HDPE production in Russia up by 2.5% in January-September 2018

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Russia's production of high density polyethylene (HDPE) totalled 731,700 tonnes in January-September 2018, up by 2.5% year on year. At the same time, only two out of four Russian producers increased their output, according to MRC's ScanPlast report.

September total HDPE production in Russia decreased to 79,200 tonnes, whereas this figure was 81,500 tonnes a month earlier. Shutdown for a scheduled maintenance at Russia's largest producer - Kazanorgsintez - was the main reason. Overall HDPE production reached 731,700 tonnes in the first nine months of 2018, compared to 713,600 tonnes a year earlier. Gazprom neftekhim Salavat and Stavrolen increased their output, whereas Nizhnekamskneftekhim reduced its production by almost twice in favour of linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE).

The structure of polyethylene (PE) production by plants looked the following way over the stated period.

Kazanorgsintez's total HDPE output fell to 38,200 tonnes in September from 46,400 tonnes a month earlier, the Kazan plant shut down its production capacities for a turnaround on 25 September. The Kazan plant's overall HDPE production reached 395,600 tonnes in January-September 2018, which corresponded to the last year's figure.

Stavrolen produced about 25,000 tonnes last month versus 24,500 tonnes in August. The plant's overall HDPE output reached 222,400 tonnes in the first nine months of 2018, up by 8% year on year.

Gazprom neftekhim Salavat reduced its capacity utilisation in September, the plant produced 9,500 tonnes last month, compared to 10,500 tonnes a month earlier. The Bashkir plant's overall HDPE production reached 89,400 tonnes in the first nine months of 2018, up by 39% year on year. Such a high amount of the increase in the output was caused by the absence of a long scheduled maintenance this year.

Nizhnekamskneftekhim produced HDPE only in April-May and in late September during the stated period. Thus, the Nizhnekamsk producer manufactured only 24,200 tonnes over the incomplete three months of operations versus 46,300 tonnes a year earlier.


McDermott lands EPC contract for delayed coker unit for LUKOIL refinery

MOSCOW (MRC) -- McDermott International, Inc. announced it has been awarded a significant contract by LUKOIL NizhegorodNefteorgSyntez, a subsidiary of JSC LUKOIL, for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) of the Delayed Coker Unit for the Deep Conversion Complex planned to be built in Kstovo, Russia, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

This award follows a 2016 award to Chevron Lummus Global (CLG), McDermott's joint venture with Chevron, for its delayed coking technology, and highlights the significance of pull through opportunities that McDermott's Lummus Technology business offers other parts of the organization. In October 2017, McDermott was awarded a detailed engineering, procurement and long lead supply award contract for the project.

"Our ability to provide integrated, end-to-end solutions, from our industry-leading refining technology to a highly efficient project delivery model, has been a deciding factor in securing this win," said Tareq Kawash, McDermott's Senior Vice President for Europe, Africa, Russia and Caspian. "This is also significant for McDermott because it is the company's first downstream EPC project in the Russian Federation."

The contract will be reflected in McDermott's third quarter 2018 backlog.

We remind that, as MRC reported earlier, in February 2017, The Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine gave permission for the purchase of a 75% stake in Lukoil Chemical B.V. (Netherlands), which owns 100% of LLC "Karpatneftekhim" (Kalush, Ivano-Frankivsk region).

Lukoil is one of the leading vertically integrated oil company in Russia. The main activities of the company include operations for exploration and production of oil and gas, production and sale of petroleum products. Lukoil is the second largest private oil Company worldwide by proven hydrocarbon reserves. In Lukoil structure includes one of the largest Russian and Ukrainian petrochemical industries Stavrolen and Karpatneftekhim.

Akzo Nobel's quarterly core profit rises 8%, revenue slips

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Dutch paints and coatings maker Akzo Nobel reported weaker-than-expected revenues , said CNBC.

The company reported a net revenue of 2.33 billion euros (USD2.69 billion), missing Reuters expectations of 2.48 billion euros.

Meanwhile, Akzo Nobel's third-quarter core profit rose 8 percent to 243 million euros, underpinned by higher prices and costs savings.

"I'm encouraged by what we achieved, despite challenging market conditions, including higher raw material costs and adverse foreign currencies," Thierry Vanlancker, CEO of Akzo Nobel, said in a statement.

"Completing the sale of our Specialty Chemicals business was a key milestone in the long and proud history of AkzoNobel as we take the next step in our transformation," he added.

Earlier this year, Akzo Nobel sold its Specialty Chemicals division for 10 billion euros to Carlyle Group after it rejected an unwanted takeover offer from U.S. rival PPG Industries in 2017.

In September 2018, Akzo Nobel acquired Xylazel S.A., a 100% subsidiary of Pharma Mar S.A. With this acquisition AkzoNobel strengthens its business and becomes a leader in the decorative paints market in Spain. It also means the company is now the leader in the country's woodcare segment and has strengthened its position in metal care. The transaction marks the 45-year anniversary of AkzoNobel on the Spanish market.

Akzo Nobel N.V., trading as AkzoNobel, is a Dutch multinational, active in the fields of decorative paints, performance coatings and specialty chemicals. Headquartered in Amsterdam, the company has activities in more than 80 countries, and employs approximately 55,000 people.

Covestro to build new world-scale MDI plant in Texas

MOSCOW (MRC) -- German polymer supplier Covestro AG has announced plans to build a new production unit for methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) at its existing site in Baytown, Texas, said Canplastics.

The project, which is expected to cost approximately USD1.72 billion, is the largest single investment in the company’s history, Covestro said in a statement.

The new unit will have total capacity of 500 kilotons of MDI per year. It’s expected to start production in 2024, at which time Covestro will close an older, less efficient MDI unit with production capacity of 90 kilotons.

MDI is used in the manufacture of polyurethanes.

"Demand for innovative MDI materials will continue to grow for the foreseeable future and likewise promises attractive capacity utilization rates,” Covestro CEO Markus Steilemann said in the statement. “We have already announced a significant increase in capital expenditures; now it’s time to put it into action. With the new MDI train in Baytown, we will further strengthen our global leading position in polyurethanes."

The global MDI market is expected to grow by about five per cent per year, Covestro said, with key market drivers including the substitution of materials that do not perform as well and do not have a good sustainability profile as well as global megatrends, such as increasing demand for energy-efficient insulation solutions.

Covestro is the former Bayer MaterialScience.

Asia oil deficit to widen by 2025 - Total

MOSCOW (MRC) - Asia’s oil deficit will widen to 35 million barrels per day (bpd) by 2025, up about 30 percent from the current 27 million bpd, amplifying global trade flow imbalances, a senior executive at French oil and energy group Total said, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

At the same time, Europe’s imports will be stable at 10 million bpd, while exports from North America and the Middle East will increase, said Thomas Waymel, the company’s president of trading and shipping.

The United States will export shale oil, but its refineries will continue to import medium and heavy sour grades, Waymel said during the Asia Pacific Petroleum Conference (APPEC) in Singapore.

Regulatory changes like IMO 2020, which will cap sulphur content in ship fuel, will be another driver for growth and changing trade flows, he said.

"The fuel oil flows will be reduced. At the same time, the shipping industry will need distillates ... so Europe and Singapore will attract more distillates," Waymel said.

New trade flows might emerge for high sulphur fuel oil either in coker capacity or power plants switching back from coal or gas to high sulphur fuel oil.

Light sweet crude will be more in demand, while heavy sour grades will need to be processed by complex refineries, he said.

"Regulatory changes will dramatically affect an increase in flows of both crude and products. It should also have positive impact on freight rates which is finally good news for ship owners," he said.