Sumitomo Chemical completes construction of new catalyst manufacturing lines at its Chiba

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Sumitomo Chemical has completed construction of two catalyst manufacturing lines in its Chiba Works location (Ichihara, Chiba) to meet the demand of companies licensing its polypropylene (PP) and propylene oxide (PO) manufacturing technology, in order to enhance its licensing business, said the company.

Sumitomo Chemical’s PP production technology has a proven track record of successful operations at various locations in the world, such as the Company’s Chiba Works in Japan and licensee companies overseas, including its affiliates, namely, The Polyolefin Company (Singapore) Pte Ltd and Petro Rabigh in Saudi Arabia, offering high quality products while maintaining stable plant operation over a period of time. As far as PO is concerned, the Company's production technology is based on a PO-only process, in which PO alone is manufactured without any accompanying coproducts by recycling cumene. The cumene method, which Sumitomo Chemical was the first in the world to commercialize, has the distinct advantage of achieving a high PO yield, when combined with the use of the Company's proprietary high-performance epoxidation catalyst, while ensuring superior stability in plant operation. It was licensed to S-OIL Corp. of South Korea and a subsidiary of PTT Global Chemical Public Company Limited of Thailand, in addition to the company’s affiliate Petro Rabigh. Furthermore the company signed a technology licensing agreement with Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited of India in July 2019.

Sales of catalysts to licensing partners are expected to generate stable revenue that is unlikely to be affected by the market environment, as demand increases as more technology licensing agreements are signed. Sumitomo Chemical is committed to sustaining revenue by not only obtaining one-time technology licensing fees, but also through the sale of catalysts and providing technical support after licensing.

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.

Sumitomo Chemical intends to work with its global licensing partners and expand the business portfolios in its Petrochemicals & Plastics Sector.

MTBE unit taken off-stream by Shandong Chengtai

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Shandong Chengtai Chemical has shut its methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) unit for a brief maintenance, according to Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in China informed that the company has halted operations at the plant on December 17, 2019. The unit is likely to restart on December 24, 2019.

Located at Jinshanwei, Shanghai, China, the MTBE unit has a production capacity of 135,000 mt/year.

Shandong Chengtai Chemical Co., Ltd. is based in China. The head office is in Weifang. The enterprise operates in the Other Chemical Product and Preparation Manufacturing industry. The company was established on April 02, 2011. It currently has a total number of 291 (2018) employees. From the latest financial highlights, Shandong Chengtai Chemical Co., Ltd. reported a net sales revenue increase of 12.83% in 2018. Its’ total assets recorded a negative growth of 25.57%.

Gazprom and Sinopec discuss potential avenues for cooperation

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Gazprom and Sinopec discuss potential avenues for cooperation, said the company on its website.

A working meeting between Alexey Miller, Chairman of the Gazprom Management Committee, and Li Yong, Vice President of China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec Group), took place in St. Petersburg.

The parties discussed their potential areas of cooperation.

Gazprom and China Petrochemical Corp (Sinopec) are the top spenders among global oil and gas companies, in terms of new build capital expenditure (capex) to be spent on planned and announced projects across the oil and gas value chain during 2018–2025.

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.

LyondellBasell and Sinopec announce joint venture to manufacture propylene oxide and styrene monomer in China

MOSCOW (MRC) -- LyondellBasell (LBI), one of the largest plastics, chemicals and refining companies in the world, has announced it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to form a 50:50 joint venture (JV) with China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (Sinopec), one of the largest integrated energy and chemical companies in China, as per LBI's press release.

Under the non-binding MoU, the JV will construct a new propylene oxide (PO) and styrene monomer (SM) unit in Zhenhai, Ningbo, China to serve that country's domestic market. Once finalized, this JV will build upon the existing LyondellBasell / Sinopec PO/SM joint venture in the same location, which operates under the name Ningbo ZRCC Lyondell Chemical Company Limited.

"Joint ventures in strategic regions are an important part of our growth strategy," said Bob Patel, CEO of LyondellBasell. "As demand for construction materials, packaging and furnishings continues to grow, we see an opportunity to bring together our leading technology with Sinopec's operational capabilities to further serve the Chinese market."

"This cooperation on the second PO / SM unit between Sinopec and LyondellBasell is based on the successful partnership of the first unit," said Dai Houliang, Chairman of Sinopec. "It is in line with China's further opening-up policy, and is another achievement of international cooperation of Sinopec. The products will help meet the increasing demands from the domestic market."

"The formation of this JV with Sinopec, a highly respected Chinese company and an existing PO / SM partner, allows us to take advantage of the fastest growing market in the world for these products," said Torkel Rhenman, Executive Vice President of LyondellBasell. "We see tremendous opportunity to create additional value and grow the presence of LyondellBasell in this very important market."

The new facility is expected to produce 300 kilo tons per annum (KTA) of PO and 600 KTA of SM. Construction of the facility will begin in early 2020 with start-up expected in 2022. The facility will use LyondellBasell's leading PO / SM technology. Products produced will be marketed equally by both companies which will significantly expand their respective participation in the Chinese market for both PO and SM.

According to IHS Markit, China makes up more than 60 percent of the Asian chemicals market demand and represents 40 percent of global chemicals growth over the next decade. PO and SM are core products for LyondellBasell.

LyondellBasell operates five wholly-owned facilities in China which are located in Guangzhou, Suzhou, Dalian, Dongguan and Changshu. In addition, LyondellBasell is currently building the largest next generation PO / tertiary butyl alcohol (TBA) plant in the world near Houston, Texas.

As MRC reported earlier, Sinopec has just completed the central unit of the Al-Zour refinery project in Kuwait. As the largest refinery in the Middle East, it will make Kuwait the biggest clean oil-producing country in the region with an annual processing capacity of 3,150 tons.

Styrene monomer (SM) is the main feedstock for the production of polystyrene (PS).

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.

China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation or Sinopec Limited is a Chinese oil and gas company based in Beijing, China. Sinopec"s business includes oil and gas exploration, refining, and marketing; production and sales of petrochemicals, chemical fibers, chemical fertilizers, and other chemical products; storage and pipeline transportation of crude oil and natural gas; import, export and import/export agency business of crude oil, natural gas, refined oil products, petrochemicals, and other chemicals.

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.

Ukrainian PC imports up by 8% in Jan-Nov 2019

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Imports of polycarbonate (PC) granules into Ukraine grew in the first eleven months of 2019 by 8% year on year, totalling 3,600 tonnes, according to MRC's DataScope report.

This figure was at 3,300 tonnes in January-November 2018.

Last month's imports of material to the Ukrainian market fell by 25% to 255 tonnes from 341 tonnes in October.

In terms of technology, the share of injection moulding PC grades decreased to 54% (1,900 tonnes) in the first eleven months of 2019 from 64% (2,100 tonnes) a year earlier. The share of extrusion grade PC grew significantly: from 15% (424 tonnes) of the total imports to 28% (981 tonnes), with the share of blow moulding grades decreasing by 3% to 19% and totalling 661 tonnes.

Covestro and Sabic with the share of about 83% of the total imports in January-November 2019 were the key suppliers of resin to the Ukrainian market.

Thus, imports of Covestro's PC to the Ukrainian market increased over the first eleven months of 2019 by 35% year on year: from 1,800 tonnes in January-October 2018 to 2,500 tonnes. Covestro's material accounted for 69% of the total PC imports to the country in the first eleven months of 2019 versus 55% a year earlier. The company's shipments of material to Ukraine were 135 tonnes last month, compared to 250 tonnes in November 2018.

At the same time, Sabic's deliveries of material fell in January-November 2019 by 34% year on year: from 754 tonnes to 496 tonnes. This producer's PC granules accounted for 14% of the total imports to the country in the first eleven months of 2019 versus 23% a year earlier.