ExxonMobil completes startup at ethylene plant at Beaumont, after power outage

МOSCOW (MRC) -- US petrochemical producer ExxonMobil Chemical has completed the start up process of its 820,000 m tpa ethylene complex in Beaumont, Texas, said Plastemart.

The Beaumont complex has two equal-sized steam cracking units with total combined ethylene capacity of 820,000 mtpa.

"Operations are normal and we anticipate no impact to production," spokesman Todd Spitler said in confirming market reports of a successful restart. The unit shut January 21 after an area wide power outage. The startup process started within a week of the outage.

The Beaumont cracker has an ethylene capacity of 900,000 tonnes/year.

As MRC informed earlier, ExxonMobil is studying a proposal to expand its 334,600-bpd refinery in Beaumont, Texas, into the largest in the US. According to the Reuters report, ExxonMobil has pulled together a group of experts at the plant to do more detailed studies on potentially adding a third crude distillation unit (CDU). The new CDU could make the Beaumont refinery the largest in the US, with capacity rising to as much as 850,000 bpd.

ExxonMobil is the largest non-government owned company in the energy industry and produces about 3% of the world's oil and about 2% of the world's energy.

Nippon steel plans maintenance at No. 3 SM plants

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Nippon Steel Chemical Company (NSCC) is in plans to shut its No.3 styrene monomer (SM) plant, as per Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in Japan informed that the company has scheduled maintenance at its No. 3 plant in end-March 2016. The plant is slated to remain offline for around one month.

Located in Oita, Japan, the No. 3 SM plant has a production capacity of 230,000 mt/year.

As MRC wrote before, in September 2015, NSCC announced its plans to shut its SM for maintenance. The plant was planned to remain off-stream for around one month. Located in Oita, Japan, the plant has a production capacity of 190,000 mt/year.

Idemtisu Kosan Co, Asahi Kasei Chemical and Taiyo Petrochemical are the other SM producers in Japan.

Asahi Glass begins shipping chlor-alkalis from expanded Indonesian complex

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Asahi Glass has begun shipping polyvinyl chloride (PVC) from the Anyer plant at Cilegon, Indonesia, following completion of an expansion program at PT Asahimas Chemical, said the producer on its site.

The ceremony also included a ground breaking for a new power plant at the site. Commercial production at the expanded chlor-alkali facility will start in the first quarter this year. PT Asahimas Chemical is owned 52.5% by Asahi Glass, 11.5% by Mitsubishi Corp. and 18% each by the local Rodamas and Ableman Finance.

With the aim of taking in the increasing demand in the caustic soda and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) markets in Southeast Asia, the production facility enhancement at the Anyer Plant was launched in 2013 to significantly boost the output of caustic soda and vinyl chloride in Indonesia.

The caustic soda and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) markets in Southeast Asia are projected to grow at over 5% per year. Of the demand in the market, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam, where AGC has production bases for the chlor-alkali business, account for 70%.

As MRC informed earlier, Asahi Glass Co Ltd (AGC) in March 2015 announced that it would increase the production capacity of the polyvinyl chloride (PVC) facility at Phu My Plastics & Chemicals Co Ltd (PMPC), AGC’s subsidiary engaged in PVC business in Vietnam. PMPC’s PVC production capacity will be increased by 50% to 150,000 tonnes from the current 100,000 tonnes per year, which will make the Asahi Glass Group’s total PVC production in Southeast Asia 700,000 tonnes per year. The operation is scheduled to commence at the beginning of 2016.

Asahi Glass Co., Ltd., more commonly known as AGC, is a global glass manufacturing company, headquartered in Tokyo. It is one of the core Mitsubishi companies.

Saudi Kayan awards USD95 mln contract to Taiwanese CTCI

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Saudi Kayan Petrochemical Co. has awarded Taiwan's CTCI Corp. a contract worth USD94.5 million (SAR 354.4 million) to build a new cracker at its complex in Jubail Industrial City, said Argaam.

Under the deal, CTCI will manage the engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) for the project, which is located in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia.

The company added that it will secure the related finance from local institutions, expecting to complete the new cracker in H2-2017.

The date of trial operation and the expected financial impact will be announced later.

The new cracker comes as part of Kayan’s agreement, which was signed on February 5, 2015, with the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources and Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC) to enhance the company’s business and financial performance in return for extra ethane gas allocations.

As it was informed earlier, Saudi Kayan reported a net loss of 624.1 million riyals (USD166.3 million) in the fourth quarter, the fourth straight quarter it failed to achieve a profit, hurt by product prices that have tumbled along with feedstock oil.

Kayan is 35 percent-owned by SABIC. Kayan is the fifth-largest petrochemical manufacturer by market value in Saudi Arabia.

PE and PP prices resumed to rise in Ukraine

Moscow (MRC) - Prices for polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) sharply decreased in Ukraine in the beginning of the year, but since the end of last week prices started to rise. Devaluation of the national currency is the main reason for rise in price of polymers, according to ICIS-MRC Price Report.

In the early January PE and PP prices in the Ukrainian market began to decline rapidly. The price cuts resulted from the cancellation of a 5% temporary import duty and lower prices in foreign markets. PE and PP prices continued to go down in foreign markets in February, but the weakening of the national currency against the US dollar offset this factor, and prices on the contrary increased at the end of last week.

In the early January 2016 the exchange rate of hryvnya against the dollar fell below UAH24=USD1, but in the second half of January the devaluation of the Ukrainian currency has accelerated. By mid-February, the official hryvnya exchange rate to the dollar exceeded the level of UAH26=USD1. Thus, almost a month devaluation was more than 9%.

Such a serious devaluation in a short period has offset the reduction of PE and PP prices in the external markets.
In January - February polyolefins prices in Europe fell by EUR100-160/tonne. Prices for Middle Eastern PE reduced on average by USD150/tonne.

Late January's price offers for film high density polyethylene (HDPE) and low density polyethylene (LDPE) in the Ukrainian market reached the level of UAH39,000-40,500/tonne FCA, including VAT and UAH36,500-38,000/tonne FCA, including VAT, respectively.

Price offers for homopolymer PP raffia grade were heard in the range of USD33,500-34,500/tonne FCA, including VAT. But at the end of last week (11, February) traders under the pressure of the weakening of the national currency started to raise prices.

Price offers for film HDPE from some traders started from UAH41,000/tonne FCA, including VAT, price offers for LDPE were absent.

It is highly probable that price adjustment will continue this week in the Ukrainian market on the ongoing devaluation of the national currency.