Linpac Packaging to open a new facility in Belarus for EPS production

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Linpac Packaging plans to open a production site in Belarus by the end of the year, according to FoodProductionDaily.

The Belarus facility will initially be 100% focussed on expandable polystyrene (EPS) because Russia mainly is an EPS market, said Linpac, who first considered building a factory in Belarus in 2009.

Speaking exclusively to, Rene Christiansen, managing director and general manager for northwest Europe, said the the company had a contract for a new product relating to the bakery sector of "significant volume" and said it may be a "step change" fronted by the innovations teams in the UK and Germany but said he could not reveal more for the moment.

Speaking about the Belarus site, he said: "The cost to serve the Russian market out of the Poland is just too high, both from a transport but also from an import duty point of view.

"I don't think we’ll see EPS coming back from Belarus to, for instance Poland again, because of those import duties but it will cover Belarus itself and mainly Russia but also shipping into Ukraine and maybe even some of the Baltic countries."

We remind that, as MRC wrote previously, in line with its new ‘Fresh Thinking’ innovation strategy Linpac Packaging launched two new PP films for fresh meat, poultry and fish in 2012. Both films - LINtop PP HB Lock Seal and LINtop PP HB Peelable - are to be manufactured at the company’s Pontivy flexible films factory in France.

LINPAC Group Limited was founded in 1959 in Lincolnshire, England. It is now an international, GBP1.1 billion, mainly plastic packaging and supply chain manufacturing and services business, based in Birmingham, United Kingdom, and has 7,000 employees in 29 countries. The company manufactures food packaging, returnable transit packaging (RTP), rigid plastic containers, cartridges, bulk storage tanks, bulk containers, medical containers, spill control products, and GRP gratings and structures.

LyondellBasell to expand its ethylene production in North America due to debottlenecking projects

MOSCOW (MRC) -- LyondellBasell, one of the major petrochemical global producers and the world's largest maker of polypropylene, will raise its ethylene capacity in North America by 18% in coming years through several debottlenecking projects, reported Hydrocarbonprocessing with reference to LyondellBasell's CEO.

Locations where ethylene capacity will be expanded include crackers in Corpus Christi, La Porte and Channelview, Texas, according to the company. The projects are scheduled to be finished in 2014 and 2015.

Jim Gallogly, CEO of LyondellBasell, said the company aims to finish its projects two-to-three years earlier than industry competitors building new plants, all at a lower cost.

Gallogly said he expects ethane to stay price-advantaged in the US for at least the next five years. He noted that natural gas producers are still incentivized to produce wet gas and, as a result, LyondellBasell plans to raise its ability to crack natural gas liquids (NGLs) from 85% to 90%.

LyondellBasell also said it was "in the early stages" of evaluating a 1 million lb/year polyethylene (PE) plant in North America by 2016.

Overall, the company plans to invest USD1.6 billion in growth capital expenditures (CAPX) over the next four years, adding over USD1.5 billion/year in new earnings by 2017.

Aside from the North American ethylene debottlenecks, proposed projects also include a methanol restart in the US and a butadiene expansion in Germany.

LyondellBasell Industries NV is a manufacturing company. The Company produces chemicals, fuels, and polymers used for packaging, clean fuels, durable textiles, medical applications, construction materials, and automotive parts. LyondellBasell Industries operates globally and is headquartered in the Netherlands. LyondellBasell is also a leading licensor of polypropylene and polyethylene technologies. The more than 250 polyolefin process licenses granted by LyondellBasell are twice that of any other polyolefin technology licensor.

A number of large chemical companies have chosen LyondellBasell's technology for their production processes. Thus, the largest coal company in the world, China Shenhua Coal to Liquid and Chemical Co. selected the LyondellBasell Lupotech T process technology for a 270 KT per year low density polyethylene (LDPE) plant to be built in Xinjiang, China. Then, PETRONAS chose the Spheripol technology from LyondellBasell for two 300 KTA polypropylene (PP) units to be located in Pengerang, Malaysia. Besides, ZapSibNeftekhim L.L.C, a fully owned subsidiary of SIBUR, decided to select the Spheripol process technology from LyondellBasell for a new 500 KT per year single-line polypropylene (PP) plant to be built in Tobolsk, Russia Federation.

Toyo wins engineering contract for Russian refinery modernization

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Toyo Engineering has been awarded a contract from Russia's TAIF-NK to provide services for detailed engineering and procurement on the oil refinery modernization project in Nizhnekamsk, reported Hydrocarbonprocessing with reference to the company's statement.

The current project utilizes the VCC (veba combi cracker) process of US-based KBR to be implemented at the heavy residue conversion complex (HRCC) for the first time in the world.

The project is scheduled to be completed in 2016. The upgraded complex will convert the following oil refinery heavy residues: 2,700,000 tpy of vacuum residue and 1 million tpy of vacuum gas oil, with a high ratio of conversion to valuable oil products, according to project officials.

In 2015 the Russian government plans to annul the decree currently in effect of lowering the heavy residue export taxes towards increasing added value for the exported petroleum products and compliance with the motor gasoline environmental standards (Euro 5) being used domestically.

In this regard, oil refineries in Russia were given directions for urgently establishing units for heavy oil conversion.

Toyo said it was awarded the contract based on its successful experiences in construction more than 60 plants in both Russia and CIS countries from the 1960s and for receiving a high appraisal for its engineering know-how on numerous projects in the field of heavy oil conversion.

Toyo added that it plans to actively expand its business and marketing activities in years to come for energy and petrochemical projects.

We remind that, as MRC informed previously, Japan-based Toyo Engineering has been awarded a contract by Malaysia's Petronas for the rejuvenation and revamp project of the No. 4 gas processing plant located in Kerteh, Terengganu.

Retreating costs leave Asian PET producers with improved margins

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Throughout the first two months of the year, Asian PET producers complained of very poor margins as strong feedstock costs left most producers operating at or even beneath their theoretical production costs based on spot feedstock prices, said Apic-online.

Over the past few weeks, however, feedstock costs have retreated faster than PET prices, leaving Asian PET producers operating with more favorable margins even as PET prices retreat.

Spot PET prices on an FOB China, cash basis opened the year trading with a heavy discount relative to spot PX prices on an FOB Korea basis. Outside of a single week towards the beginning of January, spot PX prices retained a premium over PET prices, suggesting that Asian PET producers were facing heavy margin pressure. Last week, the premium carried by PX over PET fell before PET prices gained a premium over PX for the first time in 2013 during the current week.

Theoretical production cost calculations based on spot PTA and MEG prices suggest that Asian PET producers were operating with negative margins throughout the most of the first two months of the year, with only a few producers offering at the upper ends of the ranges managing to maintain prices above their theoretical costs. In keeping with the trends observed in the PX market, spot PTA and MEG prices have been retreating faster than PET prices over the past few weeks, leaving Asian PET producers with some additional breathing room on their margins.

As MRC wrote eralier, a sharp fall in purchasing prices of Asian PET for the CIS countries for two weeks in a row, may force Russian producers of granulate to lower prices for the domestic market. Such a sharp slash in import prices might force Russian producers to reduce their price offer for spot shipments in March. It should be noted that last week the price of Russian PET remained stable and was voiced at the level of Rb64,500-65,500/tonne, CPT Moscow, including VAT.

Excessive volumes of DOP constrain growth in the Russian market

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Low seasonal demand and oversupply of DOP plasticizer in Russia are putting pressure on prices, report MRC analysts.

Despite mid-March, the demand for dioctylphthalate plasticizer (DOP) remains low in the Russian market. The operations at all four Russian plants are stable, export sales of the plasticizer are almost completely absent. All these factors are putting pressure on the market and keep prices down.

Since the beginning of this year, Russian DOP rose in value on average by Rb2,000/tonne. In the spot market, the price dispersion of the plasticizer is large enough, price offers are voiced in the range of Rb68,000-71,000/tonne, CPT, including VAT. According to some market participants, there will be no major price changes till the end of the month.

DOP is used in the production of plasticized polyvinyl chloride (PVC).