SPVC imports to Russia fell by 25 times in Q1 2015

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Imports of suspension polyvinyl chloride (SPVC) into Russia fell by 25 times over the first three months of 2015 and totalled less than 2,000 tonnes, whereas export sales of resin rose to 12,600 tonnes, according to MRC DataScope report.

March SPVC imports to the Russian market grew slightly and totalled a little less than 700 tonnes. Thus, imports of resin decreased to 1,800 tonnes in the first quarter of 2015 versus 45,000 tonnes over the same period of 2014. Export sales of Russian producers dropped n March, but they still were 12,600 tonnes.

Chinese producers accounted for the bulk of March SPVC imports - about 280 tonnes, whereas Europe accounted for about 400 tonnes. There have been no SPVC imports from the US to the Russian market since December 2014.

Imports of acetylene resin from China are expected to increase significantly in April and May. Relatively stable export prices in China and the current strengthening of the rouble against the dollar makes PVC purchasing from the country more and more attractive. Besides, the season of strong demand for finished products from PVC is approaching, and Russian producers' production capacities are not able to meet all the demand for polymer.

Russian producers already reduced their export programs in March on the back of stronger demand from the domestic market, and some producers even refused from exports in April. March exports slumped to 1,200 tonnes from 5,400 tonnes in February (excluding shipments of resin to Belarus). The overall SPVC exports from Russia were 12,600 tonnes in Q1 2015, whereas this figure did not exceed 1,400 tonnes a year earlier.


Saudi Kayan swings to Q1 net loss of USD158m on lower output, prices

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Saudi Kayan Petrochemical Co swung to a net loss in the first-quarter as prices, production and sales all declined, said Reuters.

Saudi Kayan, an affiliate of Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) made a net loss of 591.6 million riyals (USD157.8 million) in the first three months to March 31, it said in a bourse statement. This compares with a net profit of 9.9 million riyals in the same period in 2014.

Three analysts polled by Reuters on average forecast Kayan would make a quarterly loss of 293.5 million riyals.

Lower production was partly behind the larger-than-expected loss as its olefins plant was shut for maintenance. Lower product prices also hit revenue. Olefins is a form of petrochemical.

As MRC informed earlier, Saudi Arabia’s Oil Ministry has allocated an additional 10m cbf/d (2.8m cbm) of ethane to Saudi Kayan Petrochemical Co (Al Jubail / Saudi Arabia) to enable an expansion of capacity at its Al Jubail complex. The company plans to widen its ethylene production by at least 93,000 t/y and its ethylene oxide capacity by 61,000 t/y from the second quarter of 2017.

Saudi Kayan Petrochemical Company is a manufacturing affiliate of the Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic).

Todd Karran appointed President and CEO of NOVA Chemicals

MOSCOW (MRC) -- NOVA Chemicals Corporation (NOVA Chemicals) has announced that Todd Karran has been appointed President and Chief Executive Officer, as per the company's press release.

Mr. Karran has been the acting CEO, while maintaining his previous roles of Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer since May 2014. Mr. Karran has committed to continue serving as NOVA Chemicals’ Chief Financial Officer while the Board of Directors conducts a search for a new CFO among internal and external candidates.

"It became clear to the Board of Directors that Todd is the right person to assume the role of Chief Executive Officer and lead NOVA Chemicals to further success in the years ahead,” stated His Excellency Khadem Abdulla Al Qubaisi, NOVA Chemicals Chairman and IPIC Managing Director. “Todd has done an excellent job since he took over in the Acting CEO role and IPIC and the Board of Directors look forward to continued long-term growth and market leadership from NOVA Chemicals."

"I am honored by the opportunity to serve as the next CEO of NOVA Chemicals. Over the past several years, with support of IPIC and the Board of Directors, we have made tremendous progress on all aspects of our business,” stated Mr. Karran. “We plan to continue the positive momentum through safe and reliable operations of our assets and leadership in each aspect of our business, while looking forward to continued growth."

As MRC reported earlier, in early 2013 NOVA Chemicals decided build two polyethylene (PE) plants and expand its ethylene capacity. NOVA has taken several actions to secure additional ethane feedstock supply for its crackers in Corunna, Ontario, and Joffre, Alberta.

Nova Chemical is one of the largest world's petrochemical companies, a manufacturer of polyethylene, styrene polymers, monomers, and many other related products.

PVC plant planned to be shut by Formosa Plastics

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Formosa Plastics is in plans to shut a polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plant for maintenance turnaround, reported Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in Taiwan informed that the plant is likely to be shut in H2 April, 2015. It is likely to remain off-stream till May 1, 2015.

Located at Kaohsiung in Taiwan, the plant has a production capacity of 450,000 mt/year.

As MRC informed earlier, in August 2014, The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued three final GHG Prevention of Significant Deterioration construction permits for the Formosa Plastics facility in Point Comfort, Texas.
Formosa is expanding its chemical complex, located near Victoria, and taking three actions with its turbines unit, olefins unit and low-density polyethylene (LDPE) unit.

According to the olefins GHG permit, a new ethane cracker and propane dehydrogenation (PDH) unit will have a combined capacity of 1.75 million tpy of "high-purity ethylene product". Meanwhile, the LDPE unit will have a a capacity of 625,500 tpy and be able to produce resin at different grades.

Formosa Petrochemical is involved primarily in the business of refining crude oil, selling refined petroleum products and producing and selling olefins (including ethylene, propylene, butadiene and BTX) from its naphtha cracking operations. Formosa Petrochemical is also the largest olefins producer in Taiwan and its olefins products are mostly sold to companies within the Formosa Group. Among the company's chemical products are paraxylene (PX), phenyl ethylene, acetone and pure terephthalic acid (PTA). The company's plastic products include acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) resins, polystyrene (PS), polypropylene (PP) and panlite (PC).

Total could build USD1.7B Port Arthur plant

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Total Petrochemicals is exploring construction of a USD1.7 billion standalone petrochemical plant at its Port Arthur facility, which produces a base ingredient in plastics from natural gas, a company official confirmed, as per BeaumontEnterprise.

If Total were to move forward with plans to build a new ethane cracker, it would mean 3,500 construction jobs and 45 full-time jobs at Total's Port Arthur complex, according to Total's state permit applications.

Jefferson County officials and company executives are negotiating potential tax breaks for the investment, a county official said.

Total spokeswoman Tricia Fuller stopped short of a public commitment to the project. She said the state permit filings are part of the company's process of evaluating the potential for expansion and that nothing has been finalized.

"It is something that's under consideration," Fuller said. "Given the length of the time of the permitting process, we elected to file some applications and begin some work toward Port Arthur as a potential (location) for an ethane cracker."

Total's proposal would generate about 1 million metric tons of ethylene per year through the ethane cracker, a large unit that separates the chemical from the natural gas liquid ethane. The ethylene, a building block for plastics used in goods like athletic shoes or automotive belts, is sent to buyers through pipelines.

In permit filings with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the cracker is classified as a new chemical plant, but it aligns with long-running production at the complex, which is jointly owned by Total Petrochemical and BASF Corporation. Total is the chief sponsor of the new project.

Total converted an existing cracker at the petrochemical plant to feed on natural gas in 2013 and expanded it one year later. Previously, the USD1.5 billion unit processed naphtha, a by-product of liquid petroleum. Now, it can process oil or gas.

Like many Southeast Texas industrial projects, demand for a new ethane cracker is driven by rising supply of shale gas unlocked by a drilling technique called fracking. Long before fracking drove down the price of crude oil, it cheapened natural gas, giving a boost to petrochemical plants that use gas as a feedstock, with many expanding their systems to take in more.

Total's considered project could nearly double the current 1 million ton per year capacity.

Company officials have told county administrators that Total would invest about USD1.6 billion in the project and that BASF would contribute an additional USD130 million to their portion of the project, Jackson said.

As MRC wrote before, Total, Europe’s third-largest oil company, intends to invest EUR160m before 2016 to adapt its petrochemical platform in Carling, in the Lorraine region of eastern France, and to restore its competitiveness. Total plans indeed to develop new activities on the platform in the growing markets for hydrocarbon resins (Cray Valley) and for polymers, while shutting down the acutely loss-making steam cracker in the second half of 2015.

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.