PE imports to Belarus down by 11% in Jan-Nov 2018

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Overall polyethylene (PE) imports into Belarus decreased in the first eleven months of 2018 by 11% year on year, reaching 100,100 tonnes. At the same time, local companies reduced purchasing of exclusively linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE), according to MRC's DataScope report.

According to the National Statistics Committee of Belarus, November PE imports to Belarus virtually remained at the level of October and were 8,500 tonnes. Overall PE imports reached 100,100 tonnes in January-November 2018, compared to 112,400 tonnes a year earlier. Demand for LLDPE subsided significantly, whereas demand for high density polyethylene (HDPE) increased.

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

November 2018 total LLDPE imports rose to 3,700 tonnes from 3,000 tonnes a month earlier, local companies increased their purchases in Russia on the back of the shutdown for maintenance at the local producer. Overall imports of this PE grade into Belarus totalled 35,200 tonnes in January-November 2018, which virtually corresponded to the last year's figure.

November imports of HDPE dropped to 4,400 tonnes from 5,000 tonnes in the previous month. Local companies reduced their purchasing of pipe grade PE in Saudi Arabia. Thus, overall HDPE imports totalled 50,400 tonnes in the first eleven months of 2018, up by 10.2% year on year. Overall LLDPE imports reached 13,600 tonnes over the stated period, whereas this figure was 31,600 tonnes a year earlier.


Petchem, consumer units fuel record quarterly profit at Indias Reliance

MOSCOW (MRC) - India's Reliance Industries on Thursday posted record quarterly profit driven by its telecoms, retail and petrochemicals businesses, which offset the impact of a weaker refining margins due to volatile crude prices, as per Reuters.

The results saw the conglomerate making progress in its drive, announced last year, to make its consumer businesses eventually as large as its core energy operations, which are also struggling with slowing growth in China. "Consumer business now contributes more than 25 percent of the EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and profit)," V Srikanth, joint chief financial officer said, referring to the telecoms and retail businesses.

The businesses contributed around 12 percent to EBITDA in 2017. Net profit on a consolidated basis rose to 102.5 billion rupees (USD1.44 billion) in October-December, beating analysts' average estimate of 96.48 billion rupees, according to Refinitiv Eikon data.

Consolidated revenue grew 56.4 percent to 1.60 trillion rupees. Gross refining margin (GRM) - the profit earned on each barrel of crude processed - was USD8.8 per barrel for the quarter, the lowest for 16 quarters but outperforming the benchmark Singapore complex margin by USD4.5 per barrel.

Operating profit from refining fell 18 percent year-on-year, despite a 47 percent jump in revenues from that business. Srikanth said that while there would be short-term weakness in refining, the company could cope due to its ability to process a wide variety of crudes and a diversified business portfolio.

Reliance's refinery in the western state of Gujarat is the world's biggest single-location refinery, with a capacity to process 1.36 million barrels per day of crude.

The telecoms business is central to the ambition of Chairman Mukesh Ambani, Asia's richest man, to boost the company's consumer operations. In the last two years, Reliance's telecoms start-up Jio has used cut-price data and free voice calls to corner over 250 million subscribers, leaving rivals nursing losses.

Jio posted a nearly 65 percent jump in quarterly profit to 8.31 billion rupees (USD117 million). The company said last month it would hive off its tower and fibre assets, a move that could help sell or list the assets in future.

"We're in the process of de-merging our tower and fibre business and the end objective will be to have different set of investors who would want to run these companies," said Srikanth.

"This means that these assets go off our balance sheets so the liabilities also go down," he added. Reliance's outstanding debt in the end of December was around USD40 billion, while cash and cash equivalents was USD11 billion.

Celanese welcomes A. Lynne Puckett as General Counsel

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Celanese Corporation, a global specialty materials company, has announced legal veteran A. Lynne Puckett will join the company's executive leadership team as Senior Vice President and General Counsel, effective February 13, 2019, as per the company's press release.

Formerly General Counsel at global manufacturer Colfax Corporation, Lynne brings deep experience leading a sizable global legal team through complex acquisitions, growth in emerging markets, corporate and securities matters, debt and equity offerings, and more.

"Lynne's extensive experience and her leadership approach make her a valuable addition to our Celanese team," said Mark Rohr, Celanese Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "Her balance of strategic insights coupled with execution excellence will complement our legal team nicely. Her orientation toward volunteerism echoes our own corporate value of making a positive impact on our communities and reinforces our culture."

Lynne joins Celanese with more than eight years at Colfax Corporation where she was Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary. In her time at Colfax, she guided the Board, leadership and employees through significant company growth from USD700 million in revenues in 2010 to more than USD3.6 billion currently. Prior to Colfax, Lynne was a partner with the Hogan Lovells law firm where she managed complex mergers and acquisitions and represented public and private companies. She holds a J.D. from the University of Maryland School of Law and a B.S. degree from James Madison University. She has served nonprofits including the American Shakespeare Center, the University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center, the Baltimore Outreach Services and the Center for Refugee and Disaster Response at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

As wrote before, Celanese Corporation has raised prices for its GUR and GHR grades (UHMW-PE) to be shipped starting from January to Europe, the Americas and Asia. The price increases below is effective for orders shipped on or after 1 January, 2019, or as contracts otherwise allow, as follows:

- in Europe - by EUR150/tonne;
- in Asia - by USD150/tonne;
- in North and South America - by 10%.

Celanese Corporation is a global technology leader in the production of differentiated chemistry solutions and specialty materials used in most major industries and consumer applications. Based in Dallas, Celanese employs approximately 7,600 employees worldwide and had 2017 net sales of USD6.1 billion.

China Dec crude imports at 2nd highest, gas imports at record

MOSCOW (MRC) - China’s crude oil imports in December surged nearly 30 percent from a year earlier to the second highest for a month on a daily basis, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The surge was bolstered by year-end stockbuilding by small independent refiners trying to use up annual quotas and crude cargoes imported for tests on two new private refineries. December shipments into China, the world’s top crude oil buyer, were at 43.78 million tonnes, or 10.31 million barrels per day (bpd), holding above the 10 million bpd mark for the second straight month, and just a touch below the record of 10.43 million bpd in November, according to the data released by the General Administration of Chinese Customs.

For the whole of 2018, China’s crude oil imports rose 10.1 percent versus the previous year to a record 461.9 million tonnes or 9.24 million bpd. This makes China the top crude oil importer for the second year running after it first overtook the United States on an annual basis in 2017. The 2018 growth represents an increase of 846,600 bpd - more than 2017’s net growth of 770,000 bpd - and roughly the size of consumption by the Netherlands or Turkey.

Peak operations at giant state refiners during most of the first three quarters accounted for the bulk of the import growth, joined later by new purchasing from two privately-run mega refineries ahead of trial runs, said Seng-Yick Tee of consultancy SIA Energy.

Strategic stockpiling at several state reserve sites that have just started up, such as Jinzhou in the north and Huizhou on China’s southern coast, also contributed to more shipments during the last few months of 2018 as China took advantage of steep falls in benchmark prices from mid-November, said Tee.

Independent oil processors, sometimes called “teapots”, played a smaller role in 2018 than in previous years due to marginal increases in their import quotas and a new tax policy that pinched their appetite for overseas crude.

“Unlike the previous two years when teapots led the incremental growth, state giants became the main drivers for last year’s growth,” said Tee.

Natpet to resume production at PP plant in late September

MOSCOW (MRC) -- National Petrochemical Industrial Company (Natpet) is likely to restart a polypropylene (PP) plant following an unplanned outage, as per Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in Saudi Arabia informed that the company has planned to resume operations at the plant in end-September, 2019.

The plant was shut following fire occured on October 2, 2018. The incident in the complex has caused a few casualties with 1 person reported to have been killed and 11 others injured.

Located at Yanbu in Saudi Arabia, the PP plant has a production capacity of 400,000 mt/year.

As MRC wrote before, Natpet shut its polypropylene (PP) plant in Yanbu, Saudi Arabia, for a four-week scheduled maintenance in early April, 2017.