CGT Union strike suspended at Total's Donges, Feyzin refineries

MOSCOW (MRC) -- French CGT union workers have suspended their strike at Total's Donges and Feyzin refineries, but the strike at the company's Gonfreville refinery in Normandy will continue until Wednesday, two union officials told Reuters.

A union official at the 220-Mbpd Donges refinery said workers there voted on Friday to suspend the strike until June 14, and preparations to restart operations will commence on Friday evening. It could take up to a week for the refinery to be back to full output capacity.

Workers also voted to suspend the strike at the 117-Mbpd Feyzin refinery, but decided to extend the strike at the 247-Mbpd Gonfreville site until Wednesday.

Total said that preliminary moves to restart production at the three refineries were progressing, while work was continuing normally at five other petrochemical sites, including at its petrochemical plant in Carling in eastern France and at its naphtha chemical plant in the south.

It added that trucks were also loading refined products at all its refineries and fuel depots without hindrance from striking workers.

The three-week oil sector strike, part of a nationwide rolling protest against a planned government labor reform, led to a temporary production halt at refineries, blockades at oil ports, depots and terminals, and fuel supply disruption across France.

We remind that, as MRC informed previously, in December 2014, Total, Europe’s third-largest oil company, permanently shut its high density polyethylene (HDPE) line in Belgium. The plant was shut permanently owing to weak margins which have arisen on account of cheap imports in the region. Located at Antwerp in Belgium, the line has a production capacity of 70,000 mt/year.

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
MRC

Global petrochemicals market to witness CAGR of 6.8% by 2020

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The global petrochemicals market is expected to exhibit a steady 6.8% CAGR from 2014 to 2020, estimated to reach a valuation of USD885.1 bln by the end of the forecast period, as per Plastemart with reference to Transparency Market Research (TMR).

The global market for petrochemicals is a crucial part of the chemicals industry and has significant impact on various walks of human life, as ubiquitous materials such as plastics are derived from petrochemicals. Due to the rising demand for its various end-use segments, the global petrochemicals market is expected to exhibit steady growth in the coming years. The major product segments of the global petrochemicals market are ethylene, propylene, methanol, butadiene, xylene, benzene, styrene, vinyls, and toluene. Of these, ethylene was the major product type in the market in 2013. Ethylene’s use in the manufacture of polyethylene - which, as the name suggests, consists of multiple polymers of ethylene - is a major driver for the global petrochemicals market.

The rising use of methanol in fuel mixtures has also provided a boost to the global petrochemicals market. Adding methanol allows for cleaner combustion of fuels, reducing the environmental damage caused by the combustion. According to TMR, methanol is expected to be the fastest growing product segment of the global petrochemicals market in the forecast period.

The demand for styrene and butadiene is also expected to rise in the coming years, thanks to their growing application in styrene butadiene rubber and the rising demand for butadiene for the production of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene.

On the basis of geography, China emerged as the largest segment of the global market in 2013. China accounted for 25% of the demand from the global petrochemicals market, thanks in part to the country’s booming automotive and construction industries. China is also anticipated to remain in a dominant position in the global petrochemicals market in the coming years and is expected to be the fastest growing segment of the market in the forecast period.

The rest of Asia Pacific followed China in the regional hierarchy of the global petrochemicals market in 2013. India is the leader in the rest of Asia Pacific, with the increasing demand for products containing petrochemicals and the country’s flourishing manufacturing sector expected to propel the regional market for petrochemicals. The Middle East and Africa also have an important role to play in the future of the global petrochemicals market. These two regions contain some of the largest petroleum producers in the world, with the easy availability of petroleum allowing petrochemical companies in the region to post strong growth figures.

In competitive terms, the global petrochemicals market is highly fragmented and marked by constant efforts on the part of multinational giants to acquire smaller regional companies.

We also remind that, as MRC reported earlier, the global demand for petrochemical market was valued at USD550 bln in 2014 and is expected to reach USD890 bln in 2020, growing at a CAGR of around 6.5% between 2015 and 2020, as per MarketResearchStore.
MRC

The Chinese plastic pipe market forecast to grow at CAGR of 8.6% from 2016 to 2021

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The future of Chinese plastic pipe market looks attractive with opportunities in the potable water supply, wastewater supply, agriculture sector, and chemical sector, according to a new market report published by Lucintel. The Chinese plastic pipe market is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 8.6% from 2016 to 2021, said Plastemart.

The major growth drivers for this market are infrastructure development, rise in construction activities, replacement of aging pipelines made of traditional materials, growing population, and growing urbanization rate.

In this market, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyethylene (PE), and polypropylene (PP) are the major raw materials used to manufacture plastic pipes in China. The demand for PE plastic pipes will experience the highest growth in the forecast period, supported by growing demand in the chemical sector and sewage applications.

On the basis of its comprehensive research, Lucintel forecasts that the wastewater supply and potable water supply are expected to show above average growth during the forecast period. Within the Chinese plastic pipe market, potable water supply segment is expected to remain the largest application followed by wastewater supply applications.

The growths of residential and commercial construction in China are expected to spur growth for this segment over the forecast period. For market expansion, the report suggests new product development, where the unique characteristics of the plastic pipes can be capitalized.

Emerging trends, which have a direct impact on the dynamics of the market, are the increasing consumption of multilayer plastic pipe in gas distribution and increasing use of large diameter plastic pipes with increasing trenchless technology in construction industry.

CHINA LESSO Group Holdings Limited, Yonggao Co Ltd., Zhejiang Weixing New Building Materials Co Ltd., Goody Science and Technology Co Ltd., and Cangzhou Mingzhu Plastic Co Ltd. are among the major manufacturers of the Chinese plastic pipe.

As MRC reported earlier, the global plastic pipe market is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 6.8% from 2015 to 2020, as per Lucentel. The major growth drivers for this market are infrastructure development, rise in construction activities, replacement of aging pipelines made of traditional materials, growing population, and growing urbanization rate.
MRC

Bio-based PET market size over USD13 billion by 2023

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Bio Based Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) Market size was 496.0 kilo tons in 2015, as per Plastemart with reference to the latest research report by Global Market Insights, Inc.

Growing concerns towards GHG emissions coupled with bioplastics emergence as an alternative in packaging and automotive industry may stimulate global bio based PET market size.

Global biobased PET market size may generate USD 13.1 billion by 2023. Increasing importance of sustainable packaging, especially in China and India, may positively influence bio based polyethylene market size growth. Key Industry participants, The Coca-Cola Company and Toray, have formed strategic partnerships with bio based product manufacturers such as Gevo and Virent, for the development 100% bio PET.

Coca-Cola, H.J. Heinz, Nike, Procter & Gamble and Ford Motor have collaborated Plant PET Technology Collaborative (PTC) for 100% bio polyethylene terephthalate production acceleration intended for apparels, technical seat trims, plastic bottles, floor carpets and footwear.

APAC bio PET marker size, led by China & India, was dominant and accounted for over 32.5% of the overall demand in 2015. Growing CSD (carbonated soft drinks) & alcohol beverage demand in China and India have resulted in increased scope for packaging.

Australian government formed (APC) The Australian Packaging Covenant for sustainable packaging promotion which may favor on bio-based PET market growth. The Japanese government has set a target of 20% bioplastics production in the plastics market by 2020, which may favor bio based polyethylene terephthalate market growth over the next several years.

Bio polyethylene terephthalate weighs lower in comparison to their fossil fuel counterparts, which helps its use in exterior and interior automotive parts. AT&T, Nissan and Toyota Motors have announced plans to use bioplastics in their products, which may positively influence bio PET market growth in technical applications.

Key raw material, sugarcane, is used for MEG manufacturing. Sugarcane is majorly used for sugar and bio ethanol production and may fall short as feedstock for MEG production. This may hamper product supply and affect bio based PET market price trend.

Petrochemical derived polyethylene terephthalate are showcasing stiff competition to bio based counter parts with decrease in crude oil prices, However, bio based polyethylene terephthalate prices are expected to compete with petrochemical derived counterparts with correction in crude oil prices and capacity expansion on bio based polyethylene terephthalate.

Key insights from the report include:

- Global bio PET market size may attain 44.2% CAGR up to 2023 and reach 6.74 million tons by 2023. Europe, with food & beverage industry growth in Germany, France & UK, is set to gain significant growth rates and register over USD 2.8 billion by 2023.

- Europe bottling applications are forecast to grow at over 37% CAGR in revenue terms and register over USD 2.3 billion by 2023.

- North America technical application occupied a small chunk of the share may register over USD 235 million by 2023 with expected gains at above 36% CAGR.

- Latin America, with Brazil contributing to regional demand, may witness significant growth rates at over 46.5% CAGR up to 2023. Latin America bottling applications may register over USD 1.5 billion by 2023.

- Global biobased PET market share is competitive with limited industry participants dominating production. Key industry participants include Teijin Limited, Toray Industries, Coca Cola, Toyota Tsusho, Plastipak holdings and M&G chemicals. Gevo, Anellotech, and Virent are some key raw material suppliers and have invested for bio PTA production for 100% bio polyethylene terephthalate manufacturing.

As MRC reported earlier, as per a study by Grand View Research, Inc., global bio-based polyethylene terephthalate (PET) market is expected to reach 5,800 kilo tons by 2020.
MRC

Westlake Chemical to buy Axiall, winning takeover battle

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Westlake Chemical Corp. will buy Axiall Corp. for about USD2.33 billion, the chemical companies said Friday, ending a monthslong takeover battle, said The Wall Street Journal.

Westlake Chemical will buy Axiall for USD33 a share, a 28% premium over Thursday’s USD25.81 close and sharply higher than Westlake’s price of USD9.60 on the day before the stock was boosted by news of the first merger offer.

In January, Axiall rejected a then USD20 cash-and-stock offer from Westlake, setting off a public back-and-forth takeover battle. Axiall had previously called Westlake’s bid "opportunistic and inadequate," while Westlake had tried to remove Axiall’s board via a proxy fight.

Earlier this week, South Korean conglomerate Lotte Chemical Corp. disclosed that it had submitted an unsolicited bid for Axiall, presumably providing the impetus for Westlake to work fast and seal the deal.

As part of the transaction, Westlake withdrew its bid to replace Axiall’s board.

Lotte and Axiall own a joint venture that is building an ethane-based ethylene plant in Louisiana. In the statement announcing the deal, Westlake said it "looks forward" to working with Lotte on the joint venture.

The transaction has been approved by the boards of both companies and is expected to close in the fourth quarter, pending regulatory approvals and Axiall stockholder approval.

Westlake produces petrochemicals, polymers and building products and is based in Houston. Axiall makes chlor-alkali, vinyls and building products and its headquarters is based in Atlanta.

Westlake shares rose 2.4% to USD46.13 and Axiall shares rose 26% to USD32.48.

Axiall is a chemical company formed in 2012 from the chemical assets of PPG and Georgia Gulf. The PPG products are primarily chlor-alkali. The combined companies will be the third largest producer of chlor-alkali in the US after Dow Chemical and Occidental. PPG will own 50.5% of the combined companies. The company is headquartered in Atlanta, GA.

Westlake Chemical Corporation is a U.S. manufacturer and supplier of petrochemicals and polymers, headquartered in Houston, Texas. The range of company's products includes ethylene, polyethylene, styrene, propylene, caustics, polyvinyl chloride and plastic products. Westlake is one of the major ethylene producers in the US and its Calvert City operation is a large integrated PVC site.

MRC