Ukrainian PE imports down by 6% in Jan-Aug 2021

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Overall polyethylene (PE) imports to the Ukrainian market totalled 171,100 tonnes in the first eight months of 2021, down by 6% year on year. Imports of all PE grades decreased, as per MRC's DataScope report.

Last month's PE imports to Ukraine grew to 25,900 tonnes from 23,400 tonnes in July, local companies increased their purchasing of low density polyethylene (LDPE) and linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE). At the same time, overall PE imports were 171,100 tonnes in January-August 2021, compared to 182,400 tonnes a year earlier. Imports of all PE grades decreased without exception, with LDPE accounting for the greatest reduction in shipments.

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

Last month's high density polyethylene (HDPE) imports remained at the July's level, totalling about 8,000 tonnes. Overall HDPE imports were 55,400 tonnes in the first eight months of 2021 versus 66,600 tonnes a year earlier.

August LDPE imports were 8,300 tonnes versus 7,300 tonnes a month earlier, Ukrainian companies raised their purchases in Azerbaijan. Overall LDPE imports reached 52,300 tonnes in January-August 2021, down by 4% year on year.

Last month's LLDPE imports reached 7,300 tonnes, compared to 6,400 tonnes in July, shipments of film grade LLDPE from the USA increased. However, overall LLDPE imports were 50,800 tonnes in January-August 2021, down by 2% year on year.

Imports of other PE grades, including ethylene-vinyl-acetate (EVA), totalled 12,600 tonnes over the stated period, compared to 9,300 tonnes a year earlier.


Spain plans to tax plastics production

Spain plans to tax plastics production

MOSCOW (MRC) --The Spanish Cabinet approved a draft law that introduces a new tax on plastic waste, among other environmental measures, said EsPlasticos.

The indirect levy will tax the manufacture, import or acquisition of non-reusable plastic packaging from other European Union countries for use in the Spanish market, according to the Spanish Ministry for Ecological Transition.

The ministry said that the proposed tax is similar to what other countries such as the United Kingdom and Italy are planning to introduce. It would require payment of EUR0.45 for every kilogram of plastic packaging, and is expected to bring in annual revenue of close to EUR724 million, based on 2017 figures.

The European Commission and international organizations such as the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have been urging Spain for years to increase its green taxes and introduce greater penalties for the most contaminating activities.

On Tuesday, the ministry said that based on 2017 figures, revenue from green taxes represented 1.83% of Spain’s gross domestic product (GDP), compared with the EU average of 2.40%. “Spain has the fifth-lowest ratio of environmental revenue-to-GDP of the entire EU,” said the ministry in a release.

The Spanish government first started a public consultation on green taxes in late February, when it discussed the possibility of introducing a tax on single-use plastic packaging. In the end, this levy has been included in a broader draft law on waste and soil contamination. Following its Cabinet approval, the draft will now begin to make its way through parliament.

EsPlastics is a plastics industry-wide trade group founded by ANAIP, the recycling non-profit organisation Cicloplast, the research institute for plastics body Aimplas, as well the European trade group PlasticsEurope.

As per MRC, EU Plastic Tax approved by European Council: A Danger for the EU Single Market & Recovery. The plan foresees a EUR0.80/kg levy on non-recycled plastic packaging waste to be paid by member states into the EU budget.

As MRC informed earlier, an estimated 11 million metric tons (MMt) of plastic waste enter the ocean every year and this will almost triple by 2040, to 29 MMt, if immediate and sustained action is not taken, according to a newly published in-depth report.

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.

bp to invest around USD2 bln in low carbon energy this year

bp to invest around USD2 bln in low carbon energy this year

MOSCOW (MRC) -- bp expects to invest around USD2 billion in low carbon energy in 2021, rising to USD3-4 billion in 2025 and aiming for around USD5 billion in 2030, as per the company's press release.

bp’s strategy aims to significantly expand its low carbon energy interests, with a target of having developed 20GW net of renewable assets by 2025 and aiming for 50GW by 2030.

So far in 2021 bp has entered offshore wind in both the US and UK, acquired a major solar development pipeline in the US and its solar joint venture Lightsource bp has continued to grow. By the end of the first half of 2021, bp had developed 3.7GW of renewable power capacity and had a further 21GW development pipeline.

In line with this strategy, bp has just announced the appointment of Anja-Isabel Dotzenrath as its new executive vice president, gas and low carbon energy, and member of bp’s leadership team.

Until recently she was chief executive officer of RWE Renewables, one of the world’s leading renewables businesses. Anja-Isabel will join bp on March 1st 2022.

Bernard Looney, bp chief executive, said: “I am delighted that Anja has chosen to join us and help lead bp’s transformation from international oil company to integrated energy company. She is exactly the right person for bp, at exactly the right time - a globally respected and deeply experienced leader in renewable energy with a proven track record of transforming and growing businesses.

“I have been hugely impressed by the quality of her strategic thinking and her deep operational expertise. But as impressive as this is, I am even more impressed with how she has done it - leading teams with the right values and a strong sense of purpose. I look forward to welcoming Anja and working together to create value as we drive bp towards net zero and help the world get there too.”

Anja-Isabel Dotzenrath is an electrical engineer with more than 25 years of senior experience in energy, industry and management consultancy, including at the highest level in leading and transforming major renewable energy companies. She led the development of RWE Renewables into one of the world’s largest renewable power companies and the second largest offshore wind player globally, integrating the renewables businesses of E.ON and Innogy into RWE to form RWE Renewables in 2019. Before becoming chief executive of RWE Renewables on its formation, she led E.ON’s Climate & Renewables business as chief executive and previously chief operating officer.

As announced separately, Dev Sanyal, bp’s current EVP gas & low carbon energy, will leave the company at the end of 2021.

As MRC reported before, bp and Lukoil want to quit their Iraqi energy projects due to the current investment environment, the country's oil minister said in July, 2021, 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.

We remind that Russian energy major Lukoil (Moscow) is studying several potential petrochemical projects in Russia and Bulgaria, with investment decisions expected to be made on two of them in 2021.

Thus, Lukoil announced an investment decision in June, 2019, to proceed with a 500,000-metric tons/year polypropylene (PP) plant at its Kstovo refinery. In September this year it selected Lummus Technology’s Novolen PP technology and basic design engineering for the facility’s production unit. Kstovo is one of Lukoil’s largest crude refineries in Russia with a throughput of 17 million metric tons/year, with the company recently adding a catalytic cracking unit that almost doubled the refinery’s production of propylene feedstock to 300,000 metric tons/year.

At Budennovsk in Russia’s far south west, the company’s Stavrolen petchems complex currently has the capacity to produce 350,000 metric tons/year of ethylene, 300,000 metric tons of polyethylene (PE), 120,000 metric tons/year of PP, and 80,000 metric tons of benzene. Lukoil has for several years been considering construction of a new gas chemicals plant at Stavrolen to crack more ethane extracted from associated petroleum gas produced by its oil and gas fields in the north of the Caspian Sea. The potential new plant would raise Stavrolen’s ethylene and PE output to around 600,000 metric tons/year each, and increase PP production to 200,000 metric tons/year.

Ethylene and propylene are the main feedstocks for the production of PE and 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.

bp is one of the world's largest oil and gas companies, serving millions of customers every day in around 80 countries, and employing around 85,000 people. bp’s business segments are Upstream (oil and gas exploration & production), and Downstream (refining & marketing). Through these activities, bpP provides fuel for transportation; energy for heat and light; services for motorists; and petrochemicals products for plastics, textiles and food packaging. It has strong positions in many of the world's hydrocarbon basins and strong market positions in key economies.

Texas refineries run steady although power outages began affecting Texas and Louisiana

Texas refineries run steady although power outages began affecting Texas and Louisiana

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Refineries in Texas continued to operate as usual, although rains, floods and power outages hit Texas and Louisiana on Tuesday, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Tropical Storm Nicholas moved slowly toward the Houston metropolitan area after weakening from a hurricane. Nicholas was about 15 miles (24 km) southwest of Houston, Texas by 7 a.m. Central Time (1200 GMT), heading northeast with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph (95 kph), the National Hurricane Center said in a bulletin, after it hit the Texas coast hours earlier.

Although Hurricane Ida knocked off significant amount of refining capacity in the Gulf Coast earlier this month, Texas refineries remained operating as of early Tuesday. Motiva Enterprises' 607,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) Port Arthur, Texas refinery - the largest in the United States - was operating normally as Nicholas was passing over the area on Tuesday morning, said sources familiar with plant operations.

Royal Dutch Shell Plc's 302,800 bpd joint-venture Deer Park, Texas refinery was also operating normally on Tuesday morning after the passage of Nicholas, said sources familiar with plant operations. Nicholas caused widespread power outages as it crossed over the Houston metropolitan area late Monday night and early Tuesday morning.

About 485,000 customers were without power in Texas on Tuesday, Reuters reported. Texas energy company CenterPoint Energy Inc said on Tuesday that about 400,000 homes and businesses in its Houston-area service territory were without power.

More than 40% of the U.S. Gulf of Mexico's oil and gas output remained offline on Monday, two weeks after Hurricane Ida slammed into the Louisiana coast, according to offshore regulator Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE).

Damages to an offshore hub that pumps oil and gas from three major oilfields for processing onshore and power outages at onshore processing plants are responsible for the production losses. All four liquefied natural gas (LNG) export plants operating along the Gulf of Mexico, meanwhile, remained in service early Tuesday, according to pipeline feedgas data from Refinitiv.

As per MRC, US petroleum consumption recovered to pre-pandemic levels, but there has been a marked shift from consumer-facing sectors towards industry and freight transportation, mirroring the uneven economic recovery. The total volume of petroleum products supplied to domestic customers climbed to 20.1 million barrels per day (bpd) in May, according to the Energy Information Administration. Volumes were down by less than 300,000 bpd (1.4%) from the same month in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic, and were actually 200,000 bpd (1.1%) above the pre-pandemic five-year average for 2015-2019.

As MRC informed earlier, recyclers in Southeast Asia were heard operating with low capacity utilisation in the film grade high density polyethylene (HDPE) market due to COVID-19-led lockdown measures. Market sources also said persistent bottlenecks at ports in Asia and some maintenance-related plant closures are likely to hurt the supply of petrochemicals during the week of Aug. 30-Sept. 3.

We remind that Southeast Asian polyethylene terephthalate (PET) recycling companies will continue facing challenges with the availability of raw materials, due to the low collecting and processing rate, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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. Russia's 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%.


Lukoil is considering partner participation in methanol projects

Lukoil is considering partner participation in methanol projects

MOSCOW (MRC) - Lukoil is considering options for participation on a partnership basis in methanol production projects and expects to make an appropriate decision by the end of the year, said the head of the company Vagit Alekperov in an interview to Kommersant.

"Polypropylene in Nizhny Novgorod will be provided with its own resources. Propylene from the new cracking in Perm, in addition to providing Saratovorgsintez, can be the basis for new petrochemical projects. We are also considering options for partnering in methanol production. We expect to make a decision by the end of the year," - he said.

According to him, Gazprom's gas will most likely be used there, which is about 2 billion cubic meters per year, but if it gives an opportunity, we can make a swap. "Our relations with Gazprom allow us to look at this issue quite optimistically," Alekperov added.

He explained that we are talking about new construction in ports, the company is looking at suitable sites both in the north and in the south of the country. The head of Lukoil also added that all investment decisions to expand the gas processing plant in Budennovsk had been made.

"In the future, we plan to launch a gas chemical complex. We have invited Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak to launch the project. We hope that a joint trip to Stavrolen will take place at the end of September," he said. In addition, the head of Lukoil said that the company is negotiating with Gazprom to buy its gas in Yamal, and if the price rises, it is ready to forcefully put its fields in the region into operation.

At the same time, he added that with a successful outcome of the negotiations, the commissioning could take place at the end of 2023, since the necessary gas pipeline has already been built.

As MRC informed before, Lukoil, the second largest oil company in Russia, has begun construction of a polypropylene (PP) production complex at the Nizhny Novgorod refinery in the city of Kstovo. It is noted that the complex will become the largest polypropylene production facility in Russia integrated into an oil refinery. The raw material for polypropylene production at Lukoil's Nizhny Novgorod site will be propylene from two modernized catalytic cracking units with a capacity of 4 million tons per year. After putting the complex into operation, the enterprise will be able to produce about 500 thousand tons of polypropylene grades.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's 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.

Lukoil is one of the leading vertically integrated oil companies in Russia. The main activities of the company include operations for the exploration and production of oil and gas, production and sale of petroleum products. Lukoil is the second largest privately-owned oil company in the world in terms of proven hydrocarbon reserves. The structure of Lukoil includes one of the largest petrochemical enterprises in Russia - Stavrolen.