Chevron fights hike in South Africa fuel imports, citing harm to refinery

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Chevron Corp. is trying to block an increase in fuel imports to Cape Town, where the US oil company operates one of South Africa’s refineries, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The country of 53 million people doesn’t produce enough fuel to meet demand from motorists, forcing shipments from refineries elsewhere. Burgan Cape Terminals wants to build storage tank near Chevron’s plant to supply the nearby Western Cape province. Chevron says that will undermine the profitability of its 110,000-bpd plant, first commissioned in 1966.

The San Ramon, California-based oil company "does not oppose the construction of the fuel storage and distribution terminal to provide access to new entrants," it said in an e- mail. "We do oppose imports which could have a detrimental impact on national manufacturing capacity and capability."

Burgan is 70% owned by terminal operator VTTI B.V., a joint venture of energy trader Vitol and Malaysian shipping company MISC. It’s applied to National Energy Regulator of South Africa, or Nersa, to construct fuel storage and distribution facilities near Chevron’s refinery, which accounts for almost a quarter of South Africa’s crude oil refining capacity. The regulator will hold a hearing on the matter today.

While most people using the tanks would get fuel from the refinery, they would also have the option to ship products in from abroad, said Muziwandile Mseleku, CEO of Burgan Cape Terminals.

As MRC wrote before, a pump serving ethylene unit No. 22 at Chevron Phillips Chemical's Sweeny, Texas plant has shut unexpectedly, according to a filing with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. The ethylene unit has an production capacity of 300,000 m tpa. Chevron Phillips operates three steam crackers at the Sweeny site, with estimated ethylene production of 1.9 mln mtpa.

Chevron Phillips Chemica, headquartered in The Woodlands, Texas (north of Houston), US,l is one of the world’s top producers of olefins and polyolefins and a leading supplier of aromatics, alpha olefins, styrenics, specialty chemicals, piping, and proprietary plastics. Chevron and Phillips 66 each own 50% of Chevron Phillips Chemical.

SIBUR reduces its export EPS prices by USD140/tonne

MOSCOW (MRC) -- SIBUR, Russia's leading producer of expandable polystyrene (EPS), has reduced its export EPS prices for December shipmentss, according to ICIS-MRC Price report.

Importers of Russian polystyrene (PS) to foreign markets reported a decrease in the supplier's price this week. Expectations of future prices and preliminary agreements on reducing contract prices were announced at the end of last week, but buyers heard the final confirmation on Monday, a source added.

Offer prices for EPS export shipments from the plant's warehouse (SIBUR-Khimprom) in December dropped by USD140/tonne. This contract price will be effective for shipments from 1 December.

SIBUR-Khimprom specializes in the processing of liquid hydrocarbons and production of a number of petrochemical products, among which are liquefied gases, styrene, butyl alcohol, methyl tert-butyl ether, liquid pyrolysis products (resins). In 2010, Sibur-Khimprom"started production of expandable polystyrene (EPS) of Alphapor grade. To date, the plant is the largest EPS producer in Russia and the CIS countries.

PP production in Russia increased by 19% in January - October 2014

MOSCOW (MRC) - Production of polypropylene (PP) in Russia increased to 833,800 tonne in In first ten months of this year, up 19% year on year, compared to the same period of 2013. The largest increase in production volumes showed new production sites in Omsk and Tobolsk, according to MRC ScanPlast.

October PP production in Russia rose to a record level in history, and reached 109,600 tonnes on the back of the resumption of production at Stavrolen (100,500 tonnes in September). Total PP production in Russia reached 833,800 tonnes in January - October 2014, compared with 698,400 tonnes year on year. Such a significant rise in production resulted from the increase in the production rates at Poliom and Tobolsk-Polimer, launched in 2013.

Structure of PP production over the reported period was as follows. Tobolsk-Polymer (SIBUR) came close to the 100% production rates in October, having produced 43,600 tonnes of PP. Total PP production at Tobolsk-Polymer was 194,400 tonnes in January - October 2014.

Poliom (GK Titan, Omsk) increased PP production in October to 17,500 tonnes, compared with 15,800 tonnes in September. The producer's PP output was 142,800 tonnes in the first ten months of 2014, up 62% year on year.

PP production at Nizhnekamskneftekhim and Ufaorgsintez increased by 3% in the first ten months of the year, reaching 177,600 tonnes and 100,700 tonnes respectively.

Tomskneftekhim because of many factors, including the high level of capacity utilisation, kept its PP production at the last year level - 104,500 tonnes of PP in the first ten months of this year.

Neftekhimia (Kapotnya), on the contrary, reduced PP production in January-October by 11% to 90,500 tonnes.

Stavrolen resumed PP production on 13, October, following long time emergency shutdown. The producer's PP production was 5,400 tonnes in less than a month of work. The producer's PP production was 23,400 tonnes in January-October 2014.


Importers reduced PS shipments to Ukraine by 16% from January to October 2014

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Imports of general purpose polystyrene (GPPS) and high impact polystyrene (HIPS) to the Ukrainian market decreased by 16% over the first ten months of 2014 and totalled 21,500 tonnes, according to ICIS-MRC ScanPlast report.

Market players said buying activity remained very low in the GPPS and HIPS markets in October. The overall October imports of GPPS and HIPS to Ukraine totalled 2,100 tonnes versus 2,500 tonnes in September.

Nizhnekamskneftekhim remained the main supplier of material for Ukrainian polystyrene (PS) converters. Imports of Russian GPPS and HIPS of Nizhnekamskneftekhim were 17,000 tonnes from January to October 2014, down by 300 tonnes year on year. Styrolution is the second largest PS supplier, its imports totalled 1,200 tonnes, down by 2 times year on year.

The military actions in the east of Ukraine and the general deterioration of macroeconomic figures in the economy have negatively affected the consumption of material. Stirol (Gorlovka), the only Ukrainian PS producer, continued to be idle. GPPS and HIPS were not produced in Ukraine. The plant will not resume its production this year. The plant is located in the disputed territory between the conflicting parties. The infrastructure in the region was significantly damaged, therefore, the launch of the plant in 2015 remains in question.

ExxonMobil Canada to allocate HDPE grades from Sarnia plant

MOSCOW (MRC) -- ExxonMobil Chemical Canada is allocating sales of rotational and injection molding high density polyethylene products produced at its Sarnia plant, following operational difficulties at the site, said Plastemart, citing a letter to customers dated 24 November.

ExxonMobil said it is "currently assessing the full impact of our polyethylene supply capability" and will determine allocation levels at a later date.

The plant experienced a small "flash fire" on 13 November, which was contained to the polyethylene unit. All production at the unit has stopped as it undergoes a period of unplanned maintenance, a spokesperson said, adding there is no estimate as to when production will resume. In the meantime, ExxonMobil will fill orders with resin from other production facilities.

As MRC wrote before, Foster Wheeler has announced that a subsidiary of its global engineering and construction business has been awarded an engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contract by ExxonMobil Petroleum & Chemical (Esso) to upgrade its Antwerp refinery in Belgium.

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.