Friday, 31 July 2009

Closures at Wilton, Teesside, chemical site threaten UK industrial base

The blog has been researching an article on the Wilton, Teesside chemical cluster. This site - a key part of the UK chemical industry - has suffered a spate of closures in the last 12 months, accelerating in the last few weeks.

With little scope for exporting large amounts of surplus ethylene, the future of Sabic's cracker must now be under discussion.

Here is the latest on the site from local paper The Northern Echo

"EFFORTS to safeguard Teesside’s chemical industry were stepped up yesterday as both the Government and the debt-ridden owner of a threatened plant were warned of the potentially catastrophic effect of the sector’s demise.

Numerous companies in the sector’s supply chain have come together to write to the Government, stressing the necessity for both financial and skills support to be given during this turbulent time, which has seen several plants on Teesside announce their closures, and more left with question marks hanging over their futures.

Over 1,000 jobs have been, or are set to be, lost through the closures of the Invista and Elementis plants, the impending closures of Dow and Croda, the administration of Artenius, and the lingering doubts over the North Tees Petroplus refinery – a number which could increase ten-fold nationally, as their demise hits the supply chain.

In a statement, the companies involved said that although emphasis now seems to be on emerging technologies, the traditional skills must not be lost.

It said: “Our main concern is that the job losses in our businesses will result in a reduction in the total engineering expertise and capacity in the region and the UK.""

Ukraine ammonium producer Stirol: you learn something every day!

The blog has just met a new colleague at ICIS who told me about Stirol, a company I'd never heard of which may be one of Ukraine's biggest chemical groups. I can't find any financial information on the site to back up this claim.

Stirol was the first company in the Soviet Union to produce ammonia from coke oven gas, according to its chairman NA Yankovski.

I am about to start compiling the ICIS Top 10 list of chemical companies in central and eastern Europe and Russia. Any suggestions, please contact me: it is very difficult getting correct information from this region.

Here is the list from last year: apologies for formatting. You can see the original story by clicking here: Sibur rises in CEE/Russia Top 10

Company name Sales '07 % Change to '06* Operating profit '07 % Change to '06* Net profit '07 % Change to '06*
PKN Orlen (chems/petchems) 6,741 1.2 537 46.6 - -
Sibur 4,846 11.8 1,282 15.7 - -
Salavatnefteorgsintez 3,960 40.0 - - 1,630 50.0
MOL (petchems division) 2,300 12.0 236 75.0 - -
Agrofert 2,870 3.0 - - - -
Nizhnekamskneftekhim 2,400 24.0 287 (profit from sales) 20.0 1,670 23.0
Lukoil (petrochemicals) 2,300 26.0 - - - -
Petkim 1,860 -2.0 96 -3.0 61 23.0
BorsodChem 1,510 19.0 - - - -
Uralkali 1,190 87.0 - - - -
Note: OMV is excluded because it includes petrochemicals with refining and marketing *In local currencies
sources: company data, Accenture, CIREC

ICIS pricing launches Africa polymers report

Hot globe exploding

This blogger is a journalist working for ICIS, the global chemical intelligence group. I write chemical-industry news and analysis for the magazine ICIS Chemical Business. But the largest part of the ICIS group is its pricing service.

This has just launched new weekly price reports for polypropylene and polyethylene in Africa. This is a really small but fast-growing and dynamic market. With increasing chemical industry activity, there is now a need for accurate pricing information.

The new reports provide price assessments for polyethylene and polypropylene, CFR north and southern Africa, FD South Africa, plus commentary on the west and eastern African markets.

If any readers would like to request sample copies of the reports go to or alternatively email your request to

Picture credit

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Poland chemical industry privatisation plans in question

Poland's chemical industry has been trying for years to privatise parts of its chemical industry. The blog has been following these developments for nearly 10 years and there has been little progress.

Political inertia is caused by succesive governments altering or abandoning existing plans. And overstaffed, unmodernised factories have remained unreformed as strong unions and succesive govenrments have failed to tackle the issue.

Now, according to Poland's Gazeta, the latest set of plans are under threat. It says: "Mr Grad's privatisation plan was to be discussed by the cabinet today. But it won't be. 'The Council of Ministers' Permanent Committee has asked for legal opinions concerning the planned sale of certain companies,' Treasury spokesperson Maciej Wewiór told Gazeta last night."

ICIS news says that last week, Poland said it was has expanded its privatisation programme, with major stakes in fertilizer, titanium dioxide (TiO2) and biofuel producers a key element.

"A minority stake in the second-largest Polish refiner and biofuels producer, Grupa Lotos, was among the assets newly announced as available to investors.

The treasury ministry also reiterated its determination to see Poland’s largest fertilizer maker, Zaklady Azotowe Pulawy (ZAP), as well as the country’s second-largest fertilizer producer, Zaklady Chemiczne Police (ZChP), sold off during next year.

Initial bids for the flagship package of the process - Ciech, Zaklady Azotowe Kedzierzyn (ZAK) and Zaklady Azotowe Tarnow (ZAT) – need to be lodged by 10 September."

Monday, 27 July 2009

La Seda Wilton plant to close

Another plant is to close at the beleaguered Wilton, Teesside, chemical site, according to ICIS news. I'm researching an article on chemical sites and clusters in the downturn, and have been focussing on Wilton.

It has suffered recent closures of Dow's ethylene oxide plant as well as Invista's adipic acid plant. Sabic closed its aromatics unit at the end of 2008.

Would be interested to hear anyone's views on the future of this site.

Picture credit

BorsodChem gets state bailout

Struggling Hungarian pvc-maker BorsodChem is being rescued by the country's government. I visited the company at its main site in Kazincbarcika in the east of the country, towards the border with Ukraine. This is a really depressed part of the country with high unemployment so it is no surprise the state is willing to step in. BorsodChem is one of the few major employers in the region.

View BorsodChem in Hungary in a larger map

According to the Financial Times, the Hungarian government is throwing a lifeline to one of eastern Europe’s biggest private-equity deals by offering a €100m ($142m) loan to Borsodchem, the chemicals group acquired by UK buy-out house Permira for €1.6bn in 2006.

The loan from the state-owned Hungarian Development Bank is conditional on Permira reaching an agreement with Borsodchem’s lenders to restructure its excessive debt in a way that is acceptable to Budapest.

Akzo Nobel blows the whistle

Dutch chemical group AkzoNobel has received full immunity from a €17.4m fine which would otherwise have been imposed by the European Commission following an investigation into price fixing involving the company's Calcium Carbide business between November 2004 and November 2006.

According to
the infringement was reported to the European Commission by AkzoNobel at the end of 2006 and an application for immunity was made. It quotes the company as saying: "AkzoNobel regrets the inappropriate actions taken by certain individuals and stresses that the breach was reported internally through the company's intensified competition law compliance program. Immediate steps were then taken to report the infringement to the appropriate authorities and AkzoNobel has cooperated fully throughout the investigation."

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Hungary chemical production plummets by 30% in January

Torn US one dollar bill, close-up, full frame. (B/W)

A new report out by shows just how badly Hungary's chemical sector has been hit by the slump in demand domestically and in export markets.

Exports of chemicals contracted by 35%. Domestic sales of industrial products were 5% lower in January 2009. Hungarian industrial production contracted by a staggering 23.3% y-o-y in December.

The report says the government pledged to pump HUF10bn (US$45.7mn) into the country’s only fertiliser plant, Népszabadság, to keep it afloat.

Meanwhile the country's chemical trade association Mavesz is calling for less bureaucracy. The industry must be considering capacity closures too?

From the report:

"Again the chemicals industry was disproportionately impacted with certain segments experiencing a contraction of more than 30%. On a positive note, 5% volume growth was recorded for the manufacture of basic pharmaceutical products, while the production of coke and refined petroleum products increased by 44%

Business Environment

The global financial crisis has had particularly dire consequences for the Hungarian chemicals industry, due to the fall in demand from the construction and automobile industries. However, according to industry association Mavesz, the chemicals industry is not seeking a bailout from the government, even though some sources fear that domestic producers could see a 15-20% decline in turnover in 2009. Mavesz is calling for the government to take action to streamline the economy and reduce bureaucracy.

Trends And Developments

In December 2008, as reported by, the government pledged to pump HUF10bn (US$45.7mn) into the country’s only fertiliser plant, Népszabadság, in order to keep it afloat. The assistance will take the form of a state guaranteed loan, which will be added to a HUF14bn package (US$64.03mn) that the company has already received. The government is keen to the save the company in order to keep stability in the domestic agriculture sector. It is also thought that the authorities are not keen on letting the company fall into foreign hands.

Industry Forecast

In the short-term the chemicals sector is facing real difficulties. Hungarian industrial production contracted by a staggering 23.3% y-o-y in December, by far the worst production growth figure recorded by the Hungarian Central Statistical Office, which dates back to January 2002. Slowing domestic demand, coupled with reduced export demand from the EU will depress demand for chemicals products.

Meanwhile, core export markets, such a Russia and the US are set to experience recessions in 2009."

Boundary changes in oil-rich Sudan

An international ruling redefines the boundaries of the disputed oil-rich Abyei region claimed both by north and south Sudan:

View Larger Map

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Libya closes in on Ukraine chemicals plant and farm project

Ukraine has invited Libyan companies to bid for a large fertiliser factory, Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko said after talks with her Libyan counterpart, Al-Baghdadi Ali al-Mahmoudi, according to
"Ukraine has been trying to sell the Odessa Port chemicals plant for years and had been previously stopped by presidential decrees. This time round, President Viktor Yushchenko is expected to let the auction go ahead later this year.
Libya agreed in May to grow wheat on 100,000 hectares of Ukrainian land and export it back to the North African country, in a deal analysts said was fraught with complications including the purchase of leased lands."

Ukraine is to create a free-trade zone for Libyan investors, according to the forum Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and Secretary of the General People's Committee of Libya al-Baghdadi Ali al-Mahmudi agreed that they may have found a starting point for removing trade barriers between the states that may lead to the creation of free trade zone.

Monday, 20 July 2009

Ukraine moves to sell Odessa Port chemical plant

According to, Ukraine's president Viktor Yushchenko has agreed to the privatisation of one of the country's largest companies.

The government has been trying to sell the Odessa Port chemical plant for years and on Wednesday set a minimum price of 4 billion hryvnias ($525 million) for an auction on Sept. 29. It hopes to earn up to $1 billion.

Yushchenko, in a power struggle with Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko for 18 months, last banned the sale in May 2008 on the grounds that the plant was a strategic asset, giving the buyer exclusive access to a key pipeline and port terminal.

Odessa port: picture credit

Poles consume fake drugs filled with antifreeze

According to the World Health Organization, quoted by the Warsaw Business Journal, Poles spend as much as zł.100 million ($30m) on fake medicines every year.

"The kinds of drugs that are most often copied are impotence medicines and anabolic supplements, diet pills, and psychoactive drugs.

Despite the fact that many of the “fillers” in these drugs are safe placebos, inducing sugar, there are also some which list chemicals such as anti-freeze solutions and wood polish among their ingredients. "

photo credit

pharmaceuticals by Nuevo Anden.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Serbia's HIP Petrochemja stutters back to life

Beleaguered HIP Petrohemija is to receive financial aid to restart output. The company ceased production in late June for a sheduled shutdown but then claimed it could no longer afford to purchase feedstocks.

According to ICIS news, now it has has secured at least €10m in financial support from the Serbian government that will allow it to restart production within a few weeks, Serbia's largest petrochemical producer said on Tuesday.

The government agreed in May that help was necessary.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Unipetrol gets rebrand

The company is to be totally subsumed into PKN Orlen and known as Orlen Ceska Republika. This is the end of an era!

This train will need to be repainted!

Saudi's target Turkey for agrobusiness ventures

A company from resource-scarce Saudi-Arabia is to invest arpund $3bn in agriculture in Turkey. With their fast-growing populations and inability to grow enough to feed them, Middle East countries are looking all over Africa, Asia and Russia for this kind of investment.

The blog wonders what the impact will be on demand for chemical fertilisers and agrochemicals? Presumably very positive since we're talking large-scale agri-business here on an industrial scale.

According to All About Feed, "private Saudi firm Planet Food World (PFWC) will invest over the next five years to export food products to the Gulf region, the head of its Turkish unit said.

PFWC wants to build 20,000 industrial farms over the next five years, Mete Mutluoglu told Reuters.

Each farm is seen at 10,000 square metres and will raise vegetables and fruits as well as having fish, poultry, sheep and cattle-raising facilities. PFWC’s total land usage in Turkey is seen at 200sqkm.

At first instance most exports will go the Saudi Arabia and the Arabian Peninsula, but the company would also like to export to Russia and Europe in the future.

Turnover in the first five years from the activities may be in the range of $20bn for the agricultural goods. This could go even higher when additional planned food and animal-processing plants are functioning.

Saudi Arabian firms have been looking abroad to grow food for the country and Gulf region. PFWC also has a project in Ethiopia, while others are looking at Tanzania and Sudan."

Monday, 13 July 2009

DSM moves to Tatarstan!

We don't hear much about chemical-industry developments in the autonomous Russian Republic of Tatarstan.

So I was surprised to read that Netherlands based DSM Nutritional Products has signed a letter of intent with Tanergo JSC and the Government of the Republic of Tatarstan for the construction of a micronutrient premix plant for animal nutrition and the establishment of a Joint Venture.

(sensitive: click name of some city, industry branch or pipe-line for detailed information ...)
Sensitive economic map (28K): click name of some city, industry sector, ...
Branches of industry
machine building
heat power
hydro-electrical power
oil production
building materials
food industry
forestry & wood
light industry
other sectors
Branches of agriculture
cereals, sugar beet
cereals, potatoes
cereals, sugar beet, potatoes
cereals, potatoes, vegetables
meat-milk cattle breeding
milk-meat cattle breeding
sheep breeding
poultry farming
oil pipelines railways gaz pipelines ethylene pipelines electricity lines

Image credit

Friday, 10 July 2009

Crisis hit Zaklady Chemiczne Police loses CEO

Poland’s beleagurered second-largest fertilizer producer, Zaklady Chemiczne Police (ZChP) has lost its CEO. According to Reuters Ryszard Siwiec, stepped down last Thursday citing personal reasons.
"Siwiec is the second top official to resign after Police, hit by bad currency bets, high expenses and falling demand, reported losses of $151 million in the last two quarters. The head of the supervisory board Wojciech Drozdz stepped down on Monday."

In June, ICIS news reported that Police was in the process of appointing three new directors to work with the CEO in implementing a crisis-period strategy.

Of the previous four-member management board only CEO Ryszard Siwiec was still in place following the emergence of liquidity difficulties at the company.

Picture credit

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

PKN Orlen moves a step closer to feedstock independence

Good news for Poland's PKN Orlen this week. All oil producers in the country are reliant on Russian crude; a vestige of the Soviet era.

Now the country's oil group, Grupa Lotos, has signed a letter of intend with the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) to co-operate on oil production.

A pipeline which currently runs from Odessa on Ukraine's Black Sea coast to Brody in southern Poland could be extended to Plock, where Orlen is based.

Poland's second-biggest oil concern Grupa Lotos signed a letter of intent with the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) on cooperation concerning technical and economic analyses of potential business projects in Azerbaijan , Poland and other countries, Lotos announced.

According to, "The companies will set up an experts group to probe into potential cooperation fields. Grupa Lotos is a key player on both wholesale and retail fuel markets in Poland and is carrying out upstream operations on the Baltic Sea through its subsidiary Petrobaltic; it also holds stakes in several oil concessions the Norwegian Continental Shelf."

Monday, 6 July 2009

Hungary chemicals production falters

Huingary's economy and chemicals industry continue to suffer:

According to a new report by the Central Statistics Office, quoted in financial site, "significant price cuts occurred in the manufacture of chemicals and chemical products (2.2%) mainly due to the fact that the price of fertilisers and nitrogen compounds were slashed by 17%."

"Domestic industrial producer prices in Hungary decreased by 0.3% in May 2009 compared to the previous month and were 1.8% higher than in May 2008. Export sales prices in the industry in HUF diminished by 3.2% compared to April 2009 and were higher by 9.2% compared to the corresponding month of the previous year."

Croatia to cooperate with Vietnam on chemicals?

Vietnam is keen to cooperate with Croatia in the chemicals sector. This is according to, a site devoted to Vietnamese news. It's hard to imagine how exactly this might work?

According to a story out today, the Vietnamese Embassy in Hungary has worked with the Croatian Chamber of Trade and Economy to hold a seminar on business cooperation with Vietnam in Zagreb, Croatia.

"At the seminar, Miroslav Karamarkovic from the Croatian Chamber of Trade and Economy said that trade relations since 2003 have developed quickly in many fields. He also proposed focusing on ports, energy, telecommunications, the chemicals and pharmaceuticals industries, aquatic products, oil exploitation and tourism."

Croatia has a very limited chemical industry. According to the ICIS plants and projects database it has the following:
Dioki ddCroatiaOmisalj, KrkPolyethylene low density 70000 tonne/year Operating
Dioki ddCroatiaZitnjakEthylene 90000 tonne/year Operating
Dioki ddCroatiaZitnjakPolyethylene low density 85000 tonne/year Operating
Dioki ddCroatiaZitnjakPolystyrene 57000 tonne/year Operating
Dioki ddCroatiaZitnjakPolystyrene, expandable 12000 tonne/year Operating
Petrokemija ddCroatiaKutinaAmmonia 450000 tonne/year Operating
Petrokemija ddCroatiaKutinaAmmonium nitrate 450000 tonne/year Operating
Petrokemija ddCroatiaKutinaCarbon black 35000 tonne/year Operating
Petrokemija ddCroatiaKutinaUrea 495000 tonne/year Operating
Vlado RozicCroatiaOzaljBiodiesel 20000 tonne/year Operating

Quite what form this cooperation might take is difficult to imagine. Perhaps more a statement of general intent?

Friday, 3 July 2009

What does Brenntag reorganisation in Germany mean?

German distributor Brenntag said this week it is establishing a new sales region in Southern Germany located in Nuremberg, Bavaria, effective July 1, 2009.

"As a strategic step Brenntag GmbH, part of Brenntag Group, has terminated the Joint Venture Staub & Co. Chemiehandelsgesellschaft mbH. In addition Brenntag GmbH will take over the activities of Biesterfeld Chemiedistribution GmbH in Nuremberg."
Uwe Schültke, Managing Director Brenntag GmbH said: "This strategic step enables us to provide our business partners with considerable advantages....."."

Could this have any relevance to the recent news of a probe into Brenntag's German activities by the cartel authorities (see previous entries)? The distribution market in Germany is clearly a complicated business. No wonder the authorities are seeking to understand it better.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Czech chemicals report highlights Reach issue

A report just out on the state of Czech Republic's chemical sector highlights the likely fallout from the president's decision last August not to comply with the EU chemical regulation Reach. Companies such as Unipetrol face a conundrum. Whilst they do not need to comply with Reach domestically, any exports will need to comply with the directive.

Should the country's biggest chemical group Unipetrol register as an exporter to the EU? How will it comply if there is no national authority with which it can register?

Here is an excerpt:

"In August 2008, President Václav Klaus over-ruled parliament and vetoed the European Commission regulation on the registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemical substances (REACH), claiming that there was no reason to toughen the regulatory system and that it undermined the competitiveness of the petrochemical industry. The lower hours of parliament can over-turn the President’s veto by a simple majority of sitting members. The current political environment is marked by uncertainty, with no coalition commanding an overall majority in parliament. Consequently, it is unclear whether Klaus’s veto will be upheld, although there is a probability that parliament will over-turn his decision as it had already approved REACH. The uncertainty is unlikely to cause a significant problem to the Czech Republic’s petrochemicals business environment as any potential investor is likely to conform to REACH."

The report also highlights the problem of the country's almost complete reliance on Russian oil for its refineries and chemicals industry. Supplies were cut last year forcing Unipetrol to import via a very circuitous route.

"The Czech Republic’s dependence on imported oil supplies was demonstrated in July 2008 when Russian oil supply to the Czech Republic was drastically cut, which Russia claimed was due to technical problems, an explanation Unipetrol appeared to accept. Although it would not be technically difficult to find an alternative to Russian oil, logistical costs of using alternative pipeline routes or overland would raise raw material prices and make the Czech petrochemical sector uncompetitive."

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Iraq petrochemicals industry has a bright future?

Just found a fascinating article on the potential for chemical industry growth in Iraq. It is very difficult to get accurate information out of this country, so the report by the Global Arab Network, quoting the Iraqi National Investment Commission is well worth reading.

It describes the country's existing oil and chemical infrastructure and points out the projected requirement for millions of new homes - a key driver for chemical-industry production. With the West now pulling out, stability will be the key to future developments.

Here is a list of plants in Iraq according to the free ICIS plants and projects database:

Basrah Petrochemical ComplexIraqBasrahCaustic soda 6500 tonne/year Operating
Basrah Petrochemical ComplexIraqBasrahChlorine 6000 tonne/year Operating
Basrah Petrochemical ComplexIraqBasrahEthylene 132000 tonne/year OperatingThyssen Rheinstahl Technik GmbH
Basrah Petrochemical ComplexIraqBasrahPolyethylene high density 30000 tonne/year Operating
Basrah Petrochemical ComplexIraqBasrahPolyethylene low density 60000 tonne/year Operating
State Company of Fertilizers Southern RegionIraqKhor al ZubairAmmonia 350000 tonne/year Not knownMitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd - (MHI)
State Company of Fertilizers Southern RegionIraqKhor al ZubairAmmonia 350000 tonne/year Not knownMitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd - (MHI)
State Company of Fertilizers Southern RegionIraqKhor al ZubairUrea 560000 tonne/year Not knownMitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd - (MHI)

State Company of Fertilizers Southern RegionIraqKhor al ZubairUrea 560000 tonne/year Not knownMitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd - (MHI)

Here are some excerpts from the report:
"The southern oil regions are anchored by Basrah and the ports. In Basrah, the State Company for Petrochemical Industry (SCPI) operates the country’s largest petrochemical processing facility, plus a fertilizer company. However, much of the infrastructure of the plants is now outdated. Throughout the 1990’s, the Basra complex lacked access to new technology, spare parts or investment. Investment is needed to transform the Basra complex into a state-of-the-art facility.

"Existing infrastructure makes Basra an obvious location for the industry to expand. In addition, Iraq’s primary deepwater port is nearby at Umm Qasr. Basra is also linked by rail and expressway to Baghdad, with the Al Daura Refinery and northern Iraq.

"The demand for petrochemical products in Iraq is substantial. The range of possible products that could be produced in Iraq will find a ready market, whether it be fuels, lubricants, plastics, fertilizer or chemicals in both international and local markets.

"Examples of growing demand are below:
Production needs (PVC pipes, gaskets and injection moldings)
The Iraqi National Investment Commission believes that the construction industry will be booming for years to come. For example, the Ministry of Reconstruction and Housing estimated a domestic need to build three million new homes by 2015. In addition, the World Bank estimated that Iraq will need $18 billion in infrastructure projects before 2007. With this high level of construction happening in Iraq, PVC pipes and other plastic building components will be in high demand.

"The Ministry of Oil plans to double refining capacity by the end of 2010, which points to a sizeable increase in demand for soft and hard plastics used in refinery facilities.

"Product packaging
As domestic production of foodstuffs and other products increases and diversifies, product packaging will have to meet this increased demand. Boxes, crates, packaging, film, tape and additional products made from plastics and other derivatives will be in demand.

There is great potential to increase production in the agricultural sector. As agricultural production expands, the need for fertilizers will need to keep pace. There are also export opportunities for fertilizers. Agricultural plastic film used to increase crop yield can also be produced in the Basra petrochemical complex; demand for the product should grow in tandem with demand for fertilizer.

"Basic Plant and Port Infrastructure
A large petrochemical complex in Basra includes several plants, producing propane, butane, liquefied natural gas, ethylene, high- and low-density polyethylene, chlorine, PVC, and hydrochloric acid. The seven-unit complex is operational and an independent review identified the potential for ISO 9000 quality control certification.

"Basra offers significant port capacity for exports and would allow for industrial clustering as has occurred elsewhere in the world. Basra’s location and superior access to crude oil suggest such a strategy.

"The plant will be assisted by the implementation of plans by the Ministry of Transport to develop a huge deep-water port to the south of Basra with a design capacity of 100 berths, for which bids have been issued. The new port will greatly increase access to the Gulf. The project includes a rail link to Khor Zubayr, and a highway and underwater tunnel along the border with Kuwait; plans to further develop Khor Zabayr and Umm Qasr ports are also underway."

Turkey in the doldrums

According to today's Wall Street Journal, Turkey's economy shrank by 13.8% in the first quarter of 2009 compared to last year. This is an astonishing performance and is bound to have had a negative impact on demand for chemical products.

Turkey has, historically, had a large polymer deficit and relies heavily on imports. With the long-delayed privatisation of the country's largest company, Petkim, now complete a large investment programme is underway. Will this be put on hold?

In May, ICIS reported that Turkey should expect its largest petrochemical company Petkim to meet 40% of domestic petrochemical demand by 2015 compared to the current 25%. Capacity is scheduled to double to 6.3m tonnes/year from 3.2m tonnes/year within six years.

51% of Petkim is owned by the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (Socar), Turkey's Turcas Petroleum and Saudi Arabia-based developer Injaz Projects.
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