HDPE prices hit new records in the Russian market

(MRC) -- HDPE shortages in the Russian market have led to the bullish sentiments. Russian producers corrected their plans depending on maintenance stops in order to smooth current situation, but it is impossible now to cut back the deficit and stop the price growth yet, according to ICIS-MRC Price report.

HDPE shortage in the Russian market keeps growing, pushing up spot prices. In order to stabilize the situation in the domestic market, the Russian producers have changed their schedules of turnarounds in September - October. Stavrolen that previously had planned 45 days maintenance, reduced a stop duration to 10 days. Stavrolen's production capacities are expected to be shut from October, 10th.

Nizhnekamskneftechem postponed its regular turnaround to the end of October. Kazanorgsyntez also cut the terms of maintenance by one week. HDPE production in Kazan is planned to restart in October, 5-6. Gazprom neftechem Salavat plans to begin HDPE production in early October. 1 September accident forced the company to stop its capacities for maintenance beforehand.

The Russian ruble devaluation against major world currencies significantly reduced attractiveness of PE purchases in the external markets over last two months. September export prices of European HDPE make EUR 1.080 - 1.120/t, FCA. Last export HDPE deliveries of Shurtansk GKhK were traded within USD 1.520 - 1.620/t, FCA. Asian and American PE for September shipment was offered at average for USD 1.480 - 1.560/т, CFR St. Petersburg.

By the end of last week, Kazanorgsyntez and Stavrolen had declared increased prices of HDPE under the pressure of both external and internal factors. Contract prices increased by RUB 2.360-4.250/t, depending on PE grade and producer.

Price growth is also observed in the spot market. By the end of last week, the quotation for film and injection grades of HDPE in the spot market was recorded in a fairly wide range: RUB 60.500-67.000/t, including VAT, FCA, depending on PE grade. Blow-molding grade of HDPE was offered an average for RUB 61.000-66.500/t, including VAT, FCA.

The only exception is pipe HDPE market, where weak demand for pipe material keeps the price down. Last week the coloured PE100 prices were fixed in the range of RUB 63.000-66.000/t, including VAT, FCA Kazan. Uncoloured PE100 was offered at average for RUB 62.000-63.000/t, including VAT, FCA.


Europe olefins quiet ahead of 'critical' October contract discussions

(ICIS) -- There is limited activity on the spot European olefins - ethylene and propylene - markets ahead of the upcoming October monthly contract settlements, industry sources said on Friday.
Ethylene and propylene spot markets are traditionally slow during contract negotiations, as players like to wait and see the outcome before committing to volumes, but this time around there is not much optimism that normal activities will resume once the new contract numbers have been established.

Other sources said that even some speculation centring on a possible increase in the contracts, as producers push to improve margins that have been faltering on upstream volatility and a weak euro, had not resulted in any fresh interest.

The lack of visibility is weighing on sentiment and there are just too many concerns and worries over the global economic outlook, despite market participants stressing the need for calm. A drop in crude and naphtha prices on Thursday added to the uncertainties.

Expectations for the ethylene contract vary between a rollover and a small increase from September's contract price of EUR 1,115/tonne (USD 1,507/tonne) FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe).


ENI resumed oil production in Libya

(Trend) -- Italian state-controlled energy giant ENI said Monday it has resumed oil production in Libya months after the conflict in the North African country brought its operations to a halt. "Eni restarts production in 15 Libyan wells in Abu-Attifel, located at 300 kilometres south of Benghazi," the company said in a statement released in Milan, dpa reported.

Eni has been active in Libya since 1959, where it says it is the the largest foreign investor in terms of hydrocarbon production.

In recent years Italy had cultivated closer ties with its former colony, culminating in a 2008 friendship treaty signed by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and the then Libyan leader Moamer Gaddafi.

However, in March Italy suspended the treaty and joined a NATO air campaign against Gaddafi's forces who had been accused of targeting civilians in their attempt to crush a rebel uprising.


Saudi Aramco selected Axens technologies for its Jazan Refinery and Terminal Project

(Arabian oil and gas) -- Axens technologies were selected by Saudi Aramco for its Jazan Refinery and Terminal Project, the French firm said in a statement. The refinery, scheduled to be commissioned in December 2016, will have a capacity of 400,000 bpd. ⌠The units under Axens design include a naphtha hydrotreating for feedstock purification, Aromizing CCR reforming for aromatics production and C5/C6 isomerization unit to provide a high octane component for the gasoline pool, Axens said in a statement.

Axens also recently won the contract to provide Misan refinery in Iraq with basic engineering design and licensed technologies within the greenfield refinery development.


South Korea's petrochemical exports in August to increase 36.5%

(ICIS) -- Higher prices allowed South Korea's petrochemical exports in August to increase 36.5% year on year to USD 5.32bn (EUR 3.94bn), bolstering hopes that the value of monthly shipments will remain strong through end-2011 despite a weakening of global demand, analysts said on Monday.
The US, the world's biggest economy, is in a fragile state, while the eurozone is deeply embroiled in its debt troubles. Meanwhile, China - South Korea's main export market for petrochemicals - is beset with its own problems of reining in inflation, creating a credit crunch within the country.
Against the gloomy global economic backdrop, demand prospects for South Korea's exports do no look very promising.

South Korea's overall exports to the US in August fell by 5.9% in the first 20 days in August while total shipments to China rose by 16.5%, according to the Ministry of Knowledge Economy (MKE).

Total exports to the 27 countries of the EU rose 7% year on year in August, the MKE said.