Sustainable packaging market growth, volatile crude prices to drive bio based PET market

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Global bio based PET market is expected to reach 5,800 kilo tons by 2020 , according to a new study by Grand View Research, Inc., said Plastemart.

Market Size in 2013 was 650 kilo tons and is expected to grow at CAGR of 40.9% from 2014 to 2020. Growing GHG emission concerns has fuelled demand for eco-friendly substitute, which is expected to boost bio-based PET market growth in the near future. Companies such as The Coca Cola Company, Heinz & Co., Ford Motors, Nike Co. and Proctor & Gamble have signed Plant PET Technology Collaborative (PTC), intended for development and use of 100% bio-based PET in their product offerings.

These developments are expected to provide new market opportunities over the forecast period. Bio-based PET was predominantly used for the packaging of CSD (Carbonated Soft Drinks), accounting for more than 75% of market share in 2013. Growing beverage consumption in emerging markets of BRICS is expected to drive bio based PET market growth. CSD marketing companies such as Coca-Cola are committed on promoting the use of bio-based PET in packaging, which is expected to have a major impact on market growth in the near future.

Asia Pacific accounted for over 30% of global bio based PET demand in 2013. The Japanese government's target of 20% of bio-based plastics consumption by 2020 coupled with application growth of packaging and technical applications in China and India is expected to boost regional market growth over the next six years.

European Commission has included bio-based production as a key priority area intended for increasing industry share in EU's GDP from 15% to 20%, which in turn is expected to provide new opportunities for the market in the near future.

The market is expected to be highly competitive, on account of limited presence of manufacturers such as Coca-Cola Company, Toyota Tsusho and Teijin Limited. Raw material manufacturers including Gevo, Virent and Anellotech have invested in the development of fully bio-based PTA, intended for 100% bio-based PET production.


Total SA to acquire 68% stake in Germany’s Polyblend GmbH

MOSCOW (MRC) -- French oil and gas giant Total SA plans to buy a 68% stake in Germany’s Polyblend GmbH, a subsidiary of Polymer-Chemie GmbH, said Plastics News.

It will notably facilitate the transfer of know-how, which was already planned through a technical assistance contract for the start-up and operation of the two new lines. Total does not currently produce the type of reinforced polyolefin compounds made by Polyblend, but two production lines with a total capacity of 30,000 metric tpa are being built on Total’s Carling, France, site with the aim to start in Spring 2016. This acquisition strengthens Total on the market and permits Total to access the recognized expertise of Polyblend in compounds; and the ‘compounds fiberglass’ technology, a high-growth segment in which Total is not yet present.

Total announced in 2013 that it intended to invest 160 million euros (USD200.9 million) before 2016 to adapt its petrochemical platform in Carling, in the Lorraine region of eastern France. Patrick Pouyanne, president of Refining & Chemicals Total said: "By making Carling the European center for the hydrocarbon resin business and a leading European polymers plant as part of an extensive investment plan, we are confirming our willingness to maintain sustainable industrial activities in France while investing in promising markets."

Total S.A. is a French multinational oil and gas company and one of the six "Supermajor" oil companies in the world with business in Europe, the United States, the Middle East and Asia. The company's petrochemical products cover two main groups: base chemicals and the consumer polymers (polyethylene, polypropylene and polystyrene) that are derived from them.

Williams Partners Geismar Plant is in final stages of commissioning

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Williams Partners L.P. has announced its expanded Geismar plant is in the final stages of commissioning and now expects ethylene production for sale to begin in December, as per the company's statement.

"Some of these commissioning activities have taken longer than originally planned, but as we have stated throughout this process, safety is our number one priority," said John Dearborn, senior vice president of NGL & Petchem Services. "And I want to thank our Geismar team for its focus on safety throughout this complex expansion and rebuild effort."

Capacity at the Geismar plant is now 1.95 billion pounds of ethylene per year. Williams Partners' share of the total capacity of the expanded plant is approximately 1.7 billion pounds per year.

As MRC wrote previously, in late October 2014, Williams Partners L.P. announced it expected its expanded Geismar Olefins plant to begin manufacturing ethylene for sale in November. That timeline was consistent with the financial guidance the partnership provided in July. All major construction related to the rebuild of the damaged plant, the expansion project and the safety-related equipment installation had been complete by then.

In late 2012, Williams Partners signed an agreement with Williams to purchase the company's 83% undivided interest in the Geismar olefins production facility, a refinery-grade propylene splitter, for USD2.264bn.

Williams, headquartered in Tulsa, Okla., is one of the leading energy infrastructure companies in North America. It owns controlling interests in both Williams Partners L.P. and Access Midstream Partners, L.P. through its ownership of 100% of the general partner of each partnership. Additionally, Williams owns approximately 66% and 50% of the limited partner units of Williams Partners L.P. and Access Midstream Partners, L.P., respectively. On June 15, 2014 Williams proposed the merger of Williams Partners and Access Midstream Partners. The proposed merger has been approved by boards of each partnership and is expected to close in early 2015.

Propylene consumption hits 85m tonnes in 2013

MOSCOW (MRC) -- About 85 million tonnes of propylene, the second most important petrochemical feedstock, were consumed worldwide last year, according to a recent study, said Tradearabia.

The study by market research institute Ceresana pointed out that its direct applications include production of important chemicals such as propylene oxide, acrylonitrile, cumene, butyraldehyde and acrylic acid, besides the plastic polypropylene.

The study analysed the effect of the shale gas boom in the US and the new production processes will have on the global market for propylene and its derivatives, said Oliver Kutsch, chief executive officer of Ceresana. The forecast was provided for up until 2021.

A large share of propylene output occurs either as by-product in the steam cracking of ethylene or catalytic cracking in refineries, it said. As a result of an increasing use of ethane, steam crackers produce more and more ethylene and less and less propylene. But Ceresana expects a rising amount of propylene to be manufactured using on-purpose technologies. This development is expected to lead to a stabilisation of prices for propylene.

Therefore, Ceresana expects propylene revenues to rise at a lower rate of 5.3 per cent per annum until 2021, compared to the previous eight years, even though demand for propylene continues to rise quite significantly.

The most important of the on-purpose technologies for the production of propylene is the dehydrogenation of propane (PDH technology). Given an increasing price differential between propylene and propane, this technology is becoming more profitable not only in countries with extensive gas resources, said the study.

The new PDH plants are currently put on stream in various regions and production potential for propylene will rise accordingly, it said.

Supported by the new PDH plants, propylene production in North America is set to rise significantly in the future after output fell between 2005 and 2013. The highest growth rates, on the other hand, has been forecast for Eastern Europe, where development will be dominated by Russia, and the Middle East. Western Europe, however, will suffer the combined effects of increasing international pricing pressure and weak demand development, with the study anticipating a decline of production volume in this region.

As a result of the limited Chinese crude oil resource, manufacturers of propylene are dependent in imports. Output of non-crude oil based propylene products is to be increased considerably in the future.

In order to achieve this goal, new coal to olefins (CTO) and PDH plants will be put on stream. According to Ceresana analysis, Chinese production will increase by up to eight per cent in upcoming years. Due a rapid surge of demand, however, China will continue to import large amounts of propylene.


Russian tax reform to benefit oil and refined exporters

MOSCOW (MRC) -- New laws signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin are predicted to benefit Russian oil and refined product exporters while hurting domestic petrochemical producers and refiners, Moody's Investor Service said, as per Plastemart.

However, to mitigate the impact of the expected higher feedstock prices, Russia is planning to refund excise duties to the petrochemical companies, Russian industry sources said. Export duties on crude and refined products are to be slashed by 50% over three years, while increasing extraction taxes 1.7-fold for oil and 6.5-fold for gas condensate.

The new law is predicted to lower the tax burden on oil exporters 2-3%, with Rosneft, Lukoil and Tatneft anticipated to benefit the most, as increased production costs are more than offset by lower export duties. Domestic petrochemical producers will struggle to pass on increased costs as the government discourages above-inflation fuel price rises. The situation could worsen further if the ruble continues to depreciate, having lost 40% since the beginning of 2013, and extraction becomes more expensive.

The so-called tax maneuver lowers the export duty on naphtha from 90% to 85% of the crude export duty. But to mitigate the effect of the lower duty, which will push the export netback up and subsequently domestic naphtha prices, the government will offer a refund to petrochemical users who use naphtha as a feedstock. Petrochemical users are already exempt from an excise duty on naphtha, but will receive a refund 1.37 times the amount of the naphtha excise duty in 2015 when they use it as a feedstock. Separately, they will receive refunds of the excise duty on benzene, paraxylene and orthoxylene at the amount of 2.88 times in 2015, when those are used for further downstream petrochemical production.