PE imports to Ukraine down by 2% in Jan-Nov 2018

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Imports of polyethylene (PE) into the Ukrainian market dropped in the first eleven months of 2018 by 2% year on year to 222,100 tonnes. At the same time, only the high density polyethylene (HDPE) segment accounted for a reduction in imports, according to MRC's DataScope report.
Last month's PE imports to Ukraine rose to 21,900 tonnes from 21,100 tonnes in October, with low density polyethylene (LDPE) accounting for a slight increase in imports. Overall PE imports reached 222,100 tonnes in January-November 2018, compared to 225,800 tonnes a year earlier. HDPE imports decreased, whereas demand for other ethylene polymers increased noticeably.

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

Last month's HDPE imports fell to 7,300 tonnes from 8,200 in October, with injection moulding and pipe grade PE accounting for the reduction in shipments. Overall HDPE imports reached 70,300 tonnes in the first eleven months of 2018, compared to 89,400 tonnes a year earlier. Fim grade and pipe grade HDPE accounted for the greatest decrease in imports, which was 55% and 14%, respectively.

November LDPE imports grew to 6,400 tonnes from 5,600 tonnes a month earlier, local companies increased their purchases of LDPE in Russia. Overall LDPE imports reached 69,000 tonnes over the stated period, up by 12% year on year.

Last month's imports of linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) were 6,600 tonnes versus 6,200 tonnes in October, local producers of film products raised their purchasing. Overall LLDPE imports rose to 68,300 tonnes in January-November 2018 versus 60,600 tonnes a year earlier. Local films producers accounted for the main increase in imports.

Imports of other PE grades, including ethylene-vinyl-acetate (EVA), totalled 14,500 tonnes over the stated period, compared to 14,200 tonnes a year earlier.


Dow opens polyol plant in Thailand

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Dow Chemical has announced the opening of a new polyol plant for rigid polyurethane foam in Rayong, Thailand, as per GV.

According to the company, the facility increases its capacity to offer insulation materials and solutions with reliable, energy-efficient performance.

The polyol plant has a designed annual capacity of 79,000 t and is located at the Asia Industrial Estate (AIE) site in Rayong province. The AIE site covers 515 hectares and is home to six Dow manufacturing plants.

Approximately 150 guests from customers and partners joined Dow leaders to attend a dedication ceremony on 8 November 2018. The polyol plant strengthens Dow’s upstream plant integration in Thailand and further expands the company’s presence in Asia Pacific, following the recent opening of new polyurethane systems houses in Lote Parshuram, India and Zhangjiagang, China.

"This announcement demonstrates Dow’s commitment to our ongoing investment in Polyurethanes in order to bring to our customers a reliable supply of innovative solutions aligned to global trends such as population growth and energy efficiency," said Jane Palmieri, business president, Dow Polyurethanes. "The Rayong facility is an important addition to Dow’s global polyurethanes manufacturing network, further enabling us to deliver industry-leading products that help customers minimise their environmental footprint, while creating lasting social, environmental and economic benefits throughout the entire product life cycle."

"We are living in an era when innovative and effective solutions are needed to address imperative sustainability challenges, including energy consumption and climate change," said Christina Yu, commercial director Asia Pacific, Dow Polyurethanes. "This is particularly important in Asia Pacific where significant population growth and increasing energy consumption is translating to higher demand for energy efficiency solutions, which Dow is best positioned to deliver as the world’s leading material science company."

"This new plant further solidifies Dow’s key manufacturing base in Thailand and is an important milestone in our expansion in Asia Pacific, demonstrating our long-term commitment to the country and the region," said Chatchai Luanpolcharoenchai, president of Dow Thailand. "With this boost in capacity and our advanced technologies, we are better positioned to meet increasingly sophisticated customer demands."

As MRC wrote before, in June 2018, Dow announced its plan to invest in an alkoxylation facility on the US Gulf Coast. Upon completion, this new facility will support global growth in Dow’s core end-markets related to infrastructure and home and personal care, as well as additional end-markets where Dow continues to strengthen its position for the TRITON, TERGITOL, ECOSURF and CARBOWAX SENTRY brands.

The Dow Chemical Company is an American multinational chemical corporation. Dow is a large producer of plastics, including polystyrene, polyurethane, polyethylene, polypropylene, and synthetic rubber.

Motiva preliminarily picked to run Curacao refinery: report

MOSCOW MRC) -- Motiva Enterprises has preliminarily been chosen by the government of Curacao to operate the 335,000-barrel-per-day Isla refinery, replacing Venezuela’s state-run PDVSA, reported Reuers with reference to local media.

The refinery has been idle since May when a legal dispute between PDVSA and US producer ConocoPhillips forced its closure.

PDVSA’s contract to run the facility, which is crucial for its storage, refining and shipping operations, will expire at the end of 2019. The government of the Caribbean island is seeking a company willing to handle it in the long run and probably also to finish the lease term next year.

Motiva, based in Houston, was chosen by Curacao from a list of interested companies as the "preferred bidder" to run the refinery from 2020 or possibly before, if a separate agreement is reached, according to the Antilliaans Dagblad newspaper.

Motiva is a US subsidiary of Saudi energy giant Aramco and a regular buyer of Venezuelan crude.

The Curacao refinery on Saturday confirmed a company was chosen but said it would not disclose the name of the new operator until a final agreement is signed.

Motiva declined to comment in a statement.

A memorandum of understanding between the chosen operator and the government is expected to be signed in mid-January, the manager of the refinery, Marcelino de Lannoy, told Reuters.

Lannoy, who is temporarily replacing Isla’s managing director, Roderick Van Kwartel, amid accusations of corruption linked to the bidding process to choose the new operator, also said PDVSA has agreed to cooperate in any transition.

PDVSA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Curacao Refinery Utilities (CUR), the company that provides water and electricity to the facility, is expected to resume supply this month to prepare the refinery for its restart.

Earlier this year, Motiva said it was weighing an expansion of its Port Arthur, Texas, refinery. But in June that plan was scrapped over what sources said were worries about concentrating too much production in a single, hurricane-prone location.

Instead, Motiva was "actively exploring a number of opportunities and locations" to boost its North American refining capacity to as much as 1.5 million barrels per day, a Motiva spokeswoman said.

As MRC informed before, in mid-July 2018, Motiva Enterprises completed repairs to the FCCU at its 603,000 barrel per day (bpd) Port Arthur, Texas.

Besides, later, on 27 August 2018, Motiva Enterprises returned the gasoline-producing, alkylation and small coking units to normal operation at its 603,000 bpd Port Arthur, Texas, refinery, the nation’s largest. The 82,000 bpd gasoline-producing fluidic catalytic cracking unit (FCCU 3) and the 18,000-bpd alkylation units were knocked out of production on 26 August by a malfunction. The units began restarting at night on the same day.

Motiva is a subsidiary of Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia’s national oil company.

Neste CEO to address business impact of low-carbon society

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The IRPC EurAsia advisory board is proud to name Mr. Peter Vanacker, President and CEO of Neste, as the conference's opening day keynote speaker, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

With an address entitled Transforming Business for a Low-carbon Society, Vanacker will tackle one of the most pressing long-term challenges facing the international downstream industry.

Mr. Vanacker joined Neste in 2018, having previously served as President and Managing Director of the CABB Group, CEO and Managing Director of Treofan, and a Member of the Executive Board at Bayer MaterialScience (Covestro).

Following the conference and exhibition will be an exclusive tour of Neste’s Kilpilahti refinery, the largest refinery in Scandinavia with five production lines including renewable diesel production and a modern SDA production line to utilize base oil.

BASF to expand capacity for methane sulfonic acid at its Ludwigshafen site

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BASF intends to expand the production capacity for methane sulfonic acid (MSA) at its Ludwigshafen site by around 65 percent and increase the global capacity to 50,000 metric tons per year, as per the company's press-release.

With the investment the company further strengthens its position as the leading global producer of MSA. The volumes from the additional capacity are expected to be available late in 2021 for customers in all regions.

"The demand for MSA increased strongly across industries. This expansion will allow us to support the rapid growth of our customers, especially in Asia. Beyond the increase in Ludwigshafen, we evaluate investment options outside of Europe to continuously expand our MSA capacities," says Martin Widmann, Global Strategic Marketing and Development, Care Chemicals division at BASF. "We focus our extensive know-how and highly efficient manufacturing processes on our customers’ needs to enhance their applications’ performance, sustainability and efficacy."

Methane sulfonic acid is a strong organic acid used in numerous applications ranging from chemical and biofuel synthesis to industrial cleaning and metal surface treatment in the electronics industry. The expansion is in line with the trend for top-performance and at the same time environmentally friendly technologies in various industries. BASF’s proprietary process enables the production of Lutropur® MSA – a high-purity methane sulfonic acid. Lutropur MSA is a sustainable alternative to other acids such as sulfuric, phosphoric or acetic acid. As part of the natural sulfur cycle MSA is readily biodegradable. Further benefits in practical applications come, for example, from its nonoxidizing nature, the high solubility of its salts and the absence of color and odor.