MOSCOW (MRC) -- Braskem Idesa’s polyethylene (PE) sales totalled 845,000 metric tons in 2020, up by 4% from 813,000 metric tons in 2019, according to Chemweek with reference to Braskem's annual management report.
Sales to Mexico represented 53% of the total, down from 59% a year earlier, while sales to the US and Latin America increased to 13% and 19%, respectively. Sales to Europe also increased, from 8% to 12%, and sales to Asia fell from 11% to 4% of the total.
Braskem Idesa’s operating results for 2020 include a USD119 million accounting provision related to the write-off of the amount receivable from Braskem Idesa as a payment for damages for the supply of ethane in volumes below that established in the ethane supply agreement with Pemex.
Bag and film applications accounted for a larger percentage of PE sales in 2020 at 39%, up from 34% in 2019, while construction/infrastructure-related sales fell from 14% to 9%.
Braskem Idesa expects to invest USD34 million in 2021 for operating efficiency gains, such as the ethane import project and maintenance.
Braskem Idesa’s PE plant at Nanchital, Coatzacoalcos, Mexico, operated at 74% of its nameplate capacity in 2020, down by 2% year on year, after the site’s operations were shut in early December.
The site’s fourth-quarter 2020 utilization rate fell to 48%, down from 84% in the prior quarter, after a disagreement over an ethane supply contract led to the supply of natural gas to the Etileno XXI ethylene-PE complex being cut off by the Mexican government. Braskem Idesa has since signed a memorandum of understanding with Mexico’s state-owned Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) to discuss potential amendments to the ethane supply contract, with gas supply restored on 1 March.
Customers in Mexico have indicated they expect to be back to normal supply levels by April.
Braskem Idesa has also taken steps to increase its supply of imported ethane after years of being unable to run its facility at full rates due to feedstock constraints. In the fourth quarter, the company imported 35,000 metric tons of ethane from the US, representing 9% of the facility’s feedstock utilization capacity, according to the Braskem report.
In December, Braskem Idesa completed an expansion of its ethane import operation, bringing the current expected capacity to 20,000 barrels/day, or about 30% of the site’s total ethane requirement.
The Etileno XXI complex, which comprises a 1.05-million metric tons/year ethylene plant and three PE units, had a utilization rate of 84% in the third quarter of 2020.
As MRC informed earlier, in June 2020, Braskem announced the selection of Charleston, South Carolina for its new global export hub facility to serve international customers. The hub will provide packaging, warehousing and export shipping services to support Braskem's polypropylene (PP) production facilities in the United States. With the design and development phase well underway, the new global export hub was expected to be completed by the third quarter of 2020 and will have a capacity to support export shipments of up to 204,000 metric tons/year of PP and specialty polymers.
According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 241,030 tonnes in January 2021 versus 217,890 tonnes a year earlier. Only shipments of low density polyethylene (LDPE) and high density polyethylene (HDPE) 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).