GCC chemical industry achieves revenue of USD84.1 bln in 2018

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA), the voice of the chemical industry in the Arabian Gulf, has highlighted the growth and success of the chemical industry in the Arabian Gulf following the release of ‘GPCA Pulse of the Chemical Industry Report’ today at the 14th Annual GPCA Forum, which took place from December 3-5, 2019 at Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai, said Gpca.

The report highlights chemical production, export, sales, job creation and investments made in the Arabian Gulf in 2018.

This year, the forum themed ‘Winning through Strategic Partnerships’ was inaugurated by His Excellency Dr. Mohammed bin Hamad Al Rumhi, Oman’s Minister of Oil and Gas. It included a prestigious speaker line-up that consisted of senior industry leaders, representing some of the world’s largest chemical firms.

The report outlined that the GCC chemical industry achieved a revenue of USD 84.1 billion in 2018, with production capacity reaching 174.8 million tons, signaling an increase of 2.8% in terms of contribution to the regional GDP. Due to the increased demand of chemicals by the GCC producers across the globe, the production capacity of the GCC chemical industry was also added by 13.3. million tons in 2018.

The report has revealed that Oman’s chemical sector has the highest contribution to GDP among the GCC countries, with 5.1% in 2018, double the figure in the region. This achievement is attributable in part to the manufacturing sector being inscribed within the top five sectors identified by Oman’s National Program for Diversification.

Saudi Arabia has maintained its exceptional standing in 2018, retaining its spot in the top ten exporters of chemicals today globally. It is also the region’s powerhouse, with the largest volume output and chemical sales revenue. In 2018, Saudi producers generated USD 62 billion in revenue. The Saudi chemical industry is also a champion in terms of portfolio diversification, with GPCA member companies in Saudi Arabia producing as many as 126 products with a total capacity of 119.2 million tons.

As MRC informed earlier, The Gulf Cooperation Council's (GCC) ethylene production capacity is expected to surge by 53% over the next decade to reach 39.4m tonnes/year in 2029. This translates to about 1.5m tonnes/year of new ethylene capacity additions, compared with 1.2m tonnes/year in 2010-2018, the GPCA said in a report released at its annual forum in Dubai. The GCC's overall ethylene production capacity stood at 25.8m tonnes/year in 2018. The region has a significant competitive cost advantage compared to other parts of the world, as most ethylene production is ethane based. Saudi Arabia will account for half of the incremental ethylene capacity additions.

U.S. industry group wants tariffs on Chinese molds reinstated

MOOSCOW (MRC) -- Advocacy group the American Mold Builders Association (AMBA) has filed a formal comment with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR,) asking it to bring back the 25 per cent tariff on Chinese injection molds, as per Canplastics.

In July 2018, the U.S. government imposed the 25 per cent tariff on imported plastic injection molds from China. On Dec. 28, 2018, however, the government put a hold on the tariff. Importers and manufacturers had until Nov. 30, 2019 to register their support or opposition for extending the tariff suspension or reinstating the 25 per cent tariff on Chinese imports. The comments were requested ahead of the scheduled Dec. 28, 2019 deadline, when the USTR is scheduled to reinstate the tariffs.

Last month, the AMBA hired Washington lobby firm Franklin Partnership to call on the Trump Administration to bring back tariffs on injection molds made in China. “Under President Trump, American manufacturing has grown due to many of his policies enacted,” AMBA managing director Kym Conis said in a Nov. 11 statement. “When the Trump Administration announced that 25 per cent tariffs on imported Chinese molds would take effect in July 2018, our members immediately saw an increase in business and requests for quotes; however, once the U.S. Trade Representative granted the exclusion from the tariffs, those orders dried up."

The AMBA’s formal submission to USTR – filed on Nov. 29 – identified, “a recent survey by Harbour Results Inc., manufacturing consultants with an expertise in downstream industries, show[ing] that 60 per cent of mold builders reported losing more business in 2019 to low-cost countries compared to previous years."

"We recognize the challenges seeking structural reforms in China and applaud USTR for working to address these issues long overlooked by previous administrations,” Kym Conis said in a Nov. 29 statement. “However, we remain concerned too many [import exclusion] requesters are using price as their primary motivation for requesting a 301 tariff exclusion extension and have not made significant efforts to identify U.S. or third-country alternatives, which are readily available."

As MRC informed earlier, Global plastics and rubber machinery industry sales are projected to drop 10% this year and 5% in 2020. That’s according to European and German plastics and rubber machinery industry trade associations, speaking at K 2019. The Euromap association, an umbrella group of nine national European plastics and rubber machinery trade groups, projected that global sales for the machinery sector will drop 10% to EUR33.1bn this year, with a further 5% fall to EUR31.5bn in 2020.

As MRC informed earlier, Russia's output of products from polymers rose in September by 5.2% year on year. However, this figure increased by 1.7% year on year in the first nine months of 2019. According to the Russian Federal State Statistics Service, September production of unreinforced and non-combined films was slightly over 107,300 tonnes, compared to 110,000 tonnes a month earlier. Output of films products grew in January-September 2019 by 9.1% year on year to 893,000 tonnes.

Founded in 1973 and headquartered in Indianapolis, Ind., AMBA has 200 member companies and over 50 partner companies (supplier members).

Shell shuts unit at Pernis oil refinery after crude spill

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Royal Dutch Shell said it had shut a unit at its Pernis oil refinery in the Netherlands after a crude spill a day earlier, reported Reuters.

Shell did not specify the unit concerned, but industry monitor Genscape said the 200,000 barrel per day (bpd) crude unit (CD6) was shut on Monday morning.

Genscape said one of the furnace stacks of the cogeneration unit was also shut on Monday morning.

Shell did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

The refinery is Europe’s largest and has a capacity to process 404,000 bpd of crude.

As MRC informed before, Shell Singapore was to restart its naphtha cracker in Bukom Island last week following a two months maintenance shutdown since the beginning of October 2019. Thus, this cracker was taken off-stream for the turnaround on 1 October 2019. The cracker is able to produce 960,000 tons/year of ethylene and 550,000 tons/year of propylene.

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

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

Royal Dutch Shell plc is an Anglo-Dutch multinational oil and gas company headquartered in The Hague, Netherlands and with its registered office in London, United Kingdom. It is the biggest company in the world in terms of revenue and one of the six oil and gas "supermajors". Shell is vertically integrated and is active in every area of the oil and gas industry, including exploration and production, refining, distribution and marketing, petrochemicals, power generation and trading.

Petrobras advances refinery project with Chinese CNPC

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Petroleo Brasileiro SA has completed a feasibility study with China’s CNPC over refining operations in Rio de Janeiro, its refining and natural gas chief Anelise Lara said, reported Reuters.

Lara added that Petrobras was seeking to recover a volume of gas from an existing contract to import gas via a Bolivia-Brazil pipeline and would like to reduce its share from 30 million cubic meters per day to 15 million.

As MRC informed earlier, the chief executive of Brazilian state-run oil firm Petroleo Brasileiro said on Friday he wants to sell the company's stake in petrochemical company Braskem within 12 months, adding that he strongly disagreed with reported plans to delay the sale.

We remind that Braskem is no longer pursuing a petrochemical project, which would have included an ethane cracker, in West Virginia. And the company is seeking to sell the land that would have housed the cracker. The project, announced in 2013, had been on Braskem's back burner for several years.

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

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. 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.

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.

Petrochemical plant blast due to fundamental failure - US safety board

MOSCOW (MRC) -- A Nov. 27 explosion at the TPC Group TPCL.UL petrochemical plant in Port Neches, Texas, was due to a "fundamental failure in the system," reported Reuters with reference to US Chemical Safety Board member Manuel Ehrlich's statement.

The specific event that triggered the early morning blast has yet to be determined, Ehrlich said.

The latest update from the Port Neches Response website sayd the fire on November 27 impacted 12 tanks on site. Plans are underway to safely transfer all remaining materials from the site, based on mechanical integrity inspections of tanks.

All tanks containing materials are being evaluated and prioritized for transfer. To further secure and safely transfer remaining materials from the site, technical experts with TPC Group will introduce inhibitors to stabilize materials being transferred. Options to safely transport materials from the site are being assessed.

Air Monitoring update: Air monitoring around the site and in the community continues to show no actionable butadiene levels. Unified Command, comprised of federal, state, local agencies and TPC Group, remains diligent in efforts to monitor air quality. Monitoring coverage, by various state, federal, and local agencies, extends throughout the county and is providing real-time air quality data to Unified Command.

Occasional elevated air measurements may continue to register as response teams secure the site. In the last 24-hours, experts have collected 4,364 air monitoring readings in the community. All of these readings were below actionable levels.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), a federal public health agency, is still onsite as a third-party resource dedicated to reviewing the environmental data provided by Unified Command and will communicate findings once they are available.

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.