Wacker expands silicone elastomer capacity in South Korea

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Wacker will invest approximately EUR 16 million in expanding the silicone elastomer production capacity at its new facilities in Jincheon, South Korea, as per GV.

The facilities will include plants for silicone sealants, speciality silicones and LSR for the construction, electronics and automotive industries. The building will also include its own cleanroom area. Operations in Jincheon began in 2010 with the production of silicone sealants for construction applications and a variety of speciality silicone products for the electronics industry.

Due to space constraints, however, capacity expansions at the existing site are not possible, says Wacker. For this reason, the company will dismantle the production facilities there at the end of 2017 and transfer them to the new location. The start of production is planned for the first quarter of 2018.

As MRC informed before, in 2013, Wacker Chemie AG officially launched its new production plant for ethylene-vinyl-acetate copolymer (EVA) dispersions at its Ulsan site in South Korea. The additional 40,000 tonnes from the second reactor line increases the site's EVA-dispersion capacity to a total of 90,000 tonnes per year. Thus, the production capacity of the site almost doubled, making the plant complex one of the biggest of its kind in South Korea.

Wacker Chemie AG is a worldwide operating company in the chemical business, founded 1914. The company is controlled by the Wacker-family holding more than 50 percent of the shares. The corporation is operating more than 25 production sites in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. The product range includes silicone rubbers, polymer products like ethylene vinyl acetate redispersible polymer powder, chemical materials, polysilicon and wafers for semiconductor industry.

Formosa plans to restart No. 2 cracker in Taiwan after turnaround

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Formosa Petrochemical Corp. (FPCC) is likely to brought on-stream its cracker following a maintenance turnaround, as per Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in Taiwan informed that the company plans to resume operations at the cracker on September 24, 2016. The cracker was taken off-stream on July 29, 2016 for a planned maintenance.

Located at Mailiao in Taiwan, the No.2 cracker has an ethylene production capacity of 1.03 million mt/year, propylene production capacity of 515,000 mt/year and butadiene production capacity of 162,000 mt/year.

Formosa, Asia's top naphtha importer, operates three naphtha crackers in Mailiao. These units have a total capacity of 2.93 million tpy of ethylene.

As MRC reported earlier, Taipei- Formosa Plastics, part of FPCC, is considering construction of a plant in Louisiana to produce 1.2-million t/y of ethylene from shale gas.

Formosa Petrochemical is involved primarily in the business of refining crude oil, selling refined petroleum products and producing and selling olefins (including ethylene, propylene, butadiene and BTX) from its naphtha cracking operations. Formosa Petrochemical is also the largest olefins producer in Taiwan and its olefins products are mostly sold to companies within the Formosa Group. Among the company's chemical products are paraxylene (PX), phenyl ethylene, acetone and pure terephthalic acid (PTA). The company's plastic products include acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) resins, polystyrene (PS), polypropylene (PP) and panlite (PC).

PP imports into Ukraine increased by 35% in January - August 2016

MOSCOW (MRC) - Imports of polypropylene (PP) into Ukraine increased to about 79,300 tonnes in first eight months of this year, up 35% year on year, compared to the same period of 2015. The greatest increase in imports occurred for PP random copolymers, according to MRC DataScope.

August PP imports into the country fell to 10,700 tonnes from 11,000 tonnes a month earlier, the main decrease in imports were seen in the shipments of homopolymer PP. In general, January - August PP imports into the country increased to 79,300 tonnes against 58,800 tonnes year on year. The greatest increase in external deliveries occurred for PP random copolymers, also significantly increased imports of homopolymer PP.

Structure of PP supplies over the reported period looked as follows.

August imports of homopolymer PP into the Ukrainian market decreased to 7,900 tonnes, while a month earlier this figure was 8,600 tonnes.
Local companies decreased the volume of purchases of injection moulding PP and homopolymer PP raffia. Ukraine's homopolymer PP imports increased to 61,200 tonnes in January-August 2016, against 45,400 tonnes year on year.

August imports of PP block copolymers remained at the level of July and was about 1,000 tonnes. Imports of PP block copolymers into the country were about 7,500 tonnes in January-August, compared with 6,100 tonnes year on year.

August imports of PP random copolymers into Ukraine exceeded 1,500 tonnes, compared with 1,100 tonnes in July; local converters significantly increased their imports of pipe PP random copolymers. Total imports of PP random copolymers into Ukraine exceeded 9,000 tonnes in January-August, compared with 5,800 tonnes year on year.

Russia's imports of other propylene copolymers for the period were about 1,600 tonnes in the first eight months of the year.


Bharat Petroleum seeks upstream assets to feed refineries

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Indian energy group Bharat Petroleum Corp. is looking at buying more stakes in oil and gas assets that are already producing to speed up investment returns, the managing director of the company's exploration business told Reuters.

The state-run refiner had previously focused mainly on exploration assets overseas, where it has invested just over USD1.5 B.

The company is also looking at fields that are already producing. In March, it bought a stake in Russian oilfields that are in production via its upstream subsidiary Bharat Petro Resources Ltd.

"That is why we looked at Russia," BPRL's managing director D. Rajkumar told Reuters in the sidelines of a news conference on Wednesday.

"That will ensure we have a balanced portfolio of assets from exploration, development to producing. So with all this, we will be in a self-sustaining place soon."

Pressure on oil companies to get a quick return on their investment has increased because of lower oil prices which have also hit the industry's capital spending plans.

Bharat Petroleum was the first Indian state refiner to venture into the upstream oil business when it bought minority stakes in Brazilian blocks in 2007.

In 2008, Bharat Petroleum invested in a gas block in Mozambique but the production has now been delayed to 2020-21 after liquefied natural gas (LNG) prices slumped.

The purchase of the Russian assets gives Bharat Petroleum a potential for immediate revenues and bridges the gap till 2021-22 when Mozambique gas production starts, Rajkumar said.

The company's chairman S. Varadarajan said it would also continue to look for exploration opportunities.

"There is a strategy to look at different markets and projects which are at different phases (of exploration and production) and that is why we did the Russian acquisition," Varadarajan said.

BPCL plans to invest USD2.25 B to USD3.00 B over the next five years in developing existing blocks, the company has said.

As MRC informed before, BPCL plans to invest Rs. 4,800 crore in the propylene derivative petrochemical project in Kochi, which was earlier planned as a joint venture. BPCL identified six technology partners for the project. Cost of the integrated refinery expansion and petrochemical project is Rs. 25,000 crore and is the single largest investment in Kerala. Propylene for the project will be sourced from the expanded refinery. The capacity of the refinery is being raised from 9.5 mln tpa to 15.5 mln tons.

Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) is an Indian state-controlled oil and gas company headquartered in Mumbai, India. Bharat Petroleum owns refineries at Mumbai, Maharashtra and Kochi, Kerala (Kochi Refineries) with a capacity of 12 and 9.5 million metric tonnes per year.

HDPE production in Russia grew 13% in Jan-Aug 2016

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Russia' production of high density polyethylene (HDPE) rose in January-August 2016 by 13% year on year, totalling over 675,500 tonnes. Stavrolen and Gazprom neftekhim Salavat increased their output, according to MRC's ScanPlast report.

August total HDPE production in Russia grew to 99,000 tonnes, whereas a month earlier, this figure was 74,600 tonnes. Nizhnekamskneftekhim, which switched to HDPE production from linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE)earlier this month, accounted for such a significant increase in the output. Overall HDPE production exceeded 675,500 tonnes in January-August 2016, compared to 599,400 tonnes a year earlier. Stavrolen and Gazprom neftekhim Salavat increased their capacity utilisation, whereas Kazanorgsintez, on the contrary, showed a negative result.

The structure of polyethylene (PE) production by plants looked the following way over the stated period.

Kazanorgsintez raised its HDPE output to 49,700 tonnes last month from 41,800 tonnes in July (the plant had limited supply of ethylene). Overall, the Kazan plant produced about 329,000 tonnes of HDPE in the first eight months of 2016, down by 4% year on year.

August HDPE output at Stavrolen grew to 24,600 tonnes from 24,400 tonnes a month earlier. Stavrolen produced over 180,200 tonnes of HDPE over the stated period, whereas a year earlier, the figure was 103,600 tonnes (the plant was idle from late February 2014 to April 2015 because of an accident at the ethylene unit).

Nizhnekamskneftekhim switched to HDPE production only in early August, whereas in early June, it switched to LLDPE production. As a consequence, the plant's HDPE output was 14,800 tonnes in August, compared to 300 tonnes a month earlier. The Nizhnekamsk plant produced a little over 92,500 tonnes of HDPE in January-August 2016, which corresponds to the index of 2015.

Gazprom neftekhim Salavat increased its capacity utilisation last month, HDPE production rose to 9,800 tonnes from 8,100 tonnes in July (the plant shut down its production for a one-week turnaround). The Salavat plant produced 73,800 tonnes in the first eight months of 2016, whereas a year earlier, this figure was 59,600 tonnes.