INEOS and Viridor partnership closes the loop with new Hybrid Plastics Range available across Europe

MOSCOW (MRC) -- INEOS and Viridor have joined forces in a world-leading project that will produce a range of high-specification polymers with up to 50% or more post-consumer recycled content, according to the company's press release.

The collaboration will draw on high-level scientific expertise from both companies.

INEOS will be supplied with recovered polymer from Viridor’s new GPB65m post-consumer polymers recycling plant at the Avonmouth Resource Recovery Centre, near Bristol. The plant is the UK’s largest multi-polymer recycling and reprocessing facility. It is powered by Viridor’s GBP252m energy recovery plant which puts non-recyclable waste to work to produce electricity and heat.

INEOS Olefins & Polymers CEO Rob Ingram said: "Plastic is a valuable resource. So much so that we want to encourage the increasing collection and recycling of plastic materials after their initial use. Our commitment to take material from this project helps to support investment in a new, state-of-the-art recycling facility. Using our polymer expertise, we will engineer a new range of polymers to incorporate high levels of recycled plastics. These new materials will meet growing demand for increased levels of recycled content without compromise to product performance and quality."

Viridor MD Phil Piddington said: "The partnership reflects Viridor’s emphasis on working with consumer brands and plastics companies to significantly contribute to the creation of new circular market for plastics.

He said Viridor’s 2019 Recycling Index, which tracks public attitudes to recycling, found that nine in 10 (89%) of those polled believe that existing plastic should be used to create useful resources which that can be used again.

Mr Piddington said: “Our index also demonstrates that future buying choices will be influenced by packaging made from recyclable material (65% - up four points from 2018 - are more likely to buy products made from recyclable material) with 76% saying there should be mandatory lessons on recycling in schools.

"The message from the public could not clearer when it comes to recycling and putting recycled content back into the economy.

"The UK Government, through the Resources & Waste Strategy and 2022 plastic tax, is helping to create a foundation for the investment which allows our sector to deliver sustainability targets. Avonmouth Resource Recovery Centre demonstrates Viridor’s commitment to these goals."

Viridor Resource Management MD Keith Trower said "Partnerships such as that with INEOS are crucial to the transition to the circular economy, where every product is comprised of a majority of recycled plastics. Viridor is putting environmental sustainability into practice working together with companies such as INEOS to create plastics with a lower carbon footprint with no compromise on technical performance."

Mr Trower said: "This partnership brings together the expertise and investment that is the vital to translate our common sustainability targets into practical reality in the marketplace. This win-win partnership creates the important pathway to the circular economy and tackles the two tough issues of reducing the level of waste generated in cities and the creation of high value materials that can be used in high value, tailored applications across many markets. I am confident that the initiative between Viridor and INEOS will become the new paradigm in polymer manufacturing.

"Sustainable quality, which is valued by an increasingly discerning public, is key. The UK public want to understand the environmental providence of their packaging and products and this is something we are in position to confidently offer the marketplace."

Viridor is using the latest technologies to sort, clean and recycle the many post-consumer plastics to the highest standards achievable with recycled plastics. INEOS applies their deep material science expertise to boost and tailor the properties of the new hybrid polymers so that they perform in the same way that customers demand.

INEOS Olefins & Polymers Business Director Liz Rittweger added: "Building up to 50% recycled content without losing the properties which our customers need is not a simple technical achievement. However, it is a very important milestone and demonstrates to the market that plastics can be successfully recycled and re-used in value applications."

Since Q3 2019, INEOS has been able to offer a range of polyolefins which contain up to 50% recycled content without sacrificing on performance.

As MRC informed before, in mid-January 2019, INEOS announced Antwerp as the location for its new petrochemical investment. The EUR3 billion investment will be the biggest ever made by INEOS and is first cracker to be built in Europe in 20 years. The investment is a game changer for the chemical sectors and will bring huge benefits to the Belgium and wider European economies.

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

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 1,589,580 tonnes in the first nine months of 2019, up by 7% year on year. Shipments of all PE grades increased. The estimated PP consumption in the Russian market was 976,790 tonnes in January-September 2019, up by 4% year on year. Shipments of PP block copolymer and homopolymer PP increased.

INEOS is a global manufacturer of petrochemicals, speciality chemicals and oil products. It comprises 34 businesses each with a major chemical company heritage. Its network spans 183 sites in 26 countries throughout the world.

Fireball erupts over city after petrochemical plant blast

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Three workers were injured in an early Wednesday explosion that sparked a blaze at a petrochemical plant in Port Neches, Texas, the latest in a series of chemical plant accidents in the region, reported Hydrocarbonprocessing.

An initial explosion at the TPC Group plant was followed by secondary blasts, shattering windows and blowing locked doors off their hinges in homes near the facility, which is about 90 miles east of Houston.

Residents within a half-mile radius were evacuated.

The fiery blast follows others at petrochemical plants in east Texas. In April, a fire at a KMCO LLC plant northeast of Houston killed one worker and injured a second. A July fire at an Exxon Mobil Corp chemical plant in Baytown, Texas, injured 37, although none seriously.

People more than 30 miles away from the plant were shaken awake by the 1 a.m. CDT (0700 GMT) explosion, said sources familiar with the fire-fighting and rescue operations.

Some homes close to the plant sustained heavy damage and local police were going door-to-door to check for injuries, said the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.

One of the three injured workers was flown by helicopter to a Houston hospital’s burns unit, the sources said.

The plant employs 175 and routinely has 50 contract workers on site. The company said the explosion occurred in a processing unit at the site.

"We cannot speak to the cause of the incident or the extent of damage, but TPC is assembling a team to conduct a full and thorough investigation," the company said.

TPC processes petrochemicals for use in the manufacture of synthetic rubber, nylon, resins and plastics. The company supplies more than a third of the butadiene in North America, according to its website.

"Right now, our focus is on protecting the safety of responders and the public, and minimizing any impact to the environment," TPC Group added.

Residents within a half-mile of the plant were ordered to evacuate, according to the sheriff’s office.

Firefighters continued to work to contain the blaze at about 7 a.m. CDT.

The Port Neches plant can produce more than 900 million pounds (408,233 metric tons) of chemicals, according to the company’s website.

Butadiene is one of the feedstocks for the production of acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS).

According to ICIS-MRC Price report, in Asia, the falling prices of feedstocks for ABS production have been pushing prices of material down in the Russian market. LG Chem's import prices for November quantities were as follows for Russian buyers: natural ABS - at USD1,400-1,420/tonne FOB Korea, black ABS - at USD1,610-1,630/tonne FOB Korea, white ABS - at USD1,640-1,660/tonne FOB Korea. December prices may drop by another USD30-50/tonn.
Natural grades of Korean ABS went down to Rb138,000-143,000/tonne CPT Moscow, including VAT, in the domestic market in mid-November, whereas black ABS was offered at Rb156,000-160,000/tonne and white ABS - at Rb158,000-163,000/tonne CPT Moscow , including VAT.

Headquartered in Houston, TPC was acquired in 2012 by private equity groups First Reserve and SK Capital.

Petrobras signs contract to sell Liquigas

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Brazil-based Petrobras signed a contract to sell its bottled gas distributor Liquigas Distribuidora to Copagaz and Nacional Gas Butano, as announced earlier this month, as per Agenciapetrobras.

The sale price is R$ 3.7 billion, to be adjusted according to contract rules and paid upon transaction closing. As part of the transaction structuring, a minority and material equity investment will be made by Itausa in Copagaz.

The transaction closing is subject to compliance with precedent conditions, including approval by the Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE).

The operation complies with Petrobras' divestment guidelines and with the special regime of asset divestment by federal mixed-capital companies, provided for in Decree 9,188/2017.

This transaction is in line with the portfolio optimization and the improvement of the company's capital allocation, aiming at creating value for our shareholders.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 1,589,580 tonnes in the first nine months of 2019, up by 7% year on year. Shipments of all PE grades increased. The estimated PP consumption in the Russian market was 976,790 tonnes in January-September 2019, up by 4% year on year. Shipments of PP block copolymer and homopolymer PP increased.

Liquigas is a wholly owned subsidiary of Petrobras and operates in bottling, distribution and sale of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in Brazil. The company is present in almost all Brazilian states, and has 23 operating centers, 19 warehouses, a railroad storage and loading base and a network of about 4,800 authorized resellers, with a 21.4% market share approximately.

Headquartered in Rio de Janeiro, Petrobras is an integrated energy firm. Petrobras' activities include exploration, exploitation and production of oil from reservoir wells, shale and other rocks as well as refining, processing, trade and transport of oil and oil products, natural gas and other fluid hydrocarbons, in addition to other energy-related activities.

Grand Astor eyes to restart PS unit

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Grand Astor has planned to bring on-stream its polystyrene (PS) unit in Zhangjiagang, according to Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in China informed that the company is likely to resume operations at the unit on December 10, 2019. The unit was shut for maintenance by November 19, 2019.

Located in Zhangjiagang, China, the unit has a production capacity of 120,000 mt/year.

As MRC informed earlier, another major PS producer in China - Sinopec Guangzhou Petrochemical, part of China's petrochemical giant - Sinopec, - has restarted its polystyrene (PS) unit following a planned outage. The company resumed operations at this unit on November 4, 2019. The plant was shut for maintenance on October 8, 2019. Located in Guangzhou province of China, the unit has a production capacity of 60,000 mt/year.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated consumption of PS and styrene plastics totalled 411,080 tonnes in the first ten months of 2019, which corresponds to the last year's level. October estimated consumption of PS and styrene plastics in the country rose by 2% year on year, totalling 46,740 tonnes.

Silvergate launches new masterbatch products for film producers

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Wrexham-based masterbatch manufacturer Silvergate Plastics has developed a new solution which addresses the build-up of pigments in machinery, as per PRW.

The company developed the tailor-made masterbatches after film manufacturers had reported pigment build-up in machines despite regular clean downs.

The clogging, Silvergate said in a release, slows down cycle times and disrupts overall production.

The new solution incorporates “quality ingredients that work together to improve dispersion during manufacture".

Available in different colours, Silvergate’s new masterbatch formulation was developed specifically to address the issue for the film market.

Manufacturers trailing the products have reported improved colour accuracy for plastic films, plus increased productivity.

Silvergate is the UK's largest independent custom colour masterbatch manufacturerю