Lotte begins commercial operations at TE3 expansion project in Johor

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Lotte Chemical Titan said that its catalytic cracking reactor within its TE3 expansion project in Johor, Malaysia, has begun commercial operations, as per Apic-online.

The catalytic cracking reactor, based on KBR's cata-lytic olefins technology, is connected to an existing naphtha cracker plant.

The USD276-million project increase's ethylene production capacity by 92,000 t/y, propylene capacity by 170,000 t/y and BTX (benzene-toluene-xylene) capacity by 134,000 t/y, according to several industry sources.

In 2014, KBR said it won a contract from Lotte Titan to provide licensing and basic engineering design services to revamp an existing steam cracker in the Asia-Pacific region, in order to increase the plant's production capacity and help diversify its feedstock.

Titan has 10 production facilities located on two inte-grated industrial sites in Pasir Gudang and Tanjung Langsat in Johor.

As MRC informed before, in 2015, Lotte Chemical Corp announced that the petrochemical firm would expand its naphtha cracking centre in Malaysia at a cost of 300 billion Korean won (USD257 million). With the mechanical completion of the expansion scheduled in the second-half of 2017, Lotte Chemical Titan (M) Sdn. Bhd. will have ethylene production capacity of 812,000 tonnes per year (tpy), up 92,000 tpy from the current size.

South Korean Lotte Chemical is a global petrochemical company, established in 1976. It produces low density polyethylene (LDPE), high density polyethylene (HDPE), linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE), polypropylene (PP), functional resins, styrene monomer (SM), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), etc.

PP imports to Kazakhstan rose by 28% in first eleven months of 2017, exports up by 20%

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Imports of polypropylene (PP) into Kazakhstan grew in the first eleven months of 2017 by 28% year on year, exceeding 30,900 tonnes. PP exports also increased by 20%, reported MRC analysts.

PP imports to Kazakhstan rose to 3,700 tonnes in November 2017 from 2,400 tonnes a month earlier, local converters increased their purchasing of propylene homopolymer (homopolymer PP) and pipe grade statistical copolymer of propylene (PP random copolymer) in Russia. Overall PP imports exceeded 30,900 tonnes in January-November 2017, compared to 24,100 tonnes a year earlier. The main increase in demand occurred for propylene copolymers.

The structure of PP imports by grades looked the following way over the stated period.

November imports of homopolymer PP grew to 2,000 tonnes from 1,800 tonnes a month earlier, local companies increased their purchasing of homopolymer PP raffia from Russian producers. Overall PP imports of this PP grade exceeded 18,900 tonnes in the first eleven months of 2017, compared to 15,300 tonnes a year earlier.

Shipments of propylene copolymers rose to 1,700 tonnes in November from 600 tonnes a month earlier, local pipes producers raised their purchasing. Thus, imports of propylene copolymers reached 12,000 tonnes over the stated period, compared to 8,800 tonnes a year earlier.

PP exports from Kazakhstan increased along with imports. 18,600 tonnes of PP were shipped to foreign markets in January-November 2017, compared to 15,500 a year earlier.


Iraq bans Kurdish firm Kar Group from operating Kirkuk oilfield

MOSCOW (MRC) - Iraq's parliament voted on Monday to ban Kurdish engineering firm Kar Group from operating Kirkuk's oilfields, following Iraq's recapture of the Kurdish-held oil region in October, as per Reuters.

The Kurds have withdrawn from most Kirkuk oilfields since October but the vote came after lawmakers said the Kar Group refused to cooperate with Iraq's state-run North Oil Co. (NOC) and hand back the Khurmala oilfield. The Kurds claim Khurmala is located inside the official boundaries of the semi-autonomous Kurdish Regional Government KRG. Kar Group could not be immediately reached for comment.

Parliament also authorised NOC to take over production and export operations at the field. That will potentially increase Iraq's oil production and crude exports, although it was unclear by how much. In addition, parliament requested the Iraqi central bank to track down cash deposited at banks outside Iraq that had been generated from Kurdish oil exports. It asked the central bank to draft a detailed report on the names of banks used to deposit the cash.

Iraqi government forces captured the Kurdish-held oil city of Kirkuk on Oct. 16 last year, and took over the northern region's oilfields, in retaliation for a Kurdish referendum on independence which was widely opposed by Turkey, Iran and Western powers.

The move to ban Kar Group follows financial restrictions imposed by Baghdad in retaliation for the Kurdish referendum, including a ban on direct international flights to and from the Kurdish region and closing the border crossings. Kirkuk crude sales have been halted since Iraqi forces took back control of the fields in October. Kar Group had been operating some of the Kirkuk oilfields since Kurdish forces took control of the city in 2014, when the Iraqi army collapsed in the face of Islamic State.

Algerian Sonatrach may invest in Iraq oil and gas

MOSCOW (MRC) - Algerian state energy company Sonatrach will study possible investments in oil exploration and natural gas projects in Iraq, the Iraqi oil ministry said in a statement, as per Reuters.

The statement cited comments by Iraqi Oil Minister Jabar al-Luaibi and Algerian Energy Minister Mustapha Guitouni, who arrived in Baghdad on Sunday. The Algerian delegation will hold meetings with Iraqi energy companies "to achieve concrete steps toward sealing a cooperation agreement with Sonatrach", said Luaibi, mentionning specifically projects to develop Iraq's gas wealth.

Iraq continues to flare some of the gas extracted alongside crude oil at its fields because it lacks the facilities to process it into fuel for local consumption or exports.

Algeria is a main supplier of gas to Europe, exporting it by pipelines to the continent and also shipping it on tankers after liquefying the gas in special plants.

Guitouni expressed hope of strengthening cooperation in oil exploration and natural gas, the Iraqi ministry statement said.

Iraq is the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries' second-largest crude producer behind Saudi Arabia, with output of 4.4 million barrels per day. Fellow OPEC member Algeria has estimated output of 1 million bpd.

Keiyo Monomer to shut VCM plant in Chiba for turnaround

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Keiyo Monomer is likely to take its vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) plant off-stream for a maintenance turnaround, as per Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in Japan informed that the plant is planned to be taken off-line for maintenance over the period of February-March 2018. The exact date and duration of the shutdown could not be ascertained.

Located in Chiba, Japan, the plant has a production capacity of 200,000 mt/year.

As MRC informed before, Keiyo Monomer shut its VCM plant in Chiba for maintenance turnaround in mid-February 2015. It remained off-stream for around one month.