Prices of Iranian PS remained steady for Ukrainian market in late November

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Prices of Iranian polystyrene (PS) remained the same for Ukrainian buyers at the end of last month, according to ICIS-MRC Price report.

Thus, Iranian producers have not yet changed prices of their material.

Iranian general purpose polystyrene (GPPS) of Tabriz was offered in the Ukrainian market at UAH39,000-39,500/tonne CPT Kiev, including VAT.

At the same time, Tabriz's high impact polystyrene (HIPS) is expected to enter the domestic market in the first half of December.

As reported earlier, November prices of Iranian PS dropped for the Ukrainian market by USD20/tonne.

Vietnamese Nghi Son restarted PP unit following maintenance

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Nghi Son Refinery and Petrochemical has restarted from the 50 days maintenance shutdown over the weekend, reported CommoPlast with reference to market sources.

The plant was taken off-stream on 22 October 2019.

Nghi Son is the largest PP producer in Vietnam with a nameplate capacity of 400,000 tons per annum.

A source close to the company reported that the plant would be able to achieve on-spec cargoes within this week.

As MRC wrote before, NSRP shut its PP unit on 21 June, 2019, owing to technical issues. The exact duration of the shutdown could not be ascertained.

We also remind that Vietnam’s Nghi Son oil refinery officially began commercial production from 14 November 2018, following months of tests. The USD9 billion refinery is 35.1 percent owned by Japan’s Idemitsu Kosan Co, 35.1 percent by Kuwait Petroleum, 25.1 percent by PetroVietnam and 4.7 percent by Mitsui Chemicals Inc.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, the estimated PP consumption in the Russian market in January-October 2019 totalled 1,066,520 tonnes, up by 7% year on year. Supply of block copolymers of propylene (PP block copolymer) and homopolymer of propylene (homopolymer PP) increased, demand for statistical copolymers (PP random copolymer) decreased.

President inaugurates Chandra Asri PE plant in Banten

MOSCOW (MRC) -- President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) inaugurated national petrochemical company PT Chandra Asri Petrochemical Tbk’s new plant, worth USD380 million, or Rp5.7 trillion, for production of polyethylene (PE) in Cilegon, Banten Province, on Friday, 6 December, reported AntaraNews.

"PT Chandra Asri is a pioneer in the petrochemical industry in the country. We must support investment in this field to stop imports," he remarked while inaugurating the plant.

With the new plant becoming operational, PT Chandra Asri’s PE production capacity will increase by 400 thousand tons to reach 736 thousand tons annually.

The president further highlighted the balance of trade in all chemicals suffering a deficit of Rp193 trillion, with exports, standing at Rp124 trillion, and imports, touching Rp317 trillion.

The demand for domestic PE currently reaches 2.3 million tons annually, while the national PE production stands at 280 thousand tons per year. To meet the domestic requirements, the country continues to import 1.52 million tons of PE annually.

"The figure is very large. Hence, we provide tax holiday and tax allowances (to domestic polyethylene investors) since the deficit is still (high) at Rp193 trillion. What is it for? If we can produce it, why do we have to import it," he stated.

The president lauded PT Chandra Asri for its efforts to develop its business that he described as a concrete step to overcoming the country's trade deficit.

"Construction of the new plant is a concrete step. This is what our country really needs," he remarked.

During the inauguration of the new plant, the president was accompanied by Industry Minister Agus Gumiwang Kartasasmita and State-Owned Enterprises Minister Erick Thohir.

As MRC informed before, in June 2018, W. R. Grace & Co., the leading independent supplier of polyolefin catalyst technology and polypropylene (PP) process technology, granted a license which allows CAP to expand its existing UNIPOL PP plant. The world-scale capacity UNIPOL PP facility, located in Ciwandan, Indonesia, will be expanded to 590 KTA of polypropylene.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 1,724,670 tonnes in the first ten months of 2019, up by 7% year on year. Shipments of all PE grades increased.

PT Chandra Asri Petrochemical (CAP) is the largest integrated petrochemical company in Indonesia and operates the country’s only world-scale size Naphtha Cracker. The CAP plant is strategically located in Banten province, providing convenient access to key customers.

CSPC to bring on-stream No. 2 PP unit in China on 15 December

MOSCOW (MRC) -- CNOOC and Shell Petrochemicals Co (CSPC) has planned to restart its No. 2 polypropylene (PP) unit in Guangdong, according to Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in China informed that the company is likely to resume production at the unit on December 15, 2019.

The plant was shut for unplanned maintenance on December 1, 2019, and was initially supposed to come back on-line on 5 December, 2019.

Located in Guangdong province of China, the No. 2 PP unit has a production capacity of 400,000 mt/year.

As MRC informed earlier, CSPC took off-stream it No. 2 PP unit in Guangdong province on April 7, 2019, owing to technical issues. The plant remained idle for around 10 days.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, the estimated PP consumption in the Russian market in January-October 2019 totalled 1,066,520 tonnes, up by 7% year on year. Supply of block copolymers of propylene (PP block copolymer) and homopolymer of propylene (homopolymer PP) increased, demand for statistical copolymers (PP random copolymer) decreased.

CNOOC and Shell Petrochemicals Company Limited (CSPC) was established in late 2000. It has built and now operates a world-scale petrochemical complex in the Daya Bay Economic and Technological Development Zone, Huizhou, Guangdong Province. The joint venture partners are Shell Nanhai BV, a member of the Royal Dutch Shell Group, with a 50 per cent stake, and CNOOC Petrochemicals Investment Limited (CPIL), also with 50 per cent. CPIL is owned by China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) (90%) and Guangdong Guangye Investment Group Company Limited(10%).

As an integrated petrochemical complex, the major facilities of the complex include 11 process units, steam and power generation and other utility provisions, storage and handling and shipping facilities, as well as environmental protection facilities. The heart of the complex is a world-scale cracker producing 950,000 tons per annum ethylene and 500,000 tons per annum propylene. In total, the complex produces some 2.7 million tons per annum of ethylene and propylene's derivative products to supply the domestic market.

Interviews point to leak of process fluid in TPC fire - CSB

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The US Chemical Safety Board (CSB) says it has been unable to enter TPC’s Port Neches, Texas, facility, but interviews with the three employees injured by the explosion at 1 a.m. on 27 November suggest that the incident began with a leak in a processing unit, reported Chemweek.

"They reported a loss of process fluid from a unit and tried to evacuate the scene," CSB board member Manuel Ehrlich said at a news conference held Thursday and reported by the Beaumont Enterprise, a local newspaper. The fluid, probably butadiene, vaporized and soon ignited, Ehrlich said, stressing that the information was preliminary, and that the cause of the release had not been identified. The incident, he said, represented a "fundamental failure of the system."

The fire that followed destroyed two distillation towers at the site and significantly damaged two others before it was extinguished on 4 December. On 6 December, TPC reported that small residual fires had been identified and were being contained.

Citing Jason Sanders, environmental manager of TPC’s Houston facility, the Beaumont Enterprise says TPC has begun planning to transfer products stored at Port Neches to other TPC facilities "while repairs are underway." The report says 71 spherical storage tanks contained raffinate, butadiene, and other products at the time of the explosion, while 17 cylindrical atmospheric tanks held methanol, methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE), and N-methyl pyrrolidone (NMP). TPC says 12 tanks were damaged by fire.

Located adjacent to the Sabine Neches River, which is part of the Sabine Neches Waterway, TPC's Port Neches plant can produce more than 900 million lb (426,000 mt) of butadiene and raffinate a year, according to the company's website. The source familiar with company operations said the site has two butadiene lines with capacities of 166,000 mt/year and 260,000 mt/year. The MTBE unit at this site produces up to 400,000 mt/year.

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.