European Parliament urges EU to prioritize production of APIs and medicines

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The European Parliament says that the EU should become more self-sufficient in medicines and medical equipment so that affordable treatments are available at any time, said Chemweek.

It calls for priority to be given to boosting domestic production of essential and strategic medicines because currently 40% of medicines marketed in the EU originate in non-EU countries and 60-80% of its active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) supplies are produced in China and India.

The COVID-19 health crisis has emphasized the need to return API production to Europe and the EU Parliament has welcomed the EU health program EU4Health, which it says has the potential to ensure safe medicines in Europe can be made available, accessible, and affordable. Meanwhile, members of the European Parliament have asked the European Commission to examine ways to restore pharmaceutical manufacturing in Europe, as part of the EU4Health strategy.

Cefic welcomed the EU4Health program in July because it supports the relaunch of the EU's production of APIs and strengthens procurement of vital medicines, medical devices, and personal protective equipment. EU4Health is a dedicated funding program for 2021-27 to build resilient health systems in the EU that includes investments of EUR9.4 billion (USD11.1 billion), the Commission says.

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.

Surprise draw for weekly US propane, propylene stocks

MOSCOW (MRC) -- US propane and propylene inventories fell by 1.2 million barrels (bbl) to 96.1 million bbl in the week ended 11 September, reported Chemweek with reference to the Energy Information Administration (EIA)'s statement on Wednesday.

The result stood in stark contrast to expectations for an average build of 1.3 million bbl, based on an OPIS poll published Tuesday.

Exports increased 146,000 barrels per day (b/d) last week to 950,000 b/d. Imports increased 6,000 b/d to 89,000 b/d.

Product supplied, an indicator of implied demand, increased 382,000 b/d to 1.478 million b/d. Refinery and blender net production increased 38,000 b/d to 2.163 million b/d.

Gulf Coast (PADD 3) stocks plunged 2.1 million bbl to 54.9 million bbl. Midwest (PADD 2) stocks rose by 900,000 bbl to 27.3 million bbl. PADD 1 inventories dropped 100,000 to 8.6 million bbl. PADD 4 and 5 inventories increased 100,000 bbl to 5.3 million bbl.

Propane markets were unmoved by the latest round of EIA data. TET propane prices ranged from 50.75–51.00 cents/gallon, with non-TET at 50.50–51.25 cents/gallon. Conway propane was last seen at 44–45 cents/gallon.

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

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.

COVID-19 - News digest as of 17.09.2020

1. China key oil product exports set to fall in 2020 amid tepid international demand

MOSCOW (MRC) -- China is set to register a sharp decline in oil product exports for calendar 2020 and oil companies may fail to fully utilize their export quotas as they find sales in the international market difficult during the coronavirus pandemic, said S&P Global. Over January-September, China was likely to export about 36.2 million mt of oil products, S&P Global Platts estimated based on recent customs data and company export plans. This could mean that Chinese oil companies would have to offer about 20 million mt of oil products into the international market in the fourth quarter if they are to fully use up their quotas.


Daesan MEG unit to be shut by Lotte Chemical in mid-October

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Lotte Chemical is likely to undertake a planned shutdown at its monoethylene glycol (MEG) unit, according to Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in South Korea informed that the company has planned to take its unit off-stream for maintenance in mid-October, 2020. The unit is expected to remain off-line for about two weeks.

Located at Daesan in South Korea, the unit has a production capacity of 400,000 mt/year.

As MRC informed earlier, Lotte Chemical's second-quarter net profit fell 88.7 percent from a year earlier due to low demand amid the coronavirus pandemic. For the April-June period, Lotte Chemical posted a net profit of 30.6 billion won (USD25.8 million), compared with a profit of 271.2 billion won a year earlier, the company said in a regulatory filing.

MEG is one of the main feedstocks for the production of polyethylene terephthalate (PET).

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.

Lanxess to expand capacity for oxone monopersulfate at Memphis

МОSCOW (MRC) -- Lanxess plans to expand capacity for Oxone monopersulfate - a main active ingredient for disinfectants, said the company.

Due to the continuous strong demand for disinfectants, specialty chemicals company Lanxess is planning to expand its production capacity for Oxone monopersulfate by around 50 percent. To this end, the company intends to invest a lower double-digit million euro sum in its production facility in Memphis, USA.

Lanxess uses Oxone monopersulfate as the main active ingredient in many of its Virkon and Rely+On disinfection products. Demand for these products has increased significantly in recent months due to, amongst others, the outbreak of African swine fever as well as the corona pandemic. The company also sells Oxone as a powerful oxidizing agent for numerous other applications. The capacity expansion is expected to be completed in the second half of 2022.

“Disinfection products are important growth drivers in our highly profitable Consumer Protection segment. We expect a sustainable high level of demand even after the corona pandemic,” said Matthias Zachert, Chairman of the Lanxess Board of Management.

Michael Schafer, head of Lanxess Material Protection Products business unit, added: “We are also seeing a growing demand for Oxone in the water treatment sector as well as from the electronics and paper industries. We want to meet this demand by expanding our production capacity."

Lanxess also offers disinfectants for human health: The product Rely+On Virkon is used in hospitals, laboratories, public institutions and for medical equipment. It is proven to completely inactivate the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 in only 60 seconds.

Oxone is used, for example, to clean pool water, thereby reducing the use of chlorine. In the electronics industry, it is applied to prepare surfaces within the production process of printed circuit boards. Paper manufacturers use the product to effectively break down paper products containing wet strength resins during paper reprocessing. In addition, Oxone is a primary component of denture cleansers. Demand in these industries is growing, not least because regulatory requirements are becoming stricter and customers increasingly prefer chlorine-free oxidation solutions.

The expansion will meet growing demand for disinfectants and be completed in the second half of 2022.

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.