Mitsui Chem & Prime Polymer start up three expanded PP compound hubs

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Mitsui Chemicals and Prime Polymer, a joint venture of Mitsui and Idemitsu Kosan, announced the completion and start-up of three augmented polypropylene (PP) compound hubs, as per Apic-online.

The group expanded two lines at its Advanced Composites subsidiary in the U.S. One line was enhanced at the group's Advanced Composites Mexicana site in Mexico and another line was augmented at Mitsui Prime Advanced Composites India in India.

With the enhancements, Mitsui's total PP compound production capacity has increased to 1.05-million t/y from 1-million t/y.

Specifically, North American PP compound production capacity was increased to 440,000 t/y from 410,000 t/y, European production capacity was raised to 20,000 t/y from 15,000 t/y and Asia production capacity (including Japan) increased to 590,000 t/y from 575,000 t/y.

We remind that, as MRC wrote before, in late 2014, Mitsui Chemicals announced that its Shanghai Sinopec Mitsui Elastomers Co. joint venture with Sinopec had launched commercial production of ethylene propylene diene terpolymer (EPT). In 2012, the two companies created the equally-owned joint venture to build a 75,000-t/y EPT plant using metallocene catalyst technology in China's Shanghai Chemical Industry Park.

Mitsui Chemicals is a leading manufacturer and supplier of value added specialty chemicals, plastics and materials for the automotive, healthcare, packaging, agricultural, building, and semiconductor and electronics markets. Mitsui Chemicals is a Japanese Chemicals company, a part of the Mitsui conglomerate. The company has a turnover of around 15 billion USD and has business interests in Japan, Europe, China, Southeast Asia and the USA. The company mainly deals in performance materials, petro and basic chemicals and functional polymeric materials. With the growth of opportunities in India, Mitsui Chemicals has decided to establish its first polypropylene compounding plant in India at 'Japanese Investment park' Neemrana phase III. The unit being set up will be the manufacturing base of Mitsui Chemicals Group in India in which Mitsui Chemicals holds 80% equity and 20% equity is with another subsidiary, Prime Polymer Company of Japan.

Prime Polymer Co., Ltd. was established in April 2005 as part of a comprehensive tie-up with Mitsui Chemicals, Inc. and Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd. The company's activity is focused in polyolefins business to produce different grades of polythylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP).

Linde inks agreement with Wanhua Chemical Group to expand the supply of gas to Phase II of Yantai operations

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The Linde Group, a world leading industrial gases and engineering company has announced that it has signed an agreement with Wanhua Chemical Group, the world's largest producer of isocyanate (MDI), to expand the supply of gas to Phase II of Wanhua Chemical's Yantai operations, reported Plastemart.

Under the new agreement, Linde will invest EUR108 mln (835 mln RMB) to build two additional energy efficient steam-driven ASUs, complementing the two existing ASUs already in place, to meet Wanhua Chemical's growing demand for industrial gases.

When the plants come on stream in 2019, they will be one of Linde's most advanced gaseous and liquid production sites in Asia Pacific. The new plants will improve the reliability and stability of gas supply, while also increasing production flexibility and reducing production costs. This is made possible using Linde's expertise to optimise the operating modes of multiple ASUs, capable of adjusting both the type and volume of gases to match the requirement of the Yantai site.

Mr Sanjiv Lamba, Chief Operating Officer for Asia Pacific and Member of the Executive Board at Linde AG, said, "The agreement with Wanhua Chemical underscores our long and valued partnership. China continues to be an important part of Linde's Asia profitable growth strategy. Aside from robust domestic demand, Chinese businesses are increasingly looking for opportunities abroad. Being able to meet the demand for high quality industrial gases, delivered with the same reliability and efficiency, anywhere in the world, is Linde's compelling proposition for companies that want to take their business global." Mr Liao Zengtai, Chief Executive Officer of Wanhua Chemical, said, "Wanhua Chemical is increasingly looking beyond China to drive growth of our business. Today, nearly a third of our products are scheduled for export, and this will continue to grow. Wanhua Chemical and Linde have developed a very solid partnership over the past years with proven cooperative experience. As a truly international producer, Wanhua Chemical needs partners who are ready to work with us on a global basis. For us, Linde is that partner."

As MRC informed previously, in June 2017, technology company The Linde Group was awarded a major contract by PJSC Nizhnekamskneftekhim (NKNK) to supply an olefin plant in the city of Nizhnekamsk, located in the Republic of Tatarstan in the Russian Federation. Both partners officially signed the agreement in St. Petersburg, Russia. A further agreement covering strategic cooperation between Linde and the TAIF Group was also concluded in the presence of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Minister President of Bavaria Horst Seehofer and President of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov. PJSC Nizhnekamskneftekhim is one of Europe's largest petrochemical companies and a member of the TAIF Group.

The Linde Group is a world-leading gases and engineering company with around 62,000 employees in more than 100 countries worldwide.

Shell suspends Pernis refinery loadings after fire

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Royal Dutch Shell suspended loadings of oil products from its Pernis refinery in the Netherlands following a fire at the plant, the company said in a statement to traders on Sunday, reported Reuters.

Shell shut down most of its production at Pernis, Europe's largest refinery, after the fire at the 404,000-bpd plant late on Saturday caused a power outage.

The company said that no casualties were reported in the incident and the fire was under control, but it expected loadings to be suspended on Monday as well.

In a statement to traders in the region seen by Reuters, Shell said that "at this stage the extent of the damage is (being) investigated and we are unable to load product at the depot in Pernis."

"For now we work on the assumption that FCA (free carrier) loadings at depot Pernis will be interrupted until and including tomorrow so please take your necessary precautions."

The outage at the Rotterdam plant was likely to boost prices of oil products such as diesel, jet fuel and gasoline in northwest Europe, where refinery profits have risen in recent weeks due to other refinery issues in the region.

As MRC informed earlier, in August 2015, a fire broke out at one of the units at Shell's Pulau Bukom refining and petrochemical complex in Singapore, leading to burn injuries for six contract workers. Shell said the fire was put out by the site's first emergency responders within an hour, and there was no other opational impact on Pulau Bukom.

Besides, earlier in 2015, on 11 May, a fire broke out at Shell's refining and petrochemical complex in Wesseling, Germany. Nobody was injured. The fire was extinguished at 9:11 p.m. Local media reports said the fire had broken out in the olefins cracking unit. The Wesseling cracker has capacity to produce 260,000 tpy of ethylene, according to news reports, while the refinery can process 141,000 bpd.

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.

Lotte Chemical Titan Holding completes mass production trial of MLLDPE

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Lotte Chemical Titan Holding Berhad (LCT) has completed a mass production trial of Metallocene linear low-density polyethylene (mLLDPE), an important component in the production of plastic items such as industrial film, food packaging, and stretch and shrink film, as per Plastemart.

Usage of mLLDPE will allow producers to achieve their output margins with a comparatively lower polymer input, leading to cost savings. mLLDPE has superior transparency and impact strength, compared with conventional LLPDE, resulting in better efficiency and competitiveness to customers.

LCT president and CEO Dr Lee Dong Woo said LCT’s breakthrough with mLLDPE comes after several trial productions since 2012. He added, "As a company dedicated to continuous innovation, LCT can now introduce to our customers, mLLDPE which is a cleaner and lighter alternative to conventional LLDPE. Commercial production of mLLDPE will effectively widen our product portfolio and we are confident that this product can meet the needs of our local and regional customers, given its excellent qualities."

As MRC wrote before, South Korean conglomerate Lotte Group plans to list its Malaysian petrochemical unit in the third quarter, company filings show, in an initial public offering that sources say could raise as much as USD1.5 billion. The listing could be one of the biggest IPOs in years in Malaysia, which has not seen any listing of USD1 billion and above since the USD1.5 billion IPO of Astro Malaysia Holdings in 2012.

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.

HDPE prices stopped falling in Russia in July

MOSCOW (Market Report) -- Prices were going down constantly in the Russian high density polyethylene (HDPE) market since the beginning of the year, but already in July the market situation changed radically. There was even a price increase in some segments this month, according to ICIS-MRC Price report.

Oversupply of HDPE in the Russian market put a major pressure on prices amid weak demand since early 2017, with polyethylene (PE) accounting for the most dynamic price cut from April to June. The price situation was managed to be stabilized in the HDPE market in July because of a scheduled shutdown for a long turnaround at Gazprom neftekhim Salavat and Nizhnekamskneftekhim's switch-over to linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) production. And even more, there was a shortage and a rise in prices of natural PE 100 in the pipe grade PE market.

Gazprom neftekhim Salavat, being lately the key supplier of natural pipe grade PE 100, shut down its HDPE production for almost a one-month maintenance on 1 July. The Salavat plant scheduled the resumption of its production after the turnaround for 5 August. The plant's annual production capacity is 120,000 tonnes.

Nizhnekamskneftekhim has switched to LLDPE production since late June and intends to produce this PE grade until September, said the plant's customers. The Nizhnekamsk plant's annual production capacity is 210,000 tonnes.

The fact that HDPE was not produced by two manufacturers allowed to balance supply and demand in most consumption sectors of the Russian market in July. And in the pipe grade PE market, on the contrary, there was a shortage of natural PE 100 since the beginning of the month, and by the middle of the month, prices for some grades had grown significantly and reached Rb89,000-92,500/tonne FCA, including VAT. At the same time, there was no great surge in demand for black PE 100 during the month.

The shortage of natural PE 100 led to stronger demand for general purpose 273-83 grade HDPE. By the end of the month, some traders had begun to restrict their sales of this PE grade because of limited stocks and production problems at Kazanorgsintez. Offer prices for this PE reaced Rb87,000/tonne FCA Kazan, including VAT, in the last week of July.

There was also a slight price rise in the film grade HDPE market in the second half of July. Demand for this material grew significantly in the electronic trades. Some companies considerably increased their purchasing of this HDPE grade in foreign market because of the upcoming shutdowns for maintenance at two major producers - Stavrolen and Kazanorgsintez - in September.

Prices were steady in the injection moulding HDPE market in July. Sufficient stocks of injection moulding PE allowed to meet all market needs even in the absence of production of this material by local producers.

HDPE prices are most likely to go up further in the Russian market in August due to the upcoming outages at the two key producers. Thus, Stavrolen intends to shut down its HDPE production for a long maintenance with the modernization of some facilities on 1 September. The outage will last about 2 months. The plant's annual production capacity is 300,000 tonnes.

Kazanorgsintez, Russia's largest HDPE producer, traditionally shuts down its production for a several-week turnaround in the second half of September. The plant's annual production capacity is 540,000 tonnes.