Neftekhim Ltd shut its PP production for turnaround

Neftekhim Ltd shut its PP production for turnaround

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Neftekhim Ltd, Kazakhstan's only polypropylene (PP) producer, has shut down its PP production for a scheduled maintenance, according to ICIS-MRC Price report.

The plant's customers said the Kazakh producer had completely took off-stream its PP output for a planned turnaround by 27 September. The exact dates of the outage have not been announced yet; initially, the repairs were scheduled to be carried out within 28 days.

Neftekhim Ltd was commissioned in 2009. The company produces methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) and polypropylene (PP). The plant's PP production with the capacity of 45,000 tonnes/year was launched in 2011; the plant did not have PP granulation unit then, polymer was produced in the form of powder, which limited its field of application.

COVID-19 - News digest as of 28.09.2021

1. Indian refiners prepare to change the structure of crude oil imports

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Indian refiners are gearing up to alter their crude oil import mix in favour of lighter grades that yield more gasoline to meet a surge in demand for the motor fuel in Asia’s third-largest economy, said Reuters. Refiners in the world’s No. 3 oil importer and consumer will increase imports of gasoline-yielding crudes from the United States and West Africa, while cutting heavier sour grades from the Middle East that yield more middle distillates like diesel and kerosene, they said. The move dovetails with an earlier push to reduce India’s reliance on Middle Eastcrudes to enhance energy security. “The gasoline demand is very, very strong, whereas diesel is lagging behind right now,” said Amrita Sen, head of research at Energy Aspects. "Refiners are shifting yields further to gasoline ... I would expect more West African, gasoline-rich crude to flow into India, less sour crude to go in there." Indian refineries are designed to maximise diesel production mostly from Middle Eastern oil, as government-controlled prices made the middle distillate the preferred fuel for industries and trucking firms. But a narrowing price gap between gasoline and diesel, and a consumer switch to personal vehicles instead of diesel-powered public transport since the onset of the coronavirus, are helping to lift gasoline consumption.


Celanese declares force majeure on VAM supply from its plant in Nanjing

Celanese declares force majeure on VAM supply from its plant in Nanjing

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Celanese Corporation, a global chemical and specialty materials company, has announced a force majeure (FM) in China for vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) shipments from its plant Nanjing, China, as per the company's press release.

Besides, the FM also includes other products supply from this site, as follows: acetic anhydride, vinyl acetate emulsions and redispersible powders.

Celanese has temporarily shut down its acetic anhydride and VAM production in Nanjing to comply with recent requirements of government departments in order to achieve dual energy consumption targets in the Jiangsu Province in 2021.

Thus, its VAM plan with the capacity of 300,000 mt/year was shut on 17 September, 2021, and its is expected to resume operations in late September.

Meanwhile, Celanese continues to operate its acetic acid production unit in Nanjing.

As MRC reported earlier, in H2 February, 2021, Celanese declared force majeure on its products in the Americas and EMEA region due to the severe winter weather that has heavily curtailed US petrochemicals and refinery production and operations on the US Gulf Coast.

According to MRC's DataScope report, June EVA imports to Russia fell by 18,32% year on year to 2,400 tonnes from 2,940 tonnes a year earlier, and overall imports of this grade of ethylene copolymer into the Russian Federation rose in January-June 2021 by 26,19% year on year to 22,020 tonnes (17,450 tonnes in the first seven months of 2020).

Celanese Corporation is a global technology leader in the production of differentiated chemistry solutions and specialty materials used in most major industries and consumer applications. Based in Dallas, Celanese employs approximately 7,700 employees worldwide and had 2020 net sales of USD5.7 billion.

Crude oil futures rise in Asia amid bullish fundamentals an supply restrictions

Crude oil futures rise in Asia amid bullish fundamentals an supply restrictions

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Crude oil futures were higher in mid-morning trade in Asia Sept. 28 amid bullish fundamentals and supply restrictions, reported S&P Global.

At 10:20 am Singapore time (0220 GMT), the ICE November Brent futures contract was up 22 cents/b (0.28%) from the previous close at USD79.75/b, while the NYMEX November light sweet crude contract was 25 cents/b (0.33%) higher at USD75.70/b.

"The catalyst driving oil prices strength continues to be the bullish demand outlook and near-term constrained supply, leading to a greater-than-expected drawdowns in crude inventories over the past two weeks," IG Market Strategist, Yeap Jun Rong told S&P Global on Sept 28.

Brent prices have also seen to be surging towards the USD80/b mark. ING research analysts have said in a research note on Sept. 28 that given the strength across the energy complex, it is probably only a matter of time before Brent finally breaches USD80/b.

The last time front-month ICE Brent crossed USD80/b intraday was on Oct. 23, 2018, and Brent last settled above that level on Oct. 17, 2018.

Sharing similar sentiment, several analysts have also noted that the global energy crisis could see demand for crude increase if the northern hemisphere experiences a cold winter, with many countries not equipped to cope.

The record level of natural gas prices and insufficient gas reserves in Europe have offered a significant boost on the demand side, leaving oil as a potentially attractive alternative.

Amid the bullish demand outlook, restrictions on the supply side is also providing additional support to the oil complex.
Global supply outlooks have come under pressure as extended production outages in the US Gulf of Mexico have sent US crude inventories sharply lower in recent weeks.

Inventory withdrawals have also been strong across the US, with oil inventories falling to a three-year low of 414,000 barrels. Fuel shortages are widening, putting upward pressure on oil prices, added ANZ research analysts.

As informed earlier, Shell said earlier this month it observed damage from Hurricane Ida to its transfer station West Delta-143 offshore facilities in the Gulf of Mexico. West Delta-143 serves as the transfer station for all production from its assets in the Mars corridor in the Mississippi Canyon area of the Gulf of Mexico to onshore crude terminals. Shell said then it was not yet safe to send personnel offshore to learn the full extent of the damage and estimate the effect on production.

We remind that in late August, 2021, US crude stocks dropped sharply while petroleum products supplied by refiners hit an all-time record despite the rise in coronavirus cases nationwide, the Energy Information Administration said. Crude inventories fell by 7.2 million barrels in the week to Aug. 27 to 425.4 million barrels, compared with analysts' expectations in a Reuters poll for a 3.1 million-barrel drop. Product supplied by refineries, a measure of demand, rose to 22.8 million barrels per day in the most recent week. That's a one-week record, and signals strength in consumption for diesel, gasoline and other fuels by consumers and exporters.

We also remind that 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.

Asia oil demand approaching pre-pandemic levels as recovery gains momentum due to lower COVID-19 infections

Asia oil demand approaching pre-pandemic levels as recovery gains momentum due to lower COVID-19 infections

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Japanese and Indian refiners said Sept. 28 they were cautiously optimistic about the regional oil demand reaching pre-pandemic levels, as the pace of recovery gains momentum due to lower COVID-19 infections, with India taking slightly longer to get there, reported S&P Global.

Higher demand for fossil fuels gasoline and diesel was leading the recovery in Asia, with the consumption in some countries already past the pre-pandemic levels, but weak jet fuel demand was a drag.

Weak jet fuel demand from the aviation sector amid the coronavirus crisis has kept regional refinery runs "significantly" constrained, but there was gaining optimism from vaccine rollouts despite the varied pace in different countries, Kawaguchi said.

India's refineries were currently operating at 90% of their capacity, and processing 4.5 million b/d of crude oil with 5.02 million b/d refining capacity, Debash Patra, executive director Bharat Petroleum Corp. said at the APPEC session, as the country's economy recovers from the pandemic.

The country's pre-pandemic oil consumption was still a few years away, as the aviation fuel recovery was primarily lagging, he said.

"The Indian oil consumption as per my estimate is set to bounce back to pre-covid level in second year from now, that is 2023," Patra said.

India's gasoline demand was 7%-8% above the pre-pandemic levels currently, with diesel demand lower by about 7%-8%, according to Indian Oil Corp. Chairman, Shrikant Madhav Vaidya.

As MRC informed earlier, Indian refiners' crude oil throughput in August dipped to its lowest in 10 months due to ongoing maintenance activities at multiple refineries, according to government data. Refiners processed 4.36 million barrels per day (18.44 million tons) of crude oil last month, the lowest since October 2020 and about 4.8% lower than 4.58 million bpd processed in July. Maintenance activities at some facilities limited production in August, Refinitiv analyst Ehsan Ul Haq said, adding that demand was likely to resume as the festival season approaches, provided cases of COVID-19 remain low.

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 January-July 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.