Saudi Arabia, Germany in landmark alliance on green hydrogen

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Saudi Arabia and Germany on Thursday inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to boost cooperation on the production and exploitation of hydrogen, said Arabnews.

The kingdom’s Minister of Energy, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, said the MoU will build on existing Saudi-German dialogue on energy developments aimed at achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change, with a focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The world’s first large scale green hydrogen plant is currently under construction in the new “megacity” of Neom on the Red Sea coast. Officials hope the USD5 bn Air Products JV will be the first phase of a mission to turn the country into a global hydrogen hub.

Last year, Saudi Aramco shipped the world’s first cargo of blue hydrogen, with ammonia identified as a key carrier for hydrogen given existing shipping and logistics infrastructure and relatively lower transport costs. On the German side, the MoU was signed by Peter Altmayer, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy.

As per MRC, The European Union is offering assurances on funding for poorer members and countries' ability to choose their own energy mix, as it strives for a deal next week on a tougher target to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

As MRC informed earlier, auctions of carbon permits in the European Union's emissions trading system (ETS) next year will not start until late January or early February. For "technical reasons", auctions of permits on behalf of most EU countries, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, will kick off later than usual, the Commission said. This year's EU ETS auctions began on Jan. 7. Poland auctions its permits separately.

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

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 2,220,640 tonnes in 2020, up by 2% year on year. Only shipments of low density polyethylene (LDPE) and high density polyethylene (HDPE) increased. At the same time, polypropylene (PP) shipments to the Russian market reached 1 240,000 tonnes in 2020 (calculated using the formula: production, minus exports, plus imports, exluding producers' inventories as of 1 January, 2020).


Indian Oil Corp to develop Plastic Park in Paradip, India

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Odisha Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (IDCO) to develop Paradip Plastic Park, according to Kemicalinfo.

Under the MoU, to attract investments in downstream polymer industries at Paradip Plastic Park, IOCL announced a Special Strategic Incentives scheme.

An incentive of Rs 2000/MT (USD27.48/MT) on Polypropylene granules from Paradip Refinery shall be offered to the manufacturing units located in the Paradip Plastic Park till March 31, 2030.

As per the MoU, it is estimated that around 26 units will come up at the plastic Park with an estimated investment of Rs 5 billion (USD68.7 million) and is likely to generate direct and indirect employment of 6,000.

Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas and Steel, Dharmendra Pradhan said, “Keeping the enterprise and employment generation potential of the plastic sector in mind, Government of India has initiated the cluster development of the Industry through its Plastic Park scheme. Currently, six such parks have been approved by the Government of India, with Paradip Plastic Park being one of them,” adding that Odisha would become the nerve centre of industrialisation through rapid development in petrochemical, chemical, polymer, textile and fibre sectors.

With a project cost of Rs 1.07 billion (USD14.7 million), the park is spread over 120 acre of land and it is close to a national highway, a railway station and a port.

This project falls under the larger Petroleum Chemicals and Petrochemicals Investment Region (PCPIR) at Paradip, a release issued by the Chief Minister’s Office said.

Being the ‘Anchor Tenant’ in PCPIR with its Refinery & Petrochemical Complex, IOCL has now joined hands with IDCO for development of this project with 49% share, it said.

As MRC informed before, Indian Oil has just announced plans to expand the capacity of its refinery at Panipat, India, from 15 million metric tons/year (MMt/y), to 25 MMt/y. The company will also build a polypropylene (PP) unit and a catalytic dewaxing unit at the site. The cost of the project is 329.46 billion Indian rupees (USD4.45 billion). The plan is the latest in a series of projects approved by Indian Oil to improve integration with petrochemicals at the company's refinery sites. The capacity of the planned PP facility has not been disclosed.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated polyethylene (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. At the same time, PP shipments to the Russian market reached 141,870 tonnes in January 2021 versus 123,520 tonnes a year earlier. Supply of homopolymer PP and PP block copolymers increased.

Advanced Petrochemical to close PDH, PP plants this week for maintenance

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Saudi-based Advanced Petrochemical Company, a key manufacturer of polypropylene (PP) products, plans to shut its propane degydranation (PDH) unit and PP plant in Jubail, Saudi Arabia for maintenance, reported Chemweek.

These plants will be offstream from 11 March, 2021. PP plant is aimed to restart on 27 March, whereas PDH unit is to come back on-line on 5 April.

As MRC wrote before, SK Advanced is planning to start up the new PP plant in Ulsan, South Korea this March 2021 as construction works are nearly completed. The PP unit is a joint venture between PolyMirae and SK Advanced, using the “Spheripol” process of LyondellBasell, and have an annual output of 400,000 tons/year.

We remind that in December, 2020, Advanced Petrochemical Company said its subsidiary, Advanced Global Investment Company (AGIC), had signed off-take agreements for the sale of PP with two US-based groups - Vinmar International and Tricon Dry Chemicals - and Mitsubishi Corporation of Japan. As per the long-term deal, AGIC will supply 250,000 metric tonnes per annum of PP each to Vinmar and Tricon Dry Chemicals, while Mitsubishi will get 120,000 MT, stated Advanced Petrochemical Company in its filing to Saudi Tadawul.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, PP shipments to the Russian market reached 141,870 tonnes in January 2021 versus 123,520 tonnes a year earlier. Supply of homopolymer PP and PP block copolymers increased.

COVID-19 - News digest as of 12.03.2021

1. Crude oil futures rise on bullish EIA products data; supportive macroeconomic developments

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Crude oil futures rose during mid-morning trade in Asia March 11 as bullish US products data from the Energy Information Administration negated a large build in US crude inventories, with the market also gaining support from the US Congress' approval for fiscal relief and the depreciation of the dollar, reported S&P Global. At 11:08 am Singapore time (0308 GMT), the ICE Brent May contract was up by 53 cents/b (0.78%) from the March 10 settle to USD68.43/b, while the April NYMEX light sweet crude contract was up by 54 cents/b (0.84%) to USD64.98/b. Data released by the EIA late March 10 showed a massive 13.8 million-barrel build in US crude inventories in the week ended March 5. The build pushed stocks to 498.4 million barrels, and at 6%, opened up the widest surplus to the five-year average since mid-January.

2. Operating profit of German chemical giant BASF down 23% in 2020

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BASF's net income surged to EUR1.01bn in the fourth quarter amid stronger prices and higher volumes, the German chemicals major said in its press release. Sales in the fourth quarter of 2020 increased by 8 percent to EUR15.9 billion. Volumes were up by 7%. Prices also increased by 7%, driven mainly by the Surface Technologies, Agricultural Solutions and Materials segments. Portfolio effects contributed 1 percent and resulted from the acquisition of the polyamide business from Solvay. Currency effects had a negative impact of 7 percent on sales. EBITDA before special items rose by 15 percent in the fourth quarter to EUR2.1 billion. EBITDA amounted to EUR2.0 billion, compared with EUR1.6 billion in the fourth quarter of 2019. EBIT before special items rose in the fourth quarter by 32 percent to EUR1.1 billion. This increase was primarily due to significantly higher earnings in the Materials, Chemicals and Industrial Solutions segments. This more than offset lower contributions from the other segments as well as from Other. Special items in EBIT amounted to minus EUR181 million, as compared with minus EUR263 million in the fourth quarter of 2019. EBIT in the fourth quarter of 2020 rose by 61 percent to EUR932 million.


PP prices broke another record in export trades in Turkmenistan

MOSCOW (MRC) -- On Wednesday, the export trades for Turkmenbashi refinery's polypropylene (PP) were held at the State Commodity and Raw Materials Stock Exchange of Turkmenistan. 1,500 tonnes of PP were sold during one trading day, prices broke another record, according to ICIS-MRC Price report.

According to the bidders, on Wednesday, 10 March, 1,500 tonnes of Turkmenbashi refinery's PP raffia grade were put up for export sale at the State Commodity and Raw Materials Exchange of Turkmenistan. The starting price was set at USD1,515/tonne FOB/FCA. PP prices were growing dynamically during the trades and finally reached another record - USD1,775/tonne FOB/FCA, the total volume of PP was sold in one day.

Deals were done with shipment within six months.

The previous export trades for Turkmenbashi refinery's PP were held back on 20 February 2021, and only 1,000 tonnes of PP raffia grade were sold then at USD1,515/tonne FOB/FCA.

It is also worth noting that back in March 2020, export PP sales were at USD750/tonne FOB/FCA.