Braskem partially shut its petrochemical complex for maintenance

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Braskem, Brazilian petrochemicals producer, has partly stopped operations at its Sao Paulo complex, reported S&P Global with reference to the company's statement.

Thus, the chemicals and polyethylene (PE) units in the complex were shut on 5 April for a 51-day planned maintenance, Braskem said.

The work includes modifying the steam-based turbines in one of the chemical plants to allow for the use of high performance electric motors. Braskem warned there might be some flaring during the first and last days of the maintenance.

The company said it has planned an increase in its inventory levels so the supply chain will not be affected by the maintenance.

As MRC informed before, Braskem's 450,000 mt/year polypropylene (PP) plant in LaPorte, Texas, along the Houston Ship Channel completed its initial commercial production on 10 September, 2020. "The launch of commercial production at our new world-class PP production line in La Porte clearly affirms Braskem's position as the North American polypropylene market leader," Braskem America CEO Mark Nikolich said in a statement. With a USD750 million investment, the new PP plant's construction started in October 2017 and was completed in June, 2020.

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.

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).

Sinopec Guangzhou to restart its PP plant in China after maintenance

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Sinopec Changling, part of Sinopec Group, plans to bring on-stream its polypropylene (PP) unit in Yueyang, China on 15 April, 2021, after a scheduled turnaround, according to CommoPlast.

The maintenance works at this plant with a production capacity of 125,000 mt/year of PP began on 22 February, 2021.

As MRC informed earlier, Zhongke Refinery and Petrochemical Complex, also part of Sinopec Group, successfully conducted trial runs at its new 350,000 tons/year PP unit on 9 June, 2020.

Based in Zhenjiang, China, the complex consists of two PP lines with combined production capacity of 550,000 tons/year, a 100,000 tons/year low density polyethylene (LDPE) plant and a 350,000 tons/year high density polyethylene (HDPE)/linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) plant.

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.

China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec Group) is a super-large petroleum and petrochemical enterprise group established in July 1998 on the basis of the former China Petrochemical Corporation. Sinopec Group's key business activities include the exploration and production of oil and natural gas, petrochemicals and other chemical products, oil refining.

PP imports to Ukraine dropped by 3% in Q1 2021

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Ukraine's polypropylene (PP) imports totalled about 30,000 tonnes in January-March of this year, down 3% year on year.
The supply of all grades of propylene polymers decreased, with the exception of propylene block copolymers (PP block copolymers), according to the DataScope Report.

March PP imports into Ukraine increased to 10,700 tonnes from 10,500 tonnes a month earlier. The main increase accounted for the procurement of propylene copolymers, while imports of homopolymer PP declined. Overall imports of propylene polymers reached 30,000 tonnes in January-March 2021, compared to 31,000 tonnes a year earlier.

The structure of PP imports by grades looked the following way over the stated period.

Last month's imports of homopolymer PP to the Ukrainian market decreased due to export restrictions from producers from Azerbaijan and Saudi Arabia and amounted to 7,700 tonnes, while in February this figure was about 8,800 tonnes. Thus, overall homopolymer PP imports reached 23,300 tonnes in the first three months of 2021, down 5% year on year.

Last month's imports of block propylene copolymers (PP block copolymers) were about 1,400 tonnes, compared to 600 tonnes in February.
About 3,000 tonnes of PP block copolymers were imported in Q1, compared to2,700 tonnes a year earlier. March PP random copolymers imports increased to 1,200 tonnes from 800 tonnes a month earlier, supplies of pipe polypropylene increased.

Overall imports of PP random copolymer reached 2,900 tonnes in the first three months of 2021 versus 3,400 tonnes a year earlier. Overall imports of other propylene copolymers were less than 800 tonnes over the stated period.


Ukrainian PE imports down by 6% in Q1 2021

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Overall polyethylene (PE) imports into the Ukrainian market reached 63,600 tonnes in the first three months of 2021, down by 6% year on year. High density polyethylene (HDPE) accounted for the main decrease in imports, according to MRC's DataScope report.

Last month's PE imports to Ukraine were 28,700 tonnes versus 17,700 tonnes in February, local companies increased their purchases of all PE grades. Thus, overall PE imports reached 63,600 tonnes in January-March 2021, compared to 39,900 tonnes a year earlier. HDPE imports decreased significantly, whereas imports of other PE grades increased.

The structure of PE imports by grades looked the following way over the stated period.

Last month's HDPE imports were 9,000 tonnes, compared to 5,800 tonnes in February, Ukrainian companies increased their purchases of extrusion blow moulding (EBM) PE. Overall HDPE imports totalled 19,600 tonnes in the first three months of 2021 versus 27,500 tonnes a year earlier.

March imports of low-density polyethylene (LDPE) were 8,800 tonnes versus 5,500 tonnes a month earlier, Ukrainian companies raised theipurchasessi Belarus and Russia. Overall LDPE imports reached 20,400 tonnes over the stated period, which corresponded to the last year's figure.

Last month's imports of linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) were 9,500 tonnes, compared to 5,800 tonnes in February, shipments of film grade LLDPE from Saudi Arabia increased. Overall LLDPE imports reached 20,000 tonnes in the first three months of 2021, compared to 16,700 tonnes a year earlier.

Imports of other PE grades, including ethylene-vinyl-acetate (EVA), totalled 3,200 tonnes over the stated period, compared to 2,900 tonnes a year earlier.


Mitsubishi Heavy Industries invests in Starfire Energy

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI)has announced that it has invested in Starfire Energy Inc, a US developer of modular chemical plants for green ammonia and hydrogen production, according to Kemicalinfo with reference to the company's statement.

The partnership with the Colorado-based company will “advance the development of commercial scale applications to decarbonise ammonia production and unlock its potential as a zero-carbon energy carrier”, MHI said in a news release. “The investment has been executed through MHI America, joining a consortium of investors, including AP Ventures, Chevron Technology Ventures, New Energy Technologies and Osaka Gas USA.”

As per the company's press release ammonia is a solution with an energy density comparable to fossil fuels and higher than Li-ion batteries, compressed or liquid hydrogen. Ammonia can be stored and transported, leveraging established infrastructure and shipping networks. It can be used directly as a fuel or it can be ‘cracked’, and its hydrogen harvested, to provide a means of hydrogen storage and transportation.

Starfire Energy’s ‘Rapid Ramp NH3’ ammonia synthesis technology produces zero carbon ammonia using only renewable energy, air and water as inputs. The modular solution is sized to connect directly with renewable energy production, providing a scalable, distributed source of zero carbon ammonia. The company has also developed their carbon-free fire, a system to crack ammonia back into hydrogen, providing an efficient means of green hydrogen storage and transportation.

We remind that, as MRC informed before, Mitsubishi Chemical Corp (MCC) consolidated its headquarter functions for its global methyl methacrylate (MMA) business in Singapore, and renamed its major MMA subsidiaries to Mitsubishi Chemical Methacrylates, effective 1 April, 2021. The move is aimed at optimising the company's global product supply network by utilising digital technologies that connect regional production, costs and supply and demand.

We also remind that in December 2020, Mitsubishi Chemical acquired a greenfield property at a large integrated site in Geismar, Louisiana, and plans to advance its feasibility study for the design and construction of a 350,000-metric tons/year MMA plant. The plant will be the third and largest to employ the Alpha production technology developed by subsidiary Lucite. The company earlier in March this year announced its intent to build the plant.

The main application, consuming approximately 75% MMA, is in the production of polymethyl methacrylate acrylic plastics (PMMA). Methyl methacrylate is also used to produce methyl methacrylate-butadiene-styrene copolymer (MBS), used as a modifier for polyvinyl chloride (PVC).

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's overall PVC production reached 259,400 tonnes in the first three months of 2021, down by 3% year on year. All producers reduced their output over the stated period.