Formosa Plastics USA to start up new LDPE unit

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Petrochemicals producer Formosa Plastics USA, part of Formosa Petrochemical, may delay the start up of its low density polyethylene (LDPE) line in Point Comfort, Texas, until Oct. 30, several sources told S&P Global Oct. 28.

The company was not available for immediate comment on the delay. Spokesperson Fred Neske last said the project was "still ongoing," in an email on Aug. 14 to Platts.

The startup of the unit was previously delayed to late-July or early-August from April, a spokesman said on May 8. Formosa had originally planned to bring the unit online by late-2019.

As MRC reported earlier, Formosa Plastics broke ground on its USD9.4 billion petrochemical complex in St. James Parish, Louisiana in late March, 2020, after receiving final permits but has now agreed to limit its construction activities until February 2021. The company plans to build the complex in two phases over 10 years. The first phase would include a 1.2-million metric tons/year ethylene plant using ethane as feedstock, with downstream facilities that will produce high-density polyethylene (HDPE), linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE), and ethylene glycol (EG). A propane dehydrogenation plant and a polypropylene (PP) facility are also planned.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, September estimated LDPE consumption in Russia fell to 23,930 tonnes from 47,610 tonnes a month earlier. Russian producers reduced their domestic LDPE shipments due to shutdowns for maintenance at production capacities in Ufa, Tomsk and Kazan. Russia's estimated LDPE consumption totalled about 406,500 tonnes in January-September 2020, which virtually corresponded to the last year's figure.

Formosa Petrochemical is involved primarily in the business of refining crude oil, selling refined petroleum products and producing and selling olefins (including ethylene, propylene, butadiene and BTX) from its naphtha cracking operations. Formosa Petrochemical is also the largest olefins producer in Taiwan and its olefins products are mostly sold to companies within the Formosa Group. Among the company's chemical products are paraxylene (PX), phenyl ethylene, acetone and pure terephthalic acid (PTA). The company"s plastic products include acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) resins, polystyrene (PS), polypropylene (PP) and panlite (PC).

HIMA delivers safety technology solution to BASF new world-scale acetylene facility

MOSCOW (MRC) -- HIMA, a leading independent provider of industrial smart safety solutions, has delivered a comprehensive safety solution consisting of hardware, software and engineering for BASF's new world-scale acetylene facility, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

BASF has now commissioned this ultramodern facility at its Ludwigshafen site, which features a capacity to produce 90,000 metric tons of acetylene per year. HIMA state-of-the-art safety technology safeguards the safety-critical production processes in this complex project.

In the acetylene facility, HIMA's safety controllers not only perform the classic emergency shutdown function, but they also handle the functions involved in starting up the system and controlling the pre-heater and the coke discharge. After a planning phase that covered around one year, in 2018 HIMA delivered 61 BASF control room racks based on a total of six HIMax systems. The safety specialist wired and tested the HIMax controllers in-house (factory acceptance testing) and delivered the pre-assembled complete modules, including separation layer in accordance with the "just-in-time" requirements of the construction site. Since October 2018, two HIMA engineers have also been permanently based in Ludwigshafen to make sure that the safety solution is seamlessly integrated into the existing automation architecture.

"We have been working successfully with HIMA at the Ludwigshafen site for many years and have found the experience with our partner's safety solutions to be excellent. It seemed logical to also rely on HIMA's technology and expertise for the new acetylene plant. The HIMA experts' service and engineering played a significant role in ensuring that the safety systems were delivered and commissioned smoothly, and that the construction progress schedule was met", noted Meinrad Ramisch, Senior E&I Engineering Manager at BASF.

Despite the complexity of the system, HIMA was able to design a lean and highly reliable hardware solution. The SafeEthernet protocol ensures safe cross communication between controllers in SIL 3 quality. The controller's fast response times in the event of an emergency shutdown and high operational safety (SIL 3) within critical production processes ensure the acetylene facility's high availability and productivity. HIMA contributed its safety expertise and solution competence beginning with the planning phase: Safety experts from Bruhl proactively assisted in designing the hardware and programming the application-specific software, in particular for implementation of the complex burner control circuits.

“We have been working in partnership with BASF at the Ludwigshafen site for many years. We are glad to be on board for this important project and are proud that our safety solution ensures the availability and productivity of the process critical acetylene facility. By providing "just-in-time" delivery of the pre-assembled control room racks and a non-stop on-site service, we were able to ensure compliance with the tight schedule at the construction site and to minimize the workload for BASF", explains Andreas Jau?, the responsible Project Manager at HIMA.

The new BASF world-scale production plant for acetylene at the Ludwigshafen site replaces the existing obsolete facility and has a capacity to produce 90,000 metric tons of acetylene per year. The integration of the plant into the Ludwigshafen site provides BASF with the advantages of efficient resource utilization, excellent production synergies and short supply routes.

HIMA delivered 61 BASF control room racks based on a total of six HIMax systems. To enable read out of the field devices, 103 X-HART modules were also integrated into the controllers.

As MRC informed earlier, ASF is planning to restart its 300,000-metric ton/year toluene diisocyanate (TDI) plant in Ludwigshafen, Germany, by the end of October. The company declared force majeure on 31 August after experiencing technical problems.

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.

BASF-YPC Company Limited (BASF-YPC) is a 50-50 joint venture between BASF and Sinopec, founded in 2000, with a total investment of approximately USD5.5 billion. The integrated petrochemical site produces about three million tons of high-quality chemicals and polymers for the Chinese market annually. The products serve the rapid-growing demand in multiple industries, including agriculture, construction, electronics, pharmaceutical, hygiene, automotive and chemical manufacturing. All BASF-YPC plants are interconnected in order to use products, by-products and energy in the most efficient way, to save cost and to minimize the environmental impact. BASF-YPC posted sales of approximately CNY 19.6 billion in 2019 and employed 1,942 people as of the end of the year.

Univar, PVS Chloralkali announce new hydrochloric acid agreement

Univar, PVS Chloralkali announce new hydrochloric acid agreement

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Univar Solutions Inc. and PVS Chloralkali Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of PVS Chemicals Inc. (PVS), have announced a new agreement where PVS will transfer railcars located in Ohio, Illinois and Virginia and sourcing agreements for Hydrochloric Acid (HCL) to Univar Solutions, according to Kemicalinfo.

“This agreement further expands Univar Solutions’ large and robust network for its HCL business in North America,” said Joe Serna, vice president, bulk chemical distribution for Univar Solutions.

“We’re very pleased to increase our sourcing capabilities and logistics infrastructure to enhance our presence as a top HCL provider benefitting customers throughout North America.”

As part of the agreement Univar Solutions becomes a strategic provider of HCL for PVS, which is one of the largest managers of chlorides used in the production of finished steel throughout North America.

Univar Solutions’ network, supplier relationships, digital technology, technical expertise, and market knowledge help customers navigate dynamic market conditions and is expected to support this strategic alliance.

“PVS remains active and growing throughout all of its products and markets. This agreement strengthens PVS’s hydrochloric acid business by allowing the company to focus on where we maximize value for our customers,” said David Nicholson, president and CEO of PVS Chemicals, Inc.

As MRC reported earlier, in March 2019, Nexeo Univar Inc., has announced that it has completed the acquisition of Nexeo Solutions, creating a leading global chemical and ingredients solutions provider. The combined company will conduct business as Univar Solutions, reflecting a commitment to combining the 'best of the best' from each legacy organization.

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.

Univar Solutions is a leading global chemical and ingredient distributor and provider of value added services to customers across a wide range of industries. With the industry's largest private transportation fleet and North American sales force, a vast supplier network, deep market and regulatory knowledge, world-class formulation and recipe development, unparalleled logistics know-how, and industry-leading digital tools, Univar Solutions is a committed ally to customers and suppliers, helping them anticipate, navigate, and leverage meaningful growth opportunities.

CBH statement on Oman, Duqm ULSFO refinery

MOSCOW (MRC) -- A company official statement was released by the chairman and CEO of Canada Business Holdings confirming the company plans to go ahead with the ultra-low sulfur fuel oil refinery in the Sultanate of Oman, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Moses Solemon stressed that the refinery plans are on time and going well. “We are proud of the level of business cooperation that the Omani authorities are showing. We are overwhelmed by the keen interest and effort levels on their side." Canada Business Holdings Inc. secured license to produce refined oil products in the Special Economic Zone in Duqm in Oman. The refinery capacity is 300,000 bpd.

The focus of the processing technology of the CBH Inc. refinery is the “bottom of the barrel” refining. CBH Inc was able to successfully integrate two Canadian technologies to produce high-quality fuel oil with near zero sulfur content and producing near zero nitrogen oxides. The green technology is one of a kind in the world of refining.

Mr. Solemon stated that “Although we are not a typical refining company by default, we have gathered the best world class team to make it happen. This refinery is a game changer in terms of business and in the end-product”.

CBH is a global leader in public-private partnership mega project development. The prime factors of CBH Inc. capabilities focused on successfully developing strategic projects by effectively and seamlessly bridging the void between macroeconomic future-forecasting and micro-economic implementation in certain business sectors.

In addition, CBH Inc. has been successfully able to avert high risk projects and in minimizing political, economic, and economic risks associated with global meltdown such as that of 2008. CBH deploys such expertise in the project development business to create sustainable and effective socio-economic condition in the country of operation.

Ethylene and propylene are feedstocks for producing 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.

India will pursue refining expansion, embrace clean fuels: PM Modi

MOSCOW (MRC) -- India will be looking to expand its oil refining capacity over the next few years, while embracing cleaner fuels such as natural gas, hydrogen and renewables to meet its insatiable appetite for energy, reported S&P Global with reference to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's statement at the inaugural session of the India Energy Forum by CERAWeek Oct 26.

But India would have to meet its energy needs while keeping in mind the environmental needs, Modi said, adding that New Delhi was committed to reduce its carbon footprint sharply in coming years in order to battle climate change.
"We plan to grow our refining capacity from about 250 million mt per annum currently to 400 million mt by 2025," Modi said.

But on top of that, boosting domestic gas production was a key priority for the government, he said, adding that it was crucial for the country to achieve its ambitions of becoming a gas-based economy. The government has set a target of raising the share of gas in India's energy mix to 15% from 6% by 2030.

For the country to achieve its overall energy ambitions, India would need to accelerate the move toward gas, promote cleaner use of fossil fuels such as petroleum and coal, boost reliance on domestic resources for driving biofuels and embrace fuels such as hydrogen, Modi said.

While the world could witness a contraction in energy demand in the near-to-medium term because of the pandemic, India would swim against the tide and witness positive growth in energy demand, he added. "Our energy demand is set to double in the long term."

Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said that while the coronavirus pandemic had hit the global economy, it had also created a unique opportunity to emerge stronger while recovering from the crisis.

"Our energy requirements in the coming years are bound to grow as our per-capita energy consumption is still far below the global average," Pradhan said.

"We are making concerted efforts and taking all necessary steps to make the energy sector fuel India's economic growth during the pandemic and in the post-COVID period. We are now on the road to full recovery of petroleum products consumption compared to pre-COVID levels," he added.

Pradhan's views echoed comments from Indian Oil Corp. Chairman Shrikant Madhav Vaidya who told S&P Global Platts that Indian oil demand was recovering faster than expected, with gasoline consumption already at pre-pandemic levels, and the upcoming festival reason is expected to give a further boost to overall oil-product consumption.

S&P Global Platts Analytics expects Indian oil demand to fall 530,000 b/d year on year to 4.5 million b/d in 2020, before rebounding by 500,000 b/d in 2021.

Modi said that for too long the world had seen crude prices on a roller coaster and there was a need to work toward transparent and flexible markets for both oil and gas.

On India's appetite for cleaner fuels, Modi said renewable energy would play a key role in its energy basket in the future.

"We are well on track to make the commitment we made to the global community. We had aimed to increase the renewable energy installed capacity by 175 GW by 2022. We have further extended this goal to 450 GW by 2030," he said.

As MRC wrote previously, Indian Oil Corp. Ltd. (IOC) has approved the addition of a petrochemical and lube integration component to its previously announced and long-planned project that will expand crude oil processing capacity of its 13.7 million-tonne/year Koyali refinery at Vadodara in India’s western state of Gujarat.

We remind that IOC is expanding its petrochemical capacity by more than 70 per cent from its current 3.2 million tonnes a year. It is also on new technologies that reduces the cost of producing petrochemicals.

Ethylene and propylene are feedstocks for producing 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.