HMC Polymers PP complex in Thailan hit by fire

MOSCOW (MRC) -- A fire hit Thai petrochemical producer HMC Polymers' polypropylene (PP) production complex at Mab Ta Phut, in Rayong province on 30 November, according to Polyermupdate.

The fire hit its silo farm, where PP pellets are stored and bagged. The fire was extinguished in around an hour and there were no injuries.

After the incident, the company shut one of its three PP units, with a nameplate capacity of 360,000 t/year. The shutdown is expected to last two weeks to a month, according to market sources.

The producer also operates a propane dehydrogenation (PDH) plant with 310,000 t/yr of propylene capacity and two other PP plants with the capacities of 200,000 t/year and 250,000 t/year. Production at all of these units was unaffected.

As MRC reported earlier, HMC Polymers, part of Thaniland's petrochemical major - PTT Global Chemical, is planning to launch its fourth PP plant in Map Ta Phut site, Rayong Province of Thailand. The new PP unit would have an annual capacity of 220,000 tons. HMC Polymers announced plans for this plant's construction on 26 June 2019. The company has already completed the Licence Agreement with LyondellBasell to use the Spherizone technology for the new plant. Together with the three existing units, the new plant would boost HMC’s total PP output to1.03 million tons per year, making it the largest PP producer in Southeast Asia region.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, PP shipments to the Russian market reached 978,870 tonnes in January-October 2020 (calculated using the formula: production minus exports plus imports minus producers' inventories as of 1 January, 2020). Supply of exclusively of PP random copolymer increased.

HMC Polymers is one of the leading companies in the manufacturing and marketing of polypropylene (PP) for Asia and worldwide. HMC Polymers is the first PP manufacturer in Thailand with its first PP production facility to have been established in Rayong Province, Thailand in 1987. The company's PP production facilities output is over 750,000 metric tons per year and comprise two Spheripol lines and a latest technology Spherizone line from LyondellBasell. HMC Polymers produces a wide range of Moplen polypropylene grades including homopolymer, heterophasic and random copolymer resins, as well as specialty polypropylene resins such as Adstif, Clyrell and Purell. In addition, a strategic investment in upstream integration was made in parallel with the construction of a Propane Dehydrogenation plant (PDH) at a site adjacent to our Map Ta Phut plant.

Archroma increases prices of fluorocarbon polymers by 20%

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Archroma (Reinach, Switzerland) says it is increasing the selling prices of its fluorocarbon polymer products by up to 20%, reported Chemweek.

The company says the price increase is necessary to support the increasing regulatory and other costs, as well as ongoing investments that the company continuously makes in its own manufacturing technology and process, to produce sustainable products. The price increase will be effective in all regions and markets for all new orders and as contracts allow, it says.

Fluorocarbon polymers are used in applications where a water and/or oil barrier is needed, including personal protective equipment for health professionals, or other technical textiles, the company says.

As MRC wrote before, BASF India completed the sale of its global textile chemicals business to Archroma (Reinach, Switzerland) in 2015.

We remind that in late November, BASF increased its production capacity for advanced additives at its wholly-owned site in Nanjing, China. The new asset with state-of-the-art technologies will allow BASF to produce high molecular weight dispersing agents, slip and leveling agents and other additives locally for Asian markets.

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 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. September 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.

Archroma is a global color and specialty chemicals company, headquartered in Reinach near Basel, Switzerland. It operates with approximately 3,000 employees over 35 countries. Through its three businesses: Textile Specialties, Paper Solutions and Emulsion Products, Archroma delivers specialized performance and color solutions to meet customer needs in their local markets.

Trinseo raises December PC 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 polycarbonate (PC) grades in Europe, as per the company's press release.

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

- CALIBRE PC resins - by EUR250 per metric ton.

As MRC informed earlier, Trinseo last raised its prices for all PC grades in Europe on 1 November 2020 by EUR150 per metric ton.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's overall consumption of PC granules (excluding imports and exports to/from Belarus) rose in January-October 2020 by 21% year on year to 79,500 tonnes (65,600 tonnes a year earlier).

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.

PP production in Russia up by 31% in Jan-Oct 2020

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Russia's overall polypropylene (PP) production increased in the first ten months of 2020 by 31% year on year to about 1,529,000 tonnes. ZapSibNeftekhim accounted for the main increase in the output, according to MRC's ScanPlast report.

Russian plants' total PP production dropped to 152,000 tonnes in October from 158,200 tonnes a month earlier ZapSibNeftekhim and Poliom's production capacitites were shut for maintenance. Russia's overall PP production reached 1,529,000 tonnes in January-October 2020, compared to 1,170,300 tonnes a year earlier. Six out of eight producers raised their capacity utilisation, with a new producer - ZapSibNeftekhim - accounting for the main increase in the output.

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

SIBUR Tobolsk raised its capacity utilisation in October, the plant's production rose to 51,800 tonnes versus 49,200 tonnes a month earlier. The Tobolsk plant's overall PP production reached 404,600 tonnes in January-October 2020, up by 7% year on year.

ZapSibNeftekhim, the Tobolsk producer, manufactured about 32,000 tonnes of PP in October, compared to 42,300 tonnes in September. The plant's overall output totalled 357,000 tonnes in the first ten months of 2020.

Omsk Poliom shut its production for a scheduled turnaround in October, having produced 5,800 tonnes of PP, as a result, compared to 17,100 tonnes a month earlier. Overall, the Omsk plant produced 150,500 tonnes of PP in January-October 2020, down by 14% year on year.

Nizhnekamskneftekhim produced 17,700 tonnes of propylene polymers in October versus 18,300 tonnes a month earlier. The Nizhnekamsk plant's overall output of polymer reached 182,500 tonnes in the first ten months of 2020, compared to 174,900 tonnes a year earlier.

Tomskneftekhim produced 13,500 tonnes of propylene polymers in October versus 7,000 tonnes a month earlier, in September, the producer shut its production for a two-week maintenance. The Tomsk plant's overall PP output reached 123,200 tonnes in January-October 2020, up by 1% year on year.

Ufaorgsintez's October PP production was 7,600 tonnes versus 3,200 tonnes in September; the Ufa producer carried out scheduled maintenance works in the first two months of autumn. The Ufa plant's overall output of polymer reached 97,700 tonnes in January-October 2020, down by 9% year on year.

Neftekhimiya (Kapotnya) produced 11,900 tonnes of PP in October, compared to 12,400 tonnes a month earlier. The plant's overall PP output reached 124,300 tonnes in the first ten months of 2020, up by 2% year on year.

Stavrolen (LUKOIL) increased its capacity utilisation in October, and, as a result, it produced 11,700 tonnes of propylene polymers versus 8,600 tonnes in September. The Budenovsk plant's overall production of propylene polymers exceeded 89,400 tonnes in the first ten months of 2020 versus 85,500 tonnes a year earlier.


Indonesia looks at policy revamp to keep biodiesel program alive

Indonesia looks at policy revamp to keep biodiesel program alive

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Indonesia must make policy changes to ensure it can keep subsidizing its ambitious biodiesel program, the head of a government agency in charge of collecting and managing palm oil export levies, reported Reuters with reference to a virtual conference on Wednesday.

The world's biggest producer of palm oil makes it mandatory for diesel to be blended with 30% bio content (B30), but plans to increase this to 40% have been delayed due to funding issues.

"The price gap between crude palm oil and diesel widened in 2020, posing a challenge to the sustainability of the support program.. especially the mandatory biodiesel program," Eddy Abdurrachman, president director of the Estate Crop Fund Agency (BPDP), told the Indonesian Palm Oil Conference.

It was projected that in 2021 there would be a significant increase in funds needed, Eddy said, estimating that Indonesia will consume 9.59 million kilolitres of biodiesel next year.

Indonesia's biofuel program aims to maximize domestic use of palm oil and cut imports of oil, but a slump in crude prices this year has made it less economical.

"Policy adjustments are required," Eddy said.

Paulus Tjakrawan of the Indonesian Biofuel Producer Association told the conference that the price gap between the bio component in biodiesel, fatty acid methyl esters (FAME) made from palm oil, and diesel rose to around USD400 per tonne in 2020 from around USD100 last year.

Indonesia needed to either increase palm levies, impose an excise tax on fuel or make palm companies contribute to subsidies to sustain the program, Bustanul Ariffin, an economist at the Institute for Development of Economics and Finance, told the conference, adding the program may suffer a 12.2 trillion rupiah (USD865.25 million) deficit next year.

Since June this year, Indonesia has collected a maximum USD55 levy per tonne on palm oil exports, regardless of the price.

Indonesia's chief economic minister, Airlangga Hartarto, told Reuters in September there were plans to revise its palm oil export levy rules to allow higher collection when prices increase, but no regulation has been issued yet.

Energy ministry official Dadan Kusdiana told the conference Indonesia's 2020 biodiesel consumption was equivalent to 165,250 barrels of oil per day and saved the country USD3.09 bln in foreign exchange and 25.6 million tonnes of carbon.

Although biodiesel promises lower emissions, land clearance to grow palm oil has raised concern about deforestation.

As MRC wrote before, Indonesia's largest petrochemical producer Chandra Asri and Netherlands-based storage and terminal operator Vopak are planning to set up an infrastructure joint venture in Indonesia. The two companies signed a letter of intent on 5 October to set up the partnership, which aims to establish a new jetty and tank farm business that will serve third-party customers and to build secondary infrastructure at Chandra Asri's new petrochemical complex, the Indonesian firm said.

Chandra Asri's second petrochemical complex will include a 1.1mn t/yr naphtha-based cracker, 450,000 t/yr high-density polyethylene (HDPE) unit, 300,000 t/yr low-density polyethylene unit (LDPE) and a 450,000 t/yr polypropylene (PP) unit. The producer is aiming to commission the complex in 2024, barring any delays because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ethylene and propylene are feedstocks for producing PE and PP.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 1,760,950 tonnes in the first ten months of 2020, up by 3% year on year. Only high density polyethylene (HDPE) and linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) shipments increased. At the same time, PP shipments to the Russian market reached 978,870 tonnes in January-October 2020 (calculated using the formula: production minus exports plus imports minus producers' inventories as of 1 January, 2020). Supply of exclusively of PP random copolymer increased.