PP production in Russia rise by 24% in H1 2020

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Russia's overall polypropylene (PP) production grew in first six months of 2020 by 24% year on year to 904,800 tonnes. ZapSibNeftekhim accounted for the main increase in the output, according to MRC's ScanPlast report.

Russian producers reduced their total PP production in June to 149,400 tonnes from 162,900 tonnes a month earlier, ZapSibNeftekhim reduced its capacity utilisation. Russia's overall PP production reached 904,800 tonnes in the first six months of 2020, compared to 732,000 tonnes a year earlier. Four out of eight producers increased their capacity utilisation, with a new producer -ZapSibNeftekhim - accounting for the main increase in the output.

The structure of PP production by plants looked the following way over the stated period.

SIBUR Tobolsk raised its capacity utilisation last month, the plant's production rose to 49,500 tonnes in June versus 38,500 tonnes a month earlier. The Tobolsk plant's overall PP production reached 218,100 tonnes in January-June 2020, down by 13% year on year.

ZapSibNeftekhim, the second Tobolsk manufaturer, produced 20,100 tonnes of PP last month versus 44,100 tonnes in May because of a scheduled shutdown for maintenance. The plant's overall output totalled 202,500 tonnes in the first six months of 2020.

Omsk Poliom increased its capacity utilisation in June, having produced 15,100 tonnes of PP, compared to 14,300 tonnes a month earlier. The Omsk plant's overall PP output was about 94,000 tonnes over the stated period, down by 13% year on year.

Nizhnekamskneftekhim produced 17,900 tonnes of propylene polymers last month versus 19,000 tonnes a month earlier. The Nizhnekamsk plant's overall output of polymer exceeded 110,000 tonnes in the first six months of 2020, compared to 105,900 tonnes a year earlier.

Tomskneftekhim produced 12,700 tonnes of propylene polymers in June versus 13,100 tonnes a month earlier. The Tomsk plant's PP output reached 77,100 tonnes in January-June 2020, up by 3% year on year.

Ufaorgsintez' PP production was about 11,000 tonnes last month versus 9,900 tonnes in May. The Ufa plant's overall output of polymer reached 65,300 tonnes in January-June 2020, down 2% year on year.

Neftekhimiya (Kapotnya) produced over 12,500 tonnes of PP in June, compared to 13,000 tonnes a month earlier. The plant's overall PP output reached 75,100 tonnes in the first six months of 2020, up by 6% year on year.

Stavrolen (Lukoil) produced 10,700 tonnes of propylene polymers last month versus 10,900 tonnes in May. The Budenovsk plant's overall production of propylene polymers exceeded 62,800 tonnes in the first six months of 2020 versus 56,100 tonnes a year earlier.


HDPE production in Russia up by 84% in H1 2020

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Russia's production of high density polyethylene (HDPE) totalled 892,800 tonnes in the first six months of 2020, up by 84% year on year. ZapSibNeftekhim accounted for the main increase in the output, according to MRC's ScanPlast report.
June HDPE production in Russia was 114,400 tonnes, whereas this figure was at 176,400 tonnes a month earlier, the largest producer - ZapSibNeftekhim - shut its production capacities for a scheduled maintenance. Thus, overall HDPE output in the country reached 892,800 tonnes in January-June 2020, compared to 486,400 tonnes a year earlier. All producers raised their output, but ZapSibNeftekhim accounted for the greatest increase.

After the Tobolsk plant, Gazprom neftekhim Salavat and Stavrolen showed good indicators of growth in the output of material over the stated period, these producers increased their HDPE production by 5% and 6%, respectively, to 163,900 tonnes and 64,400 tonnes.

Russia's second largest polyethylene (PE) producer - Kazanorgsintez - accounted for a minimal increase in HDPE production: the output rose to 271,100 tonnes, up by 1% year on year. The growth in production of linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) was the main reason.


Arkema invests in US-based start-up company to develop new composite 3D printing

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Arkema is investing in Continuous Composites, a US-based start-up company that is developing a new method of 3D printing composite materials that could eliminate much of the prohibitive expense that restricts their widespread adoption, said the company.

It did not disclose the size of the investment. Arkema has already signed a joint development agreement with Continuous Composites in September 2019, and the two met several milestones, the French company said.

The two companies have been adapting Arkema's N3xtDimension photocurable resins to Continuous Composites's CF3D process, short for continuous fibre 3D printing. The CF3D process can eliminate much of the time and expense in making composite materials, according to a presentation by Tyler Alvarado, CEO.

Under the process, dry fibre comes off of spools and enters a printer head, where it is impregnated on site with ultraviolet-curable resins. The process eliminates the need for pre-impregnation (pre-preg), removing a large chunk of the expense in making composite materials.

The process can print shapes in free space that can support themselves, Alvarado said in his presentation. This eliminates the need for moulds, which are massive for composite parts made for the aerospace industry. Because the resin is cured by UV light and not by heat, it removes the need for autoclaves, another source of the large costs involved with composites.

Alvarado said the company's CF3D process can print up to 10 feet/second (3 metres/second). Continuous Composites said its technology uses thermoset resins, but it did not provide details beyond that, and it did not say if the process could accommodate thermoplastics.

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.

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.

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.

COVID-19 - News digest as of 28.07.2020

1. Chinese June crude imports from Saudi Arabia, Russia, Brazil hit fresh highs

MOSCOW (MRC) -- China's crude imports from main suppliers Saudi Arabia, Russia and Brazil all hit fresh highs in June, boosting the country's total crude imports to a record high - and almost touching 13 million b/d in a month for the first time, reported S&P Global with reference to General Administration of Customs's data released July 26. Main supplier Saudi Arabia delivered 2.17 million b/d of crude to China in June, edging up 0.2% from the previous record high in May on barrel-per-day basis, while imports from Russia reached 1.95 million b/d, inching closer to the 2 million b/d mark and surpassing the previous high in May of 1.82 million b/d. Fourth-largest supplier Brazil delivered 1.22 million b/d in the month, up 20.9% from the previous record high of 1.01 million b/d last November, the GAC data showed. China's crude imports from US hit an eight-month high of 143,452 b/d in June, despite being down 23.7% year on year. There were no Iranian crude imports in June for the first time since January 2007, when S&P Global Platts began tracking GAC data. China's total crude oil imports surged 34.4% year on year to record high of 12.99 million b/d, or 53.18 million mt, in June as the Chinese buyers who had rushed into the market to secure cheap crudes in late March received their deliveries in the month. Over January-June, crude imports from OPEC+ suppliers rose 7.5% year on year to 8.71 million b/d as members competed to secure outlets in China during the COVID-19 pandemic, the data showed. However, the group's market share in China fell to 80.5% in the first half of the year from 82.3% a year earlier.


Air Liquide signs a long-term power purchase agreement for renewable electricity in Spain

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Air Liquide signs a long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) to source renewable electricity equivalent to 15% of the Group's current consumption for its activities in Spain, said the company.

This contract is the first PPA for renewable energy in Europe and illustrates Air Liquide's commitment to lower its carbon footprint, in line with the Group’s Climate Objectives to increase purchase of renewable electricity by nearly 70% by 2025 (in comparison with 2015).

Thanks to this long-term agreement over 10 years, Air Liquide will be able to use renewable energy sources to supply some of its industrial and medical gas production assets in Spain. The wind farm that will supply Air Liquide with renewable electricity equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of 15,000 households is under development in Andalusia and is scheduled to be operational by 2021.

The wind-generated electricity will save 250,000 tons of CO2 emissions over the term of the agreement. This agreement will expand Air Liquide's offer of low-carbon solutions at competitive prices and give customers the ability to add more renewable content in their end products.

In a context of unprecedented transformation of Europe’s energy system, Air Liquide is accelerating its commitment to take a leading role in the energy transition by supporting the development of renewable resources and a low-carbon economy in Europe.

Francois Jackow, Executive Vice President and a member of the Air Liquide Group’s Executive Committee, said: “Fighting climate change is central to the mission of Air Liquide and we are developing a wide range of solutions. With this long-term commitment we are facilitating the development of renewable infrastructure. This agreement demonstrates our ability to provide our customers with solutions to contribute to CO2 emissions reduction and to lead the way in the energy transition in Europe through concrete actions in line with our Group Climate Objectives."

As MRC informed earlier, Air Liquide has entered into a long-term supply agreement with NLMK Group (Moscow) that will see it invest around EUR100 million (USD114 million) in the steel producer’s site at Lipetsk, Russia, on the construction of a new air separation unit (ASU) and the acquisition of existing hydrogen and rare gases production units.

We remind that Shell Singapore restarted its naphtha cracker in Bukom Island in early December 2019, following a two months maintenance shutdown since the beginning of October 2019. Thus, this cracker was taken off-stream for the turnaround on 1 October 2019. The cracker is able to produce 960,000 tons/year of ethylene and 550,000 tons/year of propylene.

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

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 595,170 tonnes in the first five month of 2020, up by 10% year on year. Deliveries of all ethylene polymers, except for linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE), rose partially because of an increase in capacity utilisation at ZapSibNeftekhim. At the same time, PP shipments to the Russian market was 457,930 tonnes in January-May 2020 (calculated by the formula production minus export plus import). Deliveris of exclusively PP random copolymer increased.