TPC explosion may cut exports to oversupplied Asian butadiene market

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The oversupply condition in the Asian butadiene market is likely to be offset by a possible export cut from the US after a fire hit the TPC Group's Port Neches butadiene and raffinate petrochemical plant east of Houston, Texas, reported Apic-online with reference to industry sources' statement last Thursday.

The United States is a key butadiene supplier to Asia, mainly to South Korea. According to the United States International Trade Commission, or USITC, the US exported 7,433 mt of butadiene in August, while no exports were registered in September.

Around 5,000 mt of butadiene from the US is due to arrive in Asia in January, said market sources.

"Some end-users in Asia may start looking for spot butadiene cargoes in a bid to cover supply shortfall from the US," a Japanese trader said.

Some market sources said the latest sell tender from Taiwan - due to close later Thursday - would likely attract buyers' interests. Taiwan's Formosa is offering around 2,000 mt spot cargo for December loading.

On the other hand, market sources said Asian butadiene market would unlikely see a spike in price as spot butadiene cargoes remains available elsewhere in the region, such as Japan.

Japan's butadiene supplies are currently strong, due to lower synthetic rubber plant operations amid weak margins. Japan's butadiene exports in October stood at 23,433 mt, up 9.1% from a month earlier, according to the customs data. Of the total, exports to Korea rose 11.8% to 18,413 mt during the same period.

Trading sources in Asia said some end-users in the US are looking for spot butadiene cargoes in Europe after the explosion.

However, some others said that such demand would be short lived, considering unused butadiene capacity in the US. A trader pointed out that the butadiene production in the US is estimated around 1.4 million mt/year in 2019, compared to a total capacity of 2.5 million mt/year.

"As long as other butadiene plants in the US can get crude C-4 supplies, they can increase butadiene production," said a trader, adding that there may be some distribution restrictions on moving crude C-4 in the domestic US market.

Located adjacent to the Sabine Neches River, a 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. A source familiar with company's operations said the site has two butadiene lines with capacities of 166,000 mt/year and 260,000 mt/year.

As MRC informed before, petrochemical maker TPC Group Inc will rebuild the Texas plant shut in late November by devastating explosions that ignited fires that burned for six days.

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

According to ICIS-MRC Price report, overall ABS imports to the Russian market fell in the first ten months of 2019 by 2% year on year to 28,000 tonnes. This figure was 28,600 tonnes in January-October 2018. October ABS imports to Russia dropped by 4% year on year to 3,500 tonnes from 3,600 tonnes in October 2018. Imports of material into the country were 2,600 tonnes in September 2019.

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

GPPS and HIPS imports to Russian market grows by 11% in Jan-Nov 2019

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Overall imports of general purpose polystyrene (GPPS) and high impact polystyrene (HIPS) to Russia rose in the first eleven months of 2019 by 11% year on year to 44,700 tonnes, according to MRC's DataScope report.

This figure was at 40,200 tonnes in January-November 2018.

At the same time, GPPS and HIPS imports to the Russian market slumped by 40% in November, totalling 3,600 tonnes versus 6,000 tonnes in November 2018. Imports of material into the country were 3,600 tonnes in October 2019.

GPPS imports to Russia grew in January-November 2019 by 25% year on year to 25,600 tonnes. Russian companies reduced their imports of material by 42% last month: from 4,000 tonnes in November 2018 to 2,300 tonnes, imports were 1,800 tonnes a month earlier.

HIPS imports to the Russian Federation continued to decline for the third month in a row. They were 1,300 tonnes in November 2019 versus 2,000 tonnes a year earlier and 1,800 tonnes in October 2019. Imports of material into the country dropped in the first eleven months of 2019 by 3% year on year to 19,100 tonnes.

European material of Styrolution, Versalis and Trinseo accounted for about 90% of HIPS shipments and 61% of GPPS deliveries. Iranian GPPS of Petropaak and Artan Petro accounted for about 18% of the total imports. Imports of Iranian material fell by 3 times in September, there were no shipments in October and November at all.


Ukrainian PVC imports down by 28% in Jan-Nov 2019, exports up by 6%

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Imports of suspension polyvinyl chloride (SPVC) into Ukraine decreased in the first eleven months of 2019 by 28% year on year, totalling 44,700 tonnes, whereas sales of Ukrainian PVC to foreign markets rose by 6% year on year, according to MRC's DataScope report.

Last month's SPVC imports into the Ukrainian market went down to 3,300 tonnes from 5,900 tonnes in October, with North American resin accounting for the decrease in shipments from major windows producers. Overall SPVC imports reached 44,700 tonnes in January-November 2019, compared to 61,600 tonnes a year earlier.

European producers with the share of about 64% of the total imports were the key suppliers of resin to the Ukrainian market in the first eleven months of 2019. Producers from the USA with the share of about 36% were the second largest suppliers.

This year's stronger demand for Ukrainian PVC from the domestic market did not lead to lower exports. 13,900 tonnes of suspension were shipped to foreign markets in November, whereas this figure was 17,000 tonnes a year earlier. Overall, 150,400 tonnes of PVC were shipped for export in January-November 2019 versus 142,500 tonnes a year earlier.


Imports of injection moulding PET into Russia increased by 13% in Jan-Nov 2019

MOSCOW (MRC) - Imports of PET chips into Russia increased by 13% in eleven months of this year compared to the same time a year ago and reached 130,800 tonnes compared to 116,100 tonnes (excluding supplies from Belarus over the past two months), according to MRC's ScanPlast.
Russia's PET imports almost doubled to 12,300 tonnes in November against 6,300 tonnes in October; last November, material imports amounted to 8,200 tonnes.

The share of Chinese material was 78% (9,600 tonnes) in November versus 92% (5,800 tonnes) a month earlier.

In November last year, the share of Chinese material in total imports amounted to 94% (7,700 tonnes).

LyondellBasell technology selected for new PP plant in Turkey

MOSCOW (MRC) -- LyondellBasell has announced that Ceyhan Polipropilen Uretim A.S, a joint venture between Turkey’s Ronesans Holding and Algeria’s Sonatrach S.p.A., has selected the company’s Spheripol technology for a new polypropylene (PP) unit to be constructed in Ceyhan, Turkey, reported NCT.

The unit will have a production capacity of 450,000 tons/year of PP.

As MRC informed earlier, in October 2018, Yantai Wanhua Chemical Group has selected technology from LyondellBasell for a new high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plant and polypropylene (PP) unit in Yantai City, Shandong Province. The complex will include a 350,000-t/y HDPE plant, based on LyondellBasell's Hostalen ACP process technology, and a 300,000-t/y PP unit, which will utilize LyondelBasell's 5th generation Spheripol PP process technology. Cost of the project and a schedule were not given.

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.

LyondellBasell is one of the largest plastics, chemicals and refining companies in the world. Driven by its 13,000 employees around the globe, LyondellBasell produces materials and products that are key to advancing solutions to modern challenges like enhancing food safety through lightweight and flexible packaging, protecting the purity of water supplies through stronger and more versatile pipes, and improving the safety, comfort and fuel efficiency of many of the cars and trucks on the road. LyondellBasell sells products into approximately 100 countries and is the world's largest licensor of polyolefin technologies.