China September crude runs hit record high as new refineries ramp up

MOSCOW (MRC) -- China’s crude oil throughput rose 9.4% in September from a year earlier to its highest level on record, official data showed, led by increases from new refineries and as some independent plants returned from maintenance, according to Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Refinery runs hit 56.49 million tonnes, or about 13.75 million barrels per day (bpd), according to figures from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

The September rate was also up around 8% from 12.72 million bpd in August and beat the previous daily record of 13.07 million bpd set in June.

Throughput in the first nine months gained 6.2% year-on-year to 480.38 million tonnes, or 12.85 million bpd.

Thin margins are expected to curtail increases in oil product output in the fourth quarter, however, as refineries face soaring freight costs and elevated premiums for imported crude in the wake of September’s oil attacks in Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile, China’s crude oil production rose 2.9% year-on-year to 15.64 million tonnes, or 3.81 million bpd, while January-September output was up 1.2% year-on-year at 143.13 million tonnes, or 3.83 million bpd.

Natural gas production rose 10.6% year-on-year to 13.5 billion cubic meters (bcm) but was still at the lowest level since October 2018, according to the bureau’s records.

Gas output for January-September was 127.7 bcm, up 9.5% year-on-year.

As MRC wrote before, in May 2018, Sinopec started the construction of a 4.2-million-tonnes per year catalytic cracking unit at the Sino-Kuwait Guangdong refinery project. Sinopec completed the cracking project in September 2018. The first phase of the Sino-Kuwait refinery has 10 million tonnes in crude refining capacity and 800,000 tonnes of ethylene annual production capacity.

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

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 1,436,390 tonnes in the first eight months of 2019, up by 9% year on year. Shipments of all PE grades increased. At the same time, the PP consumption in the Russian market was 909,260 tonnes in January-August 2019, up by 10% year on year. Shipments of PP block copolymer and homopolymer PP increased.

Clariant and Polymateria to bring new Biotransformation technology to market in South East Asia

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Polymateria, a British business developing a new standard in biodegradable and compostable plastics, has announced a partnership with Clariant, one of the world’s leading specialty chemical companies, to bring its new Biotransformation technology to market in South East Asia. The announcement was made at the K Show in Dusseldorf, Germany, said the company.

Polymateria and Clariant have decided to focus on South East Asia as this is the main source of “fugitive” plastic globally. Fugitive plastic is the 32% of plastic each year which escapes the circular economy and leaks into the natural environment.

Previous issues with biodegradable solutions have faltered in the past, largely due to the creation of microplastic and lack of compatibility with recycling systems. There has also been confusion from consumers around what action to take once they are finished with the packaging.

In order for the circular economy to work, products need to be designed with end of use in mind, ensuring that the materials used are good for all life. What’s really needed for the circular economy to work is “Good Cycling”, which ensures the materials used are able to return to nature when the technical cycle fails without causing any ecotoxicology issues. Any plastic that is unable to demonstrate this, whether degraded or not, is simply “Bad Cycling”.

The concept of “Good Cycling” has influenced / been behind the development of Polymateria’s revolutionary Biotransformation technology which ensures return to nature without creating microplastic. It also ensures products don’t begin biodegrading until a pre-programmed timeframe has elapsed and importantly allows for recycling to take place.

Niall Dunne CEO of Polymateria said: “We are delighted to partner with Clariant to bring our Biotransformation technology to market in South East Asia, with the ambition to combine our technology and formulation know-how with their global reach and production capabilities and knowledge of the Masterbatches market."

Dr. Jan Sueltemeyer, Global Head of Innovation & Sustainability at Clariant said: “Clariant Masterbatches has a clear strategy towards sustainability, supporting recycling, bioplastics and biodegradation through partnerships. Polymateria provides a missing link for us and we are excited to bring this technology to regions of the world where fugitive plastic is greatest.

As MRC informed earlier, Clariant announced that it has been awarded a contract by Dongguan Grand Resource Science & Technology Co. Ltd. to develop a new propane dehydrogenation unit in cooperation with CB&I. The Dongguan plant will be one of the largest single-train dehydrogenation units in the world. Clariant's technology partner CB&I will base the plant's design on its Catofin® catalytic dehydrogenation technology, which uses Clariant's tailor-made Catofin catalyst and Heat Generating Material (HGM).

Propylene is the main feedstock for producing polyprolypele (PP).

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.

Clariant AG is a Swiss chemical company and a world leader in the production of specialty chemicals for the textile, printing, mining and metallurgical industries. It is engaged in processing crude oil products in pigments, plastics and paints. Clariant India has local masterbatch production activities at Rania, Kalol and Nandesari (Gujarat) and Vashere (Maharashtra) sites in India.

Digital twin for cross-disciplinary integration at Oxea

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Aucotec's Engineering Base (EB) platform will ensure the consistency of the plant and the digital image at Oxea in the future, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The leading manufacturer of oxo chemicals has decided to develop and operate its plants with the data-centred, cooperative system from the first sketch to predictive maintenance. It thus forms the basis for the digital twins of Oxea's plants over their entire life cycle.

A key specification of the plant planner, installer and operator was that modern engineering must consistently merge the diverse workflows, documents, data and changes of the various disciplines and suppliers. Duplicate work, manual data transfer and multiple storage is too time consuming. EB's bandwidth now reduces Oxea's multiplicity of tools and combines basic engineering with simulation support, detail engineering and operation & maintenance.

"EB's integrative concept, the optimization of interdisciplinary workflows, the use of future-proof cloud technology and the simple, intuitive operation have convinced Oxea just as much as EB's understanding of standards such as Dexpi or NE 150," Aucotec board member Uwe Vogt is looking forward to working with the chemical specialist. On the Oxea side, Dr Oliver Bulters, head of the engineering department, sees his company on the right track to Industry 4.0. "The keys to digitization for us are above all the Digital Twin, plant modeling, predictive maintenance and fully integrated, networked systems and processes. The use of EB will massively support all these issues." He also expects process and design optimization to bring a significant reduction in engineering and operating costs. In addition, Aucotec presented the most convincing concept for data migration during the thorough system research.

As MRC informed earlier, Oxea plans to build a new large-scale plant for the production of carboxylic acids in Oberhausen. With this project, the company is responding to rising global demand. After commissioning by the end of 2021, it will double the current production capacity for isononanoic acid and increase the total production capacity for carboxylic acids by more than 30%.

ADNOC to partner with Russian Energy Agency

MOSCOW (MRC) – The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) signed a comprehensive strategic framework agreement with the Federal State Budgetary Organization “Russian Energy Agency” by the Ministry of Energy of the Russian Federation (REA), to explore new opportunities for collaboration across the oil and gas value chain, said Ogj.

The agreement highlights the strength of the UAE-Russia bilateral relations and underpins ADNOC’s expanded approach to partnerships that is enabling it to unlock and maximize value across its entire portfolio. The framework agreement was signed by Abdulmunim Saif Al Kindy, ADNOC Upstream Executive Director and Oleg Valerievich Zhdaneev, Head of Technology Development Division at REA.

Under the terms of the agreement, ADNOC and REA will jointly explore opportunities for collaboration in relation to Abu Dhabi’s exploration and production concessions. This potential for collaboration in relation to Abu Dhabi’s exploration and production concessions builds on the momentum of the successful conclusion of Abu Dhabi’s debut competitive exploration and production bid round. It also recognizes Abu Dhabi’s abundant untapped oil and gas resources and the UAE’s stable and trusted business environment.

In addition, the two partners will jointly assess strategic opportunities for collaboration in the downstream sector, including refining and petrochemicals opportunities in Abu Dhabi and internationally. This cooperation complements ADNOC’s strategy to create a more valuable downstream business as drives its downstream expansion plans and stretches the dollar from every barrel of oil it produces.

At the heart of ADNOC’s downstream expansion strategy is a USD45 billion investment plan aimed at creating the world’s largest integrated refining and petrochemicals complex in Ruwais, located in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, which will see the company triple production of petrochemicals to 14.4 million tons per annum by 2025.

ADNOC and REA have also agreed to explore potential opportunities for collaboration in marketing sales and trading projects in Abu Dhabi and internationally. ADNOC is developing its global marketing, supply, and trading platforms to better optimize and commercialize its assets and product flows to deliver greater value from its operations.

In August, the company acquired a 10 percent equity stake in VTTI BV, the global storage terminal owner and operator, providing it with better access to customers around the world and enabling it to respond more quickly to market dynamics while capturing trading value throughout its entire supply chain.

ADNOC and REA will also evaluate collaboration opportunities in the liquefied natural gas (LNG) sector that could unlock value and drive revenue growth as ADNOC delivers on its integrated gas strategy approved by Abu Dhabi’s Supreme Petroleum Council (SPC) last year. ADNOC’s integrated gas strategy is enabling it to seize incremental LNG and gas-to-chemicals growth opportunities, where they arise, from the UAE’s dynamic demand/supply position and evolving energy mix.

The framework agreement will see ADNOC and REA explore potential opportunities for collaboration in relation to technical and operational support exchanges in artificial intelligence and other advanced technologies that can help optimize performance and drive efficiencies.

The REA was established in 2009 and provides scientific, analytic, and technological support in the field of fuel and energy complex, as well as conducts research on scientific and technological problems in the energy industry for the Russian Federation.

The Russian Federation has the largest natural gas reserves and the seventh largest oil reserves of any country in the world. Last year, bilateral relations between the UAE and Russia were strengthened when H.H. Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and President Vladimir Putin signed a Declaration of Strategic Partnership to cooperate in various sectors such as politics, security, economy, and culture. In 2018, bilateral trade between the UAE and Russia topped AED 11 billion (USD3 billion), a 21 percent increase on the previous year.

As MRC reported earlier, in March 2019, Borealis and ADNOC signed Memorandum of Understanding to explore strategic opportunities in the polyolefin industry. Under the terms of the agreement, Borealis and ADNOC will jointly explore potential growth opportunities within the integrated polyolefin industry in key geographical markets.

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.

ADNOC is one of the world’s leading diversified energy and petrochemicals groups, with a daily output of about three million barrels of oil and 10.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas. With 14 specialist subsidiary and joint venture companies, ADNOC is a primary catalyst for the UAE’s growth and diversification.

Toray receives consecutive reverse osmosis membrane orders for desalination plants

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Toray Industries, Inc., announced that it has received ROMEMBRAreverse osmosis (RO) membrane orders for Shoaibah 3 Extension 2 and Shoaibah 4 Desalination Plants in Saudi Arabia, which will bring the site as nation’s largest RO desalination complex enabling to produce total of 650,000m cubic meters of water per day, said the company.

The RO membrane would not only help resolve water shortages in the Middle East, but also contribute greatly to Saudi Vision (refer to note below), a national initiative which the Japanese government also provides the support of. The supply of RO membrane as well as the technical services will be provided by our local subsidiary Toray Membrane Middle East LLC. (TMME).

Gulf countries are investing extensively in infrastructure to cater to rising populations. They are especially forwarding plans to build desalination plants to secure sufficient drinking water. Such plants are adopting RO method which consumes less energy over conventional evaporation method.

Shoaibah, Saudi Arabia’s second largest city located around 120 kilometers south of Jeddah, has also decided to implement RO method in its first expansion of Shoaibah 3 desalination complex, producing up to 150,000 cubic meters of water daily after going online in 2009. Toray has supplied ROMEMBRA™ in all of its desalination system since, after being highly evaluated for over 10 years of stable operation at Shoaibah 3 expansion plant, contributing to the region by producing 800,000 cubic meters of water a day.

As MRC infromed earlier, Toray Industries, Inc., announced that Toray Industries (India) Private Limited began manufacturing polyamide (PA) and polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) at a new facility in September.

As MRC informed earlier, BASF and Toray Advanced Composites have inked a manufacturing and supply agreement for the supply of continuous fibre reinforced thermoplastic (CFRT) tapes. Under the terms, Toray will make CFRT tapes using BASF's Ultramid engineering thermoplastics.

Butadiene is one of the main raw materials for the production of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS).

According to the ICIS-MRC Price Report, because of low prices in Asia in August, ABS imports to Russia amounted to 3.600 tonnes compared to 2,800 tonnes a month earlier and 2,700 tonnes in August last year. According to the results of January - August, the import of ABS in the Russian Federation did not change relative to the same period last year and amounted to 21,900 tonnes.