Celanese increases September prices of EVA emulsions in China

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Celanese Corporation, a global technology and specialty materials company, and a global leader in vinyl acetate ethylene (EVA) emulsions, has announced an increase in its September prices of vinyl acetate-based emulsions sold in China, as per the company's press release.

Thus, the company's prices of EVA emulsions rose by CNY300/mt for China, effective September 15, 2020, or as contracts otherwise allow.

The price increases above are for orders shipped immediately, or as contracts otherwise allow, and are incremental to any previously announced rises.

As MRC reported earlier, Celanese last raised its prices of EVA emulsions by CNY200/mt on 26 August, 2020.

According to MRC's DataScope report, June EVA imports to Russia fell by 22,5% year on year to 2,940 tonnes from 3,800 tonnes a year earlier, and overall imports of this grade of ethylene copolymer into the Russian Federation dropped in January-June 2020 by 8,16% year on year to 17,440 tonnes (18,980 tonnes a year earlier).

Celanese Corporation is a global technology leader in the production of differentiated chemistry solutions and specialty materials used in most major industries and consumer applications. Based in Dallas, Celanese employs approximately 7,700 employees worldwide and had 2019 net sales of USD6.3 billion.

Dow Chemical to refinance debt

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Dow has recently announced plans to refinance up to USD1.8 billion in senior bonds, including a USD1.25 billion term loan and up to USD550 million in bonds previously issued by Dow and legacy companies Union Carbide and Rohm and Haas, reported Chemweek.

The debt that will be refinanced is mostly due in 2023, and have varying interest rates. The new bonds will be due in 2030 and 2050, and pricing has not been determined.

Part of the refinancing will entail the term loan, and part of it entails a cash tender offer for up to USD550 million in a series of bonds, with the tender offer expiring on 14 September.

“Dow is taking advantage of the low interest rate environment to extend maturities and keep interest costs low,” says John Rogers, senior vice president at Moody's Investors Service (New York, New York). “Credit metrics are likely to remain very weak relative to 2019 despite the expectation for a substantial improvement in performance in the back half of the year from second quarter levels.” Moody’s has rated the new bonds ‘Baa2.’

Fitch Ratings (New York, New York) rates the new debt ‘BBB+,’ reflecting “Dow's significant scale and diversification, relatively high margins, consistently strong cash flow generation and low cost position offset by its heightened exposure to hydrocarbons,” the ratings agency says. “Fitch believes Dow retains deleveraging capacity in a weaker macroeconomic environment,” it adds.

As MRC informed previously, Dow said its sites along the US Gulf Coast reported no major damage from Hurricane Laura. Dow’s sites in Sabine, Beaumont, Deer Park, La Porte, Bayport and Texas City, Texas shut down operations prior to Laura making landfall. Dow's Freeport, Texas site continued operating as did facilities across Louisiana. Dow said it has not identified any significant structural damage or flooding at any of the facilities.

We remind that Dow Chemical conducted a 45-day scheduled maintenance at its propane dehydrogenation (PDH)unit in Freeport, Texas, from 8 July, 2020. This PDH unit has the capacity of 750,000 mt/y of propylene.

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.

The Dow Chemical Company is an American multinational chemical corporation. Dow is a large producer of plastics, including polystyrene, polyurethane, polyethylene, polypropylene, and synthetic rubber.

PetroChina Ningxia completes turnaround at PP plant in China

MOSCOW (MRC) -- PetroChina Ningxia PC has brought on-stream its polypropylene (PP) plant following a turnaround, according to Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in China informed that, the company resumed operations at the plant on August 18, 2020. The plant was shut for maintenance on July 1, 2020.

Located at Yinchuan, China, the PP plant has a production capacity of 110,000 mt/year.

As MRC reported earlier, PetroChina has nearly doubled the amount of Russian crude being processed at its refinery in Dalian, the company’s biggest, since January 2018, as a new supply agreement had come into effect. The Dalian Petrochemical Corp, located in the northeast port city of Dalian, was expected to process 13 million tonnes, or 260,000 bpd of Russian pipeline crude in 2018, up by about 85 to 90 percent from the previous year’s level. Dalian has the capacity to process about 410,000 bpd of crude. The increase follows an agreement worked out between the Russian and Chinese governments under which Russia’s top oil producer Rosneft was to supply 30 million tonnes of ESPO Blend crude to PetroChina in 2018, or about 600,000 bpd. That would have represented an increase of 50 percent over 2017 volumes.

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.

PetroChina Company Limited, is a Chinese oil and gas company and is the listed arm of state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation, headquartered in Dongcheng District, Beijing. It is China's biggest oil producer.

More than 30% of US Gulf offshore oil still offline after Hurricane Sally

MOSCOW (MRC) -- More than 30% of US Gulf of Mexico offshore oil and 25% of natural gas output remained offline Sept. 17 after Hurricane Sally made landfall the day prior, reported S&P Global with reference to the US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.

Oil producers began to redeploy evacuated crews, but even more oil was reported shut in than on previous days. Crude producers have shut in 567,770 b/d of crude and 670 MMcf/d of gas output, 30.69% and 24.73% of total offshore US Gulf output, respectively. A total of 70 platforms and rigs were still evacuated as of Sept. 17, down from more than 150 facilities in advance of the storm, according to BSEE.

Chevron said it has begun to "redeploy personnel and restore production at our Blind Faith and Petronius platforms that were shut-in for Hurricane Sally."

Other producers have been slower to signal startup, keeping facilities offline. Shell on Sept. 15 shut in production at its Appomattox platform, while also curtailing oil volumes at its large Olympus, Mars and Ursa facilities. Late on Sept. 16, Shell said, "There are no impacts to drilling operations, and production remains shut in at Appomattox."

Murphy Oil confirmed it evacuated multiple platforms and took production volumes offline, but a spokeswoman declined to specify which facilities were impacted.

In addition, BP had evacuated nonessential personnel from its Na Kika and Thunderhorse platforms.

Sally did not impact oil operations as heavily as Hurricane Laura did at the end of August. Laura managed to shutter nearly 85% of Gulf oil production - more than 1.5 million b/d - and 2.3 million b/d of refining capacity.

However, there's already another disturbance offshore of Mexico that the National Hurricane Center gives a 90% chance of developing into a depression or named storm as it moves toward the US Gulf this weekend and into next week. This is the busiest Atlantic hurricane season since 2005 when hurricanes Katrina, Rita and others devastated the USGC.

Phillips 66's 255,600 b/d Alliance refinery in Belle Chasse, Louisiana, was shut in advance of Sally. And, although the storm missed almost all of southeastern Louisiana, Phillips 66 said the Alliance refinery will remain closed for now.

"Phillips 66 can confirm that our Alliance Refinery is preparing to begin planned maintenance work originally slated for October, during which much of plant operations will remain down in order to conduct the work safely," the Houston refiner said.

Chevron spokesman Sean Comey said the company's 356,400 b/d Pascagoula Refinery in Mississippi is still operating. Chevron also resumed operations at its Empire and Fourchon terminals in Louisiana and brought back online the related pipeline systems.

The Louisiana Offshore Oil Port restarted operations on Sept. 16 at its marine terminal.

Shell reduced rates at its Mobile refinery in Alabama during the storm, but found no serious damage afterward.

"The Shell Mobile Refinery is running normally. Rain, storm surge and winds from Hurricane Sally had only minimal operational impact," Shell said in a Sept. 17 statement.

However, two major refineries - Phillips 66's and Citgo Petroleum's Lake Charles refineries in southwestern Louisiana - still remain shuttered after sustaining damage and the loss of power from Laura.

Phillips 66 spokeswoman Melissa Ory said the company's 260,000 b/d Lake Charles refinery, which was shut ahead of Laura, could start up in two weeks after it has reliable electricity and operate while repairs are being made, which are expected to take several months. Electricity provider Entergy, which is rebuilding the destroyed transmission lines to the refinery and other facilities, said it hopes to restore power by the end of September.

All told, that is close to 1 million b/d of crude refining capacity currently offline in Louisiana.

Likewise, the Cameron Highway Oil Pipeline System, known as CHOPS, has remained closed since service was disrupted by Laura. Flows on the system, which normally deliver to end points on the Texas Gulf Coast, are being redirected to the Poseidon or Auger pipelines for transportation to locations onshore in Louisiana, a Genesis Energy representative said.

CHOPS, the representative said, appears unlikely to resume normal operations before Oct. 1. An increase in Gulf of Mexico produced sour crude flows to the Louisiana area would provide more competition for Mars crude, which also delivers to end points in Louisiana, thus applying pressure on differentials for the grade.

Genesis said it expects to provide another update no later than Sept. 22.

As MRC wrote before, earlier this month, Chevron Phillips Chemical deferred a final investment decision on a USD8 billion joint venture petrochemical complex project along the US Gulf Coast that was expected in 2021.

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.

Ineos Styrolution, Trinseo advance plans for polystyrene recycling plant in France

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Material suppliers Ineos Styrolution and Trinseo are advancing their plans to build what’s being called a "first-of-its-kind" polystyrene (PS) recycling in Wingles, northern France, said the company.

The planned full commercial scale recycling facility will be capable of processing up to 50 tons-per-day of post-consumer PS feedstock, the companies said in a Sept. 17 statement, and is expected to be fully operational by mid-2023.

The companies said they will evaluate two different technology pyrolysis-based concepts during the conceptual design phase, one from Agilyx Corp. and the other from Swindon, England-based Recycling Technologies Ltd., in terms of quality, efficiency, and adaptation to different waste streams.

When completed, the plant will use the depolymerization process. "In previous project milestones, the depolymerisation of PS has proven to be an ideal recycling process showcasing polystyrene’s unique intrinsic capability for full circularity,” the statement said. “The plastics-to-plastics depolymerisation technology converts PS food packaging waste directly back into its original liquid monomer, which then can be repolymerised into recycled polystyrene for the same high-quality end applications, including food contact applications much like virgin PS."

"We are excited to move to the next phase of engineering of this plant, as we are well on track to deploy the game-changing depolymerisation technology with the construction of this recycling plant in France,” said Nicolas Joly, vice president, plastics & feedstocks at Trinseo. “This plant will be part of establishing a novel recycling infrastructure for styrenics in Europe together with key players from across the entire value chain, which will mark a step change in PS recycling."

"Our collaboration between Trinseo…is a significant commitment of capital and resources and a major milestone in truly closing the loop with food grade recycled content,” said Sven Riechers, vice president, business management, standard products EMEA at Ineos. “It forms part of Ineos’ and Trinseo’s commitments to use, on average, 30 per cent recycled content in products destined for PS packaging in Europe by 2025."

As it was written earlier, AmSty, INEOS Styrolution and Trinseo signed Joint Development Agreement to advance the circularity of polystyrene.

As per ICIS-MRC Price Report, the high impact polystyrene (HIPS) and general purpose polystyrene (GPPS) market
participants in Russia said demand for material remained strong amid its shortage. Large buyers were generally provided with material according to their needs, whereas small ones could not fully meet their needs, as there were no free quantities of Nizhnekamskneftekhim's polystyrene (PS) for injection moulding, extrusion and production of XPS-boards at the beginning of autumn.

Ineos Styrolution is the leading global styrenics supplier, with a focus on styrene monomer, polystyrene, ABS Standard and styrenic specialties. With world-class production facilities and more than 90 years of experience, INEOS Styrolution helps its customers succeed by offering innovative and sustainable best-in-class solutions, designed to give them a competitive edge in their markets, and at the same time, help make the circular economy for styrenics a reality. The company provides styrenic applications for many everyday products across a broad range of industries, including automotive, electronics, household, construction, healthcare, packaging and toys/sports/leisure.