Pertamina unexpectedly shut down PP plant in Indonesia on upstream issues

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Pertamina (Persero) PT was forced to take its polypropylene (PP) unit in West Java, Indonesia off-line last weekend following an unspecified technical glitch at the upstream RFCC unit that causes a disruption of the propylene feeds, reported CommoPlast with reference to market sources.

It is expected that the PP line would remain shut for about 12 days.

The RFCC unit produces 45,000 tons of propylene annually while the PP plant has a capacity of 45,000 tons/year.

“Due to the technical difficulties, the producer has to reduce the contract allocation to local buyers. This might continue to support the current firming trend into July,” a distributor added.

As MRC informed earlier, in May 2016, PT Pertamina and Russia’s Rosneft OAO signed a cooperation agreement that includes a plan to build a new oil refinery in the Southeast Asian nation. Pertamina, which hasn't built a new refinery since 1997, will be the majority shareholder in the facility at Tuban, East Java. The two companies may invest USD12 billion to USD13 billion in the refinery project which includes a petrochemical unit, Dwi Soetjipto, president director of Pertamina, told a press conference after signing the accord.

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.

Pertamina is an Indonesian state-owned oil and natural gas corporation based in Jakarta. It was created in August 1968 by the merger of Pertamin (established 1961) and Permina (established 1957). Pertamina is the world's largest producer and exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG).

COVID-19 - News digest as of 30.06.2020

1. Saudi Polymers to permanently shut down PS complex

MOSCOW (MRC) -- National Petrochemical Co. (Petrochem) said that the board of directors of its subsidiary, Saudi Polymers Co., decided to shut down the polystyrene unit and amortize its value, due to difficulties in achieving profits amid the global polystyrene market conditions, said Argaam. The company expected this process to have an impact of up to SAR 277 million on its financial statements for Q2 2020.


Grand Resource to shut No. 1 PP unit for maintenance

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Dongguan Grand Resource Science and Technology Co Ltd (JuZhengYuan) is planning to shut its No. 1 polypropylene (PP) plant for scheduled maintenance on 10 July, 2020, according to CommoPlast with reference to market sources.

Based in Dongguan, China, the company has a propane dehydrogenation (PDH) plant with production capacity of 600,000 tons/year and two PP plants with a combined production capacity of 600,000 tons/year.

As MRC wrote before, Dongguan Grand Resource Science and Technology Co Ltd restarted its No.2 PP plant on January 16, 2020, following a turnaround. The plant was shut for maintenance on January 6, 2019.

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.

Dongguan Grand Resource Science and Technology Co Ltd is owned by Juzhengyuan Energy (Shenzhen, Guangdong, China). On 26 October 2019, Dongguan Grand Resource’s (Dongguan, Guangdong, China) integrated complex for polypropylene production in Dongguan officially started up.

Zhejiang Petrochemical to produce on-spec material at new ACN plant in China this week

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Zhejiang Petrochemical Co Ltd is poised to produce on specification material at its new acrylonitrile (ACN) plant plant this week, reported S&P Global.

The company started up this plant on 23 June, 2020.

Based in Zhejiang, China, this plant is able to produce 260,000 tons/year of ACN. Initially, the company planned to begin operations at this production in early May, but then postponed the start to the second half of May. Zhejiang Petrochemical last announced mid-June to be the start.

As MRC informed earlier, Zhejiang Petrochemical Co Ltd started up its ethylene cracker in late December 2019 and its polyolefin plants in late December 2019-January 2020.

Market sources reported then that one of its polypropylene (PP) plant with capacity of 450,000 tons/year started up by 30 December 2019, followed by another line with same capacity by 15 January 2020.

Meanwhile its 450,000 tons/year of linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) and 300,000 tons/year of high density polyethylene (HDPE) were launched around similar time with PP plants.

ACN is the main feedstock for the production of acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS).

According to MRC's DataScope report, overall ABS imports to the Russian market increased in the first four months of 2020 by 5% year on year to 10,900 tonnes. This figure was at 10,400 tonnes in January-April 2019. April imports of material to the Russian Federation rose by 5% to 3,300 tonnes from 3,100 tonnes a year earlier. March ABS imports into the country were 2,800 tonnes.

USGC ethylene exports pick up amid stronger Asia pricing

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Ethylene exports from the US Gulf Coast (USGC) are recovering from their recent trough as ethylene prices in Asia and Europe show signs of strength, said Chemweek.

Enterprise Products Partners' new joint-venture ethylene export facility with Navigator Gas has sent out its first cargo since the start of April, headed for Europe. PetroChem Wire data show total ethylene exports from the two facilities in Houston dipped to 23,000 metric tons (mt) during April, compared with 44,000 mt in March.

Volumes are poised to recover respectively to 27,000 mt and 42,500 mt during May and June, based on preliminary PetroChem Wire vessel tracking. The Enterprise facility accounts for almost all of the increased volumes, these data show. Shipbroker fixture reports corroborate an uptick in cargo activity as well.

The US Gulf Coast is awash with ethylene supply despite reduced operating rates at many steam crackers. While some companies have disclosed operating rates as low as 70–80%, overall Gulf Coast cracker utilization is estimated around 85% at present.

US ethylene has had the lowest price in the world for many months. Ethylene prices in those two markets are also in recovery mode.

The cavern in Mont Belvieu, 20 miles northeast of Morgan's Point, has a capacity of 600 million lbs. Enterprise has designed the system "to serve as an open market storage and trading hub for the ethylene industry through storage, connections to multiple ethylene pipelines and high-capacity export capabilities," according to a previous announcement.

A Europe-headquartered chemical producer is believed to have a term agreement at the new terminal, lifting one cargo per month.

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.