Force majeure at Cornerstone ACN plant in US remains in force

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Cornerstone, a key producer of acrylonitrile (ACN) in the US, has not lifted the force majeure (FM) as of 5 April, 2021, reported S&P Global with reference to market sources.

Thus, the FM was declared at its facility in Waggaman (Waggaman, Louisiana, USA) with a capacity of 240,000 mt/year of ACN on 1 February, 2021, due to mechanical issues and a shortage of feedstock.

At present, the company has been conducting a scheduled turnaround at this plant since mid-March.

Acrylonitrile is one of the main feedstock for the production of acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS).

According to ICIS-MRC Price report, ABS imports into Russia totalled 2,700 tonnes in January, compared to 2,600 tonnes a month earlier and 2,300 tonnes in January 2020.

Cornerstone Chemical Company manufactures a variety of petrochemical products. Thus, the company produces acrylonitrile (ACN), which is used in the production of acrylamide, acrylic fibers, nitrile rubber, elastomers, ABS plastics, surface coatings and other products; melamine and other petrochemical products. The company was founded in 1952 and is headquartered in Waggaman, Louisiana, USA.

Ineos to restart its ACN plant in Texas in H1 April after winter storm

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Ineos Nitriles, an American subsidiary of Ineos Group, plans to resume operations at its acrylonitrile (ACN) plant in Green Lake, Texas, USA, in the first half of April, after the deep freeze in the region, according to S&P Global with reference to market sources.

Thus, this plant with the capacity of 545,000 mt/year was shut in mid-February, and the company announced then force majeure (FM) on supplies of ACN from its production site in Green Lake. As of 5 April, 2021, the FM still remains in place.

As MRC informed before, in June, 2019, Ineos announced Antwerp as the location for its new petrochemical investment. The EUR3 billion investment will be the biggest ever made by Ienos and is first cracker to be built in Europe in 20 years.

And in January, 2021, Ineos said it reschedulied its EUR5-billion (USD6 billion) olefins project at Antwerp, Belgium, and will build the planned complex’s ethane cracker before its propane dehydrogenation (PDH) plant. When it announced the project in January 2019, Ineos said the PDH unit and cracker would be built at the same time with the PDH facility due onstream a year ahead of the cracker.

Acrylonitrile is one of the main feedstock for the production of acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS).

According to ICIS-MRC Price report, ABS imports into Russia totalled 2,700 tonnes in January, compared to 2,600 tonnes a month earlier and 2,300 tonnes in January 2020.

Ineos Group Limited is a privately owned multinational chemicals company consisting of 15 standalone business units, headquartered in Rolle, Switzerland and with its registered office in Lyndhurst, United Kingdom. It is the fourth largest chemicals company in the world measured by revenues (after BASF, Dow Chemical and LyondellBasell) and the largest privately owned company in the United Kingdom.

April prices of European PVC rose by three-digit amount for CIS markets

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Negotiations over prices of European polyvinyl chloride (PVC) for April shipments to the CIS countries began last week. A shortage continued to put a major pressure on European producers' export prices, in some cases, a price increase was EUR100/tonne from March, according to ICIS-MRC Price report.

The April contract price of ethylene was settled up by EUR40/tonne from the previous month, which theoretically allows to talk about an increase of EUR20/tonne in the net cost of PVC production. But in the past few months, the deficit was the determining factor in the market, and it was the shortage of polymer in the market that had led to a three-digit rise in export PVC prices. European producers announced an increase in export prices for the CIS countries in April by an average of EUR100/tonne.

Seasonal factors has started to play an increasing role in demand for PVC, many converters continue to gradually raise their capacity utilisation. But export quotas of European producers, on the contrary, decreased more and more with every passing month. Unstable operations at some producers' production capacities and strong demand led to an acute shortage of PVC in Europe.

Resin with K=58/70 accounted for the cutest shortage of export quotas. Many market participants could not fully meet their needs in this PVC from European producers. At the same time, it is often possible to agree on deliveries of no more than 50% of the submitted enquiry.

Overall, deals for April shipments of suspension polyvinyl chloride (SPVC) to the CIS markets were negotiated in the range of EUR1,185-1,245/tonne FCA, whereas the previous month's deals were discussed in the range of EUR1,085-1,145/tonne FCA.

LANXESS present two new heat-resistant yellow pigments for high-performance polymers

MOSCOW (MRC) -- LANXESS, specialty chemicals company, has expanded its Colortherm Yellow pigment range for heat-resistant high-performance plastics, as per the company's press release.

Two new inorganic yellow pigments are now available, namely Colortherm Yellow 5 and Colortherm Yellow 26.

Plastics can now be used in applications that would have been considered impossible just a few years ago. High-performance polymers with special physical or chemical properties are increasingly replacing metal, glass and ceramics. They are used for special applications in vehicles, electronics and process engineering as well as medical applications.

As the use of technical plastics in high-tech applications becomes more widespread, the requirement profile for the pigments used for coloring is also growing. In particular, the heat stability of the colorants is becoming a decisive quality factor. In the case of organic pigments, high processing temperatures often lead to accelerated decomposition; but inorganic alternatives can be subject to color variations at temperatures above 180 C.

For reliable yellow coloring of high-temperature polymers, LANXESS offers the modular Colortherm Yellow product range. It comprises the iron oxides Colortherm Yellow 5 and Colortherm Yellow 20 as well as Colortherm Yellow 26, Colortherm Yellow 30 and Colortherm Yellow 3950 zinc ferrites. The range covers not only the color spectrum of light, saturated yellow shades but also orange tones. Plastic formulations can thus be easily realized at processing temperatures of up to 300 C.

Due to their special manufacturing process, the color strength of the zinc ferrites Colortherm Yellow 26 and Colortherm Yellow 30 is up to 20 percent higher than comparable products. This means a corresponding lower level of pigment addition is required to color the plastic.

Thanks to an extensively equipped plastics technical center, LANXESS is able to provide customers with comprehensive advice in the use of its pigments. Its services also include analyzing thermal stability in customer-specific plastics applications.

As MRC reported earlier, LANXESS will enter the battery chemistry business with electrolyte production for lithium-ion batteries at its site in Leverkusen, Germany, beginning next year. The German chemicals company will produce electrolyte formulations for lithium-ion batteries "under the authorisation" of Guangzhou Tinci Materials Technology, a Chinese producer of battery materials that aims to become a regional supplier for battery cell manufacturers in Europe.

We remind that 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. February production of polymers in primary form was 861,000 tonnes versus 196,000 tonnes in January. Overall output of polymers in primary form totalled 1,770,000 tonnes in the first two months of 2021, up by 8.4% year on year.

LANXESS is a leading specialty chemicals company with about 19,200 employees in 25 countries. The company is currently represented at 74 production sites worldwide. The core business of Lanxess is the development, manufacturing and marketing of chemical intermediates, additives, specialty chemicals and plastics. Through Arlanxeo, the joint venture with Saudi Aramco, Lanxess is also a leading supplier of synthetic rubber.

BP expects to hit USD35 bn net debt target in Q1

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BP said it expected to hit its USD35 bn net debt target during the first quarter of 2021 after faster-than-expected progress on its disposals programme and a "strong" quarter driven by recovering oil prices, said the company.

The oil giant had said previously it expected to meet its debt forecast by the fourth quarter of 2021 at the earliest, down from a level of USD51.4 bn a year ago and USD38.9 bn at the end of 2020.

BP forecast raising USD4bn -USD6bn from disposals and said proceeds would now be at the upper end of this range, adding that 60% of surplus cash would be returned to shareholders via a buyback.

"This is a result of earlier than anticipated delivery of disposal proceeds combined with very strong business performance during the first quarter. We look forward to updating the market at our first quarter results, including further information on share buybacks," said chief executive Bernard Looney.

During the first quarter BP had received around USD4.7 bn in asset sales, including approximately USD2.4 bn from the completion of the sale of a 20% interest in Oman's Block 61 and $1bn as the final payment from the sale of its global petrochemicals business to INEOS.

It added that its target of USD25 bn of disposal proceeds between the second half of 2020 and 2025 was now underpinned by agreed or completed transactions of around USD14.7 bn with around USD10 bn of proceeds received.

As MRC informed earlier, Rosneft together with BP will develop the hydrogen business.
Together they will study the prospects for new projects using renewable energy sources (RES), as well as the use of technologies for capturing, utilizing and storing CO2. Earlier in Russia, Gazprom and Novatek spoke about their intention to create a hydrogen business and new technologies for the disposal of harmful emissions.

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

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. 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.