(EnergyAsia, October 28, Wednesday) — Singapore’s petrochemical operators will see a difficult market from the fourth quarter as newly completed plants come onstream in China, Thailand and the Middle East, industry sources predict.

 The addition of new capacity to coincide with the start-up of two large petrochemical plants in Singapore is expected to depress the prices of petrochemical products.

Shell’s US$3 billion, 800,000-t/y Bukom plant in Singapore is scheduled to begin operations in the first quarter of next year while ExxonMobil’s US$5 billion one million-t/y complex is slated go into production in early 2011.

Singapore now has a total of 2.3 million t/y of petrochemical complexes on Jurong Island, namely, Petrochemical Corporation of Singapore’s 1.4 million t/y cracker and ExxonMobil’s 900,000 t/y complex.

 Next year will usher two new ethylene crackers in Thailand with a total capacity of two million tonnes per year, and as much as six million t/y of additional capacity from Yansab in Saudi Arabia and other projects in the Gulf. In September, ExxonMobil’s Fujian cracker in China started production.

 Petrochemical plants in the city-state have returned to near full operating capacity, but their performance had been recently helped largely by the delay in the start up of several large crackers in the Gulf.