Egypt's petrochemical industry is growing at a ten-fold pace, having increased from $328 million in 2004 to approximately $3 billion in 2007. Currently, four projects are in progress and are expected to produce 2.6 billion tons of petrochemicals in 2008 and 2009. The two projects to produce polypropylene and polystyrene are now under construction and are expected to cost $800 million. This is part of the Government's 20- year ambitious master plan to produce petrochemicals for export, in addition to covering the demands of the local market. The master plan will be executed in three phases, at an estimated overall cost of $10 billion. The first phase will cost $3.8 billion and was completed in 2008, with phase two running from 2009-2015, and phase three from 2016- 2022. U.S. technology is in great demand, the majority of the existing petrochemical plants are producing under-license from U.S. companies. The U.S. market share is approximately 26%. Market demand for petrochemicals in Egypt is estimated at 6% annually.
In 2009/2010 Egypt has produced 1.8 million tpa of petrochemical products worth US $768 million; 836,000 tpa of which were exported worth US $373 million.
The petrochemical industry is in an excellent position to accept feasibility studies, technology transfers, project and equity participation, and investment opportunities. Equipment for petrochemical factories have historically been imported primarily from the UK, US, Italy, and the Far East, often depending highly upon feasibility study requirements and/or recommendations.
Egypt’s Ministry of Investment has several major projects it is currently seeking financing for, including the following:
• Methanol: Production of 1.3 million tpa of methanol for use as automotive fuel, together with the production of essential petrochemicals and chemicals products. Cost: $650 million.
• PVC: Raising output by 60,000 tpa for ECHEM. Cost: $250 million.
• Polystyrene: Production of 200,000 tpa for use in plastics industry. Cost: $150 million.
• Benzene/Toluene/Xylene: Production of 450,000 tpa, 450,000 tpa and 530,000 tpa respectively. Cost: $1billion.
Additionally, the Egyptian General Authority for Investment and Free Zones (GAFI) invited foreign investment in four petrochemical projects worth about $500 million:
• 120,000 tpa of PVC, costing $200 million and located in the Nahda district in Alexandria; 200,000 tpa of PS, costing $150 million and located in Alexandria;
• $100 million project to increase naphtha and solar oil at a delayed coking unit at Suez Company for Oil Manufacturing;
• $50 million on Amria Petroleum Refining Co in Alexandria.