Lukoil's Russian expansion plan delayed again

April 8 (prw) -- Leading Russian oil group Lukoil has put back the planned launch of a major ┬2.6bn gas-chemicals expansion project in southern Russia to 2016 or 2017. The lingering global economic recession played a significant role in the group's decision to postpone completion of the Caspian gas-chemical complex and the expansion of its existing Budyennovsk chemical cracker. The complex, originally set to go on stream this year, was already postponed until 2013.

Lukoil planned the complex in Budyennovsk with a 15 billion m3/year gas processing capacity after discovering six important oil and gas fields in the Caspian Sea. The new chemical complex will source the Caspian natural gas for production at its new 600,000 tpa PE plant. Lukoil is not alone in reassessing the timing of its strategic projects. Another Russian petrochemicals player, Salavatnefteorgsintez, based in the Russian semi-autonomous republic of Bashkortostan, has again postponed its plan to build a 120,000 tpa high density polyethylene (HDPE) plant, originally scheduled for 2006.

The company had hoped to launch the new polyethylene operation in Salavat by last year but it missed the latest deadline at the end of 2009. But Russia's leading petrochemicals producer Sibur Holding is still forging ahead with its several polymer projects. Its Tobolsk-Polymer scheme, including the construction of 510,000 tpa propylene and 500,000 tpa polypropylene plants in Tobolsk, Tyumen state, is due on stream in 2012.

Meanwhile, Sibur has been reticent to confirm the exact launch timing of Russia's first worldscale vinyl complex in Kstovo in the Nizhny Novgorod region. Including a 330,000 tpa PVC plant, the Rusvinyl complex - a joint venture project between Sibur, Solvay group offshoot SolVin and BASF - was set for start up this spring. Despite a slowdown in Russian national growth, demand for polymers is still growing, albeit slowly and seems set to remain more buoyant than for chemicals generally through to 2012, Russia's Economic Development Ministry has said.


Construction demand drives Ukrainian PVC plant launch

April 8 (prw) -- Russian-owned petrochemicals manufacturer Karpatneftekhim will finally launch its planned Ukraine PVC production plant in November this year. The company, part of the Lukor-Neftekhim chemicals division of independent Russian oil and gas group Lukoil, is completing the construction of the 300,000 tpa suspension vinyl facility in Ukrainian city of Kalush.

The cost of the $234m facility is expected to be recovered within the space of nine years, the company is reported to have said. Downstream, Karpatneftekhim is also understood to be planning to extrude PVC profiles at the site and has begun installing equipment for this operation. Despite the regional economic slowdown, vinyl demand is continuing to grow in the Ukraine and Russia, driven by the construction sector. Both countries have relied heavily on vinyl imports to feed that demand.

In 2008, the company completed construction of new chlorine and caustic soda production facilities with capacities of 182,000 tons of gaseous chlorine and 200,000 tons of caustic soda at Kalush.


Dow Europe revises price increases for polystyrene, ABS and SAN products

April 8 (Dow) -- Effective immediately, or as contract terms allow, Dow Europe GmbH and its affiliate companies revise their price increases for polystyrene, ABS and SAN products by an additional 30 Euro per metric ton. This revision of the April price increase announced March 24, 2010 is due to higher settlement of raw material costs than anticipated.

The updated price increases effective immediately are:

For all STYRON and STYRON A-TECH polystyrene grades by 130 Euro per metric ton;

For all MAGNUM ABS grades and TYRIL SAN grades by 180 Euro per metric ton.

These price increases are applicable across the European, Middle Eastern and African regions.


MRC Reference

Russian producers cut down LDPE export

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Russian producers cut down exports of low-density polyethylene (LDPE) in March. Decrease in exports and growing production have stabilized LDPE prices - according to MRC Price Report.

LDPE prices varied within the range of RUB54500-57500/mt, including VAT, FCA, depending on a grade and producer at the end of March - beginning of April.

By estimate, Russian LDPE exports fell to 17.6 kt in March. PE production increased by more than 5 kt.


For more detailed information on the polyethylene market, see MRC Price Report.

Qatar`s ethane cracker to reach full capacity by August

April 8 ( -- Qatar's Ras Laffan Olefins Co's ethane cracker is producing ethylene and will reach maximum capacity by August, Oil Minister Abdullah bin Hamad al Attiyah said today in Doha.

The 1.3 million ton a year cracker supplies ethylene to Qatofin Co's new petrochemical plant, which produces linear low density polyethylene used to make plastic.

The Qatofin plant, which began operating last year, was to reach full output by last January, when the cracker was scheduled to start production, Qatar Petrochemical Co General Manager Mohammed Yousef al Mulla said in November.