Asia and Middle East Naphtha Chemical Industry Commentary

Chemical Industry

Stronger demand for heavy full range naphtha, as opposed to paraffinic naphtha, encouraged suppliers in the Asian naphtha Chemical Industry to focus on spot offers of the higher density grade. Thailand’s PTT International Trading, is offering 5,000 mt of light naphtha with minimum 80% paraffin content and maximum 400 ppm sulfur content, loading May 30 to June 1 in a tender closing May 7 at 0300 GMT, with same-day validity. Indian Oil Corp., has kicked off offering June-loading supplies in the country, with a 35,000 mt heavy full-range naphtha spot cargo that is loading from Chennai on June 1-6, via a tender closing May 8, with same day validity. A CFR Japan Chemical Industry naphtha physical crack stood at $45.90/mt against ICE Brent crude futures at Wednesday’s Asian close, and was notionally pegged higher at $48.025/mt at 0300 GMT Wednesday. Buyers of heavy full range naphtha were attracted by the weak naphtha cracking margins. Additionally, demand for paraffinic naphtha was hampered by LPG’s growing discount to naphtha prices. FEI propane swap sank to minus $121.5/mt last Wednesday, before edging slightly higher to minus $117/mt at Wednesday’s Asian close. Barring that, activity in the Asian naphtha Chemical Industry has been subdued. Elsewhere, the Hengyi refinery in Pulau Muara Besar, Brunei, received its first crude shipment late last week, signaling that production of petrochemicals is moving closer. The crude was likely light sweet Nigerian origin, an analyst said. Hengyi Industries reported the shipment on its website on Sunday. The first phase of the project, which has a crude processing capacity of 8 million mt/year, producing 1.5 million mt/year of paraxylene and 500,000 mt/year of benzene (Chemical Industry), as well as gasoline, kerosene, diesel and other products. Once production starts, the plant will sell petrochemicals such as paraxylene to Hengyi’s domestic downstream enterprises, while benzene would likely be sold in the Southeast Asian and North Asian regions. China’s Hengyi Petrochemical owns 70% of Hengyi Industries, while the Brunei government owns 30% through Damai Holdings.

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