PKN Orlen CEO named Man of the Year of 2020 Economic Forum

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Daniel Obajtek, the CEO of the Polish state-run fuel giant PKN Orlen, has been awarded the title of Man of the Year of the 2020 Economic Forum 2020, now underway in Karpacz, southern Poland, said Thefirstnews.

During the award ceremony held on Tuesday evening during the forum, an annual international conference that brings to Poland top politicians and economic decision makers, a congratulation letter from the head of Poland's ruling party Jaroslaw Kaczynski was read by Deputy PM and State Assets Minister Jacek Sasin.

The PiS leader described Obajtek as "one of the helmsmen of Polish business" and "not only a man of economic success, but also a man of mission." "What he does as the head of Orlen is a mission serving the development of the Republic of Poland and strengthening our position in the international arena," Kaczynski wrote.

In his opinion, Obajtek's and Orlen's activities are part of the strategy to stimulate the Polish economy so as to build "the Polish version of the welfare state". In his thank you for the award, the Orlen CEO pointed to a decision-making process as the key element of business. "At Orlen, we make decisions and look ahead. The acquisitions we make are not to satisfy someone else's ambitions, but are very important for the entire economy," he said.

Obajtek was appointed PKN Orlen CEO in 2018. He has often repeated that it is his mission and goal to build a multi-energy company based on diversified sources of income and profit. Two years ago, he initiated PKN Orlen's merger with another Polish oil company, Lotos. In July 2020, the European Commission issued conditional consent to this takeover. Around the same time Orlen had signed a letter of intent with the State Treasury to gain control over the country's gas monopolist PGNiG. On April 1, 2020, Orlen secured an unconditional consent from the European Commission to take over Polish energy firm Energa.

In 2018, Orlen finalised the purchase of 100 percent of shares in Unipetrol, the largest refining and petrochemical concern in the Czech Republic. Another important element of the company's strategy is investing in the Lithuanian Mazeikiu oil refinery.

As MRC informed earlier, in H1 September 2019, Honeywell announced that PKN ORLEN had licensed the UOP MaxEne process, which can increase production of ethylene and aromatics and improve the flexibility of gasoline production. The project, for the PKN Orlen facility in Plock, Poland, currently is in the basic engineering stage. Honeywell UOP, a leading provider of technologies for the oil and gas industry, first commercialized the UOP MaxEne process in 2013. The process enables refiners and petrochemical producers to direct molecules within the naphtha feed to the processes that deliver the greatest value and improve yields of fuels and petrochemicals.

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.

PKN Orlen would be the first refining and petrochemicals company in Europe to use the Honeywell UOP MaxEne technology for molecule management of a naphtha stream to produce high-quality products including olefins, aromatics and gasoline.

Trinseo raises September PC prices in Europe

MOSCOW (MRC) -- 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 polycarbonate (PC) grades in Europe, as per the company's press release.

Effective September 1, 2020, or as existing contract terms allow, the contract and spot prices for the products listed below increased as follows:

- CALIBRE PC resins - by EUR200 per metric ton.

As MRC informed earlier, Trinseo last raised its prices for all PC grades in Europe on 1 February 2020 by EUR150 per metric ton.

According to ICIS-MRC Price report, PC prices went up in the Russian market in August. Prices will continue their upward trend in the country in September. The Kazan producer's prices of extrusion grade material were at Rb145,000/tonne FCA plant, including VAT, in August, whereas prices of injection moulding material were at Rb152,000/tonne FCA plant, including VAT. The plant's selling prices will rise by Rb20,000/tonne this month largely because of the growth of the dollar and euro exchange rates against the rouble.

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.

COVID-19 - News digest as of 09.09.2020

1. VCI forecasts decline in Germany's chemicals output, sales in 2020

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Germany’s chemical industry association VCI (Frankfurt) says it expects the country’s production of chemicals and pharmaceuticals to fall by 3% in 2020 compared to the prior year, with annual sales to decline by 6% year on year (YOY). A return to pre-COVID-19 levels is not expected before the end of 2021 at the earliest, it says, said Chemweek. Initial signs of a recovery are, however, now being seen, says Christian Kullmann, VCI president and chairman of Evonik Industries. “If another shutdown can be avoided, demand for chemicals and pharmaceuticals is expected to stabilize in the second half of the year," he says.


Sri Lanka navy says no real risk of spill on stricken supertanker

MOSCOW (MRC) -- There is no real risk of a spill from a fully loaded supertanker that caught fire off the east coast of Sri Lanka, reported Reuters with reference to a senior official in the Indian Ocean nation's navy.

The fire that broke out in the engine room of the New Diamond on Thursday morning had spread to the bridge of the ship, carrying about 2 million barrels of oil, though it has not reached the cargo area, the Sri Lankan navy said.

Director-General of Operations Rear-Admiral Y N Jayarathna told reporters it was the navy’s view that there was no real danger of a spill, because the fire on the ship has been contained in the rear section of the vessel.

"The live flames have now died down and there is only white smoke emanating from the vessel," he told a televised press conference.

A navy spokesman, Captain Indika de Silva, said there were 23 crew members on board, one of whom is presumed dead. The rest have been taken off the ship by the Sri Lankan navy, with one injured crew member flown to the capital Colombo for treatment.

Three tug boats, five Sri Lankan navy ships as well as two craft from the Russian navy and three from the Indian navy have been assisting in an operation to fight the fire and tow the ship away from the coast, after it began drifting towards land.

At present, the vessel is being held by the salvage team in deep sea 35 kms (21.7 miles) east of the Sri Lankan town of Pottuvil, de Silva said.

Initially, the ship was stranded 38 kms (24 miles) east of the town of Thirukovil, but drifted within 25 kms of the coast after being abandoned. Authorities were now towing it eastward, away from the coast, de Silva said.

Thirukovil is a town in Sri Lanka's Ampara district that was badly battered by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Arugam Bay, a world-renowned surfing spot, is nearby.

"The missing Filipino sailor is presumed dead. He was badly injured when a boiler exploded," de Silva told Reuters, citing crew who were rescued.

"There were five Greek and 18 Philippine nationals among the crew. One of them was injured and he was airlifted out of the ship and the rest were accounted for."

Sri Lanka's meteorology department had already modeled the impact of 70,000 tons of crude oil - a quarter of the ship's cargo - spilling into the ocean.

The simulation, a worst case scenario according to authorities, found that such a spill would not immediately threaten the country's east coast.

But Dharshani Lahandapura, chair of Sri Lanka's federal Marine Environment Protection Authority, told Reuters that any spill from the ship would be catastrophic for marine life.

"It will be a huge environmental and economic disaster if this happens," she said.

The 1989 oil spill from the Exxon Valdez, considered one of the worst human-caused environmental disasters, spewed about 37,000 tons of crude into waters off Alaska.

The 20-year old New Diamond, chartered by Indian Oil Corp (IOC), had sailed from the port of Mina Al Ahmadi in Kuwait, loaded with Kuwait Export Crude, Refinitiv Eikon tracking data showed. It was heading for the Indian port of Paradip, where state-run IOC has a 300,000 barrel-per-day refinery.

As MRC informed previously, Indian Oil Corp, the country’s top refiner, is close to winning its first contract to export up to 720,000 tons of clean products to Mauritius under an annual deal from November.

We remind that Indian Oil says it will build an integrated paraxylene (PX) and purified terephthalic acid (PTA) facility at Paradip in Odisha State, India, at an estimated investment of 138 billion Indian rupees (USD1.84 billion). The project will be completed by early 2024, with the complex planned to produce 800,000 metric tons/year of PX and 1.2 million metric tons/year of PTA, it says.

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 of material in June.

Shanghai Golden Phillips starts maintenance at HDPE plant

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Shanghai Golden Phillips Petrochemical Co, a subsidiary of Sinopec Shangai Petrochemical Co, has shut its high density polyethylene (HDPE) plant for a maintenance turnaround, according to Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in China informed that the company halted operations at its plant on September 5, 2020. Exact duration of the shutdown could not be ascertained.

Located in Shanghai, China, the HDPE plant has a production capacity of 140,000 mt/year.

As MRC reported earlier, the company shut down its HDPE plant in Shanghai for scheduled turnarounds from 20 March to 8 April, 2019, and from 30 June to 15 July, 2019.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's HDPE production totalled 1,040,000 tonnes in the first seven months of 2020, up by 84% year on year. ZapSibNeftekhim accounted for the main increase in the output.

China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec Group) is a super-large petroleum and petrochemical enterprise group established in July 1998 on the basis of the former China Petrochemical Corporation. Sinopec Group's key business activities include the exploration and production of oil and natural gas, petrochemicals and other chemical products, oil refining.