Mitsubishi Gas Chemical to start maintenance at MMA plant in Japan

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Cos (MGC), is likely to take off-stream its methyl methacrylate (MMA) plant for a turnaround, as per Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in Japan informed that, the company is likely to halt operations at the plant on August 24, 2020. The plant is expected to remain off-line for about two months.

Located at Niigata in Japan, the MMA plant has a production capacity of 40,000 mt/year.

We remind that, as MRC reported before, Rohm (Darmstadt, Germany) says it will shut down its MMA plant at Worms, Germany, for over three weeks in September for planned maintenance. The plant will be closed on 7–30 September. Located in Worms, Germany, the plant has a production capacity of 225,000 mt/year.

The principal application, consuming approximately 75% of the MMA, is the manufacture of polymethyl methacrylate acrylic plastics (PMMA). Methyl methacrylate is also used for the production of the co-polymer methyl methacrylate-butadiene-styrene (MBS), used as a modifier for polyvinyl chloride (PVC).

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's overall PVC production reached 557,000 tonnes in the first seven months of 2020, up by 1% year on year. Only three Russian producers managed to increase their output.

Mitsubishi Chemical, a Japanese integrated chemical company, was formed on October 1, 1990 through the merger of Mitsubishi Kasei and Mitsubishi Petrochemical Co. Due to its wide range of activities, it is one of the ten leading chemical companies in the world.

Lummus technology announces successful start-up of CDTaee Bio-ethers unit

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Lummus Technology announced the successful start-up of its CDTaee unit for Hellenic Petroleum’s refinery in Aspropyrgos, Greece. For this start-up, the existing CDTame unit was revamped to the latest generation of CDTaee technology for bio-ethers production, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The new CDTaee unit will not only help Hellenic meet its biofuel requirements in Greece, but also resolve blending constraints and produce a high-octane gasoline-blending component, TAEE (Tertiary Amyl Ethyl Ether). Hellenic Petroleum has now started to use the TAEE product in their gasoline blends that it sells in their respective markets.

"The start-up of our latest generation CDTaee technology is an excellent example of how Lummus offers innovative sustainability solutions to our customers,” said Leon de Bruyn, President and Chief Executive Officer of Lummus Technology. “We help our customers such as Hellenic Petroleum produce cleaner fuels that are more efficient and perform at a higher level to meet stringent environmental standards."

The latest generation of the CDTaee process is part of Lummus’ etherification technology portfolio, where the company has a leading position with over 140 references. In the CDTaee process, TAEE is formed by the reaction of isoamylenes, which are present in light FCC naphtha, with bio-ethanol. The CDTaee process is unique in that extremely high isoamylene conversion can be achieved through a proven, novel process design.

As MRC informed earlier. Haldia Petrochemicals (HPL), a flagship company of The Chatt­erjee Group (TCG), alo­ng with its international partner Rhone Capital has acquired US-based Lummus Technology at an enterprise value (EV) of USD2.725 billion (around Rs 20,590 crore) from McDermott International. In the joint acquisition, HPL’s share is at 57 per cent, the balance would be held by Rhone Capital. Under the new dispensation, Lummus Technology wou­ld function as a ‘standalone’ autonomous entity.

As MRC informed earlier, in late March 2020, India's private-sector Haldia Petrochemicals (HPL) shut its naphtha cracker after ports in the country declared force majeure to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

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.

Nouryon to build expandable microspheres plant in the US

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Nouryon says that as part of an expansion project announced last year, it will build a facility at Green Bay, Wisconsin, to produce the company's expandable microspheres, with the brand name Expancel, said Chemweek.

The new plant strengthens Nouryon's position in expandable microspheres, complementing its production sites in Sweden, Brazil, and China, the company says. Further details about the investment have not been disclosed.

"This new plant will meet the fast-growing demand for Expancel…to better serve our customers throughout the Americas as well as other parts of the world,” says Sylvia Winkel Pettersson, vice president for Expancel at Nouryon. “The first step will be the start of initial production in Green Bay in October 2020; this will be followed by further increases over the next several years."

Expandable microspheres are used to make customers’ end products lighter, and reduce costs as well as environmental impacts by requiring less raw material, Nouryon says.

As MRC wrote previously, in February 2019, Nouryon (formerly AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals) announced that it would license its innovative continuous initiator dosing (CiD) technology to Karpatnaftochim, Ukraine’s largest polyvinyl chloride (PVC) producer. Nouryon’s patented CiD technology allows PVC producers to increase reactor output by up to 40 percent, improve product quality, and make the production process intrinsically safer - all with minimum capital expenditure.

As MRC informed earlier, Russia's output of chemical products rose in June 2020 by 2.6% year on year. However, production of basic chemicals increased year on year by 4.9% in the first six months of 2020. According to the Federal State Statistics Service of the Russian Federation, polymers in primary form accounted for the greatest increase in the output in January-June. Production of benzene was 106,000 tonnes in June 2020, compared to 110,000 tonnes a month earlier. Overall output of this product reached 721,000 tonnes over the stated period, up by 3.9% year on year.

ADNOC cuts September term volumes by 5% for all crude grades

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Abu Dhabi National Oil Co., the UAE's biggest energy producer, has informed its term customers it will reduce all four grade nominations in September by 5%, a source familiar with the matter told S&P Global in end July.

ADNOC informed customers which lift contracted monthly volumes - known as term lifters - that it would cut the quantity of volumes available for export over September by 5% for its more popular Murban and Upper Zakum grades and for Umm Lulu and Das Blend, the source said.

It follows the same 5% cut that ADNOC made for August and July. June term volumes of Murban and Upper Zakum had been slashed 20%, with Das Blend and Umm Lulu down 5%, as the UAE joined Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Oman in enacting voluntary additional cuts from their OPEC+ quotas for that month only.

OPEC+ members will start relaxing their output cuts down to 7.7 million b/d on Aug. 1 from the historic 9.6 million b/d that was implemented May through July.

The UAE, OPEC's third biggest oil producer, will see its quota rise from 2.446 million b/d in May to 2.590 million b/d in August, according to the OPEC+ agreement.

As MRC reported earlier, ADNOC confirms significant progress made on its “Crude Flexibility Project” (CFP), with 73% project delivery of ADNOC’s ongoing upgrade of refining capabilities in Ruwais and strengthening the role of Ruwais as a critical driver for industrial growth for Abu Dhabi and the UAE.

We remind that in late July 2019, ADNOC said its Ruwais refinery west cracker was offline for maintenance.

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.

Crude retreats after overnight rally, traders await fresh drivers

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Crude oil futures were slightly lower in mid-morning trade in Asia on Aug. 13, as traders paused for fresh cues after an overnight rally on a larger-than-expected drawdown in US commercial crude inventories, reported S&P Global.

At 09:30 am Singapore time (0130 GMT), the ICE Brent October crude futures were down 10 cents/b (0.22%) from the Aug. 12 settle at USD45.33/b, while NYMEX September light sweet crude contract was down by 8 cents/b (0.19%) at USD42.59/b.

US commercial crude inventories fell 4.51 million barrels to 513.08 million barrels for the week ended Aug.7, and narrowed the surplus to the five-year average to about 15%, US Energy Information Administration data released Aug. 12 showed.

Meanwhile, total gasoline stocks also moved 720,000 barrels lower to 247.08 million barrels while nationwide distillate stocks fell by 2.32 million barrels to 177.66 million barrels for the previous week, snapping three consecutive weeks of builds.

"Oil prices appear to be in the right spot, possibly poised to take the next step higher and forge a new trading range above Brent USD45.00 after US crude stocks fell for the third consecutive week and are clearly on a downwards trajectory," Stephen Innes, chief global markets analyst at AxiCorp, said in a note Aug. 13. "And with product stocks decreasing, favorably for global oil prices, it suggests the demand recovery is continuing to grind higher."

Elsewhere, OPEC, in its monthly oil market report released on Aug. 12, revised down its projection of global demand by almost 100,000 b/d to 90.63 million b/d for 2020, citing the "lower economic activity levels in a few major non-OECD countries" as the cause. Global oil demand for 2021 was unchanged at 97.63 million b/d.

The forecasts are in a slight contrast to the US EIA's Short-Term Energy Outlook released a day earlier on Aug. 11, where the EIA raised its outlook for global oil demand by 250,000 b/d from last month's forecast to 93.14 million b/d for 2020 and by 280,000 b/d to 100.16 million b/d for 2021.

This highlights the heightened level of uncertainty in the short term demand outlook for oil, especially as COVID-19 daily cases worldwide remain high and a potential second wave remains a lingering concern.

"Global COVID-19 cases now exceed 20 million, so in the absence of a meaningful progress on a COVID-19 vaccine, traders are still looking over their shoulder to where new lockdowns might be necessary," Innes added.

Market participants will look for further cues on the outlook of the global crude complex from the International Energy Agency's monthly oil market report scheduled for release later Aug.13.

As MRC informed before, US crude oil inventories moved sharply lower during the week ended July 24 as exports and refinery demand climbed to multi-month highs, US Energy Information Administration data showed July 29. Commercial crude stocks fell 10.61 million barrels to 525.97 million barrels that week, EIA data showed. While the draw pushed stockpiles to 14-week lows, they remained more than 17% above the five-year average for this time of year.

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.

And 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 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.