No link between Exxon deal and Iran sanctions waiver

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said there was no link between an initial oil agreement his government was about to sign with Exxon Mobil and its receipt of waivers from the United States exempting it from sanctions on Iran, reported Reuters.

Media reports had quoted Iran’s ambassador in London on Monday saying the US would grant waivers to Iraq allowing it to deal with Iran economically in exchange for Baghdad signing an oil deal with Washington.

Iraq is close to signing a USD53 billion, 30-year agreement with Exxon Mobil and PetroChina to develop oil infrastructure in the south, Abdul Mahdi said, part of an energy megaproject.

Iraq currently has a waiver from the US allowing it to import gas from Iran. US President Donald Trump pulled out last year from a nuclear deal with Tehran and reinstated sanctions against it.

As MRC wrote before, in October 2017, ExxonMobil Chemical Company commenced production on the first of two new 650,000 tons-per-year high-performance polyethylene (PE) lines at its plastics plant in Mont Belvieu, Texas. The full project, part of the company’s multi-billion dollar expansion project in the Baytown area and ExxonMobil’s broader Growing the Gulf expansion initiative, will increase the plant’s polyethylene capacity by approximately 1.3 million tons per year.

ExxonMobil is the largest non-government owned company in the energy industry and produces about 3% of the world's oil and about 2% of the world's energy.

Chiba cracker brought on-stream by Mitsui Chemicals

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Mitsui Chemicals, a part of the Mitsui conglomerate, has restarted its naphtha cracker following an unplanned outage, as per Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in Japan informed that the company has planned to resume operations at the cracker last weekend. The cracker was shut in end-April, 2019 owing to power failure.

Located at Chiba in Japan, the cracker has an ethylene capacity of 600,000 mt/year and propylene capacity of 331,000 mt/year.

As MRC informed earlier, Mitsui Chemicals took its naphtha-fed steam cracker in Sakai off-stream for a maintenance turnaround in mid-June 2018. It remained under maintenance until end-July 2018. Located in Sakai, Japan, the cracker has an ethylene production capacity of 500,000 mt/year and propylene production capacity of 280,000 mt/year.

Mitsui Chemicals is a leading manufacturer and supplier of value added specialty chemicals, plastics and materials for the automotive, healthcare, packaging, agricultural, building, and semiconductor and electronics markets. Mitsui Chemicals is a Japanese Chemicals company, a part of the Mitsui conglomerate. The company has a turnover of around 15 billion USD and has business interests in Japan, Europe, China, Southeast Asia and the USA. The company mainly deals in performance materials, petro and basic chemicals and functional polymeric materials.

MRPL to operate plant at 50 percent capacity

MOSCOW (MRC) -- India’s Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd will operate its 300,000 barrels-per-day refinery in southern India at about 50 percent capacity due to water shortage, reported Hydrocarbonprocessing with reference to Managing Director M Venkatesh.

"We are maximizing sewage water to sustain the operation to an extent possible," Venkatesh said on Wednesday.

The refinery has three crude units. A 60,000 bpd crude unit and some secondary units are already shut for routine maintenance, Venkatesh said, adding that his firm will shut another 96,000 bpd crude unit and a hydrocracker from Thursday.

MRPL is trying to keep the third crude unit of 142,000 bpd capacity operating for at least a month. The crude unit normally operates at a rate of about 160,000 bpd.

MRPL will meet all its commitments for fuel supply despite shutdown of half of its crude-processing capacity, Venkatesh added.

The company supplies oil products mostly to meet fuel demand in southern India.

"Considering the acute shortage of fresh water in the river Nethravathi, in absence of summer showers, MRPL Refinery Complex process units are under partial shutdown as a force majeure," MRPL said in a stock exchange filing on Wednesday.

As MRC wrote before, in June 2015, MRPL successfully commenced commercial production of PP from its polypropylene plant as part of its phase-III refinery expansion and upgradation project in Mangaluru. The plant has a capacity to produce 4,40,000 tonnes of PP per annum. Feedstock for the PP plant - polymer grade propylene - is being produced from upstream petrochemical fluidised catalytic cracking unit of the refinery. Technology provider for the PP plant is Novolen of Germany. The plant has been engineered and constructed by Engineers India Ltd.

Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Limited (MRPL), is an oil refinery at Mangalore and is a subsidiary of ONGC, set up in 1993. The refinery is located at Katipalla, north from centre of Mangalore city. The refinery was established after displacing five villages of Bala, Kalavar, Kuthetoor, Katipalla, and Adyapadi.

Indorama starts production at ethylene plant

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Indorama Ventures (IVL) announced that its indirect subsidiary Indorama Ventures Olefins in Westlake, LA, a manufacturer of Ethylene from Ethane with an annual capacity of 440,000 MT has achieved mechanical completion and is undergoing trial runs, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

IVOL has stabilized the production of on-spec Ethylene and its byproducts at 5 of its 7 furnaces and will ramp up gradually during the course of 2Q19.

This project has been the most ambitious project of its kind in IVL history and creates an exciting new platform of growth as well as affording stability and supply chain advantages to the EO/EG business by its pipeline integration.

At normalized production, IVL will secure ~75% Ethylene for internal consumption for EO/EG production and merchant the remaining output.

The company said Indorama Ventures Oxide & Glycols, a manufacturer of EO, PEO & Glycols with an annual capacity of 550,000 MT has lifted the force majeure on 2nd May 2019 after taking an unplanned shutdown in the last week of March 2019 due to compressor breakdown.

As MRC reported previously, in February 2019, IVL commenced production of purified terephthalic acid (PTA) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) at plants it acquired from Artlant PTA in Portugal and EIPET in Egypt. IVL completed the acquisition of the 700,000-t/y PTA facility, located at the Sines industrial complex, in Late 2017. Value of the transaction, which included all equipment, surface rights and employment contracts, was not disclosed.

Indorama Ventures Public Company Limited, listed in Thailand, is one of the world's leading petrochemicals producers, a global manufacturing footprint with 59 sites in 20 countries across Africa, Asia, Europe and North America. The company's portfolio is comprises necessities and high value-added (HVA) categories of polymers, fibers, and packaging. Indorama Ventures has approx. 15,000 employees worldwide and consolidated revenue of USD 8.4 billion in 2017. The company is listed in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI).

Arkema Q1 net income falls

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Arkema's first-quarter net income fell amid a drop operational margins and higher expenses, the French producer said.

Sales rose 2.0% year on year to EUR2,215 million. Selling prices increased 1.3% thanks to continued actions to raise
prices in the High Performance Materials division and downstream acrylics. Volumes declined 2.5% compared
with the very high level recorded at the beginning of 2018. Coating Solutions benefited from good market
dynamics. In the High Performance Materials division, demand was lower year on year in the automotive,
electronics and oil & gas markets and overshadowed the success of innovations in several growing segments,
such as batteries and 3D printing. The currency effect was a positive 2.8% mainly attributable to the rise in the US
dollar against the euro. The scope effect was limited at +0.4%.

In a less favorable global economic context, EBITDA of EUR370 million remained at a high level, albeit slightly down
on the high comparison base of first-quarter 2018. The decrease in volumes was partially offset by the benefits of
higher selling prices, a favorable foreign exchange impact and the EUR13 million positive effect from the application
of IFRS 16. In this environment, specialty businesses, which made up 71% of Group sales, demonstrated their
resilience, reporting year-on-year growth thanks to the pro-active policy of raising selling prices, and despite the
significant decrease in the contribution from specialty molecular sieves. As expected, EBITDA for the intermediate
chemicals businesses was lower compared with last year’s record high comparison base in Fluorogases and the
MMA/PMMA chain. At 16.7%, EBITDA margin resisted well at high levels.

Recurring operating income (REBIT) of EUR247 million includes EUR123 million recurring depreciation and amortization, up EUR17 million against last year primarily as a result of the IFRS 16 impact and an unfavorable currency effect. REBIT margin stood at 11.2%.

Operating income came in at EUR226 million (EUR265 million in first-quarter 2018). It includes EUR12 million in net other expenses, mainly corresponding to restructuring costs, and EUR9 million in depreciation and amortization, mainly resulting from the revaluation of assets as part of the Bostik, Den Braven and XL Brands purchase price allocation.

The financial result represented a net expense of EUR27 million, in the continuity of last year (EUR23 million in first-quarter 2018). The income tax expense of EUR49 million reflects the geographic split of results. Excluding exceptional items, the tax rate amounted to 21% of recurring operating income.

Consequently, net income – Group share totaled EUR147 million (versus EUR188 million in first-quarter 2018). Excluding the post-tax impact of non-recurring items, adjusted net income came in at EUR165 million, representing EUR2.16 per share.