Rising demand for polycarbonate to boost Bisphenol A market through 2019

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Rising demand for polycarbonate (PC) plastics is expected to boost the growth of the global bisphenol A (BPA) market, which is expected to post a CAGR of 5% from 2015-2019, as per Plastemart with reference to Technavio's report.

BPA is a carbon-based synthetic compound used in the production of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. Polycarbonate plastics have high tensile strength and high thermal stability properties, which makes them useful in the packaging industry, as they can be cleaned easily.

"The light weight property of polycarbonate plastics makes them efficient for the production of light vehicles," says Faisal Ghaus, Vice President of Technavio. "Polycarbonate plastics are used in various industries, including electronics, construction and automotive, and demand for this plastic is increasing gradually."

Furthermore, the report also emphasizes BPA products that are increasingly being used for various industrial applications. "BPA is used to make epoxy resins, which can then be made into highly efficient, lightweight wind turbine blades," says Ghaus.

As MRC informed previously, KHPC, a sole producer of polycarbonate (PC) in Iran, has started exporting different grades of PC to Russian market since April 2015. KHPC finished its fundamental maintenance in early April and was operating with 70% capacity utilisation and planning to increase production in a short time. It is planned to produce new PC grades, such as bottle and optical grades, this year and produce at least 25,000 MT varieties of PC grades.

Chevron, Inpex face likely delays in starting LNG operations in Australia

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Chevron Corp. and Inpex Corp. face potential delays in starting liquefied natural gas projects in Australia, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Chevron’s Wheatstone and Inpex’s Ichthys ventures could start output in mid-2017, later than the companies forecast, Angus Rodger, Asia-Pacific analyst at Wood Mackenzie, said in an interview in Melbourne, where he’s attending a conference.

Chevron and Inpex said the projects, which will super cool natural gas for shipment to Asia, remain on schedule.

The plants are among six Australian liquefied natural gas developments under construction. While Australia is forecast to become the world’s biggest exporter of the fuel later this decade, its LNG industry has seen delays and cost overruns.

Ichthys in northern Australia must bring together multiple projects, including one of the world’s longest underwater pipelines and a central production platform, to form one development, an “extremely challenging” feat, Rodger said.

The AD29 billion (USD23 billion) Wheatstone development in Western Australia is almost 60 percent complete and expected to start in late 2016, Chevron said in an e-mail. The Ichthys project, estimated to cost USD34 billion, is expected to start production at the end of 2016, its website shows.

Peter Coleman, CEO of Woodside Petroleum, which acquired a stake in Wheatstone earlier this year, told reporters in Melbourne Tuesday that the start-up "may or may not slip into early 2017."

Ichthys had completed about two thirds of the construction at the end of March, Inpex said in an e-mail. "Like any major project, especially one the size, scale and scope of Ichthys, we face challenges on many fronts, but we’re managing them all," the company said.

As MRC informed earlier, Chevron Corp gave up shale gas exploration plans in Romania, after an assessment showed the Black Sea state does not compete favourably with other investment opportunities. Energy firms have been attracted by estimates of massive shale gas reserves in Poland and Romania. In January 2015, the U.S. energy major took a similar decision to discontinue its operations in Poland.

Chevron Phillips Chemica, headquartered in The Woodlands, Texas (north of Houston), US,l is one of the world’s top producers of olefins and polyolefins and a leading supplier of aromatics, alpha olefins, styrenics, specialty chemicals, piping, and proprietary plastics. Chevron and Phillips 66 each own 50% of Chevron Phillips Chemical.

US chemical activity index rises sharply as outlook for business improves

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The Chemical Activity Barometer (CAB), a leading economic indicator created by the American Chemistry Council (ACC), jumped 0.7% in May, as measured on a three-month moving average (3MMA), Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Reaching an index of 99.3, last seen in November 2007, the CAB remains up 3.3% over a year ago, and suggests gains in business activity now will continue into 2016.

The Chemical Activity Barometer has four primary components, each consisting of a variety of indicators: 1) production; 2) equity prices; 3) product prices; and 4) inventories and other indicators. Inventories, product prices, and equity prices all improved over last month.

The Chemical Activity Barometer is a leading economic indicator derived from a composite index of chemical industry activity, according to ACC officials. The chemical industry has been found to consistently lead the US economy’s business cycle given its early position in the supply chain, and this barometer can be used to determine turning points and likely trends in the wider economy.

Month-to-month movements can be volatile, so a three-month moving average of the barometer is provided. This provides a more consistent and illustrative picture of national economic trends.

Applying the CAB back to 1919, it has been shown to provide a lead of two to 14 months, with an average lead of eight months at cycle peaks as determined by the National Bureau of Economic Research. The median lead was also eight months. At business cycle troughs, the CAB leads by one to seven months, with an average lead of four months. The median lead was three months.

The CAB is re-based to the average lead (in months) of an average 100 in the base year (the year 2007 was used) of a reference time series. The latter is the Federal Reserve’s Industrial Production Index.

As MRC informed earlier, the ongoing shale revolution will guide the US ethylene industry surge in the near future, growing by more than a third by 2017. US ethylene capacity dropped from 27.089 million tpy in 2000 to an estimated 26.137 million tpy in 2012. However, increased investments in the industry will see this figure jump to 35.048 million tpy by 2017 - an increase of just under 35%.

PET imports to Ukraine fell by 23.5%, there were changes in supply structure

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Imports of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) chips to Ukraine decreased from January to April 2015 by 23.5% year on year and totalled 39,300 tonnes. There were significant changes in the supply structure, according to MRC DataScope report.

The downward EUR/USD trend of the exchange rate at the beginning of 2015 contributed to the increased interest in European grades of PET chips. Market players were looking closely to new suppliers that offered lower prices because of the currency fluctuations and short delivery time (compared to Asian material). Imports of Lithuanian PET of Neo Group rose more than three times. Overall, Ukraine imported about 17,000 tonnes of bottle grade PET from Lithuania.

Imports of Belarusian PET of Mogilevkhimvolokno increased by more than four times. Shipments from Belarus totalled 3,110 tonnes from January to April 2015. According to ICIS-MRC Price report, export prices of Belarusian PET for Ukraine were announced in the euro and were heard in May in the range of EUR1,000-1,010/tonne FCA Mogilev, excluding VAT.

Purchasing of Russian PET has been growing. The Kaliningrad plant Alco-Naphtha is a supplier. Imports from Russia reached 1,000 tonnes.

At the same time, imports from China slumped by three-fold. Overall, Ukraine imported 9,400 tonnes of Chinese PET chips from January to April 2015.

Group Retal, Sirius Extrusion, TNC, Coca-Cola Beverages Ukraine Limited and Obolon remained the largest importers to Ukraine.

In imports structure by regions, the absence of shipments to the Donetsk and Lugansk regions should be noted. The Kiev region accounted for the bulk of imports (16,600 tonnes), although the Dnepropetrovsk region traditionally was the leader in PET chips shipments (15,000 tonnes over the stated period).


AkzoNobel to build EUR30 million Performance Coatings facility in Thailand

MOSCOW (MRC) -- AkzoNobel has announced plans to invest more than EUR30 million in a manufacturing facility in Thailand to support regional growth of its Performance Coatings business, said Nasdaq.

The project, which is being supported by the Thailand Board of Investment, involves constructing a 120,000m2 site within the Hemaraj Eastern Seaboard Industrial Estate in Chonburi. Earmarked for an initial capacity of 45,000 tons per year, production is due to start in the third quarter of 2016.

The new plant will support several Performance Coatings businesses, including Metal Coatings, Protective Coatings, Specialty Coatings and Marine Coatings, as well certain products from the company's Decorative Paints business.

"By investing in this new facility we are supporting our continued growth within Thailand, as well as making progress with our regional business expansion strategy," explained AB Ghosh, Managing Director of AkzoNobel's Metal Coatings business. "A number of existing operations will be consolidated into the new site, allowing us to achieve world class operational standards."

Added Conrad Keijzer, the company's Executive Committee member responsible for Performance Coatings: "Thailand is a key market for our growth strategy and this investment will enable us to further strengthen our position as a leading supplier, both within Thailand and as a hub to support the supply network through the region."

"Our business in Asia has experienced strong growth during the last several years," he went on. "As demand and volumes continue to rise, the new site will enable us to better serve our customers whenever and wherever they need our products."

As MRC informed earlier, in early May AkzoNobel has concluded the sale of its global paper chemicals business to Finland-based Kemira for EUR153m.

Akzo Nobel N.V., trading as AkzoNobel, is a Dutch multinational, active in the fields of decorative paints, performance coatings and specialty chemicals. Headquartered in Amsterdam, the company has activities in more than 80 countries, and employs approximately 55,000 people.