Indaver and INEOS Styrolution set to team up as technology partners

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Indaver, a leader in sustainable waste management, and INEOS Styrolution, global leader in styrenics, are set to team up as technology partners in a project funded by the EU LIFE programme, the European Union’s funding instrument for the environment and resource efficiency, according to Chemweek.

The project, which is planned for a duration of four years, will demonstrate the production of acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) based on recycled feedstock.

The project, called “LIFE ABSolutely Circular” aims at demonstrating the environmental and economic benefits of using advanced recycling technologies to close the loop of plastic recycling.

An initial key objective of the project is to demonstrate for the first time the production of ABS based on recycled feedstock taking advantage of advanced recycling technologies. The project is also planned to demonstrate scaling of the solution from lab scale to demo plant and ultimately to commercialisation.

The ABS copolymer is used in a broad range of applications in many industries including automotive, healthcare, electronics, household, and toys/ sports/ leisure. The material significantly contributes to societal well-being with a well-balanced mix of properties. It is robust, dimensional stable, leightweight and has an aesthetic surface appearance. It is also compliant with food contact regulations and is easy to process.

Paul De Bruycker, CEO at Indaver comments: “We are looking forward to develop a demo plant and an upscaling plan to achieve the objectives of this project. We are thrilled to work on a solution that allows us to take advantage of the amazing properties of styrenics while eliminating the impact on the environment and on future generations.”

Dr. Alexander Gluck, President EMEA at INEOS Styrolution: “We are excited about this project as we believe there is intrinsic value in plastics products after usage. We share the vision with Indaver to turn plastic waste into valuable resources instead of letting it end up in landfills.”

As MRC reported earlier, in August 2020, INEOS Styrolution, the styrenics subsidiary of Ineos, signed a joint development agreement with Recycling Technologies (Swindon, UK), a specialist plastic recycling technology provider, to advance the development of polystyrene (PS) recycling in Europe. The agreement recognizes the commercial value of post-consumer plastic waste to prevent it being incinerated or ending up in landfill, the company said.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, October ABS shipments to the Russian market virtually remained at the previous month's level, totalling 5,060 tonnes. Overall consumption of material in the country was 37,120 tonnes in the first ten months of 2020, down by 6% year on year.

INEOS Styrolution is the leading, global styrenics supplier with a focus on styrene monomer, polystyrene, ABS Standard and styrenic specialties. With world-class production facilities and more than 85 years of experience, INEOS Styrolution helps its customers succeed by offering the best possible solution, designed to give them a competitive edge in their markets. The company provides styrenic applications for many everyday products across a broad range of industries, including Automotive, Electronics, Household, Construction, Healthcare, Packaging and Toys/ Sports/ Leisure. In 2018, sales were at 5.4 billion euros. INEOS Styrolution employs approximately 3,500 people and operates 20 production sites in ten countries.

PKN Orlen to acquire biogas plant into biomethane installation

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Poland’s PKN Orlen group is to acquire an agricultural biogas plant operated by Bioenergy Project and plans to transform it into a biomethane installation, said the company.

PKN’s subsidiary Orlen Poludnie will oversee the project. Financial details were not disclosed. Orlen added that to secure the plant’s supply chain it would also acquire Biozec, which is responsible for the sale and distribution of thermal energy produced by the Bioenergy Project plant, with a 1.99MW capacity.

The targeted renewables include 1.7 GW of offshore wind farms and about 800 MW of onshore wind and solar photovoltaic (PV) plants. A biofuel and hydrogen fuel output expansion is also in the plans.

The group presented its ORLEN2030 strategy on Monday, including commitments to achieve a net zero carbon footprint by 2050 and pursue carbon dioxide (CO2) reduction targets for 20% less emissions from existing refining and petrochemical assets and 33% from the power generation business in 2030.

PKN Orlen said in a press release that its transformation path until 2030 revolves around renewable energy and advanced petrochemicals. It intends to actively manage its business portfolio on a CAPEX budget totalling PLN 140 billion (USD 37.4bn/EUR 31.2bn) by the end of the decade and this would include PLN 85 billion set aside for these two particular segments. The rest will be invested to bolster the efficiency of the group’s existing assets.

The group expects its new strategy to drive a two-and-a-half-fold increase in earnings before interest tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) to around PLN 26 billion. The power generation, petrochemical and refining segments are seen to each make a PLN-7-billion contribution in 2030.

"We will spend a total of approximately PLN 140 billion on our strategic objectives, which will generate a total of PLN 195 billion EBITDA over the next 10 years. The diversified business will provide us with financial stability and will enable us to consistently build value for our shareholders,” said Daniel Obajtek, president of the PKN Orlen management board.

As MRC informed earlier, the only Czech refinery and major petrochemical producer Unipetrol will be renamed Orlen Unipetrol from 1 January. Unipetrol is 100% owned by the Orlen Group.

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.


COVID-19 - News digest as of 15.12.2020

1. Avient ColorForward experts predict pandemic likely to influence color preferences, even in 2022

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Avient Corporation, formerly PolyOne,a premier provider of specialized and sustainable material solutions and services, has announced that Avient ColorWorks has launched ColorForward 2022. This 16th edition of the annual color forecasting guide for the plastics industry marks its debut within Avient, which was formed this year from legacy businesses PolyOne and Clariant Masterbatch, as per the company's press release. As in years past, ColorForward 2022 presents stories associated with four societal trends that are expected to influence consumers consciously or unconsciously over the next few years. Each trend theme also includes a palette of five associated colors that are predicted to elicit a response from consumers. Developed by a global team, many of whom work in the four Avient ColorWorks design and technology centers around the world, this unique tool has become invaluable to plastic product designers and marketing professionals seeking help in making more informed color choices for new products and packaging.


Crude prices rangebound as bearish factors offset FDA vaccine approval optimism

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Crude oil futures were rangebound during midmorning Asia trading Dec. 14 as multiple bearish factors, including stymied US stimulus negotiations, the prospect of more Iranian oil, and near-term pandemic considerations, weighed on the market that had received a boost after the US Food and Drug Administration granted the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine Emergency Use Authorization, reported S&P Global.

At 10:57 am Singapore time (0257 GMT), the ICE February Brent futures contract was up 9 cents/b (0.18%) from the Dec. 11 settle at USD50.06/b while the NYMEX January WTI light sweet crude contract was down 1 cent/b (0.02%) at USD46.56/b. Both markers had risen 1.46% and 0.67% in the week to Dec. 11 to settle at USD49.97/b and USD46.57/b, respectively.

There was optimism earlier on news that the FDA granted an emergency authorization late Dec. 11 to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which had begun shipping from Pfizer's Kalamazoo facility for distribution.

"The oil markets are trading up this morning as the FDA approves the vaccine's emergency rollout ... a convoy of trucks is already making their way from Pfizer Kalamazoo headquarters to US hospitals and the Airline industry is also kicking in by offering idled planes as vaccine cargo haulers," said Stephen Innes, chief global strategist at Axi, in a Dec. 14 note.

"Indeed, this will help assuage some of the market's growing laundry list of near-term economic worries," he added.

ANZ analysts echoed this sentiment, saying in a Dec. 14 note, "Investors have been buoyed by the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines, which promise to enable governments to ease restrictions that have hindered crude oil demand."

However, bearish factors continued to remain at play as negotiations over a US stimulus package remained stalled over issues like government aid to states and a COVID-19 "liability shield" for businesses and entities, such as schools and universities.

Elsewhere in Iran, state news agency IRNA reported Dec. 13 that the country is planning to produce 4.5 million b/d of crude oil and condensate in its next year that starts March 21, 2021, and export 2.3 million b/d of it, if current US sanctions are lifted.

All along, the coronavirus pandemic has continued to escalate in the US and Europe, with the former rapidly nearing the grim milestone of 300,000 COVID-19 deaths.

After a light lockdown imposed at the start of November failed to curb the spread of the virus, Germany announced on Dec. 13 a more stringent lockdown, which will start from Dec. 16 and end on Jan. 10, 2021. The lockdown will see most schools and shops closing down, according to media reports.

Chris Midgley, global head at S&P Global Platts Analytics, said Dec. 11 that while Platts Analytics expects global oil demand to rise by more than 6 million b/d in 2021, fundamentals for the oil market are not as rosy in the near-term.

"While in the long-term we are more optimistic about a rebound of oil demand, causing us to upwardly revise our 2021 demand outlook, in the short term, we expect things to worsen, with increased second-wave lockdowns in U.S. and Europe resulting in much weaker gasoline demand across the holiday season," he said.

As MRC informed previously, global oil demand may have already peaked, according to BP's latest long-term energy outlook, as the COVID-19 pandemic kicks the world economy onto a weaker growth trajectory and accelerates the shift to cleaner fuels.

Earlier this year, BP said the deadly coronavirus outbreak could cut global oil demand growth by 40% in 2020, putting pressure on Opec producers and Russia to curb supplies to keep prices in check.

And in September 2019, six world's major petrochemical companies in Flanders, Belgium, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, and the Netherlands (Trilateral Region) announced the creation of a consortium to jointly investigate how naphtha or gas steam crackers could be operated using renewable electricity instead of fossil fuels. The Cracker of the Future consortium, which includes BASF, Borealis, BP, LyondellBasell, SABIC and Total, aims to produce base chemicals while also significantly reducing carbon emissions. The companies agreed to invest in R&D and knowledge sharing as they assess the possibility of transitioning their base chemical production to renewable electricity.

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.

SABIC joins forces with KraussMaffei in strategic partnership for innovative thin-wall packaging applications

MOSCOW (MRC) -- SABIC, a global leader in the chemical industry, has announced a strategic partnership with KraussMaffei HighPerformance AG, KraussMaffei's Swiss subsidiary and manufacturer of high-performance injection molding systems known under the NETSTAL brand, as per the company's press release.

Besides the exchange of mutual know-how in the fields of polymer technology and processing, the aim of the partnership is the joint use and further advancement of the existing application center for thin-wall packaging at the NETSTAL plant in Nafels, Switzerland.

The official launch of the cooperation, which will focus on application, material and processing innovations in the thin-wall packaging industry through collaboration across the segment's entire value chain, is scheduled for the first quarter of 2021.

“This is a major investment in synergy for us,” states Sergi Monros, SABIC Vice President of Performance Polymers & Industry Solutions, Petrochemicals. “Together with NETSTAL, we will bundle our expertise in polymer science and processing to enable new material and injection molding solutions for the competitive edge of customers throughout the thin-wall packaging industry and beyond.”

SABIC will be using the Innovation Center to develop material solutions with potential for improving important properties of thin-wall packaging applications, such as balance of stiffness, impact strength, cycle time reduction and sustainability. The NETSTAL Product Packaging portfolio can be further optimized as a result of improved material and process insights.

The Innovation Center will be fully equipped and expanded with advanced new development, processing, material and application testing facilities tailored to the needs of the packaging industry, including a dedicated laboratory for state-of-the-art injection molding and part performance evaluation.

“We are pleased to welcome SABIC at our NETSTAL business headquarters here in Switzerland, which has a long history in innovative technologies for thin-wall injection molding,” says Renzo Davatz, CEO of KraussMaffei HighPerformance AG. “The collaboration with SABIC will add significant momentum to the further development and commercialization of our product portfolio for innovative new thin-wall packaging applications.”

“The joint application center will help us accelerate the pace of innovation and respond to our customers’ needs for changing market trends,” adds Waleed Al Shalfan, SABIC Vice President Technology & Innovation for Polymers. “It will be instrumental in looking at our business practices from a more collaborative angle to turn global challenges into opportunities that add lasting value to us, our customers and society. That’s how we create CHEMISTRY THAT MATTERS™.”

As MRC reported before, earlier this month, SABIC says that Beiersdorf (Hamburg, Germany), a skin-care specialist, will be using certified renewable polypropylene (PP) from SABIC’s portfolio of second-generation bio-based materials to package its cosmetic products. The new packaging products will be introduced in the market in 2021 and replace fossil-based virgin PP, the company says. Sabic’s certified renewable PP and polyethylene (PE) materials are derived from animal-free and palm-oil-free second-generation renewable feedstock, it says.

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.

Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) ranks among the world's top petrochemical companies. The company is among the world's market leaders in the production of polyethylene, polypropylene and other advanced thermoplastics, glycols, methanol and fertilizers.