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The Sadara and Rabigh 2 petrochemicals projects, due online in Saudi Arabia in 2015 and 2016 respectively, will be the first in the Middle East to incorporate crackers processing naphtha rather than increasingly scarce ethane.
Nick Rados, chemical feedstocks director at consultant IHS, tells MEES that the Middle East will increasingly consume naphtha domestically as feedstock to produce ethylene, propylene, paraxylene and plastics, as well as to produce gasoline for domestic and Asian markets.
“By 2025, Middle East naphtha production will increase by 25mn tons/year of light and 35mn t/y of heavy reforming naphtha, respectively. Light naphtha exports in 2014 were 42mn tons and due to a large increase in domestic consumption will increase by a relatively modest 5mn t/y by 2025,” says Mr Rados. “Middle Eastern refiners produced 61mn tons of light and 67mn tons of heavy naphtha in 2014, but do not export significant amounts of heavy reforming naphtha.”
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