Yangmei Chemical to restart MEG plant in August

MOSCOW (MRC) -- China's Yangmei Chemical will only restart its coal-based monoethylene glycol (MEG) plant in Shenzhou, Hebei province, in August, reported S&P Global.

This plant with the capacity of 220,000 mt/year was shut for maintenance in May, 2020.

As MRC informed earlier, Shandong Yangmei Hengtong Chemical has restarted its methanol-to-olefins (MTO) plant following a maintenance turnaround. The company resumed operations at the plant on May 5, 2020. The plant remained under maintenance for about one month. Located in Shandong province, China, the MTO plant has an ethylene production capacity of 120,000 mt/year and propylene capacity of 180,000 mt/year.

MEG is one of the main feedstocks for the production of polyethylene terephthalate (PET).

As per MRC's ScanPlast report, March estimated PET consumption in Russia was 65,3700 tonnes, up by 1% year on year. Russia's estimated PET consumption decreased in January-March 2020 by 3% year on year to 175,170 tonnes.

Bonnie Tully named President Evonik Corporation

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Bonnie Tully has been named President of Evonik Corporation, effective June 1. As president of Evonik Corporation, Tully is responsible for the North America region, which recorded sales of EUR3 billion in fiscal 2019, said the company.

Tully replaces John Rolando, who is retiring after 33 years with Evonik and its predecessor companies. Prior to becoming president, Bonnie was chief financial officer of the North America region. "Bonnie Tully‘s leadership skills and broad experience within the organization make her the right person to head the North American region as we continue to position Evonik as a world-leading specialty chemical company driven by innovation and sustainability,“ said Ute Wolf, Chief Financial Officer and member of the Executive Board of Evonik Industries AG who is responsible for North America. “I also want to thank John Rolando for his efforts in leading the region through tremendous growth and helping transform Evonik‘s portfolio and culture into the best-in-class organization we know today."

Tully began her career with Rohm & Haas as project engineer in 1996. Between 1998 and 2006 she worked as materials manager and technical manager at Evonik Oil Additives (Rohmax) in Houston, Texas. She subsequently transferred to Singapore to work as plant manager for Oil Additives supporting the Asia-Pacific region. In 2011, Tully became the head of Site Service in Mobile, Ala., Evonik’s largest site in North America, with more than 800 employees.

Tully holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Texas A&M University.

As MRC informed earlier, Evonik joined with other manufacturers in the High Phthalates Panel (HPP), a sector group of the American Chemistry Council (ACC), in a voluntary manufacturer request to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to conduct a broad-based risk evaluation of the uses of DINP. The EPA granted the request in early December 2019, a decision welcomed by Evonik. The EPA’s risk evaluation will be performed using the best available science and weight of scientific evidence. The process will be documented and open for public review and comment.

As MRC informed earlier, Russia's output of products from polymers grew in April 2020 by 11.2% year on year due to quarantine restrictions. However, this figure increased by 3.4% year on year in the first four months of 2020. According to the Russian Federal State Statistics Service, April production of unreinforced and non-combined films decreased to 107,000 tonnes from 110,400 tonnes a month earlier. Output of films products grew in the first four months of 2020 by 12.5% year on year to 402,800 tonnes.

Evonik is one of the world leaders in specialty chemicals. The company is active in more than 100 countries around the world and generated sales of EUR13.1 billion and an operating profit (adjusted EBITDA) of EUR2.15 billion in 2019. Evonik goes far beyond chemistry to create innovative, profitable and sustainable solutions for customers.

Dow and Johnson Matthey license INA technology in China

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Dow, Inc. (Midland, Mich.) and Johnson Matthey (London, U.K.) announced that China-based company, Zibo Qixiang Tengda Chemical Ltd. (QXTD), has selected LP Oxo Technology to produce isononyl alcohol (INA) at its new manufacturing facility, said Chemengonline.

“QXTD will be the first in the industry to take advantage of our process technology for more sustainable INA production,” said Donna Babcock, global business director for Industrial Solutions, a business segment of Dow. “This technology requires a smaller manufacturing footprint and less energy consumption compared to typical INA production processes, without a loss in efficiency and throughput."

INA is often used to make plasticizers of Diisononyl Phthalate (DINP), Diisononyl Adipate (DINA), and Triisononyl Trimellitate (TINTM). Primarily used in the PVC industry, products made using INA can be found in automotive, wire, cable, and conducting applications, among others. Given the evolving health and environmental regulations associated with downstream applications, INA is well positioned to grow above industry average with its unique properties that meet these needs.

"We are happy to have been able to finalize our license agreement despite the impacts of COVID-19”, said Mr. Zhang Jin, Chairman of Cedar Holdings, the parent group of QXTD. “This licensed process will differentiate us in the industry as we are able to bring new INA volume online to enable downstream products with improved health and environmental profiles."

"JM science is put to work every day to enhance lives, create a positive contribution to a cleaner and heathier world, and help keep our economy going. This will be our 56th license of LP OXOSMTechnology in partnership with Dow, building on our current portfolio with our new INA process”, said John Gordon, Managing Director for Johnson Matthey. “We are committed to bringing value to QXTD and look forward to working with them through the design phase and commissioning of this innovative technology."

The plant will be built at QXTD’s integrated petrochemical complex in Zibo City, China and will produce 200,000 metric tons per year (m.t./yr) of INA. The plant operation is expected to come online in 2023.

As MRC informed earlier, in mid-May 2020, USA based Dow Chemical announced plans to shut three polyethylene (PE) plants in the USA and Argentina to avoid piling inventories amid sluggish global demand conditions due to the COVID-19 related lockdown.

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.

The Dow Chemical Company is an American multinational chemical corporation headquartered in Midland, Michigan, United States. Dow is a large producer of plastics, including polystyrene (PS), polyurethane, polyethylene, polypropylene, and synthetic rubber.

Gulf region to suffer worst recession in 2020 due to oil crash, coronavirus

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The six-member Gulf Cooperation Council will suffer from the worst recession ever in 2020 due to the oil price crash and the coronavirus pandemic, the Institute of International Finance said in a report June 2, said S&P Global.

The economy of the energy-exporting GCC region will shrink 4.4% in 2020, with Oman having the worst contraction of 5.3% among the six countries. GCC countries are Saudi Araba, Kuwait, UAE, Oman, Qatar and Bahrain. "Shocked by COVID-19 and the plunge in oil prices, the six GCC states will experience their worst recession in history," said the IIF in the report.

"The depth of the contraction for this year and the speed of the expected recovery in 2021 is subject to a high degree of uncertainty." The IIF is more bearish than the International Monetary Fund, which forecast in April the GCC region's economy would shrink 2.7% in 2020, compared with October's forecast of a 2.5% growth.

The GCC's oil economy will contract the most, by 5.3% in 2020 due to the OPEC+ cuts, the IIF said. "Growth could resume in 2021, supported by the partial easing in oil production cuts and gradual pick-up in private sector non-oil activity," the IIF said.

OPEC+ is currently in the midst of a historic 9.7 million b/d production cut that started in May to help soak up excess supply in the market as coronavirus crippled demand. The 9.7 million cut, which is for May and June, will be followed by gradual easing of curbs through to April 2022.

OPEC+ members are due to meet this week virtually to discuss whether to extend the 9.7 million b/d cut beyond June. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE are OPEC members, while Oman is a member of the non-OPEC states in 23-member coalition of OPEC+.

IIF is estimating that Gulf countries will need lower fiscal breakeven oil prices to balance their budgets because of spending cuts. The fiscal breakeven Brent oil price for Saudi Arabia is USD75/b, Bahrain (USD77/b), Oman (USD80/b), and Qatar (USD54/b) in 2020. "The significant cut in public spending in the six GCC states could more than offset losses stemming from reduced oil exports," the Washington-based institute said.

Despite the region's spending cuts, the GCC's fiscal deficit is forecast to widen to 10.3% of GDP in 2020 from 2.5% in 2019, assuming an average Brent oil price of USD40/b.

"Brent oil prices are expected to remain in a range of $40-$50 a barrel over the medium term, well below the fiscal breakeven oil prices for the six GCC states," the IIF said. "Under such prolonged oil prices, the deficits could remain large despite continued fiscal adjustment." GCC oil revenue is projected to plunge to USD200 billion in 2020 from USD326 billion in 2019, the institute said.

"Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, and the UAE, with large public foreign assets, are better placed to accommodate large deficits than Bahrain and Oman," the IIF said. "While Bahrain can count on financial aid from its neighbors as a cushion against external pressure, Oman is emerging as an increasingly vulnerable spot in the region in light of its mounting debt."

As MRC informed earlier, data collected and tabulated by the American Chemistry Council (ACC) show that with stabilizing activity in China partially offsetting widespread weakness due to COVID-19, global chemicals production fell 1.3 percent in April, an improvement from the 3.3 percent decline in March and 2.1 percent decline in February. During April, chemical production fell in every region. Headline global production was off 5.8 percent year-over-year (Y/Y) on a three-month moving average (3MMA) basis and stood at 110.2 percent of its average 2012 levels.

As MRC informed earlier, Russia's output of products from polymers grew in April 2020 by 11.2% year on year due to quarantine restrictions. However, this figure increased by 3.4% year on year in the first four months of 2020. According to the Russian Federal State Statistics Service, April production of unreinforced and non-combined films decreased to 107,000 tonnes from 110,400 tonnes a month earlier. Output of films products grew in the first four months of 2020 by 12.5% year on year to 402,800 tonnes.

PTTGC, Daelim postpone investment decision on Ohio project

MOSCOW (MRC) -- PTTGC America and Daelim Chemical USA, equal partners in their long-planned PTTDLM petrochemical project in Mead Township, Belmont County, Ohio, have delayed making a final investment decision (FID) on their multi-billion-dollar petrochemical project, originally expected in the middle of 2020, reported CW.

Senior company sources in Bangkok told CW on Monday that the FID is expected to be made either the end of this year or, more likely, next year and it would take five to six years to complete construction of the facilities. This would take the project’s completion date to around 2027-28.

PTT Global Chemical (PTTGC), parent of PTTGC America, first announced plans for the project in 2015. In 2018, Dealim Industrial joined as partner. The companies were hoping to make a FID on the project by the middle of this year. The company tells CW that engineering studies are still being carried out on the project, which would be based on an ethane cracker designed to produce 1.5 million metric tons/year (MMt/y) of ethylene using ethane from the Marcellus and Utica shale deposits. The downstream configuration has not yet been fully decided on but could involve the entire ethylene output being used to make the equivalent amount of high-density and linear low-density polyethylene and/or some of the ethylene also used to make ethylene glycol. Most of the output would be sold on the US market.

The company tells CW that the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the latest forecasts in demand are the main reasons for the delay. PTTGC CEO Kongkrapan Intarajang said recently that the company will review its short and long-term investment plans worldwide based on projects’ costs as well as changes in product demand expected in the post COVID-19 global economy.

PTTGC has reportedly spent about USD100 million on site preparation and engineering studies. Bechtel was last year selected as the engineering, procurement and construction contractor on the project whose initial costs were estimated at USD5-6 billion. The complex would be located on a 500-acre site of a former coal-fired power plant. It would also include on-site railcar and truck loading facilities, supporting utilities, infrastructure, storage tanks and logistics facilities.

As MRC informed earlier, PTT Global Chemical (PTTGC) fully restarted its No. 2 cracker in Map Ta Phut in early March,2020, after a planned turnaround. The company started resuming operations at the cracker by end-February, 2020. The cracker was shut for maintenance on January 20, 2020. Located at Map Ta Phut, Thailand, the No. 2 cracker has an ethylene production capacity of 400,000 mt/year. The company also operates No. 1 cracker at the same site with a capacity of 515,000 tonnes of ethylene and 310,000 tonnes of propylene per year, which was also shut on 23 January, 2020, for a 40-day turnaround.

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

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 721,290 tonnes in the first four month of 2020, up by 4% year on year. Low density polyethylene (LDPE) and linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) shipments grew partially because of the increased capacity utilisation at ZapSibNeftekhim. At the same time, PP shipments to the Russian market totalled 347,440 tonnes in January-April 2020 (calculated by the formula production minus export plus import). Supply exclusively of PP random copolymer increased.

PTT Global Chemical is a leading player in the petrochemical industry and owns several petrochemical facilities with a combined capacity of 8.45 million tonnes a year.