SABIC launches new recycled ocean bound plastics portfolio

MOSCOW (MRC) -- SABIC, a global leader in the chemical industry, has announced the launch of a new recycled material made from ocean bound plastic which has been recovered from ocean-feeding waterways and inland areas within a 50 kilometer radius of the ocean, as per the company's press release.

The ocean bound material is mechanically recycled and converted into components for new consumer goods and electronics applications, such as TV remote controls and electronic razors. It has the potential to also be used in other industries in the future, such as automotive.

According to the company's statement, part of SABIC’S TRUCIRCLE portfolio and services, the new recycled material is a XENOY PC/PET compound comprising of a minimum 10% recycled ocean bound PET blended with polycarbonate (PC).

The new material, part of SABIC’s engineering thermoplastics (ETP) product range, offers potentially significant reductions in carbon footprin of up to 7% and energy consumption of up to 11% compared to its virgin grade. It has good impact strength, processability and chemical resistance.

“Our new recycled ocean bound material can help to tackle the problem directly as part of our commitment to minimize plastics waste ending up as waste”, said Sergi Monros, Vice President of Performance Polymers & Industry Solutions for Petrochemicals at SABIC. “By creating more sustainable materials and forging new collaborations, we hope to help reshape our industry and our entire value chain, whilst at the same time playing a leading role to help provide guidance for necessary regulation and governance.”

The new recycled ocean bound material forms part of SABIC’s TRUCIRCLE portfolio and services, which showcases the company’s circular innovations and can help to provide our customers with access to more sustainable materials. In doing so, SABIC aims to help them give the end-consumer more confidence about buying products with the knowledge that the material has been recycled and produced in a way that can help protect our planet.

The TRUCIRCLE portfolio spans design for recyclability, mechanically recycled products, certified circular products from feedstock recycling of used plastic, certified renewables products from bio-based feedstock and closed loop initiatives to recycle plastic back into high quality applications and help prevent valuable used plastics from becoming waste.

As MRC reported earlier, in March 2021, BP and SABIC signed a new agreement to work together to drive circular economy in the petrochemical activities at the Gelsenkirchen (Germany) chemical complex. Building on a long established relationship between the two companies at the production site, the new collaboration will help to increase production of certified circular products that take used mixed plastics to make feedstock, thereby reducing the amount of fossil resources needed in the petrochemical plants at the site.

We remind that in March 2021, SABIC and POLYRAY (Xiamen Hongtai Optical Co., Ltd.,) announced their collaboration for the use of SABIC’s PC resin based on certified renewable feedstock in the lenses of several eyewear end applications such as sunglasses, safety glasses and sports goggles.

According to MRC' ScanPlast report, Russia's overall consumption of PC granules (excluding exports from Belarus) totalled 8,100 tonnes in January 2021, up by 20% year on year (6,800 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.

Lenzing exits facemask joint venture

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Austrian company Lenzing is transferring its shareholding in the Hygiene Austria facemask joint venture to partner Palmers Textil, said the company.

The JV was set up quickly in April 2020 amid the sudden shortages of facemasks and other personal protective equipment as the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic struck. Regarding financial terms, for the time being Lenzing will waive its right to a "suitable purchase price" for its stake in order to ensure the continued existence of Hygiene Austria, it said.

As it was said earlier, Lenzing has taken over management control of Hygiene Austria LP GmbH on March 03, 2021. Stephan Sielaff, Chief Technology Officer at Lenzing, has been appointed to serve as an additional managing director at Hygiene Austria.

As per MRC, Russia's output of chemical products rose in February 2021 by 5.3% year on year. Thus, production of basic chemicals increased year on year by 7.5% in the first two months of 2021. According to the Federal State Statistics Service of the Russian Federation, mineral fertilizers accounted for the greatest increase in the January-February output. Production of benzene dropped to 113,000 tonnes in February 2021, compared to 120,000 tonnes a month earlier. Overall output of this product reached 241,000 tonnes over the stated period, down by 7.5% year on year.

Canada to build vaccine facility in Toronto

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The new facility is intended to meet growing demand for flu vaccines, boost Canada's preparedness for future pandemics, and will create 300 jobs, said Canplastics.

A new influenza vaccine facility will be built in Toronto to help bolster Canada’s biomanufacturing capacity, the federal government has announced. Innovation Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said the federal government will spend USD415 million in partnership with Sanofi Pasteur Ltd. and the Ontario government to build the new facility by 2027.

“Ontario is investing $55 million through a performance-based loan, toward construction of Sanofi’s $925 million state-of-art vaccine facility to meet growing demand for flu vaccines, specifically for populations at greater risk of influenza,” Ontario Premier Ford’s office said in a March 31 news release. “The company is also committing to an average of $79 million a year in research and development in Ontario or more than a half a billion dollars over the life of the agreement."

The federal government said the new facility will have the ability to produce enough vaccine doses to support the entire Canadian population within about six months of the World Health Organization identifying a pandemic flu strain. The new facility’s work will include drug product formulation, fill-and-finish, and inspection of flu vaccines.

“This is a critical investment as it will create 300 high quality jobs and push Ontario toward becoming less reliant on others for the production of flu and potentially other vaccines,” said Premier Ford.

This new facility is a second large manufacturing mandate for Sanofi at this site. In 2018, Ontario and Sanofi announced another large bulk vaccine manufacturing facility focused on doubling the site’s capacity to produce childhood vaccines.

As per MRC, Kuwait's Oil Minister Oil Mohammad Abdulatif al-Fares expressed "cautious optimism" that the global oil demand will improve as COVID-19 vaccination programs gather pace and industrial output recovers. Speaking ahead of a joint meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and other major oil producers, he said the market supply/demand balance has largely improved as result of output cuts implemented by the group known as OPEC+, according to state news agency KUNA. He called on the group to the fully comply with these cuts.

As per MRC, Chemical Activity Barometer (CAB), a leading economic indicator created by the American Chemistry Council (ACC), rose 1.2% in March on a three-month moving average (3MMA) basis, following a 1.0% increase in February. On a year-over-year (Y/Y) basis, the barometer rose 5.5% in March. The unadjusted data show a 1.2% gain in March following a 0.9% gain in February, ACC said. The diffusion index rebounded to 82% in March, well above the long-term average of 58%.

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, excluding producers" inventories as of 1 January, 2020).

LBI nominates Anthony Chase and Robert Dudley as directors

MOSCOW (MRC) -- LyondellBasell (LBI), one of the largest plastics and chemicals companies in the world, HAS announced Anthony Chase, chairman and chief executive officer of ChaseSource L.P., and Robert Dudley, former group chief executive and director of BP, have been nominated to stand for election to its board of directors at the company's annual general meeting of shareholders on May 28, 2021, as per the company's press release.

In addition, the company announced that director Bella Goren has decided not to stand for re-election at the 2021 annual general meeting.

"We are very grateful for Bella's service to our company. She has been an important part of our success over the last seven years and we wish her all the best in her future endeavors," said Mr. Aigrain.

As MRC wrote previously, LyondellBasell and Covestro's jointly-owned propylene oxide(PO)/styrene monomer (SM) unit at Maasvlakte, Netherlands, was reportedly producing at a lower rate in the first half of March following an incident at the site on 10 February, 2021. The site produces 313,000 metric tons/year of PO and 680,000 metric tons/year of styrene. A four-week turnaround was planned at the site, beginning in the second half of March.

Styrene is the main feedstock for the production of polystyrene (PS).

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated consumption of PS and styrene plastics totalled 520,630 tonnes in 2020, which corresponded to the same figure a year earlier. December estimated consumption of PS and styrene plastics grew by 5% year on year to 47,490 tonnes.

LyondellBasell is one of the largest plastics, chemicals and refining companies in the world. Driven by its employees around the globe, LyondellBasell produces materials and products that are key to advancing solutions to modern challenges, like enhancing food safety through lightweight and flexible packaging, protecting the purity of water supplies through stronger and more versatile pipes, improving the safety, comfort and fuel efficiency of many of the cars and trucks on the road, and ensuring the safe and effective functionality in electronics and appliances. LyondellBasell sells products into more than 100 countries and is the world"s largest producer of polymer compounds and the largest licensor of polyolefin technologies. In 2020, LyondellBasell was named to Fortune Magazine"s list of the "World"s Most Admired Companies" for the third consecutive year.

COVID-19 - News digest as of 02.04.2021

1. Mammoet successfully lifts three columns for petchem expansion project in India

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Mammoet completed the lifting of three columns for the Guru Gobind Singh Polymer Expansion Project in Bathinda, Punjab, India, according to Hydrocarbonprocessing. Thus, the team lifted a 1,305t ethylene fractionator, and 2 propylene fractionators weighing 1,200t and 2,490t - the second of which was lifted in two sections. The MSG80 crane, which was locally available in India, was used for lifting of these three columns via a total of four lift operations. In addition, the team worked in double shifts to move the crane to a new location for the customer. The MSG80 ring crane’s 3,000t lifting capacity and impressively small footprint for such a high load moment crane (34m diameter with 80,000 tonne-meters) made it ideal for the job. It made the project more convenient for the customer as heavy items could be fully dressed -eliminating the need for vertical assembly work on two of the units.