Iran indigenizes polypropylene production

MOSCOW (MRC) --Deputy oil minister has announced that Iran has achieved the technical knowledge to produce polypropylene as a strategic petrochemical product, MehrNews.

Director of the National Petrochemical Company (NPC) Marzieh Shah-Daei pointed to opening and official operation of the first semi industrial polypropylene (PP) manufacturing unit in the country’s petrochemical industry saying "the new unit aims to produce an annual amount of 2.4 thousand tons of polypropylene by exploiting Iranian technical knowledge and catalyst."

The official emphasized that Iran has attained the knowledge required to convert propylene to polypropylene for the first time; "previously, license and technical knowledge for manufacturing the strategic petroleum product was held by European companies, in particular Basel of Italy," she told the reporters.

Shah-Daei reiterated that operation of the first semi industrial unit for production of polypropylene mainly aims to provide technical knowledge to produce new catalysts as well as novel polymer grits.

"In addition to solving processing issues in the petrochemical issues, boosting production quality and lowering energy consumption comprise other objectives pursued in the project," added NPC managing director.

The official said development of petrochemical industry in Iran also aims to increase production capacity of propylene and polypropylene to supply feed to petchem plants; "accordingly, projects to convert methanol to polypropylene have been put on the agenda."

Marzieh Shah-Daei said now 80 per cent of propylene production is directly being converted to polypropylene concluding "a centerpiece of the Sixth National Development Plan has been to uplift production capacity of propylene in order to feed petrochemical complementary industries."

We also remind that, as MRC informed previously, Iran is in discussions with Air Liquide regarding prospects of building a Propylene via Methanol (PVM) plant in the country. PVM technology is used to convert methanol into propylene. Over the past two years, Iran focused on acquiring PVM technology, launching its first PVM pilot plant in Mahshahr city in early 2015, producing 120,000 tons of propylene from methanol, as per Xinhua.

Italmatch acquires Solvay Ionquest, OPA businesses

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Solvay announced that it has sold its Ionquest 290 solvent extraction product line used in mining applications and its octylphosphonic acid (OPA) product lines to Italmatch Chemicals, said the company on its site.

With this sale Solvay satisfies all remaining obligations set forth by the European Union regarding the approval of its acquisition last year of Cytec Industries.

"We are confident that Italmatch’s expertise and commitment to its customers will ensure that the Ionquest 290 and OPA businesses will continue to thrive and meet the market’s needs," commented Michael J. Radossich, President, Solvay Technology Solutions global business unit. "Customer satisfaction and a seamless transition have always been our main focus and priority in this process."

Solvay will continue to invest in and grow its remaining mining solutions portfolio. The sale is expected to close before the end of the quarter pending customary requirements and regulatory review.

Chemical International, a company specialising in the production and marketing of phosphonates and additives for water treatment and for the oil and gas market.

Saudi Polymers to take off-stream PE plants in Jubail for maintenance

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Saudi Polymers is in plans to shut its polyethylene (PE) plants for a planned maintenance turnaround, as per Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in Saudi Arabia informed that the company has scheduled maintenance at its plants in mid-October 2016. The plants are expected to remain off-stream for around 2 months.

Located in Jubail, Saudi Arabia, the plants have a production capacity of 1.1 million mt/year.

As MRC wrote previously, in late 2012, Saudi Polymers Company started commercial. The integrated petrochemical complex includes world-class operating units that are capable of producing ethylene (1,220 kmta), propylene (440 kmta), polyethylene (1,100 kmta), polypropylene (400 kmta), polystyrene (200 kmta) and 1-hexene (100 kmta). In addition to direct sales to serve local Saudi demand, Saudi Polymers manufactures products to serve growing world demand outside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia through its exclusive distributor, Gulf Polymers Distribution Company, utilizing Chevron Phillips Chemical's global marketing network.

PP imports to Russia grew by 14% in January - August 2016

MOSCOW (MRC) - Total imports of polypropylene (PP) into Russia increased to 117,500 tonnes in the first eight months of 2016, up 14% compared to the same period of 2015. Imports of all types of PP grew, with the largest increase accounted for homopolymer PP, according to MRC DataScope.

Russia's imports of PP increased in August, having reached 20,900 tonnes compared with 16,700 tonnes in July. The main increase occurred for the supply of homopolymer PP raffia grade from Turkmenistan and pipe PP random copolymers. In general, PP imports into Russia totalled 117,500 tonnes in January-August 2016, compared with 102,600 tonnes year on year. The lowest increase in supply were seen only in PP random copolymers segment due to a significant growth of production by Nizhnekamskneftekhim, Stavrolen and Tomskneftekhim.

PP imports in Russia over the reported period looked as follows.

August homopolymer PP imports into the country grew to 10,700 tonnes, compared with 8,400 tonnes in July. Local companies further increased their supply of homopolymer PP raffia grade from Turkmenistan. Quite a big volumes of Turkmen PP are expected to be imported in September. Total imports homopolymer PP raffia grade into Russia exceeded 56,000 tonnes in January - August 2016, compared with 45,800 year on year.

August imports of PP block copolymers in Russia increased to 3,100 tonnes against 2,200 tonnes in July. Russian companies have increased their PP purchases for injection moulding products and PP compositions. Total imports of PP block copolymers into Russia exceeded 21,000 tonnes in the first eight months of the year, up 19% year on year.

Imports of PP random copolymers grew to 4,300 tonnes in August against 3,900 tonnes a month earlier, on the back of low export prices some Russian producers of pipes for the second month in a row have actively purchased large volumes of raw materials in Europe. Total imports of PP random copolymers into Russia increased to 22,400 tonnes in the first eight months of the year, up 3% year on year.

Imports of other propylene polymers for the reported period increased to about 18,000 tonnes compared with 17,400 tonnes in the same time a year earlier.


Lukoil plays down plans to sell refineries in Europe

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Russia's second-biggest oil producer, Lukoil, played down the possibility of selling its oil refineries in Europe as margins improved, as per Reuters.

Lukoil said in June it might consider spinning off or selling its downstream assets in Europe to focus on exploration in Russia and abroad.

"At the moment, refineries in Europe are highly profitable. A year ago they were making heavy losses," Vladimir Nekrasov, Lukoil's First Vice President for Refining, told reporters.

He added that it was currently hard to say whether Lukoil could decide to sell its European downstream assets.

As MRC wrote previously, OAO Lukoil Holdings, Russia's No. 2 oil producer, will invest USD1 billion in the oil firm Samara-Nafta to increase production. Lukoil acquired Samara-Nafta from Hess Corp. this month for USD2 billion as part of a strategy to stabilize and increase oil production. Lukoil has for years fought declining output at its main, Soviet-era fields in Western Siberia. The investment in Samara-Nafta will increase production by between 5% and 7% over the next five years from 2.5 million tonnes a year, Prime news agency cited the company as saying.

Lukoil, a Russian-based company, is one of the global leaders in the production and refining of crude oil and gas resources. The world's largest privately owned oil and gas company, measured by proven oil reserves, LUKoil has operations in over 40 countries.