LyondellBasell offers helping hand with Huntsman Corporation in fight against COVID-19

MOSCOW (MRC) -- To further aid in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, LyondellBasell (LBI) donated a key ingredient to Huntsman Corporation to produce hand sanitizer for US first responders, as per LBI's press release.

Huntsman recently delivered a 5-ton shipment of hand sanitizer to Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) and the associated medical facilities at the University of Utah to help protect healthcare workers treating COVID-19 patients.

Huntsman approached LyondellBasell to request a shipment of isopropyl alcohol (IPA), which is a key ingredient in hand sanitizer. Knowing that the request was to assist with first responders at HCI and the University of Utah, LyondellBasell agreed to donate enough IPA to support the cause.

"This is a critical time where industry players can work hand-in-hand to help safeguard our healthcare workers," said CEO Bob Patel. "We are proud to have played a role in the fight against this pandemic."

Many products that LyondellBasell makes are being used to fight the pandemic. From products that provide filtration in facemasks, to breathable films for protective suits, medical syringes, medical test kits, soaps, disinfectants, and many other products, TeamLYB is on the front lines against the virus.

"We are so grateful to Huntsman Corporation and LyondellBasell for making this donation," said University of Utah President Ruth V. Watkins. "This is an incredible example of how leading companies are stepping up to address vital needs of health providers who are on the front lines of battling the coronavirus pandemic."

We remind that, as MRC reported earlier, in January 2020, Indorama Ventures Public Company Limited (IVL), a global chemical producer, completed its acquisition of Huntsman’s world-class integrated oxides and derivative businesses, including a large flagship site on the US Gulf Coast (USGC) at Port Neches, as well as Chocolate Bayou and Dayton in Texas, Ankleshwar in India, and Botany in Australia, as per IVL's press release.

The acquisition is a profitable and growing end applications business along with unique products and geographical profile among the crowded olefins space. It has a well-integrated assets base with an extensive infrastructure and future expansion possibilities. The area is adjacent to many USGC feedstock suppliers. The cash value of USD2.0 billion makes it the largest acquisition by Indorama Ventures ever and now our capital employed is nicely spread over plastic, chemicals and fibers. The transaction value translates to an EV/EBITDA of ~5.7x and is expected to add substantial synergies to Indorama’s existing 450kta Ethane/Propane Cracker and our 550kta EO/EG. IVL will now be integrated from Ethane to PET as well as the high-margin EO and PO derivative businesses.

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

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 215,390 tonnes in the first month of 2020, up by 23% year on year. Shipments of all grades of high density polyethylene (HDPE) and linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) increased due to higher capacity utilisation at ZapSibNeftekhim. At the same time, 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.

Huntsman Corporation is a publicly traded global manufacturer and marketer of differentiated and specialty chemicals with 2017 revenues of more than USD8 billion. Its chemical products number in the thousands and are sold worldwide to manufacturers serving a broad and diverse range of consumer and industrial end markets. The company operate more than 75 manufacturing, R&D and operations facilities in approximately 30 countries and employ approximately 10,000 associates within its four distinct business divisions.

LyondellBasell is one of the largest plastics, chemicals and refining companies in the world. Driven by its 13,000 employees around the globe, LyondellBasell produces materials and products that are key to advancing solutions to modern challenges like enhancing food safety through lightweight and flexible packaging, protecting the purity of water supplies through stronger and more versatile pipes, and improving the safety, comfort and fuel efficiency of many of the cars and trucks on the road. LyondellBasell sells products into approximately 100 countries and is the world's largest licensor of polyolefin technologies.

Ukraine reduces GPPS and HIPS imports in Jan-Mar 2020 by 12%

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Overall imports of general purpose polystyrene (GPPS) and high impact polystyrene (HIPS) into Ukraine dropped in the first quarter of 2020 by 12% to 5,100 tonnes from 5,700 tonnes a year earlier, according to MRC's DataScope report.

March GPPS and HIPS imports into the country rose by 14% from February: from 1,690 tonnes to 1,920 tonnes. Imports of these grades of material were at 1,790 tonnes in March 2019.

Imports of Russian GPPS and HIPS of Nizhnekamskneftekhim to Ukraine grew in January-March 2020 by 4% year on year to 2,700 tonnes. This figure was at 2,600 tonnes in the first quarter of 2019.

The share of Nizhnekamskneftekhim's material grew to 54% in the overall structure of imports to the Ukrainian market in the first three months of 2020 from 46% in January-March 2019.

Last month's imports of material from Russia decreased by 16% from February to 920 tonnes. The share of Nizhnekamskneftekhim's GPPS and HIPS was 48% in March versus 58% a year ealrier.


Gas leakage injured several people at Taiwan VCM Corporation plant in Linyuan

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Taiwan VCM Corporation has shut its vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) unit in Linyuan, Taiwan following a gas leakage that injured at least ten personnel on the site, reported CommoPlast with reference to market sources.

The initial investigation by The Labour Inspection Office found that accident might be a result of the leakage of residual dichloroethane in the pipeline. The plant was under maintenance when the leakage occurred.

The company has a production capacity of 485,000 tons/year of VCM. Taiwan VCM Corporation supplies its VCM output to China General Plastics Corporation (CGPC), which operates a 220,000 tons/year polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plant in the adjacent location.

Sources believed that the impact on the market could be minimal given the sluggish demand across the Asia region. The downward pressure remain relatively strong in the near term, especially in the absence of Indian buyers.

According to MRC's DataScope report, exports of suspension polyvinyl chloride (SPVC) from Russia totalled 45,600 tonnes in the first three months of 2020, down by 4% year on year. Imports increased, but still remained at a low level. Last month's exports of Russian suspension (excluding shipments to the countries of the Customs Union ) were about 12,500 tonnes, compared to 15,900 tonnes in February. Some producers slightly reduced their exports in March due to weaker demand for resin in foreign markets. Thus, overall exports totalled 45,400 tonnes in the first three months of 2020 versus 47,300 tonnes a year earlier.

Taiwan VCM Corporation, is the first petrochemical company in Taiwan to adopt Ethylene Process to manufacture vinyl chloride monomer (VCM), as raw material for the manufacturing of PVC related products, and 32% industrial grade hydrochloric acid (HCl).

Mitsui Chemicals to construct new plant for cyclic olefin copolymers

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Mitsui Chemicals, Inc. has announced that it will establish a new plant within Osaka Works, Takaishi, Osaka Prefecture, to produce the APEL series of cyclic olefin copolymers, according to Chemical Engineering.

With its major application in smartphone camera lenses, APEL has seen demand driven by a recent trend toward multi-lens cameras in these devices. Mitsui Chemicals is therefore looking to set up a supply system able to deal with this increased demand.

By establishing the new plant, Mitsui Chemicals’ production capacity for APEL will rise by approximately 50%. Construction on the new plant is starting this month and is slated to wrap up in March 2022.

Plans going forward are to further grow Mitsui Chemicals’ APEL business by capturing new demand in applications, such as automotive cameras, head-mounted displays and the medical sector.

Mitsui Chemicals is positioning its Performance Polymers Division - which includes APEL and is focused on ICT - as a growth sector. Through this latest production capacity increase, Mitsui Chemicals expects that it will be able to continue meeting increased demand here for the time being. But to properly respond to further demand growth going forward, Mitsui Chemicals will now begin to also consider its next production increase for the series.

As MRC informed before, Mitsui Chemicals restarted its naphtha cracker in Japan on 11-12 May, 2019, following an unplanned outage. The cracker was shut in end-April, 2019 owing to power failure. Located at Chiba in Japan, the cracker has an ethylene capacity of 600,000 mt/year and propylene capacity of 331,000 mt/year.

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

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 215,390 tonnes in the first month of 2020, up by 23% year on year. Shipments of all grades of high density polyethylene (HDPE) and linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) increased due to higher capacity utilisation at ZapSibNeftekhim. At the same time, 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.

Mitsui Chemicals is a leading manufacturer and supplier of value added specialty chemicals, plastics and materials for the automotive, healthcare, packaging, agricultural, building, and semiconductor and electronics markets. Mitsui Chemicals is a Japanese Chemicals company, a part of the Mitsui conglomerate. The company has a turnover of around 15 billion USD and has business interests in Japan, Europe, China, Southeast Asia and the USA. The company mainly deals in performance materials, petro and basic chemicals and functional polymeric materials.

Bottleneck of fuel tankers grows at Mexico's ports

MOSCOW (MRC) -- More than 20 vessels loaded with fuel have waited a week or more to discharge gasoline, jet fuel, diesel and liquefied petroleum gas at Mexico’s ports, according to Refinitiv Eikon data, as demand craters due to coronavirus-related lockdowns, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Mexico imports most of its fuel and has very limited storage capacity. State oil company Pemex and about a dozen independent importers typically discharge at least two gasoline cargoes per day, mostly coming from the United States.

In January, the United States exported 1.17 million barrels per day (bpd) of refined products to Mexico, in line with the 2019 average, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Pemex, which mostly imports on the spot market, has not declared force majeure over fuel purchases even though gasoline retail demand declined 60% and diesel demand fell 35% in the two first weeks of March, according to the country’s fuel retail association Onexpo.

In total, 56 tankers loaded with fuel are waiting to enter Mexican ports, of which 21 have been in line for more than a week. The total volume contained in the 21 vessels would be at least 4.2 million barrels, enough for about three days of pre-lockdown demand in Mexico.

Pemex did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Most of the vessels waiting to discharge are anchored near Pajaritos, the main port of entry of imported fuel into Mexico. There are also bottlenecks off Manzanillo and Tuxpan ports, according to the data.

Long waiting times for tankers to discharge typically imply the payment of demurrage fees, which are about USD20,000 per day depending on the vessel size, contract terms and freight tariff agreed.

As MRC wrote previously, in 2016, Pemex shut its steam cracker at its Cangrejera complex for maintenance on February 15. The cracker was idle for about 14 days. The conducted repairs at the cracker were a part of planned maintenance.

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

Pemex, Mexican Petroleum, is a Mexican state-owned petroleum company. Pemex has a total asset worth of USD415.75 billion, and is the world's second largest non-publicly listed company by total market value, and Latin America's second largest enterprise by annual revenue as of 2009. Company produces such polymers, as polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), polystyrene (PS).