Ineos declares force majeure on PP supplies from its plant in Belgium

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Ineos, one of the word's petrochemical majors, has declared force majeure (FM) on polypropylene (PP) supplies from its plant in Geel, Belgium due to a technical issue, reported NCT with reference to a source familiar with the issue.

Thus, the FM was declared on April 20.

The company could not be reached for comments at the time of publication, however.

The company was conducting a planned maintenance work at its PP plant with the capacity of 290,000 mt/year of PP stretching from early March to mid-April, meanwhile.

As MRC informed before, in January 2019, INEOS announced Antwerp as the location for its new petrochemical investment. The EUR3 billion investment will be the biggest ever made by INEOS and is first cracker to be built in Europe in 20 years. The investment is a game changer for the chemical sectors and will bring huge benefits to the Belgium and wider European economies.

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.

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.

Chevron and Toyota to jointly explore development of commercial hydrogen businesses in the US

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Oil and gas company Chevron has signed a memorandum of understanding with carmaker Toyota to explore the development of "commercially viable, large-scale" hydrogen businesses in the US, reported S&P Global with reference to the companies' statement April 21.

According to the statement, the partners would investigate the market potential for light-duty and heavy-duty fuel cell electric vehicles, along with the supply options for such demand.

They would also collaborate on public policy developments to support hydrogen infrastructure and explore research and development in hydrogen powered transportation and storage.

"Working towards a strategic alliance on hydrogen presents an opportunity to build a large-scale business in a low-carbon area that is complementary to our current offerings," Chevron's Americas Fuels & Lubricants president Andy Walz said.

As MRC informed earlier, in September 2020, Chevron Phillips Chemical, part of Chevron Corporation, deferred a final investment decision on a USD8 billion joint venture petrochemical complex project along the US Gulf Coast that was expected in 2021. The project, in partnership with Qatar Petroleum (QP), was announced in July 2019. It is slated to include a 2 million mt/year cracker and two 1 million mt/year high density polyethylene (HDPE) plants. The FID delay will also push the original target startup date past 2024.

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.

Headquartered in San Ramon, California, Chevron Corporation is the the second-largest integrated energy company in the United States and among the largest corporations in the world. Chevron is involved in upstream activities including exploration and production, downstream activities including refining, marketing and transportation, and advanced energy technology. Chevron is also invested in power generation and gasification processes.

NPP "POLYPLASTIC" began exporting compounds to Poland

MOSCOW (MRC) - NPP POLYPLASTIC, the largest Russian manufacturer of thermoplastic composite materials, has begun exporting a compound based on polyamide grade Armamid PA6 SV 15-1E to Poland, the company said.

The volume of the first batch, which has already been delivered to Poland, amounted to 10 tons. The Polish side decided to order an industrial batch of material after preliminary tests of samples.

"This is our first experience of working with Russian suppliers and immediately successful. The ratio of price and quality of products of NPP" POLYPLASTIC "was completely satisfied, we settled all the necessary formalities with the Russian side quite quickly. - noted the representatives of the Polish side.

The entry of RPE "POLYPLASTIC" to the Polish market took place within the framework of the "Export Fast and Furious" strategy, which the company has been implementing since 2017. The strategy is aimed at conquering European markets. Today, regular shipments are already being carried out to Germany and the Baltic states. Compared to the start of the Export Fast and Furious project, they have more than doubled.

The entry to the Polish market in the company NPP "POLYPLASTIC" is assessed as an opportunity to further increase shipments to Europe and come closer to the strategic goal, which is to bring the share of exports to 25% of the total supply.

It should be noted that sales of SPE "POLYPLASTIC" products outside the Russian Federation are growing annually. Shipments to the CIS countries and Europe at the end of 2020 increased by 41.3% compared to the previous year.

Earlier it was reported that SPE "POLYPLASTIC" has developed a polymer nanocomposite based on polyamide-6 for molding car bodies. The production of the wings of the new Gazelles from the polymer nanocompound of NPP "POLYPLASTIC" is planned to begin in 2021.

Earlier it was reported that RPE "POLYPLASTIC" last year increased its sales profit by 9%. At the same time, it is noted that despite the global economic turmoil caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the company maintained its sales volume at the 2019 level.

As MRC previously reported, China has decided to extend its anti-dumping duties (ADD) on polyamide 6 (PA6) imports from the US, EU, Russia and the Taiwan region from April 22. The size of duties for Russian producers was announced in the following amount - PJSC KuibyshevAzot - 5.9%, all the rest - 23.9%.

Research and Production Enterprise "POLYPLASTIC" specializes in the production of thermoplastic composite materials and polymer raw materials for processing by injection molding, injection molding and extrusion and occupies a leading position in the Russian market of compounds based on thermoplastics. The company is in the TOP-10 among European compounders. The total production capacity of the enterprise is more than 115 thousand tons per year.

ENOC expands petrochemical storage terminal in Saudi Arabia

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Dubai’s ENOC Group and Rotary Arabia have completed construction of pipelines and tanks to store and transport petrochemicals in Saudi Arabia, according to ArabNews.

The infrastructure development between Horizon Terminals Limited, ENOC’s terminals arm, and Rotary Arabia - the front-end contractors for the project, saw the construction of four new pipelines from Farabi Petrochemicals’ Yanbu facility on the Red Sea coast to storage tanks at Arabtank Terminal.

The GCC’s chemical capacity is expected to increase by more than a third over the next decade reaching 231.8 million tons, driven by refining expansion and chemical integration.

Arab Tank Terminal Limited (ATTL) - which is Horizon Terminals’ Saudi based terminal, has a petroleum and chemical storage capacity of 288,100 cubic meters spread across 26 storage tank. Two additional pipelines were also constructed from ATTL to Berth 21 at Port of King Fahad Yanbu.

“The GCC chemical industry today is predominantly focused on petrochemicals which make up 72 percent of its total production, with Saudi Arabia being the leading producer in the region, accounting for 68.2 percent of total chemical output,” said ENOC Group CEO Saif Humaid Al-Falasi. “Our expansion into the Kingdom comes at a time when the regional market is poised to step up overseas production capacity by 7.6%.”

Farabi Petrochemicals currently supplies to the domestic market and benefits from the Port of King Fahad Yanbu infrastructure to export chemicals to the GCC, Europe and Asia. The new pipelines from its Yanbu facility will enable faster and more efficient transportation of petrochemical products.

As MRC reported earlier, Yanbu National Petrochemical Company (Yansab), part of Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic), has restarted its cracker after a planned turnaround. Thus, the cracker in Yanbu, Saudi Arabia, which can produce 1.38 mln mt/year of ethylene and 400,000 mt/year of propylene, resumed operations on 15 February, 2021. It was shut for a turnaround on 5 February.

The company also has polyolefin plants at the same site with production capacity of 400,000 tons/year of polypropylene (PP) and linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) each. They were also taken off-line for maintenance on 5 February. Both plants resumed production shortly after the cracker.

Ethylene and propylene are the main feedstocks for the production of polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), respectively.

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.

Evonik is investing in specialty lipids production for COVID-19 vaccines

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Evonik is investing in the short-term expansion of its specialty lipids production which are essential for mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines, said the company.

Commercial lipid quantities are to be produced at Evonik’s Hanau and Dossenheim sites in Germany as early as the second half of 2021 as part of a strategic partnership with vaccine manufacturer BioNTech. Evonik is making an important contribution to increasing the supply security of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

"The pandemic requires decisive action," says Christian Kullmann, chairman of Evonik’s executive board. "We are therefore doing everything possible to supply our partners with the critical lipids they need. At the same time, we are expanding our production capacity and competencies along the entire value chain."

Lipids are fundamental to produce highly effective mRNA-based vaccines. Only with an increase in lipid supply can the volume of vaccine be further increased. This move marks an expansion of the strategic partnership between Evonik and the vaccine manufacturer BioNTech.

In mRNA-based vaccines, the mRNA is enclosed in a lipid nanoparticle (LNP) that is comprised of specific lipids. The LNP protects the mRNA and delivers it safely into the cell. There it is released so that the vaccine can exert its effect. Evonik has been a contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) leader for advanced drug delivery for many decades, supporting pharmaceutical companies worldwide in the development and production of complex parenteral drug products that require formulation technologies such as lipid nanoparticles.

The Germany-based company is one of the few integrated development and manufacturing partners for cell and gene therapies, and has been actively involved in various mRNA-based vaccines projects for COVID-19. "With our partnership with BioNTech, we are systematically expanding our leading position as an integrated development partner in cell and gene therapies," says Thomas Riermeier, head of Evonik's Health Care business line. Evonik’s portfolio includes pharmaceutical excipients such as lipids, as well as CDMO services for the formulation development, GMP manufacturing and aseptic filling of complex parenteral drug products."

The COVID-19 vaccine, which is based on BioNTech proprietary mRNA technology, was developed by both BioNTech and Pfizer. BioNTech is the Marketing Authorization Holder in the European Union, and the holder of emergency use authorizations or equivalent in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and other countries in advance of a planned application for full marketing authorizations in these countries.

The Evonik Health Care business line, which includes products, services and technologies for cell and gene therapies, has been characterized by strong growth and high innovation power for many years. Evonik recognized the potential of gene-based therapeutic approaches early in the emergence of these advances. For example, the specialty chemicals company already develops and formulates lipid nanoparticles in Burnaby, Canada, and operates a facility for the production and fill-finish of commercial quantities in Birmingham, Alabama, USA. "We made a targeted investment in this promising technology in 2016 with the acquisition of Burnaby-based Transferra Nanosciences," Riermeier explains. The portfolio was further expanded at the beginning of 2020 with the acquisition of Wilshire Technologies, an American manufacturer of non-animal derived excipients for the pharmaceutical industry. This includes PhytoChol, a non-animal derived cholesterol, used in many commercial parenteral pharmaceutical products.

As per MRC, American company Kraton reported that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has granted an emergency exemption for the use of its new sulfonated polymer, which rapidly inactivates the coronavirus. The Environmental Protection Agency has issued an emergency permit for the use of the polymer in the states of the United States, Georgia, Utah and Minnesota for specific applications to protect against the COVID-19 virus.

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, according to Rosstat's data. 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 over the stated period, up by 8.4% year on year.