Index of chemical production in Russia grew by 1.6% in Q1 2019

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Russia's output of chemical products rose in March 2019 by 2.9% year on year.
However, production of basic chemicals increased only by 1.6% in the first three months of 2019, according to Rosstat's data.

According to the Federal Service of State Statistics, last month's output of basic chemicals grew by 2.9% year on year. The largest increase in production in monthly terms accounted for ethylene. 276,000 tonnes of ethylene were produced in March, compared to 242,000 tonnes a month earlier. Overall, 793,000 tonnes of this olefin were produced in January-March 2019, up 1.3% year on year.

Last month's output of benzene were 129,000 tonnes versus 119,000 tonnes in February. Overall production of this product reached 370,000 tonnes in the first three months of 2019, down by 4.6% year on year.

March output of sodium hydroxide (caustic soda) was 114,000 tonnes (100% of the basic substance) versus 101,000 tonnes in February. Overall production of caustic soda dropped to 325,000 tonnes over the stated period from 329,000 tonnes a year earlier.

Last month's production of mineral fertilizers was 2,092,000 tonnes (in terms of 100% nutrients) versus 1,887,000 tonnes in February. Overall, Russian plants produced 6,057,000 tonnes of fertilizers in January-March 2019, up by 2.6% year on year.

March production of polymers in primary form rose to 744,000 tonnes, up 13.6% from a month earlier. Total volume of polymer production in primary form in Q1 amounted to 2,079,000 tonnes, up 0.6% more than a year ago.


LyondellBasell Bayport complex propylene oxide plant turns 50

MOSCOW (MRC) -- LyondellBasell’s Bayport Complex in Pasadena, Texas, commemorated 50 years of operation at its propylene oxide plant and provided an update on their role in the company’s most significant capital project to date, the construction of the largest propylene oxide (PO), tertiary butyl alcohol (TBA) plant in the world, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

"Today we are proud to celebrate a half century of operations, and our talented and dedicated colleagues who laid the foundation for our success," said Stephen Goff, LyondellBasell Bayport Complex site manager. "We continue to be propelled by the support of our neighbors, our values, and the generations of employees who came before us."

In addition to the 50th anniversary ceremony, the complex marked the milestone by furthering the company’s support of advancing education with a donation of books to La Porte ISD’s Bayshore Elementary School through The Astros Foundation Literacy Bus Program and a donation of books and backpacks to Dickinson ISD’s Kenneth E. Little Elementary School through the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation’s My Home Library Program. Bayport also announced plans for employees to partner with Trees for Houston to plant 50 trees in the local community in honor of 50 years of operations.

The LyondellBasell PO plant was a first of its kind when it was constructed in 1969 near the Houston Ship Channel, using new tertiary butyl hydro peroxide process technology to produce PO. It was designed to meet increased demand for PO in the 1970s. Bayport was selected as the site for the plant due to its close proximity to feedstock and existing pipelines, which are the same reasons the Bayport Complex will be making history yet again.

LyondellBasell is constructing the largest propylene oxide (PO) and tertiary butyl alcohol (TBA) plant in the world and Bayport is playing a key role in this project.

"The Bayport Complex has a rich history and is pivotal to our company’s strategic growth along the Gulf Coast," said LyondellBasell CEO Bob Patel. "In Texas, bigger is often better. For us, this facility marks a new chapter for LyondellBasell and demonstrates our commitment to continued growth and delivering on our commitments."

The PO/TBA plant will have a split facility design to optimize product balances and realize synergies between two LyondellBasell sites. The 140-acre PO/TBA plant is being built at the LyondellBasell Channelview Complex located in Channelview, Texas, while an associated 34-acre ethers unit, which will convert TBA to oxyfuels, is being constructed at the Bayport Complex in Pasadena. The PO/TBA plant is scheduled for startup in 2021 and is estimated to cost USD2.4 billion, the company’s most significant capital investment to date.

As MRC wrote previously, in August 2016, LyondellBasell made the final investment decision to build a high density polyethylene (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. The start-up of the new plant is scheduled for 2019.

LyondellBasell is one of the largest plastics, chemicals and refining companies in the world. Driven by its 13,000 employees around the globe, LyondellBasell produces materials and products that are key to advancing solutions to modern challenges like enhancing food safety through lightweight and flexible packaging, protecting the purity of water supplies through stronger and more versatile pipes, and improving the safety, comfort and fuel efficiency of many of the cars and trucks on the road. LyondellBasell sells products into approximately 100 countries and is the world's largest licensor of polyolefin technologies.

Dow collaborates with Petronas Chemicals Group for its first carbon savings contributor

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Dow has signed an agreement with Petronas Chemicals Glycols, a subsidiary of PETRONAS’ petrochemical arm and Malaysia’s leading chemicals producer, Petronas Chemicals Group Berhad, to collaborate on a carbon project at Petronas’ world-scale ethylene oxide production facility in support of the Official Carbon Partnership between Dow and the International Olympic Committee (IOC), as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Signing on behalf of PETRONAS Chemicals Glycols Sdn Bhd was its Chief Executive Officer, Encik Zamri Japar and witnessed by Petronas Chemicals Group Berhad’s Managing Director/CEO, Datuk Sazali Hamzah. Meanwhile, Dow was represented by Country Manager, Dow Singapore & Malaysia, Mr Paul Fong and witnessed by President, Dow Asia Pacific, Mr Jon Penrice

Signing on behalf of Petronas Chemicals Glycols Sdn Bhd was its Chief Executive Officer, Encik Zamri Japar and witnessed by Petronas Chemicals Group Berhad’s Managing Director/CEO, Datuk Sazali Hamzah. Meanwhile, Dow was represented by Country Manager, Dow Singapore & Malaysia, Mr Paul Fong and witnessed by President, Dow Asia Pacific, Mr Jon Penrice

Together, Dow and Petronas Chemicals Glycols are committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the operations of Petronas Chemicals Glycols EO plant. EO is one of the world’s most important chemical raw materials, essential in consumer product manufacturing, including textiles, detergents, insulation and more. Petronas Chemicals Glycols reduced its operating costs at its Kertih, Terengganu, Malaysia, EO plant when it deployed a higher performance Dow proprietary EO catalyst. The more effective catalyst technology increased selectivity to EO and process reliability while reducing CO2 emissions and energy consumption. As part of the carbon project, Dow and Petronas Chemicals Glycols will be working together to quantify and obtain third-party verification of the climate benefits following the methodology of the Dow Climate Solutions Framework. This will help enable a positive climate legacy and balance the operational carbon footprint of the IOC.

"The goal of the Dow-IOC partnership is to advance the adoption of better technologies and processes and demonstrate resource efficiency and more sustainable practices across different industries and markets," said Dr. Nicoletta Piccolrovazzi, global technology & sustainability director, Dow Olympic & Sports Solutions. "This first collaboration is a significant milestone for our program within the industrial market and we celebrate Petronas Chemicals Glycols as a trailblazer. We hope this inspires other plants to do the same and work with Dow to advance the economic and environmental efficiency of their production processes. We look forward to seeing the many benefits that will stem from this partnership."

Elaborating on this agreement, Petronas Chemicals Group Berhad’s Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Datuk Sazali Hamzah said, "Our participation in this carbon project is in line with our commitment towards improvement in operational efficiency while reducing environmental footprint. We have seen enhanced results from the change in catalyst, not only in operational excellence due to the higher catalyst selectivity resulting in higher production, but also in cost savings from reduced energy consumption. We are determined to continuously minimize our impact to the environment by adopting best practices for energy consumption through leveraging on leading edge technology."

PETRONAS Chemicals Glycols’ facility in Malaysia is Dow’s first customer to use its state-of-the-art METEOR EO-RETRO 2000 Catalyst. The catalyst is part of Dow’s high selectivity family of EO catalysts which improves the performance of the EO production process while reducing energy consumption. The MR2000 Catalyst, which is being successfully used in both Dow licensed and non-Dow licensed EO process plants, has a higher selectivity to EO converting more of the raw material ethylene into the desired EO product and therefore reducing the formation of the undesirable byproduct CO2. In a typical world-scale EO plant, it is estimated that the MR2000 Catalyst enables emission reductions comparable to taking more than 10,000 cars off the road annually.

Faye J. Miller, product director for licensing & catalyst, Dow Industrial Solutions, said, "Energy intensive industrial processes that create direct carbon emissions offer excellent opportunities for transformative technologies to make an impact on a plant’s sustainability profile. Dow’s METEOR RETRO family of EO catalysts enables plants using any EO process technology to realize operating cost reductions while delivering an increase in plant performance, showing that advantaged catalysts can help plants to improve both business and environmental performance."

This carbon project agreement between Dow and PETRONAS Chemicals Glycols is among the first of many similar joint efforts that will result from the Collaborative Blueprint for unlocking carbon reductions announced last year by Dow. The Blueprint underpins the Dow-IOC Official Carbon Partnership, initiated in 2017 to encourage organizations outside the Olympic movement to collaborate on projects that lead to verified climate benefits while catalyzing change across value chains.

As MRC reported earlier, in June 2018, Dow announced today 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.

Celanese announces new USD1.5 billion share repurchase authorization

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Celanese Corporation, a global chemical and specialty materials company, has announced that its board of directors has approved a new USD1.5 billion share repurchase authorization, as per the company's press release.

The new share repurchase authorization represents approximately 11 percent of the company's shares outstanding.

The company deployed USD200 million to repurchase shares in the first quarter of 2019 under the previous USD1.5 billion share repurchase authorization put in place in 2017. As of March 31, 2019, approximately USD500 million remained on the existing share repurchase authorization which, combined with this new USD1.5 billion authorization, will support share repurchases over the next few years.

"Consistent share repurchases remain an important component of our balanced capital allocation strategy, and we will continue to opportunistically repurchase shares with remaining available free cash flow after dividends, organic investment and value-enhancing M&A. We will share additional detail on our capital allocation strategy as part of our first quarter 2019 earnings," said Mark Rohr, chairman and chief executive officer.

As MRC wrote previously, Celanese Corporation has increased list and off-list selling prices for Vinyl Acetate Monomer (VAM) sold in Europe, Turkey, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas. The price increases below is effective 1 April, 2018, or as contracts otherwise allow, and are incremental to any previously announced increases. Thus, VAM prices rose, as follows:

- by EUR100/mt - for Europe;
- by USD150/mt - for Turkey, Middle East and Africa;
- by USD0.05/lb - for USA and Canada;
- by USD150/mt - for Mexico and South America.

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 7,700employees worldwide and had 2018 net sales of USD7.2 billion.

Saudi Aramco to buy Shell stake in Saudi refining JV

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Saudi Aramco plans to buy Royal Dutch Shell’s 50 percent stake in Saudi refining complex SASREF, a joint venture between the firms, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing with reference to two sources.

One of the sources said an agreement has been reached between Aramco and Shell.

Aramco and Shell declined to comment.

Saudi Aramco Shell Refinery Co (SASREF), based in Jubail Industrial City in Saudi Arabia, has a crude oil refining capacity of 305,000 barrels per day (bpd).

Shell has sold over USD30 billion of assets in recent years as it shift its focus to lower carbon businesses such as natural gas and petrochemicals.

Energy Intelligence first reported the stake purchase plan earlier on Wednesday.

As MRC informed before, in October 2018, state oil giant Saudi Aramco signed an agreement to invest in a refinery-petrochemical project in eastern China, part of its strategy to expand in downstream operations globally. Zhejiang Petrochemical, 51 percent owned by textile giant Zhejiang Rongsheng Holding Group, is building a 400,000-barrels-per-day refinery and associated petrochemical facilities that was expected to start operations by the end of last year.

Saudi Aramco, officially the Saudi Arabian Oil Company, is a Saudi Arabian national oil and natural gas company based in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Saudi Aramco"s value has been estimated at up to USD10 trillion in the Financial Times, making it the world"s most valuable company. Saudi Aramco has both the largest proven crude oil reserves, at more than 260 billion barrels, and largest daily oil production.