x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Russia trails in petrochemical development

Qatar and Russia, which both have more natural gas than they can easily sell, are seeking new uses for their biggest natural resource.

Qatar and Russia, which both have more natural gas than they can easily sell, are seeking new uses for their biggest natural resource.

Both are intent on developing a diversified petrochemicals industry based on inexpensive feedstocks derived from natural gas.

But while Qatar, which is already the world's leading exporter of liquefied natural gas, will continue to focus on export markets, Russia will develop chemical projects to supply its growing domestic needs, predicts Colin Chapman, the president of Euro Petroleum Consultants based in London.

Mr Chapman said Russia was "way behind" the Asia Pacific and Gulf regions in pursuing petrochemical development and would take "at least 20 years" to catch up.

But with European demand for Russian gas sluggish and population growth rebounding at home, the country needs to start investing in projects to turn gas into value-added products for domestic consumers.

"They have to start producing for their own market, for example in chemicals, because it's a huge market," Mr Chapman said.

Russia, the world's biggest gas exporter, last year pumped 528 billion cubic metres of natural gas, a 12 per cent drop from 602 million cu metres in 2008, as global demand fell during the financial downturn.

 

tcarlisle@thenational.ae