Turkmenistan launches railway to Afghanistan to boost exports

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Turkmenistan opened a railway link to Afghanistan on Monday, 28 November, to boost exports of fuel as the gas-rich but cash-strapped nation seeks to ease its dependence on China and Russia, reported Reuters.

The former Soviet republic mostly exports natural gas and its revenues have dwindled after Moscow, once the main buyer, halted purchases this year, leading to a shortage of foreign currency in the isolated desert nation.

The volume of gas sales to China, the current main buyer, is limited by pipeline capacity.

The Turkmen part of the 88-km link ends at the Ymamnazar customs control point where Turkmenistan has built an oil product terminal with an annual capacity of 540,000 t.

It was unclear by what percentage the rail link and the terminal could increase Turkmen fuel exports, because Ashgabat does not publish any data on physical volumes of such sales.

Turkmenistan produces about 10 MMt of oil a year, most of which it refines domestically, and oil products account for about 10% of total Turkmen exports. That share could increase as the country, unable to sell large quantities of natural gas, processes it into liquid fuels.

On the Afghan side, the link goes to the Aqina dry port in the Faryab province, but there are plans to extend it further. The Turkmen government said in a statement the railway would become part of longer link that would eventually connect landlocked Central Asia to China and Southeast Asia.

Turkmenistan is a country boasting abundant reserves of natural gas, and it has been maintaining high economic growth with the export of natural gas. The country is a promising market with strong investment potential, especially in petroleum and gas fields.

We remind that, as MRC wrote previously, in the export trades of Turkmenistan's State Commodity and Raw Materials Exchange, 10,000 tonnes of polypropylene (PP) were sold. On 4 November, Turkmenbashi Gas Processing Plant's 10,000 tonnes of PP were put up for auction in the export trades of the State Commodity and Raw Materials Exchange of Turkmenistan. The put up for action PP was aimed for shipments within 10 months at a starting price of USD830/tonne, FCA/FOB port of Turkmenbashi.

Saudi Aramco chooses Veolia for Jazan refinery wastewater treatment plant

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Veolia, through its subsidiary Veolia Water Technologies, has been chosen by contractor Tecnicas Reunidas to engineer and procure a wastewater treatment plant for the Jazan Refinery and Terminal in Saudi Arabia, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Jazan Refinery and Terminal, wholly owned and operated by Saudi Aramco, is a new refinery and terminal in the Kingdom’s southwest with an expected capacity to process 400,000 bpd of Arabian Heavy and Arabian Medium crude once commissioned in 2017.

The Jazan complex will feature a power plant with a total capacity of 4,000 MW. Veolia will engineer and procure a wastewater treatment facility for the power plant, which will feature biological treatment, oily water treatment and metal removal treatment. The facility will be commissioned in 2017.

"Veolia is privileged to have a long-standing relationship with Saudi Aramco, built on our strong local presence and technological excellence," Vincent Caillaud, CEO of Veolia Water Technologies Oil & Gas, said. "We are very happy to have been chosen by and to collaborate with Tecnicas Reunidas on this major project which will help meet the Kingdom’s energy demand and also export high-value fuels to international markets."

With operations in Saudi Arabia for more than 30 years, Veolia operates city water management, waste and cooling urban network services.

As MRC informed before, Saudi Arabian Oil Co. and Saudi Basic Industries Corp. are one step closer to building their first plant to process crude directly into chemicals, cutting out a link in the production chain from hydrocarbons to the finished products that go into plastics and other consumer goods. In June 2016, the state-owned companies signed an agreement to study such a project to be located in Saudi Arabia. A joint venture is possible if the companies decide to move ahead after the study is completed by early 2017. Oil companies normally refine crude into transportation fuels including gasoline and diesel and leave byproducts such as naphtha to be processed separately into chemicals.

Saudi Aramco is an integrated oil and chemicals company, a global leader in hydrocarbon production, refining processes and distribution, as well as one of the largest global oil exporters. It manages proven reserves of crude oil and condensate estimated at 261.1bn barrels, and produces 9.54 million bbl daily. Headquartered in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, the company employs over 61,000 staff in 77 countries.

LyondellBasell Board authorizes interim dividend

MOSCOW (MRC) -- LyondellBasell has announced that its Supervisory Board has authorized the company's Management Board to declare an interim dividend of USD0.85 per share, as per the company's press release.

The interim dividend will be paid December 13, 2016 to shareholders of record November 29, 2016 with an ex-dividend date of November 25, 2016.

As MRC reported earlier, in April 2016, LyondellBasell completed the previously announced acquisition of the polypropylene (PP) compounding assets of Zylog Plastalloys Pvt. Ltd. (Zylog) in India. LyondellBasell has supplied the Indian market through imports and tolling arrangements since 2009. In October 2015, LyondellBasell acquired SJS Plastiblends Pvt. Ltd.'s PP compounding business which is located in Aurangabad, Maharashtra. With the acquisition of Zylog's manufacturing operations in Sinnar, Maharashtra, and Chennai, Tamil Nadu, LyondellBasell is now the third largest producer of PP compounds in India with an annual capacity of 44,000 metric tons (97 million pounds).

Besides, LyondellBasell is the world's largest producer of PP compounds with an annual capacity of 1.3 million metric tons (2.8 billion pounds).

LyondellBasell is one of the world's largest plastics, chemical and refining companies and a member of the S&P 500. LyondellBasell manufactures products at 57 sites in 18 countries. LyondellBasell products and technologies are used to make items that improve the quality of life for people around the world including packaging, electronics, automotive parts, home furnishings, construction materials and biofuels.

PE imports to Belarus up by 35.2% in the first nine months of 2016

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Overall imports of polyethylene (PE) into Belarus increased to 97,800 tonnes in the first nine months of 2016, up by 35.2% year on year, with Middle Eastern linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) accounting for the main increase in shipments, according to MRC's DataScope report.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics of Belarus, September 2016 PE imports to Belarus dropped to 12,000 tonnes from 13,100 tonnes a month earlier. Local companies reduced their purchasing of all PE grades in foreign markets. Overall PE imports rose to 97,800 tonnes in January-September 2016, compared to 70,800 tonnes a year earlier. LLDPE accounted for the main increase in supply, shipments of this PE grade grew by 42%.

The structure of PE imports to Belarus by grades looked the following way over the stated period.

Total September imports of low density polyethylene (LDPE) and LLDPE fell to 7,800 tonnes (4,900 tonnes of which was LLDPE), compared to 8,400 tonnes a month earlier. Local companies reduced their LLDPE purchasing from Middle Eastern producers, they also suspended all their LDPE purchasing in Azerbaijan. Overall imports of these PE grade to Belarus totalled 62,000 tonnes in the first nine months of 2016 (39,800 tonnes of which was LLDPE, up by 42% year on year) versus 40,300 tonnes a year earlier.

September imports of high density polyethylene (HDPE) decreased to 4,200 tonnes from 4,700 tonnes a month earlier. Local companies reduced their purchasing of pipe grade PE in Europe. Thus, HDPE imports were about 33,800 tonnes in January-September 2016, up by 10.9% year on year.


PP production in Russia grew by 8% in the first ten month of 2016

MOSCOW (MRC) - Production of polypropylene (PP) in Russia exceeded 1.127 mln tonne in the first ten months of this year, up 8% compared to the same period of 2015. The largest increase in PP production accounted for Tobolsk-Polymer and Neftekhimiya (Kapotnya), according to MRC ScanPlast.

October PP production in the country decreased to 113,110 tonnes, compared with 118,500 tonnes in September. Stavrolen was shut for two weeks in October because of the technical problems; Tobolsk-Polymer also also reduced the loading of its production. Russia's PP production reached 1.127 m tonnes in January-October 2016, compared to 1,046 tonnes a year earlier. At the same time, Ufaorgsintez, Stavrolen and Tomskneftekhim decreased PP production.

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

The largest producer of PP in Russia - Tobolsk-Polymer (SIBUR) in October produced about 39,900 tonnes against 46,400 tonnes a month earlier. Tobolsk-Polymer's PP production reached 373,300 tonnes in the first ten months of the year, compared with 303,300 tonnes year on year.

Neftekhimiya (Kapotnya) last month produced about 11,400 tonnes of PP, compared with 11,000 tonnes in September. The producer's PP output in the first ten months of the year reached 108,300 tonnes, up 13% year on year.

Omsk Poliom (Titan) in October produced about 15,600 tonnes compared to 10,600 tonnes a month earlier; the plant shut PP production capacities two-week turnaround on 12 September. Total PP production at the plant over the reported period was about 165,200 tonnes, compared with 159,100 tonnes year on year.

Nizhnekamskneftekhim increased capacity utilisation in October, having produced about 18,500 tonnes of polypropylene compared to 18,000 tonnes a month earlier. The producer's PP production exceeded 180,800 tonnes in January-October 2016, up 2% year on year.

Stavrolen (LUKOIL) shut its PP capacities for two weeks in the past month due to technical problems, as a consequence, the total output of PP decreased to 5,000 tonnes compared to 10,400 tonnes a month earlier. PP production at Stavrolen was 92,800 tonnes in the first ten months of the year, compared with 93,400 tonnes in the same time a year earlier.

October PP production at Ufaorgsintez was 10,700 tonnes, which practically the same as in September. The producer's PP output decreased to 101,000 tonnes in January-October 2016 compared with 105,200 tonnes year on year.

Tomskneftekhim in October produced more than 12,000 tonnes of polypropylene, while in September PP output was about 11,400 tonnes. The producer's PP production over the ten months of the year reached 106,000 tonnes, down 6% in the same time a year earlier.