Petrobras to exit biofuels production

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Brazil's state-controlled oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA said Tuesday it will exit the biofuels sector, as the heavily indebted company seeks to prioritize investment in crude oil and gas production, reported Reuters.

Petrobras, as the company is known, said biofuels would be one sector it plans to unload as part of sweeping asset sales plan. The company reaffirmed a USD15.1 B in asset sales for the 2015-2016 period and fetch an additional USD19.5 B through divestments and partnerships between 2017 and 2018.

Petrobras has a significant portfolio in biofuels. No specifics were provided on what years the sales were planned for.

Its largest asset is a 45.9% stake in Guarani Tereos Acucar e Energia Brasil, which owns seven mills with a combined production capacity of 1.7 MMt of sugar and 900 MM liters (237.8 MM gallons) of ethanol per year.

Petrobras also owns 49% of Boa Vista mill in Goias state, a joint venture with Brazilian sugar and ethanol company Sao Martinho, and a 40% stake in the Bambui mill in the Sao Paulo state.

Petrobras also fully owns three biodiesel plants in Minas Gerais, Bahia and Ceara states and has a 50% stake in local biodiesel producer BSBIOS, which manages two large plants in the states of Parana and Rio Grande do Sul.

Sugar and ethanol prices have recovered strongly since Petrobras since the media began reporting the company planned to leave the biofuels sector early last year. Raw sugar prices hit the highest level since 2012 on Monday in New York, lifted by expectations of at least two years of a global supply deficit.

As MRC wrote before, Petrobras is seeking to sell its 5.8 billion Brazilian real (USD1.4 billion) stake in petrochemical producer Braskem SA. Petrobras owns a 36% 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.

Jacobs to upgrade Singapore Refining Co. refinery in Jurong Island

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Jacobs Engineering Group received a contract from Singapore Refining Company Private Ltd. (SRC), a JV between Singapore Petroleum Co. and Chevron, to provide services for an upgrade project at SRC’s refinery in Jurong Island, Singapore, reported Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Jacobs is providing concept definition and front-end engineering design services for the upgrade of the refinery’s naphtha splitter unit, naphtha hydrotreating unit and catalytic reformer unit.

We remind that, as MRC informed previously, in June 2015, Jacobs Engineering Group was awarded an engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) contract from Celanese Corp. for the construction of a vinyl acetate ethylene (EVA) emulsions production plant at Jurong Island, Singapore.

Under the terms of the contract, Jacobs is responsible for the detailed engineering and design of the project, including procurement of major equipment and management of construction services.

Construction was expected to begin by mid-2015, and the unit was expected to begin production by second half of 2016.

Trinseo announces price increases for polycarbonates in Europe

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Trinseo, a global materials company and manufacturer of plastics, latex binders and synthetic rubber, and its affiliate companies in Europe announced today price increases for all natural Polycarbonate (PC) grades, said the producer on its site.

Effective immediately, or as existing contract terms allow, the September contract and spot prices for the product listed below will increase as follows:

CALIBRE™ Polycarbonate Resins by 200 Euro per metric ton

As MRC informed earlier, in September, Trinseo also increased for all polystyrene (PS), acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) and acrylonitrile styrene copolymer (SAN) grades in Europe.

Trinseo is a global materials solutions provider and manufacturer of plastics, latex binders, and synthetic rubber. We are focused on delivering innovative and sustainable solution to help our customers create products that touch lives every day - products that are intrinsic to how we live our lives - across a wide range of end-markets, including automotive, consumer electronics, appliances, medical devices, lighting, electrical, carpet, paper and board, building and construction, and tires. Trinseo had approximately USD4.0 billion in revenue in 2015, with 18 manufacturing sites around the world, and more than 2,200 employees.

Lotte Chemical Titan to shut LDPE unit in Malaysia

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Lotte Chemical Titan is plans to shut its Low density polyethylene (LDPE) unit for a maintenance turnaround, reported Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in Malaysia informed that the company will be taking its unit off-stream in December 2016. The unit is likely to shut in early-December and expected to remian off-line until end-December 2016.

Located at Pasir Gudang, Malaysia, the LDPE unit has a production capacity of 230,000 mt/year.

As MRC wrote before, Lotte Chemical Titan is studying the possibility of building a USD4 billion upstream plant to reduce imports of raw materials. Around 40% of the total investment needed for the new plant would be taken from the company’s internal cash, while the rest would be from bank loans. Lotte Chemical, which currently has a production capacity of 450,000 tons of polyethylene per year, expects the upstream plant to boost production capacity to 1 million tons by creating ethylene.

Lotte Chemical Titan produces Malaysia's most comprehensive portfolio of olefins and polyolefins which contribute to the enhancement of everyday life. Lotte Chemical Titan's production site in Malaysia consists of eleven process facilities, two co-generation plants and three tank farms. They are located on 2 sites in Pasir Gudang and Tanjung Langsat in the state of Johor. In 2006, Lotte Chemical Titan acquired PT Lotte Chemical Titan Nusantara, Indonesia’s first and largest polyethylene plant in the country. This acquisition boosted the polyolefins capacity by approximately 50%, thus making the company one of the largest producers in South East Asia. Lotte Chemical Titan was acquired by Lotte Chemical Corp., forming part of the Lotte conglomerate of Korea, in 2010. The company thus became one of Lotte Chemical Corp.’s largest overseas subsidiaries.

SPVC imports to Ukraine surged 42% in the first eight months of 2016

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Imports of suspension polyvinyl chloride (SPVC) into Ukraine increased in the first eight months of 2016 by 42% year on year, totalling over 72,300 tonnes, according to MRC's DataScope report.

August SPVC imports to Ukraine rose to 9,500 tonnes from 7,600 tonnes a month earlier. Both producers of profile-moulded products and plasticized compounds increased their polyvinyl chloride (PVC) purchasing. Overall imports of suspension grew to 72,300 tonnes in January-August 2016, compared to 50,900 tonnes in the same period of 2015.

The structure of PVC imports to Ukraine looked the following way over the stated period.

August PVC imports from the US exceeded 4,500 tonnes versus 4,000 tonnes a month earlier. Thus, imports of North American resin from the US totalled 43,200 tonnes in January-August 2016, compared to 18,900 tonnes a year earlier. Low export prices of North American producers was the main reason for such a major rise in purchases by Ukrainian companies.

Last month's shipments of European PVC to the Ukrainian market grew to 4,500 tonnes from 3,500 tonnes a month earlier. Overall imports of European PVC to Ukraine were 24,500 tonnes in the first eight months of the year, compared to 25,700 tonnes a year earlier.

Shipments of Russian resin totalled about 4,000 tonnes in the first eight months of 2016 versus 6,000 tonnes a year earlier.