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Braskem to move naphtha trading operations to Europe

By: By Bob Moser
PLASTICS NEWS CORRESPONDENT

March 15, 2013

SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Braskem will transfer its naphtha trading operations from Brazil to Vienna within the next few months in order to be closer to suppliers in Europe and North Africa, a company spokesman confirmed.

The largest petrochemical company in the Americas currently bases its naphtha team in the states of São Paulo and Rio Grande do Sul. Roughly 70 percent of Braskem's naphtha comes from Brazilian state oil company Petrobras, with the rest sourced from the Mediterranean region (mainly North Africa), followed by Venezuela, Argentina and Mexico.

Braskem buys around 3 million metric tons of naphtha per year from the Mediterranean region, demanding some US$2.8 billion per year, which makes the company's cost base European, Rui Chammas, vice president of basic petrochemicals, told local media on March 8.

The transfer will allow Braskem's naphtha trading team to work on the same time zone as suppliers, interact with some of them personally, and ease their following of the market. The time zone difference between Brazil and most of Europe can be as much as five hours during certain months of the year. Moving operations to Vienna does not imply a change in naphtha suppliers for the company.

Brazilian employees will be transferred to Austria and work through Braskem International, a company established in February 2012. Braskem already has a European presence, with two polypropylene plants in Germany acquired in 2011 from Dow Chemical, and with a commercialization office for polypropylene, polyethylene, chemicals and basic petrochemicals in the Netherlands.