Hungarrian MOL makes oil, gas discovery offshore Norway

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Hungarian producer MOL announced Wednesday a small oil and gas discovery in the Norwegian North Sea, reported S&P Global.

Preliminary evaluation of the main discovery in license 820S showed recoverable resources of 12 million-71 million barrels of oil equivalent with light oil at API 40 gravity, MOL said.

The discovery was successfully tested producing a combined oil and gas maximum flow rate of 3,463 boe/d due to limited by surface equipment, MOL said.

The main borehole and two sidetracks were drilled in 126 meters of water to a maximum depth of 2,652 meters below sea level. MOL also discovered smaller volumes of oil and gas in several other formations.

Norway, MOL's biggest exploration target, is where the company spent USD58 million across several offshore exploration licenses last year.

The latest discovery was "consistent with MOL's stated strategy of replenishing reserves through a combination of exploration and acquisitions," the company said.

MOL said it will now initiate a commercial feasibility evaluation phase, assessing the need for further appraisal wells, and looking at development options including a timeline for first production.

The 820S license, located 200 km west of Stavanger, is operated by MOL Norge with a 40% working interest, alongside Lundin Norway (40%), Wintershall Dea Norge (10%) and Pandion Energy (10%).

As MRC informed earlier, MOL Petrochemicals Company (formerly known as TVK, part of the MOL Group), the only Hungarian producer of olefins and polyolefins, on 23 September announced force majeure on the supply of polypropylene (PP) from plant No. 4 at the petrochemical complex in Tiszaujvaros (Tiszaujvaros, Hungary).

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, PP shipments to the Russian market were 127,240 tonnes in January 2020, up by 33% year on year. ZapSibNeftekhim's homopolymer PP accounted for the main increase in shipments.

MOL Hungarian Oil and Gas PLC is an integrated oil and gas company. The Company produces crude oil, petroleum products, bitumens, lubricants and natural gas. MOL owns and operates refineries, oil and gas pipelines, service stations, and natural gas storage facilities.

Enterprise to review 2020 capex program, declares distribution

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Enterprise Products Partners says it is reviewing its capital spending program due to the potential impacts of lower commodity prices and demand on customers, according to Seeking Alpha.

Enterprise says it is "evaluating opportunities to reduce or defer capital expenditures, as well as continuing to explore joint venture opportunities with strategic partners."

The company says it will provide specifics to its 2020 capex guidance with its Q1 results due on April 29.

Enterprise also declares a Q1 distribution of USD0.445/unit, a 1.7% increase over its year-ago distribution.

As MRC informed before, Enterprise Products Partners and LyondellBasell Industries said in September 2019 they had executed long-term contracts to support construction of EPD's second propane dehydrogenation plant at the Mont Belvieu, Tex. complex. The decision to build the PDH 2 plant stems from recently executed long-term polymer grade propane (PGP) supply contracts between Enterprise and LyondellBasell Industries N.V.

Besides, we remind that Enterprise Products Partners' Mont Belvieu PDH in Texas restarted from planned maintenance in the first week of December, 2019. The PDH unit went offline for maintenance on November 13, 2019. That day, the company said in a filing with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality that the RAC "B" turbine shut down, which resulted in flaring. The flaring was estimated to last 72 hours. The unit has a capacity of 750,000 mt/year.

Propylene is the main feedstock for the production of polypropylene (PP).

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, PP shipments to the Russian market were 127,240 tonnes in January 2020, up by 33% year on year. ZapSibNeftekhim's homopolymer PP accounted for the main increase in shipments.

Enterprise Products Partners L.P. is an American midstream natural gas and crude oil pipeline company with headquarters in Houston, Texas. It acquired GulfTerra in September 2004. The company ranked No. 105 in the 2018 Fortune 500 list of the largest United States corporations by total revenue

Shandong Jinling restarts No.2 PO unit in China after unscheduled outage

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Shandong Jinling Chemical, has brought on-stream its No.2 propylene oxide (PO) unit following an unplanned shutdown, according to Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in China informed that, the company resumed operations at the unit on March 17, 2020. The unit was shut on February 12, 2020.

Located at Dongying, Shandong province of China, the No. 2 PO unit has a production capacity of 80,000 mt/year.

Propylene is the main feedstock for the production of polypropylene (PP).

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, PP shipments to the Russian market were 127,240 tonnes in January 2020, up by 33% year on year. ZapSibNeftekhim's homopolymer PP accounted for the main increase in shipments.

Shandong Jinling Chemical Co. Ltd. manufactures chemical products. The Company produces and sells methane chloride, aniline, propylene epoxide, and other chlor-alkali products. Shandong Jinling Chemical also produces electricity and steam.

BP Zhuhai shuts No. 3 PTA plant in China for turnaround

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BP Zhuhai, part of BP PLC, has taken off-stream its No. 3 purified terephthalic acid (PTA) plant for a maintenance turnaround, according to Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in China informed that, the company halted operations at the plant on March 14, 2020. The plant is slated to remain off-line for around two weeks.

Located at Zhuhai in China, the No.3 PTA plant has a production capacity of 1.25 million mt/year.

As MRC wrote previously, on July 3, 2015, BP celebrated the official start-up of the Phase 3 PTA plant of Zhuhai Chemical Co., enhancing its position in the PTA market and its long-term commitment in China. BP Zhuhai, in which BP and Zhuhai Port Co. hold an 85% and 15% stake respectively, is the leading Sino-foreign joint venture producing and marketing PTA in China. The completed Phase 3 plant, with a design production capacity of 1.25 million tonnes per year, is the world’s largest single train PTA unit, according to BP.

PTA is used to produce polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which is used in the manufacturing of plastic bottles, films, packaging containers, in the textile and food industries.

As per MRC's ScanPlast report, the estimated consumption of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) in Russia increased in January 2020 by 9% year on year. Totally, Russia recycled 55,390 tonnes of PET chips in January (excluding shipments of Russian material to the countries of the Customs Union). PET chips production in Russian in January 2020 totalled 43,200 tonnes.

BP is one of the world's leading international oil and gas companies, providing its customers with fuel for transportation, energy for heat and light, retail services and petrochemicals products for everyday items

Concerns spread in European markets over demand for PVC due to coronavirus pandemic

MOSCOW (MRC) -- As the coronavirus pandemic intensifies across Europe, resulting in factory closures by major car makers and affecting other PVC consumer segments as well as logistics networks, market sources expressed concerns over demand in the coming weeks and months, which are typically regarded as peak season for the commodity, reported S&P Global.

German car maker BMW group, which has been affected by this week's closures, said global demand in the car market is expected to drop, and the company is responding by adjusting its production well in advance and using a broad spectrum of flexibility tools.

"Today, we will start to shut down production by the end of the week at our car plants in Europe and at plant Rosslyn," a BMW spokeswoman told S&P Global Platts on Wednesday.

"The shutdowns are initially scheduled to last until 19 April 2020 and after that, we will continue as the situation requires."

Fellow German car maker Volkswagen and French Groupe PSA (Peugeot, Citroen, Vauxhall, DS Automobiles) were also among the major automotive producers, having announced temporarily shut downs of most of their European plants beginning this week, in wake of the coronavirus pandemic, market sources said.

The companies were not available to comment on Wednesday.

Adding to growing supply chain disruptions, one PVC producer said, they began to see more difficulties with moving product through borders and ports of the affected countries in Europe, as well as issues with truck transport.

"Minor impact so far: in Italy some customers decided partial closure, Sweden was looking for additional PVC, after Poland closed borders. (However), we are trying to prepare for the deeper impact of course for the coronavirus," the source said.

A converter source meanwhile said although March demand was normal, demand for PVC would definitely be affected in April and due to the virus some of his customers in France were closing operations, and hence they had to reduce production there.

"Plant in Italy is running normally, but in April we will likely see impact there as well," he added.

A trader said, "Potential impact on demand side is not looking like we are reaching a peak in the demand season."

Meanwhile, overall PVC converter demand in Europe is estimated at around 10.2%, according to the latest Plastics Europe data, with overall European converter demand for all plastics distributed at 19.8% in the construction segment, 10.1% in the automotive and 6.2% in the electrical and electronic applications.

Main applications for PVC plastic in the segments above are for pipes, window frames, profiles, floor and wall covering, cable insulation, garden hoses, inflatable pools and other leisure, sports applications.

After stable domestic demand in February, March due to the warmer winter weather, also helped with favorable conditions in the exports market.

But market sources said that from April onwards demand picture was more of a question mark.

While supply of PVC in Europe is still seen balanced due to various planned and unplanned production outages, the recent plunge in crude oil prices and its effect on the PVC feedstocks ethylene could add pressure.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, contrary to the seasonal factor, Russian producers of unmixed PVC have kept a high level of capacity utilisation during two months. Overall PVC output totalled 177,100 tonnes in January-February 2020, up by 5% year on year. February production of unmixed PVC in Russia was 85,400 tonnes from 91,700 tonnes a month earlier, producers Bashkir Soda Company and RusVinyl decreased capacity utilisation. Nevertheless, despite the decline in production last month, the total polymer production in January-February increased to 177,100 tonnes against 169,500 tonnes a year earlier.