Supply of EPVC in Russia tightened

MOSCOW (MRC) - The emergency shutdown of emulsion polyvinyl chloride (EPVC) production at Khimprom Volgograd resulted in a shortage in the Russian market. Local companies had to buy expensive European resin, according to ICIS-MRC Price Report.

Khimprom (Volgograd) has been for quite a long time on the verge of shutting down because of economic inefficiency, but continued to produce products, including emulsion PVC. However, in late November, the company had to stop production of the emulsion, and according to unofficial sources, forever.

The second Russian producer of emulsion PVC RusVinyl, has not begun commercial EPVC production yet. As a consequence, the supply of cheaper Russian EPVC disappeared in the beginning of December, only imported material left in the market, but supply is tight.

Many suppliers of imported EPVC announced their price offers in foreing currency. Price offers for European EPVC were heard in the spot market in the range of EUR1,300-1,550/tonne FCA, including VAT.

November deals for EPVC were done in the range of Rb71,000-75,000/tonne FCA, including VAT. December deals for small volumes of Asian resin were agreed on average at Rb80,000/tonne FCA, including VAT.

Many consumers were not ready for such situation, especially small productions. Companies had to temporarily suspend their purchases of feedstock.

PC imports in Russia fell by 8% in January-November 2014

MOSCOW (MRC) - Imports of unfilled polycarbonate (PC) in the Russian market declined to 33,500 tonnes in the last eleven months, down 8% year on year, according to MRC DataScope.

Players of PC market reported the general trend of weakening interest in imported PC because of the rouble devaluation and the decrease in purchasing capacity of consumers. Margins has decreased in all sectors of processing; demand for finished products has also weakened.

Converters had to use recycled material, the purchase of Russian-made PC, or to look for other polymers for more affordable price than PC granules. Another solution could be to imports of finished products. These measures are more typical for injection moulding and blowmoulding sectors.

PC consumption in the blowmoulding sector, which depends on supply from Asia, decreased to 2,500 tonnes in the first eleven months of the year, down 19% year on year. Demand for imported injection moulding PC granules for general purpose also fell by 19% over the reported period to 4,000 tonnes. In this sector is the subject import substitution, as the only Russian producer, Kazanorgsintez produces both injection moulding and extrusion PC grades for the domestic market.

However, in the extrusion segment demand for imported PC did not fall because of prices rise for domestic consumers, and even have slightly increased to 3%. Russia's imports of PC granules for sheet extrusion were 25,300 tonnes in the first eleven months of the year. Extrusion PC occupies 76% of the total imports of the PC granules.

Because of the increasing prices of Russian PC, the price delta between it and imported polymers is reduced. In the case of stabilising of the exchange rate of Asian and European material may be close in price to the Russian material, or, at least, will lead to increased competition in the extrusion segment with the approach of spring.


BPCL to invest Rs 4,588 crore in petrochemicals sector

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Bharat Petroleum (BPCL) plans to invest Rs 4,588 crore (USD741.44 mln) to diversify into the petrochemicals business, a move that will help boost margins by expanding beyond refining and retailing, as per Plastemart.

BPCL plans to boost capacity at its Kochi refinery to 310,000 bpd from the current 190,000 bpd by May 2016. The project proposal will now be submitted for obtaining environmental clearance and the petrochemical unit is expected to come on stream during financial year 2018-2019, BPCL said.

As MRC wrote before, BPCL Kochi’s integrated refinery expansion project (IREP), which will see the refining capacity increasing by 60% from the present 9.5 mln tpa to 15.5 mln tons. The project would produce 0.5 mln tpa of propylene.

Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) is an Indian state-controlled oil and gas company headquartered in Mumbai, India. Bharat Petroleum owns refineries at Mumbai, Maharashtra and Kochi, Kerala (Kochi Refineries) with a capacity of 12 and 9.5 million metric tonnes per year.

BASF builds new chemical catalysts manufacturing plant in Shanghai

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BASF is further strengthening its manufacturing footprint in Asia Pacific with a new, world-scale chemical catalysts production facility at the company’s existing site in the Shanghai Chemical Industry Park in Caojing, Shanghai, China, reported the company on its site.

The plant - BASF’s first process catalysts manufacturing facility in Asia Pacific - will produce base metal catalysts, custom catalysts, and adsorbents to meet growing Chinese and Asian market demand. These catalysts are used in the production of fatty alcohols, sulfuric acid and butanediol and for the removal of impurities from olefins.

Construction of the new plant begins this month, with the launch of manufacturing activities planned for the fourth quarter of 2016. Once operating at full capacity, the plant will create 75 new jobs in Shanghai.

"By 2020, BASF aims for local production of approximately 75% of the products we sell in Asia Pacific, in order to intensify our collaboration with and strengthen our supply position to customers in the region. To achieve this, together with our partners we are investing €10 billion from 2013 - 2020 to further develop our local production footprint in Asia Pacific. BASF’s investment in the Caojing, Shanghai, chemical catalysts plant represents another milestone in the company’s regional growth strategy," said Dr. Albert Heuser, President Functions Asia Pacific, President and Chairman Greater China, BASF.

As MRC informed previously, in October 2014, BASF inaugurated its expanded mobile emissions catalysts manufacturing operation in Shanghai, China, further strengthening the company’s regional presence and its position as a leading supplier to the automotive industry.

BASF is the leading chemical company. It produces a wide range of chemicals, for example solvents, amines, resins, glues, electronic-grade chemicals, industrial gases, basic petrochemicals and inorganic chemicals. The most important customers for this segment are the pharmaceutical, construction, textile and automotive industries.

Polystyrene from PLA bioplastic

MOSCOW (MRC) -- An affordable and environmentally friendly alternative for polystyrene from PLA bioplastic, is being developed by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, said Plastemart.

PLA (polylactide) is a bioplastic made from renewable materials with the help of lactic acid. VTT is investigating methods of foaming bioplastics to make beads that are further refined into products such as insulation sheets, using methods typical of EPS manufacturing processes.

The annual production volume of EPS is 5-6 mln tpa. Usually this non-biodegradable material ends up on waste tips or is disposed of by burning, which results in compounds that are hazardous to health. The density and heat insulation properties of the new biomaterial are similar to those of polystyrene. VTT plans to take its development work closer to industrial processing and to proceed from laboratory work to factory testing. Therefore, in order to collaborate in this development it is now looking for partners from among companies operating in the field.

PLA products similar to polystyrene already exist, but their problem is their high price. In collaboration with companies operating in the field, VTT will be looking for new and more efficient production methods to enable the manufacturing of affordable products. VTT is also developing a process for PLA based on extrusion foaming, in order to replace polystyrene in traffic and packaging applications, for example.

As MRC wrote before, Coca-Cola Company made an additional investment in the US-based Virent, which is developing its bio-based paraxylene (PX), BioFormPX. This investment will enable Virent to scale up separation and purification of BioFormPX material at their demonstration plant in Madison, Wisconsin.