Brazil corn ethanol industry booms as cereal's output nears 100 mln T

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The news back in 2014 of a group of investors launching a project to build Brazil’s first ethanol plant based 100% on corn raised eyebrows in a country that had invented a national ethanol program entirely based on sugarcane, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Analysts thought the plan carried risks associated with an unstable market for the fuel and uncertainty regarding corn supplies and prices, beyond the fact that there was a general assumption that it was more expensive to produce ethanol from corn than from sugarcane.

Five years on, the group has doubled capacity in the initial plant, built a second unit and announced plans for three more, as Brazilian farmers ramp up corn production.

Two other companies are building 100% corn-based ethanol plants in Brazil, and others are revamping existing mills to run on corn as well in the cane’s between-harvests periods, the so-called flex ethanol plants.

"We are pleased with the outlook, our first plant has been delivering excellent results," said Rafael Abud, chief executive of FS Bioenergia, the pioneering company backed by Brazil’s Tapajos Participacoes SA and the United States’ Summit Agricultural Group.

All five FS plants will be located in Mato Grosso, Brazil’s top grain state, where corn production has increased by 275% in the last ten years, mostly due to the growing practice by farmers to plant a second crop, normally corn, after the harvest of the main summer crop, usually soybeans.

Mato Grosso is leading Brazil’s growth in corn production, expected to reach a record near 100 million tonnes this crop.

"The second crop with corn is consolidated. That opens room for several projects in Brazil,” said Ricardo Tomczyk, head of UNEM, a recently created group to represent the corn ethanol industry in Brazil.

He says strong ethanol demand lately, partly due to high gasoline prices, has helped. That demand may increase next year when Brazil begins the RenovaBio program, with targets for fuel distributors to cut carbon emissions by gradually increasing use of biofuels.

Impasa, a company operating two corn ethanol plants in Paraguay, will open its first unit in Brazil in July. Luis Pomata, Inpasa’s commercial manager, says that besides ethanol, byproducts such as dried distillers grains (DDGs) and corn oil are also in demand.

As MRC informed earlier, the United States has asked Brazil to consider lifting tariffs imposed on its ethanol exports and is hopeful of a positive outcome.

Transneft to discuss oil contamination in Poland on Thursday

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Russia’s Transneft TRNF-p.MM has scheduled a meeting in Poland with Polish pipelines operator PERN and Polish and German refineries affected by contamination of Russian oil, reported Reuters with reference to sources.

Russia’s oil export flows have been disrupted since April when high levels of organic chloride were found in crude pumped via the Druzhba pipeline to the Baltic port of Ust-Luga and elsewhere in Europe.

Transneft did not immediately reply to a Reuters request for comment. Poland’s PKN Orlen, Grupa Lotos and PERN were not immediately available for comment.

As MRC informed before, Russia’s state pipeline monopoly Transneft will compensate all parties for losses incurred from contaminated oil, but they must prove the damage, a government official said earlier this month, as the first European refinery declared force majeure.

SIBUR oficially launches DOTP production at Perm site

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Dmitry Kozak, Deputy Prime Minister, Maxim Reshetnikov, Perm Region Governor, and Dmitry Konov, Chairman of the Management Board of SIBUR Holding, attended commissioning ceremony of a newly built eco-friendly dioctyl terephthalate plasticiser (DOTP) facility, as per SIBUR's press release.

Other participants included Viktor Evtukhov, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, Pavel Sorokin, Deputy Minister of Energy, local authorities and SIBUR’s clients and partners.

DOTP, a key component in floor and roof coatings, wallpaper, cable compounds and automotive coatings, designed to ensure their plasticity, enhanced durability, and wear and cold resistance. 100 ktpa DOTP production facility not only will cover the needs of the domestic market (estimated at 60 ktpa) but also will contribute to the non-commodity non-energy exports to Europe and other regions. Unlike phthalate plasticisers DOTP is an eco-friendly product that complies to the highest European and other international environmental standards. DOTP production facility features state-of-the-art (water and air) treatment facilities, including biochemical treatment unit for industrial wastewater (upgraded in 2018).

SIBUR’s Perm-based DOTP production facility is the single largest production site in Europe. SIBUR invested RUB 6.95 bn (net of VAT) into the project, of which 82% was sourced to the Russian suppliers and service providers.

NIPIgas, a leading Russian research centre for facility design, procurement, logistics, and construction, acted as a general designer and developed design and engineering solutions. Russian companies were the key partners in the project. Suppliers of the core production equipment included Uralkhimmash, RSP Alexiy, RPC Mediana-Filter, PHM Mach, Penzneftekhimmash, Electroprofi and others. Perm-based contractors GSE-Permneftegazstroy and SMK Delta carried out construction and installation works.

The project was supported by the Perm Region Government under a special investment contract structure to promote creation of new production facilities offering high-tech jobs.

Dmitry Kozak, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister:

– SIBUR is a leader in chemicals and petrochemicals and is committed to exploring new technologies set to underpin the offering of competitive Russian products commercially successful around the world. Going forward, we will extend our support to such initiatives and new projects, in particular via the International Cooperation and Exports national programme with a goal to promote Russian products and facilitate introduction of new technologies. A draft law to regulate special investment contracts for new technologies envisaging extensive preferences and subsidies has already been submitted to the State Duma. It is meant to support R&D activities bound to reshape our industry landscape. I would like to thank you for your vigorous and insightful efforts aimed at developing the Russian chemical industry."

Dmitry Konov, Chairman of the Management Board of SIBUR Holding:

– DOTP is a new product for the Russian market. Along with being one of the key import substitution projects in Russia’s petrochemical industry, the Perm facility is also going to drive the growth of the country's non-commodity exports. Finally, DOTP is an eco-friendly product, which is very much in line with the industry trends.

After the commissioning ceremony at SIBUR-Khimprom, Dmitry Kozak hosted a meeting on development of the petrochemical industry.

As MRC informed before, on 25 March 2019, the Perm facility was 100% ready for commissioning, with the first batch of dioctyl terephthalate coming off the line and shipped to customers as part of the pre-commissioning pilot.

Pipeline operator PERN to restart Russian oil flows if refinery clients agree

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Polish pipelines operator PERN will make it possible to restart flows of Russian oil if refinery clients jointly decide, reported Reuters with reference PERN’s chief executive.

Various possible solutions regarding how to handle the polluted oil from Russia are on the table and are being discussed by the refineries, PERN’s CEO Igor Wasilewski said.

As MRC informed before, Kazakh oil flowing via Russia to be loaded on tankers at the Baltic Sea port of Ust-Luga has been contaminated and Kazakhstan plans to seek compensation from Russian pipeline monopoly Transneft. Russia’s oil export flows have been disrupted since April, when high levels of organic chloride were found in crude pumped via the Druzhba pipeline to Ust-Luga and other European countries. Six tankers with 598,000 tonnes of tainted oil were loaded at Ust-Luga, Kazakh Deputy Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Aset Magaulov told Reuters.

PVC imports to Belarus down by 6.5% in Q1 2019

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Overall imports of unmixed polyvinyl chloride (PVC) into Belarus decreased in the first three months of 2019 by 6.5% year on year, totalling about 8,300 tonnes, according to MRC's DataScope report.

According to the statistical committee of the Republic of Belarus, local converters increased their purchasing of PVC in March under the pressure of seasonal factors. Total imports were about 3,300 tonnes, compared to 2,800 tonnes a month earlier.

Thus, imports of unmixed PVC reached 8,300 tonnes in January-March 2019 versus 8,800 tonnes a year earlier, with local windows producers accounting for a decrease in demand.
Russian producers with the share of about 86% of the Belarusian market were the key suppliers of resin to Belarus over the stated period. Producers from Ukraine and Germany with the share of 8% and 4% were the second and third largest suppliers, respectively.