PET prices in Asia fell below the psychological level of USD1,000/tonne FOB

MOSCOW (MRC) - Importers of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) in the CIS countries reported a price drop for Chinese bottle grade PET.
This week the price for PET chips fell below psychological level of USD1,000/tonne FOB China, according to ICIS-MRC Price Report.

On Tuesday, 16, December export quotations for Asian PET were heard in the range of USD980-1,010/tonne FOB China, excluding VAT.
Buying activity remains weak on a bearish market. Prices for PET have been falling in line with decline in the feedstock prices.

Producers of terephthalic acid (PTA) in China have reduced capacity utilisation in an attempt to keep prices from further decline. At the same time, falling prices of paraxylene will force producers of PTA to make concessions to buyers (PET producers).

Paraxylene prices have dropped below USD900/tonne CFR China last week. However, though margins in the production of paraxylene narrowed, but remains high. The difference between the prices of paraxylene and naphtha in Asia last week reached USD350/tonne.

Producers of paraxylene will go on further price cuts amid falling oil quotations, which affects PET prices. According to MRC Price Forecast report, PET prices in roubles in the Russian market will continue upward trend in December 2014 and January 2015.

Importers have received cheapening PET in dollar terms (coming to the market with a delay of 45-50 days). However, the rate of national currency are falling, ahead of price reductions for PET chips in Asia, leading to an increase in the cost of procurement.

Russian PET prices are far from the parity to Asian prices (considerably lower). Local plants will continues to raise prices in 2015.


HDPE imports to Russia grew by 3% from January to November 2014

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Imports of high density polyethylene (HDPE) to the Russian market rose by 3% over the first eleven months of 2014. September, a month of shutdowns for maintenance at Tatarstan plants, accounted for the peak imports, after which imports began gradually to decline, according to MRC DataScope report.

September accounted for the peak HDPE imports, when Tatarstan producers - Kazanorgsintez and Nizhnekamskneftekhim - shut down their production for scheduled maintenance works. Imports began to decrease since October and totalled just over 21,000 tonnes in November (28,600 tonnes in October). The overall imports of this polyethylene (PE) grade to Russia increased to 275,500 tonnes from January to November 2014 versus 266,900 tonnes a year earlier. Extrusion blow moulding HDPE accounted for the largest increase in imports.

The supply structure by consumption sectors looks the following way over the stated period.

Last month's pipe grade HDPE imports fell to 5,200 tonnes under the pressure of seasonal factors from 7,400 tonnes in October. The overall imports of pipe grade PE to Russia totalled 78,800 tonnes over the first eleven months of 2014, up by 23% year on year.

November imports of HDPE for extrusion coating of large-diameter steel pipes virtually remained at the level of October and totalled 5,500 tonnes. PE shipments into this processing sector decreased by 20% over the said period and reached 54,400 tonnes. Lower imports of this HDPE grade were caused by the increased domestic production among other reasons (Metakley launched a similar PE production in the middle of 2014). Nizhnekamskneftekhim also intends to enter this segment.

Last month's imports of blow moulding HDPE fell almost two-fold in comparison with October and were 3,300 tonnes. The fall in imports was caused by both seasonal factors and increased shipments of Russian producers, particularly, of Kazanorgsintez. The overall imports of this PE grade surged by 40% from January to November 2014 to 49,300 tonnes.

November imports of injection moulding HDPE remained at the level of October and were 3,600 tonnes. Imports of this HDPE grade to Russia rose by only 3% over the first eleven months of the year and totalled about 43,000 tonnes.

September accounted for the peak film grade HDPE imports - 7,800 tonnes, and then shipments began to rapidly decline. Last month's figure dropped to 2,000 tonnes (4,600 tonnes in October). Film grade PE imports were 36,800 tonnes over the said period, down by 15% year on year.

HDPE imports to other sectors of consumption (cable extrusion, rotational moulding, etc.) dropped to 13,000 tonnes from 14,800 tonnes a year earlier.


LLDPE imports to Russia rose by 1% from January to November 2014

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Imports of linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) into the Russian market grew by only 1% over the first eleven months of 2014. Stronger demand for LLDPE was registered only from producers of large items by rotational moulding, whereas demand in the key sector (film extrusion) remained at the same level as last year, according to MRC DataScope report.

November LLDPE imports to the Russian market fell to 16,900 tonnes from 17,700 tonnes in October on the back of weaker demand from multilayer films producers. The overall imports of this polyethylene (PE) grade to Russia increased to 192,900 tonnes from January to November 2014 versus 191,800 tonnes a year earlier. PE imports from key customers, films producers, actually remained at the last year's level, whereas demand for LLDPE from producers of large items by rotational moulding rose by 9%.

The supply structure by consumption sectors looks the following was over the stated period.

Last month's imports of film grade LLDPE decreased to 15,200 tonnes from 16,600 tonnes in October because of lower purchasing of multilayer films producers. The overall film grade LLDPE imports to Russia totalled 171,100 tonnes over the first eleven months of 2014, while last year the figure was 170,800 tonnes.

November imports of LLDPE for rotational moulding (large items production) totalled 464 tonnes versus 114 tonnes a month earlier. PE shipments to this processing sector grew by 9% over the said period to 10,700 tonnes. Two Asian manufacturers - Lotte Chemical and SCG Chemicals - kept the key position in this market.

LLDPE imports from other sectors of consumption (lamination, cable extrusion, compounding, moulding, pipe extrusion, etc.) fell to 11,100 tonnes from January to November of 2014 versus 11,300 tonnes a year earlier.


Tasnee to increase stake in TiO2 producer Cristal

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Tasnee, one of the largest industrial conglomerates in Saudi Arabia, has entered into an agreement to increase its stake in titanium dioxide (TiO2) producer Cristal, reported Chemical Technology.

The company will pay SAR1.8bn (USD480m) to acquire an additional 13% stake in Cristal from Gulf Investment.
Tasnee already has a 66% stake in Cristal, while Gulf Investment holds the remaining interest. Gulf Investment is a venture capital unit equally owned by the six states of the Gulf Cooperation Council, including Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

"Tasnee already has a 66% stake in Cristal, while Gulf Investment holds the remaining interest."

The transaction forms part of the company's plan to increase stakes in its subsidiaries and the company expects that its impact will reflect on its earnings from the first quarter of 2015. Tasnee had made a bid to acquire the stake in Cristal in September.

In January, Tasnee and Cristal partnered with Toho Titanium to construct a production facility adjacent to Cristal's TiO2 plant in Yanbu Industrial City.

As MRC informed before, last year, Clariant, a world leader in specialty chemicals, and Tasnee announced the signing of an agreement to establish a masterbatches joint venture in Saudi Arabia. Within the framework of the agreement, through its 100% subsidiary Rowad National Plastic Company Ltd., Tasnee will acquire a 40% stake in Clariant’s masterbatches operations in the country, already operating under the name Clariant Masterbatches (Saudi Arabia) Ltd.

Headquartered in Riyadh, Tasnee is primarily engaged in petrochemical, chemical and industrial projects. The
company produces petrochemical products, including polypropylene, polyethylene and acrylic acid, as well as other downstream petrochemical products.

Saudi Aramco, ExxonMobil complete clean fuels project at Yanbu refinery

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Saudi Aramco Mobil Refinery Co. (SAMREF), a JV between Saudi Aramco and ExxonMobil, has completed construction of major desulfurization facilities, including a new hydrotreater, that dramatically cuts sulfur levels in gasoline and diesel, as per Hydracarbonprocessing.

"We continue to apply advantaged technology that will deliver world-class products that contribute to the fuels value chain," said Darren Woods, senior vice president of ExxonMobil. "The successful, recent startup of the Clean Fuels Project illustrates the refinery’s advancements and preparations to meet global energy demands."

The SAMREF partnership, which is celebrating 30 years of joint refining operations, demonstrates the long-term collaboration and progress to meeting the energy needs of Saudi Arabia’s growing economy. The project is the largest investment in SAMREF’s history and will reduce the sulfur levels in gasoline and diesel by more than 98%, to 10 ppm, which makes the refinery an industry leader in emissions reduction.

"Our long-term partnership benefits from the technology and innovation from both companies," said Khalid Al-Falih, president and CEO of Saudi Aramco. "Our refinery will continue to be an industry leader throughout the Middle East and in the global market place well into the future. It is also testimony of Saudi Arabia’s long-standing role as a reliable energy supplier to key geographic areas of the world."

“The company contributes to the global competitiveness of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by providing world class fuels, but also creating jobs and improving the surrounding environment," added Mohammad Al Naghash, CEO of SAMREF.

SAMREF is a joint venture between the Saudi Arabian Oil Co. (Saudi Aramco) and Mobil Yanbu Refining Co. (a wholly-owned subsidiary of ExxonMobil) The SAMREF refinery complex was formed for the development, construction, ownership and operation of crude oil refining facilities in Yanbu, Saudi Arabia.

Following the construction and start-up of the facilities, it commenced operations in late 1984.

As MRC wrote before, Saudi Arabia plans to build a plant able to turn crude directly into chemicals, without first having to refine the oil. Development of the Saudi petrochemical sector is part of Riyadh’s strategy for diversifying the economy away from heavy dependence on crude export revenues. Chemical companies usually process refined oil products into petrochemicals, such as ethylene and propylene, that are then used to make plastics and other products.

Saudi Aramco, officially the Saudi Arabian Oil Company, is a Saudi Arabian national oil and natural gas company based in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Saudi Aramco was estimated to be the world's most valuable company. It is the largest oil company in the world due to having the largest proven oil reserves, about 260 billion barrels, and the highest production, 10 million barrels per day. Saudi Aramco owns and operates four refineries serving the local market, with a combined refining capacity of 1 MMbpd. The firm also has a 50% interest in SAMREF and in SATORP, a joint venture with Total, which will also produce cleaner fuels.MRC