YNCC to take off-stream naphtha cracker in South Korea for maintenance

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Yeochun NCC (YNCC) is in plans to shut its No. 2 naphtha cracker for a maintenance turnaround, reported Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in South Korea informed that the cracker is planned to be shut on March 10, 2016. It is likely to remain offstream for a period of around 4 weeks.

Located in Yeosu, South Korea, the cracker has an ethylene production capacity of 578,000 mt/year and propylene capacity of 270,000 mt/year.

As MRC informed previously, in early September 2015, YNCC reached on-specification propylene production at its new 140,000 t/yr olefins conversion unit (OCU) at Yosu. The company fed in feedstock supplies a week earlier.

South Korea’s Yeochun NCC (YNCC) pyrolyzes naphtha to produce basic feedstock materials for the petrochemical industry. YNCC, a joint venture between South Korean firms Hanwha and Daelim, is a key exporter of ethylene and propylene in the country.

HDPE imports to Russia decreased by 41% in January - February 2016

MOSCOW (MRC) - Total imports of high density polyethylene (HDPE) into Russia decreased to about 16,700 tonnes in the first two months of 2016, down 41% compared to the same period of 2015. The largest decrease occurred for the sector of extrusion coating of large-diameter pipes, as per MRC DataScope.

February imports of HDPE into Russia decreased to 8,000 tonnes, compared with 8,700 tonnes in January. HDPE imports into the Russian Federation totalled about 16,700 tonnes over the first two months of 2016, whereas the last year's figure was 28,500 tonnes. The volumes of HDPE imports were affected by low demand for finished products as well as a weak rouble, which makes external purchases unprofitable.

Imports fell in all sectors of consumption, with the largest drop occurred in the sector of polyethylene for extrusion coating of steel pipes of large diameter. Structure of PE production over the reported period looked as follows.

February imports of injection moulding HDPE into the country grew to 3,500 tonnes, compared with 2,600 tonnes in January. The main increase in February HDPE imports into the country occurred for PE from Uzbekistan. Total imports of injection moulding HDPE into Russia decreased to 6,100 tonnes in Jan-Feb 2016, down 10% year on year.

February imports of HDPE for extrusion coating of large-diameter pipes decreased to 1,200 tonnes compared with 1,900 tonnes in January.
During the reporting period, the import of this type of polyethylene was about 3,100 tonnes, while a year earlier this figure exceeded 9,700 tonnes. The growth of domestic production was the main reason for the decline in import volumes.

February imports of HDPE for extrusion blowmoulding into Russia decreased to 1,200 tonnes, compared with 1,400 tonnes in January. Russia's imports of HDPE for extrusion blowmoulding decreased to 2,600 tonnes in Jan-Feb 2016, compared with 5,200 tonnes year on year.

February's volume of imports of pipe HDPE dropped below the level of 1,000 tonnes compared with 1,400 tonnes in January. Total imports of pipe HDPE into the country were about 2,400 tonnes in the first two months of the year, compared with 3,900 tonnes year on year. Weak demand for pipe products was the main reason for the reduction of imports of pipe PE.

During the period under review the purchase of other types of HDPE were about 2,600 tonnes against 2,900 tonnes year on year.

In the coming months, the purchases of HDPE in foreign markets will remain at a low level. This situation resulted from a serious decline in demand for finished products, as well as problems with customs clearance of polyethylene. On 16 February, Federal Customs Service (FCS) strengthened its control over the declaration of the imported products. Indicative price for HDPE (value for tax calculation) ranged from USD1,350 to USD1,700/tonne, significantly higher than the current actual price.


Petro Rabigh completes expansion, sees SAR 750 mln revenue growth

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Rabigh Refining and Petrochemical Co. (Petro Rabigh) has completed the expansion of its ethane cracker, increasing its processing capacity by 30 million standard cubic feet per day (MMSCFD) to 125 MMSCFD, said Argaam, citing the company's announcement in a bourse statement.

Rabigh added that it expects sales revenue to grow by SAR 750 million this year from this expansion.

The unit production capacity will reach 1.6 million metric tons annum (mtpa), compared to current 1.3 mtpa.

The ethane cracker is part of the Rabigh II project, whose ownership was transferred to the company by founders Saudi Aramco and Japanese producer Sumitomo Chemical.

As MRC informed previously, in April 2015, Rabigh Refining & Petrochemical Co. (Petro Rabigh) received ownership of the Rabigh Phase II project from Saudi Aramco and Sumitomo Chemical, major shareholders in Petro Rabigh, and will now integrate the project into Petro Rabigh's existing refining and petrochemical complex in Rabigh, Saudi Arabia.

The Rabigh II project, expected to cost about USD 8.1-billion, involves expanding an existing ethane cracker and adding production of ethylene propylene rubber, thermoplastic polyolefins, methyl methacrylate monomer, polymethyl methacrylate, low-density polyethylene/ethylene vinyl acetate, paraxylene/benzene, cumene and phenol/acetone. Production facilities are expected to begin operations "one after another, beginning in the first half of 2016," Sumitomo said.

PetroRabigh, a joint venture between Saudi Aramco and Japan's Sumitomo Chemical, has an annual output capacity of 18 million tonnes of refined products and 2.4 million tonnes of petrochemicals. Thus, the complex currently has a cracker to produce 1.3-million t/y of ethylene and 900,000 t/y of propylene, as well as downstream production of polyethylene, polypropylene, propylene oxide, ethylene glycol and butene-1.

Asahi Kasei and Mitsubishi Chemical receive regulatory approval for JV at Mizushima

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Asahi Kasei and Mitsubishi Chemical on Wednesday announced that they have received all necessary regulatory approvals to establish the previously announced 50-50 joint venture company Asahi Kasei Mitsubishi Chemical Ethylene (Tokyo), which will combine the companies' naphtha cracking operations at Mizushima, Japan, said Chemweek.

The new jv will become operational on 1 April. Asahi Kasei and Mitsubishi Chemical have also announced that Makoto Sakamoto has been appointed president and Hiroaki Numata v.p. of Asahi Kasei Mitsubishi Chemical Ethylene, effective 1 April. Sakamoto is currently general manager of the basic chemicals division of Asahi Kasei, and Numata is the assistant to the COO at Mitsubishi Chemical's basic petrochemicals division.

Mitsubishi Chemical and Asahi Kasei previously operated separate crackers at separate Mizushima sites each with capacity for 500,000 m.t./year of ethylene. The two plants will be consolidated at the Mitsubishi Chemical cracker, and that plant will expand its ethylene capacity to 570,000 m.t./year. Asahi Kasei and Mitsubishi Chemical have decided to consolidate their cracker operations at Mizushima because the operating climate for petrochemical businesses in Japan has become challenging.

The companies announced the plans in 2010, and a feasibility study for the project was completed in 2014. The Mizushima naphtha crackers of the two companies are currently operated by a jv called Nishi Nippon Ethylene, which was established in 2011. After Asahi Kasei Mitsubishi Chemical Ethylene starts up, Nishi Nippon Ethylene will be involved in removing and disposing of equipment as required after naphtha production is consolidated. Sakamoto and Numata will be concurrently appointed as representatives of Nishi Nippon Ethylene on 1 April, the companies say.

As MRC informed earlier, Asahi Kasei in February 2016 shut a styrene monomer (SM) plant permanently. Located in Mizushima, Japan, the plant had a production capacity of 320,000 mt/year.

Asahi Kasei Corporation is a global Japanese chemical company. Its main products are chemicals and materials science.

Mitsubishi Chemical with headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, is a diversified chemical company involved in petrochemicals, polymers, agrochemicals, speciality chemicals and pharmaceuticals. The company's main focus is on three business pillars: petrochemicals, performance and functional products, and health care.

Linde increased revenue and operating profit in 2015 despite a challenging environment

МОSCOW (MRC) -- Linde has reported an increase in revenue and operating of 5.3% and 5.4% year-on-year (YOY), respectively, in full-year 2015, as per company's press release.

Revenue was EUR17.94 billion (USD19.7 billion) in 2015, compared with EUR17.1 billion a year ago. Operating profit for the latest year was EUR4.13 billion, versus EUR3.92 billion in full-year 2014. Exchange rates had a positive impact on revenue and earnings, especially in the first six months, according to the company. Linde says it has sustained its position in a "challenging market environment".

The Executive Board and Supervisory Board will propose a resolution at the Annual General Meeting that a dividend of EUR3.45 per share be paid. This is an above-average increase of 9.5% compared with last year’s dividend of EUR3.15.

In the 2015 financial year, return on capital employed (ROCE) was 9.4 percent (2014: 9.5 percent). Operating cash flow rose by 19.7 percent to EUR 3.593 bn (2014: EUR 3.001 bn). This was due mainly to the good operating profit. After adjusting for pension plan funding in Germany in 2014, the increase in operating cash flow in 2015 was 8.8 percent.

As MRC informed earlier, Linde AG agreed with Gazprom to build a gas processing plant in eastern Russia. The plant will be part of Gazprom’s pipeline taking gas from eastern Siberia to China. Linde didn’t disclose the value of the contract.

The Linde Group is a world-leading gases and engineering company with around 62,000 employees in more than 100 countries worldwide. In the 2012 financial year, Linde generated revenue of EUR 15.280 bn.