Arkema finalizes divestment of functional polyolefins business

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Arkema said today that it has finalized the divestment of its functional polyolefins business to SK Global Chemical, reported Chemweek.

The divestment was announced last year. Arkema says the sale forms part of its strategy to refocus the group’s activities on specialty materials.

With sales of around EUR250 million (USD279.2 million), the functional polyolefins business, which is part of the polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) activity, comprises ethylene copolymers and terpolymers for the food packaging, cable, electronics and coatings markets. The business employs around 100 people in France and has an international sales network of 30 people who will be joining SK Global Chemical, a subsidiary of South-Korean group SK.

Based on an enterprise value of €335 million, this divestment is in line with the group’s strategy to become a pure specialty materials player by 2024, centered around three segments: adhesive solutions, advanced materials and coating solutions. As part of that focus, Arkema will implement different strategies for its intermediates division, consisting of methyl methacrylate (MMA) and PMMA, fluorogases and the acrylics business in Asia.

The company is planning to divest the MMA and PMMA business, explore possible alternatives to minimize its exposure to the most emissive applications of its fluorogases, and rebalance Asia Acrylics between upstream and downstream.

As MRC informed earlier, in October 2019, Arkema successfully brought on stream a new 90,000-ton acrylic acid reactor at its Clear Lake, Texas site to support the growth of its North American customers in the superabsorbents, paints, adhesives and water treatment markets.

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.

Arkema is a global manufacturer in specialty chemicals and advanced materials, with 3 business segments - High Performance Materials, Industrial Specialties, and Coating Solutions - and globally recognized brands. The Group reports annual sales of EUR8.8 billion. Buoyed by the collective energy of its 20,000 employees, Arkema operates in close to 55 countries.

Yantai Wanhua to resume production at propylene unit

MOSCOW (MRC) -- China's Yantai Wanhua is expected to restart its propylene plant on June 10, 2020 after a turnaround, reported S&P Global.

The maintenance works began at this 750,000 mt/year facility around mid-May. Thus, the turnaround will last for approximately 30 days.

As MRC wrote before, China’s top petrochemical maker Wanhua Chemical Group aims to increase LPG imports to about 5.5 million mt in 2020 from 4 million mt last year as it procures feedstock from diversified sources ahead of new projects in Yantai and widens trading activities in Asia.

A 1 million mt/year ethylene integration project - phase two of its petrochemical project in northeast Shandong province - will be the first ethylene cracker to use LPG as feedstock globally and is set for commercial production in the second half of 2020. Together with associated downstream units and a nearby feedstock storage rock cavern with a capacity of 1.2 million cubic meters, the project is costing around Yuan 20 billion.

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.

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.