Spolana commissions new gas-fired heating plant for CZK 200m and significantly lowers emissions

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Spolana Neratovice, a member of the refinery and petrochemical Unipetrol Group, has commissioned a new heating plant to generate steam needed for its operations. The investment totalled CZK 200 million, said hte company.

“The new gas-powered boiler room has replaced the existing heating plant powered by lignite. It was decommissioned and will be gradually disassembled in accordance with a valid integrated permit,” explains Miroslav Falta, executive director of Spolana. He adds: “After switching from lignite to natural gas and installing modern boilers, there has been a significant decrease in the volume of substances emitted into the atmosphere. Sulphur-dioxide emissions will drop by 99%; emissions of dust and nitrogen oxides will be 90% lower, and carbon-monoxide emissions will decrease by 60%."

The construction of the heating plant was a turnkey project. It contained all construction work, including the installation of two steam boilers powered by natural gas with an output of 2x 35 tonnes of steam per hour, a control system, connection to steam pipelines and preparation of reduction stations. A consortium of CEZ Energeticke sluzby from the CEZ ESCO Holding and Envir & Power Ostrava was responsible for the implementation.

"The coal age in the Czech Republic and in Europe is gradually coming to an end, and the energy companies will also switch to more environmentally friendly fuels with lower emissions of harmful substances and CO2, similar to Spolana. Interest in these solutions is growing, and thanks to them, we are also number one on the industrial energy market in the Czech Republic,” says Kamil Cermak, CEO of CEZ ESCO.

The biggest challenge of the entire project was the installation of two gas-fired boilers with dimensions of 10 m x 5 m, weighing 162 tonnes, in November 2018. The boilers, with an output of 70 tonnes of steam per hour, were manufactured by Bosch Industriekessel GmbH in Gunzenhausen near Nuremberg, Germany. Their transport to Neratovice over 400 km took five days. The entire transport distance was extended to 550 km due to traffic restrictions caused by the cargo’s abnormal dimensions.

“A team of our experts, in collaboration with the Police of the Czech Republic, planned the boiler transport carefully for several weeks. It was carried on a low-floor unit with a special hydraulic trailer for abnormal cargo which helped adjust the current height of the entire unit. It had to fit below ten low bridges on its way. The length of the transport unit was 34 metres,” said Miroslav Falta about the difficult transport and added: “For the cargo to pass our entrance gate, we had to disassemble a section of the fence, lay gravel around the gatehouse and temporarily disassemble stands holding entrance-card readers."

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 Unipetrol Group is the largest refinery and petrochemical company in the Czech Republic. It focuses on crude-oil processing and on the production, distribution and sale of vehicle fuels and petrochemical products – particularly plastics and fertilisers. In all these areas, it belongs among the important players on the Czech and Central European market. The Unipetrol Group encompasses refineries and production plants in Litvinov and Kralupy nad Vltavou, Paramo with its Mogul brand in Pardubice and Kolin, Spolana Neratovice, and two research centres in Litvinov and Brno. Unipetrol also includes a network of Benzina filling stations in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. With 417 filling stations, Benzina is the largest chain in the Czech Republic. Unipetrol is one of the largest companies in terms of turnover in the Czech Republic. It earned over CZK 130 billion last year and employs more than 4,800 persons. In addition to its business development, Unipetrol is proud to be a socially responsible corporation. Therefore, it pays an equal amount of attention to initiatives which focus on the cultivation and support of sustainable development, education, local communities, and the environment. In 2005, Unipetrol became a member of the PKN Orlen Group, the largest crude-oil processor in Central Europe.

Sumitomo Chemical and Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma set JV for CDMO Business

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Sumitomo Chemical Company Limited and Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma Co., Ltd. announced that, in September 2020, they had established S-RACMO Co., Ltd. (S-RACMO), a joint venture company to develop manufacturing methods and manufacture products for the regenerative medicine and cell therapy field, said the company.

S-RACMO has started operations and will undertake business as a Contract Development and Manufacturing Organization (CDMO). The establishment of manufacturing systems is a major issue faced by academia and startups in the development and commercialization of regenerative medicine and cell therapy. Sumitomo Chemical and Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma have decided to embark on the CDMO business to achieve the early diffusion and commercialization of regenerative medicine and cell therapy. They aim to leverage Sumitomo Chemical’s expertise in basic iPS/ES cell technologies and pharmaceutical contract manufacturing and Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma’s expertise gained by developing sophisticated manufacturing methods and pharmaceutical development through multiple projects in the regenerative medicine and cell therapy business.

The global market for CDMO business in the field of regenerative medicine and cell therapy is expected to grow to around 1.2 trillion yen by 2030*. Leveraging group synergies, Sumitomo Chemical and Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma will strive to gain a solid share in this market and build up a higher level of technology and expertise in CDMO operations. In addition, by moving into the CDMO business, Sumitomo Chemical aims to expand its business in the life science area by increasing contract pharmaceutical manufacturing, building on its contract manufacturing business in small molecule and nucleic acid therapeutics. Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma aims to diversify its business in the regenerative medicine and cell therapy field so as to contribute more to earnings and gain new opportunities for partnerships.

S-RAMCO will conduct CDMO business in some of a manufacturing facility for regenerative medicine and cell therapy (SMaRT) owned by Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma and a manufacturing facility for regenerative medicine and cell therapy, which will be built on the premises of its Central Research Laboratories (Suita, Osaka) of Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma. In addition, Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma has already started negotiations with CorneaGen Inc. (Washington State, USA) to receive the contract to manufacture corneal endothelial cells (planned indication: corneal diseases) and to develop its manufacturing method, so that S-RACMO can undertake this responsibility for CorneaGen in Japan.

As MRC informed earlier, Sumitomo Chemical has begun construction of a new polypropylene (PP) compounding plant in Jiangsu province, its fifth facility in China, due to start up next year.

According to ICIS-MRC Price report, Poliom took off-stream its PP production for the scheduled maintenance on 2 September; the shutdown will take a little more than two weeks. The plant's annual production capacity is 230,000 tonnes. It is also worth noting that Ufaorgsintez also shut its production capacities for a scheduled turnaround on 12 September, the outage will last until 10 October.

PPG Industries says third-quarter results to be better than expected

MOSCOW (MRC) -- PPG Industries says it expects third-quarter net sales to be down 5% year-on-year (YOY), compared with prior guidance calling for a decline of 6–11%, reported Chemweek.

Adjusted earnings are forecast to total USD1.90–1.94/share. PPG has not previously provided third-quarter earnings guidance. In the year-ago quarter, adjusted earnings totaled USD1.67/share, and net sales totaled about USD3.8 billion.

“The better than expected quarterly financial results were driven by improving demand in several end-use markets resulting in higher sales volumes, coupled with continued, aggressive cost management actions,” PPG says. This includes strong YOY growth in sales volumes in the company’s architectural coatings business.

“We expect to achieve high-teen percentage operating margins in both reporting segments for the quarter, reflecting improving sales volumes and continued execution of our cost management initiatives,” says PPG chairman and CEO Michael McGarry. “We are continuing to deliver strong performance in our aggregated global architectural coatings and packaging coatings businesses, which is now being coupled with strengthening demand for our automotive original equipment manufacturer and general industrial coatings. These businesses collectively represent about 70% of our business portfolio. In the remainder of our businesses, demand trends continue to be mixed due to impacts from the pandemic.”

PPG’s two reporting segments are performance coatings and industrial coatings. The company will report full third-quarter 2020 results on 19 October.

As MRC wrote previously, in February 2020, PPG said it had completed its acquisition of Industria Chimica Reggiana (ICR, Reggio Emilia, Italy), a maker of automotive refinish products. Financial terms of the deal, including purchase price, were not disclosed. The deal was announced on 8 January. ICR was founded in 1961 and employs about 180 people. ICR manufactures automotive refinish products, including putties, primers, basecoats and clear coats. It also makes a range of coatings, enamels and primers for light commercial vehicles and other light industrial coatings applications. ICR employs about 180 people and sells its products in more than 70 countries in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, the US and Latin America.

We remind that Russia's output of products from polymers grew in August 2020 by 4.1% year on year. However, this figure increased by 1.9% year on year in the first eight months of 2020, reported MRC analysts. According to the Russian Federal State Statistics Service, August production of unreinforced and non-combined films rose to 126,300 tonnes from 118,200 tonnes a month earlier. Output of films products grew in January-August 2020 by 8.3% year on year to 863,200 tonnes. August production of non-porous polymer boards, sheets and films exceeded 38,700 tonnes versus 36,400 tonnes in July. Thus, overall output of these products reached 271,900 tonnes over the stated period, up by 3.5% year on year.

Hyundai E&C, Technip lead groups in bids to expand Vietnam refinery

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Two consortiums led by Hyundai Engineering & Construction and Technip Italy are bidding for a USD1.8 billion project to upgrade and expand Vietnam’s Dung Quat refinery, according to Hydrocarbonprocessing with reference to the owner of the plant's statement.

Binh Son Refining and Petrochemical said in a statement the project would raise the refinery’s capacity by 30% to 8.5 million tons of crude oil a year, or 170,000 barrels per day (bpd).

A company source told Reuters on Thursday the company would name the winner of the bid in about a month.

The source added that the refinery was running at full capacity after it was restarted more than a week ago following a 50-day shutdown for maintenance.

“The expansion and upgrade of the refinery is a necessary and urgent task to ensure the flexible, stable and efficient operations of the refinery, enabling it to process more types of crude oil,” the company said in the statement.

The 130,000-bpd refinery in the central province of Quang Ngai started commercial operations in 2009. It was originally designed to process mostly crude oil from Vietnam’s Bach Ho field, whose production has peaked.

The Hyundai E&C-led consortium also consists of Hyundai Engineering Co., according to Binh Son. The other consortium includes Technip Italy, Technip Geoproduction, Technip France, PetroVietnam Technical Services Corp. and Lilama Corp.

Binh Son said work on the expansion and upgrade of the refinery would start in August 2021.

As MRC reported before, Binh Son Refinery and Petrochemical restarted the polypropylene (PP) plant at the beginning of October 2020 following a major maintenance shutdown. The 150,000 tons/year unit was taken off-stream on 12 August as the producer conducts overhaul at the upstream units.

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.

Rohm lifts MMA sales control in Europe

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Rohm (Darmstadt, Germany) says it will lift sales control on 12 October in Europe for methyl methacrylate (MMA) after imposing it mid-September, reported Chemweek.

Although demand “remains high,” the company says its decision to lift sales control is supported by the resumption of production in its plant in Worms, Germany. The facility has successfully completed an annual maintenance turnaround and operations have been resumed, it says.

Rohm put MMA on sales control on 15 September due to increased demand and limited availability of raw materials. The Worms plant has a production capacity of 225,000 metric tons/year of MMA, with its facility at Wesseling, Germany, having a nameplate capacity of 95,000 metric tons/year of MMA.

The company implemented its most recent price increase on 1 September for MMA and other methacrylate monomer products in Europe.

As MRC wrote before, Roehm took off-stream its MMA plant in June 2020. The company started turnaround at the plant on June 5, 2020. The plant remained under maintenance for about 10 days. Located in Wesseling, Germany, the plant has a production capacity of 95,000 mt/year.

The principal application, consuming approximately 75% of the MMA, is the manufacture of polymethyl methacrylate acrylic plastics (PMMA). Methyl methacrylate is also used for the production of the co-polymer methyl methacrylate-butadiene-styrene (MBS), used as a modifier for polyvinyl chloride (PVC).

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's overall PVC production totalled 718,500 tonnes in January-September 2020, down by 0.3% year on year. At the same time, only two producers managed to increase their PVC output.