INVISTA agrees to license PTA technology to Jiatong Energy

MOSCOW (MRC) -- INVISTA Textiles (U.K.) Limited’s technology and licensing business, INVISTA Performance Technologies (IPT), and Jiangsu Jiatong Energy Co., Ltd, a subsidiary of Tongkun Group (Tongkun), have reached agreement to license INVISTA’s latest P8 PTA technology for two PTA lines, said the company.

These two lines will be installed in Rudong, Nantong City, Jiangsu province, China. Both lines deploy INVISTA’s largest twin stream design respectively, utilising INVISTA’s latest P8++ PTA technology.

Tongkun and INVISTA have been working together for 10 years in PTA. INVISTA’s first P7 and first P8 technology platforms were successfully installed, commissioned, and operated at another subsidiary (Jiaxing Petrochemical) of Tongkun Group. Based on the successful co-operation on these projects, Tongkun has again selected INVISTA’s latest P8++ PTA technology for the Jiatong project.

Adam Sackett, IPT vice president PTA, commented: "We are honoured that our industry-leading P8++ PTA technology has been selected again by Tongkun Group. Our companies have a long history of PTA innovation, and we look forward to working together on this new chapter of technology and cooperation between the two parties."

A kick-off meeting was successfully concluded on 15 August 2020, by Jiatong, INVISTA and CTCI (the engineering contractor). A project start-up date of 4Q22 is targeted for the first line.

PTA is used to produce polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which is used in the manufacturing of plastic bottles, films, packaging containers, in the textile and food industries.

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.

CCI gives approval to SABIC acquisition of additional stake in Clariant

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has cleared SABIC BV's incremental acquisition of a 6.51% shareholding in Clariant AG, according to Apic-online.

The transaction, which will raise SABIC's stake in Clariant to 31.5%, is part of SABIC's growth strategy in specialties.

In September 2018, the companies signed a memorandum of understanding to merge their specialty chemicals businesses into a new high-performance materials specialty chemicals business, following SABIC's purchase of a 24.99% interest in Clariant, which was completed the same month.

Last July, the parties agreed to temporarily postpone discussions of merging the businesses, attributing the delay to unfavorable market conditions.

As MRC wrote before, SABIC swung to a second-quarter net loss of 2.22 billion Saudi riyals (USD587 million) from a net profit of SR2.03 billion in the prior-year period. The loss for the three-month period to end-June is mainly attributed to lower average product prices, lower sales volumes, and an impairment charge of SR1.18 billion related primarily to "certain petrochemical assets in the European region," Sabic says. The company, acquired by Saudi Aramco for USD69.1 billion in a deal completed in June, says the lower prices and volumes were mainly due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The adjusted net loss figure of SR1.04 billion, excluding the asset write-down, missed analysts’ consensus estimate for a profit of SR900 million. Sabic reported a net loss of SR1.05 billion in the first quarter of this year.

We remind that Sinopec SABIC Tianjin Petrochemical Co. (SSTPC), a 50-50 joint venture of Sinopec and SABIC, completed the debottlenecking of its ethylene cracker on 11 July 2020, adding another 30,000 tons/year output to its current capacity. Followed the expansion, the Tianjin based plant become the country's largest compressor unit, producing 1.3 million tons of ethylene annually.

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 Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic) ranks among the world"s top petrochemical companies. The company is among the world"s market leaders in the production of polyethylene, polypropylene and other advanced thermoplastics, glycols, methanol and fertilizers.

Braskem new joint venture EDC plant startup planned for H2 2022

MOSCOW (MRC) -- A demonstration ethylene dichloride (EDC) plant scheduled to be built in Brazil will cost about USD18 million and is slated to start up by the second half of 2022, reported S&P Global with reference to a top executive with Brazilian petrochemical producer Braskem's statement Sept. 2.

Fabio Barbosa, Braskem's head of commercial chlor-alkali, disclosed those details via email about the joint venture announced on Aug. 20. He also said construction was slated to begin in 2021.

Braskem has teamed up with US chemistry technology company Chemetry to build the plant, which will use less power and cost less than traditional production methods.

California-based Chemetry will employ its eShuttle EDC process, which involves a metal chloride reaction with ethylene to make EDC, bypassing the need to make chlorine gas to react with ethylene.

EDC is a precursor to polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a construction staple used to make pipes, window frames, vinyl siding and other products.

In May 2019 Braskem shut its sole 520,000 mt/year EDC plant in Brazil, as well as an upstream chlor-alkali plant and a salt mining operation, when a government report linked the mining activity to geological damages in Maceio, the capital city of the state of Alagoas.

The company has since been dependent on EDC imports to maintain downstream PVC production. Before the shutdown, Braskem had occasionally imported EDC cargoes to supplement its own output after having expanded PVC capacity.

Braskem aims to restart the shut plants in early November, once infrastructure is in place to ensure delivery of salt imports to feed the chlor-alkali plant and a new permanent substation is online to provide power for that unit. The Maceio salt mining operation has been permanently shut.

The new EDC plant could further reduce the company's occasional EDC import needs as well.

According to MRC's DataScope report, imports of suspension polyvinyl chloride (SPVC) into Russia totalled 13,800 tonnes in the first half of 2020, up by 5% year on year, whereas exports grew by 7% year on year.

Braskem S.A. produces petrochemicals and generates electricity. The Company produces ethylene, propylene, benzene, toluene, xylenes, butadiene, butene, isoprene, dicyclopentediene, MTBE, caprolactam, ammonium sulfate, cyclohexene, polyethylene theraphtalat, polyethylene, and polyvinyl chloride (PVC).


Lukoil selects Lummus PP technology for new plant in Russia

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Lukoil (Moscow, Russia) has selected Lummus Technology’s Novolen polypropylene (PP) technology for a previously announced new petrochemical facility in Kstovo, Russia, said Chemweek.

Lummus says its Novolen business has been awarded a contract by the Russian oil company to supply the technology license for the 500,000 metric tons/year PP production unit, as well as basic design engineering, training and services, and catalyst supply. The PP technology license award is the first since Lummus became an independent company earlier this year, it says. The contract is the largest Novolen PP unit licensed in Russia to date, according to Lummus.

Russia is "a critical market where Lummus has had a strong presence for decades," and where it will continue to expand, says Leon de Bruyn, president and CEO at Lummus Technology.

The award increases the total amount of licensed volume for Novolen technology worldwide to more than 17 million metric tons/year, according to Lummus.

Lukoil took an investment decision mid-2019 to proceed with the PP plant at its existing Kstovo refinery in the Nizhny Novgorod region, with the refinery to provide feedstock for the new unit, which is planned to produce PP largely for the export market. The company also said at the time it planned to build a 300,000-metric tons/year styrene manufacturing complex at the same site.

As per MRC's ScanPlast, Russian plants' total PP production grew to 158,800 tonnes in July, compared to 149,400 tonnes a month earlier; ZapSibNeftekhim, Nizhnekamskneftekhim and Poliom increased their capacity utilisation. Russia"s overall PP production reached 1,063,700 tonnes in January-July 2020, compared to 854,500 tonnes a year earlier. Five out of eight producers raised their capacity utilisation, with a new producer - ZapSibNeftekhim - accounting for the main increase in the output.

Kstovo is one of Lukoil’s largest refineries in Russia with a throughput of 17 million metric tons/year.

DSM forms JV to produce facemasks, components in Netherlands

MOSCOW (MRC) -- DSM says it has formed a 50/50 joint venture (JV) with VDL Groep (Eindhoven, Netherlands), called Dutch PPE Solutions, to produce medical facemasks and establish the first permanent production of critical facemask components in the Netherlands, said Chemweek.

The companies are investing several million euros to purchase manufacturing equipment and build manufacturing facilities to produce meltblown polypropylene (PP), the critical material layer in medical facemasks that filters viruses, and make medical masks, DSM says.

Construction of the first permanent production facility for critical filter material in the Netherlands will provide greater resilience to possible future surges in demand for facemasks and the underlying material, DSM says. Production of facemasks will begin at Helmond in October 2020, and the meltblown PP plant is expected to be fully operational at Geleen in April 2021, it says.

The new JV will help to meet the urgent need to diversify the worldwide production and supply chains of PPE at scale by reducing dependency on a small number of international sources, the company says. “The global demand for medical facemasks and critical filter material exceeds the limited supply. The need for reliable and high-quality supply chains is more urgent than ever,” says Pieter Wolters, vice president/innovation at DSM.

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.