India set to ban six single-use plastic items

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The Government of India is planning to enforce a ban on single-use plastic items such as plastic bags, cups and straws? said Packaging-gateway.

From 2 October, the ban will initially cover six items such as plastic bags, cups, plates, small bottles, straws and certain types of sachets.

An anonymous government official said: “The ban will be comprehensive and will cover manufacturing, usage and import of such items."

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs did not respond.

The move is part of the country’s efforts to eliminate these plastic products by 2022.

The anonymous official also noted that India’s yearly consumption of plastic amounts to approximately 14 million tonnes. The ban on the six items is expected to reduce 5% to 10% of plastic waste.

After the ban is enforced, the government will introduce a six-month adaptation period for business and individuals to find alternatives to plastic. After this period, fines will be imposed for violations.

The government is also considering stricter environmental standards for plastic products.

As part of the new regulations, e-commerce companies will be asked to reduce plastic packaging for deliveries.

Earlier this month, the Indian Ministry of Railways announced its commitment to eliminate single-use plastics from its operations across the country, starting from 2 October.

Bayer and Lanxess to sell their stakes in Currenta to MIRA

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Bayer and Lanxess have announced that they will sell their stakes in the chemical park operator Currenta to funds managed by the infrastructure investor Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (MIRA), as per GV.

Both companies signed corresponding agreements with MIRA in August 2019. The transaction still requires the approval of the responsible authorities.

Currenta manages and operates infrastructure, energy supply and other essential services across the chemical parks in Leverkusen, Dormagen and Krefeld-Uerdingen and is currently a joint venture of Bayer (60 %) and Lanxess (40 %). Currenta, including a transferred real estate portfolio by Bayer, is valued with a total enterprise value of EUR 3.5 billion before deduction of net debt and pension obligations.

Bayer’s stake in Currenta has an equity value of approximately EUR 1.17 billion (after deduction of net debt and pension obligations). In addition, in order to strengthen Currenta, Bayer is selling to it an extensive package of real estate and infrastructure for EUR 180 million. Bayer and MIRA have also reached an agreement on long-term service and supply contracts. Bayer had announced in November 2018 that it was looking to sell its stake in Currenta. The main reasons behind this are that Bayer’s position as a Chempark customer has changed following the carve-out of Covestro and that the company has stepped up its focus on its core activities. Bayer expects its part of the transaction to close in Q4 2019.

Lanxess as one of Currenta's main customers will provide MIRA with operational support during the transition phase and will therefore continue to hold its stake in Currenta for several months longer. Thus, the company expects its transaction to be completed by the end of April 2020. The stake of Currenta held by Lanxess accounts for an equity value (after deduction of net debt and pensions) of approximately EUR 780 million pre tax. In addition, Lanxess is entitled to a profit participation until completion of the transaction. Moreover, Lanxess has reached an agreement with MIRA on service and supply contracts for the three sites in Leverkusen, Dormagen and Krefeld, which will initially run for ten years. Lanxess operates a significant portion of its global production facilities there.

As MRC informed before, in May 2018, Bayer Group sold 28.81 million shares representing a 14.2 percent interest in Covestro at a price of 75.50 euros per share. The proceeds of this sale totaled 2.2 billion euros. Bayer AG now holds just 6.8 percent of Covestro shares to repay the exchangeable bond that matures in 2020. Bayer AG acquired these shares from Bayer Pension Trust, which now no longer holds any Covestro shares.

Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the Life Science fields of health care and agriculture. Its products and services are designed to benefit people and improve their quality of life. At the same time, the Group aims to create value through innovation, growth and high earning power. Bayer is committed to the principles of sustainable development and to its social and ethical responsibilities as a corporate citizen. In fiscal 2017, the Group employed around 99,800 people and had sales of 35.0 billion euros. Capital expenditures amounted to 2.4 billion euros, R&D expenses to 4.5 billion euros.

Lanxess is a leading specialty chemicals company with about 19,200 employees in 25 countries. The company is currently represented at 74 production sites worldwide. The core business of Lanxess is the development, manufacturing and marketing of chemical intermediates, additives, specialty chemicals and plastics. Through Arlanxeo, the joint venture with Saudi Aramco, Lanxess is also a leading supplier of synthetic rubber.

Trinseo opened new compounding plant in the Netherlands

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Trinseo, a global materials solutions provider and manufacturer of plastics, latex binders and synthetic rubber, has announced the opening of a new compounding factory at its Hoek Site in Terneuzen, the Netherlands, which will replace the old compounding plant at Terneuzen Industrial Park, as per the company's press release.

The site in Terneuzen is the company's second largest location. Trinseo has 16 production sites and eleven R&D centres worldwide. Partly due to a lack of space for expansion at the Terneuzen Industrial Park, the company moved to its new location at the Mosselbanken in Hoek. The new compounding plant is in close vicinity to Trinseo’s new R&D Centre, which was officially opened in September 2017. Another advantage of the new location is the proximity to the company's storage and distribution partner Katoen Natie. This offers the possibility of optimising the supply chain, which immediately results in a reduction in the number of freight movements, said Trinseo.

"We are proud that the replacement of the old factory represents a long-term investment in the future and thus contributes to the positive development of Trinseo as a company, its employees, and the regional community where we operate," said Frans Kempenaars, Managing Director of Trinseo Netherlands. "The transition to, and building of the new manufacturing plant, has taken more than two years."

As MRC informed before, Trinseo and its affiliate companies in Europe has announced a price increase for all polystyrene (PS) grades in Europe. Effective September 1, 2019, or as existing contract terms allow, the contract and spot prices for the products listed below increased as follows:

- STYRON general purpose polystyrene grades (GPPS) - by EUR100 per metric ton;
- STYRON and STYRON A-Tech high impact polystyrene grades (HIPS) - by EUR100 per metric ton.

According to ICIS-MRC Price report, in the Russian market, Nizhnekamskneftekhim raised its selling HIPS and GPPS prices by Rb2,000/tonne in September.

Trinseo is a manufacturer of plastics, latex binders, synthetic rubber, and thermoplastic elastomers. The company is one of the five largest employers in the Zeeuws-Vlaanderen region in the Netherlands, while globally it is active in investing in continuous improvement for its 2,500 employees. Just ten years ago, Trinseo had 350 employees in Terneuzen. This number currently sits at 450 employees and is still growing. The company had approximately USD 4.6 billion in net sales in 2018.

Borealis holds groundbreaking ceremony for its new world-scale plant in Kallo, Belgium

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Borealis held the groundbreaking ceremony on 9 September for its new, world-scale propane dehydrogenation (PDH) plant, said the company.

Located at the existing Borealis production site in Kallo, Belgium, the new facility will have a targeted production capacity of 750,000 metric tonnes per year of propylene, making it one of the largest and most efficient plants of its kind in the world. With a total of around EUR 1 billion invested in the course of the project, the investment is the largest ever made by Borealis in Europe. It underscores the company’s commitment to its operations on the Continent, and to being the supplier of choice to its European customers.

PDH is a vital process step in the production of propylene from propane. As one of the most important building blocks for the entire chemical industry, propylene is the raw material used to produce polypropylene (PP), which in turn is one of the most widely used plastics. PP forms the base of countless industrial applications used in any number of sectors, including automotive, consumer goods, energy, food packaging, healthcare, and many others.

European demand for propylene is growing, yet presently, supply is decreasing due to a confluence of global market developments. The start-up of the new Kallo plant, scheduled for the middle of 2022, means that European customers will soon be able to rely on the secure supply of competitively priced propylene and its derivatives.

Several factors influenced the Borealis decision to invest in the Kallo location. First, the economies of scale offered by the Port of Antwerp in Flanders are significant due to its well-established transportation and logistics infrastructure. Thanks to the adjacency to an existing Borealis production unit on site, Borealis will be able to exploit additional synergistic effects. Crucially, the new PDH plant will employ Honeywell UOP’s Oleflex™ technology, a widely used, reliable and sustainable choice for on-purpose propylene production.

Above and beyond the increase in production capacity, the new plant is helping make Borealis operations become more efficient and sustainable. Using the Oleflex technology makes it possible to consume less energy in production, yet produce higher volumes of the same quality. Less propane will be required, but more own hydrogen will be produced, enabling Borealis to supply not only its own internal needs, but those of third parties as well. Finally, the embedded, multi-fuel cogeneration unit in the new PDH plant will generate a significant part of the steam and electricity required for operations.

Propylene is a feedstock for producing polypropylene (PP).

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PP consumption in the Russian market was 796,120 tonnes in January-July 2019, up by 11% year on year. Shipments of PP block copolymer and homopolymer PP increased.

Borealis is a leading provider of innovative solutions in the fields of polyolefins, base chemicals and fertilizers. With its head office in Vienna, Austria, the company currently has more than 6,800 employees and operates in over 120 countries. Borealis generated EUR 8.3 billion in sales revenue and a net profit of EUR 906 million in 2018. Mubadala, through its holding company, owns 64% of the company, with the remaining 36% belonging to Austria-based OMV, an integrated, international oil and gas company. Borealis provides services and products to customers globally, in collaboration with Borouge, a joint venture with the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and with Baystar™, a joint venture with Total and NOVA Chemicals in Texas, USA.

Lotte Chemical USA starts commercial operations at new ethane cracker and MEG plant in USA

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Lotte Chemical Titan Holding (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), an affiliate of Lotte Chemical (Seoul, South Korea), has announced that the group's ethane cracker and ethylene glycol (EG) plant at Lake Charles, Louisiana, commenced commercial operations in August, reported Chemweek.

Lotte Chemical USA, a 40/60 joint venture (JV) between Lotte Chemical Titan and Lotte Chemical, holds the Lotte group's stakes in the plants.

The USD3.1-billion ethane cracker is an 88/12 JV between Lotte Chemical USA and Axiall, a subsidiary of Westlake Chemical. Lotte has invested about USD1.9 billion in the JV. Lotte Chemical USA owns 100% of the EG plant.

The USD1.1-billion EG plant has a production capacity of 700,000 metric tons/year. According to data from IHS Markit, Lotte will also produce diethylene glycol, with a capacity of 65,000 metric tons/year; triethylene glycol, 7,000 metric tons/year; and ethylene oxide (EO), 500,000 metric tons/year, at the 250-acre Lake Charles site. The cracker has capacity for 1 million metric tons/year (MMt/y) of ethylene.

Lotte will offtake approximately 50% of the ethylene for the EG plant and Axiall will take roughly 10%, in line with their shareholdings. Lotte will sell the remaining 40% of the ethylene output to Axiall for that company's use. The Lake Charles EG unit is thought to be the largest in the US.

Lotte says that ethane derived from locally produced shale gas is used as feedstock at the cracker. The company says it intends to reduce its overall dependence on naphtha and increase the use of shale gas through full operation of the Lake Charles plant. This would mitigate the risk from oil-price fluctuations and stabilize cost competitiveness, Lotte says.

Industry analysts say that the US project will likely lift Lotte Chemical's annual sales and operating profit by 1 trillion South Korean won and W200 billion, respectively. The company reported second-quarter net profit down 53.2% year on year (YOY) to W271 billion (USD224.8 million), on sales of W4 trillion, down 6.8% YOY.

Lotte is the first South Korean petrochemical company to enter the ethane-cracking business in North America using shale gas. Lotte Chemical operates naphtha crackers at Yeosu and Daesan, South Korea, and Lotte Chemical Titan operates a cracker at Pasir Gudang, Malaysia. Lotte says that the US cracker increases the group's overall ethylene capacity to 4.5 MMt/y, making it the seventh-biggest producer of ethylene worldwide.

Ethylene and propylene are feedstocks for producing polyethylene (PE) and polyprolypele (PP).

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 1,255,800 tonnes in the first seven months of 2019, up by 9% year on year. Shipments of all PE grades increased. At the same time, the estimated PP consumption in the Russian market was 796,120 tonnes in January-July 2019, up by 11% year on year. Shipments of PP block copolymer and homopolymer PP increased.