Russian producers maintain September PVC prices at record high level

Russian producers maintain September PVC prices at record high level

MOSCOW (MRC) -- September did not bring the long-awaited reduction in polyvinyl chloride (PVC) prices to Russian converters. A shortage still remained in the market, no producers reduced their prices for September shipments with one exception, according to ICIS-MRC Price report.

The last year's situation is repeated in the Russian PVC market. Converters expected prices to drop in September under the pressure of the end of shutdowns for maintenance and the approach of the "winter season". But as in the previous year, strong demand and insignificant imports allowed Russian producers to maintain record high prices in the domestic market. This month, two producers further raised their PVC prices, and only one producer reduced its prices.

Higher imports in August and stable operations of domestic producers did not lead to a surplus of resin in the market. Moreover, there were still restrictions on PVC supplies from several large producers. And these restrictions played a decisive role in pricing for September.

Demand for finished products from PVC fell in many sectors in August, and in some cases, companies reported a reduction in sales of up to 30%. However, even on the back of weaker demand for finished products, demand for resin still remained strong from most converters, whereas supply opportunities of several Russian producers were limited.

There will be the last shutdown for repairs among Russian producers in September, Kaustik, Volgograd will shut its production capacities for a three-week turnaround in the third decade of the month. The plant's annual production capacity is 90,000 tonnes.

PVC imports increased significantly in August, with North Chinese producers traditionally accounting for the bulk of shipments. But already in September, imports are expected to decrease partially because of temporary restrictions on freight rail transportation by the Chinese authorities on the back of a surge in COVID-19 diseases in the region.

In the summer months, negotiations over shipments of Russian PVC were held quite quickly, whereas discussions of September deals dragged on for several days. Converters were increasingly reluctant to agree deals at record prices. However, many producers said that they had virtually sold out all their September PVC quotas by the beginning of this week.

Over the past few months, the price range of Russian resin was quite large, deals for September shipments of PVC with K=64/67 were done in the following range: Rb155,000-201,000/tonne CPT Moscow, including VAT, for quantities less than 500 tonnes. Two producers raised their prices this month.

Two producers' prices of resin with К=58/70 also went up in September, whereas a producer, on the contrary, cut prices. Deals were done in the range of Rb178,000-216,000/tonne CPT Moscow, including VAT.

ALPLA and Krones developed a returnable PET container

ALPLA and Krones developed a returnable PET container

MOSCOW (MRC) -- ALPLA and Krones developed a returnable PET container that provides an optimal environment for sensitive ESL (Extended Shelf Life) products such as juice and milk in the cold chain, said the company.

Be it due to regulations, voluntary climate targets, or growing environmental awareness among consumers, sustainability issues are becoming an increasingly important factor in packaging choice. “Which type of packaging performs best from an ecological perspective depends on a number of factors and must be evaluated individually for each use case,” explains Martina Birk, who is responsible for the enviro sustainability programme at Krones. But returnable PET containers often don’t even enter into consideration in the first place. “And yet they can offer outstanding environmental performance, especially if they are distributed mainly regionally,” emphasises Birk.

The background: The production and recycling of returnable containers made of glass requires very high temperatures and causes significantly more emissions than the production of returnable PET containers. In addition, they are around six times heavier than comparable PET containers, which results in a significantly larger CO2e footprint during transport. Returnable PET containers also have practical advantages: They are light, stable and break-proof, making them more convenient for consumers to transport and safer to use.

ALPLA and Krones teamed up to make these benefits available for use for a wide range of beverages. "Until now, the main applications for returnable PET containers have been carbonated soft drinks and water,” explains Jorg Schwarzler, returnables expert and project lead at ALPLA. “But we were certain that, if we combined our expertise in materials science, preform design, container design, and systems engineering, we could find a solution for sensitive beverages like juices and dairy products. The option of using a 38-millimeter bottle neck offers particular advantages for sensitive returnable applications."

The partners dedicated particular attention to the container cleaning process because “PET is less heat-resistant than glass,” explains developer Ines Bradshaw. “So we had to find a way to ensure both a high level of microbiological safety and a high number of use cycles while cleaning at lower temperatures."

To obtain an objective and meaningful base of data, Krones’ development plant for washing technology in Flensburg carried out an elaborate series of tests, analysing the interaction of different bottle designs and cleaning processes. “The tests provided us with a very clear picture of the respective thermal, chemical, and mechanical factors,” says Bradshaw. “Among the findings: With the right combination of parameters – especially lye concentration, temperature, additive, and mechanical impact – temperatures around 60 °C are sufficient to reliably remove even dried protein, fat, and starch contamination from the containers."

A direct comparison of returnable PET and returnable glass brought to light another interesting discovery: Over the course of several cleaning cycles, the alkaline cleaning medium visibly roughened the surface of the glass bottle, whereas nothing comparable could be observed with the PET containers. “For the filling of sensitive beverages in particular, consistent container quality can be an advantage that should not be underestimated,” notes Ines Bradshaw.

As per MRC, ALPLA Group is purchasing the Wolf Plastics Group for an undisclosed amount in a move to expand the company's product portfolio in Central and Southeastern Europe. Headquartered in Kammern, Austria, Wolf also has production facilities in Hungary and Romania. The Austrian and Romanian competition authorities are currently examining the proposal, Alpla officials said in a news release. Closure of the deal is subject to regulatory approval.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PET consumption totalled 411,200 tonnes in the first six month of 2021, up by 12% year on year. Russian companies processed 62,910 tonnes in June, compared to 85,890 tonnes a month earlier.

Krones supplies customers in the international beverage and food industry with everything they need for their value creation. With its enviro sustainability programme, the group is driving the development of more energy- and media-efficient technologies and more environmentally friendly packaging.

Headquartered in Hard, Austria, ALPLA specializes in blow molded bottles and caps, injection molded parts, and preforms and tubes.

BASF and Natural Machines partner to deliver solutions for customized personal care face masks

BASF and Natural Machines partner to deliver solutions for customized personal care face masks

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BASF and Natural Machines announced their strategic partnership in developing a technology that enables customized face masks and eye patches produced in 3D printers, said the company.

Customization of personal care products is a global trend. To meet this growing need, a combination of product expertise and technical understanding is key. BASF, a leading supplier to the personal care industry, and Natural Machines, a solution provider for kitchen and personal care equipment, build upon their respective innovation know-how: a unique 3D printer and 3D printing knowledge from Natural Machines, and the personal care ingredients from BASF.

With this new solution users can obtain masks that are not only adaptable to individual face sizes, but also allow the incorporation of different benefits in various zones within the mask. "With this partnership we are expanding our personalized cosmetic technologies, and we very much look forward to working with Natural Machines in this promising area. We can build on their experience and expertise of 3D printing to bring this know-how into the personal care market", says Robert Parker, Director, New Business Development at Care Chemicals, BASF.

"Our initial tests proved the potential to print face masks and patches based on BASF ingredients. We continue to focus on adapting the technology, to establish a new approach for personalized face masks for our customers based on bio-based and biodegradable solutions”, says Christina Kohlmann, Senior Manager for Open Innovation Personal Care at Care Chemicals, BASF.

Through this strategic partnership, BASF will exclusively commercialize the technology as a holistic solution to the global personal care industry, comprising of a machine, cartridges, and ingredient mixtures. "Our partnership with BASF will help us to grow our portfolio from the food sector to include the cosmetics industry. We will benefit from BASF’s experience and latest developments in cosmetic ingredients, while leveraging the broad expertise we have built during the last eight years in 3D food printing. At the same time, BASF’s leading position in the personal care market gives us an extraordinary opportunity to commercialize the technology and the device in this space”, says Emilio Sepulveda, CEO of Natural Machines.

BASF and Natural Machines aim to introduce the technology to the market in 2022 globally.

As per MRC, BASF reported a better-than-expected second-quarter net profit as it managed to increase volumes and prices thanks to strong demand. Low commodity prices during the coronavirus pandemic weighed on BASF’s earnings last year, but the German group recorded a rapid recovery so far in 2021 as the global economy picked up faster than expected.

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.

BASF SE (headquartered in Ludwigshafen) - the world's largest manufacturer of chemical products for the industry, including the extraction and processing of oil and gas; has more than 150 production sites in the world, including a number of production lines in the Russian Federation.

Calumet selects Haldor Topsoe for renewable diesel project at Montana refinery

Calumet selects Haldor Topsoe for renewable diesel project at Montana refinery

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Calumet plans to revamp its existing hydrocracker in Great Falls, Montana refinery to utilize Haldor Topsoe’s HydroFlex solution to produce 12,000 barrels per day of renewable diesel, according to Hydrocarbonprocessing.

This is a fast-track project and the revamp will be producing renewable diesel in the spring of 2022.

“We are excited to support Calumet as they transition to the production of renewable fuels for the North American markets. Our HydroFlex solution is designed to produce diesel based on renewable feedstock, with a minimal Carbon Intensity (CI score) compared to traditional diesel,” says Henrik Rasmussen, Managing Director, The Americas, Haldor Topsoe.

“We have chosen Haldor Topsoe’s market-leading HydroFlex technology for this exceptional project that will allow us to lead the energy transition economy beginning in the Pacific Northwest. This growth project and our vision to source feedstocks locally will create value for the city of Great Falls; Calumet; the state of Montana; and North American low carbon fuel markets,” says Bruce Fleming, Executive Vice President, Calumet.

As MRC informed earlier, Haldor Topsoe will build a 15,000-tpy hydroprocessing catalyst plant at the company’s existing Bayport production site in Pasadena, Harris County, Texas. The plant will increase production capacity of Topsoe’s TK catalyst family to meet increasing demand, both in traditional refining and for use with Topsoe’s HydroFlex technology for production of renewable diesel and jet fuel. The plant is expected to be fully operational in the first half of 2023.

We remind that in 2019, Nizhnekamskneftekhim (NKNKH, part of the TAIF Group, and Haldor Topsoe signed a memorandum of intent to implement a methanol production project.

Haldor Topsoe is a global leader in supply of catalysts, technology, and services to the chemical and refining industries. Topsoe aims to be the global leader within carbon emission reduction technologies by 2024. By perfecting chemistry for a better world, the company enable its customers to succeed in the transition towards renewable energy. Topsoe is headquartered in Denmark and serves customers around the globe. In 2020, the company's revenue was approximately DKK 6.2 billion, and it employs around 2,200 employees.

Gasoline demand in India may hit record this fiscal year on easing of COVID-19 curbs

Gasoline demand in India may hit record this fiscal year on easing of COVID-19 curbs

MOSCOW (MRC) -- India's gasoline demand is set to hit a record this fiscal year, with consumption accelerating as more people hit the road for business and leisure travel after easing of COVID-19 curbs, reported Reuters.

Shunning trains, buses and planes, safety-conscious Indians are buying more cars and increasingly using personal vehicles to commute as they embark on 'revenge travel' - flocking to tourist destinations after months of restrictions, despite record high fuel prices.

Annual passenger vehicle sales in India rose by 45% to 264,442 units in July, driven by pent-up demand, according to data from the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers.

The stronger-than-expected gasoline consumption growth could prompt Indian refiners to import the fuel or boost gasoil exports in coming months. Indian refineries are traditionally configured to maximise production of diesel, where demand is still below pre-COVID levels, hurt by an uneven economic recovery.

"We may have to import some quantity of petrol if momentum in demand continues," said an official at an Indian state-run refiner, who declined to be identified as he is not authorised to speak to the media.

"We cannot increase crude throughput as some refiners have high levels of diesel inventory and export margins for diesel are not attractive."

The expected rise in India's gasoline imports could support Asian refiners' margins for the fuel. The country, which has a refining surplus, has shunned gasoline imports since May and raised gasoil exports by a fifth in July from April, government data showed.

Sluggish diesel demand has forced some refiners to cut crude oil processing as their fuel storage were full. That reduced India's July crude oil imports to their lowest in a year.

Changes in India's fuel demand patterns are crucial for global oil markets as Asia's third-largest economy is seen as the main driver of rising demand for energy over the next two decades, the International Energy Agency said in February.

India's gasoline demand rebound follows that of China, where consumption of the fuel is expected to rise by 11% to 13% this year to a record 3.8 million to 4.1 million bpd.

On the other hand, gasoil consumption - which accounts for two-fifths of refined fuel use in the country and is a barometer of industrial activity - is expected to take well into the fourth quarter or even next year to recover to pre-pandemic levels.

India is also gradually cutting dependence on diesel as it looks to fully electrify its vast railway network by end-2023, allow trucks to carry more weight, and increase power generation capacity from cleaner fuel sources.

As MRC informed eearlier, India plans to force refineries and fertilizer plants to use some green hydrogen, junior oil minister Rameswar Teli said in late August, as Asia's third-largest economy strives to reduce carbon emissions.

We remind that Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) will build the nation's first 'green hydrogen' plant at its Mathura refinery, as it aims to prepare for a future catering to the growing demand for both oil and cleaner forms of energy.

We also remind that Indian refiners, anticipating a lifting of US sanctions, plan to make space for the resumption of Iranian imports by reducing spot crude oil purchases in the second half of the year. The world's third-largest oil consumer and importer halted imports from Tehran in 2019 after former US President Donald Trump withdrew from a 2015 accord and re-imposed sanctions on the OPEC producer over its disputed nuclear programme.