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.

Neftekhim Ltd shut PP production

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Kazakh Neftekhim Ltd, Kazakhstan's only polypropylene (PP) producer, shut down its PP production for a scheduled maintenance, according to ICIS-MRC Price report.

The plant's customers said the Kazakh producer has taken off-stream its PP production by 2 May due to technical issues. At the same time, according to the schedule, the turnaround was to start on 7 May. Thus, PP production was shut a few days ahead of schedule, the outage will last for about 30 days.

Neftekhim Ltd was commissioned in 2009. The company produces methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) and polypropylene (PP). The plant's PP production with the capacity of 45,000 tonnes/year was launched in 2011; the plant did not have PP granulation unit then, polymer was produced in the form of powder, which limited its field of application.

Indian Oil plans to shut units at northeast refineries to upgrade fuel

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Indian Oil Corp, the country’s top refiner, plans to shut units in phases at its northeast plants from August to produce cleaner fuels, reported Reuters with reference to sources.

Domestic refiners have lined up upgrade plans ahead of full-scale roll-out of Euro VI-compliant fuels in the country from April 2020.

IOC’s refineries in the state of Assam are very old and small in size. These refineries get incentives from the government to protect their gross refining margins and cater to fuel demand in the land-locked region.

IOC will shut a delayed coker, hydrotreater and gasoline units for about 15 days for catalyst replacement at its 13,000-barrels-per-day (bpd) Digboi refinery, the sources said.

At the 48,000-bpd Bongaigaon refinery, it will shut one of the two crude units, a delayed coker, diesel hydrotreater and hydrogen generation unit for three months from September, they said.

The second crude unit at the Bongaigaon refinery will be idle as most units at the plant will be shut. The refiner will also shut gasoline units at the plant for 20 days in September to install a new naphtha hydrotreater.

It will fully shut its 20,000-bpd Guwahati refinery in the first quarter of 2020 to modify the plant for producing Euro VI-compliant fuels, they added.

Apart from revamping the units, IOC aims to raise the capacity of Guwahati refinery to 24,000 bpd.

IOC will source fuels from other refineries to meet demand in the northeast due to the shutdown of units, they added.

IOC was not immediately available for comment.

As MRC wrote before, Indian Oil Corporation's Rs 34,555-crore 15 million tonnes per annum Paradip Refinery was commissioned in phases from March 2015 onwards. Indian Oil Corporation was conducting feasibility studies to set up a petrochemical complex at Paradip in Odisha for Rs 20,000 crore. The petrochemical complex will be built in the vicinity of the company’s to-be-commissioned 15-mln tpa greenfield refinery at Paradip. The petrochemical complex will be in addition to the already announced Rs 3,150-crore polypropylene project at the same location, the foundation stone for which was laid by MOS for petroleum and natural gas.

Indian Oil Corporation Limited, or IndianOil, is an Indian state-owned oil and gas corporation with its headquarters in New Delhi, India.

Israel largest refining and petrochemicals group CEO to step down

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Israel’s Oil Refineries (ORL) said its chief executive, Yashar Ben Mordechai, will step down at the end of the month, citing personal reasons, said Hydracarbonprocessing.

Ben Mordechai will be replaced temporarily by his deputy, Shlomi Bason, who oversees human resources, safety and security, and environmental issues. ORL, Israel’s largest refining and petrochemicals group, said its board had formed a search committee for a permanent CEO.

The company also said that its chairman, Ovadia Eli, who was due to step down in the second quarter, will stay on until July 1 when his replacement, Johanan Locker, officially begins.