IOC opens centre for developing plastic applications

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOC), the nation''s biggest oil firm, last Thursday opened a new centre at Paradip in Odisha for doing research on applications and products that can be developed from polymers such as personal protective suits and face masks, reported Outlook India.

The Production Application and Development Centre (PADC) has been set up adjacent to the firm''s giant oil refinery and petrochemical complex at Paradip, an official statement said.

Set up an investment of Rs 43 crore, the centre is equipped with 50 latest sophisticated polymer testing and processing equipment to cater to the needs of customers and new investors, it said in a statement.

PADC will act as an incubation centre for new entrepreneur development in and around Odisha in the field of plastics, it said.

"The centre will render assistance to customers and investors in product and application development for polymer finished products such as molded furniture, houseware, woven sacks for packaging cement, fertiliser, healthcare applications like baby diaper, personal protective suit, mask etc," the statement said.

The centre will carry out testing and developmental activities for investors of Paradeep Plastic Park and other clusters like Balasore and Khurda.

It will impart requisite product and process training to the prospective and budding investors including hand holding activities for plant set-up, selection of machinery and material.

"PADC will provide quality assurance, complaint handling, customer support, benchmarking studies, new and niche grade development and application development activities," it said.

The centre was inaugurated by Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik through a video conference.

Speaking on the occasion, Pradhan said the state holds immense potential in petrochemicals, steel, mines and coal, aluminium, tourism, textile, agri entrepreneurship.

"The world class facility inaugurated today will ensure availability of raw material, facilitate entrepreneurs in the petrochemicals sector and provide training to the prospective and budding investors," he said.

Patnaik said the centre will not only perform a pivotal role in developing new material and innovative applications, but also help investors to set up manufacturing units in plastic and polymers sectors.

IOC has been acting as an anchor in development of plastics and polymer industry in the state, and the new Centre will further support the innovation and entrepreneurship in the area, he added.

As MRC informed earlier, LyondellBasell, the world’s largest licensor of polyolefin technologies, has recently announced that Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. (IOCL) will use the LyondellBasell Spheripol technology for a new facility. The process technology will be used for a 450 KTA polypropylene (PP) plant to be built in Panipat, Haryana State, India.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated polyethylene (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.

Indian Oil Corporation Limited, or IndianOil, is an Indian state-owned oil and gas corporation with its headquarters in New Delhi, India.

BASF working toward circularity in recycling of mattresses

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BASF has developed a chemical recycling process for used mattresses and is starting pilot tests at the Schwarzheide site in Brandenburg, Germany, said the company.

The materials from old mattresses are to be recycled in such a way that they can be used for the production of new mattresses. "The target is to recover the raw materials with a quality comparable to that of non-recycled/virgin raw materials", says Shankara Keelapandal, Business Management Isocyanates Europe. In doing so, BASF is breaking new ground and responding to the raised expectations regarding sustainability of the foam and mattress industry as well as those of consumers. It is an important step to possibly re-enter post-consumer waste back into product lifecycles.

BASF’s process breaks down the flexible polyurethane and delivers the initially used polyol. From there BASF can produce new foam with a significantly lower carbon footprint, because fewer fossil resources are used. “It makes projects of that nature quite attractive because, while mattresses are easy to collect and to sort out, at the end of their lifecycle they currently end up being either incinerated or in a landfill, explains technical project manager Arno Volkmann. First volumes of the recycled material will be delivered to project partners later this year to develop pilot projects together. "The project is technically complex, but the potential to reduce waste volumes and save resources makes it all worth it" comments Keelapandal.

With the new process, BASF steps up its efforts to increase sustainability and takes one step further toward a circular economy. Aiming to decouple economic growth from the use of finite resources, BASF accelerates the adoption of the circular economy principle into its day-to-day operations. "This is why we develop a solution to closing the loop for soft polyurethane foam with the chemical recycling of mattresses," adds Keelapandal.

We remind that BASF has restarted its No. 1 steam cracker following a maintenance turnaorund. Thus, the company resumed operations at the plant on September 30, 2019. The plant was shut for maintenance in mid-August, 2019. Located at Ludwigshafen in Germany, the No. 1 cracker has an ethylene production capacity of 235,000 mt/year and a propylene production capacity of 125,000 mt/year.

Ethylene and propylene are feedstocks for producing 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.

BASF is the leading chemical company. It produces a wide range of chemicals, for example solvents, amines, resins, glues, electronic-grade chemicals, industrial gases, basic petrochemicals and inorganic chemicals. The most important customers for this segment are the pharmaceutical, construction, textile and automotive industries. BASF generated sales of EUR59 billion in 2019.

Crude settles lower as coronavirus spread hampers recovery

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Crude futures settled slightly lower June 23 as expectations of higher demand stemming from improved economic activity were offset by increases in coronavirus cases, as per S&P Global.

NYMEX August crude settled 36 cents lower at USD40.37/b, while ICE August Brent settled 45 cents lower at USD42.63/b.

In refined products, NYMEX July RBOB settled 81 points higher at USD1.2994/gal, and July ULSD settled at $1.203/gal, down 1.56 cents.

Economic indicators were supportive for the oil complex. Equities and oil climbed early in the session after the White House confirmed that the US-China trade deal was still on.

Also supportive was the IHS Markit Purchasing Managers' Index, which showed a slowing of the US economic downturn in June as states began to lift lockdowns imposed to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

"Despite many firms noting a rebound in client demand, some stated that renewals and requests for new business were historically muted. The rate of contraction nevertheless slowed notably, with manufacturers in particular registering only a fractional decrease," IHS Markit said in a release. "The downturn in new business from abroad also slowed significantly, as clients in key export markets increased their buying activity amid looser lockdown restrictions."

That followed an increase in European PMI readings.

"France's composite PMI rose to a four-month high of 51.3 while the heavyweight economy Germany clocked 45.8, also a four-month high," said Mihir Kapadia, CEO of Sun Global Investments.

However a full quarter of economic data will be needed to assess the full impact of the pandemics, while "as new clusters in Beijing and the US have shown, another peak cannot be ruled out especially during the winter months," Kapadia said.

Crack spreads have strengthened this month as the easing of restrictions is expected to bolster demand for refined products. The August ULSD crack spread against ICE Brent was trading around USD8.56/b late June 23, down from USD9.55/b June 17, but up from USD6.24/b June 1.

The August RBOB crack spread against ICE Brent was trading around USD11.73/b June 23, up from USD7.08/b June 1.

Also, the global crude glut appears to have eased for now, causing the deep contango structure in both NYMEX WTI and ICE Brent to narrow.

According to S&P Global Platts Analytics, global crude inventories at 5.229 billion barrels June 18 were down 55 million barrels on the month. That decline was driven primarily by a drop in crude in transit, rather than onshore or floating crude storage.

Still, the crude structure was looking less bearish, as OPEC and non-OPEC producers have cut output. The ICE front-month Brent crude contract ending June 23 at a roughly USD2.65/b discount to the twelfth-month contract, from a USD15.37/b discount April 21.

An increase in coronavirus cases in some areas threatens the petroleum recovery, although it is unclear that states would impose similar lockdown measures to those seen in April and May even if the pandemic spreads.

US President Donald Trump's coronavirus health advisor, Dr. Anthony Fauci, warned June 23 that states are seeing a "disturbing surge" in infections, according to a CNBC report.

South Korean health officials on June 22 announced that the country was going through a second wave of coronavirus. Initially lauded as a success story, fresh clusters since May have led to warnings that the pandemic would continue for more months.

The World Health Organization said June 22 that coronavirus cases were soaring in major countries, with "worrying increases" in Latin America, especially Brazil.

As MRC informed before, global oil consumption cut by up to a third in Q1 2020. What happens next in the oil market depends on how quickly and completely the global economy emerges from lockdown, and whether the recessionary hit lingers through the rest of this year and into 2021.

Earlier this year, BP said the deadly coronavirus outbreak could cut global oil demand growth by 40 per cent in 2020, putting pressure on Opec producers and Russia to curb supplies to keep prices in check.

We 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 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.

Carbios starts construction in France of demonstration plant for PET recycling

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Green chemistry firm Carbios (St-Beauzire, France) says it has started construction of a plant near Lyon to demonstrate the company’s enzymatic recycling of waste polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastics into monomers for repolymerization into PET, said Chemweek.

The first phase of operations is scheduled to be launched in June 2021, Carbios says. TechnipFMC is providing support and advice for the engineering and construction of the demonstration plant, it says.

Carbios says it aims to generate technical data from the plant that will allow it to “define the main parameters for each step of the enzymatic recycling process, on a sufficient scale to be able to plan the operation of future industrial units.” The goal is to eventually construct a full-scale industrial unit with an estimated production capacity of 50,000–100,000 metric tons/year for a licensee, it says.

The demonstration plant will validate the technical, environmental, and economic performance of the enzymatic recycling technology, with batches of monomers to be produced for technical and regulatory validation of recycled PET by future licensees, it adds.

"The demonstration unit allows us to test different waste streams, and to adapt certain steps of our process to the specification of collection systems," says Antoine Sevenier, industrial development director at Carbios.

The company is already collaborating with companies including L’Oreal, Nestle Waters, PepsiCo, and Suntory Beverage & Food. “Each of these, and many other global multi-national firms, have made ambitious commitments towards sustainable development. This demonstration plant will be a showcase site to validate the economic and technical performance of our process," says Carbios chief operating officer Martin Stephan.

According to MRC's ScanPlast, Russia's PET imports decreased by 35% in April to 11,200 tonnes against 17,400 tonnes in March; last April material imports amounted to 22,900 tonnes. Imports of Chinese injection moulding PET chips in Russia increased by 16% in January-April, compared with the same period a year ago and reached 40,400 tonnes. The same indicator in January-April 2019 amounted to 48,200 tonnes.

NOVA introduces biaxially-oriented PE film technology

MOSCOW (MRC) -- NOVA Chemicals (Calgary, Alberta, Canada) says it has developed a new technology for the production of high-density biaxially-oriented polyethylene (HD-BOPE) films, said Chemweek.

Biaxial orientation extends the physical characteristics of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) films, enabling the manufacture of fully recyclable high-performance film structures without mixing resin types.

“Brand owners and consumers are looking for easy-to-recycle packaging that prevents contamination and extends the shelf life of their products,” explains Alan Schrob, group manager/consumer and industrial films at Nova. “Our HD-BOPE technology provides an additional building block for converters to make recyclable multilayer films that perform as well as traditional mixed-material structures."

HD-BOPE films can be printed before they are laminated to a sealant film made from lower density polyethylene. Nova has been working with Bruckner Maschinenbau (Siegsdorf, Germany), a leading manufacturer of film stretching lines, to accelerate the development and commercialization of the technology. “We have been very pleased with the performance of Nova Chemicals’ products on our equipment and are getting positive feedback from the converters who are making film with it as well,” says Sebastian Ruhland, senior sales manager at Bruckner Maschinenbau. “We believe this technology will open completely new possibilities to provide PE films for 100% monomaterial packaging films as an answer to the recyclability challenges we’re facing."

As MRC informed earlier, Borealis AG and NOVA Chemicals Corporation has announced they have reached an agreement for Borealis to buy NOVA Chemicals’ 50% ownership interest in Novealis Holdings LLC (Novealis). Formed in 2018, Novealis is the joint venture between affiliates of Borealis and NOVA Chemicals, which subsequently formed a 50/50 joint venture with an affiliate of Total S.A. to launch Bayport Polymers LLC (Baystar) in Houston, Texas, US.

As MRC reported earlier, in January 2017, NOVA Chemicals announced the start up of its new world-scale linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) gas phase reactor at its Joffre, Alberta site.

Besides, NOVA Chemicals expanded ethylene production capacity by 20% at its cracker in Corunna, Ontario from the previous capacity of about 839,000 tpy. The expansion occurred between 2014 and 2018 and was part of a wave of expansions and upgrades to NOVA's existing facilities near Sarnia, Ontario. Other upgrades in the plan included a debottlenecking of the Moore low-density polyethylene (LDPE) line and a retrofit of the Moore high-density polyethylene (HDPE) line.

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.

NOVA Chemicals Corporation is a plastics and chemical company headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and is wholly-owned ultimately by Mubadala Investment Company of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.