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Turkey's polymer imports to post strong growth in 2011

Zoom  Zoom Issue Date:2011-10-13   Source: PUWORLD   Browse:560

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Turkey’s imports of polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene (PE) are expected to show strong growth this year, as the country’s polymer needs could not be met by domestic production, the chairman of trading firm Penta Petrokimya said on Tuesday.


The country’s total PP imports will likely hit more than 1.5m tonnes in 2011, about 10% higher than 2010 levels, while its polyethylene (PE) imports will grow by 7% to about 1.05m tonnes by the end of the year, Faruk Erkoc told ICIS in a phone interview.


Turkey is a major production base for plastics finished goods, which are mostly exported to Europe. But its local polymer production meets only 25% of the country’s total demand, the Penta Petrokimya chairman said.


Of the projected total PP imports, 1.1m tonnes will be homopolymer grade material, up 13% from 2010 levels, while imports of copolymer grade material are projected at more than 400,000 tonnes by end-2011 from 398,000 tonnes last year, Erkoc said.


In the first eight months of 2011, Turkey’s imports of homopolymer grade PP totalled 715,000 tonnes and took in 289,000 tonnes of copolymer grade PP, he said, citing official data.


For PE imports projected for the whole of 2011, about half will be high density polyethylene (HDPE) at 550,000-560,000 tonnes, up 4.5% year on year, while more than a quarter will be linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) at around 300,000 tonnes, representing a 16% growth, Erkoc said.


Turkey’s imports of low density polyethylene (LDPE), meanwhile, will likely stay flat at 194,000 tonnes, as the country has the capacity to produce 350,000 tonnes/year of the material, he said.


The country’s overall demand for polymers recovered in 2010 after falling in the previous year. Erkoc said it is difficult to estimate the demand in 2012 as it will depend on the global economic conditions.



“My estimate is that we will meet this year’s level [of imports],” he said.


Erkoc said he does not expect new petrochemical production starting up in Turkey in the next three to five years, as a new refinery project in the country has yet to start construction.


Azerbaijan’s state-owned company SOCAR and Turkish state firm Turcas Petrol have announced that they will build a $5bn refinery that will have a 214,000 bbl/day refinery at Aliaga on the Aegean coast. Actual construction is only expected in mid-2012.


“Only after that they will prepare for a petrochemical plant….so for [the] next five years, I do not expect domestic [polymer] production to grow,” Erkoc said.



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