Output of chemical products in Russia grew by 3.6% in January-November 2019

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Russia's output of chemical products dropped by 3.2% in November 2019 month on month.
However, production of basic chemicals increased by 3.6% in the first eleven months of 2019, according to Rosstat's data.

According to the Federal State Statistics Service of the Russian Federation, the largest increase in production volumes on an annualized basis accounted for mineral fertilizers and polymers in primary form. Last month, 255,000 tonnes of ethylene were produced versus 210,000 tonnes in October; by November, Russian producers had completed all their scheduled works. Thus, 2,721,000 tonnes of this olefin were produced in January-November 2019, up by 0.3% year on year.

November production of benzene was 134,000 tonnes, compared to 123,000 tonnes a month earlier. Overall output of this product reached 1,333,000 tonnes in the first eleven months of 2019, up by 4.4% year on year.

November production of sodium hydroxide (caustic soda) were 109,000 tonnes (100% of the basic substance) versus 111,000 tonnes a month earlier. Overall output of caustic soda totalled 1,180,900 tonnes over the stated period, compared to 1,164,500 tonnes a year earlier.

1,953,000 tonnes of mineral fertilizers (in terms of 100% nutrients) were produced in November versus 1,911,000 tonnes a month earlier. Overall, Russian plants produced 22,044,000 tonnes of fertilizers in January-November 2019, up by 4.5% year on year.

Last month's production of polymers in primary form decreased to 753,000 tonnes, up 6.7% from October. The low October figure was due to scheduled maintenances at several manufacturers of polyethylene and polypropylene.
Overall output of polymers in primary form totalled 7,795,000 tonnes over the stated period, up by 4.8% year on year.


Trinseo and Greiner Packaging plan to advance use of recycled PS

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Trinseo, the global materials company and manufacturer of plastics, latex binders, and synthetic rubber, has announced its collaboration with Greiner Packaging, a leading European manufacturer of plastic packaging in the food and nonfood sectors, to advance the implementation of recycled polystyrene (PS) used in packaging applications, according to Trinseo's press release.

The joint project aims to demonstrate the circularity of PS by utilizing recycled material to develop and test recycled PS packaging.

As a leader in the advancement of circular solutions for PS, Trinseo is highly engaged in several partnerships and initiatives to close the loop on PS recycling, namely:

- recently announcing a first-of-its-kind PS chemical recycling facility to be built in Europe;
- planning to offer an average of 30% recycled content to customers for PS packaging in Europe by 2025;
- serving as a founding member of Styrenics Circular Solutions (SCS), a consortium that explores new methods for PS recycling;
- and partnering with the waste supply chain to help identify new ways to increase the volume and quantity of plastics disposed and recovered through waste separation.

"We are pleased to announce this collaboration with Greiner Packaging and are encouraged by the great momentum it will bring to close the loop with recycled content," said Nicolas Joly, Global Business Director, Polystyrene and Feedstocks at Trinseo. "By increasing the prevalence of polystyrene recycling it further emphasizes our commitment to be a key contributor to achieving full circularity for PS."

"At Greiner Packaging, our vision is to design and form sustainable plastic solutions for a more livable future worldwide," said Gernot Desch, Category Manager Plastics, Greiner Packaging. "We are aware of our responsibility and therefore focus on sustainable actions and solutions for a circular economy at all product groups. With our strategy, we want to show that sustainability and plastics do not conflict with one another."

Full PS circularity is a game changer, offering a unique potential for closed loop recycling - with two fewer steps than recycling of other polymers. Depolymerization is an innovative technology for PS recycling, which has already proven to bring PS waste back into a monomer - unlocking the intrinsic circularity of PS even further. In turn, PS circularity is particularly advantaged as it diverts waste material away from landfills, leading to a reduction in greenhouse gases and harmful emissions.

In North America, Trinseo’s joint venture, AmSty, recently formed a joint venture with Agilyx, named Regenyx LLC, dedicated to fully recycling post-consumer PS materials back into new PS products. Through Regenyx, AmSty is providing customers with PS recycled from a monomer state, from post-consumer waste, known as PolyUsable.

As MRC informed earlier, Trinseo and its affiliate companies in Europe have announced a price decrease for all polystyrene (PS) grades in Europe. Effective December 1, 2019, or as existing contract terms allow, the contract and spot prices for the products listed below went down as follows:

-- STYRON general purpose polystyrene grades (GPPS) -- by EUR20 per metric ton;
-- STYRON and STYRON A-Tech and STYRON X- Tech high impact polystyrene grades (HIPS) - by EUR20 per metric ton.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated consumption of PS and styrene plastics totalled 411,080 tonnes in the first ten months of 2019, which corresponds to the last year's level. October estimated consumption of PS and styrene plastics rose by 2% year on year, totalling 46,740 tonnes.

Greiner Packaging is a leading European manufacturer of plastic packaging in the food and nonfood sectors. The company has enjoyed a reputation for outstanding solutions expertise in the fields of development, design, production, and decoration for nearly 60 years. Greiner Packaging responds to the challenges of the market with two business units: Packaging and Assistec. While the Packaging unit stands for innovative packaging solutions, the Assistec unit focuses on producing custom-made technical parts. Greiner Packaging employs a workforce of around 4,800 at more than 30 locations in 19 countries around the world. In 2018, the company generated annual sales revenues of EUR 673 million (including joint ventures), which represents more than one third of Greiner’s total sales.

Trinseo is a global materials company and manufacturer of plastics, latex and rubber. Trinseo's technology is used by customers in industries such as home appliances, automotive, building & construction, carpet, consumer electronics, consumer goods, electrical & lighting, medical, packaging, paper & paperboard, rubber goods and tires. Formerly known as Styron, Trinseo completed its renaming process in 1Q 2015. Trinseo had approximately USD4.6 billion in net sales in 2018, with 16 manufacturing sites around the world, and approximately 2,500 employees.

US crude stockpiles drop, product supplies higher

MOSCOW (MRC) -- US crude stocks fell while gasoline and distillate inventories rose, the Energy Information Administration said, in a report largely in line with analyst expectations, reported Reuters.

Crude inventories fell by 1.1 million barrels in the week to Dec. 13 to 446.8 million barrels, compared with analysts’ expectations in a Reuters poll for a 1.3 million-barrel drop.

Oil prices rose as the report contradicted Tuesday’s data from industry group the American Petroleum Institute, which showed an increase in crude inventories.

"The market reaction was abruptly stronger due to the fact that we were so far away from industry estimations in the way of a net build," said Tony Headrick, an energy markets analyst at CHS Hedging.

Refinery crude runs fell by 35,000 barrels in the last week, EIA data showed. Refinery utilization rates were unchanged.

US crude pared losses, and was down 12 cents to USD60.82 a barrel as of 10:43 a.m. ET (1543 GMT). Brent dipped 3 cents to USD66.07, also off earlier lows.

US gasoline stocks rose by 2.5 million barrels in the week to 237.3 million barrels, the highest since March, the EIA said, compared with analysts’ expectations in a Reuters poll for a 2.2 million-barrel rise.

Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, rose by 1.5 million barrels in the week to 125.1 million barrels, versus expectations for a 312,000-barrel rise, the EIA data showed.

Net US crude imports fell last week by 541,000 barrels per day, EIA said.

Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub fell by 265,000 barrels in the last week, EIA said.

Thai Polyethylene brought on-stream HDPE unit in Thailand after maintenance

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Thai Polyethylene Co, a subsidiary of Siam Cement Group, has restarted its high density polyethylene (HDPE) unit following a turnaround, according to Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in Thailand informed that the company has resumed operations at the unit on December 14, 2019. The plant was shut for maintenance and owing to economic fundamentals on November 26, 2019.

Located in Map Ta Phut, Thailand, the unit has a production capacity of 200,000 mt/year.

As MRC wrote before, on June 28, 2017, Thai Polyethylene took off-stream its No. 4 HDPE plant in Thailand for 15 days owing to tehcnical issues. Located at Map Tha Phut in Thailand, the unit has a production capacity of 400,000 mt/year.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's HDPE production totalled 729,500 tonnes in the first ten months of 2019, down by 8% year on year. Two producers out of three reduced their output.

SCG Chemicals is a subsidiary of SCG and is one of SCG’s 3 core businesses consisting of Chemicals, Paper and Cement-Building Materials. SCG embarked upon the chemicals business in 1989. At present, SCG Chemicals manufactures and supplies a full range of petrochemical products ranging from upstream petrochemicals such as Olefins, intermediate petrochemicals such as Styrene Monomer, PTA, and MMA, to downstream petrochemicals such as Polyethylene, Polypropylene, Polyvinyl Chloride, and Polystyrene resins. SCG Chemicals is now one of the largest integrated petrochemical companies in Thailand and a key industry leader in the Asia-Pacific region.

US sanctions against Nord Stream 2

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The U.S. has little leverage to prevent the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project between Russia and Germany from being completed, two administration officials said, acknowledging the failure of a years-long effort to head off what officials believe is a threat to European security, as per Bloomberg.

The massive USD11-billion project is just weeks away from completion and has led President Donald Trump to call Germany “a captive to Russia.” He has criticized the European Union for not doing more to diversify imports away from the nation that supplies more than a third of its gas.

Senior U.S. administration officials, who asked not to be identified discussing the administration’s take on the project, said sanctions that passed Congress on Tuesday as part of a defense bill are too late to have any effect. The U.S. instead will try to impose costs on other Russian energy projects, one of the officials added.

The admission is a rare concession on what had been a top foreign-policy priority for the Trump administration and highlights how European allies such as Germany have been impervious to American pressure to abandon the pipeline. It also shows how the U.S. has struggled to deter Russia from flexing its muscles on issues ranging from energy to Ukraine to election interference.

The administration is hoping to sharpen its focus on Russia when Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan, who was confirmed as ambassador to the country last week, heads to Moscow next month. The post has been vacant since early October, when former envoy Jon Huntsman stepped down, and ties between the two countries have only continued to sour.

On a visit to Poland in February, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said the Nord Stream 2 project “funnels money to Russians in ways that undermine European national security.”

Trump has indicated that he’ll sign the legislation passed Tuesday. The penalties on companies building the project, led by Russian energy company Gazprom PJSC, would be effective immediately, according to a Senate Republican aide.

As MRC informed earlier, Gazprom Neft and the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) have entered into a Framework Agreement on Strategic Cooperation. The companies will explore opportunities for implementing joint projects in the upstream and downstream sectors, as well as in information technologies, artificial intelligence, and other areas.

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

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 1,589,580 tonnes in the first nine months of 2019, up by 7% year on year. Shipments of all PE grades increased. The estimated PP consumption in the Russian market was 976,790 tonnes in January-September 2019, up by 4% year on year. Shipments of PP block copolymer and homopolymer PP increased.