Ukraine reduced PET imports by 4% in Q1 2016

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Imports of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) into the Ukrainian market dropped in the first quarter of 2016 by 4% year on year, totalling 26,400 tonnes, according to MRC DataScope report.

The share of Chinese PET reached 56% in Q1 imports. At the same time, imports from China grew by more than 2.4 times compared to the same quarter a year earlier to almost 15,000 tonnes.

Yisheng Petrochemical became China's largest PET supplier in the first quarter (5,400 tonnes versus 330 tonnes in Q1 2015). Imports of Jiangsu Sanfangxiang, Shanghai Hengyi Polyester and Zhejiang Wankai's grades also increased.

Imports of Lithuanian PET of NeoGroup were almost 9,000 tonnes, down by 16% compared to imports in the first quarter a year earlier.

Imports of Belarusian PET fell significantly. Ukraine imported 800 tonnes of Belarusian PET in the first quarter 2016 compared to 2,500 tonnes a year earlier. This year's lower supplies of Mogilevkhimvolokno's PET were due to the plant's shutdown in February-March and, as a consequence, the absence of exports.


Total European refining margin drops again in Q1

MOSCOW (MRC) -- French oil and gas company Total said that its refining margins in Europe had fallen to USD35.1/ton in the first quarter of the year, said Reuters.

Europe's biggest refiner still reported a European refining margins indicator (ERMI) of USD38.1/ton in the fourth quarter of 2015, a table showed on its website.

As MRC wrote previously, Total 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.

Besides, in April 2015, Total announced that its proposed new ethane cracker near its refinery in Port Arthur, Texas, is being designed to have a capacity of 1 million tpy.

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.

Sinopec starts commercial operations at Beihai LNG terminal

MOSCOW (MRC) -- China Petroleum and Chemical Corp (Sinopec) has taken delivery of the first LNG cargo at its new terminal at Beihai City in Guangxi Zhuang, with the arrival yesterday of the LNG carrier Methane Spirit, delivering a cargo from Australia-Pacific LNG (APLNG), said Lngworldshipping.

Methane Spirit delivered a 160,000m? cargo to the 3 million tonne a year (mta) terminal that will supply cleaner-burning LNG to households in Guangdong and Guangxi. The project has run a year past its original launch date.

Beihai LNG is the second of five LNG-import terminals that Sinopec will build across China. Its first LNG terminal opened at Qingdao two years ago and others are planned in Tianjin, Jiangsu and Zhejiang.

Sinopec, which will source most of its LNG from Australia, is widely tipped to trade surplus volumes on the spot market. It has sought to renegotiate its supplier contracts with APLNG, seeking more keenly priced terms.

The Chinese giant is in a strong position to negotiate, as a stakeholder in the project and having committed to buy 7.6 mta from the project – nearly 90 per cent of the project’s total output – although Platts reports that this commitment is on take-or-pay terms.

Last year, China imported less gas than in the previous year for the first time, posting a 1.1 per cent drop to 19.5 mta, reflecting the slowdown in the country’s economy and the shift from energy-intensive to more service-oriented industries.

As MRC informed earlier, Russian petrochemical company Sibur is in talks with shareholder Sinopec about investing in a planned gas chemical plant in Russia's Far East. Sibur plans to buy gas from fields which Russia's Gazprom will develop in Eastern Siberia.

Sinopec Corp. is one of the largest scale integrated energy and chemical company with upstream, midstream and downstream operations. Its principal business includes: exploring, developing, producing and trading crude oil and natural gas; producing, storing, transporting and distributing and marketing petroleum products, petrochemical products, synthetic fiber, fertilizer and other chemical products. Its refining capacity and ethylene capacity rank No.2 and No.4 globally. Sinopec listed in Hong Kong, New York, London and Shanghai in August 2001. Sinopec Group, the parent company of Sinopec Corp., is ranked the 5th in Fortune Global 500 in 2012.

SABIC extends profit slump with 13.2% Q1 drop

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC), one of the world's largest petrochemicals groups, reported a 13.2% drop in first-quarter net profit, extending a profit slump but beating analysts' forecasts, reported ArabianBusiness.

SABIC made a net profit of 3.41 billion riyals (USD909.4 million) in the three months to Mar. 31, down from 3.93 billion riyals in the year-earlier period, the company said in a bourse statement.

Five analysts polled by Reuters had on average forecast that SABIC would make a quarterly profit of 2.84 billion riyals.

SABIC, which is 70 percent state-owned, attributed the profit fall to lower average sales prices, noting that the net loss for the metals segment amounted to 725 million riyals. It said the cost of sales dropped during the period.

Lower oil prices have adversely affected SABIC's earnings, with the company's profits falling in the six preceding quarters, Reuters data shows.

The company's results are closely tied to oil prices and global economic growth because its products -- plastics, fertilisers and metals - are used extensively in construction, agriculture, industry and the manufacturing of consumer goods.

From the first quarter of 2016, SABIC's total annual costs before minority interests will rise by around 5%.

We remind that, as MRC wrote previously, Sabic modified its Wilton cracker in the UK to enable it to use ethane feedstock imported from the US. The company aimed to complete the project by 2016.

Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic) ranks among the worldпїЅs top petrochemical companies. The company is among the worldпїЅs market leaders in the production of polyethylene, polypropylene and other advanced thermoplastics, glycols, methanol and fertilizers.

Sipchem Q1 net profit down 37.1% on lower prices

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Saudi International Petrochemical Co (Sipchem) reported a 37.1 percent drop in first-quarter net profit on Tuesday, hurt by a fall in sales prices of all its products and an increase in production costs, said Reuters.

Sipchem made a profit of 50.7 million riyals (USD13.5 million) in the three months to Mar. 31, down from 80.6 million riyals in the prior-year period, according to a bourse filing. The average estimate of analysts polled by Reuters was for a quarterly profit of 37.42 million riyals.

The mid-sized petrochemical company was, once more, hit by lower product sales prices: it had reported a halving of profits in the previous three quarters for this reason.

Product prices are closely linked to oil, so the lower crude price has reduced the margins and competitive advantage over rival manufacturers from non-oil producing regions which Saudi firms used to accrue due to their subsidised energy and feedstock.

Saudi Arabia is reforming its energy subsidies to help bring down a substantial budget deficit: Sipchem has previously announced it expects 120 million riyals of extra costs due to the move, and said on Tuesday it had negatively impacted its first-quarter earnings without quantifying it.

The firm also took a provision due to disposals and write-offs of equipment at its International Methanol Company affiliate, following a shutdown of the plant during the previous quarter to conduct planned maintenance.

As MRC informed earlier, Saudi International Petrochemical Company (Sipchem) expects its costs to rise by 120 million Saudi Riyals (USD31.98 million) in 2016 due to higher variable overheads. The company is bracing for a financial impact due to higher energy prices and electricity tariffs, after the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia hiked its 2016 natural gas prices.

Established in 1999, Saudi International Petrochemical Company (Sipchem) manufactures and markets methanol, butanediol, tetrahydrofuran, acetic acid, acetic anhydride, vinyl acetate monomer. Besides, it has launched several down-stream projects to manufacture ethylene vinyl acetate, low density polyethylene, ethyl acetate, butyl acetate, cross linkable polyethylene, and semi conductive compound.