Solvay boosts light stabilizers capacity at West Virginia site

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Solvay’s new high molecular weight (HMW) hindered amine light stabilizer (HALS) capacity is now online, complementing existing HALS production at the Willow Island, West Virginia, USA, site, according to Kemicalinfo.

The facility was designed with the latest improvements in technology to ensure operator safety, reduce impact on the environment, and improve the quality and consistency of Solvay’s HALS products.

"We decided to expand our capacity to better meet the needs of our customers," explained Ning Chen, Vice President, Polymer Additives for Solvay’s Technology Solutions global business unit. "This investment provides peace of mind to our clients, ensuring security of supply and a faster response from Solvay, a technology leader and industry reference in light stabilization. With it, we are well-positioned to continue delivering innovative solutions and growing with our customers."

The core HALS products currently produced at the site are the foundation for the CYNERGY and CYXTRA polymer additives product families that are used to transform polyolefin plastics into advanced polymers for specialty applications in building and construction, agricultural films, and a host of consumer and industrial uses.

Solvay’s specialty HMW HALS technology protects polyolefins against degradation caused by exposure to light and thermal forces, extending the lifetime of plastics in outdoor applications.

As MRC wrote before, in July 2016, Solvay completed the divestment of its shareholding in Inovyn (London), bringing to an end Solvay's chlorvinyls joint venture with Ineos. Inovyn was formed on 1 July 2015 as a jv between Ineos and SolVin, a subsidiary of Solvay. Solvay and Ineos signaled their decision to end their chlorvinyls jv in March 2016.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated consumption of unmixed PVC was 857,450 tonnes in January-November 2019, up 4% year on year. Emulsion and suspension PVC (EPVC and SPVC) markets showed an increase in supplies. November consumption of SPVC (excluding exports to Belarus) decreased to 70,620 tonnes from 71,720 tonnes in October. Some producers reduced PVC production in November, which affected export sales. Overall shipments of suspension to the Russian market totalled 736,570 tonnes in the first eleven months of 2019, up by 3% year on year. Local producers managed to increase suspension output by 3%, whereas exports grew by 24%.

Solvay is an advanced materials and specialty chemicals company, committed to developing chemistry that addresses key societal challenges. Solvay innovates and partners with customers worldwide in many diverse end-markets. Its products are used in planes, cars, batteries, smart and medical devices, as well as in mineral and oil and gas extraction, enhancing efficiency and sustainability. Its lightweighting materials promote cleaner mobility, its formulations optimize the use of resources, and its performance chemicals improve air and water quality. Solvay is headquartered in Brussels with around 24,500 employees in 61 countries. Net sales were EUR10.3 billion in 2018, with 90% from activities where Solvay ranks among the world’s top 3 leaders, resulting in an EBITDA margin of 22%.

Dow Chemical issues order control letter for VAM

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Dow Chemical, the world's petrochemical major, has put order controls in place for vinyl acetate monomer (VAM), reported S&P Global with reference to a letter to US customers obtained Thursday.

The letter dated January 8 said, effective immediately, volumes will be based on previous monthly averages of purchased volumes, or limited to monthly maximum volumes specified in contracts. The letter does not provide details about how long the order control will be in place.

A Dow spokeswoman was not immediately available for comment.

VAM is derived from ethylene and acetic acid, and is a precursor to polyvinyl acetate, which is used to make glue.

Earlier Thursday, market sources said LyondellBasell Acetyls declared force majeure on supplies from its La Porte, Texas, facility.

As MRC informed earlier, in the first week of November 2019, Dow said the Glycol 2 plant at its Plaquemine, Louisiana, facility was in "recovery mode" after a vessel ruptured the morning of 3 November. The company says there were no injuries, nor have any offsite emissions been detected, and other production units at the site continue to run normally. The Glycol 2 plant includes an ethylene oxide production unit and downstream production of isopropanolamines and alkyl alkanolamines, according to a permit issued by the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality.

VAM is the main feedstock for the production of ethylene-vinyl-acetate (EVA).

According to MRC's DataScope report, November EVA imports to Russia dropped by 8,9% year on year to 3,440 tonnes from 3,780 tonnes in November 2018, and overall imports of this grade of ethylene copolymer into the Russian Federation decreased in January-November 2019 by 18,9% year on year to 35,95 tonnes (44,330 tonnes in the first eleven months of 2018).

The Dow Chemical Company is an American multinational chemical corporation headquartered in Midland, Michigan, United States. Dow is a large producer of plastics, including polystyrene (PS), polyurethane, polyethylene, polypropylene, and synthetic rubber.

HDPE production in Russia grew 10% in 2019

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Russia's production of high density polyethylene (HDPE) totalled about 868,000 tonnes in 2019, down by 10% year on year. All manufacturers reduced production volumes, primarily due to long scheduled maintenance works, according to MRC's ScanPlast.

December HDPE production in Russia grew to 72,500 tonnes, whereas this figure was 65,800 tonnes a month earlier. Only Gazprom neftekhim Salavat and Kazanorgsintez raised their output. Thus, overall HDPE production reached 868,500 tonnes in 2019, compared to 960,800 tonnes a year earlier. All manufacturers reduced polyethylene production volumes, while Gazprom Neftekhim Salavat and Stavrolen showed the greatest reductions due to long stops for scheduled repairs.

The structure of polyethylene production by plants looked the following way over the stated period.

Russia's December HDPE production at Kazanorgsintez increased to 40,800 tonnes from 36,600 tonnes a month earlier. The Kazan producer partially shifted its capacities to the production of linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE). The Kazan plant's overall HDPE output reached 495,700 tonnes in January-December 2019, down by 2% year on year. At the same time, it is worth noting that the decrease in the production of HDPE helped to increase LLDPE production.

Stavrolen produced about 20,700 tonnes last month versus 20,400 tonnes in November, the Budenovsk producer limited its production capacities due to restrictions on ethylene production. The plant's overall output reached 262,300 tonnes over the stated period, down by 11% year on year.

Gazprom neftekhim Salavat increased its capacity utilisation in December, the plant's total production grew to 10,400 tonnes from 8,100 tonnes a month earlier. The Bashkir plant's overall HDPE output reached 106,000 tonnes in 2019, down by 11% year on year. Such a great reduction in HDPE production was caused by a long turnaround in July, whereas the Salavat producer did not shut its production capacities for maintenance last year.

In the period under review, Nizhnekamskneftekhim produced mainly linear polyethylene (LLDPE), the volumes of HDPE production was insignificant.


Zagros Petrochemical restarts No. 1 methanol plant

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Zagros Petrochemicals has brought on-stream its No.1 methanol plant following an unplanned outage, as per Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in Iran. informed that the company resumed operations at the plant on December 23, 2019. The plants was shut on December 20, 2019 owing to a technical glitch.

Located in Assaluyeh, Iran, the No. 1 plant has a production capacity of 1.65 million mt/year.

As MRC informed earlier, in August 2019, Haldor Topsoe, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Engineering, and GTM ONE have signed a licence agreement for the design, construction, and operation of a 3000 tpd methanol plant based on Topsoe’s SynCOR MethanolTM technology. The plant will be erected at the Khimprom site in Volgograd, Russia.

EU clears Synthomers takeover of Omnova, subject to conditions

MOSCOW (MRC) -- EU antitrust regulators said they had cleared polymer maker Synthomer Plc’s planned acquisition of U.S. rival Omnova Solutions Inc, subject to conditions, said the Reuters.

The approval is conditional on Synthomer’s offer to divest its global VP Latex business to address concerns of the European Commission that competition of vinyl pyridine latex would be reduced. The product is used by tyre manufacturers to make safer and more solid tyres.

"Synthomer and Omnova are the only two manufacturers of this type of latex in Europe but we can approve their merger because the companies offered to divest all of Synthomer’s VP Latex production," - Margrethe Vestager, commissioner in charge of competition, said in a statement.

Synthomer announced its plans to buy Omnova for an enterprise value of USD824 million in July to strengthen its global position.

As per MRC's ScanPlast, Russia's overall production of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) reached 975,000 tonnes in 2019, up by 2% year on year. At the same time, not all Russian producers raised their output. December total production of unmixed PVC was about 81,400 tonnes versus 84,600 tonnes a month earlier, RusVinyl decreased their capacity utilisation in November. Overall PVC production reached 975,000 tonnes in January-December 2019, compared to 958,600 tonnes a year earlier. All plants raised their output, except for Kaustik Volgograd.

Omnova is a US based specialty chemical company which develops, manufactures and markets emulsion polymers, speciality chemicals and decorative products and provides engineered surfaces for various commercial, industrial and residential end uses. On completion of the acquisition of Omnova, Synthomer will strengthen further its position as a major global player in water-based polymer solutions, with best-in-class process technology and a strong R&D platform with global geographic coverage and increased customer proximity.