Chinese producers continue to increase PET exports

MOSCOW (MRC) - Chinese producers of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) have increased their export shipments to foreign markets. Exports of Chinese PET have increased by 62% to 538,000 tonnes in the second quarter 2013 compared to the same period a year earlier (332 ,000 tonnes), according to MRC analysts.

Chinese producers have increased their sales in all markets. The largest increase in Chinese PET exports in the second quarter was recorded in the market of Africa and the Middle East (up by 118% to 156,000 tonnes).
However, the largest consumer of Chinese PET continue to be southern regions of Asia (exports in the second quarter totalled more than 162,000 tonnes).

In general, exports of Chinese PET in the first half of the year increased by 32% to about 930,000 tonnes.
Substantial increase in PET granulate exports from China was seen in CIS countries.

The advantage of Chinese brands is supported by attractive prices and the quality of some brands from large producers, such as Jiangsu Sanfangxiang, Shanghai Hengyi Polyester, Zhejiang Wankai, China Resources Chemicals, etc.

Exports of Chinese PET to Ukraine grew by more than 64% relative to the period of 2012 and totalled 68,000 tonnes in the first half of 2013.

Russian converters have also increased their purchases in China. In the first six months of 2013 imports of PET from China totalled 51,500 tonnes, up by 19% year on year (despite the overall decline in imports in January-June from 106,000 tonnes 91,000 tonnes).

FCFC plans to shut No.1 styrene monomer plant in Taiwan

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Formosa Chemicals &Fiber Corp (FCFC) is in plans to shut its No.1 styrene monomer (SM) plant for maintenance turnaround, reported Apic-Online.

A Polymerupdate source in Taiwan informed that the plant will be shut next week. It is likely to remain off-stream for around 40 days.

Located in Mailiao, Taiwan, the plant has a production capacity of 250,000 mt/year.

We remind that, as MRC wrote previously, Formosa Petrochemical is in plans to shut two crude units for maintenance at its Mailiao refinery. An 80,000 bpd vacuum distillation unit (VDU) and 84,000 bpd residual fluid catalytic cracking unit (RFCC) are planned to be taken off-stream. The units are likely to be shut in October 2013. They are expected to remain off-stream for around three weeks.

Besides, Formosa Plastics Corp (FPC) is in plans to shut a polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plant for maintenance turnaround. The plant is likely to be shut in September 2013 and expected to remain off-stream for around two weeks. Located in Mailiao, Taiwan, the plant has a production capacity of around 500,000 mt/year.

Formosa Chemicals & Fibre Corporation (FCFC) is a subsidiary of Formosa Plastics Group, the largest private owned enterprise in Taiwan, with annual revenue of USD13.5 billion.

Formosa Plastics Corporation is a Taiwanese company based in Taiwan that primarily produces polyvinyl chloride (PVC) resins and other intermediate plastic products.

Pemex says ammonia gas pipeline leak kills at least three

MOVSCOW (MRC) - At least three people were killed by an ammonia gas leak from a pipeline owned by state oil monopoly Pemex in southern Mexico on Tuesday and 1,500 people were evacuated from the area and taken to shelters, said Reuters.

Mexican media put the death toll at four and said some 40 others were poisoned by the leak in the southern state of Oaxaca.

Pemex said the leak was caused when the pipeline was damaged by heavy machinery operated by a private company doing road work. Pemex has had a poor safety record in recent years.

Nearly 40 people were killed in January in a massive explosion at Pemex's Mexico City headquarters. Investigators said the blast was caused by a buildup of methane and other gases that had collected for years in the basement of the building with no ventilation.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has proposed an overhaul of the energy sector to attract private investment to help stem a slide in oil output over nearly a decade and drag the giant Pemex into the modern era.

Petroleos Mexicanos is the Mexican state-owned petroleum company, created in 1938 by nationalized petroleum and expunging all private foreign and domestic companies at that time.


Sinopec Wuhan ethylene project becomes operational

MOSCOW (MRC) -- SINOPEC Wuhan Company’s ethylene project with a capacity of 800,000 tonnes per year produced first batch of qualified products, marking its successful commissioning and startup, according to the company's statement.

The project is a pivotal project of SINOPEC in the 11th five-year-plan period and the most important project in Hubei province.

The project, including 11 greenfield major production units with public utilities and supporting facilities, was built in three years with an total investment of 16.563 billion yuan.

Filling in the gap of large-scale ethylene projects in central China, the project plays an important role in boosting central China's economy, achieving balanced development among different regions, upgrading SINOPEC' industrial structure and enahncing the overall capacity of petrochemical industry.

The project will produce 2.3 million tonnes of over 20 kinds of products every year, help to drive the growth of downstream business worth hundreds of billions of yuan, and create over 100,000 new jobs.

As MRC reported earlier, the cracker was initially scheduled to start on June 28, 2013, but was delayed by Sinopec Wuhan till 15 July.

Wuhan Petrochemical Engineering Design Co., Ltd. offers engineering design, supervision, consultation, and related services for oil refinery, petrochemicals, distribution, and storage of oil and gas products. The company is based in China, its parent company is Sinopec.

Sinopec Corp. is one of the largest scale integrated energy and chemical companies with upstream, midstream and downstream operations. Its refining and ethylene capacity ranks No.2 and No.4 globally. The Company has 30,000 sales and distribution networks of oil products and chemical products, its service stations are now ranked third largest in the world.

PTT Global to reduce petrochemical processing rate on gas plant outage

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Thailand's PTT Global Chemical seems likely to reduce its petrochemical processing rate to 85% due to a shortage of feedstock after a shutdown of its parent's gas separation plant unit 5 for three to five months, as per Plastemart.

PTT Global's petrochemical plants normally run at 95% of capacity. The Thai group is working on a plan to import naphtha and other feedstock to help offset the shortfall.

The gas plant shutdown is likely to affect PTT Global's profit by as much as 400 million baht (USD12.8 million) a month, as per company sources.

Thai refineries have been asked to boost production in order to offset a supply shortage caused by temporary shutdown of PTT’s Map Ta Phut unit at Rayong. The Ministry has requested cooperation of the refineries in reducing their LPG supply to the petrochemical sector, which will also be asked to use naptha as a raw material, instead of LPG. The meeting was held to seek ways to deal with the impact of the shutdown following a lightning strike on the facility.

As MRC wrote previously, in June 2013, Indonesian state-owned energy company Pertamina signed an agreement to purchase petrochemical products from Thailand’s PTT Global Chemical. The agreement serves as a pre-marketing strategy for Pertamina and PTT’s joint Indonesian petrochemical business. Under the agreement, PTT will deliver at least 5,000 tonnes of polyethylene and polypropylene products each month to Pertamina for sale in Indonesia.

PTT Global Chemical is a leading player in the petrochemical industry and owns several petrochemical facilities with a combined capacity of 8.45 million tonnes a year. PTTGC is 49% owned by state-controlled parent PTT Pcl, and uses ethane and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) from the gas plant as feedstock for its I4-2 olefins plant.