PVC imports to Belarus rise by 18% in Jan-Nov 2019

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Imports of unmixed polyvinyl chloride (PVC) into Belarus grew in the first eleven months of 2019 by 18% year on year to 35,400 tonnes, according to MRC's DataScope report.

According to the Statistical Committee of the Republic of Belarus, local converters slightly increased their purchasing of PVC in November 2019, overall imports totalled 3,300 tonnes, compared to 3,000 tonnes a month earlier.

Thus, imports of unmixed PVC reached 35,400 tonnes in January-November 2019, compared to 30,100 tonnes a year earlier, with local windows producers accounting for an increase in demand.

Russian producers with the share of about 83% of the Belarusian market were the key suppliers of resin to Belarus over the stated period. Producers from Ukraine and Germany with the share of 9% and 5%, respectively, were the second and third largest suppliers.


Valero Port Arthur, Texas refinery shuts hydrotreater

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Valero Energy Corp on Saturday shut a diesel hydrotreater at its 335,000 barrel-per-day (BPD) Port Arthur, Texas, refinery, reported Reuters with reference to sources familiar with plant operations.

Also, a hydrocracker remains shut at the refinery for repairs, the sources said.

As MRC informed earlier, Valero Energy Corp restarted the small CDU at its Port Arthur refinery after repairing a valve on 25 September 2019.

And in late October 2019, Valero Energy Corp shut the small crude distillation unit (CDU) at its Port Arthur refinery. The 75,000-bpd AVU 147 CDU was shut to repair a heat exchanger.

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

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 1,904,410 tonnes in the first eleven months of 2019, up by 6% year on year. Shipments of all PE grades increased. PE shipments increased from both domestic producers and foreign suppliers. The PP consumption in the Russian market was 1,161,830 tonnes in January-November 2019, up by 7% year on year. Deliveries of all grades of propylene polymers increased, with the homopolymer PP segment accounting for the largest increase.

PCS brought on-stream No. 2 aromatics unit in Singapore

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Petrochemical Corporation of Singapore (PCS) has restarted its aromatics plant No. 2 following an unplanned outage, according to Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in the Singapore informed that, the company has resumed operations at the plant on January 18, 2020. The plant was shut in end-December, 2019 owing to technical issues.

Located in Ayer Merbau, Jurong Island, Singapore, the plant has a production capacity 168,000 mt/year of benzene, 91,000 mt/year of toluene and 64,000 mt/year of mixed xylene.

As MRC wrote before, in mid-April 2017, PCS shut the smaller of two naphtha crackers following an outage, and the unit was expected to stay offline for about 14 days. The smaller unit produces 465,000 tonnes of ethylene a year. The larger unit, which has a capacity of 635,000 tonnes per year (tpy) of ethylene and 350,000 mt/year of propylene, was operating at maximum capacity at that time.

Benzene is a feedstock for the production of styrene monomer (SM), which, in its turn, is the main feedstock for manufacturing polystyrene (PS).

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated consumption of PS and styrene plastics totalled 458,770 tonnes in the first eleven months of 2019, which corresponds to the previous year's level. November estimated consumption of PS and styrene plastics in the Russian Federation rose by 2% year on year, totalling 49,210 tonnes.
PS production remained in January-November 2019 the same as a year earlier. Russian producers manufactured 471,390 tonnes of material in the first eleven months of 2019.

PCS is jointly owned by Japan-Singapore Petrochemicals Company (led by Sumitomo Chemical), Qatar Petroleum International and Shell Petrochemicals (Singapore).

Ukrainian imports of PP remained in 2019 at the level of 2018

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Ukraine's polypropylene (PP) imports totalled about 132,000 tonnes in 2019, which practically corresponded to the 2018 figure. At the same time, it is worth noting that an increase in deliveries was noted only for PP block copolymers, according to a DataScope report.

December PP imports into Ukraine dropped to 8,600 tonnes from 11,100 tonnes a month earlier, local companies reduced their purchasing of homopolymer of propylene (homopolymer PP) in the Middle East because of a shortage in the domestic market. Overall PP imports reached 132,000 tonnes in 2019 versus 132,300 tonnes a year earlier. The increase in imports accounted for PP block copolymers, while the demand for other propylene polymers remained at the level of 2018.

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

December imports of homopolymer PP to the Ukrainian market fell due to lower purchases in the Middle East under the pressure of surplus in the domestic market and amounted to about 6,300 tonnes against 8,300 tonnes a month earlier. Last year's homopolymer PP imports exceeded 100,200 tonnes, compared to 100,600 tonnes a year earlier.

Last month's imports of block propylene copolymers (PP block copolymers) were 925 tonnes, compared to 1,000 tonnes in November. Imports of PP block copolymers into the country were about 14,000 tonnes in January-December, compared with 13,400 tonnes year on year.

December imports of PP random copolymers fell to 1,300 tonnes compared to 1,600 tonnes a month due to lower demand for pipe polypropylene. Overall PP random copolymers imports reached 16,000 tonnes over the stated period, which corresponded to the last year's figure. Total imports of other propylene copolymers over the reporting period were about 1,900 tonnes, compared with 2,400 tonnes in the same time a year earlier.


Celanese raises January VAM prices in Americas

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Celanese Corporation, a global chemical and specialty materials company, has increased January list and off-list selling prices for Vinyl Acetate Monomer (VAM) sold in the Americas, said the producer on its site.

The price increases below are effective for orders shipped on or after 17 January 2019, or as contracts otherwise allow, and are incremental to any previously announced increases.

Thus, VAM prices rose, as follows:

- by USD0.05/lb - for the USA and Canada;
- by USD125/mt - for Mexico & South America.

As MRC reported earlier, Celanese last raised its VAM prices in the Americas on 24 October 2019, as stated below:

- by USD0.05/lb - for the USA and Canada;
- by USD125/mt - for Mexico & South America.

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).

Celanese Corporation is a global technology leader in the production of differentiated chemistry solutions and specialty materials used in most major industries and consumer applications. Based in Dallas, Celanese employs approximately 7,700 employees worldwide and had 2018 net sales of USD7.2 billion.