Progress continues at LyondellBasell La Porte complex

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The La Porte Complex of LyondellBasell, one of the largest plastics, chemicals and refining companies in the world, has announced key pieces of equipment, including a multi-zone circulating reactor, extruder and gas phase reactor have all been successfully installed at its new Hyperzone polyethylene (PE) plant, currently under construction, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

"We are about 18 months into construction and our team has safely achieved several key milestones," said Chris Cain, LyondellBasell La Porte site manager. "It has been phenomenal watching the progress of this project that is unlike any other in our company and speaks to the talent, capability and innovation of our employees."

Among the key equipment installed since the start of construction in May 2017 are two reactors, the heaviest of which is a gas phase reactor weighing more than 500 tons. The second reactor, a 200-foot-tall multi-zone circulating reactor, is exclusively designed for the Hyperzone PE technology. Teams have also safely installed a 146-foot-tall flushing silo for ensuring polymer particles are dry prior to extruding them into pellets and laid nearly 19 miles of pipe and 38 miles of wire/cable.

As modeled by Impact Data Source, the USD725 million project will have a capacity of 1.1 billion pounds each year of high density polyethylene and is expected to generate more than USD67 million in tax benefits for the state, county, school district, community college and other local taxing districts over a 10-year period following construction. Additionally, the project will create up to more than 1,000 jobs at the peak of construction and 75 permanent positions.

"The Hyperzone PE plant is bringing growth and jobs to our area," said La Porte Mayor Louis Rigby. "Strong corporate partners like LyondellBasell who continually invest in our city are key to improving opportunities and quality of life for our residents."

LyondellBasell chose to build the new plant at its existing La Porte Complex because of its proximity to price-advantaged US feedstocks and the transportation infrastructure needed to ship product to markets across the globe.

In the past six years, the company has announced USD5 billion of investments to expand and build new manufacturing facilities in the US, including the construction of Hyperzone PE and the world’s largest propylene oxide (PO) and tertiary butyl alcohol (TBA) plant, co-located at its Channelview and Bayport facilities.

Hyperzone PE is the first commercial plant of its kind and the next evolution in polyethylene technology for the plastics industry. The technology, which provides enhanced material performance that will help create lighter weight products that are still stronger and more durable, took years to advance to commercialization and was a product of LyondellBasell’s global research and development teams in Ferrara, Italy; Frankfurt, Germany; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Houston, Texas.

As MRC wrote before, in August 2016, LyondellBasell made the final investment decision to build anew HDPE plant on the US Gulf Coast. The plant will have an annual capacity of 1.1 billion pounds (500,000 metric tons) and will be the first commercial plant to employ LyondellBasell's new proprietary Hyperzone PE technology.

LyondellBasell is one of the world's largest plastics, chemical and refining companies. The company manufactures products at 57 sites in 18 countries. LyondellBasell products and technologies are used to make items that improve the quality of life for people around the world including packaging, electronics, automotive parts, home furnishings, construction materials and biofuels.

European plastics association offers to help “finetune” EMF's new plastic commitment

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The European Plastics Converters Association (EuPC) has welcomed a recent initiative by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation aimed at making packaging more environmentally-friendly - but at the same time has also offered to help “finetune” it, as per Plasticsnewseurope.

Representing 50.000 SMEs, EuPC said in a 30 Oct statement that it was ready to offer its expertise to improve the global commitment which, the association noted somewhat acerbically, had been drafted “only by a few individuals without consulting the plastics converting industry.” Hence, while acknowledging the need to tackle marine litter EuPC said it regrets that it cannot actively participate in, what it termed, 'this exercise’.

The EMF initiative, launched as the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, was announced during the 2018 Our Ocean Conference, held in Bali, Indonesia, 29-30 Oct.

The pledge aims to create a new scenario for plastic packaging by eliminating single-use packaging materials, increasing the amount of reused or recycled plastics in new products and promoting innovation to ensure 100% of plastic packaging can be reused, recycled, or composted by 2025.

The commitment also includes moving away from “problematic” packaging and using significantly more recycled plastic in packaging itself.

“We believe that together, plastics converters are the best placed industry to define the vision for our industry in a sustainable world, with well performing waste collection systems and more circular designed products,” EuPC said.

Another point of regret, said EuPC, was the fact that the commitment had failed to attract the countries where the plastic problem was the biggest and educational campaigns were needed.

November prices of European PVC dropped slightly for CIS markets

MOSOCW (MRC) -- Negotiations over European polyvinyl chloride (PVC) prices for November shipments to the CIS markets have begun this week. Most European producers slightly reduced their export prices amid lower ethylene prices, according to ICIS-MRC Price report.

The November contract price of ethylene was agreed down by EUR10/tonne from October, which led to a reduction of around EUR5/tonne in PVC production costs. However, prices of resin for shipments to the CIS markets fell by EUR5-10/tonne amid weak demand from a number of export markets.

Demand for PVC remained weak from the main consumers from the CIS countries due to seasonal factors and stable operations of local producers.

Despite the ongoing scheduled shutdowns at some European plants, most producers did not have major restrictions on exports.

Negotiations over November shipments of suspension polyvinyl chloride (SPVC) to the CIS markets were held in the range of EUR715-780/tonne FCA, whereas deals were done in the range of EUR720-790/tonne FCA a month earlier.

Chinas Xi promises to raise imports amid trade row with US

MOSCW (MRC) - Chinese President Xi Jinping promised on Monday to lower tariffs, broaden market access and import more from overseas at the start of a trade expo designed to demonstrate goodwill amid mounting frictions with the United States and others, as per Reuters.

The November 5-10 China International Import Expo, or CIIE, brings thousands of foreign companies together with Chinese buyers in a bid to demonstrate the importing potential of the world’s second-biggest economy. In a speech that largely echoed previous promises, Xi said China would accelerate opening of the education, telecommunications and cultural sectors, while protecting foreign companies’ interests and punishing violations of intellectual property rights.

He also said he expects China to import USD30 T worth of goods and USD10 T worth of services in the next 15 yr. Last year, Xi estimated that China would import USD24 T worth of goods over the coming 15 yr. "CIIE is a major initiative by China to pro-actively open up its market to the world," Xi said.

US President Donald Trump has railed against China for what he sees as intellectual property theft, entry barriers to U.S. business and a gaping trade deficit. Foreign business groups, too, have grown weary of Chinese reform promises, and while opposing Trump’s tariffs, have longed warned that China would invite retaliation if it didn’t match the openness of its trading partners. Xi said the expo showed China’s desire to support global free trade, adding - without mentioning the United States - that countries must oppose protectionism.

He said, "Multilateralism and the free trade system is under attack, factors of instability and uncertainty are numerous, and risks and obstacles are increasing." “With the deepening development today of economic globalization, ‘the weak falling prey to the strong’ and ‘winner takes all’ are dead-end alleys,” he said.

Louis Kuijs, head of Asia economics at Oxford Economics, said the speech was meaningful, if short on fresh initiatives.

"I don’t think that there were necessarily path-breaking new reforms announced by him today, but I guess I would take this as a confirmation that China is very keen to be seen as continuing to open up further and committing to that stance," he said.

China imported USD1.84 T of goods in 2017, up 16%, or USD255 B, from a year earlier. Of that total, China imported about USD130 B of goods from the United States. The Chinese government’s top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, said in March that China would import USD8 T of goods in the next five years.

Wanhua to use Honeywell connected plant in Eastern China

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Honeywell announced that Wanhua Chemical Group Co., Ltd. will use the Honeywell Connected Plant Process Reliability Advisor to provide prescriptive monitoring of its UOP C3 Oleflex™ unit at its plant in Shandong Province in Eastern China, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

This is the first application of the process reliability advisor service in China. Wanhua operates the world’s largest Oleflex unit, which converts propane into 750,000 tons per year of propylene, the primary component in many plastic resins, films and fibers.

Process Reliability Advisor continuously feeds plant data through Honeywell UOP process and fault models with sophisticated software to provide key performance information and process recommendations. It helps plants run more smoothly and detects problems before they can affect production and plant profitability.

"Process Reliability Advisor is unique in the industry because it applies Honeywell UOP’s proprietary process knowledge and deep troubleshooting experience to recommend operational adjustments much sooner and more accurately than has ever been possible before," said Zak Alzein, vice president, Connected Plant at Honeywell UOP. “Plants with this service can run consistently at the top of their capability."

Honeywell’s Connected Plant technologies combine the company’s industrial expertise, software and digital technologies to make customers’ operations more reliable, profitable and secure than previously possible. As part of Honeywell’s Connected Plant portfolio, Process Reliability Advisor gives refineries, petrochemical and gas processing plants greater visibility into their operations, helping to identify and resolve problems that often avoid detection and hamper production, and reducing unplanned shutdowns that can deprive plant operators millions of dollars per year in lost productivity.

"Process Reliability Advisor is a software-based service that combines a plant’s data with UOP expertise," Alzein said. “This service can tie plant data to the right domain knowledge to gain new insights to improve operational reliability."

Honeywell UOP’s C3 Oleflex technology is a propane dehydrogenation process that converts propane to propylene. Its low energy consumption, low emissions and fully recyclable, platinum-alumina-based catalyst system minimizes its impact on the environment, and has a lower cash cost of production and higher return on investment compared to other technologies. Honeywell UOP has licensed 35 Oleflex units in China since 2011.

Wanhua Chemical Group Co., Ltd. is a leading manufacturer propylene and isobutane and derivatives. Its main products are isocyanate (MDI, TDI, ADI), propylene, propylene oxide (PO), tert butyl alcohol (TBA), methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE), acrylic acid/acrylic ester (AA/AE), n-butanol and neopentyl glycol (NPG), liquefied propane, liquefied butane, and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG)