KP Engineering to provide process engineering services

MOSCOW (MRC) -- KP Engineering will provide process engineering services to a mid-continent refiner as part of a FCCU study. Per client request, KPE will evaluate the FCC main column, debutanizer, stripper, primary absorber and associated equipment, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

KPE will also evaluate the recovery of LPG and gasoline products from the off gases. The feasibility study will identify system bottlenecks, determine desired process configuration to meet new performance objectives, and outline any modifications required along with budgetary cost information. The process study is expected to take two months to complete and will be performed by KPE refining process experts.

As MRC informed earlier, KP Engineering, an industry leader in engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) solutions, has been awarded a fixed-price EPC contract by Praxair, Inc. to expand carbon monoxide production at its Geismar, Louisiana plant.

November export prices for European PP for CIS countries were announced stable to soft

MOSCOW (MRC) - November contract price of propylene in Europe was agreed up EUR30/tonne from the level in October. However, some European producers announced a rollover of export price of polypropylene (PP) in the current month for the CIS countries, according to ICIS-MRC Price Report.

Negotiations on November prices for European PP began last week, but due to the public holidays they moved to the current week. Many market participants reported that some European producers announced a rollover for November PP delivery from the October level.

Some producers, on the contrary, announced price reductions.Deals for homopolymer PP for November delivery into CIS markets were discussed this week in a quite wide range of EUR960-1,060/tonne FCA, while a month earlier the deals had been agreed in the range of EUR980-1,060/tonne FCA.

As in the past month, some producers still have restrictions on the shipment of homopolymer PP due to the shutdowns, in particular, producers from Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Deals for PP block copolymers were discussed a range of EUR1,050-1,150/tonne FCA, on average down by EUR30/tonne from the level in October. Negotiations on November shipment of PP random copolymers were done in the range of EUR1,090-1,160/tonne FCA.

Dow Chemical gains from consumer focus ahead of DuPont merger

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Dow Chemical Co, whose merger with DuPont is now likely to close early next year rather than end-2016, reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit as it benefited from its focus on consumer markets such as automotive and electronics, reported Reuters.

Dow Chemical's shares rose 2 percent to USD54.86, their highest this year.

The USD130 billion Dow-DuPont merger is being probed by regulators around the world, with EU antitrust officials expected to decide by Feb. 6 whether to approve it.

"Based on where we are with the regulatory process, Q1 2017 is the most likely outcome, though I won't rule out the end of the year," Chief Financial Officer Howard Ungerleider told Reuters.

The merger is expected to face intense scrutiny over combining the companies' agricultural businesses, which sell seeds, insecticides and pesticides.

But the companies have previously said the agrichemicals businesses have little overlap, and any asset sales required to get regulatory clearances would be minor.

Dow Chemical is benefiting from its strategy to focus on consumer markets by selling billions of dollars of volatile, commodity assets over the years, including the USD5 billion divestiture of most of its chlorine business.

The company is on track to realize 70 percent of its USD400 million cost-cutting target by the first half of next year, on a run-rate basis, Ungerleider said on a post-earnings call.

Dow Chemical said it had realized more than USD200 million of savings on an annualized run-rate basis.

Net income attributable to Dow's shareholders slumped 44 percent to USD719 million, or 63 cents per share, in the third quarter ended Sept.30, from a year earlier.

The year-ago quarter included a 32 cents per share gain from the sale of a unit that made chemicals to keep farm produce fresh.

A 6 percent rise in sales volumes, adjusted for acquisitions and divestitures, helped the company report a 3.7 percent rise in sales to USD12.48 billion, above estimates of USD11.96 billion.

The Dow Chemical Company is an American multinational chemical corporation. Dow is a large producer of plastics, including polystyrene, polyurethane, polyethylene, polypropylene, and synthetic rubber. In 2014, Dow had annual sales of more than USD58 billion and employed approximately 53,000 people worldwide.

MOL is to launch new SSBR plant in Tiszaujvaros, Hungary in late 2017

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Hungarian petrochemical group MOL is on track to complete the construction of its new solution styrene-butadiene rubber plant in Tiszaujvaros, Hungary, by the end of 2017, the company has confirmed, said Rubbernews.

At a capital markets day presentation Nov. 7, company officials provided an update on the USD335.1 million SSBR project, in which MOL holds a 49 percent stake, with the remaining 51 percent owned by JSR Corp. of Japan.

The 60 kilotons per year synthetic rubber facility is being built near the site of MOL’s new 130 kilotons per year butadiene production plant, which was started up in November last year.

Around 40 kilotons per year of output from this facility will go to the new SSBR plant, company officials explained. The rest of the butadiene capacity will be sold mostly to European markets. The Tiszaujvaros butadiene plant was constructed with an investment of USD154.7 million.

SSBR is currently finding strong demand among tire makers, who use the material in the manufacture of low-rolling resistance tires. This has driven a number of projects by suppliers, including Trinseo, Asahi Kasei, Sumitomo Chemical and Zeon Corp, who are seeking to advance their position in this fast-growing market.

Meanwhile, Hungary is continuing to attract significant investments by tire makers, with a major new Apollo plant soon to join facilities already operated by Bridgestone, Hankook and Michelin in the country.

MOL’s SSBR project is part of a group-wide ‘transformation’ program, under which the Hungarian group aims to steer toward more profitable areas of business and away for less attractive and oversupplied markets, such as ethylene.

At its capital markets day presentation, MOL said U.S. shale gas developments were threatening the ethylene leg of European petchem industry, while the economic slowdown in Asia was turning ethylene polymer exports towards Europe.

Moreover, it said, as naphtha crackers are not competitive against ethane-based producers, operators had to increase their focus on efficiency improvements and higher value derivatives. Propylene offered a more attractive route, said Mol, noting that markets in this sector are attractive due to supply constraints and do not suffer from cost-disadvantage. The segment, therefore, warrants investment in innovation around both product and feedstock.

Butadiene is only about a tenth the size of the propylene market and likely to see some “severe price changes”, according to the Hungarian group. However, it added, the product stream offers some profitable opportunities in the longer term.

Honeywell сonnected performance services to help PetroVietnam improve refinery efficiency

MOSCOW (MRC) -- A subsidiary of PetroVietnam will use Honeywell’s new IIoT-based Connected Performance Services(CPS) offering to improve the performance of its manufacturing operations in Quang Ngai City, Vietnam, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Binh Son Refining and Petrochemical Co. (BSR) will use Honeywell’s CPS technology which integrates Honeywell UOP’s deep process knowledge to improve refinery and plant performance at its naphtha complex. CPS is part of Honeywell’s Connected Plant initiative, which leverages IIoT technologies, services and domain expertise to improve all aspects of industrial operations from supply chain efficiency to asset optimization.

CPS gives refineries and petrochemical and gas processing plants greater visibility into their operations. Problems that reduced plant efficiency and productivity and that persistently avoided detection can be quickly identified and resolved using recommendations from CPS. As a result, plants can produce more and avoid unplanned shutdowns for maintenance and repair, resulting in millions of dollars per year in increased productivity.

The service continuously monitors streaming plant data and applies UOP process models and best practices, big data analytics, and machine learning to find latent and emerging performance problems, alert plant personnel and make specific operational recommendations. These recommendations are reported simultaneously to a dedicated Honeywell UOP process advisor, who also monitors performance and provides additional direction and resources.

The service also can also help manage energy consumption to maintain compliance with regulatory standards, and also bridge knowledge gaps among personnel by leveraging the full breadth of Honeywell UOP’s troubleshooting expertise, available at their fingertips. Taken together, the features of CPS allow refineries to operate more efficiently and make the best use of every barrel of feedstock.

According to the US Energy Information Administration, Vietnam produced an estimated 355 Mbpd of petroleum and other liquids in 2015. While it is a net exporter of crude oil, without additional domestic conversion capacity, it will need to import significantly more oil products. Vietnam currently has oil reserves of about 4.4 Bbbl, giving it the third-largest reserve of crude oil in Asia, after China and India, even though its offshore reserves remain largely unexplored.

Binh Son Refining and Petrochemical Co. produces, refines and trades crude oil and finished petroleum products, bio-fuel, polypropylene pallets, and other products. The company also provides maintenance and technical consultation, training and manpower, marine, and port services in the oil refining and petrochemical field and develops oil and gas projects and bio-fuel. The company was founded in 2008 and is based in Quang Ngai, Vietnam. It operates as a subsidiary of Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam).

We remind that, as MRC wrote before, Vietnam Polystyrene had expanded the production capacity of its expandable polystyrene (EPS) plant by 50,000 mt/year by end-April 2014. Located in Vietnam, the plant has a production capacity of 40,000 mt/year.