PVC imports to Belarus up by 11% in H1 2018

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Imports of unmixed polyvinyl chloride (PVC) into Belarus rose in the first half of 2018 by 11% year on year to about 17,000 tonnes, according to MRC's DataScope report.

According to the Statistical Committee of the Republic of Belarus, local converters slightly reduced their purchasing of PVC in June 2018, overall imports totalled 2,900 tonnes, compared to 3,200 tonnes a month earlier.

Thus, imports of unmixed PVC grew in January-June 2018 to 17,000 tonnes from 15,200 tonnes a year earlier, with local windows producers accounting for the main increase in demand.

Russian producers with the share of about 89% of the Belarusian market were the key suppliers of resin to Belarus over the stated period. Producers from Ukraine and Germany were the second and third largest suppliers, respectively.


Tosoh plans maintenance at No.1 VCM plant

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Tosoh is in plans to take its No.1 vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) plant off-stream for a maintenance turnaround, according to Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in Japan informed that the company has schedule to start turnaround at the plant on October 17, 2018. The plant is expected to remain under maintenance until early-December 2018.

Located in Nanyo, Japan, the No.1 VCM plant has a production capacity of 250,000 mt/year.

As MRC informed before, in 2013, Tosoh's proposed restructuring of operations in Nanyo led to a net loss of 320,000 tpa of vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) capacity, thereby tightening feedstock supply to the PVC industry. Almost one year after a fire seriously damaged its complex in Nanyo, Tosoh Corporation (Tokyo, Japan) touted plans to raise output at the site's number 3 vinyl chloride monomer plant. The building phase of the 200,000 t/y capacity expansion was to kick off in November 2013, with completion scheduled for October 2014.

The Tosoh Group comprises over 100 companies worldwide with over 12,000 employees and net sales of JPY 743.0 billion (USD 6.9 billion) in fiscal 2017. The group is one of the largest chlor-alkali manufacturers in Asia. Tosoh’s petrochemical operations supply ethylene, polyethylene, and functional polymers, while its advanced materials business serves the global semiconductor, display, and solar industries.

US energy chief applauds Mexico plan to end fuel imports

MOSCOW (MRC) -- US Energy Secretary Rick Perry praised the goal set out by Mexico's incoming president to end massive gasoline and diesel imports, nearly all of which come from the United States, as a measure that will boost prosperity in its southern neighbor, reported Reuters.

During a visit on Wednesday to the Mexican capital in which he met with both current officials as well as key advisers to President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, Perry brushed off concerns that US refiners stand to lose their biggest foreign market.

"It's a good goal for Mexico. I tip my hat to the president-elect for having that as a goal," said Perry, a former governor of Texas, the most prominent energy producing and refining US state. "I hope they're successful with that transition."

So far this year, Mexico has imported an average of 1.19 million barrels per day (bpd) of fuel including gasoline and diesel, according to the US Energy Information Administration.

Fuel imports now represent 60 percent of the country's total consumption, as crude processing at Mexico's domestic refineries has steadily declined.

Lopez Obrador won a landslide victory last month and in December will take office as Mexico's first leftist president in decades.

He has repeatedly promised to end foreign gasoline imports within three years and grow domestic production of value-added fuels at home, pledging to revive the six existing state-owned refineries operated by national oil company Pemex, as well as build a new one.

"That's not going to happen overnight. He knows that, we know that," Perry told a group of reporters on Wednesday afternoon after meeting with Lopez Obrador's designated chief of staff, Alfonso Romo, and his future energy minister Rocio Nahle.

He said Romo also met with David Malpass, the US Treasury Department's under secretary for international affairs.

"What I heard today was a bit of realism from both Nahle and Romo," he added, without going into further detail.

The American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), which represents US refiners, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Perry's statement.

Perry pointed to growing South American markets as potential new buyers of US refined products, noting that Venezuela's oil output has plummeted amid a major economic crisis.

"We're going to have more markets, most likely, than we're going to have product," he said.

Reliance to restart Jamnagar PE complex on 22 August

MOSCOW (MRC) -- India's Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) will restart its polyethylene (PE) complex at Jamnagar on Wednesday evening after shutting the plant for maintenance Sunday, as per Apic-online.

The PE complex started operations last September and comprises a 550,000 mt/year linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) swing plant and a 400,000 mt/year low density polyethylene (LDPE) unit.

As MRC informed before, on 23 March 2017, RIL shut down its cracker, PE and PP plants located in Hazira for a 25-day turnaround. Located at Hazira near Surat in Gujarat, the cracker has a production capacity of 1.1 mmt/year and the downstream PP plant has a production capacity of 600,000 mt/year. The PE plant has a capacity of 450,000 mt/year.

Reliance Industries is one of the world's largest producers of polymers. Thus, the company produces among others polypropylene, polyethylene and polyvinyl chloride.

Madero refinery in Mexico unable to fully resume work

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Mexico’s Madero refinery has not been able to fully restart operations since it was halted in December due to planned maintenance, reported Reuters with reference to the chief executive of state-run Pemex said, citing technical problems at the facility.

Pemex’s domestic refineries have been operating this year at 40 percent of their total capacity of 1.65 million barrels per day (bpd) amid outages, maintenance work and low profitability at some facilities.

The Madero refinery, located in northeastern Tamaulipas state, is the smallest of Pemex’s six refineries with crude processing capacity of 190,000 bpd.

It was scheduled to resume operations in January, but its full restart has been postponed several times. It has operated partially for brief periods during the year as the company says it is not profitable to significantly increase crude processing.

Pemex CEO Carlos Trevino said operational and technical problems, as well as lack of capital, were affecting Madero and also the 285,000-bpd Minatitlan refinery. Not all maintenance projects at the plants have been completed on time, he added.

"We should have restarted (the Madero refinery) almost three months ago," Trevino said in an interview with local broadcaster ADN40.

About the status of Minatitlan, in the eastern Gulf coast state of Veracruz, Trevino said it restarted a couple of weeks ago. He did not elaborate on the reasons or duration of the stoppage.

Pemex has also postponed in recent months its goal of processing more than 850,000 bpd of crude at its domestic refineries, which in some cases were also affected by storms and earthquakes last year. Trevino said that the processing figure could be surpassed by the end of the year.

As MRC wrote before, in June 2018, Petroleos Mexicanos disclosed the results of the bidding process for the rehabilitation and commissioning works to be carried out on the H-Oil Plant located in the Miguel Hidalgo refinery in Tula, in the state of Hidalgo. This project will increase the production of ultra-low sulphur gasoline, in compliance with environmental regulations in effect, and the handling of crude oil for production of other fuels, such as diesel and jet fuel.

Pemex, Mexican Petroleum, is a Mexican state-owned petroleum company. Pemex has a total asset worth of USD415.75 billion, and is the world's second largest non-publicly listed company by total market value, and Latin America's second largest enterprise by annual revenue as of 2009. Company produces such polymers, as polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), polystyrene (PS).