BASF announces expansion plans at its Verbund EO site

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BASF will expand the capacity of ethylene oxide and ethylene oxide derivatives at its Verbund site in Antwerp, Belgium, said the company.

The total investment adds about 400 000 tpy to BASF’s production capacity for the corresponding products with an expected investment amount exceeding EUR500 million. “This significant capacity expansion will enable BASF to support the continuous growth of customers in Europe,” says Hartwig Michels, President Petrochemicals, BASF. The sequential start-up is expected to begin in 2022. The expansion comprises an investment in a second world-scale ethylene oxide line, including capacity for purified ethylene oxide.

Additional investments in several ethylene oxide derivatives plants are part of the project and will be pursued in line with the ethylene oxide expansion. These derivatives include non-ionic surfactants, glycol ethers for automotive applications, and various other downstream alkoxylates. “This expansion will benefit our customers by significantly enhancing the supply of our industry leading portfolio of alkoxylates,” says Ralph Schweens, President Care Chemicals, BASF. “The increase of our methyl triglycol capacity enables us to support the growing demand for high-performance brake fluids in Europe and Asia. The increasing number of automated cars, relying on systems such as cruise and distance control, requires brake fluids that perform well – even under tough conditions,” explains Anup Kothari, President Performance Chemicals, BASF.

It was earlier said, in Europe, BASF currently operates ethylene oxide plants in Antwerp and Ludwigshafen with a combined capacity of 845 000 tpy. The company is the largest producer of ethylene oxide derivatives in the region. Major ethylene oxide derivatives are non-ionic surfactants, ethanol amines, glycol ethers, polyether polyols and other specialty products used in a wide range of industries such as home and personal care, industrial applications and the automotive industry.

In September 2019, SIBUR, the largest petrochemical comples in Russia and Eastern Europe, and BASF, Geman petrochemical major, agreed to closely cooperate on sustainable development to share their best practices.

Ethylene is a feedstock for producing polyethylene (PE).

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.

BASF is the leading chemical company. It produces a wide range of chemicals, for example solvents, amines, resins, glues, electronic-grade chemicals, industrial gases, basic petrochemicals and inorganic chemicals. The most important customers for this segment are the pharmaceutical, construction, textile and automotive industries.

Imports of PET to Russia fell by 23% in August

MOSCOW (MRC) - Imports of injection moulded PET chips to the Russian market in August decreased by 20% compared to August 2018 and amounted to 8,900 tonnes (excluding supplies from Belarus), according to MRC DataScope.
Nevertheless, the total volume of imports of bottle grade PET grew by 26% to 105,400 tonnes in January-August of this year against 84,000 tonnes in the same period last year.

As it was earlier said, supply of imported material in July decreased by 7% compared to July 2018 and amounted to 15,580 tonnes of PET.

Imports of PET to Russia increased to 117,840 tonnes in seven months of 2019, up 19% year on year.

MOL announced force majeure on PP supply in Tiszaujvaros

MOSCOW (MRC) - MOL Petrochemicals Company (formerly known as TVK, part of the MOL Group), the only Hungarian producer of olefins and polyolefins, on 23 September announced force majeure on the supply of polypropylene (PP) from plant No. 4 at the petrochemical complex in Tiszaujvaros (Tiszaujvaros, Hungary), said Nctww.

No details were disclosed regarding the reason or the duration of the force majeure. This enterprise with a capacity of 50,000 tonnes/year was closed for unscheduled repairs on 20 September for unknown reasons.

According to the company’s website, MOL’s total PP production capacity is 535,000 tonnes/year.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, the estimated consumption of PP in the Russian market totalled 694,210 tonnes in January-June 2019, up by 14% year on year. The supply of propylene block copolymers (PP-block) and propylene homopolymers (PP-homo) increased.

MOL Hungarian Oil and Gas PLC is an integrated oil and gas company. The Company produces crude oil, petroleum products, bitumens, lubricants and natural gas. MOL owns and operates refineries, oil and gas pipelines, service stations, and natural gas storage facilities.

SIBUR and Netkanika sign cooperation agreement

MOSCOW (MRC) -- SIBUR and Netkanika signed a strategic cooperation agreement aimed at facilitating the export of polypropylene nonwoven materials produced by Netkanika from SIBUR’s polypropylene, said the company.

In February 2019, SIBUR and the Russian Export Center (REC) launched Export Accelerator, a joint educational initiative to enhance client export potential and expertise in foreign economic affairs. The participants completed their training with individual product export and foreign market expansion cases, learning to roll out and scale up their export initiatives going forward. The participants included eleven SIBUR's clients in polymer processing that seek to boost overseas sales or show strong potential for entering international markets.

SIBUR produces a wide range of polypropylene grades, including feedstock for nonwovens finding application in hygiene and healthcare, such as baby and adult hygiene products and medical goods for body and skin contact uses.

"SIBUR consistently cultivates the demand for modern polymer products. The agreement with Netkanika will foster the export of high-quality polypropylene nonwoven materials to the markets outside Russia and the Customs Union,” said Sergey Komyshan, member of SIBUR’s Management Board and Executive Director.

"Our nonwovens for body and skin contact application are produced with the highest quality feedstock,” said Andrey Zimin, General Manager of Netkanika LLC. “The new strategic agreement between Netkanika and SIBUR is sure to kick-start Netkanika’s export sales."

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. Meanwhile, 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.

SIBUR is the largest integrated petrochemicals company in Russia. The Group sells its petrochemical products on the Russian and international markets in two business segments: Olefins & Polyolefins (polypropylene, polyethylene, BOPP films, etc.) Plastics, Elastomers & Intermediates (synthetic rubbers, EPS, PET, etc.). SIBUR’s petrochemicals business utilises mainly own feedstock, which is produced by the Midstream segment using by-products purchased from oil and gas companies. More than 26,000 employees working in SIBUR contribute to the success of customers engaged in the chemical, fast moving consumer goods (FMCG), automotive, construction, energy and other industries in 80 countries worldwide. In 2018, SIBUR reported revenue of USD 9.1 billion and adjusted EBITDA of USD 3.3 billion.

Bilfinger awarded seven-year ExxonMobil maintenance contract

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Bilfinger UK has secured a seven-year contract with ExxonMobil Chemical to provide preventative maintenance at its Fife Ethylene Plant (FEP), said Hydrocarbonengineering.

The multi-million-pound agreement will see Bilfinger become the embedded provider of maintenance services at the Mossmorran facility and the Braefoot Bay tanker terminal on the Forth.

It is estimated that the contract – part of ExxonMobil’s ?20 million annual maintenance spend at the facility – will see the engineering provider deploy up to 100 000 man-hours annually on inspection programmes as well as mechanical, process and infrastructure maintenance.

Bilfinger, which has a base in Grangemouth, has taken over from the incumbent provider with approximately 55 personnel transferring under TUPE arrangements.

Phill Maurer, Managing Director at Bilfinger UK, said: “This seven-year agreement is testament to the strong relationship we’ve formed with ExxonMobil and is a significant addition to our portfolio of support partnerships at major facilities across the UK."

"Our experience and breadth of expertise means we’re ideally placed to deliver a well-managed maintenance strategy focused on achieving the best possible outcome for ExxonMobil. We look forward to welcoming our new Fife colleagues to Bilfinger."

Jacob McAlister, Plant Manager of the Fife Ethylene Plant, said: “Preventative maintenance is key to the safe and reliable operations at FEP. ExxonMobil’s Fife Ethylene Plant operates under the most demanding of engineering standards and it is vital that we chose a contractor with the knowledge, expertise and innovative solutions to ensure these are met the first time, every time."

“Many contract personnel have worked with us for a long time and have extensive knowledge of the plant. We are delighted they will transfer over to the new supplier and continue their relationship within FEP."

The FEP contract extends the existing relationship between ExxonMobil and Bilfinger, which also provides specialist services to the ExxonMobil facility in Fawley, Hampshire.

FEP began operations in 1984 and produces over 800 000 tpy of ethylene. A major employer in the area for more than 30 years, over 270 employees and core contractors work at FEP with more than 60%s living within ten miles of the plant.

As MRC informed earlier, Bilfinger has been chosen as maintenance partner for a EUR60 million contract by SABIC UK Petrochemicals Limited to carry out a range of services across facilities on its Teesside site.

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

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption was 1,081,100 tonnes in the first half of 2019, up by 8% year on year. Deliveries of all PE grades increased. Meanwhile, the estimated consumption of PP in the Russian market totalled 694,210 tonnes in January-June 2019, up by 14% year on year. The supply of propylene block copolymers (PP-block) and propylene homopolymers (PP-homo) increased.

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.