Imports of titanium dioxide in Russia grew by 14% in 2013

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Imports of titanium dioxide (TiO2) surged in 2013 by 14% compared with the same period of 2012. MRC analysts reported the capacity of Russian TiO2 market grew up to 74,800 tonnes last year, according to MRC DataScope.

The overall consumption of rutile TiO2 rose to 73,500 tonnes, while imports of anatase titanium dioxide fell by 600 tonnes to 1,300 tonnes.

MRC analyst Igor Grishchenko said Russia does not have domestic production of titanium dioxide. Thus, needs of paints and coatings market, plastics converters and paper producers are fully met by imports.

To date, the largest consumers of titanium dioxide in Russia are producers of paints and coatings. This sector accounts for over 80% of imported TiO2. The second place is occupied by producers of rigid compounds, which account for about 16% of the total consumption. The remaining 4% of the market is divided among producers of paper, building materials, household chemicals and other processing industries.

23 countries supplied titanium dioxide to Russia over the said period. Ukraine is the largest supplier of TiO2 - more than 24,000 tonnes in 2013. Crimea TiOx- 220 grade of Crimean Titan production and Sumtitan R-202 and Sumtitan R-206 grades of Sumykhimprom production enjoyed the greatest demand in the market among a wide range of Ukrainian grades. Imports of there grades accounted for 6,800 tonnes, 5,200 tonnes and 4,600 tonnes, respectively.

The five major suppliers also include the United States, China, Belgium and Finland. The most recognizable and popular grade in the Russian market is DuPont's Ti-pure grade (total imports in 2013 - 14,300 tonnes).

Pigments market should be mentioned separately. As per MRC's estimates, the capacity of pigments market in Russia totalled 17,800 tonnes in 2013.


Polystyrene imports to Russia fell by 18.5%

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Polystyrene (PS) imports dropped in 2013 by 18.5% and totalled 74,000 tonnes. Lower purchases in foreign markets were registered in the Russian market for the first time during three years, according to MRC Annual Report.

MRC analyst Igor Grishchenko said falling shipments of imported general purpose polystyrene (GPPS) were mostly caused by increased production of polymer at Nizhnekamsneftekhim, as well as the increased output at "Gazprom neftekhim Salavat" and PGProf. At the same time, there was a shortage of high-impact polystyrene (HIPS) in the Russian market in 2013, which local converters compensated by imports.

The overall GPPS imports into Russia fell by 28% last year and totalled about 46,500 tonnes. The construction sector, electronics and packaging were leaders in imports of GPPS grades. These sectors accounted for 40%, 33% and 24%, respectively.

HIPS imports rose by 6% to 27,500 tonnes. The largest consumers of imported HIPS in the country were still producers of electrical engineering. These companies accounted for more than 85% of total HIPS imports last year.

Edistir ICE PDR 830D grade of Polimeri Europa production remained the most popular imported HIPS grade in Russia (8,900 tonnes in 2013). Styrolution's Polystyrol 145D was the most popular grade among the imported GPPS grades (8,500 tonnes in 2013). More detailed statistics on the market balance and the most popular PS grades can be found in MRC ScanPlast.


Lukoil posts 1.9% annual output rise

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Russian independent Sika has said it expects to report production up 1.9% for 2013 as efforts to arrest falling output in West Siberia and expand overseas start to bear fruit, said Upstreamonline.

Lukoil's overall production fell in 2010 and 2011, and registered a 0.5% increase in 2012. The Moscow-headquartered explorer said it increased production to around 911 million barrels in 2013, according to preliminary figures.

The output includes oil production up 0.9% to around 635 million barrels and gas production up 4.9% to 25.8 billion cubic metres. Reserve replacement for the year is expected to be 112%, Lukoil said.

Lukoil is planning exploration in Iraq, West Africa, Romania, the Baltic Sea, the Komi Republic, Samara Oblast and the northern Caspian Sea over the coming year.

It is aiming to see commercial hydrocarbon production start at Iraq’s giant West Qurna-2 field during the first half of 2014. The explorer announces its full results for 2013 in March.

As MRC wrote before, OAO Lukoil subsidiary Lukoil Neftochim Burgas AD has secured a EUR420 million line of credit from five international banks to finance the modernization of its Burgas, Bulgaria, refinery along the Black Sea.

Major investment in Hungarian PVC recycling plant

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Hungarian vinyl flooring manufacturer Graboplast has started production at its new Euro 2.7 million (USD3.7 million) PVC recycling plant at Tatabanya in the north west of the country, said Recyclinginternational.

Said to achieve 'a major production cost saving', the facility has a capacity of 1000 tonnes per year and is designed to reduce raw material requirements at the company's flooring plants in Tatabanya and Gyor by 6-8%.

The technology includes a special grinding process that breaks PVC flooring into small pieces and then cools it to -100°C. The resulting glass-like material is then vaporised, allowing it to be used in the manufacture of new products.

The 600-square-metre processing hall was built with the help of EU and Hungarian government funds of almost Euro 800 000 (USD1.09 million).

Meanwhile, Graboplast has started building a new Euro 20 million (USD27 million) facility in Tatabanya for the production of luxury vinyl tile flooring.


Dow announces successful start-up of new propylene oxide plant in Thailand

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The Dow Chemical Company has announced that the SCG-Dow Group, a joint venture between Dow and Siam Cement Group, has finalized the start-up of its new propylene oxide (PO) facility in Thailand by successfully completing its full capacity performance test, as per Ein News.

Dow reached a key milestone in October 2011 when the plant achieved stable production levels in preparation for the full capacity run scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2011. The new facility met that target on time by successfully completing the full capacity run on November 22, 2011 - only two months after starting raw material feeds to this new plant. Additionally, the plant exceeded expectations for all quality and yield performance parameters.

The world-scale plant, located within the Asia Industrial Estates (AIE) site near Map Ta Phut, Thailand, has a name plate capacity of 390,000 tonnes per annum of PO via the innovative hydrogen peroxide to propylene oxide (HPPO) technology.

"Dow's investment in this new facility strategically enhances its existing position as the global capacity leader in PO and better positions its derivative businesses such as Polyurethanes and Propylene Glycol," said Steven English, global vice president, Dow Polyurethanes. "As a global strategic source point, Dow can better serve customers of these life-enhancing industries in Asia and beyond."

As MRC informed earlier, last year, Dow Chemical signed a long-term ethylene off-take agreement with a new Japanese joint venture that will allow the chemical producer to enhance its performance plastics franchise. The joint venture was formed between Japanese companies Idemitsu Kosan and Mitsui & Co. to construct and operate a Linear Alpha Olefins unit on the US Gulf Coast.

The Dow Chemical Company is an American multinational chemical corporation headquartered in Midland, Michigan, United States. Dow is a large producer of plastics, including polystyrene (PS), polyurethane, polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP) and synthetic rubber. Besides, Dow is the world's largest producer of propylene oxide (PO), propylene glycol (PG), and polyether polyols, and is a leading producer of quality aromatic isocyanates, such as MDI and TDI. Dow's polyurethane products enhance a broad range of applications including construction, automotive, furniture, bedding, appliance, decorative molding, athletic equipment and more.