Borealis resumes production at Porvoo cracker

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The 380,000-metric tons/year steam cracker at Porvoo, Finland, operated by Borealis, resumed normal operations in early December after the company declared force majeure following a technical failure on 11 November, reported Polymerupdate.

The cracker was shut down to allow necessary repair works, according to Borealis. The company began restart operations on 23 November, 2020.

As MRC informed earlier, Borealis announces that its new naphtha cavern in Porvoo, Finland has now been safely commissioned as of October 2020. Having invested around EUR25 million in the construction of this 80,000 m3 facility, Borealis can now source and store naphtha for its Porvoo operations from the global market in a more flexible, cost-efficient, and secure way. The cavern can also accommodate renewable naphtha, making it possible for Borealis customers in future to draw on certified renewable polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene (PE), as well as renewable base chemicals, ethylene, propylene and phenol.

We remind that the light-feed 625,000-metric tons/year Borealis steam cracker at Stenungsund, Sweden, is expected to restart operations in the fourth quarter this year after a fire broke out at the plant in May, 2020. The cracker has been under force majeure ever since after the blaze at the plant on 10 May, which was subsequently brought under control the following day.

Ethylene and propylene are feedstocks for producing PE and 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, excluding producers' inventories as of 1 January, 2020). Supply increased exclusively of PP random copolymer.

Borealis is a leading provider of innovative solutions in the fields of polyolefins, base chemicals and fertilizers. With headquarters in Vienna, Austria, Borealis currently employs around 6,500 and operates in over 120 countries.

Samsung Engineering wins USD1.07B methanol plant contract in Malaysia

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Samsung Engineering has received a letter of intent (LOI) for a USD1.07 billion contract from Sarawak Petchem Sdn Bhd to build a methanol plant in Sarawak, Malaysia, according to Kemicalinfo.

Samsung Engineering will build a 5000 tonne per day methanol production facility in Bintulu, Sarawak, eastern Malaysia.

Samsung Engineering won the contract for the FEED from Sarawak Petchem in April 2019 and the first Early Work contract in November 2019.

Samsung Engineering executed the Methanol Plant Project from a feasibility study, FEED contract, Early Work phase, to a Licensor, Engineering, Procurement, Construction and Commissioning (LEPCC) contract with this LOI, effective from late January 2021.

The plant will use Air Liquide’s technology and is expected completion in late 2023.

Samsung Engineering president and CEO Sungan Choi said: “We were able to receive this landmark project from Sarawak Petchem, by showing our exceptional engineering capabilities and commitment made during the FEED stage.

“Samsung Engineering has an excellent track record for petrochemical plants and in Malaysia, which will insure optimal project execution, while earning the trust of the client for many future joint projects to come.”

As MRC reported earlier, in late April, 2020, the first phase of Connell Chemical Industry Ltd.'s 600 KTA MTO complex, a 300 KTA MTO plant, successfully started up and produced on-spec ethylene and propylene. This project is the first large-size chemical project brought online during period when Chinais in the process of restarting the economy while fighting COVID-19 pandemic. The MTO plant started feed-in at 8:18 AM on April 15, produced on-spec propylene at 7:00 AM on April 18, and produced on-spec ethylene at 4:00 AM on April 20.

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

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia"s estimated PE consumption totalled 1,594,510 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.

Trinseo raises December PS an ABS prices in Europe

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Trinseo, a global materials company and manufacturer of plastics, latex binders, and synthetic rubber, and its affiliate companies in Europe, have announced a price increase for all polystyrene (PS) an acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) in Europe, according to the company's press release as of 2 December.

Effective December 1, 2020, or as existing contract terms allow, the contract and spot prices for the products listed below rose as follows:

- STYRON general purpose polystyrene grades (GPPS) -- by EUR250 per metric ton;
- STYRON and STYRON A-Tech and STYRON X- Tech and STYRON C- Tech high impact polystyrene grades (HIPS) - by EUR250 per metric ton;
- MAGNUM ABS resins - by EUR305 per metric ton.

As MRC informed before, Trinseo last raised its prices for all PS, ABS and and acrylonitrile-styrene copolymer (SAN) grades on 1 November 2020, as stated below:

- STYRON GPPS -- by EUR110 per metric ton;
- STYRON and STYRON A-Tech and STYRON X- Tech and STYRON C- Tech HIPS - by EUR110 per metric ton;
- MAGNUM ABS resins - by EUR110 per metric ton;
- TYRIL SAN resins - by EUR80 per metric ton.

According to ICIS-MRC Price report, Russian producers are expected to settle December selling PS prices this week. Buyers anticipate an increase of about Rb8,000-10,000/tonne in December prices of Russian PS on the back of higher feedstock prices.

Trinseo is a global materials company and manufacturer of plastics, latex and rubber. Trinseo's technology is used by customers in industries such as home appliances, automotive, building & construction, carpet, consumer electronics, consumer goods, electrical & lighting, medical, packaging, paper & paperboard, rubber goods and tires. Formerly known as Styron, Trinseo completed its renaming process in 1Q 2015. Trinseo had approximately USD3.8 billion in net sales in 2019, with 17 manufacturing sites around the world, and approximately 2,700 employees.

Indorama Ventures expands recycling facilities in France, Poland

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Indorama Ventures (Bangkok, Thailand) has opened a recycling facility at Verdun, France and expanded two recently acquired facilities at Bielsko-Biala and Leczyca in Poland, reported Chemweek.

The company says that 10 billion post-consumer polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic bottles from across Europe will be recycled every year by 2023 in its new and expanded facilities in France and Poland.

Indorama is investing USD1.5 billion globally to expand its recycling facilities. The new investment will see over 1.7 billion additional post-consumer PET plastic bottles recycled.

The facilities in France and Poland provide the washed and shredded post-consumer bottles as PET flake feedstock to produce recycled PET resin that is suitable for food-contact use, it says. The input tonnage processed is equivalent to 9.8 billion post-consumer bottles. PET is 100% recyclable and the most collected and recycled plastic packaging in Europe, adds Indorama.

“Europe’s soft drinks industry is working hard to drive sustainability throughout its value chain - from sourcing, production, and distribution through to packaging, collection, recycling, and reuse,” says Nicholas Hodac, director general of UNESDA Soft Drinks Europe. “By delivering a closed-loop system we ensure that valuable secondary raw material is not wasted and we achieve a well-functioning EU market.”

As MRC informed earlier, Indorama Ventures Sines, a subsidiary of Indorama Ventures Company Ltd (IVL), halted production at its purified terephthalic acid (PTA) plant in Sines (Sines, Portugal) in mid-November to conduct a scheduled maintenance. The turnaround at this plant with the capacity of 700,000 tonnes/year of PTA will continue for one month. Thus, the PTA plant is to return back to operations in mid-December, 2020.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PET consumption reached 52,71o tonnes in September 2020, down by 27% year on year. Overall PET consumption in Russia reached 530,750 tonnes in the first nine months of 2020, down by 22% year on year.

Indorama Ventures Public Company Limited, listed in Thailand (Bloomberg ticker IVL.TB), is one of the world’s leading petrochemicals producers, with a global manufacturing footprint across Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe and Americas. The company’s portfolio comprises Integrated PET, Olefins, Fibers, Packaging and Specialty Chemicals. Indorama Ventures products serve major FMCG and automotive sectors, i.e. beverages, hygiene, personal care, tire and safety segments. Indorama Ventures has approx. 24,000 employees worldwide and consolidated revenue of US$ 11.4 billion in 2019. The Company is listed in the Dow Jones Emerging Markets and World Sustainability Indices (DJSI).

New buyers spur a near doubling in Venezuela oil/refined product exports in November

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Venezuela's oil exports almost doubled in November from the previous month as new customers linked to a Russian trading firm stepped in to boost purchases from state-run PDVSA amid US sanctions, reported Reuters with reference to data from the firm and Refinitiv Eikon.

In October, PDVSA's established customers suspended swaps of Venezuelan crude for fuel at Washington's request, leading to a sharp decline in exports, but in November a growing group of new buyers stepped in to bring Venezuela's exports back to around the average level for this year, the data showed.

A total of 24 cargoes left Venezuelan waters last month carrying some 639,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude and refined products, according to the data, an increase from the 360,000 bpd exported in October.

Their main destination was Asia, where trans-shipment of Venezuelan crude between tankers at sea frequently occurs before the oil reaches its final destination, principally China.

More than half of Venezuela's exports in November were received by new buyers including Xiamen Logistic Grass, Olympia Stly Trading, Zaguhan & Co, Karaznbas, Kalinin Business International and Poseidon GDL Solutions, the data revealed.

These customers were registered in Russia this year by Moscow-based OGX Trading.

Most vessels chartered by these companies navigated to Venezuela with their transponders disconnected, a technique known as a "dark voyage". They have switched their signal on again after departing, the Eikon data showed.

A handful of them were also misidentified by PDVSA using the names of scrapped tankers, according to its loading schedules.

PDVSA and Venezuela's oil ministry did not immediately reply to requests for comment. OGX Trading told Reuters in late October the company had been unable to start business due to the coronavirus.

The November exports also included two large cargoes of heavy crude taken by a firm called Cirrostrati Technology Co LTD onboard two tankers owned by state-run PetroChina.

Meanwhile, exports to Cuba - a close ally of Venezuela - declined to 47,300 bpd, from 104,000 bpd in October.

As oil exports in November returned to this year's average of around 650,000 bpd, Venezuela's fuel imports declined sharply to 21,000 bpd after two diesel cargoes were delivered by India's Reliance Industries to PDVSA before winding down its trade with Venezuela.

As MRC wrote before, in late October 2020, Venezuelan state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela restarted gasoline production at the FCC unit of its 310,000 bpd Cardon refinery. The unit was producing between 15,000 and 20,000 bpd of gasoline, according to union leader Ivan Freites. PDVSA earlier last week of October began producing at least 25,000 bpd of gasoline at Cardon’s reformer unit.

MRC also reported that Russian state oil company Rosneft's decision to cease operations in Venezuela and sell its assets there to a Russian government-owned company was a "maneuver" made in reaction to collapsing oil prices, a US State Department official said earlier this year.

We remind that Angarsk Polymers Plant, part of Russian oil giant Rosneft, has resumed its low density polyethylene (LDPE) production after an unscheduled shutdown because of a technical issues at the ethylene unit. The plant"s customers said Angarsk Polymers Plant had brought on-stream its LDPE production by 28 August after the forced shutdown due to technical problems at its ethylene production. And the first shipments of polyethylene (PE) to customers began on 31 August. The outage lasted slightly over two weeks and began on 10 August The plant"s annual production capacity is about 75,000 tonnes.

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.