Imports of Ineos Styrolution GPPS to Russia rises by 64% in Jan-Nov 2019

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Ineos Styrolution's general purpose polystyrene (GPPS) imports into Russia increased in the first eleven months of 2019 by 64% year on year to 12,000 tonnes, according to MRC's DataScope report.

This figure was 7,300 tonnes in January-November 2018.

Ineos Styrolution is the largest GPPS supplier to Russia.

European material accounted for 47% of the total GPPS shipments over the stated period versus 36% in the first eleven months of 2018.

At the same time, November Styrolution's GPPS shipments to the Russian market grew by more than 2 times to this year's maximum of 1,500 tonnes from 700 tonnes a month earlier, the company's imports into the country were 2,400 tonnes in November 2018.

HIPS and GPPS imports to Kazakhstan fall by 11% in Jan-Oct 2019

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Overall imports of general purpose polystyrene (GPPS) and high impact polystyrene (HIPS) to Kazakhstan dropped in the first ten months of 2019 by 11% year on year, totalling 7,600 tonnes, according to MRC's DataScope report.

However, October imports of material into the country grew by 6% year on year and reached the highest level this year - 1,200 tonnes, compared to 1,100 tonnes in September 2019, whereas HIPS and GPPS imports to Kazakhstan were 1,100 tonnes in October 2018.

HIPS and GPPS are shipped to Kazakhstan mainly from Russia.

The share of the Russian Federation decreased by 14% of the total imports in the first ten months of 2019 to 73% (5,500 tonnes).

October imports of Russian material into the country decreased by 9% from September to 1,000 tonnes versus 1,100 tonnes. HIPS and GPPS imports to Kazakhstan also were 1,000 tonnes in October 2018.


Stavrolen resumes PE and PP production

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Stavrolen, Russia's major polyolefins producer, has resumed its high density polyethylene (HDPE) and polypropylene (PP) production capacities after an unscheduled turnaround, according to ICIS-MRC Price report.

The plant's representative said Stavrolen resumed its HDPE and PP production on 18 December after a forced unplanned outage. The unscheduled shutdown began on 11 December and was caused by the necessity to conduct technical works at the ethylene unit.

Stavrolen's (part of Lukoil) annual capacity of PP and HDPE production is 120,000 and 300,000 tonnes, respectively. The plant's output of propylene polymers and HDPE exceeded 86,700 tonnes and 221,300 tonnes, respectively, in the first ten months of 2019.

PP imports to Russia down by 4% in Jan-Nov 2019

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Polypropylene (PP) imports into Russia dropped in the first eleven months of 2019 by 4% year on year to 167,400 tonnes. Propylene homopolymer (homopolymer PP) accounted for the greatest decrease in imports, according to MRC's DataScope report.

Russian companies raised their PP imports in Novmeber to 15,300 tonnes from 14,900 tonnes a month earlier, with homopolymer PP accounting for a slight increase in shipments. Thus, overall PP imports to Russia totalled 167,400 tonnes of propylene polymers in January-November 2019, compared to 173,800 tonnes a year earlier. Purchases of all grades of propylene polymers fell in foreign markets, with block-copolymers of propylene (PP block copolymers) being the exception and with homopolymer PP accounting for a noticeable decrease.

Overall, the structure of PP imports by grades looked the following way over the stated period.

November imports of homopolymer PP were about 6,000 tonnes versus 5,000 tonnes a month earlier, PP shipments from Turkmenistan increased. Thus, overall imports of homopolymer PP totalled 51,200 tonnes in the first eleven months of 2019, compared to 61,300 tonnes a year earlier.

Last month's imports of PP block copolymers were 3,700 tonnes, which virtually corresponds to the figure of October. Imports of PP block copolymers into Russia reached 50,600 tonnes in January-November 2019, compared to 43,300 tonnes a year earlier.

November imports of stat-copolymers of propylene (PP random copolymers) remained at the last month's level - 3,200 tonnes. Overall imports of this grade of propylene copolymers totalled 30,100 tonnes in January-November 2019 versus 32,400 tonnes a year earlier, with film grade PP accounting for the main reduction in shipments.

Imports of other propylene polymers totalled 32,500 tonnes over the stated period versus 36,800 tonnes a year earlier.


French refineries brace for further disruption amid strikes

MOSCOW (MRC) -- A national day of protests on Tuesday threatens to disrupt the supply of oil products as strikes at key refineries continue Monday, according to S&P Global.

Impact has been limited according to traders and analysts, but as concerns and unrest grow there is a real risk of motor fuel stockpiling, product deliveries being blocked and the halting of units.

The industrial action, which started December 5, has been extended several times and all plants were expected to join the general protests on December 17.

Unions could extend the strike action and fully shut down installations at some refineries, with a decision on whether to do so expected Thursday, the CGT union said.

Much will depend on the duration of the protests and strikes, but "in theory dated Brent is likely to be bearish and cracks bullish, especially if refinery runs are seriously affected," said S&P Global Platts Analytics consultant Segio Baron.

"Market reaction is muted, which means the market is not pricing in the impacts of the strikes in a big way, but that could change," he added.

France's seven oil refineries continue to operate normally and only two have problems with product deliveries, the ministry of ecology said Friday.

French oil industry group UFIP said that all refineries are operating, although oil terminals at some sites, including Grandpuits, Donges and La Mede, are blockaded. However, only 1.6% of the 11,000 petrol stations in France face some shortages as of Friday.

Three plants remain on strike including at Grandpuits refinery, its La Mede biofuels plant and Petroineos' Lavera refinery and this industrial action will continue on Tuesday.

Gonfreville is the biggest refinery with a capacity of 247,000 b/d. It endured a fire at the weekend which caused operations to be partially suspended and caused the strike to halt. According to local media reports, there have been several incidents at the plant in recent days, after its start-up from maintenance.

Gonfreville's refinery output represents 12% of France's total refining capacity and the petrochemicals plant accounts for 11% of plastics produced in France. Total confirmed Monday its CDU was offline.

Total's Donges, which has seen some disruption, has a capacity of 219,000 b/d. Donges restarted strike on 18 December for 72 hours but depots nearby are blocked today by industry action.

The strike at France's 109,000 b/d Feyzin refinery had finished and the refinery restarted in early December. However, French labor unions called on employees in all sectors to take part in industrial action against the government's pension reforms.

Supply from other ExxonMobil and Petroineos' refineries has not been affected, UFIP said, which includes the 240,000 b/d capacity Port-Jerome or Gravenchon refinery, the 136,000 b/d Fos refinery as well as Lavera. Staff at ExxonMobil's Fos refinery have been joining the strike on and off, with deliveries partly affected.

Total's Flandres oil depot is also on strike Monday and Tuesday with 1.2 million mt of stocks.

French LNG terminals Fos Tonkin and Montoir-de-Bretagne were also affected, albeit limited, with prices barely moving, indicating how long the French gas market remains.

As MRC informed before, ExxonMobil's cracker at Notre Dame de Gravenchon, France, had an "unexpected stoppage" on Friday, 6 December, following a technical failure this October. Thus, an electric fire Saturday morning, 19 October, 2019, on the ExxonMobil facilities in Notre-Dame-de-Gravenchon (Seine Maritime) resulted in a plume of smoke, below the regulatory thresholds, which could remain visible for several days.

Besides, ExxonMobil halted polyethylene (PE) production at its site in Notre Dame de Gravenchon, France, last week due to commercial reasons, without providing further details. The site houses 500,000 tons/year of linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) plant, including metallocene linear low density polyethylene (MLLDPE).

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.