PTTGC and Cargill to build new biopolymer plant in Thailand

PTTGC and Cargill to build new biopolymer plant in Thailand

MOSCOW (MRC) -- US agribusiness giant Cargill Inc and Thailand’s PTT Global Chemical Pcl announced they will build a biopolymer production facility at a cost of more than USD600 million in Thailand, reported Reuters.

The plant will be built through their joint venture, NatureWorks, and will help meet increasing demand for sustainable materials, PTTGC said in a statement.

The manufacturing complex will use about 110,000 tonnes of sugar annually from Thai farmers as a raw material and have an annual biopolymer capacity of 75,000 tonnes. Its products can be used to make hygiene masks, wiping cloths and food packaging.

The new plant is due to begin operations in 2024.

The investment comes less than a month after PTTGC announced a USD4.75 billion acquisition of German coating resins maker Allnex.

As MRC wrote previously, PTTGC abruptly shut down three crackers at its petrochemical complex in Map Ta Phut on 14 April 2021 after a thunderstorm caused a power outage. No. 1 and 4 crackers and the recently launched No. 5 cracker on the site were off-line for around one week. The production capacities of No. 1 and 4 crackers are 461,000 and 515,000 mt/year of ethylene, whereas the new cracker can produce 500,000 mt/year of ethylene and 260,000 mt/year of propylene.

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 1,176,860 tonnes in the first half of 2021, up by 5% year on year. Shipments of exclusively low density polyethylene (LDPE) decreased. At the same time, PP shipments to the Russian market were 727,160 tonnes in the first six months of 2021, up by 31% year on year. Supply of homopolymer PP and block-copolymers of propylene (PP block copolymers) increased. Supply of statistical copolymers of propylene (PP random copolymers) subsided.

PTT Global Chemical is a leading player in the petrochemical industry and owns several petrochemical facilities with a combined capacity of 8.45 million tonnes a year.

US crude production to decrease less in 2021 than previously forecast

US crude production to decrease less in 2021 than previously forecast

MOSCOW (MRC) -- US crude oil production is expected to fall by 160,000 barrels per day (bpd) in 2021 to 11.12 million bpd, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) said in a monthly report, a smaller decline than its previous forecast for a drop of 210,000 bpd, reported Reuters.

Oil prices have rebounded from the historic lows seen last year, prompting some US producers to boost drilling activity. The total US rig count has more than doubled since falling to a record low in August last year.

The EIA said it expects production to be relatively flat through October before beginning to rise in November and December and throughout 2022.

For 2022, US crude production is expected to average about 11.8 million bpd, a rise of 650,000 bpd, smaller than the previous forecast for a rise of 750,000 bpd.

Output hit an all-time annual high of 12.3 million bpd in 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic crushed demand and prices.

The agency said it expects US petroleum and other liquid fuel consumption to rise 1.58 million bpd to 19.70 million bpd in 2021, compared with a previous forecast for a rise of 1.52 million bpd.

US gasoline consumption averaged 8.6 million bpd in the first half of 2021, up from 8.3 million bpd in the second half of 2020 but below the 9.3 million bpd in the second half of 2019, EIA said.

"Our latest estimates show that gasoline consumption in May through July was higher than we had previously expected. Growth in employment and increasing mobility have led to rising gasoline consumption so far in 2021," the agency said.

Globally, consumption of petroleum and liquid fuels is forecast to average 97.6 million bpd for all of 2021, a 5.3 million bpd increase from 2020. The EIA forecast that global consumption of petroleum and liquid fuels will increase by 3.6 million bpd in 2022 to average 101.2 million bpd.

As MRC informed earlier, BP raised Aug. 3 its 2025 oil price assumption by USD5/b to USD60/b to reflect an expected supply constraint, while promising a recovery in its own production volumes following a maintenance-related slump in the second quarter.

We remind that BP and Lukoil want to quit their Iraqi energy projects due to the current investment environment, the country's oil minister said earlier this month, as OPEC's second biggest producer faces an exodus of international oil companies that want to exit unattractive contracts. Lukoil wants to sell its stake in West Qurna 2 to Chinese companies.

Fire extinguished at Iranian petrochemicals plant

MOSCOW (MRC) -- A fire broke out at a storage tank in a petrochemicals plant on Iran's Gulf island of Kharg, but the blaze was extinguished and there were no casualties, reported Reuters with reference to the state news agency IRNA.

"The fire was completely put out after four hours by the island's firemen," Nasser Ebrahimi, Kharg's district governor, told IRNA.

The blaze did not cause any casualties and its cause is being investigated," Ebrahimi said.

Mohammad Ali Kazemipour, spokesman for the Kharg Petrochemical Company, earlier said the incident did not affect production, the semi-official news agency ILNA reported.

As MRC informed before, Mobin Petrochemical Company reportedly shut down its refinery complex in Asaluyeh, Iran on 26 May 2021 after a flare occurred at the natural gas pipeline.

We remind that Mehr Petrochemical Company (MHPC), a major petrochemical producer in Iran, resumed operations at its high density polyethylene (HDPE) plant in Assaluyeh, Iran in late March, 2021. This HDPE line with an annual capacity of 300,000 tons/year was shut unexpectedly in the third week of March after a technical glitch.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, June estimated HDPE consumption in Russia decreased to 125,900 tonnes from 128,300 tonnes a month earlier. Domestic producers raised their exports, while some producers' output decreased. Overall HDPE shipments to the Russian market totalled 675,670 tonnes in the first six months of 2021, down by 6% year on year. Production increased by 12%, whereas imports fell by 33%.

BASF and Eni sign strategic agreement on joint R and D initiative to reduce CO2 footprint of transportation sector

BASF and Eni sign strategic agreement on joint R and D initiative to reduce CO2 footprint of transportation sector

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Eni and BASF have signed a strategic agreement on a joint R&D initiative to reduce the CO2 footprint of the transportation sector, as per BASF's press release.

The cooperation aims to develop a new technology to produce advanced bio-propanol from glycerin, a side stream of the production of industrial biodiesel (FAME, fatty acid methyl ester), that Eni will purchase from European producers. The technology under development involves the conversion of glycerin to propanol via an innovative, catalytic hydrotreatment process.

The new approach consists of a process of applying a high-pressure hydrogenation reaction over a BASF catalyst, ensuring that the bio-propanol is produced with a high yield and purity while minimizing by-products. The bio-propanol offers the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 65 to 75% compared to fossil fuels.

Propanol obtained via this innovative method can be easily added as a drop-in bio-fuel component to gasoline. Thanks to its better physicochemical properties compared to bioethanol and its very high-octane number, bio-propanol is a valuable component for the preparation of premium gasoline.

As MRC reported earlier, in June, 2021, Trinseo, a global materials company and manufacturer of plastics, latex binders, and synthetic rubber, and BASF, the world's petrochemical major, announced the intention to expand their businesses with the production of styrene monomer (SM) based on circular feedstock. Trinseo has procured first supplies of SM based on circular feedstock from BASF for use in its Solution-Styrene Butadiene Rubber (S-SBR) and polystyrene (PS) products. Trinseo supplies S-SBR to major tyre manufacturers while its PS products are used in applications such as food packaging and appliances. The first few customers have already processed the material, said the company.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated consumption of PS and styrene plastics totalled 236,110 tonnes in the first five months of 2021, up by 27% year on year (172,360 tonnes). May estimated consumption was 48,880 tonnes, up by 66% year on year.

BASF is the leading chemical company. It produces a wide range of chemicals, for example solvents, amines, resins, glues, electronic-grade chemicals, industrial gases, basic petrochemicals and inorganic chemicals. The most important customers for this segment are the pharmaceutical, construction, textile and automotive industries.

Eni, abbreviation of Ente Nazionale Idrocarburi, in full Eni SpA, Italian energy company operating primarily in petroleum, natural gas, and petrochemicals. Established in 1953, it is one of Europe's largest oil companies in terms of sales.

Ravago acquires stake in US-based Alterra Energy

Ravago acquires stake in US-based Alterra Energy

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Luxembourg-based Ravago, a leader in polymer recycling and distribution, has acquired an equity interest in Alterra Energy, headquartered in Akron, Ohio, according to Recycling Today.

The companies say they plan to combine forces to provide integrated recycling solutions that support the transition toward decarbonization, decreasing virgin fossil resource dependency and increasing circularity for petrochemical and chemical partners. Additionally, Ravago will be a strategic partner in supplying preprocessed plastic scrap to Alterra Energy's Akron plant.

A spokesperson for the companies says they decline to provide figures on the stake Ravago is taking in Alterra or on the volume of scrap that will be supplied.

Alterra Energy says its Akron plant, which was commissioned last year, can liquefy up to 60 tons per day of mixed plastic scrap for use as a feedstock for the manufacturing of plastics and chemicals.

This is the second strategic partnership this year for Alterra Energy. In January, the company announced that Neste, a provider of renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel that also helps deliver drop-in renewable and circular chemical solutions, acquired a minority stake in the company.

Alterra Energy, which has developed and commercialized a continuous, advanced recycling technology that uses pyrolysis to transform end-of-life plastics into petrochemical feedstock, will process the Ravago-supplied plastic scrap into ISCC PLUS certified material. Alterra will then market this material for further refining and conversion into circular building blocks for the plastics and chemicals producing industry.

As MRC reported earlier, The Ravago Group has carried out routine maintenance at its expandable polystyrene (EPS) plant in Schkopau, Germany. Thus, the turnaround at this plant with a capacity of 70,000/tonnes of EPS per year began on April 20, 2021, and was completed on April 28. Thus, the maintenance works at this plant lasted for one week.

Ravago represents more than 6.6 million metric tons of annual polymer sales, serving more than 50,000 active customers through more than 325 locations across more than 55 countries worldwide. Ravago's production capability consists of more than 45 manufacturing facilities, 19 of which are recycling and compounding plants in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa with a combined annual capacity of more than 775,000 metric tons; 13 of which are production plants in Europe that offer finished product solutions for the building sector; and seven of which are chemicals plants and 6 are application laboratories for its chemicals business.