Indian Reliance becomes largest domestic medical-grade liquid oxygen producer

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Amid a surging second wave of COVID-19 in the country, Reliance Industries (RIL) has increased output of medical oxygen to 1,000 mt/day, making it India's largest producer of medical-grade liquid oxygen from a single location, according to IndiaTV.

Reliance ramped up production from near-zero to 1,000 tonnes per day and now produces over 11% of the country's oxygen demand. It has rallied its resources to meet the daily need of over 1 lakh people every day.

"RIL ramps up production of medical-grade liquid oxygen from near zero to 1000 mt per day free of charge. (It is producing) 1000 mt of oxygen to meet the needs of over 1 lakh people every day on an average," the company said in a statement.

It had also airlifted 24 ISO containers for transporting Oxygen from Saudi Arabia, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands and Thailand - creating an additional 500 tonnes of transportation capacity for India.

"As India grapples with an unprecedented new wave of the COVID pandemic, Reliance has risen to the occasion by making an all-out effort to save precious lives," the statement said.

The oxygen manufactured by the company would be provided free-of-cost to several states across the country to bring immediate relief to over 1 lakh patients on a daily basis. Since the beginning of the pandemic in March last year, Reliance has supplied over 55,000 MT of medical-grade liquid oxygen across the country.

"At its refinery-cum-petrochemical complex in Jamnagar and other facilities, Reliance now produces over 1,000 tonnes of medical-grade liquid oxygen per day - or over 11% of India's total production - meeting the needs of nearly every one in ten patients," it said.

The firm's oil refineries and petrochemical plants produce industrial oxygen as part of processes. This was scrubbed to produce high-purity medical grade oxygen. Also, it converted nitrogen tankers into transport trucks to move medical grade oxygen.

As MRC reported earlier, RIL shut its polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plant in India for maintenance in April 2021. The unit in Dahej with an annual capacity of 315,000 tons/year was taken offline by 5 April 2021 and will resume operations on 20 April.

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

Reliance Industries is one of the world's largest producers of polymers. The company produces polypropylene, polyethylene and polyvinyl chloride and other petrochemical products.

Trinseo raises prices for styrene butadiene, styrene acrylic and acrylic latex products sold in North America

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Trinseo, a global materials company and manufacturer of plastics, latex, and rubber, has announced that effective May 15, 2021, the company is increasing the prices of all Styrene Butadiene, Styrene Acrylic, and Acrylic latex products sold into the carpet market in North America, as per the company's press release.

The increase will be USD0.06/dry lb (USD0.13/kg or USD133/tonne) for all indexed and non-indexed customers, as contracts allow.

According to the statement, the present increase is necessary to offset rising raw material and transportation costs and to remain a strong and reliable supplier.

As MRC reported earlier, Trinseo and its affiliate companies in Europe have announced a price increase for all polystyrene (PS), acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) and acrylonitrile-styrene copolymer (SAN) in Europe. Effective April 1, 2021, or as existing contract terms allow, the contract and spot prices for the products listed below rose as follows:

- STYRON general purpose polystyrene grades (GPPS) -- by EUR330 per metric ton;
- STYRON and STYRON A-Tech and STYRON X- Tech and STYRON C- Tech high impact polystyrene grades (HIPS) - by EUR330 per metric ton;
- MAGNUM ABS resins - by EUR300 per metric ton;
- TYRIL SAN resins - by EUR350 per metric ton.

According to ICIS-MRC Price report, prices of Russian PS grew significantly in April an broke the next historical records. All domestic producers announced an increase in PS prices last week. Such an abnormal price rise became critical for many small-sized converters.

Trinseo is a global materials company and manufacturer of plastics, latex and rubber. Trinseo's technology is used by customers in industries such as home appliances, automotive, building & construction, carpet, consumer electronics, consumer goods, electrical & lighting, medical, packaging, paper & paperboard, rubber goods and tires. Formerly known as Styron, Trinseo completed its renaming process in 1Q 2015. Trinseo had approximately USD3.0 billion in net sales in 2020, with 17 manufacturing sites around the world, and approximately 2,600 employees.

COVID-19 - News digest as of 30.04.2021

1. Shell raises its dividend in Q1 as profits surge

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Royal Dutch Shell's (RDSa.L) profits leapt to USD3.23 billion in the first three months of the year and the energy company raised its dividend as planned but warned that the outlook remained uncertain due to the coronavirus pandemic, said the company. Shell's adjusted earnings were above an average analyst forecast of USD3.125 billion and also ahead of earnings of USD2.9 billion last year, boosted by assets sales as well as higher oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG) prices. Sales of oil and gas assets in countries including Nigeria, Canada and Egypt added USD1.4 billion to first-quarter profits. Shell's London-listed shares were up 1.2% at 0736 GMT, outperforming a 1% gain for the broader European energy index (.SXEP).


Crude oil futures slip on weaker economic data from China and global pandemic concerns

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Crude oil futures ticked lower during mid-morning trade in Asia April 30, as prices pulled back from a six-week high due to weaker economic data from China, and persistent concerns over the progress of the pandemic in key economies around the world, reported S&P Global.

At 11:23 am Singapore time (0323 GMT), the ICE Brent June contract was down 32 cents/b (0.47%) from the April 29 settle at USD68.24/b, while the June NYMEX light sweet crude contract was down 36 cents/b (0.55%) at USD64.65/b.

The downturn in the market comes after oil prices had hit a six-week high on April 29, with front month ICE Brent and NYMEX light sweet crude contracts settling at USD68.56/b and USD65.01/b, respectively.

The rise in prices on April 29 was driven by signs of improving oil demand in China, Europe and the US. Optimism over the US economic recovery also provided some tailwind to the market, as the country had posted an annualized growth rate of 6.4% in Q1 2021, according to April 29 data from the Commerce Department.

This morning, however, prices came under pressure due to profit-taking activity, and weaker-than-expected Chinese Purchasing Managers' Index. Data from the National Bureau of Statistics released April 30 showed that the recovery in China's manufacturing and services sectors had slowed slightly, with manufacturing PMI at 51.1 in April from 51.9 in March, and non-manufacturing PMI at 54.9 in April from 56.3 in March.

"A weaker-than-expected Chinese manufacturing PMI weighed on sentiment," Margaret Yang, DailyFX strategist told S&P Global Platts April 30.

Yang also cited the resurgence of the pandemic in key economies, especially India, as a reason for the caution shown by investors this morning. The country reported a record 379,308 new cases and 3,645 deaths on April 28, latest data from John Hopkins University showed. "Viral resurgence in India appears to be a key concern among Asia-Pacific investors, dampening the prospect of energy demand from the world's third-largest oil importer," she said.

Concerns over the deterioration of the pandemic situation in other countries, such as Japan and Brazil, has also soured sentiment in the market, with ANZ analysts saying in a April 30 note that "demand in (these two countries) is also likely to be hit by a surge in infections and new restrictions."

As MRC informed earlier, 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 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 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.

INEOS Styrolution and Trinseo select Recycling Technologies as partner for first PS recycling plant in Europe

MOSCOW (MRC) -- INEOS Styrolution, Recycling Technologies and Trinseo have announced that they have reached a significant milestone in their plans to build commercial polystyrene (PS) recycling plants in Europe. Recycling Technologies has been selected as the technology partner, as per Trinseo's press release.

These three companies all share the same vision of making PS a circular material through depolymerisation. The unique properties of PS allow for full circularity where PS waste is returned to its chemical building blocks before being polymerised again. The recycled PS will have identical properties with virgin PS. Life cycle assessment calculations show significant decreases in greenhouse gas emissions when compared with PS production from naphtha.

Following a detailed assessment of technology options, Recycling Technologies was selected to join INEOS Styrolution and Trinseo as the technology provider for commercial scale recycling of PS. Recycling Technologies’ solution provided the highest yields in the conversion of PS to styrene monomer and provided the most scalable solution due to the company’s fluidised bed reactor combined with expertise of a highly skilled technical team.

Prior to building the commercial scale recycling plants, a PS recycling pilot plant will be built in the UK in 2022, and the technology will be further developed jointly by the three parties. The pilot plant will provide information and data related to chemical recycling and operations to support future development of the commercial scale recycling plants.

INEOS Styrolution plans to build its full commercial scale recycling facility in Wingles, France. Trinseo announces its plan to build its own plant in Tessenderlo, Belgium, which is expected to be operational in 2023. Each plant would aim to convert 15kT/y of PS waste into recycled styrene.

As MRC reported earlier, in February 2021, Ineos Styrolution, the styrenics subsidiary of Ineos, said it was collaborating with Polystyvert (Montreal, Canada) to convert post-consumer PS into recycled PS resin using Polystyvert’s dissolution technology. The companies signed a joint development agreement for the dissolution process to convert waste PS into recycled resin. The process takes solid PS waste and dissolves it in a solvent, before processing and then separating the end-product from the solvent as a polymer for reuse, it says.

Besides, earlier this month, Trinseo, a global materials company and manufacturer of plastics, latex binders and synthetic rubber, and BASF, the world's largest petrochemical company, announced the intention to expand their businesses with the production of styrene monomer (SM) based on circular feedstock. The enhanced collaboration between Trinseo and BASF aims to increase efforts by both companies in the development and management of SM featuring an improved environmental profile.

Trinseo is a global materials company and manufacturer of plastics, latex and rubber. Trinseo's technology is used by customers in industries such as home appliances, automotive, building & construction, carpet, consumer electronics, consumer goods, electrical & lighting, medical, packaging, paper & paperboard, rubber goods and tires. Formerly known as Styron, Trinseo completed its renaming process in 1Q 2015. Trinseo had approximately USD3.0 billion in net sales in 2020, with 17 manufacturing sites around the world, and approximately 2,600 employees.

INEOS Styrolution is the leading global styrenics supplier, with a focus on styrene monomer, polystyrene, ABS Standard and styrenic specialties. With world-class production facilities and more than 90 years of experience, INEOS Styrolution helps its customers succeed by offering solutions, designed to give them a competitive edge in their markets. At the same time, these innovative and sustainable best-in-class solutions help make the circular economy for styrenics a reality. The company provides styrenic applications for many everyday products across a broad range of industries, including automotive, electronics, household, construction, healthcare, packaging and toys/sports/leisure. In 2020, sales were at 4 billion euros. INEOS Styrolution employs approximately 3,600 people and operates 20 production sites in ten countries.