PP imports to Belarus grew by 6.1% in Jan-Apr 2020

MOSCOW (MRC) - Imports of polypropylene (PP) into Belarus increased to about 36,200 tonnes in first five months of this year, up 6.1% year on year, compared to the same period of 2019. All grades of propylene polymers accounted for the increase in demand, according to a MRC's DataScope report.

April PP imports to Belarus amounted to about 9,200 tonnes, a month earlier, this figure exceeded 9,600 tonnes. Overall imports of propylene polymers reached 36,200 tonnes in January-April 2020, compared to 34,100 tonnes a year earlier, demand for all PP grades increased, with homopolymer of propylene (homopolymer PP) accounting for the greatest growth.

The structure of PP imports by grades looked the following way over the stated period.

April imports of homopolymer PP reached 6,200 tonnes versus 6,900 tonnes a month earlier, purchasing of injection moulding homopolymer PP decreased in Russia under the pressure of quarantine restrictions. Overall imports of homopolymer PP reached 25,600 tonnes in the first five months of 2020, up by 6.6% year on year.

April imports of propylene copolymers to Belarus were 3,000 tonnes versus 2,600 tonnes a month earlier, local companies increased their procurement of injection moulding PP PP block copolymers from Russian producers. Thus, overall imports of propylene copolymers reached 10,600 tonnes over the stated period, up by 4.9% year on year.


PE imports to Ukraine up by 1% in Jan-May 2020

MOSCOW (MRC) - Imports of polyethylene (PE) into Ukraine increased to about 112,700 tonnes in the first five months of 2020, up 1% compared to the same period of 2019. The greatest increase in demand occurred for high density polyethylene (HDPE), according to MRC DataScope.

Last month's PE imports to Ukraine shrank to 21,700 tonnes from 23,400 tonnes in April, local companies increased shipments of all ethylene polymers grades, including due to quarantine and the suspension of some converters. Thus, overall PE imports reached 112,700 tonnes in January-May 2020, compared to 111,300 tonnes a year earlier. HDPE imports increased mainly due to the forced shutdown of Karpatneftekhim in the first quarter of this year, for other types of polyethylene imports decreased.

The supply structure by PE grades looked the following way over the stated period.
Last month's high density polyethylene (HDPE) imports decreased to 7,900 tonnes from 11,100 tonnes, Ukrainian companies significantly decreased their purchasing of film grade PE due to the resumption of the domestic plant. Overall HDPE imports reached 46,600 tonnes in the first five months of 2020 versus 42,000 tonnes a year earlier.

May imports of low-density polyethylene (LDPE) increased to 6,000 tonnes against 5,000 tonnes a month earlier, local companies increased seasonally purchases of LDPE in Russia. Overall LDPE imports reached 31,400 tonnes over the stated period, compared to 31,600 tonnes a year earlier.

Last month's linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) imports were 6,400 tonnes versus 6,400 tonnes in April, with stretch films producers accounting for a decrease in demand. Overall LLDPE imports reached 29,300 tonnes in January-May 2020, compared to 32,400 tonnes a year earlier.

Imports of other PE grades, including ethylene-vinyl-acetate (EVA), totalled 5,400 tonnes over the stated period, compared to 5,500 tonnes a year earlier.


Sadara, Sipchem to supply ethanol for producing hand sanitisers

MOSCOW (MRC) -- In line with their social responsibility towards the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Sadara Chemical Company (Sadara) and Sahara International Petrochemical Company (Sipchem) have partnered to supply high-quality ethanol which is required for the manufacturing of hand sanitisers, according to Process Worldwide.

The ethanol has been provided to local manufacturers free of charge to enable them to produce much-needed hand sanitisers, which in turn were donated to the Ministry of Health for distribution to the healthcare industry throughout the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to combat the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dr. Faisal Al-Faqeer, CEO of Sadara, and Eng. Saleh Bahamdan, CEO of Sipchem, praised the efforts of all teams involved in the project and in the government’s efforts to mitigate the effects of Covid-19. They emphasised that the government has shown wisdom in its efforts to minimise the impact on the Kingdom, its citizens and residents, and they highlighted the fact that as local Saudi companies it is the duty of Sadara and Sipchem and others to contribute to such efforts. This collaboration shows the importance of localising the industry, which has resulted in a fast response to the Kingdom’s demand for this key raw material.

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Due to the sudden shortage of ethanol/isopropanol products in the Kingdom and throughout the world, Sipchem extracted industrial-grade ethanol from its production lines and supplied it to Sadara, which in turn leveraged its high technical capability to purify the ethanol in a temporarily repurposed distillation tower at the Sadara Chemical Complex in Jubail to comply with the Saudi Drug and Food Authorization (SDFA) requirements. The purification process has the capability to produce around 1,600 kilograms (KG) per week of high-quality ethanol, ready for use in hand sanitiser manufacturing. A total of 100,000 KG of high-purity ethanol will be produced to fulfill the local demand.

As MRC wrote earlier, Sadara Basic Services Company cut run rates at 350,000 mt/year low density polyethylene (LDPE) and 750,000 mt/year of high density/linear low density polyethylene (HDPE/LLDPE) swing units, in Jubail by 16%, due to the Saudi oil facility attack that happened on September 14, 2019, which reduced the company's supply of feedstock.

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.

Established in 1999, Saudi International Petrochemical Company (Sipchem) manufactures and markets methanol, butanediol, tetrahydrofuran, acetic acid, acetic anhydride, vinyl acetate monomer. Besides, it has launched several down-stream projects to manufacture ethylene vinyl acetate, low density polyethylene, ethyl acetate, butyl acetate, cross linkable polyethylene, and semi conductive compound that are scheduled to start in 2013.

Sadara Chemical is a USD20 billion petrochemical joint venture between national oil giant Saudi Aramco and Dow Chemical.

Reliance Industries runs two refineries in Jamnagar almost ceaselessly despite lockdown

MOSCOW (MRC) -- India's Reliance Industries Ltd. (RIL) has been running its two refineries almost uninterrupted at its integrated Jamnagar petrochemical complex despite the lockdown, reported S&P Global with reference to company officials' statement.

Besides, Reliance Industries Ltd. has received clearance to raise the capacity of its export-oriented Jamnagar refinery on the west coast of India by 17% to 41 million mt (820,000 b/d).

By 2030, RIL aims to raise its total refining capacity - including its domestic-focused refinery - at Jamnagar to 98.2 million mt/year. Reliance currently is 1.37 million b/d, of it 707,000 b/d for the export and 660,000 b/d domestic. The export one will increase capacity to 820,000 b/d. By 2030, it aims to raise its overall capacity to 1.96 million b/d.

As MRC informed earlier, In August last year, RIL announced initial agreements to sell a 20% stake in the oil-to-chemical business to Saudi Aramco for an asking of USD15 billion. The deal covers all of Reliance’s refining and petrochemicals assets as well as the remainder of stake the firm has in fuel retailing business after selling 49% to BP Plc of UK for Rs 7,000 crore (USD924.2 million).

And in late April 2020, it became known that Saudi Aramco’s plan to buy USD15-billion stake in Reliance Industries hydrocarbon business may not go through due to the rising risk of collapsing oil prices, US-based brokerage Bernstein has warned. The unique combination of excess crude oil global supply, 30% drop in demand due to coronavirus crisis and continuous price fall weighed heavily on Aramco’s investment plans.

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.

Reliance Industries is one of the world's largest producers of polymers. Thus, the company produces among others polypropylene, polyethylene and polyvinyl chloride.

TechnipFMC and Clariant sign joint development agreement

MOSCOW (MRC) -- TechnipFMC and Clariant Catalysts have announced that they have entered into a joint development agreement for the demonstration and commercialisation of Clariant’s new state-of-the-art AcryloMax propylene ammoxidation catalyst for the production of acrylonitrile (ACN), according to Hydrocarbonprocessing.

This new collaboration will bring together Technip Energies’ well-established expertise in fluid bed technologies and process development with Clariant’s longstanding experience and knowledge in the development, manufacturing and supply of catalysts for the petrochemical industry.

AcryloMax supports the profitable and efficient production of acrylonitrile, which is an important intermediate in the value chain of plastics and synthetic fibres for the automotive and textile industries. The agreement is an example of Clariant’s and TechnipFMC’s efforts to develop and commercialise more efficient process technologies and to help customers achieve sustainability targets. Technip Energies’ research centre in Weymouth, Massachusetts, will soon be commissioning a large demonstration reactor to test the technology.

Stan Knez, President of TechnipFMC Process Technology, commented: “We are pleased to collaborate with Clariant Catalysts in this development effort that leverages our synergistic capabilities and continues to bring to market leading technology solutions.”

Stefan Heuser, Senior Vice President & General Manager at Clariant Catalysts, added: “We are delighted to work with TechnipFMC and to contribute our expertise in ammoxidation. For producers of acrylonitrile, this combination of catalyst and process technology know-how will open the door to exciting new opportunities.”

As MRC reported earlier, in May 2020, Clariant’s CATOFIN catalysts was selected by Advanced Global Investment Co. (AGIC), a joint venture between Advanced Petrochemical Company (APC) and SK Group, to build a PDH facility in the Middle East.

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

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, 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.

Clariant AG is a Swiss chemical company and a world leader in the production of specialty chemicals for the textile, printing, mining and metallurgical industries. It is engaged in processing crude oil products in pigments, plastics and paints.