Shintech to restart PVC complex in Texas

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Shintech, a subsidiary of Shin-Etsu Chemical Co. and the largest US polyvinyl chloride (PVC) producer, has an ongoing turnaround at its PVC facility in Freeport, Texas, reported S&P Global with reference to a source familiar with company operations.

The complany plans to end maintenance works at its 1.4 million mt/year PVC complex in Freeport in early May, 2020.

The turnaround was launched in late March, 2020. Previously, market sources had expected the turnaround to occur in March, as is typical, but the source said then that it was planned for April. The planned work had prompted the company to stockpile PVC to meet domestic and contract demand, limiting export volume availability for March and April.

Shintech did not respond to a request for comment.

As MRC informed previously, in July 2018, Shintech began to construct a new integrated plant to PVC from salt. The new plant will be on industrial site developed by Shintech, located next to Shintech's existing plant in Plaquemine, Louisiana.

Shintech obtained permits to build a plant capable of producing 1.9 billion pounds (860 thousand tons) per year of vinyl chloride monomer (VCM), the raw material of PVC, and 660 thousand tons per year of caustic soda, and has commenced construction of the first phase of the plan. The first phase will increase production capacity by 640 million pounds (290 thousand tons) of PVC per year and 270 thousand tons of caustic soda per year. The amount of this investment is expected to be $1.49 billion, which Shintech will fund by itself. Completion of the construction is targeted for the end of 2020. Annual production capacity after the completion of the first phase will be 7.14 billion pounds (3,240 thousand tons per year) of PVC and 1,570 thousand tons of caustic soda per year.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated consumption of unmixed PVC was 249,190 tonnes in January-March 2020, up by 5% year on year. Shipments of emulsion and suspension PVC to the market grew both due to domestic producers and higher imports.

Formosa delays CDU restart, to operate at 80% of capacity in May

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Taiwan’s Formosa Petrochemical Corp has delayed the restart of some refinery units after completing maintenance and planned to process crude at a reduced rate in May, company spokesman KY Lin told Reuters.

The company now plans to restart the No.2 of its three crude distillation units (CDUs) around May 10, after more than a month’s shutdown for scheduled maintenance, he said. The CDU was initially planned for restart around April 20.

The delay was caused by the extended maintenance of one of its two residue desulphurizers (RDSs), he said, which just restarted earlier in May. The RDS was also initially planned for restart around April 20.

After the No.2 CDU unit’s restart, Formosa plans to process 440,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude in May, about 20% below the refinery’s nameplate capacity of 540,000 bpd, he said. Earlier, the company had planned to operate at 480,000 bpd after the maintenance.

The other two CDUs are currently operating at around 85% of capacity, he added.

The company plans to restart one of its two residue fluid catalytic crackers (RFCCs) around May 20 after maintenance, and lower the averaged output of its two RFCCs to 60 percent of capacity, he said. The currently running RCFF is operating at 90% of capacity.

"Because the utilisation rate of RFCCs will be lower, so we may increase the export of low-sulphur fuel oil and decrease the export of gasoline," he said.

The restart dates are subject to changes, Lin added.

Formosa operates three CDUs with a capacity of 180,000 bpd each, while the capacity of each of its RDS units is 80,000 bpd.

As MRC informed before, Formosa Plastics' new 1.5 million mt/year cracker in Point Comfort, Texas, came online in H1 January, 2020, and was seen ramping up through January.

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

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 557,060 tonnes in the first three month of 2020, up by 7% year on year. High density polyethylene (HDPE) and linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) shipments rose because of the increased capacity utilisation at ZapSibNeftekhim. Demand for LDPE subsided. At the same time, PP shipments to the Russian market was 267,630 tonnes in January-March 2020, down 20% year on year. Homopolymer PP and PP block copolymers accounted for the main decrease in imports.

Formosa Petrochemical is involved primarily in the business of refining crude oil, selling refined petroleum products and producing and selling olefins (including ethylene, propylene, butadiene and BTX) from its naphtha cracking operations. Formosa Petrochemical is also the largest olefins producer in Taiwan and its olefins products are mostly sold to companies within the Formosa Group. Among the company's chemical products are paraxylene (PX), phenyl ethylene, acetone and pure terephthalic acid (PTA). The company"s plastic products include acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) resins, polystyrene (PS), polypropylene (PP) and panlite (PC).

Imports of injection moulding PET to Russia rose by 23% in Q1 2020

MOSCOW (MRC) - Imports of PET chips into Russia increased by 23% in three months of this year compared to the same time a year ago and reached 37,600 tonnes compared to 30,500 tonnes (excluding supplies from Belarus over the past two months), according to MRC's ScanPlast.

Russia's PET imports increased two times to 17,400 tonnes in March against 7,300 tonnes in February; last March PET imports amounted to 11,900 tonnes. Imports of Chinese injection moulding PET chips in Russia increased by 10% in Jan-March, compared with the same period a year ago and reached 29,300 tonnes. The same indicator in January-March 2019 amounted to 26,700 tonnes.

The share of bottle PET imports from China since the beginning of the year has decreased compared to the same period of the previous year and amounted to 78% against 88%. The share of Chinese material was 95% (16,500 tonnes) in March versus 85% (6,200 tonnes) a month earlier. This figure was at 9,300 tonnes in March 2019.

Last month, the largest number of external deliveries of injection moulding PET chips to the Russian market was at Yisheng and Sinopec producers - 8,600 tonnes and 3,300 tonnes, respectively. The top 5 Chinese suppliers this year are as follows: Yisheng delivered 13,500 tonnes of injection moulding PET chips, Jiangsu - 6,000 tonnes, Sinopec - 2,600 tonnes, Indorama - 2,600 tonnes, Dragon - 730 tonnes.

The share of Lithuanian PET produced by Neo Group in January - March of this year significantly increased and amounted to 25% (4,400 tonnes) compared to 13% (1,500 tonnes) in the same period in 2019.


Shenhua Ningxia to conduct maintenance at PE plant in May

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Shenhua Ningxia Coal Industry (SNCG), a subsidiary of Shenhua Group, one of the largest petrochemical producers in China, is likely to undertake a planned maintenance at the polyethylene (PE) plant in May 2020, according to Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in China informed that, the company has planned to shut the plant in May 2020 for a period of around 6-7 weeks. The exact date of the shutdown could not be ascertained.

Located at Ningxia, China, the PE plant has a production capacity of 450,000 mt/year.

As MRC reported previously, SNCG brought on-stream its linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) plant on January 19, 2019, following an unplanned outage. The unit remained off-line for around one week owing to technical issues. Located at Ningxia province of China, the plant has a production capacity of 450,000 mt/year.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, March LLDPE shipments in Russia grew to 36,790 tonnes from 25,690 tonnes a month earlier, production increased. Russia's overall LLDPE shipments totalled 110,000 tonnes in the first three months of 2020, up by 11% year on year. SabSibNeftekhim accounted for the main increase in shipments.

Shenhua Ningxia Coal Industry Group Co., Ltd. engages in coal mining and washing, coal deep processing, coal chemical industry, electric power, real estate, and other businesses.

BP donates jet fuel in U.S. to help with COVID-19 relief

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BP is donating 3 million gallons of jet fuel to FedEx and Alaska Airlines to help with the distribution of personal protective equipment in the battle against the new coronavirus, said Reuters.

The jet fuel will be supplied from BP’s refinery in Whiting, Indiana and the Cherry Point refinery in Blaine, Washington, BP said in a statement.

It will be delivered to Chicago O’Hare and Seattle-Tacoma International airports. The fuel, equivalent to around 95,000 tonnes of jet fuel, is worth roughly USD15 million, according to Reuters calculations.

It comes at a time when traders are struggling to store huge excess quantities of aviation fuels with global flights dropping sharply in response to coronavirus-linked travel restrictions.

BP is providing free fuel to emergency workers in several countries including Britain, Spain and Turkey.

We also remind that, in September 2019, six world's major petrochemical companies in Flanders, Belgium, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, and the Netherlands (Trilateral Region) announced the creation of a consortium to jointly investigate how naphtha or gas steam crackers could be operated using renewable electricity instead of fossil fuels. The Cracker of the Future consortium, which includes BASF, Borealis, BP, LyondellBasell, SABIC and Total, aims to produce base chemicals while also significantly reducing carbon emissions. The companies agreed to invest in R&D and knowledge sharing as they assess the possibility of transitioning their base chemical production to renewable electricity.

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

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 383,760 tonnes in the first two month of 2020, up by 14% year on year. High density polyethylene (HDPE) and linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) shipments increased due to the increased capacity utilisation at ZapSibNeftekhim. At the same time, PP shipments to the Russian market were 192,760 tonnes in January-February 2020, down by 6% year on year. Homopolymer PP accounted for the main decrease in imports.

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.