Dragon Aromatics restarts PX plant in China

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Cninese Dragon Aromatics has restarted a paraxylene (PX) plant ahead of schedule, reported Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in China informed that the plant was restarted in August 2013, two months ahead of schedule. It was shut in Late July 2013 owing to an explosion. The company has commenced sale of PX in the domestic market.

Located at Gulei, Fujian province, China, the plant has a production capacity of 800,000 mt/year.

As MRC wrote previously, South Korea's HC Petrochem plans to further cut runs at its No. 2 aromatics plant at Daesan to 70% from early last week, due to weak production margins for paraxylene. The No. 2 aromatics unit has been operating at 80% of capacity since August 12, following an initial cut from 100% to 90% on August 1.

Paraxylene is a valuable petrochemical feedstock, used in the fabrication of polyesters and for the production of purified terephthalic acid (PTA), which is used, in its turn, in PET production.

Exxon to bring forward shutdown of petchem unit by 2-3 weeks to September

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Exxon Mobil Corp is expected to advance maintenance at its 900,000 tpa steam cracker in Singapore that feeds on naphtha and heavy residue to around mid-September from October, as per Plastemart.

But when contacted, the company's spokeswoman said it was not in Exxon's practice to discuss operational details of their facilities.

Exxon operates two crackers that produce a total of 1.9 million tpy of ethylene, a feedstock for petrochemical products including plastics.

Traders said the shutdown, which will likely last between four and six weeks, is not expected to impact the naphtha market since Exxon's cracker is not solely dependent on the light end feedstock.

The shutdown, however, coincides with Asia's top naphtha importer Formosa's maintenance at its 1.03 million tpy No. 2 cracker in Mailiao, Taiwan.

As MRC wrote before, Exxon Mobil has announced plans to increase its petrochemical manufacturing output through the expansion of its Baton Rouge and Port Allen plants in Louisiana. The expansion project is expected to be completed by 2014. The USD215 mln expansion project will take the company"s capital expenditures in Louisiana to over USD1 billion in three years.

ExxonMobil is the largest non-government owned company in the energy industry and produces about 3% of the world's oil and about 2% of the world's energy.


Esso network rolling out Tesco clubcard

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Exxon Mobil has announced plans to roll out Tesco's Clubcard loyalty scheme across the Esso network, following its successful introduction and jointly-operated sites in February, said Petroworld.

The scheme will be available through company-owned sites as well as several dealers, though some dealers have opted not to offer cards. The final number of sites participating in the popular loyalty scheme has yet to be announced.

Esso and Tesco jointly run 198 fuel service stations featuring a Tesco shop and Esso-branded fuel. When the two firms began introducing the Clubcard at these sites, Esso Director Simon Herbert indicated that an expansion across the entire retail network was possible.

As MRC wrote before, Louisiana's Department of Environmental Quality says Exxon Mobil Corp. has agreed to pay nearly USD2.4 million in fines, improvements and other payments to settle violations at Baton Rouge-area plants. About USD2.3 million will resolve violations from 2008 into this year at four plants, including the company's Baton Rouge refinery. Another USD62,000 is for a release of naphtha in June 2012 at the Baton Rouge Complex.

ExxonMobil is the largest non-government owned company in the energy industry and produces about 3 percent of the world's oil and about 2% of the world's energy.

SOCAR Polymer attracts a private investor and enters Azerbaijani capital market

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) is creating a new company to become a potential participant in the country’s capital market, said Abc.az.

SOCAR vice-president Suleyman Gasimov says that organizational period for company SOCAR Polymer, a new SOCAR subsidiary being created for operations in Sumgait Chemical Industrial Park (SKSP) is going to complete soon.

"SOCAR, which is the 100 percent owner of the new company, has already paid its share capital for AZN 51 million. This allowed the company to begin the process of ordering the technical equipment. SOCAR Polymer has an investment program of USD485 million to be formed at the expense of a private partner, borrowing from banks and the securities market of Azerbaijan. SOCAR plans to transfer a 49% equity stake in SOCAR Polymer to large local private company," Gasimov said.

He added that SOCAR Polymer will finance the investment program on standard scheme - 30% at the expense of its own funds and 70% due to raising from banks and capital markets.

"As we don’t yet know the size of the contribution of the private partner, and it is still difficult to assess borrowing from banks and volume of bond issuance in the Azerbaijani market," Gasimov said.

Earlier, SOCAR announced for 2013 the possibility of issuing its own corporate bonds worth up to AZN 500 million at the Azerbaijani market.

As MRC wrote before, Petkim together with its key owner, SOCAR plans to transform Aliaga into an industrial cluster. The transformation has several positive effects on Petkim. Star refinery, Petlim and Petkojen projects are the key earnings drivers. Among these initiatives, the building of Star refinery by SOCAR-Turcas, the container port project Petlim and co-generation plant project Petkojen are the key additions.

SOCAR includes production association Azneft (companies producing oil and gas on land and sea) and Production Association Azerkimya (chemical industry), production association Azerigas (gas distribution).
The State Oil Company is the only producer of oil products in the country (it has two refineries on its balance sheet) and also owns petrol stations in Azerbaijan, Georgia, Ukraine and Romania. SOCAR possesses a network of petrol stations in Switzerland and is the co-owner of the largest Turkish petrochemical complex Petkim.


Kazanorgsintez to shut HDPE capacities for scheduled maintenance

MOSCOW (MRC) - Russian largest producer of polyethylene - Kazanorgsyntez (TAIF, Tatarstan) began a gradual shutdown of its high density polyethylene (HDPE) capacities for scheduled maintenance, according to MRC analysts.

Kazanorgsintez stopped the operatoin of one of its three reactors for HDPE production on Tuesday, 10 September.
The rest two reactors for HDPE production are to be stopped by the end of the week.

Scheduled shutdown of the plant's HDPE capacities, a part of the annual preventive maintenance, will last about 30 days.

The annual HDPE production capacity of the Kazanorgsintez plant is 470,000 tonnes. As per MRC data, Kazanorgsintez produced about 284,000 tonnes of HDPE in January - July 2013.

Kazanorgsintez , a wholly owned subsidiary of the TAIF group, is the largest Russian PE producer. The company produces more than 38% of Russian polyethylene. It also produces polyethylene pipes. In the first quarter of this year, the total production of polyethylene by Kazanorgsintez made more than 185,000 tonnes.