Huge fire broke out at Texas chemical facility

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Firefighters responded to a large fire at a chemical warehouse in the Channelview neighborhood of Houston, Texas, according to Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Local media reported residents heard loud noises followed by a huge plume of smoke filling the air above the K-Solv facility, which stores chemicals such as hydrochloric acid, acetone, ethanol, ethylene dichloride (EDC) and other acids.

K-Solv director of environmental health, safety and security, Mikie Sopczak, said the fire started during a dump transfer operation in which one product is transferred into a smaller container. An ignition source caused the fire during a transfer, although it is unclear which chemical was burning.

The company said all employees were safe and accounted for. One person was transported to an area hospital for respiratory issues as a precautionary measure.

The Houston ship pilots association said vessel traffic along the Houston Ship Channel was not affected by the blaze. The fire happened north of the waterway through which crude oil, motor fuels and petrochemicals move in and out of the nation’s busiest energy port.

As MRC reported before, earlier this year, another US petrochemical producer - Delek US - issued a statement regarding the fire over the weekend at their El Dorado refinery. According to Delek US, the fire at the Penex unit occurred on Saturday, February 27. An on-site emergency response team along with the El Dorado Fire Department were able to extinguish the fire. The air quality was monitored following the fire and Delek US says they have not detected any adverse impacts.

EDC is one of the main feedstocks for the production of polyvinyl chloride (PVC).

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's overall PVC production reached 169,200 tonnes in the first two months of 2021, down 4% year on year. All producers decreased production volumes over the reported period.

Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemical to increase its oil production to 61.2% in 2021

MOSCOW (MRC) -- China's Shanghai Petrochemical,part of Sinopec Group, targets to hike its oil product production yield to 61.2% in 2021 from 57.1% in 2020 and 60.5% in 2019, suggesting that the company will be reducing its petrochemical yield, reported S&P Global.

In addition, Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemical, which exports jet fuel and supplies it to domestic airports, plans to raise its jet fuel production by 32% year on year to 1.49 million mt in 2021, in anticipation of the easing of travel bans.

The refinery's planned jet fuel yield in 2021 is at 10.5%, still below the pre-COVID-19 level of 12.4% reported for 2019 but above the 7.7% in 2020.

As MRC informed earlier, Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemical plans to shut its high density polyethylene (HDPE) unit in Shanghai for a scheduled turnaround on April 18, 2021. The HDPE plant is expected to resume operations after a 29-day maintenance on May 17, 2021. Located at Shanghai in China, the unit has a production capacity of 260,000 mt/year.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's HPE production totalled 329,800 tonnes in the first two months of 2021, up by 13% year on year. At the same time, only one Russian producer increased HDPE output.

China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation, or Sinopec Limited is a Chinese oil and gas company based in Beijing, China. It is listed in Hong Kong and also trades in Shanghai and New York . Sinopec is the worlds fifth biggest company by revenue.

Russia sees pandemic impact on crude oil demand to last until 2023-2024

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Russia expects the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic on the global consumption of oil and oil products may last until 2023-2024, a draft government document, seen by Reuters, showed.

The global oil and liquid fuels production dropped in 2020 to 94.25 million barrels per day (bpd) from 100.61 million bpd in 2019, amid the pandemic, which led to lockdowns, halting 80% of air traffic and a quarter of road traffic at its peak and denting fuel consumption.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries expects oil demand to grow by 5.6 million barrels per day this year under its base case scenario. Russian Deputy Energy Minister Alexander Novak has also projected similar growth.

The draft document, outlining oil industry developments until 2035, also showed that Russia could lose global oil market share due to curbs on oil production and exports.

It says global oil prices are likely to trade in the range of USD50-USD75 per barrel by 2025, while in the second half of 2020s prices are seen at USD50-USD60 per barrel and they are unlikely to fall significantly below USD50.

Russia also sees challenges to its oil industry from the decarbonization of the economics in Europe and North-East Asia, its key exporting markets.

As MRC wrote previously, the COVID-19 outbreak has led to an unprecedented decline in demand affecting all sections of the Russian economy, which has impacted the demand for petrochemicals in the short-term. However, the pandemic triggered an increase in the demand for polymers in food packaging, and cleaning and hygiene products, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company. With Russian petrochemical companies having the advantage of access to low-cost feedstock, and proximity to demand-rich Asian (primarily China) and European markets for the supply of petrochemical products, these companies appear to be well-positioned to derive full benefits from an improving market environment and global economy post-COVID-19, says GlobalData.

We also remind that in December 2020, Sibur, Gazprom Neft, and Uzbekneftegaz agreed to cooperate on potential investments in Uzbekistan including a major expansion of Uzbekneftegaz’s existing Shurtan Gas Chemical Complex (SGCC) and the proposed construction of a new gas chemicals facility. The signed cooperation agreement for the projects includes “the creation of a gas chemical complex using methanol-to-olefins (MTO) technology, and the expansion of the production capacity of the Shurtan Gas Chemical Complex”.

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.

PVC production in Russia in Q1 decreased by 3%

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Overall production of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) reached 259,400 tonnes in the first three months of 2021, down 3% year on year. All producers decreased production volumes over the reported period, according to MRC ScanPlast.

March production of unmixed PVC in Russia was 90,200 tonnes from 79,400 tonnes a month earlier, all producers increased capacity utilisation in March. Total PVC production in Russia reached 259,400 tonnes in January - March 2021 against 266,900 tonnes a year earlier, a decrease in production volumes was seen from all producers.

The structure of PVC production by plants looked the following way over the stated period.

RusVinyl (JV of SIBUR and SolVin) produced about 31,000 tonnes of PVC in March, with emulsion polyvinyl chloride (EPVC) accounting for 2,900 tonnes, compared to 26,200 tonnes a month earlier. Total SPVC production at RusVinyl decreased to 88,200 tonnes in the first three months of this year, compared to 92,700 tonnes in the same period in 2020.

SayanskKhimPlast increased capacity utilisation in March, having produced about 27,400 tonnes of suspension PVC (SPVC) compared to 25,200 tonnes a month earlier. The Sayansk plant managed to produce about 80,500 tonnes of PVC in January-March, compared to 82,600 tonnes a year earlier.

Baskhir Soda Company produced about 24,500 tonnes of SPVC in March, against 21,700 tonnes a month earlier. Total SPVC production at Baskhir Soda Company was 69,700 tonnes in the first three months of this year, which corresponds to the last year's figure.

Kaustik (Volgograd) produced about 7,400 tonnes of SPVC in March, compared with 6,300 tonnes in February. The plant's overall production of PVC reached 21,100 tonnes in January-March versus 22,000 tonnes a year earlier.


PVC imports into Ukraine fell by 44% in January-March, exports up by 11%

MOSCOW (MRC) - Imports of suspension polyvinyl chloride (SPVC) into Ukraine decreased by 44% in the first three months of this year, compared to the same period in 2020 and reached about 6,400 tonnes. Sales of Ukrainian PVC to foreign markets increased by 11% year on year on a higher prices in the foreign markets, according to a MRC's DataScope report.

Last month's SPVC imports into the Ukrainian market decreased to 1,700 tonnes from 2,100 tonnes in February, as European producers decreased their exports due to a shortage in the domestic market. Overall SPVC imports reached 6,400 tonnes in January-March 2021, compared to 11,500 tonnes a year earlier. Limited export quotas from European and North American producers were the main reason for such a serious drop in imports.
European producers with the share of about 95% of the total imports over the stated period were the key suppliers of PVC to the Ukrainian market. Last month Karpatneftekhim, despite record high prices in foreign markets, reduced the volume of external sales in favour of the domestic market, the export sales of Ukrainian resin amounted to 18,800 tonnes against 22,000 tonnes in February.

Overall, about 60,500 tonnes were shipped for export in the first three months of 2020, compared to 54,500 tonnes a year earlier.