Import tax on PET imports from China to be impacted as Japan mulls taking China off GSP import list

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Japan is considering removing China from its list of Generalized System of Preferences or GSP countries due to China's economic strength, as per Plastemart.

Under GSP rules, developing countries are taxed at a lower rate when exporting their products to developed countries.

Japan's import tax on PET imports from China currently set at zero could be affected by any change.

We also remind that, as MRC informed earlier, in September 2016, The European Commission (EU) began anti-dumping investigations on purified terephthalic acid (PTA) imports from Korea. Upon receiving complaints by the PTA industry within the EU on 20 June, the commission was set out to look into the matter from 3 August. EU companies claimed that they were damaged by Korean-originated terephthalic acid imports sold at prices below cost. The time period for the investigation is for one year between 1 July 2015 and 30 June 2016 and the item under examination is the terephthalic acid with purity over 99.5 percent.

The world's PTA market is suffering from a supply glut due to a rapid rise in the capacity in countries like China. Major Korean PTA suppliers such as Hanhwa General Chemical and Lotte Chemical have, to little avail, tried to diversify their sales channels after Chinese rivals increased their output.

Global superabsorbent polymers market to grow to USD8.6 bln in 2020

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The global superabsorbent polymers market is expected to reach around USD 8.60 Billion by 2020 at a CAGR of about 5% , as per Plastemart with reference to Zion Research.

The global demand for superabsorbent polymer was valued at USUSD6.4 bln and at 1950 kilo tons in 2014.

The process of converting a monomer molecule together in a chemical reaction to form a polymer chain is called as polymerization. A superabsorbent polymer is a three-dimensional network form by chemical cross linking or physical cross linking of large number of molecules composed of certain repeating units.

The superabsorbent polymer has capability to absorb a liquid. And this absorbency and capacity of polymer depends on degree of cross linking. The superabsorbent polymer products are mostly used in personal disposable hygiene products. It also used for blocking water absorption in underground power or communications cable, horticultural water retention agents. The first commercial use of SAP was in 1978 for the production of feminine napkins in Japan.

SAP can be classified on the basis of product type such as sodium polyacrylate, polyacrylamide copolymer and others. Sodium polyacrylate dominated the SAP market with around 60% share of the total volume of SAP consumed in 2014. Polyacrylamide copolymer was the second largest product segment of SAP in terms of volume. Baby diapers, adult incontinence products, feminine hygiene and others are the key application markets for the superabsorbent polymers. Baby diaper is the most dominant application market for superabsorbent polymers. It accounted for around two third shares of the total market in 2014. Adult incontinence products accounted for second largest application market for SAP in 2014. Adult incontinence products market for superabsorbent polymers is expected to be the fastest growing application market during the forecast period.

North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America and Middle East & Africa are the key regional segments of the global superabsorbent polymers market. Global superabsorbent polymers market was dominated by the North America with around 28% share of the market in 2014. North America was followed by Europe and Asia Pacific. North America and Europe were the major markets for superabsorbent polymers market owing to high level of awareness among the people about personal hygiene. However, rapid growth in population as well as industrial surge in emerging economies is expected to boost demand for SAP in the Asia Pacific region.

As MRC informed before, global super absorbent polymer market is estimated to be worth USD8.9 bln by 2022, registering a CAGR of 3.31% between 2017 and 2022. As of 2015, the major manufacturers of super absorbent polymer were concentrated in Nippon Shokubhai, Evonik Industries, Sumitomo Seika, BASF SE and Danson Technology.
Nippon Shokubhai is the world leader, holding 21.53% sales market share in 2015.

Petrobras says investors are suing its subsidiaries in Netherlands

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Brazil's state-run oil company, Petroleo Brasileiro SA, said on Tuesday in a securities filing that a group of investors is suing two of its subsidiaries in a court in the Netherlands, reported WorldNews.

The Stichting Petrobras Compensation Foundation, a Netherlands-based claim foundation, alleges investors had losses with shares in Petrobras, as the company is known, due to the largest-ever corruption investigation in Brazil involving the company.

Petrobras said in the filing that "Brazilian authorities recognize the company was a victim" of the corruption scheme.

As MRC informed before, Petrobras is seeking to sell its 5.8 billion Brazilian real (USD1.4 billion) stake in petrochemical producer Braskem SA. Petrobras has hired Brazilian bank Banco Bradesco SA as a financial adviser and has started to pitch the sale to foreign investors. Petrobras owns a 36 percent 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.

India to fill Mangalore strategic reserve with UAE oil

MOSCOW (MRC) -- India has signed a deal with the United Arab Emirates that allows the Gulf nation to fill half of an underground crude oil storage facility at Mangalore that is part of New Delhi's strategic reserve system, reported Reuters.

New Delhi announced a series of pacts with the UAE ranging from defence, trade, maritime cooperation to energy after a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan.

UAE's Abu Dhabi National Oil Co will store about 6 million barrels of oil at Mangalore, taking up about half of the site's capacity, said Sunjay Sudhir, joint secretary for international cooperation at the Indian oil ministry.

India, hedging against energy security risks as it imports most of its oil needs, is building emergency storage in underground caverns to hold 36.87 million barrels of crude, or about 10 days of its average daily oil demand in 2016.

"This will help to ensure India's energy security and enable us to meet the nation's growing demand for energy," said Indian oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan.

As one of the fastest growing economies in the world, India needs massive investments in some key sectors, particularly infrastructure.

During Modi's visit to the UAE in 2015, the two countries announced a USD75 billion joint infrastructure fund that would invest in India's infrastructure development. UAE is India's fifth biggest oil supplier.

The crude supplies will begin in the last quarter of this year, Sudhir told Reuters. "We are talking to them (ADNOC) for two-three grades and most likely it will Murban."

The two sides had discussed ways to advance their energy ties through specific projects, including long-term supply contracts and joint ventures in energy, he also said.

India in 2014 began talks to lease part of its strategic storage to ADNOC. Under those discussions, India was to have first rights to the stored crude in case of an emergency, while ADNOC would be able to move cargoes to meet any shift in demand.

India has already filled the other half of the Mangalore storage in Karnataka state with 6 million barrels of Iranian oil.

India, the world's third-biggest oil consumer, has also filled a Vizag storage site in southern Andhra Pradesh with 7.55 million barrels of Iraqi oil and has invited bids from suppliers to fill an 18.3 million-barrel facility at Padur in Karnataka.

The crown prince will be the guest of honor at India's Republic Day parade on Thursday.

As MRC informed earlier, The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) has announced it plans to introduce measures that will increase energy efficiency by 10% by 2020. The energy efficiency strategy will reduce ADNOC’s gas consumption by 156 MMcf/d, saving a total of USD1 billion by 2020.

Shell petrochem facility gets approval from Pennsylvania town

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The town council of Potter, Pennsylvania has unanimously approved a conditional use permit last week allowing a unit of Royal Dutch Shell PLC to move forward with construction of a multibillion-dollar petrochemical complex near Pittsburgh, reported Reuters.

Last June, Shell's Shell Chemical Appalachia LLC unit made a final investment decision to build the complex, which includes an ethylene cracker.

Ray Fisher, a spokesman at Shell, said on Thursday the company has not disclosed the cost of the project. Local media has reported the project will cost about USD6 billion.

The facility will use low-cost ethane from shale gas producers in the Marcellus and Utica basins in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia to produce 1.6 MMt of polyethylene per year.

"We greatly appreciate the Supervisors' due diligence and their careful consideration throughout the process and look forward to fulfilling our goal of constructing a world-class polyethylene manufacturing facility in Potter Township," Shell said in a statement emailed on Thursday.

Fisher at Shell said the company was still waiting for a permit from the state of Pennsylvania and was continuing its early work to get the site ready for construction.

The company expects to be able to start construction sometime near the end of 2017, with a target in-service date early in the next decade.

"Thanks to abundant supplies of natural gas, the US chemical industry is investing in new facilities and expanded production capacity, which tends to attract downstream industries that rely on petrochemical products," Cal Dooley, President and Chief Executive of the American Chemistry Council (ACC), said in a statement on Thursday.

"Shell's pioneering project - the first of its kind outside the Gulf Coast - could be the cornerstone for regional economic growth for decades to come," Dooley said.

As MRC informed before, in December 2015, Shell Chemicals asked the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) for permission to expand ethylene production capacity at its Deer Park, TX, facility. The company noted that several steps remained before it would make a final investment decision, ranging from concluding preparatory engineering and design work and seeking permits from Texas regulators, to evaluating downstream product support and any other potential global investments.

Royal Dutch Shell plc is an Anglo-Dutch multinational oil and gas company headquartered in The Hague, Netherlands and with its registered office in London, United Kingdom. It is the biggest company in the world in terms of revenue and one of the six oil and gas "supermajors". Shell is vertically integrated and is active in every area of the oil and gas industry, including exploration and production, refining, distribution and marketing, petrochemicals, power generation and trading.