W.R. Grace licenses UNIPOL PP process technology to new MTO Gas Chemical Complex in Uzbekistan

MOSCOW (MRC) -- W. R. Grace & Co. has licensed its UNIPOL PP Process Technology to the new MTO Gas Chemical Complex located in the Bukhara region of Uzbekistan to Enter Engineering, according to Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The UNIPOL PP Technology facility is expected to be launched by 2025 and will include one reactor line with the capability to produce 257KTA of polypropylene (PP).

Enter Engineering Pte. Ltd., one of the largest construction companies in the region, will act as a licensee on behalf of the JV Jizzakh Petroleum LLC who will own and operate the Gas Chemical Complex.

Grace's all gas-phase UNIPOL PP Process Technology delivers technology, innovation, and services for plant lifetime performance. The versatile process technology provides the broadest range of PP homopolymers, random copolymers, and impact copolymers in the industry.

All UNIPOL PP Technology licensees can take advantage of Grace’s PPartner Program which provides continuous process and product improvements, access to global technical services, catalyst development updates, and ongoing support for the lifetime of the plant.

As MRC wrote before, in April 2018, W. R. Grace & Co. completed the USD416 million acquisition of the Polyolefin Catalysts business of Albemarle Corporation.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated polyethylene (PE) consumption totalled 356,370 tonnes in the first two month of 2021, down by 9% year on year. Shipments of exclusively low density polyethylene (LDPE) increased. At the same time, polypropylene (PP) shipments to the Russian market was 246,870 tonnes in January-February 2021, up by 30% year on year. Supply of homopolymer PP and PP block copolymers increased.

A leader in polyolefin catalysts and licensing, W.R. Grace has the world’s broadest portfolio of polypropylene and polyethylene catalyst technologies used to produce thermoplastic resins for a variety of applications. A leading innovator and strategic partner to its customers, Grace supplies catalyst solutions for all polyolefin processes, as well as polypropylene process technology and process controls. Grace employs approximately 3,700 people in over 30 countries.

FAS may ask to sell some assets of SIBUR and TAIF

MOSCOW (MRC) - SIBUR may sell some of its assets if the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) requires it to approve the merger of petrochemical businesses with the TAIF group of companies, said Interfax.

"I would not rule out, perhaps, that these are the types of business in respect of which the FAS decides that they should not be part of the merged company. Let's wait for a deep analysis of the FAS, we will promptly submit documents," Konov told reporters, answering the question of the possible sale of part of the assets.

On April 23, SIBUR and theTAIF Group announced plans to merge their petrochemical businesses. As a result of the transaction, a merged company will be created on the basis of SIBUR, in which the existing shareholders of the Taif group will receive a 15% stake in exchange for the transfer of a controlling stake in the group, which consists of petrochemical and energy enterprises. The remaining stake in Taif may subsequently be bought out by the combined company. After the completion of all ongoing investment projects, the combined company will enter the top 5 world leaders in the production of polyolefins and rubbers.

TAIF includes 28 enterprises, the group conducts its activities in many areas, the key of which are oil and gas processing, chemistry and petrochemistry, energy, investment activities. The enterprises in the field of chemistry and petrochemistry of TAIF Group produce 581 items of products, of which large-tonnage are synthetic rubbers, various brands and types of polyethylene, polypropylene, polycarbonate and styrene plastics.

At the end of 2020, TAIF's share in the total production of the Russian Federation was: for rubbers - 64%, for plastics - 28%, while the group is the only producer of polycarbonates, sevilen and a number of other popular types of polymer products in Russia.

After the completion of all investment projects underway - the Amur GCC and the construction of a new pyrolysis facility at Nizhnekamskneftekhim, the combined company will enter the TOP-5 global leaders in the production of polyolefins and rubbers, whose combined capacity will amount to 8 million tons of polyolefins and 1.2 million tons of rubbers.

Earlier it was reported that SIBUR increased sales of polypropylene and polyethylene last year amid growing utilization of the ZapSibNeftekhim complex. This led to an increase in the company's revenue in the olefins and polyolefins segment by 77.1% to Rb187.3 bn. This growth was mainly due to an increase in sales of polypropylene and polyethylene as a result of increased utilization of the ZapSibNeftekhim complex and was partially offset by a decrease in prices for these types of products.

SIBUR is the largest vertically integrated gas processing and petrochemical company in Russia, uniting a number of production sites in various regions of the Russian Federation. The company sells products to consumers in the fuel and energy complex, automotive, construction, consumer goods, chemical and other industries in more than 80 countries around the world.

PSC "TAIF" was established in 1995, is the parent company of the group of the same name, which includes enterprises structured in four business areas: oil and gas processing, chemistry and petrochemistry (energy); investment and financial services; building; telecommunications and complex services, including trade. TAIF Group of Companies is a large Russian holding that controls 96% of the chemical, petrochemical and oil and gas processing industries in Tatarstan. The most important of its areas is the Chemistry, Petrochemistry and Oil and Gas Processing Division, which includes the leading Russian polymer producers Nizhnekamskneftekhim and Kazanorgsintez.

PE geomembrane maker Solmax acquires TenCate Geosynthetics

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Groupe Solmax Inc., a Varennes, Que.-based manufacturer of polyethylene (PE) geomembranes for industrial and environmental applications, has acquired TenCate Geosynthetics, a provider of geosynthetics and industrial fabrics headquartered in the Netherlands, from Koninklijke Ten Cate, said Canplastics.

The financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed. “This transaction will increase [our] products’ use in civil engineering, road infrastructure, hydraulic and environmental works,” Solmax president Jean-Louis Vangeluwe said in a news release. "The size, capacity for innovation, geographic reach and resources of the new organization will further enhance the better position of geosynthetics as important products in the construction sector."

TenCate Geosynthetics has nine production locations across the world. Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec (CDPQ) and Fonds de solidarite FTQ, Solmax’s financial partners, will both invest in the transaction, the release added, which is expected to close in the second quarter of 2021.

Solmax’s PE geomembranes are used to protect soils from contamination in the mining, energy, waste management, water, and civil engineering sectors.

As per MRC, Ineos has declared force majeure (FM) on its metallocene linear low density polyethylene (mLLDPE) supplies from its plant in Cologne, Germany, following an unplanned outage on April 6. The company could not be reached for comments at the time of publication, however. The company’s Cologne LLDPE plant has a production capacity of 230,000 mt/year.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated polyethylene (PE) consumption totalled 356,370 tonnes in the first two month of 2021, down by 9% year on year. Shipments of exclusively LDPE increased.

Pemex might increase its refined products market share

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Mexico's federal government is expected to soon pass a controversial bill that will likely increase the dominance of state oil company Pemex in the refined markets market, reported S&P Global.

The Mexican Senate on April 22 approved a bill presented by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador that toughens the rules for private companies to request and keep permits to import, export, transport and distribute liquid fuels in the country. The bill, approved by 65 votes to 47, had already been passed by the lower house and is expected to be signed into law by Lopez Obrador in the coming days.

The government claims that the bill targets fuel theft and contraband, which are problems that need an immediate response. However, observers have highlighted the bill is aimed at reducing competition.

Mexico is dependent on refined products imports as Pemex's refineries are operating well below capacity. Imports have climbed in recent months, with Kpler vessel tracking software showing 19.59 million barrels of refined products arriving so far in April, up from 15.56 million barrels in March and 12 million barrels in February.

According to data from Mexico's anti-trust agency (Cofece), Pemex has lost roughly 50% of the retail diesel market and 30% of the retail gasoline market to the competition.

The bill also opens the possibility of a company losing its permit if its operations are deemed an "imminent threat" to national security or energy security, concepts which some market watchers say can be ambiguous in their interpretation. Observers have also warned the law could allow Pemex to take control of the assets of those companies that lose their permits.

Senators from opposition parties who voted against the bill said on April 22 that they would challenge the law at the Supreme Court, as they claim it goes against Mexico's constitution.

The bill is the latest in a series of legal moves carried out by the government to undo a 2013 reform that opened up the energy sector to private participation. The administration of Lopez Obrador has accused former lawmakers of receiving bribes to approve the reform and has made attempts to fight it, all of which have so far been halted in courts.

Lopez Obrador has said that if his efforts are halted because they go against the constitution, he will change the constitution to strengthen Pemex and the state utility CFE. Under current conditions, his Morena party lacks the political muscle to change the constitution.

But the administration has focused on increasing its national representation in the upcoming elections. On June 6, Mexico will hold elections for the lower House of Congress and almost 50% of the country's governors in the largest election process in the recent history.

As MRC informed before, earlier this month, a major fire broke out at an oil refinery run by Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) in the eastern city of Minatitlan in the southern state of Veracruz. The blaze started at this refinery, one of six operated by Pemex, which has a capacity of up to 285,000 barrels per day, on Wednesday afternoon, 7 April.

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

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated polyethylene (PE) consumption totalled 356,370 tonnes in the first two month of 2021, down by 9% year on year. Shipments of exclusively low density polyethylene (LDPE) increased. At the same time, polypropylene (PP) shipments to the Russian market was 246,870 tonnes in January-February 2021, up by 30% year on year. Supply of homopolymer PP and PP block copolymers increased.

Pemex, Mexican Petroleum, is a Mexican state-owned petroleum company. Pemex has a total asset worth of USD415.75 billion, and is the world's second largest non-publicly listed company by total market value, and Latin America's second largest enterprise by annual revenue as of 2009. Company produces such polymers, as polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), polystyrene (PS).

Kumho Mitsui to invest USD358 mln to expand chemicals plant in South Korea

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Kumho Mitsui Chemicals Inc. said Wednesday it will invest about 400 billion won (USD358.1 million) to expand its chemical manufacturing factory in South Korea's southwestern region, according to Yonhap News Agency.

The joint venture between Korean synthetic rubber maker Kumho Petrochemical and Mitsui Chemicals of Japan said its shareholders approved the investment plan to scale up a methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) factory in Yeosu, 455 kilometers southwest of Seoul.

MDI is a core material of polyurethane, which is used in various products, including refrigerators, building materials, car interior and exterior materials, and LNG vessels.

When the expansion is completed in 2024, Kumho Mitsui Chemicals' annual MDI production capacity will rise from the current 400,000 tons to 610,000 tons and it is expected to raise over 1.5 trillion won in sales, it said.

As MRC reported earlier, in H1 2016, Kumho P&B Chemicals (KPB) completed its phenol, acetone and cumene capacity expansion. KPB is one of the largest producers of benzene derivatives such as phenol, bisphenol-A (BPA), acetone and cumene in South Korea.

Before the expansion, the company operated two phenol/acetone units in Yeosu that were able to produce 380,000 mt/year of phenol 450,000 mt/year of BPA, 235,000 mt/year of acetone and 430,000 mt/year of cumene. With the completion of the capacity expansion, the company had added 300,000 mt/year of phenol, 470,000 mt/year of cumene and 185,000 mt/year of acetone by June 2016.

Phenol is the main feedstock component for the production of bisphenol A (BPA), which, in its turn, is used to produce polycarbonate (PC).

According to MRC ScanPlast report, Russia's overall estimated consumption of PC granules grew in the Russian market by 27% year on year in January-February 2021 (excluding imports and exports to/from Belarus) to 16,000 tonnes, compared to 12,600 tonnes a year earlier.