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New Market Report Now Available: Kazakhstan & Uzbekistan Petrochemicals Report 2014

31 December 2013

Central Asia is a rapidly evolving and growing market for petrochemicals that has been heavily import dependent in recent years. Over the medium term, the two most industrialised countries, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, are set to become net exporters with the construction of world-scale complexes likely to stimulate downstream investment in plastic and rubber conversion industries.

In the Central Asia region, only two states are active participants in the petrochemicals sector - Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Neither has significant existing ethylene capacity. In fact, their combined cracking capacity of 240,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) is less than that of Nigeria or Egypt. Uzbekistan is landlocked, and hence is faced with considerable transportation costs for its energy exports. Overall demand for chemicals has been on the rise across all sectors of the processing industry. The chemicals and plastics industry has generally maintained an import surplus. Realising the immense potential that lies in refining, petrochemistry and other value-added projects, the government has set forth major development plans.
Kazakhstan Petrochemical Industries (KPI) is pushing ahead with a US$6bn investment to construct an ethane-fuelled petrochemical complex that will include an 800,000tpa ethane cracker and a 500,000tpa propane dehydrogenation (PDH) and polypropylene (PP) plant by 2015. The second stage of the project, due for completion in 2017, should have the following production capacities: 1mn tpa of ethylene, 400,000tpa of low-density polyethylene (LDPE) and 400,000tpa of linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) and high-density polyethylene (HDPE).
In Uzbekistan, recent developments have concerned the creation of a 50:50 JV between South Korea's KOGAS and Uzbekneftegaz, the Ustyurt gas-chemicals complex, which began construction in 2011 and will have capacities of 400,000tpa polyethylene (PE) and 100,000tpa PP when completed in 2016. This should be followed by a separate Uzbek-Singaporean-Chinese joint venture with capacity to produce 500,000tpa PE and an Uzbek-Chinese joint venture to create a 100,000tpa polyvinyl chloride (PVC) complex in 2016-17.
BMI has made the following observations and forecasts:
- By 2018, Central Asia will have olefins capacities of 2.24mn tpa ethylene and 600,000tpa PP with polymers production consisting of 1.33mn tpa PE, 720,000tpa PP and 100,000tpa PVC.
- Fertiliser will feature as a growth sector and by 2014 Kaspiy Azot will have completed an ammonia-urea complex in the Mangistau Oblast, with capacity of 527,000tpa ammonia.
- Both Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan will have sufficient production to cover domestic needs with a surplus likely to stimulate polymers conversion and boost exports. The Central Asian market is robust and growing fast, providing a sound basis for new petrochemicals capacities.