US blacklists Chinese, UAE-based companies over sale of Iranian petrochemicals

MOSCOW (MRC) --The United States on Wednesday imposed sanctions on companies based in China and the United Arab Emirates, accusing them of supporting the sale of Iranian petrochemicals as Washington increases pressure on Tehran in the closing days of President Donald Trump’s term, reporter Reuters.

The US Treasury Department said in a statement it had blacklisted the four entities for facilitating the export of Iranian petrochemical products by Triliance Petrochemical Co. Ltd, which was hit with sanctions by Washington earlier this year.

Also targeted in the move was Vietnam Gas and Chemicals Transportation Corporation over its connection with significant transactions for the transport of petroleum products from Iran, the Treasury said.

The Trump administration has imposed sanctions nearly daily over the past several weeks, many targeted at Iran. Analysts have said the sanctions pressuring Tehran seem designed to complicate President-elect Joe Biden’s path to renegotiating a nuclear deal with Iran.

“The United States will act against persons who support illicit actors engaged in the movement of Iranian petroleum and petrochemical sales,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in the statement.

The action placed sanctions on China-based Donghai International Ship Management Ltd, China-based Petrochem South East Limited, UAE-based Alpha Tech Trading FZE and UAE-based Petroliance Trading FZE for providing support to Triliance Petrochemical Co Ltd.

Washington in January blacklisted Hong Kong-based Triliance Petrochemical Co Ltd and three other petrochemical and petroleum companies that the Treasury said collectively transferred the equivalent of hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of exports from the National Iranian Oil Company.

Wednesday’s sanctions froze any US assets of the companies and generally barred Americans from dealing with them. Foreign financial institutions that knowingly facilitate transactions for those blacklisted also run the risk of being hit with sanctions, Treasury said.

Tensions between Washington and Tehran have risen since Trump abandoned President Barack Obama’s 2015 Iran nuclear deal, and restored harsh sanctions to pressure Tehran to negotiate deeper curbs on its nuclear program, ballistic missile development and support for regional proxy forces.

President-elect Joe Biden, set to take office on Jan. 20, has said he will return the United States to the Obama-era deal if Iran resumes compliance.

As MRC wrote before, in late November, 2020, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Thursday inaugurated Lordegan Petrochemical Company in the southwest of the country. The plant, which is located in Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari province, has the capacity to produce 677,000 tons of ammonia and 1,075 tons of urea annually.

We remind that Iran will launch 42 petrochemical projects by the end of next year.

Ethylene and propylene are feedstocks for producing PE and polypropylene (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.

Braskem affirms commitment to circular economy and to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Braskem, the largest polyolefins producer in the Americas and leading producer of biopolymers in the world, has recently announced its latest sustainability ambitions to significantly expand its efforts to eliminate plastic waste in the environment by 2030 and to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, according to CISION.

In 2009, Braskem launched the company's long-term sustainability goals for 2020, which emphasized Braskem's commitment to providing solutions that address climate change. Braskem has invested in the development of I'm green products sourced from renewable sources and recycled content, while in the same period reducing the intensity of carbon emissions from its operations by 20 percent. In 2018, Braskem further committed to 100% of plastic packaging being reused, recycled, or recovered by 2040. As part of its evolving sustainable development strategy, Braskem today announces additional commitments to mitigate climate change, eliminate plastic waste and provide solutions for recycled products in its markets.


- By 2025, expand our I'm green portfolio to include sales of 300,000 tons of recycled content products per year.
- By 2030, continue to expand our I'm green portfolio to include sales of 1 million tons of recycled content products per year.
- By 2030, work to divert 1.5 million tons of plastic waste away from incineration, landfill, or the environment.
- By 2030, deliver a 15 percent reduction in carbon emissions from Braskem operations.
- By 2050, achieve carbon neutrality for Braskem's global operations.

Roberto Simoes, Braskem CEO, states, "Braskem has a long history of taking action to create a more sustainable world. We have invested in renewable resources since the company's formation in 2002. As the first and leading producer of biopolymers, Braskem has been at the forefront of creating positive change to support people, society, and the environment. Braskem intends to continue its leadership as the industry transitions to a carbon neutral circular economy. Plastic plays a vital role in society, and we believe that the strategic direction of our latest sustainability commitments will allow plastics to continue its role in advancing innovation and providing sustainable solutions. With the new sustainable development goals we announced today, we are committing to create products to help our clients meet aggressive recycled content goals in the next several years and to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050."

Braskem's I'm greenTM brand was born in 2010 together with the world's first bioplastic (green polyethylene (PE)) produced on an industrial scale, using responsibly sourced sugarcane as raw material. Cultivation of sugarcane utilized in the production of I'm green™ polyethylene captures carbon dioxide (CO2) and releases oxygen (O2), which means Braskem's bioplastic has a negative carbon footprint. From a cradle-to-gate life-cycle perspective, every ton of I'm green Polyethylene produced equates to 3.09 tons of CO2 captured from the atmosphere, helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The fully recyclable product was developed at Braskem's Innovation and Technology Center located at the Triunfo Petrochemical Complex in Brazil, where the company invested US$ 290 million to build an industrial unit with production annual capacity of 200 Kton.

Since its initial launch, Braskem's I'm green sustainable portfolio of chemicals and polymers has expanded and now includes a range of other solutions made from post-consumer plastic waste as well as responsibly sourced bio-based materials including green EVA. Today, the I'm green™ portfolio includes 'I'm green™ Bio-Based' products, 'I'm green™ Recycled' products made from recovered plastic waste as well as 'I'm green™ Bio-based and Recycled' products, all reflecting Braskem's commitment to innovation and the advancement of the Carbon Neutral Circular Economy.

Braskem's strategy to achieve carbon neutrality focuses on three pillars of Reducing emissions, Offsetting emissions and Capturing emissions. These efforts to reduce emissions will concentrate on improving energy efficiency in existing operations as well as the increased use of low carbon and renewable energy in current operations. Additionally, Braskem will continue to explore and invest in new low carbon intensity process technologies. In the area of offsetting emissions, Braskem will focus on accelerating our investments in renewable feedstock based chemicals and polymers. Lastly, Braskem's efforts around capturing emissions are being supported through the research and development of opportunities in using CO2 emissions as feedstock for conversion to value-added Chemicals.

Braskem's Circular Economy Strategy will continue to aggressively progress projects in mechanical and advanced molecular recycling. Braskem plans to continue leveraging its market leadership, polymer expertise and strong track record of growth in sustainability to develop a robust portfolio of recycled products for its clients.

Braskem's sustainable development strategy focuses on seven dimensions: 1) Health & Safety, 2) Financial & Economic Results, 3) Elimination of Plastic Waste, 4) Mitigation of Climate Change, 5) Operational Eco-efficiency, 6) Social Responsibility & Human Rights, and 7) Sustainable Innovation. These dimensions align closely with the UN 2030 Agenda's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and The Paris Agreement to mitigate climate change.

As the North American leader in polypropylene (PP), Braskem is strongly committed to move towards a Circular Economy, where nothing is wasted and everything is transformed. Earlier this year, Braskem announced it reached its 2020 goal to become an Operation Clean Sweep® blue member. Braskem also became a founding member and funding partner of the Polypropylene Recycling Coalition, an initiative of The Recycling Partnership with a focus on increasing US curbside recycling access for polypropylene (PP) and ensuring PP is widely recovered and reused in end-markets such as food and beverage packaging, consumer products and automotive. Braskem is also a founding member of the Alliance to End Plastic Waste.

As MRC reported previously, Brazilian petrochemical producer Braskem's 450,000 mt/year PP plant in LaPorte, Texas, along the Houston Ship Channel completed its initial commercial production, as per the company's statement as of Sept. 10. "The launch of commercial production at our new world-class PP production line in La Porte clearly affirms Braskem's position as the North American polypropylene market leader," Braskem America CEO Mark Nikolich said in a statement. With a USD750 million investment, the new PP plant's construction started in October 2017 and was completed in June, 2020.

We remind that production at Braskem's new PP plant in the US was at 36,000 tonnes in October, close to the monthly production capacity of the plant of around 38,000 tonnes.

Braskem operates five other US PP plants in Texas, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, with a cumulative capacity of 1.57 million mt/year that the company acquired. The new plant in La Porte, Texas, is Braskem America's first PP new build.

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.

Braskem S.A. produces petrochemicals and generates electricity. The Company produces ethylene, propylene, benzene, toluene, xylenes, butadiene, butene, isoprene, dicyclopentediene, MTBE, caprolactam, ammonium sulfate, cyclohexene, polyethylene theraphtalat, polyethylene, and polyvinyl chloride (PVC).

Sinochem Quanzhou Successfully Starts Up New Ethylene Plant in Fujian Province

MOSCOW (MRC) -- KBR announced that Sinochem Quanzhou Petrochemical Co. has successfully commissioned a new ethylene facility in Quanzhou, Fujian Province, China, utilizing KBR's SCORE (Selective Cracking Optimum Recovery) technology, accoring to Apic-online.

The 1-million-t/y ethylene plant is part of Sinochem's grassroots integrated refining and petrochemical complex, which also includes a 400,000-t/y high-density polyethylene (HDPE) facility, which recently achieved on-spec production, as well as an 800,000-t/y paraxylene (PX) plant, a 350,000-t/y polypropylene (PP) unit and an aromatics extraction unit with 300,000 t/y of capacity.

Sinochem is also expanding its existing refining capacity by 60,000 b/d to 300,000 b/d.

In addition to SCORE technology, KBR also supplied key proprietary components of the SCORE SC-1 furnaces, which deliver high product yields, KBR noted.

As MRC reported earlier, in January 2020, Sinochem Energy, a unit of China’s Sinochem Group, agreed to sell a 20% stake to five state-owned firms for 11.56 billion yuan (USD1.65 billion).

Ethylene and propylene are feedstocks for producing PE and polypropylene (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.

Sinochem Group engages in energy, agriculture, chemicals, real estate, and finance service businesses in China and internationally. It is involved in the exploration and production, refining and trading, warehousing and logistics, and distribution and retailing of oil and gas. The company also produces and distributes fertilizers, such as nitrogen, phosphate, potash, and other fertilizers.

SABIC global footprint meets local demand for protective products to help combat COVID-19

MOSCOW (MRC) -- SABIC, a global leader in the chemical industry, is making a significant contribution to the battle against COVID-19 through increased production within its LEXAN polycarbonate (PC) portfolio. The focus of the production increase has been on innovative PC sheets and films for a wide variety of high-performance products to help improving sanitation control and preventing infections, said the company in its press release.

SABIC’s efforts in combating COVID-19 are boosted by the company having production facilities across Europe, Asia and North and South America. This provides the company’s Functional Forms business with the ability to manufacture and swiftly distribute its sheet and film products across every region around the world.

SABIC and its predecessors have a long history as an innovator in PC technology, having invented polycarbonate resin in 1953, and initiated production of high-performance sheets and films in 1968. Since then, SABIC excels in polycarbonate development with a portfolio of over 350 material grades. SABIC’s Functional Forms business spearheads materials innovation, enabling applications in industries where there is a need for safety, high optical quality, durability, anti-bacterial properties and flame, chemical and impact resistance products.

LEXAN protective sheets and films have applications across an extensive range of sectors that are experiencing particular hygiene and social distancing challenges during the pandemic. These include hospitals and medical clinics, care homes, dental practices, schools and kindergartens, retail and hospitality outlets, sports centers, reception areas and mass transportation, among many others.

“There is an urgent and ongoing need around the world for protective equipment, not only to fight against this current pandemic, but also to improve safety and hygiene standards in the future ”, said Sandeep Dhawan, Global Business Director Functional Forms, SABIC. “As a company that excels in ground-breaking materials, we are driven by the ambition to innovate and are committed to providing the latest technology and expertise to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and help mitigate further infection.”

As testament to its global reach, SABIC has supplied innovative PC sheet and film solutions to some of the world’s leading organizations, for some of the most demanding applications aimed at providing increased protection against COVID-19.

SABIC’s next generation LEXAN sheet and film solutions have all been developed to bring Chemistry that Matters to the marketplace. The company's clear understanding of product needs and performance attributes supports application success for its customers. The journey of innovation will be highlighted with technology which supports anti-bacterial performance to assist in the fight against COVID-19 across its portfolio. SABIC LEXAN polycarbonate solutions are available through a large network of localized distribution centers globally.

As MRC reported previously, earlier this week, SABIC 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. 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.

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).

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.

Evonik commissions capacity expansion for adhesive raw materials in Marl

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Evonik has significantly expanded its capacity for silane-modified poly-alpha-olefins, as per the company's press release.

With the completion of the plant expansion at the Marl Chemical Park, Evonik is now able to produce 30% more of this specialty adhesive raw material.

These silane-modified specialties are amorphous poly-alpha-olefins, which are marketed under the brand name VESTOPLAST® 206. They are ideal for formulating high-quality hot melt adhesives, which are especially suited for the bonding of hard-to-bond polar substrates such as glass, ceramics and metals. However, above all, they are best characterized by their excellent adhesion to a wide range of plastics, such as polypropylene (PP), polyester and polyamide.

"With the expansion of our capacity, we are following the increasing demand for reactive polyolefin systems and ensuring greater delivery reliability," explains Roberto Vila-Keller, Head of the Coating & Adhesive Resins Business Line. "Due to its special chemical properties, VESTOPLAST® 206 is mainly used in lightweight construction or the construction industry and thus, contributes to sustainable solutions."

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.

Ethylene and propylene are feedstocks for producing polyethylene (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.

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.