Clariant to build catalyst production site in China

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Clariant (Muttenz, Switzerland) has announced the construction of a new state-of-the-art catalyst production site in China, reported Chemweek.

This project represents a significant investment which further strengthens Clariant’s position in China and enhances its ability to support its customers in the country’s thriving petrochemicals industry.

The new facility will be primarily responsible for producing the Catofin catalyst for propane dehydrogenation, which is used in the production of olefins such as propylene. Thanks to its excellent reliability and productivity, Catofin delivers superior annual production output compared to alternative technologies, resulting in increased overall profitability for propylene producers, says the company. Construction at the Dushan Port Economic Development Zone in Jiaxing, Zhejiang Province was scheduled to commence in Q3 2020, and Clariant expects to be at full production capacity by 2022.

“As we have defined the right portfolio for Clariant’s focused growth strategy, it is now vital that we invest in these core high-value specialty businesses, such as catalysts, to put them in the strongest possible market positions. China continues to be a growth market with attractive prospects for Clariant. This investment will be of great benefit to our company’s positioning and customer proximity in the entire region and hence, together with the One Clariant campus, marks another cornerstone of Clariant’s “Fringe to Core” strategy execution”, says Hans Bohnen, chief operating officer at Clariant.

The new plant in Jiaxing will be Clariant Catalysts’ most digitized facility todate, incorporating sophisticated automation systems throughout the production process. Once completed, it will be Clariant’s third catalyst production plant in China. It will strengthen Catalyst’s existing network, which comprises a joint venture facility with the North Huajin Group in Panjin, as well as a fully-owned Clariant facility in Jinshan, Shanghai.

Stefan Heuser, senior vice president and general manager at Clariant Catalysts, expressed the importance of the new facility, stating, “The Jiaxing Catofin plant is a key component of our China strategy and further improves our commitments to the country’s growing PDH market. It is another example of how we continue to strengthen our presence in the region in order to expand our local capacity to meet our customers’ needs.”

China is the world’s leading producer of on-purpose propylene. The nation’s production volume accounts for around 50% of total global capacity and is expected to continue rising by 8% annually, according to a 2019 IHS Markit report. Consequently, the first phase of the new plant will focus on meeting China’s PDH requirements through Catofin production. In the future, Clariant may expand manufacturing capabilities at the site to offer further catalyst technologies relevant to China’s chemical industry.

Catofin is said to be a highly reliable and efficient dehydrogenation catalyst for the production of olefins, such as propylene or isobutylene, from light paraffin feedstocks. The catalyst is used in combination with Clariant’s Heat Generating Material, which further increases the selectivity and yield of production units.

As MRC informed earlier, in May 2020, Clariant’s CATOFIN catalysts was selected by Advanced Global Investment Co. (AGIC), a joint venture between Advanced Petrochemical Company (APC) and SK Group, to build a PDH facility in the Middle East.

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

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, PP shipments to the Russian market reached 767,2900 tonnes in the eight months of 2020 (calculated using the formula - production minus exports plus imports - and not counting producers' inventories as of 1 January, 2020). Supply increased exclusively of PP random copolymer.

Clariant AG is a Swiss chemical company and a world leader in the production of specialty chemicals for the textile, printing, mining and metallurgical industries. It is engaged in processing crude oil products in pigments, plastics and paints.

Hexpol appoints president, CEO

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Hexpol (Malmo, Sweden), a polymer compounder, says that its board has appointed Georg Brunstam president and CEO, effective 20 Novembe, said Chemweek.

Brunstam is currently chairman of Hexpol’s board and was Hexpol’s president and CEO during 2007-17, the company says.

The company’s board has also decided to appoint Peter Rosen, currently CFO and interim CEO, to deputy CEO for Hexpol. Meanwhile, Alf Goransson, who has been on the board of Hexpol since 2007, has been proposed as chairman by the nomination committee, Hexpol says.

As MRC informed earlier, Hexpol TPE, which has UK operations in Manchester, has launched a new range of materials intended for cable sheathing applications in such sectors are telecommunications and electricity delivery.

We remind that Russia's output of chemical products rose in September 2020 by 6.7% year on year. At the same time, production of basic chemicals increased by 6.1% year on year in the first nine months of 2020, according to Rosstat's data. According to the Federal State Statistics Service of the Russian Federation, polymers in primary form accounted for the greatest increase in the January-September output. Last month's production of primary polymers decreased to 852,000 tonnes from 888,000 tonnes in August due to shutdowns in Tomsk, Ufa and Kazan. Overall output of polymers in primary form totalled 7,480,000 tonnes over the stated period, up by 16.4% year on year.

Hexpol is a world-leading polymers group with strong global market positions in advanced polymer compounds (Compounding), gaskets for plate heat exchangers (Gaskets) and wheels made of plastic and rubber materials for forklifts and castor wheel applications (Wheels).

Grace licenses UNIPOL PP process technology to Dongguan Grand Resource for two additional lines

MOSCOW (MRC) -- W. R. Grace & Co. licenses UNIPOL PP process technology to Dongguan Grand Resource for two additional lines. This is part of the continued investment in UNIPOL PP Process Technology lines by DGR, according to Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The first license was signed in 2016. Building additional capacity at the same site will help DGR further optimize costs, shorten construction time, and broaden their product portfolio.

In addition to the process technology license, the collaboration includes a long-term catalyst supply agreement between Grace and DGR, giving DGR the ability to produce a wide variety of resin grades and provide more polypropylene options to their customers.

Grace's all gas-phase UNIPOL PP Process Technology provides the broadest range of polypropylene homopolymers, random copolymers, and impact copolymers in the industry. The process technology, coupled with Grace’s proprietary catalyst and donor systems and the UNIPPAC Advanced Process Control System, allow for maximum performance.

“We are excited to partner with Grace once again and continue to build on our existing relationship. Based on our previous UNIPOL PP technology experience, it was an easy decision to put our trust in Grace,” said Mr. Li Hanchu, general manager of GDR. “We have been pleased with the operability of our existing UNIPOL PP plant and the services and support that Grace has provided over the last several years. Choosing to build additional capacity using the UNIPOL PP Process Technology and using Grace catalysts that have been specifically developed to get the most out of the process, enable us to tap into ongoing technical support to achieve even better results.”

Laura Schwinn, president of Grace’s Specialty Catalysts business, said, “We are extremely pleased that DGR has chosen UNIPOL PP Process Technology as the basis for its continued growth in the polypropylene business. We welcome the trust they have placed in Grace and look forward to helping them succeed as a key regional player. Our process technology, our catalysts, and our global technical services team will improve DGR’s ability to produce leading products and meet growing demand for non-phthalate resins in the Chinese market.”

As MRC informed earlier, in April 2018, W. R. Grace & Co. completed the USD416 million acquisition of the Polyolefin Catalysts business of Albemarle Corporation.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, PP shipments to the Russian market reached 767,2900 tonnes in the eight months of 2020 (calculated using the formula - production minus exports plus imports - and not counting producers' inventories as of 1 January, 2020). Supply increased exclusively of PP random copolymer.

A leader in polyolefin catalysts and licensing, Grace has the world’s broadest portfolio of polypropylene and polyethylene catalyst technologies used to produce thermoplastic resins for a variety of applications. A leading innovator and strategic partner to its customers, Grace supplies catalyst solutions for all polyolefin processes, as well as polypropylene process technology and process controls. Grace employs approximately 3,700 people in over 30 countries.

Shell hires Orsted Brostrom to lead global renewables unit

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Royal Dutch Shell has hired Orsted's North America chief Thomas Brostrom as senior vice president for its Global Renewable Solutions department starting next year, a Shell spokesman said, as per Rueters.

Shell is cutting around a tenth of its workforce as part of plans by one of the world's biggest oil producers and largest fuel retailer to become a low-carbon energy provider, much like other European oil majors.

Orsted over the past decade has transformed from a diversified utility with oil and gas activities into the biggest developer of offshore wind farms with a quarter of the world's offshore wind capacity.

"(Brostrom) brings a wealth of experience in this field which will be key as we look to grow our capacity for low carbon renewable power generation," said Elisabeth Brinton, executive vice president at Shell New Energies.

Brostrom will start at Shell in August 2021ю

As MRC informed earlier, Royal Dutch Shell plc. said that its petrochemical complex of several billion dollars in Western Pennsylvania is about 70% complete and in the process to enter service in the early 2020s. Currently under construction, the plant is in Beaver County, about 48 km northwest of Pittsburgh, and will be self-sustained with its natural gas power plant and water treatment facility. The plant’s costs are estimated to be USD6-USD10 billion, where ethane will be transformed into plastic feedstock. The facility is equipped to produce 1.5 million metric tons per year (mmty) of ethylene and 1.6 mmty of polyethylene (PE), two important constituents of plastics.

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

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 1,496,500 tonnes in the first eight months of 2020, up by 5% year on year. Shipments of all ethylene polymers increased, except for linear low desnity polyethylene (LLDPE). At the same time, PP shipments to the Russian market reached 767,2900 tonnes in the eight months of 2020 (calculated using the formula - production minus exports plus imports - and not counting producers' inventories as of 1 January, 2020). Supply increased exclusively of PP random copolymer.

Royal Dutch Shell plc is an Anglo-Dutch multinational oil and gas company headquartered in The Hague, Netherlands and with its registered office in London, United Kingdom. It is the biggest company in the world in terms of revenue and one of the six oil and gas "supermajors". Shell is vertically integrated and is active in every area of the oil and gas industry, including exploration and production, refining, distribution and marketing, petrochemicals, power generation and trading.

Japan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Prime minister Yoshihide Suga, in an address to the Japanese parliament on Monday, said that Japan would achieve zero net carbon emissions by 2050, said Chemweek.

He also said that the government plans to make a sustainable economy a pillar of its growth strategy and put maximum effort into achieving a "green society."

Suga said that the government would focus on R&D into key technologies such as next-generation solar batteries and carbon recycling. He also pledged to reduce Japan's reliance on coal-fired energy by encouraging conservation and maximizing renewables and promoting nuclear energy.

The Japanese government in June last year adopted a long-term strategy for achieving the Paris climate accord targets, reports say. The strategy includes becoming a decarbonized society not dependent on fossil fuels and becoming carbon neutral early in the second half of the 21st century, but it does not specify a timetable for achieving the goal.

Japan has drawn criticism over its reliance on coal-fired power plants, which are substantial contributors to carbon dioxide emissions.

Japan joins other major countries and regions in pledging carbon neutrality around the middle of this century. Chinese president Xi Jinping declared in September that China would become carbon neutral by 2060. He also said that the country would reach peak greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions before 2030.

Earlier this month, the European Parliament voted to adopt a negotiating mandate that aims to write into EU legislation a goal set out in the EU Green Deal, to make climate neutrality obligatory by 2050 in the EU and its member states, and raise the EU’s target for reducing GHG emissions to 60% in 2030 compared with 1990.

As MRC informed earlier, as part of portfolio management reforms based on the Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Group’s medium-term management plan APTSIS 20, Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation has concluded agreements to transfer its polymer flocculant sales business to MT AquaPolymer, Inc. and Hymo Corporation.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, September total production of unmixed PVC grew to 86,000 tonnes from 75,500 tonnes a month earlier, SayanskKhimPlast and RusVinyl increased their capacity utilisation. Overall output of polymer were 718,500 tonnes in the first nine months of 2020 versus 720,500 tonnes a year earlier, only two producers raised their production volumes, and RusVinyl cut its output.