to have 10 million metric tons per year capacity with completion set for 2020 and the Dung Quat refinery expansion by 2015, adding 2 million metric tons per year.
Other smaller projects include a 170,000 metric ton/year Dinh Vu Polyester Plant at Hai Phong to be operational by 2011.
Speaking at the Singapore plant construction, engineering and maintenance conference ProcessCEM Asia 2010, he said Vietnamese petrochemical sector was busy with seven projects, which are to be completed between 2010 and 2014.
Taiwanese-funded Hung Nghiep Formosa is to complete its 39,000 metric ton-per-year PET capacity this year, followed by the 170,000 metric ton/year PET plant at Dinh Vu which is to be completed next year.
In 2012, the 110,000 metric ton/year PS capacity is to be completed at Polystyrene Vietnam as well as the 100,000 metric ton/year PVC plant at TPC Vina in 2013.
In 2014, the Nghi Son Refinery & Petrochemical Complex is to add 375,000 metric tons per year of PP while Long Son Petrochemical Complex is to add 800,000 metric ton/year of PE and 450,000 metric tons per year of PP.
Speaking to Plastics News on the sideline of the Singapore conference, Binh said Vung Ro Refinery has recently received a license to 50,800 metric ton/year of PP and 28,900 metric ton/year of benzene capacity. The project is now expected to be completed after 2013, the original schedule.
Nevertheless, Vietnam would continue to import most petrochemical products over the next 10 years.
“We will have a near 800,000 metric ton/year of BTX surplus in 2020 while other products, PP, PE, PS, PET, PVC and DOP will have to be imported,” he said.
Current domestic supply from the seven plants is about 800,000 metric ton/year of urea, 295,000 metric ton/year of PET, 320,000 metric ton/year of PVC, 150,000 metric ton/year of PP, 30,000 metric ton/year of DOP and 18,000 metric ton/year of PS.
Most of the demand, which averaged at 9.5 percent a year growth between 2001 and 2009, was met through imports, especially PP, PE, PS, PET and BTX.
But the challenge is the limited domestic gas supply, he points out.