Hualu Hengsheng shut MEG plant in China for turnaround

MOSCOW (MRC) -- China's Hualu Hengsheng has shut its monoethylene glycol (MEG) unit for maintenance in the week beginning August 9, a source close to the matter said to S&P Global.

The turnaround at this plant with a production capacity of 500,000 mt/year is expected to last for 20 days.

As MRC reported earlier, another Chinese major petrochemical producer - Xinjiang Tianye - conducted maintenance works at its MEG plant from mid-May to mid-June, 2020. Located In Xinjiang, China, the plant has a production capacity of 350,000 mt/year.

MEG is one of the main feedstocks for the production of polyethylene terephthalate (PET).

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PET consumption totalled 367,720 tonnes in the first six months of 2020, up by 19% year on year. Russian companies processed 62,910 tonnes in June.

Saudi Aramco says reorganizing downstream business to support growth

MOSCOW (MRC) -- State energy giant Saudi Aramco said in July that it will be reorganizing its downstream business to support its global growth strategy, aiming to complete it by the end of this year, reported Reuters.

The downstream model will be divided into four units: fuels including refining, trading, retail and lubes; chemicals; power; and pipelines, distribution and terminals, Aramco said in a statement.

“This reorganisation is designed to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of Aramco’s existing downstream assets, but does not represent a fundamental change in the overall business structure,” Aramco said.

Aramco, the world’s biggest oil producing company, is expanding its downstream, or refining and marketing, business globally. It pumps around 8.5 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude, of which it exports about 6 million bpd.

The company plans to raise its refining capacity - inside Saudi Arabia and abroad - to 8-10 million bpd, from around 5 million bpd now. Aramco is expanding its refining business at home as well as in new markets, particularly in Asia.

As MRC wrote before, in June, Aramco completed its purchase of a 70% stake in SABIC, the world’s fourth-largest petrochemicals company, from for USD69.1 billion.

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

According to MRC's DataScope report, PE imports to Russia dropped in January-June 2020 by 7% year on year to 328,000 tonnes. High density polyethylene (HDPE) accounted for the main decrease in imports. At the same time, PP imports into Russia rose in the first six months of 2020 by 21% year on year to 105,300 tonnes. Propylene homopolymer (homopolymer PP) accounted for the main increase in imports.

Saudi Aramco, officially the Saudi Arabian Oil Company, is a Saudi Arabian national oil and natural gas company based in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Saudi Aramco"s value has been estimated at up to USD10 trillion in the Financial Times, making it the world"s most valuable company. Saudi Aramco has both the largest proven crude oil reserves, at more than 260 billion barrels, and largest daily oil production.

Agilyx, TechnipFMC to collaborate on styrene production process using recycled PS

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Agilyx (Tigard, Oregon) and TechnipFMC say they have recently agreed to collaborate exclusively on the joint development of a process to purify styrene oil into high-purity styrene, reported Chemweek.

The collaboration is the result of over a year of evaluation, and the desire of both companies to expand their energy transition and circular economy offerings, Agilyx says. The aim is to “enable a new production path of styrene via post-use polystyrene (PS) products,” it says.

The developed purification process will bolt on to Agilyx’s existing depolymerization technology and accelerate the presence of recycled styrene and recycled PS in the market, according to the company. The recycled styrene is expected to retain “all of the properties and functionality of traditionally manufactured styrene,” it says.

“We view this collaboration as an important step to meet the increasing demand for recycled content in plastic products,” says Joe Vaillancourt, Agilyx CEO. “Demand for recycled content is increasing globally driven by legislation as well as sustainability goals by major brand owners. We are excited to work with TechnipFMC, a company focused on advancing sustainable technologies and increasing plastic recovery.”

The linkup with Agilyx “fully aligns with a strategic objective of TechnipFMC and its Technip Energies segment to bring sustainable process technologies to the marketplace by developing circular economy technology for a major plastic used widely throughout the world,” says Stan Knez, president/process technology at TechnipFMC.

As MRC informed before, in June, 2020, TechnipFMC and Clariant Catalysts 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). 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.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated consumption of PS and styrene plastics was 225,870 tonnes in the first half of 2020, down by 8% year on year. PS consumption in the Russian market increased by 2% year on year in June 2020, totalling 39,590 tonnes.

Odebrecht seeks to sell stake in Braskem

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Construction company Odebrecht has begun the initial process to sell up to all of its shares in Braskem, said Reuters.

Creditors of Brazil’s Odebrecht SA are in advanced talks to let the corruption-ensnared conglomerate keep its crown jewel asset, listed petrochemical company Braskem SA, for another two years, retreating from their prior demand for a quick sale, two sources with knowledge of the matter said.

In a further victory for Odebrecht, which is trying to restructure 51 billion reais (USD12.2 billion) in debt, its bank creditors will let it keep receiving most of Braskem’s dividends - now virtually Odebrecht’s sole revenue source - during that period.

The engineering and construction company, implicated in a series of graft scandals across Latin America, will submit its debt proposal to a creditors’ meeting on Wednesday, but representatives of creditors whose debt is secured by Braskem shares have informally agreed to it, the sources added, asking for anonymity to disclose private talks. Still, a final decision depends on approval by the banks’ internal loan committees, the sources added.

Odebrecht and the bank creditors did not immediately respond to requests for comments.

Under Odebrecht’s proposal, none of its outstanding debt would be repaid during a 24-month period during which the banks would also concede nearly 80% of Braskem’s dividends to Odebrecht, the sources said. After that period, banks could potentially agree on extending the standstill period for another 12 months.

For its part, Odebrecht would be required to give up any questioning in Justice of the right of banks to take possession or sell shares in Braskem, the group’s crown jewel.

Earlier this year, Odebrecht argued in bankruptcy court the Braskem stake was an essential asset that could not be sold. Although the plan falls short of banks’ expectations, it is a temporary solution to avoid a fire-sale of Braskem. Loans from leading banks such as Banco do Brasil, Itau Unibanco Holding SA, Banco Bradesco SA, Banco Santander Brasil SA and development bank BNDES are secured by Braskem shares.

If the banks sold Odebrecht’s stake in Braskem at current market prices, it would barely cover the group’s 12.6 billion reais in debt with these creditors. Shares in Braskem are down more than 38% this year.

The petrochemical company may have to pay for relocation of thousands of people in the northeastern Brazilian city of Maceio due to environmental damage caused by its mining activities near the city. It is unclear yet how much it will cost the company.

LyondellBasell Industries broke off talks to acquire Braskem last June.

On Monday, Odebrecht’s lawyers were still analyzing a decision by an appeal court in a request by state-owned lender Caixa Economica Federal requiring that creditors vote on the consolidation of debts of more than 20 companies controlled by the conglomerate. It was not clear how it may impact the group’s restructuring plan.

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

According to MRC's DataScope report, PE imports to Russia dropped in January-June 2020 by 7% year on year to 328,000 tonnes. High density polyethylene (HDPE) accounted for the main decrease in imports. At the same time, PP imports into Russia rose in the first six months of 2020 by 21% year on year to 105,300 tonnes. Propylene homopolymer (homopolymer PP) accounted for the main increase in imports.

Worley set to service Cheniere LNG Corpus Christi facility

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Worley has been awarded a master services agreement (MSA) to provide civil, structural, mechanical, I&E, HVAC and marine construction services at Cheniere LNG’s Corpus Christi liquefaction facility, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Cheniere LNG is the second largest LNG operator in the world. The Corpus Christi facility in South Texas is the first greenfield LNG export facility in the U.S. lower 48. Its location places it near some of the most abundant oil and gas producing regions in the US.

Trains 1 and 2 are operational. Train 3 is under construction and is expected to be completed in 2021. When complete, the facility will include three liquefaction trains with an expected capacity of up to 13.5 million tons per year (MMtpy) of LNG.

Worley recently supported Cheniere with project and operations standards development to maintain and improve all Cheniere assets. Under this new MSA, Worley will provide a nested, on-site team to execute small capital construction projects for the Corpus Christi facility.

Natural gas plays an important role in the transition to cleaner, lower carbon energy. For more than two decades, Worley has been embedded within LNG facilities globally delivering small capital project programs, providing operations advisory, and maintenance services for LNG producers.

This unique expertise and deep LNG domain knowledge translate into reduced costs and risks as facilities become safer, more reliable, and more efficient.

“We are delighted that Cheniere has engaged Worley in this agreement. LNG is an important component of Worley’s Energy Transition strategy and the world’s energy transition journey. As a global professional services company headquartered in Australia, we look forward to supporting Cheniere to deliver on its operational and production targets,” said Chris Ashton, Chief Executive Officer of Worley.