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Southeast Asia: Navigating Evolving Petrochemical Sector Landscape
3 months ago
Polymers & Packaging
Polymers & Packaging
Insights
OfBusiness
OfBusiness

Southeast Asia: Navigating Evolving Petrochemical Sector Landscape

Summary
Discover the dynamic changes in Southeast Asia's petrochemical sector, with a focus on high-density polyethylene. Learn short-term strategies for global market exploration and anticipate long-term challenges and opportunities amid China's evolving self-sufficiency.

The dynamic landscape of Southeast Asia‘s oil, gas, and petrochemical sector is undergoing significant shifts, compelling established National Champions to re-evaluate their business models. Let’s delve into the intricacies of this transformation, focusing on high-density polyethylene (HDPE) as a case study and exploring both short-term strategies and long-term projections.

Short-Term Strategies

As the New Petrochemicals Landscape takes shape, short-term tactics are crucial for Southeast Asian (SEA) producers. Using HDPE as an example, the emphasis is on constant reviews of sales opportunities beyond the region. With China experiencing lower-than-expected demand growth and higher-than-expected HDPE self-sufficiency, SEA producers must strategically explore global markets to maximize returns.

Long-Term Projections

Looking ahead, SEA countries facing HDPE deficits are projected to account for 24% of global net imports between 2023 and 2030, making it the second-largest share after China‘s 37%. However, there is a growing belief that China could achieve greater petrochemical self-sufficiency by 2030, altering the global landscape and making SEA a more significant target for global net exporters.

The long-term scenario presents challenges and opportunities. Increased competition in the SEA HDPE market is anticipated, driven by the emergence of petrochemical Supermajors with exceptionally low production costs and unprecedented capacities.

Country-Specific Suggestions

Here are the details:

  1. Singapore: Faced with China‘s move towards self-sufficiency and a small domestic market, Singapore needs to redefine its polyolefins future to remain competitive.
  2. Thailand: With substantial polyolefins export exposure to China, Thailand must scrutinize the cost position of its ethane cracking in the new competitive environment.
  3. Malaysia: As primarily an oil and gas company, Petronas may experience a shift in its petrochemicals cost position on the new cost curve, posing challenges and opportunities.
  4. Indonesia: A major net import market with limited petrochemical assets, Indonesia must justify local expansions, especially if not led by one of the emerging Supermajors.
  5. Vietnam: Despite being an oil producer, Vietnam faces challenges due to global oversupply, amplified by substantial net import market exposure through free trade deals.

OFB’s Insight

The evolving New Petrochemicals Landscape in Southeast Asia demands a strategic reevaluation of business models by the region’s National Champions. Short-term tactics involving global market exploration and maximization of returns within the region are crucial. Looking to the long term, the emergence of petrochemical Supermajors and the shifting dynamics of China‘s self-sufficiency present both challenges and opportunities for SEA producers. Navigating this complex landscape requires a nuanced understanding of country-specific factors and a proactive approach to stay resilient in the face of change.

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