Agilyx, Toyo report progress on PS recycling facility design

Agilyx, Toyo report progress on PS recycling facility design

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Agilyx Corp., Tigard, Oregon, and Toyo Styrene Co. Ltd., a Toyko-based affiliate of Denka Co. Ltd., have announced they are 30% complete with the final phase of developing the front-end loading design to deploy Agilyx's technology near Toyo Styrene’s facility in the Chiba prefecture of Japan, reported RecyclingToday.

According to a news release from Agilyx, the facility will focus on recycling postuse polystyrene (PS) plastic back to a styrene monomer. In April, Agilyx had announced the licensing of its technology to Toyo Styrene.

“We are extremely proud of the work that members of Agilyx and Toyo have accomplished to get the project to this point,” says Tim Stedman, CEO of Agilyx. “This further solidifies the efforts going on at Agilyx to increase global plastic recycling through circular pathways. We are excited to provide our proven solution into the Asian markets that will greatly improve recycled plastic content availability.”

Sanshiro Matsushita, president of Toyo Styrene, says Japan has “a real need” to chemically recycle PS. He adds that he is satisfied with the progress of the design development of this project. “Despite the tough situation brought on by COVID-19 at the beginning of the year, the teams at both companies have been working hard, making the best of long-distance collaboration,” Matsushita says.

Agilyx reports that the advanced recycling facility is designed to convert up to 10 tons per day of postindustrial and postconsumer PS into a styrene monomer that will be purified using Toyo Styrene’s proprietary purification process. The facility is on target to meet its goal of commencing operations in early 2022.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated consumption of PS and styrene plastics totalled 362,820 tonnes in the first nine months of 2020, down by 1% year on year.

ExxonMobil to write off as much as USD20bn in assets; cuts capex

MOSCOW (MRC) -- ExxonMobil plans to write down as much as USD20bn in assets and cut its 2021 capital expenditures (capex) to USD16bn-19bn as it prioritizes investments in chemical performance products in the near term, said Chemweek.

Annual capex thereafter until 2025 will be USD20bn-25bn, down from the company’s original budget of USD30bn-35bn. ExxonMobil is also eyeing a 15% cut in its global workforce by the end of next year to cut expenses amid the demand slump caused by the coronavirus pandemic and a low-oil price environment. The asset write-off would include certain dry gas resources in the Appalachian and Rocky Mountains, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas in the US, and in western Canada and Argentina.

"Continued emphasis on high-grading the asset base - through exploration, divestment and prioritization of advantaged development opportunities - will improve earnings power and cash generation, and rebuild balance sheet capacity to manage future commodity price cycles while working to maintain a reliable dividend," ExxonMobil chairman and CEO Darren Woods said. ExxonMobil's spending will now focus on "developments in Guyana and the US Permian Basin, targeted exploration in Brazil and Chemicals projects to grow high-value performance products", the company said.

Woods said the business environment in the fourth quarter is showing signs of improvement despite the resurgence in coronavirus cases and accompanying economic restrictions. “Prices and margins for many of our businesses have improved from the third quarter and when coupled with continuing efforts to reduce spending and capture additional efficiencies, quarter-to-date cash flow has improved versus our plan assumptions,” he said.

As MRC informed earlier, ExxonMobil-operated, 110,000-metric tons/year butyl rubber plant at Fawley in the south of the UK is set for a full-scale turnaround in 2022, according to sources with links to the plant. The unit is one of the largest producers in the world of halobutyl rubber, supplying one third of all ExxonMobil's global output.

We remind that ExxonMobil has undertaken a planned shutdown at its cracker in Singapore. The company halted operations at the cracker for maintenance on September 14, 2020. The cracker is expected to remain off-line till end-October, 2020. Located at Jurong Island, Singapore, the cracker has an ethylene production capacity of 1 million mt/year and a propylene production capacity of 450,000 mt/year.

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.

ExxonMobil is the largest non-government owned company in the energy industry and produces about 3% of the world"s oil and about 2% of the world"s energy.

PKN Orlen plans major expansion of petchems, renewables

MOSCOW (MRC) -- PKN Orlen (Plock, Poland) will invest an average of 4.4 billion zloty (USD1.2 billion) per year between 2021 and 2030 on a major expansion of its integrated petrochemicals business and the creation of a plastics recycling division as part of an enhanced strategic focus on petchems and renewables over the next 10 years, according to Chemweek.

By 2030 it will have an annual petchems output of approximately 15 million metric tons, and be “an active player” in plastics recycling with 300,000-400,000 metric tons/year of installed capacity, PKN Orlen says. The strategic expansion is forecast to increase its petchems EBITDA from Zl 2.3 billion in 2019 to approximately Zl 7.0 billion by 2030, according to the company. “We are set to become one of Europe’s largest integrated petrochemical producers and expand our recycling business,” it says.

The capital expenditure (capex) plans, outlined in its latest strategy update, are being implemented to achieve targets including expanding the share of specialty products in its petchems portfolio from 16% in 2019 to 25% by 2030, and ramping up its production capacities for olefins and other base chemicals in order to supply feedstock for the development of the specialty and other advanced petchems products. The increased focus on petchems will specifically include expanding its position in products such as phenol and other aromatic derivatives, it says.

A chart in an accompanying strategy presentation shows planned petchems investment focused initially on base chemicals between 2021 and 2023, with a growing focus on advanced petchems products from 2022 to 2028.

By 2030, around half of the company’s profits from crude oil processing will be derived from its petchems business, according to PKN Orlen.

In polymers the company is aiming to strengthen its position and extend its value chain to include compounding and concentrates, as well as “building [a] foothold in sustainable development” through mechanical and chemical recycling of plastics and the development of waste-to-energy solutions, while also implementing advanced closed-loop technologies, it says. PKN Orlen had no plastics recycling capacity in 2019. It also plans to build a lactic acid unit. Recycling and biomaterials will be new branches of its petchems segment, it says.

PKN Orlen has set an overall capex program of Zl 140.0 billion for the period to 2030, with Zl 85 billion to be spent in new areas, such as petchems and renewables, including hydrogen and biofuels. A total of Zl 55.0 billion will be spent on key existing assets, mostly in refining, to increase their efficiency and extend their life cycle in order to maximize performance.

Approximately Zl 3.0 billion will be spent over the period on innovation and R&D, with a focus on green technologies, it says.

The strategy update highlights the company’s focus on implementing an energy transition path by 2030, “charted around renewable energy and advanced petrochemicals,” it says. “Business diversification efforts will be driven by maximized profits from the group’s existing core business, to be transformed based on new technologies, in line with the emerging environmental and consumer trends.” PKN Orlen’s long-term objective is for net zero carbon emissions by 2050. It has previously announced a target of reducing emissions by 20% from its existing refining and petchem assets by 2030, and by 33% from its power generation business.

“We are building a new multi-utility group capable of successfully competing at a time of major transformational change. We are fully aware that the business segments being our strongest suit today will require a profound change, for which we are well prepared. Over the recent years, we have taken consistent steps to effectively strengthen the Group, preparing it for the imminent transformation,” says Daniel Obajtek, PKN Orlen’s president.

Refining will remain an "important segment" of the company’s business until 2030, driven by energy efficiency improvements, increased crude conversion rates, and integration with Grupa Lotos. Expansion of biofuel and hydrogen fuel output will be another vital driver, it says.

As MRC reported earlier, earlier this year, Honeywell announced that PKN Orlen plans to use the UOP Q-Max and Phenol 3G technologies to produce 200,000 metric tons per year of phenol at its facility in Plock, Poland.

Phenol is one of the main feedstocks for the production of bisphenol A (BPA), which, in its turn, is used for the production of polycarbonate (PC).

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated consumption of PC granules (excluding imports and exports to/from Belarus) rose in the first three quarters of 2020 by 32% year on year to 75,600 tonnes (57,200 tonnes a year earlier). And although in the injection moulding sector, the market dropped by 5% with consumption of 7,300 tonnes year on year (7,700 tonnes), it increased by 39% in the extrusion sector to 67,400 tonnes (48,600 tonnes a year earlier). The blow moulding sector grew in January-September 2020 by 1% year on year to 880 tonnes (870 tonnes a year earlier).

COVID-19 - News digest as of 01.12.2020

1.Honeywell reinstates guidance, expects 14% profit decline in 2020

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Honeywell's performance materials and technologies unit reports third-quarter net profit of USD442 million, down 24.0% year on year (YOY), on sales down 15.6% YOY, to USD2.2 billion, said the company. Honeywell (HON) - Get Report on Friday posted third-quarter adjusted earnings that beat analysts’ forecasts and sales ahead of predictions as double-digit growth in its defense and space, warehouse automation and PPE products and services offset a drop in aerospace revenue. The company also reinstated guidance for its fourth quarter and full year amid expectations that the worst effects of the pandemic are past. Honeywell posted net income of USD781 million, or USD1.07 a share, vs. USD1.65 billion, or USD2.23 a share, in the comparable year-ago period. On an adjusted basis, the company earned USD1.56 a share, above the USD1.49 a share expected by analysts polled by FactSet. Sales came in at USD7.8 billion, down 14% from USD9.1 billion a year ago though above analysts’ forecasts of USD7.7 billion. Aerospace sales, which includes parts for commercial airplanes, fell 25% on a year-over-year basis, driven by reduced flight hours and lower volumes among carriers due to the pandemic and drop-off in travel.


Sudharshan Chemical Targets No.3 Spot in Global Pigment Manufacturing

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Sudarshan Chemical Industries Ltd (SCIL), the largest pigment manufacturer in India (with >35% market share) is aiming to achieve the top 3rd position globally by market share by focusing on its core business, developing R&D, expanding to new markets, and improving manufacturing and operations, according to Kemicalinfo.

Currently, SCIL is the fourth-largest pigment manufacturer by market share, globally.

Having this global scale is essential to success in pigments as it leads to sustainable growth, cheaper feedstock, and access to cutting-edge technologies, a report published by HDFC Securities said.

“SCIL’s current Capex cycle was started in FY17. It has incurred INR 5.5 billion over FY17-20 and planned for INR 3.5 billion over FY21-FY22E. While a significant portion of Capex targets growth, some part of it is targeting margin expansion. We expect asset-turnover to be ~2.3-2.5x at peak utilization” the report said.

Further, SCIL is enhancing its product mix towards higher-margin and higher-realisation speciality products such as azo pigments, cosmetics and pigment dispersions vs. non-speciality ones. It plans to launch ~25 products globally.

Two major global players shifting away from the pigment business could act as a tailwind for Indian pigment manufacturers. “We believe SCIL is in a sweet spot to seize this opportunity by offering products similar to those of global players,” the report added.

The report states that SCIL opened a subsidiary, Sudarshan Japan Limited in Japan to serve the Japanese market last year and also has plans to expand in South East Asia and South Korea. “We expect revenue to grow at a 14.8% CAGR over FY21-24E given SCIL’s plans for geographical expansion and new product offerings,” it added.

The company launched high-performance yellow pigment in 2019 which SCIL developed the entire technology in-house and launched it within eighteen months of inception, the report added.

According to the report, SCIL has a global distribution network, with eight sales offices, around 60 channel partners, and sales in over 85 countries. It has also set up marketing subsidiaries in Europe, North America and Mexico to support revenue growth from these markets in coming years.

Its wholly-owned Chinese subsidiary is engaged indistributing pigments in local markets and improving sourcing efficiencies.

SCIL sources ~30% of its raw material from China. Pigment exports of the company constituted 50% of total sales in FY20, up from 32% in FY10.

Export contribution to revenue is expected to go up with rising production of high-performance and effect pigments and global expansion.

As MRC wrote previously, in H2 October, 2020, Clariant has relaunched the sale of its pigments unit, after putting the auction on hold as the coronavirus pandemic engulfed the world and disrupted talks with prospective buyers. The Muttenz-based company sent out information packages to prospective buyers of the unit in October, and people familiar with the preparations added that buyout groups including PAI, Lone Star, Triton and SK Capital are expected to express interest.

We remind that in early September, 2020, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) cleared SABIC BV's incremental acquisition of a 6.51% shareholding in Clariant AG. The transaction, which will raise SABIC's stake in Clariant to 31.5%, is part of SABIC's growth strategy in specialties.

We also 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 year on year by 6.1% 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. September production of primary polymers decreased to 852,000 tonnes against 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.