Celanese raises September VAM prices in Asia

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Celanese Corporation, a global technology and specialty materials company, has increased list and off-list selling prices for Vinyl Acetate Monomer (VAM) in Asia, said the producer in its press release.

The price increases below was effective as of 13 September, or as contracts otherwise allow, and are incremental to any previously announced increases: CNY500/mt for China and USD100/mt for Asia (outside of China).

Earlier, on 6 September, 2017, the same price increase was already implemented by Celanese for the same products and regions.

Besides, the company raised prices of PP-based short- and long-fiber thermoplastics by USD0.11/lb for North and South America.

As MRC informed earlier, on 6 September 2017, Celanese increased its prices of VAM emulsions in Asia. Thus, the company raised the price of vinyl acetate-based emulsions sold in China by CNY500/mt and in Asia (outside of China) - by USD100/mt.

Celanese Corporation is a global technology leader in the production of differentiated chemistry solutions and specialty materials used in most major industries and consumer applications. Based in Dallas, Celanese employs approximately 7,300 employees worldwide and had 2016 net sales of USD5.4 billion.

Six companies buy oil from US emergency crude reserve

MOSCOW (MRC) — Six companies bought 14 MMbbl of oil from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve in a sale required by law to help fund medical research and the federal government, said Hydrocarbonprocessing, citing the Department of Energy.

BP Oil Supply, ExxonMobil Corp, Phillips 66, Shell Trading, Valero Marketing and Supply Company, and Macquarie Commodities Trading bought oil from the reserve, which is held in salt caverns on the Texas and Louisiana coasts.

The companies bought the oil at a range from USD46.98/bbl to USD47.91/bbl, slightly below the current futures price of about USD49.70/bbl, depending on which location the crude came from and whether it was sent by pipeline or directly to vessels, which could export the petroleum.

US refiner Phillips 66 charters foreign vessel after Jones Act waiver

MOSCOW (MRC) — Phillips 66 has chartered a Marshall Islands-flagged vessel, making use of a temporary waiver of the Jones Act that was put in place to meet fuel shortages in the wake of hurricanes Harvey and Irma, said Hydrocarbonprocessing, citing Argus Media.

The vessel, Nave Jupiter, departed from Houston, Texas on Sept. 9, and was docked near the company's Alliance refinery in Louisiana, the report said. The nearly 100-year-old law mandates the use of US-flagged vessels to transport merchandise between US coasts.

Last week, the US Homeland Security Department had waived the law for a week, the first such waiver since December 2012 after Hurricane Sandy. The department said earlier this week that it was extending the temporary waiver until Sept. 22.

Phillips 66 had requested a waiver to allow it to use foreign vessels to move crude or products to and from its 260,000-bpd Alliance refinery after Hurricane Harvey.

Formosa Chemicals plans maintenance No.1 and No.2 SM plants

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Formosa Chemicals & Fibre Corp (FCFC) is likely to undertake maintenance at its No.1 and No.2 styrene monomer (SM) plants in September 2017, as per Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in Taiwan informed that the company has planned maintenance at both of the plants in mid-September 2017. Both the plants are expected to remain off-line for around 3-4 weeks.

Located at Mailiao in Taiwan, the No.1 SM plant has a production capacity of 250,000 mt/year and No.2 SM plant has a production capacity of 350,000 mt/year.

As MRC informed before, in 2015, Formosa Plastics unveiled plans to build a monoethylene glycol (MEG) plant and another polyethylene (PE) unit at its Point Comfort complex in Texas, according to air-permit applications. The initial pages of the applications do not list the capacity of the plants or the grade of the PE. Construction on the second PE plant started in Q4-2015, and it should start operations in December 2017. Construction on the MEG plant started in November 2015, and operations should start in September 2017.

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).

S.Koreas Iranian crude oil imports rise around 40% on year in Aug

MOSCOW (MRC) — South Korea's imports of Iranian crude oil increased 40.2% in August from the same month a year earlier, with its refiners snapping up competitively priced cargoes from the Middle Eastern nation, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

South Korea, the world's fifth-biggest crude importer, brought in 1.55 MMt of Iranian crude last month, or 365,641 bpd, compared with 1.1 MMt in the same month in 2016, customs data showed on Friday. Iran has been boosting oil production since Western sanctions over its nuclear program were lifted last year, aiming to increase crude output to 4.5 MMbpd within 5 yr.

In the first eight months of 2017, South Korea's oil imports from Iran were 12.22 MMt, or 368,529 bpd, up 46.7% from 8.33 MMt during the same period the year before, the data showed. South Korea, one of Iran's major Asian clients, mainly purchases an ultra-light oil, also known as condensate, from the country, but a breakdown of imports is not available. It uses condensate to produce more expensive fuels like naphtha.

For Asian buyers, Iran set the official selling prices of its light and heavy grades at 18 cents and USD1.17 respectively below the Oman/Dubai average for August, while it raised September Iranian Light oil prices 20 cents higher than those in August.

While the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) members and some non-members strive to curb their production to clear a global oil glut, Iran is not capping its output as it was excluded from the OPEC-led supply cut deal to reduce their production by around 1.8 MMbpd until next March.

Meanwhile, South Korea imported 4.05 MMt of crude, or 957,283 bpd from Saudi Arabia, up 9.8% from 3.69 MMt a year ago, the data showed.

Overall, South Korea's total crude imports in August rose 17.7% to 13.55 MMt, or 3.20 MMbpd, according to the data.

In January–August of 2017, South Korea shipped in 98.23 MMt of crude, or 2.96 MMbpd, up 3.9% from 94.55 MMt over the same period last year.

State-run Korea National Oil Corp (KNOC) is set to release South Korea's final data for August crude imports later this month.