PetroRabigh starts maintenance at phenol and acetone plant in Saudi Arabia

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Saudi Arabia’s Rabigh Refining and Petrochemical (Petro Rabigh)has shut its phenol-acetone plant, according to Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in Saudi Arabia informed that, the company has started turnaround at the plant on February 24, 2020. The plant is expected to remain under maintenance for about one month.

Located at Rabigh in Saudi Arabia, the plant has a phenol capacity of 270,000 mt/year and acetone capacity of 165,000 mt/year.

As MRC wrote previously, Petro Rabigh is planning to shut its low density polyethylene (LDPE) plant in Rabigh, Saudi Arabia for maintenance in late February, 2020. At present the restart dates of this LDPE plant with the capacity of 160,000 tons/year could not be ascertained.

Petro Rabigh also operates No. 1 and 2 linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) units at the same location with a combined capacty of 600,000 tons/year. Besides, the company has here a 300,000 tons/year high density polyethylene (HDPE) unit.

Phenol is one of the main feedstocks for the production of bisphenol A (BPA), which, in its turn, is used for the production of polycarbonate (PC).

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated consumption of PC granules (excluding imports and exports to/from Belarus) totalled 78,500 tonnes in 2019, up by 15% year on year (68,100 tonnes a year earlier).

PetroRabigh, a joint venture between Saudi Aramco and Japan's Sumitomo Chemical, has an annual output capacity of 18 million tonnes of refined products and 2.4 million tonnes of petrochemicals. Thus, the complex currently has a cracker to produce 1.6-million t/y of ethylene, as well as downstream production of polyethylene, polypropylene, propylene oxide, ethylene glycol and butene-1.

Chemical production in Russia up by 3% in January 2020

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Russia's output of chemical products rose in January 2020 by 3% year on year. Last year's production of basic chemicals increased by 3.4% year on year, according to Rosstat's data.
According to the Federal State Statistics Service of the Russian Federation, polymers in primary form accounted for the largest increase in the January output.

281,000 tonnes of ethylene were produced last month, compared to 275,000 tonnes in January 2019 and 264,000 tonnes in December 2019. 2,984,000 tonnes of this olefin were produced in 2019.

Output of benzene were 133,000 tonnes in January 2020, compared to 122,000 tonnes in January 2019 and 132,000 tonnes last December. Overall production of this material reached 1,470,000 tonnes last year.

January production of sodium hydroxide (caustic soda) was 113,000 tonnes (100% of the basic substance) versus 110,000 tonnes in January and December 2019. Overall output of caustic soda totalled about 1,289,000 tonnes in 2019.

January production of mineral fertilizers was 1,923,000 tonnes (in terms of 100% nutrients) versus 2,078,000 tonnes and 1,913,000 tonnes in January and December 2019, respectively. Overall, Russian plants produced 23,588,000 tonnes of fertilizers last year.

Last month's production of polymers in primary form fell to 818,000 tonnes from 681,000 tonnes and 928,000 tonnes in January and December 2019, respectively. Overall output of polymers in primary form totalled 8,759,000 tonnes.

Chemours earnings down on titanium dioxide, fluoroproducts

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The Chemours Company, a global performance chemicals manufacturer reported a fall in revenue for the fourth quarter 2019. Chemours fourth quarter 2019 net sales were USD1.35 billion, a 7.6% fall from prior-year quarter, according to Kemicalinfo.

The company reported a loss of USD317 million in the fourth quarter of 2019 against a profit of USD142 million a year ago.

Results were driven primarily by lower volume in Titanium Technologies and lower volume and price in Fluoroproducts.

Revenues in the Titanium Technologies division were USD610 million, down 8.4% from the prior-year quarter. The decline is attributable to a lower volume of Ti-Pure titanium dioxide.

Revenues in the Fluoroproducts segment fell 5.4% year over year to USD614 million in the reported quarter. The decline is attributable to weakness in the electronics and automotive markets as well as the ongoing impact of illegal imports of HFC refrigerants into the European Union.

Revenues in the Chemical Solutions unit were USD129 million, down roughly 13% year over year. The company saw lower prices in the quarter mainly due to lower raw material prices.

For 2019, Chemours witnessed a loss of USD52 million against a profit of USD995 million recorded in 2018.Revenues for the year declined 16.8% year over year to USD5.53 billion.

As MRC informed before, in December 2019, Chemours announced plans to sell its methylamines and methylamides unit to Belle Chemical, an affiliate of Cornerstone Chemical. The sales price was not disclosed. Thus, Chemours had signed a letter of commitment with Belle Chemical Co. to sell Chemours' methylamines and methylamides business and production facilities at the Belle location. Earlier in 2019, Chemours announced it would stop making methylamines and methylamides at the plant. In 2020, it planned to start dismantling the methylamines operations. Once Belle takes possession of the plant, most of the employees at Belle and others assigned in supporting roles at other locations will become part of Belle, Chemours said. Cornerstone makes acrylonitrile (ACN) and melamine at Fortier, Louisiana.

ACN is a feedstock for the production of acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS).

According to MRC's DataScorpe report, overall ABS imports to the Russian market decreased in 2019 by 4% year on year to 33,700 tonnes. This figure was 35,200 tonnes in January-December 2018. ABS imports to Russia continued to decline for the third month in a row. December ABS imports to Russia fell by 26% month on month to 2,400 tonnes from 3,300 tonnes, imports of material into the country were 2,500 tonnes in December 2018.

Chemours is a global leader in titanium technologies, fluoroproducts and chemical solutions, providing its customers in a wide range of industries with market-defining products, application expertise and chemistry-based innovations. Chemours ingredients are found in plastics and coatings, refrigeration and air conditioning, mining and oil refining operations and general industrial manufacturing. Chemours has approximately 9,000 employees across 37 manufacturing sites serving more than 5,000 customers in North America, Latin America, Asia-Pacific and Europe. Chemours is headquartered in Wilmington, Del.

Nouryon cuts production in China as coronavirus dampens demand

MOSCOW (MRC) -- All Nouryon's (Amsterdam, Netherlandsб formerly known as AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals) production plants in China except one are back in operation following the extended Lunar New Year holiday, but the facilities are running well below capacity because of the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, reported Chemweek with reference to Nouryon CEO Charlie Shaver's statement.

Speaking to CW on Wednesday, Shaver said the company's biggest plants in the country, including its Ningbo facility, are operating at 30–50% of capacity. This is in response to a fall demand in China for the company's products, which is currently at 30–50% of normal levels, he says.

Nouryon's China operations generate about EUR700 million (USD756 million) of the company's approximately EUR5 billion/year in sales. "Most of the products we make in China are sold in China," Shaver says.

Shaver expects the "demand constraints" to continue through March and April. "We may see some rolling effect for a few months," he says. "Supply chains are limiting our operations because we have customers in China whose plants are still down (after the holiday)." Nouryon customers that export from other countries to China are also impacted, Shaver says. Demand for the company's bleaching chemicals has weakened because pulp demand is falling with lower production in China of consumer products such as white goods.

Nouryon, meanwhile, is receiving offers of raw-material products elsewhere in the world from companies that would normally ship those items to China. "There's some downward pressure on pricing of raw materials across the board," Shaver says. "We have noticed in the last week or two that people are offering us products for sale. Some suppliers are offering us lower prices." He sees this as a "temporary dislocation," however. Shaver expects a "hit" from the coronavirus to the company's first-quarter results, but "no material impact" to its full-year earnings.

Nouryon's organic peroxides plant at Tianjin is the faciity that has not restarted. The company is relocating its Tianjin organic peroxides production to a new plant in an industrial park in a EUR90-million project. These plans have been delayed by several months because of the late return of construction workers to the site due to government restrictions, Shaver says. The new plant had originally been due to start up in the second quarter of 2020 with a capacity expansion of 30–70%. The company has not adjusted its overall capital expenditure plans, however, he says.

Nouryon makes organic peroxides at Ningbo as well as Tianjin. The company's other Chinese production sites are at Boxing; Guangzhou; Jiaxing; Songjiang, near Shanghai; Suzhou; and Taixing.

As MRC wrote previously, in February 2019, Nouryon (formerly AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals) announced that it would license its innovative continuous initiator dosing (CiD) technology to Karpatnaftochim, Ukraine’s largest polyvinyl chloride (PVC) producer. Nouryon’s patented CiD technology allows PVC producers to increase reactor output by up to 40 percent, improve product quality, and make the production process intrinsically safer - all with minimum capital expenditure.

Karpatneftekhim is one of the largest enterprises of Ukraine's petrochemical complex. Currently, the plant can produce annually 300,000 tonnes of PVC, 200,000 tonnes of caustic soda, about 180,000 tonnes of chlorine, as well as 250,000 tonnes of ethylene and 100,000 tonnes of polyethylene.

According to ICIS-MRC Price report, Karpatneftekhim increased capacity utilisation in December, total PVC production had increased to 23,550 tonnes against 21,700 tonnes in November. Overall PVC production in the country was 240,400 tonnes in January-December 2019, up by 15% year on year.

Akzo Nobel N.V., trading as AkzoNobel, is a Dutch multinational, active in the fields of decorative paints, performance coatings and specialty chemicals. Headquartered in Amsterdam, the company has activities in more than 80 countries, and employs approximately 55,000 people.

Output of products from polymers in Russia increased by 7.3% in January

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Russia's output of products from polymers grew in January 2020 by 7.3% year on year.
But at the same time, compared to December, it fell by 15.9%, MRC analysts said.

According to the Russian Federal State Statistics Service, January production of unreinforced and non-combined films was 85,500 tonnes, compared to 72,000 tonnes and 100,000 tonnes in January and December a year earlier.
Last year's output of film products was 205,000 tonnes.

Last month's production of boards, sheets and non-porous films rose to 28,400 tonnes versus 24,900 tonnes and 34,400 tonnes in January and December 2019. This figure for the entire 2019 was about 387,000 tonnes.

Last month's production of boards, sheets and non-porous films rose to 18,600 tonnes versus 19,700 tonnes and 24,900 tonnes in January and December 2019. This figure for the entire 2019 was about 277,000 tonnes.

The January production of plastic bottles and bottles fell to 1,551,000 tonnes units, compared to 1,595,000 tonnes units and 1,688,000 tonnes units in January and December 2019. Overall output of these plastic products totalled 20,140,000,000 units last year.

January production of plastic pipes, hoses and fittings reached 40,900 tonnes, compared to 31,700 tonnes and 47,930 tonnes in January 2019 and December 2019, respectively. Overall production of these products totalled 618,000 tonnes in 2019.

The January production of sacks and bags made of ethylene polymers reached the level of 1,883,000 tonnes units against 1,926,000,000 units and 2,210,000,000 units in January and December a year earlier. Overall output of these plastic products totalled 25,628,000,000 units last year.

Last month's production of linoleum and floor coverings was 8,770,000 square metres, compared to 8,720,000 square metres and 8,890,000 square metres in January and December 2019. Overall output of these plastic products totalled 147,360,000 units last year.

The January production of window and door blocks made of plastic reached the level of 2,154 square meters and 62,800 square meters, respectively, against 1,080 square meters and 65,400 square meters in January and 1,956 square meters and 98,900 tonnes square meters in December a year earlier. In 2019, the total volume of production of these plastic products amounted to 24,825 square meters and 1,049 square meters, respectively.