Kuwait and Vietnam agree to execute a joint refinery and petrochemical project

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Kuwaiti Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Oil Mustafa Al-Shimali and Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung agreed to smoothly execute a joint refinery and petrochemical project and confirmed the two governments' strong commitments to strengthening bilateral ties, as per Plastemart.

While thanking the Vietnamese government for creating favourable conditions for the project by supporting essential requirement to facilitate the Nghi Son Refinery and petrochemical project between Kuwait, Vietnam and Japan, Al-Shimali renewed Kuwait's commitment to supplying 100% crude oil in the long term for the vital joint venture.

The petrochem project involves Kuwait, Vietnam and Japan, with state-run Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) set to supply all of its feedstock requirements.

As MRC informed earlier, this summer, Mitsui Chemicals, Idemitsu Kosan, Kuwait Petroleum International, and Petro Vietnam announced the final decision to invest a total USD9 billion in their refinery and petrochemical complex construction project at Nghi Son economic zone, Thanh Hoa Province, Vietnam. This final decision on project investment and financing agreements will allow construction to start in July. Construction is scheduled for completion in 2016. The plant, to be located in 180 km south of Hanoi, is expected to start commercial operations in 2017 with a refining capacity of 200,000 bpd, equivalent to 10 mln tpa.

This project, which has at its base the stable supply of crude oil from Kuwait, will capture rapidly growing demand for petroleum products in Vietnam while also responding to forecasted expanding aromatic (paraxylene and benezene) markets and export sales of polypropylene products. The large-scaled project is expected to yield high returns.

Idemitsu Kosan and Kuwait Petroleum International each hold a 35.1% stake in the planned refinery, while PetroVietnam and Mitsui Chemicals own 25.1% and 4.7%, respectively. KPI is a unit of state-owned Kuwait Petroleum.

PP output in Russia grew by 22% in January-September 2013

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The launch of new plants allowed Russia to achieve a major increase in production of polypropylene (PP). PP output rose by 22% in the first nine months of 2013, according to MRC ScanPlast.

The overall PP output in Russia grew to 583,000 tonnes in January-September from 487,000 tonnes for the same period in 2012. The start-up of the new plants in Omsk (180,000 tonnes per year) and Tobolsk (500,000 tonnes per year) has significantly ramped up production of PP.

The structure of the output in terms of plants' production share over the reporting period is as follows.

Nizhnekamskneftekhim (part of TAIF group) produced about 153,600 tonnes in the first nine months of 2013, while during the same period in 2012, the plant produced 159,000 tonnes. The drop in PP production was caused by a scheduled outage for maintenance in September (maintenance workd were not carried out in 2012).

Tomskneftekhim (part of SIBUR) reduced its PP production for the said period to 92,000 tonnes from 100,000 tonnes a year earlier. The plant's decline in production was also caused by a long shutdown for maintenance in July-August 2013.

Conversely, Moscow "Neftekhimia" (part of SIBUR) increased its PP output up to 91,700 tonnes this year because of optimization of maintenance works from 82,000 tonnes a year earlier.

Stavrolen produced about 95,000 tonnes of PP in January - September 2013, while during the same perion in 2012, the plant produced 55,000 tonnes. This significant increase in the output was caused by the outage in January-February 2012 and a long incomplete capacity utilisation in 2012.

Ufaogrsintez produced about 87,000 tonnes of PP in January-September 2013, down 4% year on year. The drop in production was caused by limited feedstock supplies (propane-propylene fraction) in the last few months.

Poliom (part of Titan group) launched its PP production on February 11 2013, and in September the plant was shut down for a turnaround. Its output totalled 73,600 tonnes in January-September.

Tobolsk-Polymer (part of SIBUR) launched PP production in a test mode in May 2013. The President of the Russian Federation officially opened the plant on October 10. The information on the plant's output has not been disclosed yet, about 9,400 tonnes of Tobolsk PP were exported from the start-up until September.


Imports of unmixed PVC to Belarus dropped by 20% in August

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Belarusian companies reduced imports of unmixed polyvinyl chloride (PVC) in August by 20% from July. European material accounted for the main decrease in supplies, reported MRC analysts.

Imports of unmixed PVC (SPVC and EPVC) to Belarus fell to 3,800 tonnes in August from 4,700 tonnes in July. Local converters are more focused on exports of finished products made of PVC (the Russian market accounted for more than 70% of exports), but higher August prices in Europe forced them to reduce purchases. Limited export quotas from many European producers also contributed to reductions in shipments.

German and Polish producers are the key suppliers of PVC to Belarus. August imports from these countries dropped to 1,600 tonnes and 1,400 tonnes, respectively. PVC imports from these countries totalled 15,000 tonnes and 10,500 tonnes, respectively, in January-August 2013.

The overall PVC imports to Belarus exceeded 30,500 tonnes in the first eight months of the year, up by 15.7% year on year.

Sartomer unveils its latest innovative acrylates

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Sartomer (part of Arkema group), a key leader in high performance UV curable acrylates, has introduced its latest developments for UV/EB curable specialty acrylates, reported Arkema in its press-release.

Sartomer presented its ongoing commitment in the coating and graphic arts industries, with the following developments: innovative acrylates designed to answer the changing technical and regulatory requirements in most applications (food packaging, wood coating, etc.) - Bisphenol A, Tin, PETiA free solutions; low migration range (LM); SARBIO, based on renewable raw materials.

These products accont for unique chemistry to meet high performance features: adhesion, barrier properties, dual cure, high toughness, low viscosity, outdoor resistance, scratch resistance, soft-touch.

We remind, as MRC informed previously, this summer, Arkema, a France-based chemical manufacturer, intoduced a comprehensive range of PEKK (Poly Ether Ketone Ketone) ultra high performance polymers comprised of three families of products whose properties meet the requirements of aerospace, oil exploration and electronics applications. These new materials significantly expand Arkema’s high performance materials offerings to high added value markets.

Sartomer is part of Arkema. Sartomer is the premier global supplier of specialty chemicals for ultraviolet and electron beam (UV/EB), peroxide, and two-part epoxy/amine systems. For more than 50 years, Sartomer has pioneered the development of these advanced technologies, introducing hundreds of products that enhance performance in coatings, inks, adhesives, composites, rubber and other demanding applications.

Arkema is a leading European supplier of chlorochemicals and PVC. Kynar and Kynar Flex are registered trademarks of Arkema Inc.

Grangemouth refinery stays shut as labor talks fail

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The Grangemouth refinery will probably stay shut for the time being after talks broke down between its owner Ineos Group Holdings and the Unite union over plans to cut costs and changes to wages and pensions, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Ineos, which operates the 210,000 bpd facility and a petrochemical plant, said the union refused to rule out industrial action during a 60-day consultation on the company’s cost-cutting plan. Unite, the UK's largest union, said it would only return to talks if the company suspends the proposal.

"For any negotiations to take place they have to drop the imposition on the workers," Peter Welsh, a spokesman for Unite, said by phone.

Employees already offered to hold off on any industrial action until December 31 in the last round of mediated talks, which ended without a deal this week, Welsh said.

As MRC wrote previously, Unite called off a 48-hour strike on October 16 which threatened to cut about 45 % of United Kingdom’s crude production. The site supplies power and steam to BP’s neighboring Kinneil processing plant, which handles crude from the Forties Pipeline System, gathered from more than 80 offshore fields.

"The union refused to accept Ineos offer to restart the Grangemouth plant in exchange for a commitment that there will be no further industrial action this year" Ineos said in an e-mailed statement after a meeting with Unite.

The facility will continue to supply steam to Kinneil while the refinery is offline, Richard Longden, a spokesman for Ineos said by phone from London. The Grangemouth oil refinery is jointly owned by Ineos and PetroChina, while Ineos is the sole owner of the petrochemical site, which has a capacity of 1 MMtpy.

Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond met with both parties, urging Ineos to restore production and calling on the union to pledge not to strike until the end of the year, according to a statement from the Scottish government.

Restoring full production after the outage could take weeks, Ineos said. During the eight weeks it took to reach normal refinery operations after the 2008 strike, a compressor caught fire and crude oil leaked, the company said.

As MRC reported before, Ineos Grangemouth plant is likely to be shut down in the next three years if it continues losing over GBP100 million every year, as per Ineos chairman of Olefins and Polymers Europe. The main reasons for the massive losses are the decline in North Sea petrochemical feedstocks and the site’s pension scheme deficit of GBP200 million, two issues Ineos is now working to address.

INEOS Group Limited is a privately owned multinational chemicals company consisting of 15 standalone business units, headquartered in Rolle, Switzerland and with its registered office in Lyndhurst, United Kingdom. It is the fourth largest chemicals company in the world measured by revenues (after BASF, Dow Chemical and LyondellBasell) and the largest privately owned company in the United Kingdom.