Fire occurred at IRPC plant in Thailand

MOSCOW (MRC) -- It is reported that a fire broke out at a hydrotreating unit belong to IRPC Public Company Limited, a PTT Plc subsidiary, in Map Ta Phut, Thailand on 3 September 2020, according to CommoPlast.

The unit screens sulfur before going to the RDCC (Residual Deep Catalyst Cracking) that produces ethylene, propylene, butadiene, and naphtha products.

At the moment, it is unclear how much the incident impacts the downstream naphtha cracker and polypropylene (PP) production, however, market participants in Thailand informed that the producer is still supplying allocation to distributors but stop accepting direct orders from converters immediately.

IRPC is currently investigating the cause of the fire and assessing the potential impact.

The company has five PP production lines in Thailand with a combined annual capacity of 775,000 tons.

Regional buyers are monitoring the development very closely now that the import homo-PP market has been firming up on the back of surging demand in the nearby China market. Any possibility of IRPC taking off-stream any of the PP production line would fuel the uptrend further.

As MRC informed earlier, in late October, 2019, IRPC unexpectedly shut down its upstream propylene unit due to an unspecified technical issue. As a result, the company had to lower the operation rate at the downstream PP plant.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, overall PP production in Russia increased in January-July 2020 by 24% year on year to 1,063,700 tonne. ZapSibNeftekhim accounted for the main increase in the output.

PTT Global Chemical is a leading player in the petrochemical industry and owns several petrochemical facilities with a combined capacity of 8.45 million tonnes a year.

Construction starts on new KraussMaffei production plant in Laatzen

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The 66,500-square-meter facility is scheduled to be completed by the third quarter of 2022, and will combine the company's extrusion business activities under one roof, said Canplastics.

Processing machinery maker KraussMaffei officially laid the foundation stone for the construction of a new production plant for extrusion systems in Laatzen’s eastern industrial park located in the Hannover, Germany region.

The 66,500-square-meter facility is scheduled to be completed by the third quarter of 2022, and will have an expected 750 employees in production, assembly, and administration. The new address will replace the former KraussMaffei site in Hannover-Kleefeld that did not allow any further expansion.

In a Sept. 3 statement, KraussMaffei officials described the new plant as an “ultra-modern premises” that will combine KraussMaffei’s extrusion business activities under a single roof. “Special focus is placed on the new InnovationCenter that will be available for challenging and complex preliminary tests under realistic production conditions to customers from the plastics and rubber industries before they actually order a new machine from KraussMaffei,” the statement said. “On a floor area of around 10,000 square meters, the InnovationCenter will comprise 20 state-of-the-art machines and lines – from small laboratory facilities up to production-scale machines – to be used for trial purposes."

As MRC informed earlier, in July Krauss Maffei opened its new plant in Jiaxing, with which the company plans to double its production capacity in China. More than 600 customers and partners came to the opening ceremony of the new Chinese plant. In an exhibition, they saw ten different machine types and 16 different applications. These included machines that are developed and manufactured in China for the Chinese market, such as the PX Agile series of electrical injection molding machines, the ZE GP-Agile twin-screw extruders and a mixing and dosing machine. Among the processes presented were LSR processing, colorform and metal injection molding as well as special applications such as precision injection molding, optical lenses and freely sprayed high-gloss surfaces.

As MRC informed earlier, Russia's output of chemical products rose by 4.4% year on year in May 2020 . Thus, production of basic chemicals increased year on year by 5.4% in the first five 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-May. Production of benzene was 110,000 tonnes in May 2020, which equalled the figure a month earlier. Overall output of this product reached 615,000 tonnes over the stated period, up by 1.7% year on year.

Krauss Maffei, the world's only provider of turnkey equipment for injection molding, extrusion and reaction technology, has merged its business divisions as well as the former brands KraussMaffei, KraussMaffei Berstorff and Netstal, under the auspices of the single brand KraussMaffei.

PTTGC to shut LDPE plant for scheduled turnaround in late September

MOSCOW (MRC) -- PTT Global Chemical (PTTGC) is in plans to undertake a planned shutdown at its low density polyethylene (LDPE) plant by 24 September, reported CommoPlast with reference to market sources.

The plant is expected to remain shut for a turnaround until 17 October, 2020.

Located at Map Ta Phut in Thailand, the LDPE plant has a production capacity of 345,000 mt/year.

As MRC wrote before, PTTGC undertook a planned shutdown at its LDPE plant for turnaround on July 7, 2019. The plant remained shut for around 3 weeks.

PTT has a total capacity of 800,000 mt/year of high density polyethylene (HDPE), 345,000 mt/year of LDPE and 800,000 mt/year of LLDPE at the same site.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, June estimated LDPE consumption in Russia grew to 55,260 tonnes from 45,490 tonnes a month earlier. Kazanorgsintez raised its PE output after a spring shutdown for a scheduled turnaround. Russia's estimated LDPE consumption rose to 291,270 tonnes in January-June 2020, up by 5% year on year. Russian producers raised their production, and LDPE imports also increased.

PTT Global Chemical is a leading player in the petrochemical industry and owns several petrochemical facilities with a combined capacity of 8.45 million tonnes a year.

Jiangsu Sailboat Petrochemical to run second ACN plant in Jiangsu at 50% in September

MOSCOW (MRC) -- China's Jiangsu Sailboat Petrochemical, also known as Jiangsu Shenghong, will maintain the run rate at its second 260,000 mt/year acrylonitrile (ACN) plants at Lianyungang at half the rate for September, reported S&P Global.

The company shut down its both 260,000 mt/yr ACN plants on July 16, 2020 due to the unexpected outage of its upstream methanol-to-olefins plant. The second ACN plant resumed operations on August 6, 2020.

Jiangsu Sailboat is not running the second ACN plant at full due to the lack of propylene feedstock.

As MRC informed before, in March 2018, Honeywell announced that Jiangsu Sailboat Petrochemical Company, Ltd. had accepted a new methanol-to-olefins (MTO) unit provided by Honeywell UOP, and that the plant was operating and had met all guarantees. With a production capacity of 833,000 metric tons per year, the unit is the largest single-train MTO unit in the world. Honeywell UOP, which pioneered MTO technology, started its first MTO unit for China's Wison Clean Energy in 2013.

ACN is a feedstock for the production of acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS).

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, the estimated consumption decreased in January-June 2020 by 18% year on year in the Russian ABS sector, totalling 19,360 tonnes. 2,680 tonnes of ABS plastics were processed in Russia in June 2020.

Jiangsu Sailboat Petrochemical, part of the Shenghong Holding Group, is a major petrochemical manufacturer in China, including polyethylene (PE) and ethylene-vinyl-acetate (EVA). The company's production facilities are located in the new Xuwei Industrial Park in Lianyungang City, Jiangsu Province.

WTI slides nearly 4% as market eyes weakened demand outlooks

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Crude oil futures prices fell further Sept. 4, with front-month contracts settling near two-month lows as global demand outlooks dimmed following a mixed US jobs report, according to S&P Global.

NYMEX October WTI settled USD1.60 lower at USD39.77/b, while ICE November Brent was down USD1.41 to settle at USD42.66/b.

US payrolls expanded by about 1.4 million jobs in August, US Labor Department data showed Sept. 4, pushing the unemployment rate down to 8.4%. While the headline jobs figure was in line with market expectations, there were some signs of weakness in the report. About 17% of the monthly job gain was from temporary government hiring for the US Census, and the number of permanent job losses rose 534,000 to 3.4 million, Labor Department data showed.

NYMEX October RBOB settled 2.77 cents lower at USD1.772/gal and October ULSD declined 1.62 cents to settle at USD1.1515/gal.

The labor report may be paradoxically bearish for global markets as it may forestall further US stimulus efforts, analysts said.

"The biggest takeaway right now is that with what we've seen in equities and oil prices, a lot of the historic rebound we saw from negative $40/b or so prices to where we are now, a big component of that was that we had unlimited amounts of stimulus, or at least it felt unlimited, that was getting pumped into the economy," OANDA senior market analyst Edward Moya said. "But now we are seeing unemployment beating (US Federal Reserve) expectations. This means that the Fed was overly pessimistic and that is very, very concerning for risky assets that got propped up by the stimulus trade."

Front-month Brent and WTI last settled lower July 9.

US oil demand remains tepid despite the rebound in labor markets. Refined product demand slid 13% during the week ended Aug. 29, US Energy Information Administration data showed Sept. 4 - the largest one-week fall since the week ended April 3, during the ramp-up of nationwide coronavirus lockdowns. The fall pushed weekly product demand to the lowest since the week ended May 29, and the four-week moving average down to a six-week low of 18.28 million b/d.

The crude oil forward structure has turned significantly more bearish in recent days. The contango between front-month and year ahead WTI contracts opened to $3.72/b Sept. 4, the widest since May 27. The contango in front-to-12th month Brent contracts opened to USD4.22/b, the widest since May 29.

As MRC wrote before, more consolidation was expected in the European refining system post COVID-19 as operators had already been facing flat or falling demand and rising competition from new refineries in Asia, according to delegates at the S&P Global European Refining Virtual Conference Sept. 3. "There will be some consolidation in the refining system in Europe," according to Adi Imsirovic, research associate at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies.As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, "we have lost 9 million barrels of demand," Imsirovic said, adding the immediate impact for a few simple refineries was that they "are worried about survival".

We remind tha tin 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 ScanPlast report, Russia's overall PE production totalled 1,712,400 tonnes in the first seven months of 2020, up by 58% year on year. Linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) accounted for the greatest increase in the output. At the same time, overall PP production in Russia increased in January-July 2020 by 24% year on year to 1,063,700 tonne. ZapSibNeftekhim accounted for the main increase in the output.