Trinseo, Coexpan to bring recycled PS to the dairy market in 2022

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Trinseo (Berwyn, Pennsylvania) has partnered with Coexpan (Madrid, Spain) to validate technologies for the production of recycled polystyrene (PS) suitable for use in form-fill-seal (FFS) dairy applications, according to Chemweek.

Using materials and input supplied by Trinseo, Coexpan will perform testing at Innotech, its innovation technology center. Trinseo and Coexpan expect industrial volumes to be in production by the third quarter of 2022.

“The dairy FFS packaging market, which has historically preferred the use of polystyrene due to its technical superiority over alternative polymers, has recently seen greater interest in alternative materials owing to misperceptions regarding the circularity and recyclability of PS,” the companies say in a joint statement. “PS offers a unique potential for not only closed-loop recycling, but also a lower carbon footprint and extended life cycle due to its simplicity and ease to fully recycle, giving polystyrene a major competitive advantage versus all alternatives.”

Coexpan, a division of Grupo Lantero, specializes in the manufacture of rigid plastic sheets and thermoformed products for the packaging industry. The company has 13 production plants in 8 countries in Europe and Latin America.

As MRC informed before, Trinseo, a global materials company and manufacturer of plastics, latex binders, and synthetic rubber, and its affiliate companies in Europe, have announced a price increase for all PS, acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) and acrylonitrile-styrene copolymer (SAN) in Europe. Effective August 1, 2020, or as existing contract terms allow, the contract and spot prices for the products listed below rose as follows:

- STYRON general purpose polystyrene grades (GPPS) -- by EUR30 per metric ton;
- STYRON and STYRON A-Tech and STYRON X- Tech and STYRON C- Tech high impact polystyrene grades (HIPS) - by EUR30 per metric ton;
- MAGNUM ABS resins - by EUR50 per metric ton;
- TYRIL SAN resins - by EUR40 per metric ton.

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 increased by 2% year on year in June 2020, totalling 39,590 tonnes.

Trinseo is a global materials company and manufacturer of plastics, latex and rubber. Trinseo's technology is used by customers in industries such as home appliances, automotive, building & construction, carpet, consumer electronics, consumer goods, electrical & lighting, medical, packaging, paper & paperboard, rubber goods and tires. Formerly known as Styron, Trinseo completed its renaming process in 1Q 2015. Trinseo had approximately USD3.8 billion in net sales in 2019, with 17 manufacturing sites around the world, and approximately 2,700 employees.

Lake Charles producers remain offline following hurricane

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Hurricane Laura left most of the US Gulf Coast unscathed, but Lake Charles, Louisiana, was hit hard, and petrochemical production units in the area could be offline for weeks, reported Chemweek.

Producers with assets there include Sasol, Westlake Chemical, Lotte Chemical, and LyondellBasell. Products affected include polyolefins, ethylene glycol, vinyls, and chlor-alkali.

"The Lake Charles area will be dealing with the impacts of the storm for weeks, if not the entire month of September," says a bulletin issued by IHS Markit on 31 August.

The Lake Charles area is home to 9% of US linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) capacity (by way of Sasol and Westlake Chemical), 10% of US low-density polyethylene (LDPE) capacity (Westlake), and 8% of US polypropylene (PP) capacity (LyondellBasell). All of this capacity is believed to be offline. On 31 August, Sasol declared force majeure on LLDPE and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) produced at its joint-venture site with Ineos in La Porte, Texas. Ineos also has force majeures in place for polyethylene, and Ineos, Formosa Plastics, and LyondellBasell have force majeures for PP.

Sasol says that manufacturing at its Lake Charles Chemicals Complex (LCCC) remains shut down. "The storm resulted in widespread electrical blackouts and other damage, preventing Sasol from operating most utility systems," says a statement from the company. "High voltage transmission line corridors into the Lake Charles area are damaged, and the full assessment is still in progress by a local power company." The company says cooling towers at the facility suffered wind damage, but process equipment at the facility does not appear to have been affected, nor has flooding been an issue.

Sasol has two steam crackers totaling 2 million metric tons/year of ethylene capacity at the LCCC. Downstream derivatives produced at the facility include ethylene glycol (EG; 300,000 metric tons/year of capacity), LLDPE (470,000 metric tons/year), alpha-olefins (110,000 metric tons/year), Ziegler alcohols (300,000 metric tons/year), and ethoxylates (110,000 metric tons/year). A 420,000 metric tons/year LDPE unit is slated for start-up by year-end.

"Start-up of the plants will depend on the availability of electricity, industrial gases, other feedstocks, and the restoration process," Sasol says. "We are engaging with our customers and suppliers regularly regarding the impacts on production." The statement notes that the hurricane is not expected to have "an adverse impact on any potential divestment transaction related to Sasol's base chemical portfolio in the United States."

Westlake Chemical on 27 August said that an initial assessment found "limited physical damage" at its Lake Charles facility. Like Sasol, the company said restart would depend on the availability of electricity and feedstocks. Products of the facility include ethylene dichloride (EDC; 1.8 million metric tons/year of capacity), vinyl chloride monomer (VCM; 990,000 metric tons/year), LLDPE (150,000 metric tons/year), LDPE (136,000 metric tons/year), and chlor-alkali, according to data from IHS Markit.

As of the morning of 31 August, operations at the facility had not resumed.

Westlake's Lake Charles complex accounts for 9% of US chlorine capacity, 10% of VCM capacity, and 14% of EDC direct chlorination capacity. While there is no polyvinyl chloride (PVC) capacity at Lake Charles, the complex supplies feedstock to PVC production facilities in Louisiana and Mississippi.

"The PVC market was already in a tight situation before the hurricane, and this setback in vinyls operations will definitely put more stress on the PVC market," says IHS Markit. "Chlorinated intermediates and the merchant chlorine markets are likely to see tightening supply, as a result, until operations are able to resume."

Lotte's 720,000 metric tons/year EG plant at Lake Charles is the largest in the world. That unit and Sasol's together account for 25% of North American EG capacity, and it will likely be several weeks before they return to normal operations, says IHS Markit. "Downstream derivatives and exports will be negatively impacted, as the EG market in the US has been very tight amid planned and unplanned EG outages earlier this year." Additional turnarounds have been planned for September and beyond, but they may be postponed, depending on how the supply situation plays out.

As MRC informed earlier, the US Energy Department announced the shutting of two of four sites of the national emergency oil reserve temporarily to remove workers ahead of Hurricane Laura, but that the remaining sites could deliver oil if the facility gets any requests for deliveries.

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

No major structural damage seen at Citgo Lake Charles refinery

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Citgo Petroleum Corp said an early assessment of its 418,000-barrel-per-day (bpd) Lake Charles, Louisiana, refinery revealed “no major structural damage to operating equipment”, reported Reuters.

Sources familiar with plant operations have said that significant damage was done by the winds of deadly Hurricane Laura, especially to cooling towers, and it would be four to six weeks before the refinery restarts.

“The refinery itself fared well and our very initial assessments have revealed no significant safety issues or hydrocarbon releases and no major structural damage to operating equipment,” Citgo said in an emailed statement.

Citgo said repairing the refinery would depend in part on when the Lake Charles power grid is repaired.

On Monday, local power provider Entergy said all seven power line corridors to Lake Charles, of which it operates five, received catastrophic damage.

“We do not currently have a timeline from the local power utility as to when the electricity supply will be re-established in the Lake Charles area,” Citgo said.

While the power supply to the refinery is being repaired, “Citgo will be repairing any critical items required to safely restart our facility,” the company said.

Citgo did not identify items needing repair.

Citgo’s Lake Charles refinery is located in Sulphur, Louisiana, which is 135 miles (217 km) east of Houston.

As MRC wrote earlier, in the first week of July, 2020, Citgo Petroleum Corp restarted the large gasoline-producing fluid catalytic cracker at its 167,500-barrel-per-day (bpd) Corpus Christi, Texas, refinery.

Propylene is the main feedstock for the production of polypropylene (PP).

According to MRC's DataScope report, 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.

Total Port Arthur, Texas, refinery waiting for power supply restoration

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Total SA is waiting for the external power supply to be restored at its 225,500 barrrel-per-day (bpd) Port Arthur, Texas, refinery before restarting units, reported Reuters with reference to sources familiar with plant operations.

The refinery was shut on Aug. 25 when Hurricane Laura’s forecast was included a possible landfall near Port Arthur.

Total spokeswoman Marie Maitre declined to discuss the status of the refinery.

“The refinery’s management and teams on the ground continue taking measures to safely work towards restarting operations,” Maitre said.

As MRC wrote before, in November 2019, Total disclosed that itis evaluating construction of a new gas cracker at its Deasan, South Korea, joint venture (JV) with Hanwha Chemical.

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.

Total S.A. is a French multinational oil and gas company and one of the six "Supermajor" oil companies in the world with business in Europe, the United States, the Middle East and Asia. The company's petrochemical products cover two main groups: base chemicals and the consumer polymers (polyethylene, polypropylene and polystyrene) that are derived from them.

Borealis completes acquisition of controlling stake in South Korean compounder DYM Solution

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Borealis announces that it has successfully acquired a controlling stake in South Korean compounder DYM Solution Co. Ltd., as per the company's press release.

The acquisition solidifies Borealis’ position as a partner of choice for global wire and cable customers, helping to meet the growing needs and requirements of the wire and cable industry today and in the future.

Based in Cheonan South Korea, DYM Solution Co. Ltd. was founded in 1992 and is a provider of compound solutions for the global wire and cable industry. It specialises in semi-conductive, halogen-free flame retardant (HFFR), rubber and silane cured compounds.

With this investment, Borealis extends its global wire & cable asset footprint, hereby embodying its mission of Bringing Energy All Around. Borealis will broaden its extensive and sophisticated portfolio, with complementary products and technologies for semi-conductive, flame retardant, rubber and silane cross-linkable compounds.

The acquisition enables Borealis and Borouge to better serve their customers by: offering an immediate capacity increase to further secure the product supply; geographically extending the asset footprint and supply base, enabling more local service in the region; building upon Borealis’ broad and sophisticated portfolio with DYM’s complementary products and technologies - thereby increasing the offering to the market; and
improving the full system offering to better meet the growing market requirements for longer lifetime cables.

“Decarbonisation of the energy sector is creating substantial growth opportunities for the global wire and cable industry. Borealis and Borouge remain committed to assist our customers around the world with the most complete offering to enable this Energy transformation The DYM acquisition will complement our offering to better serve our clients,” says Lucrece Foufopoulos, Borealis Executive Vice President Polyolefins, Innovation and Circular Economy Solutions.

“We see Borealis as a reliable and strong partner with an excellent track record for innovation and customer service and are very happy that the transaction has been successfully concluded. We look forward to our common future activities and have already identified potential future opportunities for growth enabled by the transaction. In other words, the deal will allow DYM Solution to secure a world-class method of compound production and to significantly expand its capabilities through continuous and organic cooperation with Borealis, and to provide services that far exceed customer requirements in the Wire and Cable industries. Therefore, the combination of DYM Solution and Borealis has the potential to serve the wire and cable customers around the world even better,” says DYM Solution Chief Executive and founder Mr. Park.

As MRC informed earlier, Borealis has maintained its cracker in Stenungsund (Sweden) offline longer than initially anticipated, after it was shut following a force majeure declaration at the site on May 11, 2020. Sources said that the unit has been offline longer than initially expected with no confirmed startup date. The Stenungsund cracker has an ethylene capacity of 625,000 tonnes and a propylene capacity of 150,000 mt/year.

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.

Borealis is a leading provider of innovative solutions in the fields of polyolefins, base chemicals and fertilizers. With headquarters in Vienna, Austria, Borealis currently employs around 6,500 and operates in over 120 countries.