Asia distillates-jet fuel cash differentials flip to premiums for the first time in 2021

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Asia's cash differentials for jet fuel flipped into premiums for the first time this year in early May, partly supported by firmer deals in the physical market, while prompt-month spread for the aviation fuel stood at its narrowest contango in more than two months, reported Reuters.

The jet fuel market in Asia is getting support from recovering aviation demand in key markets including China and Australia, but any further upside would be capped in the near term due to COVID-19 lockdowns in India, trade sources said.

Indian opposition leader Rahul Gandhi called for a nationwide lockdown as the country's tally of coronavirus infections surged past 20 million. India's scheduled flight seat capacity dropped 6.5% in early May, according to aviation data firm OAG.

As MRC informed before, slumping fuel consumption during the pandemic is accelerating the long-term shift of refining capacity from North America and Europe to Asia, and from older, smaller refineries to modern, higher-capacity mega-refineries. The result is a wave of closures, often centering on refineries that only narrowly survived the previous closure wave in the years after the recession in 2008/09.

We remind that PetroChina has nearly doubled the amount of Russian crude being processed at its refinery in Dalian, the company's biggest, since January 2018, as a new supply agreement had come into effect. The Dalian Petrochemical Corp, located in the northeast port city of Dalian, was expected to process 13 million tonnes, or 260,000 bpd of Russian pipeline crude in 2018, up by about 85 to 90 percent from the previous year's level. Dalian has the capacity to process about 410,000 bpd of crude. The increase follows an agreement worked out between the Russian and Chinese governments under which Russia's top oil producer Rosneft was to supply 30 million tonnes of ESPO Blend crude to PetroChina in 2018, or about 600,000 bpd. That would have represented an increase of 50 percent over 2017 volumes.

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 576,270 tonnes in the first three month of 2021, up by 4% year on year. Low density polyethylene (LDPE) and high density polyethylene (HDPE) shipments increased. At the same time, PP shipments to the Russian market totalled 410,890 tonnes in January-March 2021, up by 56% year on year. Supply of homopolymer PP and PP block copolymers increased.

PPG receives final regulatory approval from FAS of Russia for acquisition of Tikkurila

MOSCOW (MRC) -- PPG Industries received approval from the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) of Russia on May 21, 2021, and it has now received all necessary regulatory approvals to complete the tender offer to acquire Tikkurila, as per the company's press release.

The company has announced that the tender offer will expire on June 4, 2021. PPG expects to complete the tender offer and close the transaction on or about June 10, 2021.

PPG had extended the tender offer period two times, pending approval from Russia’s FAS.

The acquisition has also been approved by regulatory authorities in the EU, Finland, and Kazakhstan.

The deal remains subject to customary conditions including the valid acceptance of the tender offer by Tikkurila shareholders representing more than 66.7% of the company’s shares and voting rights, the company says.

PPG expects that all conditions to the completion of the tender offer will be fulfilled at the tender offer expiration date of June 4, 2021.

As MRC informed earlier, in February 2020, PPG completed its acquisition of Industria Chimica Reggiana (ICR, Reggio Emilia, Italy), a maker of automotive refinish products. Financial terms of the deal, including purchase price, were not disclosed. The deal was announced on 8 January. ICR was founded in 1961 and employs about 180 people. ICR manufactures automotive refinish products, including putties, primers, basecoats and clear coats. It also makes a range of coatings, enamels and primers for light commercial vehicles and other light industrial coatings applications. ICR employs about 180 people and sells its products in more than 70 countries in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, the US and Latin America.

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. Last month's production of polymers in primary form in Russia 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.

Tikkurila was established in 1862, and is headquartered in Vantaa, Finland. Tikkurila operates in eleven countries and its 2,700 dedicated professionals share the joy of building a vivid future through surfaces that make a difference. The company is a leading producer and distributor of decorative paint and coatings with more than 80% of its revenue coming from Finland, Sweden, Russia, Poland, and the Baltic states. Its premium brands include Tikkurila, ALCRO, and Beckers. In addition, Tikkurila’s industrial paint business participates in the wood and protective coatings end-use segments, among others. The company employs approximately 2,700 people globally and reported sales of approximately EUR 582 million in 2020.

Gasoline consumption nears pre-pandemic level in US

MOSCOW (MRC) -- U.S. traffic volumes have almost returned to pre-pandemic levels, helping normalise gasoline consumption as more businesses re-open, domestic leisure travel resumes and workers return to offices, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The volume of traffic on all roads was down by less than 4% in March compared with the same month two years ago, according to the Federal Highway Administration (“Traffic volume trends” FHWA, March 2021). Traffic levels had been down 41% in April 2020 at the height of the first wave of the pandemic and were still down 11% as recently as December 2020 during the second wave.

Car use likely increased further in April and May as social-distancing restrictions were relaxed and more service businesses and offices re-opened. More driving means more fuel consumption. The volume of gasoline supplied to the domestic market, a proxy for consumption, was down by just 4% at 8.9 million barrels per day in the four weeks to May 14 compared with the pre-pandemic five-year average of 9.3 million b/d.

The remaining driving and fuel deficits are likely to be erased over the third quarter as more employees return to central offices and domestic tourism recovers. The rapid normalisation of gasoline consumption has encouraged a strong resumption of motor fuel production, which is nearing pre-pandemic levels.

Refinery gasoline production is down by just 3% compared with the five years from 2015 to 2019, according to the Energy Information Administration (“Weekly petroleum status report”, EIA, May 19). The enormous surplus that accumulated during the pandemic's first wave has been absorbed. Inventories held at refineries, tank farms and in pipelines are back in line with the pre-COVID five-year average.

Jet fuel consumption is still severely affected by quarantine restrictions. But in the gasoline market the impact of the pandemic appears largely over, provided there is no resurgence of infections.

As per MRC, Countries around the world have reported steep falls in fuel demand as lockdowns to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus limit the movement of more than 4 billion people. U.S. fuel demand has dropped 28% in the last four weeks, the Energy Information Administration said on April 29. Overall finished motor gasoline demand is still down 44% over the past four weeks from the year-ago period, but a drawdown in stocks in the previous week suggests the consumption declines may be leveling off. Jet fuel demand was down 62%.

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 576,270 tonnes in the first three month of 2021, up by 4% year on year. Low density polyethylene (LDPE) and high density polyethylene (HDPE) shipments increased. At the same time, PP shipments to the Russian market totalled 410,890 tonnes in January-March 2021, up by 56% year on year. Supply of homopolymer PP and PP block copolymers increased.

Kazanorgsintez plans to reconstruct a reactor for the production and processing of HDPE

MOSCOW (MRC) - Kazanorgsintez (KOS, part of the TAIF group) plans to reconstruct reactor B of the low-density polyethylene (HDPE) production and processing plant, Biznes Gazeta reports.

A public discussion will be held in Kazan on the assessment of the impact of this production on the environment. The meeting will take place on June 1 at the Kazan Petrochemical College at 23 Gudovantseva Street.

Earlier it was reported that Kazanorgsintez and NextChem together with MET Development, subsidiaries of Maire Tecnimont S.p.A. (Italy), signed a memorandum of understanding on the joint development of a project for a new plant for the production of biodegradable polymers in the Republic of Tatarstan. The project will use the know-how of NextChem and the capabilities of MET Developmen. In accordance with the agreement, Kazanorgsintez and Maire Tecnimont Group will jointly assess and analyze the possibility of building a plant for the production of biopolymers in Tatarstan. Maire Tecnimont Group will provide technological solutions and the best know-how for project design and implementation, building on its portfolio of projects.

In addition, according to the ICIS-MRC Price Report, Kazanorgsintez (KOS, part of the TAIF Group) has stopped part of its low-pressure polyethylene (LDPE) production facilities for scheduled preventive maintenance. On 16 April, KOS completely stopped LDPE production at the third stage for annual scheduled preventive maintenance. The annual capacity of LDPE production at the third stage is 140,000/tonne.

PJSC Kazanorgsintez is one of the largest enterprises in the Russian Federation (PJSC TAIF Group of Companies). It produces 40% of all Russian polyethylene and is its largest exporter. Currently, PE, polycarbonate (PC), polyethylene pipes, phenol, acetone, bisphenol A are produced. KOS is the only Russian PC manufacturer. There are 170 types of products in total. The annual production volume is 1.6 million tons. The enterprise is the largest producer of low-pressure polyethylene (HDPE) pipes in Russia. The annual production capacity of HDPE is 540,000 tonnes, and LDPE - 225,000 tonnes.

OxyChem force majeure on PVC supply remains in force in mid-May

MOSCOW (MRC) -- OxyChem, the chemical division of Occidental Petroleum, left force majeure (FM) on polyvinyl chloride (PVC) supplies from its plants in North America in force as of 17 May, 2021, reported S&P Global with reference to the company's letter.

OxyChem, a major manufacturer of chlor-alkali and vinyl products, including chlorine, caustic soda, hydrochloric acid, ethylene dichloride (EDC), vinyl chloride monomer (VCM), and PVC at plants in Texas, Louisiana and Alabama, Tennessee, New Jersey and New York.

The total capacity of OxyChem's plants and subsidiaries for the production of chlorine and caustic soda is about 3 million mt/year, and its PVC production is almost 2 million mt/year.

The FM was declared on 15 February, 2021, due to the deep freeze that hit the region. The severe weather conditions affected then all Texas and western Louisiana facilities.

As MRC informed before, OxyChem had a seven-day PVC turnaround slated for April, 2020, at its plant in Pasadena, Texas, USA. This plant's production capacity is 1 million mt/year.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's overall PVC production reached 346,100 tonnes in the first four months of 2021, down 1% year on year. All producers decreased production volumes over the reported period, with the exception of the Bashkir Soda Company.

Occidental Petroleum Corporation (OxyChem) is a California-based oil and gas exploration and production company with operations in the United States, the Middle East, North Africa, and South America. Oxychem is Oxy's Texas-based subsidiary which manufacture polyvinyl chloride (PVC) resins, chlorine and caustic soda used in plastics, pharmaceuticals and water treatment chemicals.