YNCC restarted No. 2 cracker in South Korea and achieved on-spec output

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Yeochun Naphtha Cracking Centre (YNCC) restarted the No. 2 naphtha cracker in Yeosu, South Korea with a delay on 17 January 2021 following a two-and-a-half-month shutdown for expansion, reported CommoPlast with reference to market sources.

The initial start-up was scheduled on 14 January, 2020.

The expanded cracker is now capable of producing 915,000 tons/year of ethylene, up from the previous 580,000 tons/year and 550,000 tons/year of propylene, up from 270,000 tons/year previously. Sources reported that the cracker has reached on-spec ethylene output at night on 20 January.

As MRC informed earlier, the company took No.2 cracker off-stream around the third week of October 2020 for two months of maintenance.

YNCC is a joint venture between South Korean firms Hanwha and Daelim. The new ethylene capacity would be supplied to Daelim’s new mPE plant at the adjacent location.

YNCC owns two other naphtha crackers in Yeosu with a combined capacity of 1.325 million tons/year.

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

According to MRC's DataScope report, PE imports to Russia decreased in January-November 2020 by 17% year on year and reached 569,900 tonnes. High density polyethylene (HDPE) accounted for the greatest reduction in imports. At the same time, PP imports into Russia increased by 21% year on year to about 202,000 tonnes in the first eleven months of 2020. Propylene homopolymer (homopolymer PP) accounted for the main increase in imports.

South Korea’s Yeochun NCC (YNCC) pyrolyzes naphtha to produce basic feedstock materials for the petrochemical industry. YNCC, a joint venture between South Korean firms Hanwha and Daelim, is a key exporter of ethylene and propylene in the country.

PPG narrowly beats estimates on strength in automotive, packaging coatings

MOSCOW (MRC) -- PPG Industries today reported fourth-quarter net income down 7% year-on-year (YOY), to USD272 million, on net sales up 2%, to USD3.76 billion. Adjusted earnings, which exclude some impairment charges, totaled USD1.59/share, up 21% YOY and slightly ahead of analysts’ consensus estimate of USD1.58/share, according to Chemweek with reference to Refinitiv (New York, New York).

Sales volumes were down 1.5% YOY, but this was offset by a 1.5% increase in selling prices, favorable exchange rates, and acquisitions.

“The more than 20% increase in our adjusted EPS (earnings per share) was the result of strengthening year-over-year sales growth in our industrial coatings reportable segment, led by the automotive original equipment manufacturer (OEM), general industrial, and packaging coatings businesses,” says PPG chairman and CEO Michael McGarry. “In addition, the global architectural coatings business continued its excellent execution as we leveraged higher year-over-year sales into strong earnings growth. Consistent with the third quarter, we achieved improved operating results despite continued weakness in several key end-use markets, including aerospace and automotive refinish coatings, which are still being heavily impacted by the ongoing pandemic.”

Performance coatings segment sales declined 1% YOY, to US2.2 billion, while segment income was down 3%, to USD8 million. Volumes fell 6% YOY, while selling prices were up 3%. The declines were mostly due to a 30% drop in sales for aerospace coatings, and smaller declines in protective and marine and automotive refinish coatings. However, architectural coatings sales grew YOY, and automotive refinish coatings sales increased on a sequential basis.

Industrial coatings segment sales grew 7% YOY, to USD1.6 billion, while segment income was up 40%, to USD282 million. Sales volumes grew in the automotive OEM, industrial coatings, and packaging coatings businesses. Automotive OEM sales growth differed by region, with particularly large increases in China.

For the year ahead, PPG expects “overall global coatings demand continues to improve in many of the end-use markets we serve and across all our major regions, and we expect overall global economic activity to strengthen in the first half of 2021,” McGarry says. “However, due to increasing pandemic-related restrictions and certain supply chain disruptions, there is uncertainty regarding when this coatings demand growth will fully materialize.”

The company cut costs by about USD115 million in full-year 2020, a result of restructuring programs put in place partly in response to the pandemic. PPG generated about USD2.1 billion in cash during 2020, McGarry says.

As MRC informed before, the board of Tikkurila (Helsinki, Finland) says it “unanimously recommends” that the company’s shareholders accept a planned tender offer for the company from PPG Industries. PPG’s offer will be at EUR27.75/share, valuing Tikkurila at about EUR1.24 billion (USD1.50 billion), after PPG raised its bid price on 5 January in response to a competing offer from an unspecified company. The Tikkurila board says in a statement that its assessment of PPG’s revised bid took the rival offer into consideration.

We remind that in February 2020, PPG said it had completed its acquisition of Industria Chimica Reggiana (ICR, Reggio Emilia, Italy), a maker of automotive refinish products. Financial terms of the deal, including purchase price, were not disclosed. The deal was announced on 8 January. ICR was founded in 1961 and employs about 180 people. ICR manufactures automotive refinish products, including putties, primers, basecoats and clear coats. It also makes a range of coatings, enamels and primers for light commercial vehicles and other light industrial coatings applications. ICR employs about 180 people and sells its products in more than 70 countries in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, the US and Latin America.

We also remind that Russia's output of chemical products rose in November 2020 by 9.5% year on year. At the same time, production of basic chemicals increased in the first eleven months of 2020 by 6.6% year on year, 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-November 2020 output. November production of polymers in primary form rose to 896,000 tonnes from 852,000 tonnes in October. Overall output of polymers in primary form totalled 9,240,000 tonnes over the stated period, up by 17.1% year on year.

Nuberg EPC wins sulfuric acid plant project

MOSCOW (MRC) -- A global EPC and turnkey project management company, Nuberg EPC has been awarded the prestigious 500 TPD Sulfuric Acid Plant project on EPC & LSTK basis in Egypt, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The project, which was awarded during the pandemic, is owned by Sprea Misr, a leading chemicals and plastics manufacturer in Ramadan City, Egypt. Nuberg EPC will be the single-point solution company responsible from concept to commissioning of the project. It is also the globally recognized Sulfuric Acid technology supplier.

The 500 TPD Sulfuric Acid Plant project will be based on the latest Double Contact Double Absorption (DCDA) process technology. The Double contact process is used for the production of sulfuric acid in high concentrations which is required for industrial purposes. The project also incorporates a 5MW turbine with a steam-based power generation plant with a complete bypass arrangement. This is the first time that Nuberg EPC is building a turbine unit for electricity production. Sulfuric Acid produced in the plants will be provided to the agriculture industry for the production of urea and other fertilizers.

This project comes as another milestone for Nuberg EPC, the Sulfuric Acid technology licensor, in Egypt, as it is the fourth turnkey project for the company. Nuberg has also completed three other turnkey projects in Egypt namely, a Caustic Soda plant for the Egyptian Petrochemical Company in Alexandria, a Calcium Chloride plant for TCI Sanmar Chemicals in Port Said, and a Sulfuric Acid plant for AGROCHEM in Alexandria.

Signing the contract amidst the pandemic is yet another achievement for Nuberg EPC. In the Middle East, Nuberg EPC has successfully delivered over fifteen turnkey projects in countries like Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the UAE. This has positioned Nuberg EPC as one of the top EPC companies in the region.

On being awarded the project, Mr. A. K. Tyagi, MD, Nuberg Engineering commented, "We are thankful to Sprea Misr for entrusting our turnkey project engineering capabilities and our EPC services and solutions with its Sulfuric Acid plant. We are excited to partner with them and strengthen our relationship even further. Armed with competent, qualified, and professional engineers along with advancements in sulfuric acid plant technology, we are committed to commission the project by the first quarter of 2022 faster than the industry average of 16 months."

He further stated, "Nuberg EPC's scope of services for this project includes Process Design & Technology including Product and Technology Development, Process Know-how & Licensing, Basic Engineering, Front End Engineering Design (FEED), Construction Management, Operation & Maintenance, Detailed Engineering, Project Management, Commissioning, EPC & LSTK Solutions, Heavy Fabrication, and start-up of the plant."

As MRC informed previously, oil producers face an unprecedented challenge to balance supply and demand as factors including the pace and response to COVID-19 vaccines cloud the outlook, according to an official with International Energy Agency's (IEA) statement.

We remind that the COVID-19 outbreak has led to an unprecedented decline in demand affecting all sections of the Russian economy, which has impacted the demand for petrochemicals in the short-term. However, the pandemic triggered an increase in the demand for polymers in food packaging, and cleaning and hygiene products, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company. With Russian petrochemical companies having the advantage of access to low-cost feedstock, and proximity to demand-rich Asian (primarily China) and European markets for the supply of petrochemical products, these companies appear to be well-positioned to derive full benefits from an improving market environment and global economy post-COVID-19, says GlobalData.

We also remind that in December 2020, Sibur, Gazprom Neft, and Uzbekneftegaz agreed to cooperate on potential investments in Uzbekistan including a major expansion of Uzbekneftegaz’s existing Shurtan Gas Chemical Complex (SGCC) and the proposed construction of a new gas chemicals facility. The signed cooperation agreement for the projects includes “the creation of a gas chemical complex using methanol-to-olefins (MTO) technology, and the expansion of the production capacity of the Shurtan Gas Chemical Complex”.

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

According to MRC's DataScope report, PE imports to Russia decreased in January-November 2020 by 17% year on year and reached 569,900 tonnes. High density polyethylene (HDPE) accounted for the greatest reduction in imports. At the same time, PP imports into Russia increased by 21% year on year to about 202,000 tonnes in the first eleven months of 2020. Propylene homopolymer (homopolymer PP) accounted for the main increase in imports.

Nuberg EPC has been providing plant design, engineering, technology, and turnkey solutions to the sulphuric acid industry for 25 years. Nuberg EPC has its own technology specially designed and developed to increase the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of Sulphuric Acid plants. The company is a global leader for not only executing turnkey Chemical and Fertilizer projects worldwide but also serves Hydrocarbon, Steel, and Nuclear & Defense industries globally.


Bayer taps Elanco for chief transformation, talent officer

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Bayer’s supervisory board has announced the appointment of Sarena Lin to the company’s management board as chief transformation and talent officer, effective 1 February, according to Chemweek.

She will be responsible for human resources, strategy, and business consulting and “drive the accelerated transformation of Bayer,” the company says. She will also serve as labor director. Lin will be based at Bayer’s Leverkusen, Germany, headquarters.

Lin will join Bayer from Elanco Animal Health, where she is a member of the executive committee, responsible for transformation and technology. She was born in Taipei, Taiwan, and previously worked in senior positions at McKinsey and Cargill, among other companies.

Elanco acquired Bayer’s animal health business in 2020.

As MRC reported earlier, Covestro closed the sale of its European polycarbonates (PC) sheets business to the Munich-based Serafin Group effective January 2, 2020. This includes key management and sales functions throughout Europe as well as production sites in Belgium and Italy.

Covestro (formerly Bayer MaterialScience) is an independent subgroup within Bayer. It was created as part of the restructuring of Bayer AG from the former business group Bayer Polymers, with certain of its activities being spun off to Lanxess AG. Covestro manufactures and develops materials such as coatings, adhesives and sealants, polycarbonates (CDs, DVDs), polyurethanes (automotive seating, insulation for refrigerating appliances) etc.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated consumption of PC granules (excluding imports and exports to\\from Belarus) rose in January-November 2020 by 18% year on year to 83,600 tonnes (70,600 tonnes a year earlier).

Inovyn technology selected for new chlor-alkali plant in Turkey

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Inovyn (London, U.K.) has been selected by Koyuncu Group to supply chlor alkali technology as part of a EUR16 million investment at a new production facility in Konya province, Turkey, said Chemweek.

Inovyn will provide BICHLOR bipolar electrolyzers for a new 33,000-m2 facility that will produce chlorine, caustic, sodium hypochlorite and hydrochloric acid. The new facility will have an annual production capacity of 50,000 tons, with potential for further investment in the production of derivatives in the future.

Engineering, construction and start-up for the project will be provided by Vespro A.S., an experienced supplier of process equipment for chemical and industrial plants, both domestically and internationally. The project duration is 15 months and production is planned to start by the beginning of 2022.

Ibrahim Koyunco, Chairman of the Executive Board of Koyuncu Group, states: “When selecting the technologies for our investment, choosing environmentally friendly, sustainable and energy efficient cutting-edge technology was essential."

Terry Healy, Business Manager for INOVYN Electrochemical Technology, said: “We are pleased to be recognized as electrochemical experts and a trusted partner with a significant track record for high-quality products. We look forward to a successful project with Vespro and Koyuncu, delivering on our commitment to reducing the overall lifecycle cost for our customers."

As MRC reported earlier, the November production of sodium hydroxide (caustic soda) in Russia amounted to 111 thousand tons (100% of the main substance) against 108 thousand tons a month earlier. For eleven months of the year, the total production of caustic soda amounted to 1,165.6 thousand tons, which is 1.3% less than the same indicator of the previous year.