ACC launches Northeast Secondary Sortation Project

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The ACC, in partnership with Titus MRF Services, will this month launch the Northeast Secondary Sortation Project, a study into the potential for increased recovery of paper and plastics from recycling streams in the US Northeast, reported Chemweek.

Working with materials recovery facilities (MRFs) in the states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, and Vermont, the project will collect samples of container line residuals destined to be landfilled for compositional analysis to determine what additional recyclable commodities could be recovered through secondary sortation.

In 2019, the Pacific Northwest Secondary Sortation Project conducted similar testing in Oregon and Washington, says ACC. Additional materials recovered in a 60-day study included polyethylene (PE), mixed paper, cartons, polypropylene (PP), polystyrene (PS), and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles and thermoforms.

“The research concluded that, if implemented at a regional scale, serving the populations of Oregon and Washington, a secondary sortation facility would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 130,000 tons per year, equivalent to taking more than 27,600 cars off the road,” says ACC.

As MRC wrote before, ACC’s chemical activity barometer (CAB), a leading economic indicator and composite of industry activity, rose 0.9% in October on a three-month moving average (3MMA) basis. This is significantly smaller than the 1.5% increase in September, and a 2.6% gain in August, indicating a continued economic recovery, albeit at a slower pace.

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.

First plant of Evonik new polyamide 12 complex completed

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Construction work on the largest investment to date by the specialty chemicals company Evonik in Germany, at more than EUR400 million, is progressing well, said Chemweek.

The first plant was completed on schedule in mid-October and is currently being commissioned. Further plants will follow by the first quarter of 2021, with full completion expected in the first half of 2021.

Marcus von Twistern, who is in charge of the entire project, states: "The project team has done an excellent job over the past months under the conditions of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. " Challenges such as interrupted supply chains or entry restrictions for assembly personnel had to be overcome. Von Twistern emphasizes: "We have always found solutions, so we do not currently expect any major delays for the complete completion of the polyamide 12 plant complex". Work on the concrete and steel structures has been completed, most of the units have already been delivered and installed, and the piping and electrical installations are in full swing. The future operating team has also already started training the new work processes.

With the additional plants for polyamide 12 and its precursors being built at the Marl Chemical Park in North Rhine-Westphalia in addition to the existing production facilities there, Evonik will increase its overall capacity for the polymer by more than 50 percent. "Polyamide 12 is an important part of our strategic growth for special applications," says Dr. Claus Rettig, head of the Smart Materials Division. "With the new plant complex, we are consolidating our position as a market leader for this high-performance polymer." Polyamide 12 is used in attractive growth markets such as automotive engineering, gas piping, sports and 3D printing.

As MRC reported before, Dow and Evonik have recently entered into an exclusive technology partnership. Together, they plan to bring a unique method for directly synthesizing propylene glycol (PG) from propylene and hydrogen peroxide to market maturity.

Propylene is the main feedstock 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.

Evonik is one of the world leaders in specialty chemicals. The focus on more specialty businesses, customer-oriented innovative prowess and a trustful and performance-oriented corporate culture form the heart of Evonik’s corporate strategy. They are the lever for profitable growth and a sustained increase in the value of the company. Evonik benefits specifically from its customer proximity and leading market positions. Evonik is active in over 100 countries around the world with more than 36,000 employees.

Shell to cut jobs and capacity at major Singapore refinery

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Royal Dutch Shell will halve crude processing capacity and cut jobs at its Pulau Bukom oil refinery in Singapore as part of an overhaul to reduce its carbon emissions, reported Reuters.

The refinery on Pulau Bukom, a small island in the Southeast Asian city-state, can process 500,000 bpd of oil and is Shell’s largest wholly-owned refinery worldwide.

The move brings the total refining capacity cuts by Shell in recent months to 571,000 bpd, or just over a fifth of its capacity globally.

Shell aims to reduce the number of its refineries as part of a drive to slash carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to net zero by 2050 and restructure its operations by reducing its oil and gas business and expanding its renewable energy and power division.

The coronavirus pandemic has destroyed fuel demand, estimated at 4.7 million bpd less during the next five years, and accelerated a rationalization of global refining capacity, Rob Smith, director at consultancy IHS Markit, said.

“Rationalization that would have been spread out over the coming decade will now be compressed within the next few years,” he said.

“What was expected to be a long, slow adjustment has become an abrupt shock.”

More than 8 million bpd of new refining capacity will be completed over the next decade, adding to the excess capacity challenge, Smith said.

As part of the plans, Shell is cutting the number of oil refining and petrochemical sites it will keep operating to six from 14. Besides Pulau Bukom, the other sites are in Texas, Louisiana, Germany, the Netherlands and Canada.

Shell has announced plans to convert its Philippines refinery into an import terminal and shut its largest US facility in Convent, Louisiana.

In September, Shell said it planned to cut up to 9,000 jobs globally, or more than 10% of its workforce.

“Bukom will pivot from a crude-oil, fuels-based product slate towards new low-carbon value chains. We will reduce our crude processing capacity by about half and aim to deliver a significant reduction in CO2 emissions,” Shell said in a statement.

The company will cut 500 jobs by the end of 2023 at the site, which now employs 1,300 staff, a Shell spokeswoman said.

“We will progressively make changes in our refinery configuration over the next three years,” she said.

In Singapore, Shell said it was studying the production of products that would still be viable following its energy transition, such as biofuels and specialties like bitumen.

It is also looking at using different raw materials, or feedstocks, such as recycled chemicals. Shell operates a plant at Bukom that produces 800,000 tons of ethylene a year.

In Singapore, Shell said it would expand its solar power generation, including utility-scale plants, build electric vehicle charging points, provide carbon-neutral solutions for its customers and study plastic waste recycling.

Shell is also expecting its first bunkering ship for LNG to arrive in Singapore later this year. It will be operated by FueLNG, a joint venture with Keppel Offshore & Marine.

As MRC informed before, Royal Dutch Shell plc. said earlier this month 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. 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 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.

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.

PVC production in Russia remained the same YOY in Jan-Oct 2020

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Russia's overall production of unmixed polyvinyl chloride (PVC) totalled 805,100 tonnes in January-October 2020, which corresponds to the last year's figure. At the same time, two producers managed to increase their PVC output, according to MRC's ScanPlast report.

October total production of unmixed PVC grew to 86,600 tonnes from 86,000 tonnes a month earlier, SayanskKhimPlast and Bashkir Soda Company increased their capacity utilisation. Overall output of polymer was 805,100 tonnes in the first ten months of 2020, which virtually corresponds to the last year's figure. Two producers increased their production, whereas two other manufacturers reduced their output.

The structure of PVC production by plants looked the following way over the stated period.

RusVinyl reduced its capacity utilisation in October and produced 30,100 tonnes of PVC, with emulsion polyvinyl chloride (EPVC) accounting for 2,800 tonnes, compared to 30,400 tonnes a month earlier. RusVinyl's overall output of resin reached 276,600 tonnes in the first ten months of 2020, compared to 286,600 tonnes a year earlier.

SayanskKhimPlast raised its capacity utilisation last month and produced about 28,000 tonnes of suspension PVC (SPVC), whereas this figure was 27,100 tonnes in September. The plant managed to produce 244,500 tonnes of PVC in January-October 2020, compared to 241,000 tonnes a year earlier.

Bashkir Soda Company (BSK) also increased its capacity utilisation in October, the final output reached 23,800 tonnes versus 21,500 tonnes a month earlier. The Baskhir plant's overall production of resin reached 221,300 tonnes in January-October 2020, up by 2% year on year.

Kaustik, Volgograd's PVC production was 4,800 tonnes last month because of the shutdown for maintenance in the first decade of October versus 7,000 tonnes in September. The plant's overall production of resin reached 62,700 tonnes in the first ten months of 2020 versus 65,300 tonnes a year earlier.


COVID-19 - News digest as of 10.11.2020

1. Eastman Chemical sales fall 8.7%, volumes improve sequentially

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Eastman Chemical reports third-quarter net earnings of USD165 million, down 38% year on year (YOY), as volumes remained lower YOY due to the COVID-19 pandemic but improved sequentially, reported Chemweek. Adjusted earnings of USD1.57/share was down 19.1% YOY but beat the analysts’ consensus estimate of USD1.37/share, as reported by Refinitiv (New York). Net sales fell 8.7%, to USD2.1 billion. Volumes fell 5% YOY, but in end markets hit hardest by the pandemic, such as transportation, building and construction, and consumer durables, showed signs of improvement over the second quarter.