Chinese jet fuel exports to rise significantly in September amid domestic COVID-19 travel restrictions

Chinese jet fuel exports to rise significantly in September amid domestic COVID-19 travel restrictions

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Chinese jet fuel exports are expected to exceed 1 million mt in September, a level not seen since April 2020 and well above the average monthly 663,000 mt exports over January-August, as the country's latest COVID-19 travel restrictions has severely impacted air travel to and from the southern province of Fujian, multiple industry sources told S&P Global Sept. 21.

This is the latest setback to the sustained recovery in the Asian jet fuel market amid rising COVID-19 infections in many countries in the region.

Given the surge in the number of COVID-19 cases in Fujian, Chinese authorities have imposed tighter travel restrictions out of Putian, Quanzhou, and Xiamen as of Sept. 14 to contain the virus spread.

The delta variant infections, which initially started at Nanjing and Guangzhou, has dragged the country's air passenger traffic lower since H2 July. Since then, local authorities have tightened preventive measures at two of the country's busiest air hubs, heavily reducing passenger flow. Air travel was expected to pick up in July and August during the school holidays, however, the spread of the delta variant since H2 July has delayed this recovery.

Commercial flights, on the other hand, have declined 50% in mid-August from mid-July, according to data from global flight tracker, Radar Box.

Prior to the latest set back in Fujian, flight flow had shown a robust comeback with the virus spread under control. During the first week of September, commercial flights had risen nearly 60% from the mid-August low, while Nanjing airport restarted operations Aug. 26.

The latest travel restrictions in Fujian may impact the 240,000 b/d Quanzhou refinery operated by state-owned Sinochem, sources told S&P Global.

"With domestic jet fuel demand in the province likely to be weighed (down) by the latest travel restrictions, the refinery may have to look to the export market to relieve some inventory pressure, especially with elevated run rates this month in response to the anticipated surge in jet fuel demand over the seven-day long (National Day) holidays in early October," a Singapore-based trader said Sept. 20.

A Sinochem source said the situation would force the company to concentrate on jet fuel exports from its Quanzhou refinery for the rest of 2021.

As MRC informed before, in December 2020, KBR announced that Sinochem Quanzhou Petrochemical Co. had successfully commissioned a new ethylene facility in Quanzhou, Fujian Province, China, utilizing KBR's SCORE (Selective Cracking Optimum Recovery) technology. The 1-million-t/y ethylene plant is part of Sinochem's grassroots integrated refining and petrochemical complex, which also includes a 400,000-t/y high-density polyethylene (HDPE) facility, which recently achieved on-spec production, as well as an 800,000-t/y paraxylene (PX) plant, a 350,000-t/y polypropylene (PP) unit and an aromatics extraction unit with 300,000 t/y of capacity.

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 1,396,960 tonnes in the first seven months of 2021, up by 7% year on year. Shipments of all grades of ethylene polymers increased. At the same time, PP shipments to the Russian market were 841,990 tonnes in the first seven months of 2021, up by 29% year on year. Supply of propylene homopolymers (homopolymer PP) and block-copolymers of propylene (PP block copolymers) increased, whereas supply of statistical copolymers of propylene (PP random copolymers) subsided.

SABIC introduces new automotive grades with up to 29% of recycled polymers

SABIC introduces new automotive grades with up to 29% of recycled polymers

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC), a global leader in the chemical industry, has launched the company’s first automotive grades containing mechanically recycled content within the company’s TRUCIRCLE portfolio of circular solutions and services, as per the company's press release.

The new resins are SABIC T2E-3320EH PP compound, a high-flow, low-emission, talc-filled polypropylene (PP); XENOY T2NX2500UV resin, an unfilled, UV-stabilized blend of polycarbonate (PC) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET); and XENOY T2NX5230 resin, a mineral-filled PC/PET blend. All three materials contain up to 29% recycled content and offer excellent performance similar to that of the incumbent virgin resins, giving automotive customers new options that can help them address their sustainability goals.

“The new TRUCIRCLE materials support the automotive industry’s sustainability initiatives by providing an opportunity to extend the life of plastic waste and helping to increase value from post-consumer products,” said Abdullah Al-Otaibi, general manager, ETP & Market Solutions, SABIC. “These new products are the first of many SABIC resins to be introduced with mechanically recycled content for potential use in interior and exterior automotive applications. They also may complement other types of sustainable materials, such as certified renewable products from bio-based content, which we are also developing. It’s all part of SABIC’s strategy to accelerate towards a true circular economy.”

SABIC T2E-3320EH PP compound features stiffness, low emissions and high heat resistance for non-visible heating/ventilation/air conditioning (HVAC) components within the instrument panel and interior and under-the-hood parts. An internal life cycle assessment (LCA) showed SABIC T2E-3320EH PP compound offers a reduced product carbon footprint of up to 24% compared to the corresponding virgin PP compound because it incorporates 25% recycled PP.

SABIC’s XENOY T2NX2500UV resin contains 21% recycled PET. It provides excellent heat and impact performance, dimensional stability and low shrinkage for painted exterior body panels, spoilers, fuel filler doors and trim. It is also UV stabilized for potential use in unpainted applications. SABIC’s LCA data indicates this grade lowers global warming potential (GWP) by 11% and cumulative energy demand (CED) by 12% vs. virgin material.

SABIC’s XENOY T2NX5230 resin contains 16% mineral reinforcement and 29% recycled PET. Similar to XENOY T2NX2500UV resin, it delivers properties that make it a potential solution for painted body panels, trim and other components. The product’s reinforcement delivers higher stiffness and a lower coefficient of linear thermal expansion (CLTE) compared to XENOY T2NX2500UV resin, making XENOY T2NX5230 resin a good candidate for roof spoilers and exterior trim. Both XENOY grades offer high flow for improved throughput.

SABIC’s complete TRUCIRCLE offering comprises design for recyclability services, mechanically recycled materials, certified circular products from chemical recycling of used plastics and certified renewable polymers from bio-based feedstock.

As MRC reported earlier, in April 2021, SABIC announced the launch of a new recycled material made from ocean bound plastic which had been recovered from ocean-feeding waterways and inland areas within a 50 kilometer radius of the ocean. The ocean bound material is mechanically recycled and converted into components for new consumer goods and electronics applications, such as TV remote controls and electronic razors. It has the potential to also be used in other industries in the future, such as automotive. According to the company's statement, part of SABIC’S TRUCIRCLE portfolio and services, the new recycled material is a XENOY PC/PET compound comprising of a minimum 10% recycled ocean bound PET blended with PC.

According to MRC' ScanPlast report, overall estimated consumption of PC granules in the Russian market were almost 56,000 tonnes in January-July 2021, down by 3% year on year (58,000 tonnes).

SABIC ranks among the world's top petrochemical companies. The company is among the world's market leaders in the production of polyethylene, polypropylene and other advanced thermoplastics, glycols, methanol and fertilizers.

Rotomolder Solar Plastics expands into Mexico

MOSCOW (MRC) -- U.S.-based rotational molder Solar Plastics LLC has announced plans to expand into Mexico, said Canplastics.

The company, which is headquartered in Delano, Minnesota, is building a new manufacturing plant in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico. The plant is currently under construction, Solar Plastics officials said in a Sept. 13 news release, and the firm expects to take occupancy of the building in the fourth quarter of this year.

The release said that “recent significant growth and existing customer volume commitments” are forecasted to push the company’s current facilities in Delano and in Davenport, Iowa beyond capacity limits. “Trends in labour availability was a major factor into the decision to look at additional manufacturing capacity outside of its current footprint,” the release also said.

"We are experiencing increased domestic demands across all of our business sectors,” Solar Plastics president Sam Rosen said. “When you add in our customers ‘re-shoring’ efforts, it made the additional investment opportunity very attractive."

The facility will start with 55,000 square feet, which can be increased to over 300,000 square feet. Production is scheduled to begin in the first half of 2022. Solar Plastics is a contract manufacturer, and is part of the ATEK Companies.

As MRC informed earlier, Amcor Rigid Plastics, part of Australia-based global packaging supplier Amcor, has announced that it will invest USD40 million in a major expansion of its Bellevue, Ohio manufacturing facility.

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.

Nizhnekamskneftekhim started production of a new grade of polystyrene for food packaging

Nizhnekamskneftekhim started production of a new grade of polystyrene for food packaging

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Nizhnekamskneftekhim (NKNKh, part of TAIF) has launched the production of a new brand of low-flow general-purpose polystyrene PSON 30FEB, which is primarily intended for food packaging manufacturers, the company said.

It is noted that a distinctive feature of the new PSON brand is a high molecular weight and practically no residual styrene, therefore it can be used in the extrusion of foamed products, for the production of foamed heat-insulating sheets, as well as for the production of biaxially oriented (BOPS) polymer films.

The company emphasizes that the food film obtained from general-purpose polystyrene grade PSON 30FEB is safe for human health, withstands high mechanical and thermal loads, and does not enter into chemical reactions with food.

As per ICIS-MRC Price report, Nizhnekamskneftekhim (NKNKh, part of TAIF Group) shut its polyethylene (PE) production capacities for a scheduled turnaround on 17 September. According to the producer"s clients, producer started the scheduled shutdown of linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) on 17 September. The shutdown will be short and will last for about 10 days. As it was reported earlier, Nizhnekamskneftekhim shut its ethylene production for scheduled turnaround from 14 September to 16 September.

According to MRC's ScanPlast, July total estimated consumption of PS and styrene plastics in Russia increased by 4% compared to the same month last year and amounted to 46,540 tonnes. The total consumption of PS in the country amounted to 328,980 tonnes, up 23% year on year in January - July 2021.

Nizhnekamskneftekhim is one of the largest petrochemical companies in Eastern Europe, occupying a leading position among domestic producers of synthetic rubbers, plastics and ethylene. Part of the TAIF group of companies, Tatarstan. The nomenclature of manufactured products includes more than 120 items. The products of the joint-stock company are exported to 50 countries in Europe, America and Southeast Asia. The share of exports in the total volume of production is about 50%.

Shell targets to produce sustainable aviation fuel at scale by 2025

Shell targets to produce sustainable aviation fuel at scale by 2025

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Royal Dutch Shell plans to start producing low-carbon jet fuel at scale by 2025, in an attempt to encourage the world's airlines to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reported Reuters.

Aviation, accounting for 3% of the world's carbon emissions, is considered one of the toughest sectors to tackle due to a lack of alternative technologies to jet fueled-engines.

Shell, one of the world's largest oil traders, said it aims to produce 2 million tons of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) by 2025, a ten-fold increase from today's total global output.

Produced from waste cooking oil, plants and animal fats, SAF could cut up to 80% of aviation emissions, Shell said.

Shell, which at present only supplies SAF produced by others, including Finnish refiner Neste, said on Monday it wants green jet fuel, which can be blended with regular aviation fuel with little need to change plane engines, to make up 10% of its global aviation fuel sales by 2030.

SAF accounts for less than 0.1% of today's global aviation fuel demand, which reached around 330 million tons in 2019, investment bank Jefferies said.

Growing the market faces several hurdles, primarily due to the cost of SAF, which is currently up to 8 times higher than regular jet fuel, and the limited availability of feedstock.

Shell said it wants others to follow its lead.

"We also expect other companies to add to it with their own production plants," Anna Mascolo, head of Shell Aviation, told Reuters.

The United States said last week it wants to cut aircraft greenhouse-gas emissions by 20% by the end of the decade by significantly boosting SAF usage.

Anglo-Dutch shell, which aims to reduce emissions from fuels it sells to net zero by 2050, is in the midst of a large overhaul aimed at producing more low-carbon fuels such as biodiesel and SAF, as well as hydrogen. Shell plans to build a biofuels processing plant at its Rotterdam refinery with an annual capacity of 820,000 tons, with SAF set to make up more than half of the output. The plant is expected to start production in 2024.

In a new report on the decarbonisation of aviation published together with Deloitte, Shell called for the sector to cut its emissions to net zero by 2050.

As MRC informed earlier, Royal Dutch Shell plans to reduce its refining and chemicals portfolio by more than half, it said in July 2020 without giving a precise timeframe. The move is part of the Anglo-Dutch company's plan to shrink its oil and gas business and expand its renewables and power division to reduce greenhouse gas emissions sharply by 2050.

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.

Royal Dutch Shell plc is an Anglo-Dutch multinational oil and gas company headquartered in The Hague, Netherlands and with its registered office in London, United Kingdom. It is the biggest company in the world in terms of revenue and one of the six oil and gas "supermajors". Shell is vertically integrated and is active in every area of the oil and gas industry, including exploration and production, refining, distribution and marketing, petrochemicals, power generation and trading.