Ukrainian PE imports down by 8% in Jan-May 2021

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Overall polyethylene (PE) imports into the Ukrainian market reached 103,300 tonnes in the first five months of 2021, down by 8% year on year. Only high density polyethylene (HDPE) accounted for the decrease in imports, according to MRC's DataScope report.

Last month's PE imports to Ukraine were 19,800 tonnes versus 19,500 tonnes in April, local companies increased their purchases of linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE). Thus, overall PE imports reached 103,300 tonnes in January-May 2021, compared to 112,700 tonnes a year earlier. These were mainly HDPE imports that decreased, whereas imports of other PE grades increased.

The structure of PE imports by grades looked the following way over the stated period.

Last month's HDPE imports were 6,600 tonnes, which corresponded to the April figure. Overall HDPE imports into the country totalled 33,100 tonnes in the first five months of 2021 versus 46,600 tonnes a year earlier.

May low density polyethylene (LDPE) imports were 5,400 tonnes versus 5,800 tonnes a month earlier, Ukrainian companies reduced their purchases in Russia. Overall LDPE imports reached 31,600 tonnes in January-May 2021, which corresponded to the last year's figure.

Last month's LLDPE imports were 6,000 tonnes, compared to 5,700 tonnes in April, shipments of film grade LLDPE from Russia increased. However, overall LLDPE imports reached 31,700 tonnes in the first five months of 2021, compared to 29,300 tonnes a year earlier.

Imports of other PE grades, including ethylene-vinyl-acetate (EVA), totalled 6,900 tonnes over the stated period, compared to 5,400 tonnes a year earlier.


Epsilyte reduces June EPS prices on lower feedstock costs

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Epsilyte (The Woodlands, Texas), a leading North American producer of expandable polystyrene (EPS), has announced a reduction in its prices for all EPS grades for June shipments, said the company.

Thus, the price of the company's EPS grades dropped by 3 cents/pound (cts/lb) or USD66/tonne, effective 1 June, 2021 or as contracts permit.

The present adjustment reflects current EPS supply and demand dynamics as well as expected feedstock trends.

As MRC reported earlier, Epsilyte raised its May EPS prices in the region by 8 cts/lb or USD176/tonne.

EPS is a rigid form of polystyrene (PS) used in insulation foams for the construction industry as well as for packaging.

According to ICIS-MRC Price report, last week's prices of Russian EPS remained at the level as of early June. Prices of SIBUR-Khimprom's spot EPS quantities were at Rb167,000-175,000/tonne CPT Moscow, including VAT. Plastik, Uzlovaya shipped material at Rb178,000-180,000/tonne CPT Moscow, including VAT, depending on the grade.

Epsilyte is owned by private equity firm Balmoral Funds (Los Angeles, California). Epsilyte is one of North America’s leading producers of expandable polystyrene resin. The company is focused on solving customer needs for efficient, high-R value EPS. This includes reducing energy usage in buildings, ensuring safe and healthy food through innovative packaging technology, and participating in infrastructure investment both in the United States and abroad.

Uzbekneftegaz in talks with UOP on refinery modernisation

Uzbekneftegaz in talks with UOP on refinery modernisation

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Uzbekistan's state energy company, Uzbekneftegaz, and UOP Limited, a subsidiary of Honeywell International, are in talks about upgrading the Central Asian nation's Bukhara Oil refinery, reported Reuters with reference to the Uzbek government's statement.

The companies have discussed a project worth USD184 million which would involve financing from the United States' EXIM Bank, the authorities said.

As MRC informed earlier, in April 2021, Honeywell announced that Lotte GS Chemical Corp. will use Honeywell UOP Q-Max, Phenol 3G, and Evonik MSHP technologies to produce more than 565,000 metric tons per year of phenol and acetone at its petrochemicals facility in Yeosu, Korea. UOP is providing a license for the technology, in addition to basic engineering design services, key equipment, catalysts and adsorbents and technical services.

Along with phenol, acetone is largely used to produce bisphenol A (BPA), which, in its turn, is used in the production of plastics such as polycarbonate (PC) and epoxy resins.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated consumption of PC granules (excluding imports and exports to/from Belarus) totalled 34,000 tonnes in the first four months of 2021, up by 11% year on year (30,500 tonnes a year earlier).

Sulzer Chemtech and Axens alliance delivers an advanced FCC naphtha processing solution

Sulzer Chemtech and Axens alliance delivers an advanced FCC naphtha processing solution

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Axens and Sulzer Chemtech (GTC Technology) have formed an alliance to license an advanced process for fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) naphtha processing, said the company.

The combined offering is based on Axens’ Prime-G+® hydrodesulfurisation technology and Sulzer Chemtech’s GT-BTX PluS® extraction technology. Axens' Prime-G+ technology is a leading technology for FCC gasoline selective desulfurisation with more than 300 references worldwide and Sulzer Chemtech is a leader for aromatics recovery for downstream FCC applications through its extractive distillation technology GT-BTX PluS. The combined solution of both technologies brings outstanding advantages for the gasoline and the petrochemical segments.

The combination offers a unique solution to reduce octane loss to a very low level for the gasoline pool. The technology is especially important in countries that are upgrading fuel specifications to meet environmental requirements, and it can be applied in new, or retrofits of existing units in operation to maximise profit.

It also provides refiners the option of converting FCC gasoline into petrochemical products – BTX and additional propylene – and obtaining additional margin in regions where gasoline demand is not sufficient. For those, the combined offer can convert their excess gasoline into petrochemical products to adapt to the market change with minimum investment.

Axens’ Process Licensing Global Business Unit Executive Vice-President Patrick Sarrazin said: “We look forward to collaborating with Sulzer Chemtech, to provide a comprehensive, high-quality processing solution to different players in the oil refining sector. The combination of Prime-G+ and GT-BTX PluS will help them address current and future market demands as well as increase their competitiveness."

"We are excited about the partnership with Axens. We are committed to delivering state-of-the-art technologies and are confident that this combined solution will bring many benefits to our customers. It will allow them to prepare for the changing gasoline and petrochemicals demand in both the near and longer term,” added Sander van Donk, Head of Global Technology Business at Sulzer Chemtech.

As per MRC, Baltic Chemical Complex (BHK), a subsidiary of JSC Rusgazdobycha, and the international company Axens signed an agreement on the supply of technology for the production of alpha-olefins used for the production of polyethylene. The technology will be applied within the framework of a project for the construction of a gas chemical complex as part of an ethane-containing gas processing complex near Ust-Luga in the Leningrad Region.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 744,130 tonnes in the first four month of 2021, up by 4% year on year. Shipments of all PE grades increased.

Axens is an international company providing technologies (licensor), catalysts, adsorbents and services (technical assistance, consulting) for the refining, petrochemical, gas and alternative fuels industries. Axens focuses primarily on the processing of oil, gas, biomass and coal into fuels and basic petrochemical intermediates.


Total resumes normal operations at its Port Arthur, Texas refinery after upset

Total resumes normal operations at its Port Arthur, Texas refinery after upset

MOSCOW (MRC) -- TotalEnergies' 225,500-bpd Port Arthur, Texas refinery was operating normally on Wednesday after reporting flaring on Tuesday night, reported Reuters with reference to sources familiar with plant operations.

A Total spokeswoman declined to comment.

The refinery reported flaring following a severe thunderstorm. The flaring was over within two hours of the report, the sources said.

Refineries use safety flares when they cannot process hydrocarbons normally.

As MRC wrote before, earlier this month, TotalEnergies and Novatek signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to jointly work on sustainable reductions of the CO emission resulting from the production of liquefied natural gas (LNG) including with the use of renewable power, to develop large-scale carbon capture and storage solutions (CCS) and to explore new opportunities for developing decarbonized hydrogen and ammonia.

We remind that in November 2019, Total disclosed that itis evaluating construction of a new gas cracker at its Deasan, South Korea, joint venture (JV) with Hanwha Chemical.

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 744,130 tonnes in the first four month of 2021, up by 4% year on year. Shipments of all PE grades increased. At the same time, PP deliveries to the Russian market were 523,900 tonnes in January-April 2021, up by 55% year on year. Supply of homopolymer PP and PP block copolymers increased, whereas shipments of PP random copolymers decreased.

TotalEnergies is a 19.4% shareholder in Novatek and holds a 20% stake in Yamal LNG, a project that started up in December 2017 and produced more than 18.8 million tons of LNG in 2020. The company also holds a 10% stake in Arctic LNG 2, a project currently under construction and on track to deliver its first LNG cargo in 2023.