South Korean government pledges full support for firms entering Iranian market

MOSCOW (MRC) -- South Korean government will provide comprehensive support to the companies seeking to enter into Iranian market, according to a press-release from the country’s Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy (MOTIE) Friday, reported TPS.

"Government-wide support will be provided so our companies can penetrate into Iranian market," Joo Hyung-hwan, Minister for Trade, Industry & Energy said in a meeting with representatives of 11 companies that are currently operating in Iran.

Joo added that a ministerial-level meeting will be held in Iran on Feb 29 and high-ranking economic delegation will be sent to the country to strengthen business ties between the two countries.

"In order to promote trade and investment opportunities in Iran, the government will maintain the current Korean-won based settlement of accounts system, while adding other forms of exchange using different currencies such as Euro and Yen," Joo said.

"Among many different businesses, we need to strengthen cooperation in areas such as petrochemical and automobile sectors as these are industries where domestic demand will increase in the near future," Joo added.

The lifting of sanctions is widely expected to boost South Korea’s petrochemical exports to Iran, along with other industrial sectors such as automotive, shipping and shipbuilding.

The South Korean government had prohibited exports of these products to Iran since 2011 as part of provisions under the Iran Trade and Investment Guidelines. The guidelines, however, was abolished by the government with effect from Jan 17.

As MRC informed in October 2015, the South Korean government is pushing forward with consolidation of the petrochemical industries, which are mired in a supply glut and the protracted global economic recession. The restructuring on the petrochemical industry is currently led by the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy. Although working-level officials of major petrochemical firms such as LG Chem, Lotte Chemical, and SK Global Chemical held a meeting in September 2015 in order to discuss issues like capacity adjustment, they no longer do it out of concern that it might be construed as an act of collusion by the Fair Trade Commission.

Shin-Etsu to undertake maintenance at PVC plant

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Shin-Etsu is in plans to shut its polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plant for a maintenance turnaround, as per Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in Japan informed that the plant is scheduled to be taken off-stream in May 2016. It is likely to remain off-stream for around four weeks.

Located in Kashima, Japan, the plant has a production capacity of 550,000 mt/year.

We remind that, as MRC wrote before, in 2015, Shintech Inc. added almost 700 million pounds of PVC capacity as part of a USD500 million expansion of its plants in Louisiana. Shintech's parent firm - Shin-Etsu Chemical Co. Ltd. of Tokyo - said in a June 19 news release that the firm will addd 660 million pounds of PVC capacity in Louisiana by 2015. Houston-based Shintech makes PVC in Plaquemine and Addis, La. The project also includes 660 million pounds of new capacity for PVC feedstock vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) and 440 million pounds of new capacity for caustic soda.

Shin-Etsu is the world and US' largest PVC producer.

Hengli Petrochemical lets contract to Axens for integrated refining complex

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Hengli Petrochemical (Dalian) Co. Ltd. (HPDC) has let a contract to Axens SA, Rueil-Malmaison, France, to provide a suite of processing units and technologies for a grassroots crude-to-paraxylene complex under construction at its integrated refining and petrochemical project in Hengli Petrochemical Industrial Park (HPIP) on Changxing Island in Dalian, Liaoning Province, China, said Ogj.

Alongside a final-conversion refinery designed to process 400,000 b/sd of crude oil into mostly naphtha, the refining complex also will include an aromatics plant that will maximize output of high-purity paraxylene to serve as feedstock for HPDC’s existing purified terephthalic acid (PTA) plants at HPIP, Axens said.

As part of the contract, Axens will deliver the following suite of proprietary technologies for the project.

In addition to high-purity paraxylene, the new crude-to-paraxylene complex also will produce gasoline and diesel fuels that meet China 5-quality specifications, as well as jet fuel, base lube oils, and LPG.

The service provider did not disclose a value of the contract or a timeline for the project’s completion.
HPDC, which broke ground on the crude-to-paraxylene refining complex in late 2015, plans to invest a total of 74 billion yuan to complete the integration project, which is the largest refinery project in China ever to be approved, HPDC said in a release on Dec. 19, 2015.

A subsidiary of Hengli Group, Wujiang, Jiangsu Province, China, HPDC commissioned the first two 2.2 million-tonne/year PTA production lines of HPIP’s Phase 1 development in September 2012 and Phase 2’s first 2.2 million-tpy line in February 2015, according to Hengli.

Axens is an international provider of advanced technologies, catalysts, adsorbents and services. The main scope of Axens' business is focused on the conversion of oil, coal, natural gas and biomass to clean fuels as well as production and purification of major petrochemical intermediates. Axens’ global offer is based on: highly trained human resources, modern production facilities and extensive commercial feedback from plants using our processes and catalysts all around the world.

Hengli Group which was founded in 1994 now owns the largest PTA factory of monomer capacity, the largest production base of superbright polyester yarn and industrial yarn, the largest weaving enterprise in the world. It now has more than 50,000 staffs, and has been established into "Enterprise Technology Center" of our country. Its business sets foot in several industries such as petrochemical, polyester,chemical fiber, weaving, thermal power, machinery, hotel and real estate,etc. The enterprise competitiveness and brand value of the products stand first on the list among the same industry. In 2014, the sales volume of Hengli Group is RMB 163 billion, which ranks 11th in China's top 100 private enterprises.

PE imports into Ukraine decreased by 14% in January 2016

MOSCOW (MRC) - Total imports of polyethylene (PE) into Ukraine decreased to 17,100 tonnes in January 2016, down 14% compared to the level in December 2015. Ukraine decreased imports of all PE grades over the reported period, according to MRC DataScope.

January imports of PE into the country decreased to 17,100 tonnes, compared with 19,800 tonnes in December 2015. The reduction in the imports of all PE grades resulted from seasonal factors. Imports of low density polyethylene (LDPE) decreased most of all.

Structure of PE imports over the reported period was as follows.

Ukraine's imports of high density polyethylene (HDPE) were 9,100 tonnes in January, compared with 10,200 tonnes in December. European producers slightly increased PE deliveries in January. The greatest reduction in the demand occurred for the local pipe producers from 2,300 tonnes in December 2015 to 1,400 tonnes in January 2016. Supply of film HDPE, on the contrary, increased.
January LDPE imports into Ukraine decreased to 4,200 tonnes against 5,200 tonnes a month earlier. The main reduction in deliveries occurred for the film polyethylene from Azerbaijan and Belarus.

January imports of linear polyethylene (LLDPE) into the country decreased to 3,100 tonnes, compared with 3,700 tonnes in December on a weaker purchases from local producers of stretch films.

Imports of other types of polyethylene in January did not exceed 650 tonnes.


UK chemicals sector could face GBP7bn loss of exports if withdraws from EU

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The chemical industry in UK could face a GBP7bn loss of exports if the country chooses to withdraw from the European Union (EU) without signing a new Free Trade Agreement (FTA), according to a report by trade credit insurance group Euler Hermes, said Chemicals-technology.

In addition, the report has warned that the machinery and equipment industry would face a loss of GBP3.5bn and the automotive industry would face GBP3bn loss, if new FTA is not agreed. The UK's chemicals, automotive, machinery, and equipment sectors are known to be highly dependent on the European market.

Euler Hermes European economist Ana Boata said: "The chemicals industry is one of the most important exporting sectors in the UK, with GBP55bn of goods sent abroad each year.

In its 'Brexit Me If You Can' report, Euler Hermes analysed the effects on the UK companies if the country leaves EU from two perspectives, one with a new FTA in place and one without an FTA. As per the report, in the absence of an FTA, margins would suffer dut to higher import and financing costs, and international divestment could lead to a reduction in exports.

Even the signing of a new FTA may lead to a drop of up to GBP2.5bn in exports for chemical companies, while the machinery, equipment and automotive sectors will each face a GBP1.1bn reduction in exports.

Euler stated that if the UK left EU without a FTA, the turnover of domestic companies could be reduced by 1% per year on average, compared to an existing predicted growth rate of 4% on average after 2017 if the UK stayed in the EU.

The entire scenario could result in up to GBP30bn, or 8%, of losses to the UK's total goods exports, and the country would require a minimum of ten years to fill the gap.

Additionally, the already high trade balance deficit could widen by GBP35bn to GBP180bn within 12 months of the formalisation of a UK exit from the EU.

Next year, the UK European Union membership referendum is scheduled to take place, and those in favour of a British withdrawal from the EU, commonly referred to as Brexit, say that outside the EU, the country would be better able to address its own issues.

UK became a member of the European Economic Community in 1973.

As MRC informed earlier, the European Commission is demanding that the largest chemical producer in the world, BASF, pay 200 million euros (USD217 million) in unpaid taxes to Belgium. The European Commission announced that Belgium had granted tax advantages that are at odds with the Commission's rules to at least 35 multinational companies, and ordered the country to recover 700 million euros in unpaid tax.