Evonik committed to general-purpose plasticizer DINP

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Evonik is committed to offering customers the general-purpose plasticizer DINP (diisononyl phthalate) on a global basis. The safe and long-lasting use of plasticizers is always Evonik's top priority, said the company in its press release.

Recently, Evonik joined with other manufacturers in the High Phthalates Panel (HPP), a sector group of the American Chemistry Council (ACC), in a voluntary manufacturer request to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to conduct a broad-based risk evaluation of the uses of DINP.

The EPA granted the request in early December 2019, a decision welcomed by Evonik. The EPA’s risk evaluation will be performed using the best available science and weight of scientific evidence. The process will be documented and open for public review and comment.

Evonik is active around the world to promote scientifically-founded evaluations of its products, and the company’s recent request with the US. EPA is yet another example. The company has consistently pursued lifecycle management for the softener DINP, which is used in a large number of soft PVC applications.

In addition, Evonik has been selectively expanding its existing portfolio with new plasticizer types, in close cooperation with customers.

"As an innovative player in the plasticizer industry, our goal is to offer a broad portfolio of plasticizers. In order to achieve this, we focus on the long-term trends in the plasticized PVC industry as well as the requirements of our customers. This includes, for example, high delivery reliability and safe usability of our products," explains Roland Pietz, Market Segment Manager Oxo Alcohols and Plasticizers at Performance Intermediates.

In addition to DINP, marketed under the VESTINOL 9 brand, Evonik's plasticizer portfolio already includes the innovative products ELATUR CH and ELATUR DPT.

As MRC wrote previously, Evonik Industries is expanding its capacities for organic dispersions for heat sealing applications in Darmstadt (Germany). The significant plant expansion is scheduled for completion by second half of 2021. Organic dispersions for heat sealing applications, which Evonik markets under the brand name DEGALAN, are ideally suited for formulating high-quality heat seal lacquers and ensure secure sealing in combination with smooth peeling properties for food and beverage packaging. DEGALAN organic dispersions provide direct adhesion to aluminum and PET lidding materials for environmentally friendly packaging solutions, like mono material packaging with recyclability property.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, exports of suspension polyvinyl chloride (SPVC) from Russia totalled 175,600 tonnes in the first eleven months of 2019, up by 22% year on year. Imports increased more significantly - by 230% year on year to 48,500 tonnes.

Evonik is one of the world leaders in specialty chemicals. The focus on more specialty businesses, customer-oriented innovative prowess and a trustful and performance-oriented corporate culture form the heart of Evonik’s corporate strategy. They are the lever for profitable growth and a sustained increase in the value of the company. Evonik benefits specifically from its customer proximity and leading market positions. Evonik is active in over 100 countries around the world with more than 36,000 employees.

Reliance and BP move forward with Indian fuels partnership

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BP and Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) signed a definitive agreement relating to the formation of their new Indian fuels and mobility joint venture, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

This follows the initial heads of agreement signed in August this year. The venture is expected to be formed during the first half of 2020, subject to regulatory and other customary approvals.

The new venture, a further development of RIL and BP's longstanding partnership, will include an India-wide fuels retail service station network and aviation fuel marketing business. Building from RIL's existing businesses, the partners expect the venture to co-create a world class fuels partnership to grow rapidly and help meet India's fast-growing demands for energy and mobility.

The venture expects to expand from RIL's current fuel retailing network of over 1,400 retail sites and 30 aviation fuel stations across India to up to 5,500 retail sites and 45 aviation fuel stations over the next five years to become the most preferred provider of automotive and aviation fuels. The retail network will operate under the Jio-BP brand, signaling a new paradigm shift in fuels marketing and mobility solutions. It brings together Reliance's extensive access and connection to consumers through its Jio digital platform and BP's deep experience in fuel retailing around the world. The joint venture will seek to offer Indian consumers high-quality differentiated fuels, convenience and services. Castrol lubricants will also be available across the venture's network.

The agreement was signed in Mumbai today by Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries Limited, and Bob Dudley, Group Chief Executive of BP.

The partners intend to set up a new joint venture company, held 51% by RIL and 49% by BP, that will assume ownership of RIL's existing Indian fuel retail network and access its aviation fuel business.

As MRC reported earlier, BP Plc is expected to resume operation at its small gasoline-producing fluidic catalytic cracking unit (FCCU) at its 430,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) Whiting, Indiana, refinery in late October after about a month of the overhaul. The company began a planned overhaul of the small FCCU on 19 September.

PTA is used to produce polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which is used in the manufacturing of plastic bottles, films, packaging containers, in the textile and food industries.

According to MRC's DataScope report, Chinese bottle grade PET deliveries to Russia increased 34% in the first eight months of 2019 to 95,600 tonnes. China accounted for 90% of the total imports, compared to 85% a year earlier.
August imports of material from China decreased by 41% to 7,600 tonnes from 12,800 tonnes in July. Jiangsu Sanfangxiang, Yisheng, Wankai and Sinopec were the leading Chinese suppliersof material to the Russian market.

BP is one of the world's leading international oil and gas companies, providing its customers with fuel for transportation, energy for heat and light, retail services and petrochemicals products for everyday items.

Shell inks USD10bn revolving credit facility

MOSCOW (MRC)--Shell signed a new USD10bn revolving credit facility, with interest and fees paid on the facility linked to the company’s carbon footprint, said Refiningandpetrochemicalsme.

"This is an innovative deal which also demonstrates Shell’s broad-based commitment to reducing the net carbon footprint of the energy products we sell,"” said Russell O’Brien, group treasurer at Shell.

Shell aims to reduce the net carbon footprint of the energy products it sells by around 50% by 2050 and by 20% by 2035, in line with the 2015 Paris climate pact. The credit facility is also linked to the new SOFR, or “Secured Overnight Financing Rate".

The company made the switch to SOFR in anticipation of the cessation of the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR), which is being phased out in the wake of the so-called "LIBOR scandal".

The USD10bn unsecured revolving credit facility consists of a five-year, USD8bn revolving credit facility, and a one-year, USD2bn facility.

The facility is provided by a syndicate of 25 banks. It replaces Shell’s existing USD8.84bn revolving credit facility.

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.

China November refinery output near record amid sturdy profit margins

MOSCOW (MRC) -- China’s crude oil throughput in November rose 10.1% from the same month a year earlier, to the second-highest on record, as refineries in the world’s no. 2 oil consumer ramped up production amid steady profit margins, according to Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Crude processing volumes reached 56.08 million tons, equivalent to about 13.65 million barrels per day (bpd), data released by the National Bureau of Statistics showed on Monday. That was a fraction below the record of 13.75 million bpd reached in September, and up from October’s 13.62 million bpd.

The robust throughput level came as China - the world’s top oil importer - brought in a record volume of imported crude last month at 11.13 million bpd.

Output was bolstered by new mega-refining complexes such as those of Hengli Petrochemical Co Ltd and Zhejiang Petroleum and Chemical Co, as well as higher runs at independent plants as they returned from maintenance outages.

"Margins have been supportive since October for independent plants, while state refiners also kept runs elevated as they moved more surplus barrels for exports where margins were also attractive," said Seng Yick Tee, senior director at consultancy SIA Energy, speaking before the data was released.

For the first 11 months of the year, crude throughput rose 6.7% from a year earlier to 593.18 million tons, or about 12.96 million bpd, the data showed.

The statistics bureau data also showed China’s domestic crude oil output in November edged up 0.9% from a year earlier at 15.70 million tons, or about 3.82 million bpd. In the first 11 months of 2019, crude output climbed 1.0% from a year prior to 174.95 million tons.

Meanwhile natural gas production jumped 8.0% in November from the same month a year earlier to 15.1 billion cubic meters (bcm) as Beijing pressed ahead with plans to boost domestic supply.

Gas output rose for the first 11 months of 2019 by 9.2% to 157.5 bcm as national producers focused on stepping up development of the fuel, including shale gas projects in southwest China.

Gas demand for the whole of 2019 was expected to rise 9% from 2018 to exceed 300 bcm, though consumption this winter is expanding at only half the rate recorded the previous year due to a slower gasification push.

As MRC reported previously, earlier this month, China’s Zhejiang Petroleum & Chemical Co Ltd launched a 3.8-million-ton-per-year reformer unit, a key processing facility at its new mega refinery and petrochemical complex in east China. The reformer unit, which processes naphtha into aromatics, is the world’s single-largest facility of its kind, the company claimed. Zhejiang Petrochemical,based in Zhoushan of Zhejiang province, started test runs at a 200,000-barrels-per-day crude oil refinery in May, the company said. The complex includes a second 200,000-bpd crude unit, a 1.4 million-tpy ethylene and a 4 million-tpy paraxylene plant. All facilites are expected to start operating next year, industry sources said.

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.

Hexpol TPE introduces new polymer compounds for cabling applications

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Polymer compounder Hexpol TPE, which has UK operations in Manchester, has launched a new range of materials intended for cable sheathing applications in such sectors are telecommunications and electricity delivery, said PRW.

Marketed as Dryflex Cable, the polymer grades use various polymer chemistries, including EVA, TPE and TPV. This supports a wide range of customisation possibilities, which in turn allows cable manufacturers to select the best solution for their application.

The Dryflex range includes Low Smoke Halogen Free, or Low Smoke Zero Halogen flame retardant compounds, which have low toxicity properties. Typical LOI values run between 28 and 42%.

The compounds are RoHS, SVHC and REACH compliant, and halogen free, according to IEC 60754 Part 1/2.

Applications include low-voltage, data, insulation, jacketing and bedding for cables.

For example, Dryflex Cable 52180 N is a compound suitable for low-voltage power or data cable applications. Dryflex Cable has been developed for applications requiring increased thermal or fluid resistance.

Speaking about the new products, Mark Clayton, managing director at HEXPOL TPE’s UK site, commented: “The challenge we set ourselves was to develop materials that exceed global standards for reliability and durability, combined with the lowest toxicity and smoke levels for human safety. With our new grades we offer market leading performance with high levels of customisation and easy processing.”

Dryflex Cable products can be processed using standard extrusion equipment. Compounds are available ready to use, with no post vulcanisation required, helping to improve productivity.

The compounds are fully recyclable and any production waste can be reprocessed.

As MRC informed earlier, Hexpol acquired the US-based rubber compounderPortage Precision Polymers Inc from the founder Doug Hartley and his family in a deal worth about USD13.2 million on a cash and debt free basis.

Hexpol is a world-leading polymers group with strong global market positions in advanced polymer compounds (Compounding), gaskets for plate heat exchangers (Gaskets) and wheels made of plastic and rubber materials for forklifts and castor wheel applications (Wheels).