Zhejiang Petrochemical to receive commercial production at its new cracker and to start up its PP, PE plants soon

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Zhejiang Petrochemical Co Ltd is planning to start up its ethylene cracker within these two days and if everything goes smooth, its polyolefin plants will be starting up soon, reported Commoplast with reference.

Based in Zhejiang, China, the cracker is able to produce 1.4 million tons/year of ethylene.

Market sources reported that one of its polypropylene (PP) plant with capacity of 450,000 tons/year will startup by 30 December 2019, followed by another line with same capacity by 15 January 2020.

Meanwhile its 450,000 tons/year of lienar low density polyethylene (LLDPE) and 300,000 tons/year of high density polyethylene (HDPE) will startup around similar time with PP plants.

As MRC informed earlier, China's greenfield Zhejiang Petrochemical will use a range of process technology from Honeywell UOP for the second phase of its integrated refining and petrochemical complex in Zhoushan, Zhejiang province, according to a document, quoting a senior Honeywell official. "This second phase of the complex by itself will process 20 million tons per year of crude oil and produce another six million tons per year of aromatics when completed," Bryan Glover, vice president and general manager, Process Technology and Equipment, at Honeywell UOP, stated in the document as of January 2019.

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

European producers intend to at least roll over December PVC prices for January

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Negotiations over January shipments of suspension polyvinyl chloride (SPVC) began in the Russian market on Wednesday. Most producers announced a roll-over of December prices for next month, according to ICIS-MRC Price report.

Traditionally, many converters announced a decrease in PVC purchasing in January partially because of long holidays in the first half of the month. The current appreciation of the rouble against the dollar also made imported material more affordable for Russian consumers. However, Russian producers do not intend to reduce next month's PVC prices, and a producer does not rule out a price increase of Rb1,000/tonne.

The Russian rouble strengthened perceptibly against the dollar and the euro in the second half of December. And this factor made imported PVC attractive for purchases. Some converters considered the possibility of meeting some of their needs in January due to imports. But these cases were rare, and there has been no talking about bulk purchasing so far.

December was a rather successful month for Russian producers regarding PVC sales in the domestic market. All deals for December deliveries were done in the first half of the month, and some converters reported slight restrictions on shipments of resin. Thus, most producers are entering the year of 2020 with optimal warehouse inventories, and producers do not experience any pressure amid weaker January demand for PVC from the domestic market.

Mass shutdowns for scheduled maintenance works at most converters' production capacities began this week. Some consumers will have them until the second decade of January, a small part of converters still intends to remain idle until the third decade of January. Outages for turnarounds at converters' production capacities will affect the volume of PVC purchasing.

Overall, deals for January shipments of Russian resin with K=64/67 PVC were negotiated in the range of Rb71,000-74,000/tonne CPT Moscow, including VAT, for quantities of less than 500 tonnes. Resin with K=70 was offered by Rb1,000-2,000/tonnes more expensive.

Lubrizol restarts the Rouen factory after fire

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The Lubrizol factory in Rouen "restarted during the night from Friday to Saturday (14 December)," said Frederic Henry, president of Lubrizol France, on France Bleu Seine maritime/Eure, less than three months after the fire that hit this site, reported EN24.

The prefecture had given the green light on 13 December for this partial reopening, "limited to two small mixing and solubilization units, not involving a chemical reaction".

Shortly before the prefectural decree was published, Lubrizol France’s general manager Isabelle Striga said Friday that production could resume the next day. Lubrizol has on its site "put a fence that allows us to clean the site for the next few months and meanwhile continue to make mixtures," added Frederic Henry on Monday. The palisade "separates the factory in two pieces, that is to say the warehouse that burned, and 90% of the site that did not burn at all, where this production restarted this weekend" , said the president of Lubrizol France. On Friday, the prefecture said there were "900 drums to be removed" from the site, including "around 70 with some sensitivity."

Lubrizol still believes that the fire did not start from its site. "There are a lot of things that tell us that it did not start from home and that a huge energy came to us," said Frederic Henry on France Bleu. Asked about a complete restart of the factory, the president of Lubrizol France replied: "To see. No doubt it will be in stages. For the moment that is not the subject. We have to leave a little time to see how the orders arrive if the orders arrive correctly think maybe of opening another unit. "The viability of the Rouen site was compromised from mid-November. Every day that passed, we lost customers who went to see elsewhere. So it was very important to restart as soon as possible", he added.

As MRC wrote previously, in August 2015, S and L Specialty Polymers Co., a joint venture of Sekisui Chemicals (51%) and Lubrizol Advanced Materials (49%), started up its new chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC) plant on the Hemaraj Eastern Industrial Estate in Map Ta Phut, Thailand. The plant, built at a cost of about USD 50-million, has the capacity to produce 30,000 t/y of CPVC. The venture plans to increase capacity to 40,000 t/y in 2016, and possibly to 60,000 t/y in the future.

According to MRC's DataScope 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 into the country increased more significantly - by 230% year on year to 48,500 tonnes.

The Lubrizol Corporation, a Berkshire Hathaway company, is an innovative specialty chemical company that apart from its production develops and supplies technologies to customers in the global transportation, industrial and consumer markets. Lubrizol"s advanced polymer technology delivers exceptional performance for the plumbing, fire sprinkler, industrial and other building and construction related applications. Lubrizol is providing innovative solutions for its customers" high-performance application needs and remains committed to ongoing investment in its CPVC capabilities that support future growth.

Russian HDPE market: results of 2019

MOSCOW (MRC) - This year was quite difficult for the Russian market of high density polyethylene (HDPE). HDPE market was oversupplied over the year. Autumn scheduled maintenances of the two largest producers did not affect the balance of the market; the last two months of the year were remembered for a dynamic reduction in prices, said MRC analysts.

2019 was atypical for the HDPE market and rather complicated over the past few years. Excess imports put significant pressure in the first half of the year in the Russian market, as a result of which HDPE was constantly getting cheaper after the record price level that was reached in October 2018. The seasonal factor led to a stronger demand in the summer months and a slight increase in prices.

September shutdowns for repairs of the two largest producers - Stavrolen and Kazanorgsintez did not lead to a shortage, and had only a short-term affect on prices. The oversupply led to lower prices since October, while the dynamics of falling prices intensified in November - December.

2020 will be even more difficult due to the launch of a new production in Tobolsk. The availability of HDPE in the Russian market exceeded demand by 10-12% in the first half of the year, which was mainly due to the growth in imports.

Imports grew by 40% in January - June 2019 compared to the same period a year earlier. The main increase in the imports accounted for for raffia from Central Asia.

It is worth noting that the volume of imports could be even greater if the new plant in Turkmenistan - the Kiyanlynsky Polymer Plant (annual capacity of 386,000 tonnes) worked stably. HDPE prices were on average at Rb110,000/tonne CPT Moscow, including VAT in the Russian market in January for blow moulding and film polyethylene.

And under the pressure of excess supply, polyethylene prices fell to Rb100,000/tonne CPT Moscow, including VAT and below in y July.
Prices stabilised in the polyethylene market in summer, and the market itself was already more or less balanced in terms of supply and demand.
Moreover, Gazprom neftekhim Salavat shut its facilities for lengthy repairs in July, and some market participants began to prepare for September, when Stavrolen and Kazanorgsintez, with a total capacity exceeding 800,000 tonnes per year, stopped their facilities for lengthy repairs.

The shutdown of the two largest Russian manufacturers in September led to short-term price increases, but it did not led to a shortage.
Some consumers built up additional stocks of HDPE in the period of scheduled maintenances, but to a greater extent the lack of Russian polyethylene was offset by record volumes of imports since 2012.

External deliveries exceeded 30,000 tonnes in July - November, with the exception of October. With the end of turnarounds at domestic manufacturers in mid-October, prices began to go down under the pressure of an increase in HDPE supply.

The dynamics of lower prices for polyethylene increased in November - December. Prices fell below the level of 2018.

It is also worth noting that a new plant, ZapSibNeftekhim, with a total capacity of 1.5 mln tonnes per year, began to produce HDPE in test mode in November. The debut of the new producer was with the production of injection moulding HDPE.

The appearance of natural pipe polyethylene is expected in the first quarter of 2020. In fact, the new producer in its rated capacity exceeds the total capabilities of the existing four manufacturers. There will be a complete reformatting of the Russian HDPE market in 2020, taking into account new realities and doubling of capacities with an increase in demand by 3-5% per year.


Changzhou New Solar took off-stream SM plant in China

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Changzhou New Solar Chemical has shut its No. 1 styrene monomer (SM) plant owing to technical issues, according to Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in China informed that the company has halted operations at the plant on December 26, 2019. The plant is likely to remain shut till mid-January, 2019.

Located at Changzhou city, Jiangsu province in China, the No. 1 SM plant has a production capacity of 350,000 mt/year.

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

According to MRC's DataScope report, 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. 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.

Changzhou New Solar Chemical Co., Ltd. was founded in 2007. The company's scope of activity includes the production of petrochemical products.