Dow Freeport reports emergency shutdown at PE unit

MOSCOW (MRC) -- A polyethylene unit operated by Dow Chemical Co. in Freeport, Texas, was shut down April 3 after a release of ethylene feedstock, said Plasticsnews.

No one was injured in the incident. The cause of the release is under investigation. According to an April 3 report with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the site’s process control computer initiated an emergency venting shutdown of the reactor.

Dow has more than 1.5 billion pounds of annual high/linear low density PE swing capacity in Freeport and 850 million pounds of low density PE capacity there. It was unclear if the unit shut down — Polyethylene 4 — made one or both of those materials.

A Dow spokeswoman said in an April 6 email that the unit "experienced a process upset." She added that Midland, Mich.-based Dow does not provide comment on the duration of maintenance activities.

It’s unclear how the event will impact regional PE supplies. North American PE prices have fallen in recent months as demand has softened and lower oil prices have affected the broader market.

As MRC informed before, Dow Chemical began construction on 30, June 2014 its previously-announced world-scale ethylene production facility in Freeport, Texas. This represents a prominent milestone in the company delivering on its strategy to invest in a performance-based portfolio of technology-enabled businesses.

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, polyurethane, polyethylene, polypropylene (PP), and synthetic rubber. The company's more than 5,000 products are manufactured at 188 sites in 36 countries across the globe.

April prices of European pipe grade HDPE rose by EUR130-170/tonne for CIS countries

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Despite the relatively small increase in the April price of ethylene, European producers has announced a major increase in prices of pipe grade high density polyethylene (HDPE). Some producers altogether refused to ship material to the CIS markets in April, according to ICIS-MRC Price report.

The April contract price of ethylene in Europe was agreed by EUR55/tonne higher than in March, which led to the same increase in the polyethylene (PE) production costs. However, European producers announced an increase of EUR130-170/tonne from March in export prices of pipe grade HDPE. Such a significant rise in prices was caused by strong demand and tight supply of material in the market, which was due to a number of force majeure shutdowns at some plants and a slump in imports.

The April price rise is the second major increase in export prices of pipe grade HDPE in Europe. European buyers of material had to accept price increases of EUR120-170/tonne in March.

Negotiations over April shipments of coloured PE100 were held in the range of EUR1,280-1,370/tonne FCA last week. Deals for coloured PE80 were negotiated in the range of EUR1,280-1,340/tonne FCA.

Many companies reported that some European producers refused to ship them pipe grade PE in April, citing the lack of available quantities.

Production at Haldia Petrochemicals Ltd comes back onstream

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Production at Haldia Petrochemicals Ltd (HPL) plant has come back onstream at full throttle, as per Plastemart.

With this, demand of downstream processing units is being met, that had been under pressure of higher priced raw materials, after HPL's shutdown in July last year.

HPL's closure had not only created a shortfall of polymer products - different grades of polypropylene and polyethylene - but also forced many processing units to cut production.

As MRC informed before, in mid-July 2014, the manufacturing plant of Haldia Petrochemicals Ltd was shut down after the naphtha cracker unit developed a technical snag. Earlier, the Haldia plant was running at 50% capacity for long due to working capital crunch.

Haldia Petrochemicals Ltd is a modern naphtha based petrochemical complex at Haldia, West Bengal, India. Haldia has played the role of a catalyst in emergence of more than 500 downstream processing industries in West Bengal with a capacity to process more than 3,50,000 TPA of polymers, among which are polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP).

Stavrolen resumed HDPE production

MOSCOW (MRC) - Stavrolen resumed production of high density polyethylene (HDPE) following long time emergency shutdown, according to the company's customers.

Stavrolen resumed HDPE production on 7, April after a long emergency shutdown. The customers of the company said that the first batches of HDPE are expected to be shipped in the domestic market in the late week.

As it previously reported, there was a fire in a workshop of pyrolysis gas separation at Stavrolen on 26, February 2014 because of the failure of the aluminum heat exchanger. As a consequence, the company had to suspend production of polyethylene and polypropylene. The company resumed PP production in October 2014, using imported feedstock.

Stavrolen, subsidiary of LUKOIL, is the second largest Russian producer of high density polyethylene (HDPE) after Kazanorgsintez and fifth in terms of production of polypropylene after Nizhnekamskneftekhim and Tomskneftekhim.
Stavrolen's production capacities for HDPE and PP are 300,000 tonnes/year and 120,000 tonnes/year, respectively.

SOCAR picked Maire Tecnimont for its PP plant in Azerbaijan

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Maire Tecnimont S.p.A. has announced that its subsidiaries Tecnimont S.p.A. and KT - Kinetics Technology S.p.A, following the completion of Open Book Cost Estimate services activities, have reached an agreement with SOCAR POLYMER for the award relating to the realization of a polypropylene (PP) plant and relevant utilities and off sites facilities on a EPC Lump Sum basis, reported Maire Tecnimont on its site.

The plant will be located in the Sumgayit Petrochemical Complex around 30 km North of Baku, Azerbaijan.

Total contract value is approximately EUR350 million.

SOCAR POLYMER is a Company controlled by SOCAR, the Government Company of Azerbaijan active in the oil, gas, petrochemicals and fertilizer sectors.

The plant will have a capacity of about 180,000 t/y (tons per year). This will be the first PP plant in Azerbaijan and will utilize the propylene feedstock coming from the existing naphtha cracker.

Pierroberto Folgiero, Maire Tecnimont Chief Executive Officer, commented: "We are eager to support SOCAR, one of the key players worldwide in the hydrocarbon industry, to further develop the downstream sector in the country with this strategic initiative, since this is the first polypropylene plant to be realized in Azerbaijan".

As MRC wrote before, SOCAR announced last summer that it plans to commission PP plant in Azerbaijan in 2016.

SOCAR, which is keen on expanding operations in the retail oil products market abroad, is involved in exploring oil and gas fields, producing, processing, and transporting oil, gas, and gas condensate, marketing petroleum and petrochemical products in the domestic and international markets, and supplying natural gas to industry and the public in Azerbaijan