BASF resumes production at Ludwigshafen cracker

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BASF, the world's petrochemical major, has restarted its No. 1 steam cracker following a maintenance turnaorund, according to Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in Germany informed that the company has resumed operations at the plant on September 30, 2019. The plant was shut for maintenance in mid-August, 2019.

Located at Ludwigshafen in Germany, the No. 1 cracker has an ethylene production capacity of 235,000 mt/year and a propylene production capacity of 125,000 mt/year.

As MRC informed before, in early September 2019, SIBUR, the largest petrochemical comples in Russia and Eastern Europe, and BASF agreed to closely cooperate on sustainable development to share their best practices.

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.

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. BASF generated sales of around EUR63 billion in 2018.

Sulzer GTC wins award for benzene production complex modernization project

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Sulzer GTC Technology has signed an agreement with JSC SIBUR-Neftehim (SIBUR) to provide its licensed pyrolysis gasoline (pygas) processing technologies, including design of the fractionation, first and second stage hydrotreating, aromatics extraction and thermal hydrodealkylation technologies for the modernization of a benzene production facility at SIBUR’s Kstovo olefins production plant near Nizhniy Novgorod, Russia, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The modernized facility will serve as a hub for processing full range pygas from several SIBUR facilities, allow production of high-purity benzene with the lowest cash cost, and recover non-aromatics to be used as cracker feed. Sulzer GTC will design a new GT-BTX unit as well as revamp the existing pygas fractionation; first and second stage hydrotreating; and the thermal hydrodealkylation unit to process additional feed. Scope of supply includes the basic engineering package, technical services, proprietary catalyst, solvent and equipment.

"We are pleased to work with such a prestigious company as SIBUR to provide effective solutions for producing aromatics from pyrolysis gasoline and modernizing olefins production complexes," said Ilya L. Aranovich, Sulzer GTC Director of Licensing, North America, Europe, and CIS Countries. He added, "We are excited to extend our track record of providing leading-edge solutions to improve the economics of naphtha-based crackers for clients in the CIS region and around the world."

Benzene is a feedstock for the production of styrene monomer (SM), which, in its turn, is a feedstock for manufacturing polystyrene (PS).

As MRC MRC's ScanPlast report, Russian plants reduced their output of general purpose polystyrene (GPPS) and high impact polystyrene (HIPS) in August 2019 by 19% year on year to 27,280 tonnes. This figure was at 33,5400 tonnes in August 2018. Russia's August GPPS and HIPS production decreased by 15% from July 2019. PS production slightly increased in the Russian market in January-August 2019. Thus, the increase was 1% year on year: 251,690 tonnes versus 248,150 tonnes a year earlier.

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.

Neftekhim Ltd shut PP production

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

According to the enterprise’s customers, the producer shut PP production on 1 October due to the termination of the supply of raw materials from the Pavlodar refinery. The local refinery shuts part of the production for emergency repairs from 30 September to 20 October.

After the Pavlodar refinery finished the turnaround, it is planned to resume the production of PP by the Neftekhim LTD Company.

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.

Russian producers plan to roll over September PVC prices for October shipments

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Negotiations over October shipments of suspension polyvinyl chloride (SPVC) began in the Russian market in the late last week. Local producers announced October PVC prices at a rollover from September, according to ICIS-MRC Price Report.

Prices of Russian PVC reached a historic maximum in the summer, but in September the producers significantly reduced prices and PVC in most cases fell by Rb5,000/tonne. Many consumers were determined to further reduce the price of Russian PVC, but producers see no reason to reduce and intend to roll over September prices for October.

The reasons for such a significant decline in domestic PVC prices in September were a significant increase in imports (13,700 tonnes and 10,000 tonnes in July and August, respectively) and an increase in the supply of raw materials from Russian producers directly after scheduled maintenances.

Imports volumes decreased by half in September and in fact, customers received volumes that were contracted in foreign markets in July - August. At the same time, some consumers said that prices in foreign markets remained lower than Russian material and they are ready to consider the possibility of deliveries of PVC this month from external suppliers, including producers from Europe.

The situation with the demand for PVC from Russian consumers in October is mixed. Some buyers planned to decrease purchases this month by 10-20% compared to September, and this is more typical for producers of profiles.

Some consumers intend to keep capacity utilisation at the September level. Nevertheless, despite the decrease in demand from the domestic market and a possible alternative in the form of imports, Russian producers in most cases do not intend to reduce PVC prices in October.

Deals for October delivery of Russian PVC K64/67 were discussed in the range of Rb76,000-78,000/tonne CPT Moscow, including VAT, for lots of less than 500 tonnes. K70 PVC was contracted at the prices, which were by on average of Rb1,000/tonnes higher.

At the same time, some large consumers reported that they still managed to achieve a slight reduction in prices for October deliveries from some producers.

Phillips 66 refinery workers agree to extend contract ahead of vote

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Operations workers at Phillips 66’s 285,000 barrel-per-day Bayway refinery in Linden, New Jersey have agreed to a short contract extension ahead of a vote on a tentative three-year agreement set for Thursday and Friday, reported Reuters with reference to the company's statement.

The previous contract for the workers, members of the Teamsters Union, expired on Sept. 30.

"The Phillips 66 Bayway Refinery can confirm that we have reached a tentative contract agreement with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 877, which covers represented, hourly employees at the refinery and the Linden Terminal. A full ratification vote is to be scheduled," a Phillips 66 spokeswoman said.

Key provisions of the new contract include expanding operators’ responsibilities to include several different operating refinery units, a provision some union members say is a safety concern.

Two sources familiar with the negotiations said that the proposed contract includes an across-the-board 11% raise for refinery workers.

If an agreement is not reached, the unionized refinery workers could be subject to a lockout.

Bayway is the largest petrochemical complex on the east coast of the United States.

As MRC wrote before, US-based Phillips 66 remains open to developing another ethane cracker for its Chevron Phillips Chemical (CP Chem) joint venture, the refiner's CEO said in March 2018.

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.