Turkish companies to add  capacity in petrochemicals

Turkey’s petrochemicals industry, which is one of the leading sectors that provides input to all sectors and contributes to the country’s economy, is approximately 70 percent foreign-dependent, reports  economy & business website Ekonomim.com. This rate reaches 90 percent for plastics.

The sector’s imports, including oil and gas, were 132.8 billion dollars in the January-November 2022 period, with  its exports in the same period reaching only 33.5 billion dollars. Adil Pelister, President of İKMİB (Istanbul Chemical Substances and Products Exporters Association), said that total imports are expected to be around 144 billion dollars when December is included.


Emphasizing that petrochemical investments are extremely important to prevent imports, Pelister said, “We need 5 more petrochemical investments in Turkey.”

Underscoring the strength of local demand, a Turkish group is already developing a $1.7 billion polypropylene plant not far away in Mediterranean Port of  Ceyhan. Turkish conglomerate Ronesans Holding AS and Algeria’s Sonatrach are seeking to raise $1.1 billion for the 472,500-ton-a-year project, Bloomberg reported Jan.


Turkish petrochemicals company Bayegan Group, too, just announced plans to boost domestic output of polypropylene with a $1.9 billion plant in the south of the country.

Bayegan intends to build a 450,000-ton-a-year facility in Hatay province, the company said by email. That would equate to about 20% of Turkish demand, reducing imports of the polymer used in the nation’s famous carpets.


“The investment is in line with Bayegan’s mission of expanding its business across the value chain,” it said. The plant will enable Turkey, the top importer of polypropylene after China, to save about $500 million a year, Bayegan said.


The project has secured tax breaks, as well as lower power and labor costs, as the government seeks to bolster core industries and spur growth in a country where 65% inflation has fueled a cost-of-living crisis. The planned site is near Gaziantep, whose carpet-making heritage dates back to the Ottoman Empire.

The fixed investment cost of the plant was estimated at 27.7 billion liras in a government decree offering state benefits to the project in January last year, or $1.5 billion at the exchange rate then, according to the Official Gazette. That was for an annual production of 350,000 tons. The figure rose to $1.9 billion as production capacity was revised to 450,000 tons.


Underscoring the strength of local demand, another group is already developing a $1.7 billion polypropylene plant not far away in Ceyhan. Turkish conglomerate Ronesans Holding AS and Algeria’s Sonatrach are seeking to raise $1.1 billion for the 472,500-ton-a-year project, Bloomberg reported Jan. 10. Bayegan dropped out of the consortium in 2018.


Bayegan said it may take on a partner for its own project and is holding talks with potential investors.


“The project team is actively engaged in exploring various options for potential collaborations,” the company said, adding that discussions with export credit agencies are continuing. A similar plan by Bayegan in 2012 to set up a $1 billion petrochemical plant in southern Turkey with a Saudi partner didn’t go ahead.


Bayegan expects to sign an engineering, procurement and construction — or EPC — contract soon, and construction will then take 34 months, it said.


Turkey imports an average of 2.2 million tons of polypropylene a year, or 96% of its demand, from Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Egypt and Israel, according to Pagev, a local organization of plastics producers. Petkim Petrokimya Holding AS, owned by Azeri energy company Socar, is the country’s only producer.




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Published By: Atilla Yeşilada

GlobalSource Partners’ Turkey Country Analyst Atilla Yesilada is the country’s leading political analyst and commentator. He is known throughout the finance and political science world for his thorough and outspoken coverage of Turkey’s political and financial developments. In addition to his extensive writing schedule, he is often called upon to provide his political expertise on major radio and television channels. Based in Istanbul, Atilla is co-founder of the information platform Istanbul Analytics and is one of GlobalSource’s local partners in Turkey. In addition to his consulting work and speaking engagements throughout the US, Europe and the Middle East, he writes regular columns for Turkey’s leading financial websites VATAN and www.paraanaliz.com and has contributed to the financial daily Referans and the liberal daily Radikal.