Iraq to build oil refinery in Faw with Chinese firms, plans 3 others

MOSCOW (MRC) - Iraq plans to build an oil refinery at the port of Faw on the Gulf with two Chinese companies, and is seeking investors to build three more, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The refinery in Faw will have a 300,000 bpd capacity and include a petrochemical plant, it said. The project is considered as one of the big exportation projects in Faw city- Basrah governorate in the south of Iraq.

Two other refineries, Anbar and Thi-Qar each with a 150,000-bpd capacity, are planned in Nasiriya, southern Iraq, and in the western Anbar province. A third, with a 100,000-bpd capacity, is planned in Qayara, near Mosul, the northern Iraqi city, which was taken back from Islamic State militants last year.

Iraq is OPEC's second-largest oil producer, after Saudi Arabia. Its refining capacity was curtailed when Islamic State overran its largest oil processing plant in Baiji, north of Baghdad, in 2014.

Iraqi forces recaptured Baiji in 2015, but the place sustained heavy damage in the fighting. The country now relies on the Doura refinery, in Baghdad, and Shuaiba plant, in the south. Work to rehabilitate Baiji has begun, Oil minister Jabar al-Luaibi said on Monday, adding that a 70,000 bpd processing unit should be brought back on line in six to nine months. A second 70,000 bpd unit in Baiji should follow, he said in a statement.

Baiji was processing around 175,000 bpd when it fell into the hands of Islamic State.

PVC imports to Ukraine dropped by 11% in 2017

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Imports of suspension polyvinyl chloride (SPVC) into Ukraine decreased in January-December 2017 by 11% year on year, totalling 98,500 tonnes. The resumption of production at the domestic plant after a long outage was the main reason for lower imports, as per MRC's DataScope report.

Last month's SPVC imports to Ukraine dropped to the year's minimum to about 3,600 tonnes from 5,900 tonnes in November because of seasonal factors. Local producers of window profiles two times reduced their purchasing of resin under the pressure of seasonal factors.
Overall SPVC imports were about 98,500 tonnes in January-December 2017, compared to 110,600 tonnes a year earlier. The resumption of the domestic production in July after several years of shutdown at Karpatneftekhim allowed to reduce dependence on polyvinyl chloride (PVC) imports.

Structure of PVC imports into Ukraine over the reported period was as follows.

Last month's imports of US PVC amounted to about 1,900 tonnes against 3,200 tonnes in November 2017, as two of the largest producers of window profiles reduced their supply volumes significantly. Imports of North American resin totalled 49,800 tonnes in January-December 2017 versus 57,700 tonnes a year earlier.

December shipments of European PVC into the Ukrainian market went down to 1,200 tonnes from 2,100 tonnes a month earlier. Overall imports of European PVC fell to 32,400 tonnes over the stated period from 42,000 tonnes a year earlier.
Last month's imports of Russian SPVC decreased to 373 tonnes from 460 tonnes in November. Last year's shipments of Russian resin were 13,800 tonnes, compared to 10,200 tonnes a year earlier.

It is also worth noting that the resumption of its own production after a long period of downtime affected the volume of exports. The output of suspension PVC (SPVC) by the company was about 51,900 tonnes in less than a half of a year of the work. The main export destinations were Turkey and India with volumes of 23,000 tonnes and 22,200 tonnes respectively.


Chemical production in Russia grew by 4.3% in 2017

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Overall output of chemicals rose in 2017 by 4.3% year on year, with mineral fertilizers accounting for the greatest increase in production, according to Rosstat's data.

According to the Federal Service of State Statistics, last month's production of basic chemicals increased by 3.1% from November. Thus, output of basic chemicals grew by 4.3% year on year in 2017, with chemical fertilizers accounting for the greatest increase in production, whereas ethylene - for the least growth.

262,000 tonnes of ethylene were produced last December, compared to 250,000 tons a month earlier, all producers reached almost 100% capacity utilisation after the end of the period of shutdowns for maintenance in October-November. Overall, about 2,860,000 tonnes of this olefin were produced last year, up by 2.5% year on year.

Last month's production of benzene rose to 121,000 tonnes from 117,000 tonnes in November. Overall output of this product reached 1,360,000 tonnes over the stated period, up by 4.2%year on year.

December production of sodium hydroxide (caustic soda) was 111,000 tonnes (100% of the basic substance) versus 106,000 tonnes a month earlier. Several plants accounted for higher output last month. Overall output of caustic soda grew to 1,240,000 tonnes in 2017, up by 6.1% year on year.

Last month's production of mineral fertilizers was 2,070,000 tonnes (in terms of 100% nutrients) versus 1,820,000 mln tonnes in November. Russian plants produced over 22,520,000 tonnes of fertilizers last year, up by 8.2% year on year. Production of all types of fertilizers increased, with potash fertilizers, the output of which grew by 11.6%, accounted for the greatest increase.

Kraiburg TPE adds extrusion line in Waldkraiburg

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Kraiburg TPE GmbH & Co. K.G. has launched a new extrusion line for the production of thermoplastic elastomers at its headquarters facility in Waldkraiburg, reported Rubber&Plastics News.

The move expands the company's total capacity to about 56,000 metric tons worldwide, and it comes in response to rising global demand for TPEs from the automotive, industrial, consumer and medical markets, Kraiburg said.

While the company has made investments at its facilities in Buford, Ga., and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Kraiburg said it is looking to invest in the Waldkraiburg location because it is the epicenter of its business operations.

"The Waldkraiburg site is and will remain the focus of all of our activities, where we have been investing particularly in expanding our development center and increasing our production capacities in recent years," Kraiburg CEO Franz Hinterecker said in a statement. "The new extrusion line underlines this strategy."

The firm has invested at its other sites, though. Kraiburg relocated to a new production plant in Buford in 2016, and more recently brought on stream a new production line at its facility in Kuala Lumpur.

"Our success in the market is based on strong customer orientation, global presence and influential innovations," Hinterecker said. "Continuously investing in the international network of our production plants and sales offices is a mainstay of this strategy."

As MRC wrote previously, in December 2017, Kraiburg TPE presented a new series of thermoplastic elastomers from its Thermolast K family that was specially developed for excellent adhesion and UV resistance in two-component applications with ethylene-propylene-diene rubber (EPDM). The new compounds are intended for automotive applications such as EPDM window trim and sealing profiles with moulded TPE corner joints and end elements.

Kraiburg Rubber (Suzhou) Co. Ltd. was established in 2005 and is part of the Waldkraiburg-based German company Kraiburg Holding GmbH & Co. KG. The company produces a wide range of standard rubber compounds (based on NR, EPDM, CR, AEM, SBR, FKM, etc.) for automotive, building and construction applications, and other industrial markets as well as highly customised products for all kinds of industries at its Suzhou site. The compounds are produced on highly automated and fully process-controlled mixing lines, based on state-of-the-art technology. The company has 130 employees.

Sinochem to re-open U.S. trading desk as Americas oil output surges

MOSCOW (MRC) - China's Sinochem Corp plans to open a trading office in the United States, drawn by the opportunity to trade growing production in the Americas, five sources with knowledge of the matter said on Friday, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The state-run oil and chemical trader's plan to open an office in Houston would seek to exploit rising U.S. crude production, which could prompt crude exports to rise by 45 percent in 2018 from last year, analysts said last week. Sinochem could also use the office to meet growing opportunities to supply China's independent refineries. The proposed office is expected to start operating later in the first half of this year with three to five staff initially, they said. Sinochem had a U.S. oil trading office that closed about 20 years ago.

Sinochem crude oil trader Zhu Yibing, currently trading North and South American crude from London, will move to the new office in Houston, the sources said. "U.S. is where everyone is setting up offices...with growing supplies from the U.S., there will be plenty of barrels available for trading," said a company source.

Bigger domestic rivals Sinopec and PetroChina both have trading operations in Houston. Unipec, the trading arm of Asia's biggest refiner Sinopec, is the region's largest buyer of U.S. crude oil. Sinochem did not respond to Reuters' request for comment.

Major oil companies and trading houses are bulking up U.S. operations to market rising crude oil production from onshore U.S. shale resources and offshore fields in the Gulf of Mexico and Brazil.

Sinochem's new office is expected to market its equity production from South America, previously handled from London. The grades include Ecuadorean Napo, Colombian Vasconia and Brazilian Peregrino that are considered so-called heavy crudes.