SINGAPORE: Qatar International Petroleum Marketing Co Ltd, or Tasweeq, will raise monthly exports of plant condensate, or light naphtha, from Ras Laffan by up to 70,000 tons to 220,000 tons from second-half 2010, as its No. 7 train comes on-stream, industry sources said on Wednesday.
This is coming at a time when Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (ADNOC) is also expected to raise its annual naphtha supplies by at least 2 million tons from the second-half of this year.
Tasweeq currently exports a total of around 6 million tons of naphtha a year from Ras Laffan and Mesaieed ports.
"Their volumes will rise to around 7 million tons in 2011, and there is enough demand to soak up the additional supplies," said a source. "Petrochemical margins are strong, and my outlook is bullish."
This is in line with the view from Tasweeq’s Chief Executive Saad Abdullah Al Kuwari, who told Reuters that naphtha will see the fastest growth rate among oil products, driven by robust Chinese demand for petrochemicals. Tasweeq is currently exporting some 150,000 tons of plant condensate from Ras Laffan.
This will be raised to 180,000-220,000 tons a month as its 7.8 million ton-per-year (tpy) No. 7 LNG train came on-stream in late first quarter.
"We expect them to export the additional cargoes from July," said an Asian trader.
Other trade sources said it could be sooner.
Tasweeq currently has a contract with two buyers to lift a total 660,000 tons of plant condensate for April 2010-March 2011, with premiums sealed slightly below $22.00 a ton to
Late last year, it started up a 146,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) condensate splitter which churns out 200,000 tons of naphtha a month. These barrels have already been contracted to more than four Asian traders.
The condensate splitter is running at full capacity.
Although naphtha demand has remained strong since 2009 after the petrochemical industry emerged from its worst slump in late 2008 due to the financial crisis, a looming ethylene glut has been a threat to the naphtha market despite the current optimism. There are concerns that petrochemical makers may have to resort to cutting cracker runs from second-half of the year as supplies are expected to outpace demand. But so far this year, with the exception of April 7, cracks have stayed firm above $100.00 a tone premium.