VinylPlus recycled 514,913 tons of PVC in 2015

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The European PVC industry sustainable development programme - VinylPlus, recycled 514,913 tons of polyvinyl cloride (PVC) within its framework last year, according to Plastemart.

The 2015 results were presented at its 4th Vinyl Sustainability Forum 2016 in Vienna, Austria where the industry shared its major successes, notably the replacement of lead-based stabilisers in the EU-28 market.

Welcoming delegates, VinylPlus Chairman Josef Ertl said: "European cities are forerunners in the transition towards a low carbon and resource-efficient economy. 72% of the EU population lives in urban areas, using 70% of our energy. To assure quality of life, future cities will need healthy and energy-efficient buildings, reliable water distribution and sewage systems, as well as affordable healthcare. Using PVC in place of other materials reduces costs, improves product performance and makes a positive contribution to sustainable development."

Josef Ertl. Stephan Sicars, Director Department of Environment, United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) said: "The shift of emphasis to designing products and processes for sustainability offers the plastics and PVC industry many opportunities to capitalise on innovation, as well as consumer demands for better environmental performance and smaller environmental footprint of products. These trends are said to allow USD 3 trillion in potential resource savings by 2030 amid an emerging USD 1 trillion global ‘green’ market. A circular economy is restorative and regenerative by design. The PVC production chain is making progress globally by reducing its environmental impact in areas such as chlor-alkaline production, energy and mercury use and VCM production. In addition, there are excellent developments in different regions and in Europe, especially.

In 2015, VinylPlus recycled 514,913 tons of PVC waste - an upward recycling trend of which window profiles and related profile products accounted for around 45%. The greatest volumes - 508,154 tons - were registered and certified by Recovinyl , the PVC waste collection and recycling network comprising 177 companies Europe-wide. The target is to recycle 800,000 tons per year by 2020. VinylPlus reaffirmed its commitment to addressing the issue of ‘legacy additives’ in recycled PVC in cooperation with regulatory authorities and is calling to propose realistic solutions for the continuation and development of PVC recycling, taking into account its resource efficiency benefits."

As MRC informed before, in 2014, PVC recycling continues to grow across Europe, with the UK contributing more than 20% - or 88,648 tonnes - to the total recycled through Recovinyl, the PVC industry's recycling scheme, in 2013, said Mhwmagazine.

PP producers bank on Asian automotive demand to guard against heavy competition

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Producers are moving toward polypropylene impact copolymers and other higher value PP for automotive applications, banking on rising automobile demand in Asia to lift profits, as the market for commodity grade PP homopolymers becomes increasingly competitive, reported Plastemart.

Japan's Mitsui Chemicals and Prime Polymer, in which Mitsui Chemicals has a 65% stake, announced plans to raise its global PP compound capacity by 5% to 1.05 mln tpa by fiscal 2017 (April 2017-March 2018) in response to growing demand from the automotive sector, in a joint press release earlier this month. Production capacity in Asia, excluding Japan, is expected to increase 5.7% to 280,000 tpa while in North America, capacity is set to expand by 7.3% to 440,000 tpa, according to the release.

Saudi Basic Industries Corp.'s executive vice president of polymers Abdulrahman Al-Fageeh said: "We have shifted some of our portfolio in our local production (from homopolymer to copolymer) here in Sinopec Sabic Tianjin Petrochemical (SSTPC) to cope with (China's automotive) demand." SSTPC is a 50:50 joint venture between Sabic and Sinopec with a nameplate capacity of 450,000 m tpa of PP and 600,000 m tpa of polyethylene.

In Southeast Asia, PP demand from the automotive sector remains a bright spot, said Thailand's IRPC in April during the Chinaplas 2016 conference. IRPC has invested heavily in a 100,000 m tpa PP plant at Rayong using compounding technology licensed from Japan Polypropylene Corporation, or JPP, suitable for automobile bumpers and instrument panels, company sources said. The plant is expected to start up in end-2017. Thailand is a key PP exporter to China. China's automobile demand is expected to grow by 1.4 mln units in 2016, or up 7% year on year, to around 21.4 mln units, according to Scotiabank's 2016 Global Auto Report, outpacing demand growth rate of 4% to 33.6 million units across Asia this year.

So far, growth in China's automobile sales has broadly been in line with Scotiabank's forecast. Between January and April, sales in China grew 6.1% year on year to 8.7 mln units, according to China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM).

Chinese production grew by 5.7% to 8.8 million units over the same period, roughly in balance with demand. Revenue figures provided more evidence of demand growth in 2016, with sales for the first four months rising 7% to about USD181 billion from the same period last year, according to latest data from China's National Bureau of Statistics.

As MRC informed before, the global PP market is expected to reach USD170 bln in 2022, as per a report by Reportbuyer. Growth of key end-use industries such as packaging and automotive in Asia Pacific is expected to drive the global polypropylene market the forecast period. In addition, increasing construction spending particularly in emerging markets of China, India and Indonesia is also expected to have a positive influence on the market growth. Volatile propylene prices on account of constantly fluctuating crude oil prices are expected to remain a key challenge for market participants.

PVC prices continued upward trend in Russia in June

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Negotiations over June prices of Russian polyvinyl chloride (PVC) finished this week. Producers managed to achive a further price increase of Rb1,000-1,500/tonne, according to ICIS-MRC Price report.

Negotiations over June prices of Russian suspension PVC (SPVC) for the domestic market started last week, but some producers were in no hurry to discuss deals. Negotiations had virtually been fully completed by the end of this week, producers achieved the price rise of Rb1,000-1,500/tonne from May.

Angarsk polymer plant has postponed the launch of its ethylene production for, at least, a month after the forced shutdown in mid-February because of the equipment failure. As a result, the start-up of PVC production at SayanskKhimplast is delayd for the same period (the plant is totally dependent on ethylene supply from Angarsk Polymer Plant, and was also forced to take off-stream its production capacities). Thus, the Sayansk plant will not begin producing resin until July, whereas previously, it was assumed that this would happen in the second half of June.

The outage at SayanskKhimplast, Russia's second-largest PVC producer, did not lead to an acute shortage in the market. This factor was partially offset by weak demand for resin and higher imports. But, nevertheless, there has been still tight supply of PVC supply in some segments, particularly, of resin with constant K = 70, since April. The shutdown at the Sayansk plant was one of the reasons for the further price increases.

Negotiations over June contract PVC prices with constant K = 64/67 were held in the range of Rb73,500-77,000/tonne CT Moscow, including VAT. Negotiations over resin with K = 70 were held in the range of Rb75,500-78,000/tonne CPT Moscow, including VAT.

The market situation was aggravated by a temporary outage for maintenance at Kaustik (Volgograd). The plant shut down its capacities for a scheduled turnaround on 16 May, PVC production is planned to be resumed on 6 June. The plant's annual production capacity is 90,000 tonnes.

New Petrobras CEO vows turnaround without government bailout

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Pedro Parente, the new CEO of Brazil's state-owned oil company Petrobras, has kicked off his first day by vowing change as he attacked the way the company has been run, noting corruption, heavy debt and government control of fuel prices, reported Reuters.

He said Petrobras must cut its nearly USD130B of debt on its own.

"Some say to get out of this grave situation the federal government must capitalize the company. I don't like this because it tosses the problem on the back of the taxpayer," Parente said

A bailout would also dilute existing shareholders and weaken the credit of the government, he said.

In a forceful and wide-ranging address to employees, Parente promised independence from political interference, calling the company's recent history of soaring debt and rampant corruption "absurd."

Parente, 63, a former Petrobras chairman and CEO of the Brazil unit of commodities trading giant Bunge Ltd, was appointed CEO of Petrobras last month by Brazil's interim president, Michel Temer.

Petrobras accumulated billions of dollars in refining unit losses in recent years, causing debt to balloon, because the government, in an effort to control inflation, refused to let it raise gasoline, diesel and propane prices when world prices were high.

Parente urged Congress to pass bills ending Petrobras' legal obligation to operate all oil exploration and production in the Subsalt Polygon, an offshore district near Rio de Janeiro where giant oil discoveries have been made in the last decade.

The law, he said, hurts the government and Petrobras by either forcing the company to finance investment it cannot pay for or prompting the government to forgo oil development because Petrobras cannot afford it.

Paying down debt and ramping up output will be the top priorities, Parente said, adding that the sale on non-core assets will be key to debt cuts. He said he has not been in the company long enough to say what assets will be on the block.

He said the company will prepare a strategic plan to meet his goals within 120 days.

As MRC wrote previously, Brazil's state-controlled oil producer Petrobras is seeking to sell its 5.8 billion Brazilian real (USD1.4 billion) stake in petrochemical producer Braskem SA. Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) has hired Brazilian bank Banco Bradesco SA as a financial adviser and has started to pitch the sale to foreign investors. Petrobras owns a 36 percent stake in Braskem, Latin America's largest petrochemical producer. The sale would help Petrobras meet its target of selling USD15.1 billion worth of assets in 2015-16, a key part of its plan to cut debt as oil prices plunge to 12-year lows.

Headquartered in Rio de Janeiro, Petrobras is an integrated energy firm. Petrobras' activities include exploration, exploitation and production of oil from reservoir wells, shale and other rocks as well as refining, processing, trade and transport of oil and oil products, natural gas and other fluid hydrocarbons, in addition to other energy-related activities.

Flint Hills shuts Houston propane dehydrogenation plant ahead of turnaround

MOSCOW (MRC) -- US petrochemical producer Flint Hills Resources shut its propane dehydrogenation plant in Houston, Texas, ahead of a seven-day planned turnaround, as per Plastemart with reference to market sources in Platts.

A company spokeswoman was not immediately available to confirm the shutdown or provide details on its expected duration.

The 545,000 mt/year plant was last restarted on April 18 after a similar planned outage that started on April 11, according to S&P Global Platts records.

As MRC informed before, in 2014, Flint Hills Resources, LLC announced it was moving forward with a significant expansion of its chemicals business with the completion of its acquisition of PetroLogistics LP and its general partner, PetroLogistics GP LLC.

Flint Hills Resources, through its subsidiaries, is a leading refining, biofuels and chemicals company. Its subsidiaries market products such as gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, ethanol, biodiesel, olefins, polymers and intermediate chemicals, as well as base oils and asphalt.