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Petchem gained as gas prices fell in January.

Oil prices continued its positive trend and added 5 percent during January 2013, while natural gas declined 2.6 percent. The WTI oil futures contracts for 2013 are trading at a slight premium while 2014 contracts are trading at a 3.4 percent discount to the current levels. This is according to a new report issued yesterday by NCB Capital.

"The gold futures for all periods continue to trade in line with the spot prices. Oil future curve shifted upward while the gas futures curve remained unchanged. The gold futures curve shifted downwards slightly. The gold future contracts continue to trade in line with the current spot price of near $ 1,668/oz," the report said.

According to the report, petrochemical products prices increased by an average of 8.6 percent during January, with an exception to benzene which declined 8.7 percent. All base metals increased 3-8 percent with the exception of steel which declined 1.2 percent. The TASI petrochemical sector increased 3 percent during the month, in line with TASI all shares index which gained 3 percent. The sector constituents' performance was mixed; Tasnee lost 6.9 percent while Yansab increased 6.6 percent during January. Blue chip SABIC increased 2.5 percent while SAFCO remained unchanged.

Labor strike at SABIC's Netherland-based SABIC Europe Petrochemicals' Geleen plant will impact production at the facility. The extent of production and financial loss is not known yet. This site has around 1,850 employees and a capacity to produce about 4 million mt of various petrochemical products (such as ethylene, propylene, PE, PP, Benzene, styrene and butadiene).

SABIC's 50-percent-owned subsidiary Al-Jubail Petrochemical Co. (Kemya) has a planned three-week shutdown at its LLDPE plant (capacity of 0.8 mnmt) during February-March 2013. SABIC increased February MEG Asia Contract Price by $ 80/mt MoM to $ 1,300/mt due to tight supply and higher demand.

Saudi Kayan will conduct a regular maintenance at its olefins unit (three weeks starting Feb. 5, 2013) and ethylene glycol/ethylene oxide plant (10 weeks starting Feb. 10, 2013). This is likely to impact the production of polycarbonate, phenol and amines. The financial loss of those shutdowns will be reflected in 1H13 results.

On Jan. 25, 2013, Yansab's ethylene glycol unit restarted normal operations after a 10-week shutdown. The financial loss will impact the Q1, 2013 results.

Sipchem stopped the operations at International Diol Co. (IDC) for two weeks and International Methanol Co. (IMC) for four weeks for regular maintenance. IDC resumed operations on Jan. 30, 2013. The shutdown at IDC is expected to have a financial impact of SR 7.8 million in Q1, 2013.

SIIG announced planned maintenance shutdowns at two of its projects: Saudi Chevron Phillips (SCP) for 32 days starting Jan. 31, 2013 and Jubail Chevron Phillips (JCP) for 33 days starting Feb. 18, 2013. JCP's styrene production unit (2,000 mt/day) has not been operating since Jan. 18, 2013 due to a technical issue. The shutdowns will impact SIIG's 1Q13 results.

On Jan. 27, 2013, Alujain started a periodic maintenance at the propylene and polypropylene units of its subsidiary National Petrochemical Industrial Co. (NATPET) for 22 days. This will result in a production loss of 24,000 mt, equivalent to SR 125 million, which will be reflected in Q1, 2013 results.

PetroRabigh successfully restored normal supply of electric power and steam within 20 days after the power outage on Dec. 29, 2012. The shutdown is expected to have a limited financial impact in Q1, 2013.

Petrochem announced that extended shutdown at its 65 percent-owned project, Saudi Polymers Co., has ended. The plants resumed operations on Jan. 19, 2013 and will gradually reach the designed capacity.

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Publication:Arab News (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
Date:Feb 6, 2013
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