Univation PE technology selected by Sibur for Amur gas-chemicals complex in Russia

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Sibur (Moscow, Russia) has awarded Univation Technologies a contract to supply its Unipol polyethylene (PE) process technology for Sibur’s USD10-billion Amur gas-chemicals complex (AGCC) being built in Russia’s Far East, said Univation.

Sibur, Russia’s largest integrated petrochemical company, says it has selected Univation’s licensed process for three 600,000-metric tons/year PE lines at Amur. The lines will be part of the integrated project, located near Svobodny in the Amur region close to Russia’s border with China, which will have a total polyolefin design capacity of 2.7 million metric tons/year.

Two of the AGCC manufacturing lines will produce high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE), while a third will be focused on a range of bimodal and unimodal HDPE production. Sibur says the complex will capture a full-range of HDPE, LLDPE, and metallocene LLDPE product opportunities, which includes both conventional large-volume products as well as specialty applications.

"This strategic project signifies a key investment commitment directed at creating new world-scale polyolefin manufacturing capabilities and contributing to unlocking Russia’s huge non-commodity export potential,” says Sergey Komyshan, executive director/petrochemicals and management board member at Sibur. Production from the three PE lines will aimed at meeting growing customer demand for PE in both the Asian and Russian markets, he says.

The AGCC is due to be commissioned in 2025. Foundation site work began in August.

As per MRC's ScanPlast, September PE production in Russia was 233,200 tonnes, whereas this figure was 258,700 tonnes a month earlier, in the first month of autumn several producers stopped their capacities for repairs at once. Thus, overall PE output reached 2,204,200 tonnes in January-September 2020, compared to 1,349,000 tonnes a year earlier. Production of all PE grades rose, but LLDPE accounted for the greatest increase, which was provided by ZapSibNeftekhim.

BP to shut Australian Kwinana refinery, convert it into fuel import terminal

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BP Australia plans to shut its 146,000 b/d Kwinana refinery in Western Australia and convert it into a fuel import terminal, reported S&P Global with reference to the company's statment Oct. 30.

The continued growth of large scale, export-oriented refineries throughout Asia and the Middle East has structurally changed the Australian market, BP said, adding that regional oversupply and sustained low refining
margins mean the Kwinana refinery is no longer economically viable.

Converting the refinery into an import terminal will help ensure ongoing security of fuel supply for Western Australia, the company said.

Refining activities will wind down over the next six months and conversion works will carry on out to 2022.

"BP is committed to playing a leading role in growing Australia's future prosperity, making significant investments in natural gas production, as well as in convenience and mobility businesses," Australia Head of Country Frederic Baudry said.

"We are particularly excited by the shared ambitions with Western Australia to be net zero by 2050 and the opportunities this can offer," he added.

This includes building on its position in the North West Shelf joint venture through gas exploration at Ironbark and investing in retail growth, as well as progressing low carbon projects with Lightsource BP. It is also assessing the feasibility of a large scale hydrogen export plant in Geraldton, Western Australia, in partnership with the federal government.

In addition to investing in an import terminal at Kwinana, BP is also exploring future options for the site, including a potential clean energy hub to harness the existing and emerging technologies required for the decarbonization of the Western Australian economy, it said, adding that a multi-use clean energy hub could produce and store lower carbon fuels, including sustainable aviation and marine fuels and waste-to-energy solutions such as renewable diesel.

As MRC wrote before, a “technical defect” disrupted production at part of the Gelsenkirchen integrated refinery and petrochemicals complex in Germany, early last week. The company operates plants in the Horst and Scholven districts at Gelsenkirchen, with the defect occurring at Horst. BP sais it was working to resume normal operations as soon as possible. It did not specify which unit has been affected, with sources suggesting it was the fluid catalytic cracker, but this was not confirmed by the company.

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

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 1,594,510 tonnes in the first nine months of 2020, up by 1% year on year. Only high denstiy polyethylene (HDPE) shipments increased. At the same time, PP shipments to the Russian market reached 880,130 tonnes in the nine months of 2020 (calculated using the formula: production minus exports plus imports, exluding producers' inventories as of 1 January, 2020). Supply increased exclusively of PP random copolymer.

BP plc (formerly The British Petroleum Company plc and BP Amoco plc) is a British multinational oil and gas company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It is one of the world's seven oil and gas "supermajors", whose performance in 2012, made it the world's sixth-largest oil and gas company, the sixth-largest energy company by market capitalization and the company with the world's 12th-largest revenue (turnover). It is a vertically integrated company operating in all areas of the oil and gas industry, including exploration and production, refining, distribution and marketing, power generation and trading. It also has renewable energy interests in biofuels, wind power, smart grid and solar technology.

Lotte Chemical Titan net profit dives on lower prices

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Lotte Chemical Titan Holding Bhd saw its net profit for the third quarter ended Sept 30 (3QFY20) fall 13.73% to RM78.77 million, from RM91.3 million a year ago, due to lower revenue, higher share of associate losses and higher operating cost resulting from Hurricane Laura, said Chemweek.

In a bourse filing, the group said its revenue for 3QFY20 dropped by 10.45% year-on-year to RM1.94 billion, from RM2.17 billion. The group said its profit before tax was lower as a result of higher share of associate losses due to lower product margin, higher operating cost and direct costs resulting from Hurricane Laura of RM15.9 million.

Meanwhile, its profit for the olefins and derivative products decreased from RM27.6 million to loss before tax of RM17.7 million, mainly due to margin squeeze resulting from lower average product selling price.

Its profit before tax for polyolefin products, however, increased from RM55.3 million to RM216.0 million mainly due to improved margin spread from lower feedstock cost. For the nine months ended Sept 30, the group slipped into a net loss of RM2.57 million, compared with a net profit of RM251.98 million in the year-ago period. Its revenue for the period also declined by 22.98% to RM4.98 billion, from RM6.46 billion a year ago.

In a separate statement, Lotte Chemical Titan president and CEO Dr Lee Dong Woo said that year to date, the group’s business is now back in the black and had since observed operational performance turnaround with continuously improving gross profit margin trends.

Loo said Lotte Chemical Titan’s long-term strategy to ride through these challenging periods will include optimising plant operations to increase production output, improving its business competitiveness in light of industry competition and enhancing business sustainability and governance to solidify its long-term business viability.

“As Lotte Chemical Titan embarks into the future, the company strives to continue maintaining its business resilience and strengthen the ability to deliver on its value creation promise,” he said. Amidst the slow economy and oil price volatility, the company said, it will continue to monitor closely the pandemic development as the petrochemical industry correlates with and is heavily dependent on the regional and global economic growth and aggregate consumption pattern.

“Notwithstanding the external circumstances, the company will continue to maintain its strong financial resilience and optimize its operations to ride through the highly volatile business environment,” it said. At midday break, Lotte Chemical Titan shares were up 5 sen or 2.08% to RM2.45, valuing the company at RM5.57 billion.

As MRC informed earlier, Lotte Chemical USA, a joint venture (40:60) of the Malaysian company Lotte Chemical Titan and its parent company Lotte Chemical Corporation, has restarted its cracker in Lake Charles in the aftermath of Hurricane Delta's Oct. 9 landfall. This cracker with the production capacity of 1 million mt/year is nearly half-owned by Westlake Chemical. Lotte also has restarted its associated 700,000 mt/year monoethylene glycol plant (MEG), market sources said.

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.

PetroChina to invest USD1.5 bil/year in 2021-25 for low carbon emission transitions

MOSCOW (MRC) -- State-owned PetroChina plans to spend about Yuan 10 billion (USD1.49 billion) annually in the next five years for low carbon emission transitions as part of the company's effort to meet Beijing's call for carbon neutrality by 2060, reported S&P Global with reference to the statment of Wei Fang, Assistant Secretary to the Board & Head of Investor Relations, during the company's Q3 result briefing.

PetroChina, China's top integrated giant, had produced 4.43 million boe/d of oil and gas in January-September.
Wei said the company targets to achieve near zero emission by 2050 and is currently drafting the new green and low carbon development plan in line with PetroChina's 14th Five-Year Plan for 2021-25.

"We go to build low carbon energy equals fairly with integrated development of fossil fuel and clean energy," Wei said.

In the next five years, PetroChina will focus more on integrated natural gas and power, geothermal, wind power as well as solar energy, Wei said, adding that it will launch pilot projects in hydrogen energy value chain.

The company prefers to work with external partners, such as establishing joint ventures, to have diverse methods for developing new energy businesses, Liu Wentao, who leads PetroChina's planning department, said late-August.

In the first three quarters, PetroChina's capital expense was at Yuan 160.8 billion, down 7.8% year on year, the result showed.

The company maintains its capex target of cutting 22%-25% from the last year levels as a reaction to price plunge and gloomy demand in 2020, Brian Xin Cong, Deputy Director of Investor Relations, said during the call.

As the company spanned off its pipeline assets and transferred to PipeChina on Sept. 30, the previous planned spending on pipeline construction will be saved, so that PetroChina will meet the capex cut target in 2020, Yu Meng, Deputy Director of Finance Disclosure, said during the call.

PetroChina slows down its domestic output growth in the third quarter to take advantage of low import price.

The company produced 883 Bcf of natural gas in July-September in China, up only 2.3% year on year and lagged behind both the 10.9% year-on-year growth for January-June and its annual growth target of 5%-6%, according to the report.

As a result, PetroChina's gas output accounted for 60.1% of China's gas output in January-September, down from 61% share in the first-half but remained slightly higher than 59.6% in the same period of last year.

Xin said the company increased gas imports in Q3 as spot price was low while there were some facility maintenance in the quarter which also contributed to slower growth.

However, Xin remained confident that the company will meet the 5%-6% growth target in 2020 as it boosts production in Q4 for peak winter demand. In the first three quarters, its domestic gas output rose 8.2% year on year to 2,907.4 Bcf.

Domestic crude oil output was steady at 560 million barrels with a 0.6% year-on-year increase.

The company achieved an operation profit at Yuan 60.28 billion in January-September, flipping from Yuan 6.04 billion of operation loss in H1, thanks to selling its pipeline asset to PipeChina in Q3, while crude price and demand recovery from COVID-19 pandemic also helped.

It gained Yuan 66.32 billion of operation profit in Q3, compared to Yuan 2.66 billion operation loss in Q2, the result showed.

As MRC informed 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.

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

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 1,594,510 tonnes in the first nine months of 2020, up by 1% year on year. Only high denstiy polyethylene (HDPE) shipments increased. At the same time, PP shipments to the Russian market reached 880,130 tonnes in the nine months of 2020 (calculated using the formula: production minus exports plus imports, exluding producers' inventories as of 1 January, 2020). Supply increased exclusively of PP random copolymer.

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.

COVID-19 - News digest as of 30.10.2020

1. DuPont surpasses Q3 estimates and raises full-year forecasts and cost-cutting targets

MOSCOW (MRC) -- DuPont forecasts higher-than-expected annual profits on Thursday as industrial material manufacturersпїЅ quarterly results exceeded expectations due to rigorous cost checks and a recovery in the auto industry, one of the largest markets, said Reuters. Manufacturing everything from brake fluid to fabrics used in protective clothing, the company has cut costs to combat the weak demand in some industries due to the COVID-19 pandemic. DuPont has raised its cost-cutting target by renegotiating several contracts and speeding up headcount reduction plans, saying it expects to save USD280 million annually, USD100 million more than previously predicted.