Reliance sets up a subsidiary in UAE for trading oil

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Reliance Industries said on Saturday it had set up a wholly-owned subsidiary in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for trading in crude oil, petroleum, petrochemical products, and agricultural commodities, said the company.

Reliance International Ltd (RINL), the new subsidiary, is yet to commence operations, the parent company said in an exchange filing, adding it had invested USD1 million in the new business.

In its brief statement, Reliance Industries, which operates the world's biggest refining complex at Jamnagar in western India, gave no reasons for its decision to set up the new unit and its reasons to locate it in the UAE, though it is in line with it becoming more international in its focus.

It previously bought stakes in a number of overseas exploration and manufacturing assets, and in June it entered an agreement with Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (ADNOC) to build a multi-billion dollar chemical project in Ruwais, marking the group's first investment in a Greenfield overseas project.

Reliance Industries in June announced the appointment of Saudi Aramco (2222.SE) Chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan as a director of Reliance's board and said this was the "beginning of the internationalization of Reliance". The group hopes to formalize this year a deal to sell a 20% stake in its oil-to-chemical business to Aramco.

As MRC informed earlier, Reliance Industries (RIL) has taken off-stream one of its polypropylene (PP) plants in Jamnagar, India for a scheduled maintenance. Thus, this unit with an annual capacity of 400,000 tons/year of PP was shut on 5 August 2021 and will remain idle for approximately one month. The local supply is expected to take a hit from the shutdown, especially when demand is recovering from the COVID-19 outbreak.

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.

Reliance Industries is one of the world's largest producers of polymers. Thus, the company produces among others polypropylene, polyethylene and polyvinyl chloride.

BP invests at Cherry Point refinery to reduce CO2 emissions

BP invests at Cherry Point refinery to reduce CO2 emissions

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BP announced plans for a USD269 million investment in three projects at its Cherry Point Refinery in Washington state, aimed at improving the refinery’s efficiency, reducing its carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and increasing its renewable diesel production capability, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

These projects are expected to create more than 300 local jobs over the next three years. This includes more than 200 construction jobs, 25 engineering jobs and approximately 40 support roles. bp currently supports more than 36,600 jobs in Washington. The investment is aligned with bp’s aims to be net zero across its operations by 2050 or sooner and to reduce the carbon intensity of the products it sells by 50% by 2050 or sooner.

David Lawler, chairman and president, bp America: “bp’s new investment in Cherry Point builds on a half century of innovation in Washington state. It will position us to provide lower carbon energy while creating jobs and reducing emissions in our operations."

The USD169m Hydrocracker Improvement Project (HIP) will improve efficiency and reduce periods of planned maintenance, resulting in fewer unit shutdowns and associated flaring events. The hydrocracker is the “heart” of the refinery. In this unit, heavy oils are subjected to high temperatures and pressure – in the presence of hydrogen – to produce gasoline, diesel and jet fuel.

Upon project completion, the hydrocracker will consume less hydrogen, which is produced at the refinery by conversion of natural gas, producing CO2 emissions. In addition, the hydrocracker will require less heat input from the consumption of gaseous fuel in refinery process heaters than it does today. Work on the hydrocracker will begin later this year and is expected to finish in 2023.

The USD55m Cooling Water Infrastructure Project (CWI) will enhance cooling water infrastructure, allowing for increased utilization, better energy efficiency, and a related reduction in CO2 emissions.

Just as a radiator in a car cools the engine, cooling towers in the refinery enable cooling for process units through circulation of water. Water is recycled in this system, and as much ambient heat as possible is recovered.

Cooling water is vital to safe operations. This project will improve reliability by enabling the refinery to maintain an optimum cooling water temperature year-round. Increasing efficiency in cooling produces fewer light hydrocarbons, such as methane and ethane, that are combusted in process heaters and utility boilers. Work on the cooling water infrastructure will begin later this year and is expected to be completed in 2023.

The HIP and CWI projects are together estimated to reduce CO2 emissions from operations at Cherry Point by approximately 160,000 tons per year, or seven percent – equivalent to taking more than 32,000 US cars2 off the road.

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 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.

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.

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, BP 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.

Epsilyte acquired StyroChem to expand capacity

Epsilyte acquired StyroChem to expand capacity

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Epsilyte Holdings LLC has acquired StyroChem Canada, Ltd., a leading North American producer of expandable polystyrene (EPS) located in Baie d’Urfe, Quebec, from PMC Capital Partners, LLC, said Bloomberg.

Epsilyte is owned by Balmoral Funds and management.

This acquisition creates one of the largest producers of EPS in North America. Epsilyte will now operate three production sites, employ more than 300 associates, and provide customer solutions in more than 20 countries. Epsilyte expects to integrate StyroChem functions and operations into its current organization with minimal impact to StyroChem assets, employees and customers.

"We are thrilled to complete this acquisition and we welcome the StyroChem associates to the Epsilyte team,” said Brad Crocker, President and Chief Executive Officer, of Epsilyte. “Our advanced materials are already key enablers of carbon neutrality due to their almost unmatched insulative properties. This acquisition further strengthens our ability to enhance our portfolio through StyroChem’s unique and efficient operational technology enabling us to better serve customers with more sustainable products and true value creation.” Mr. Crocker went on to say “StyroChem has really benefited from their forward thinking and experienced management team and I’m excited to work closely with Glenn Wredenhagen, the President of StyroChem, to build a company of scale that truly cares about our industry, our customers, and our communities."

According to David Shainberg of Balmoral Funds, “This acquisition enables Epsilyte to leverage its resources to continue improving its business and expanding its product portfolio. We are excited about the prospects to improve our ESG message and performance based on this exciting combination."

Details of the transaction were not announced.

Earlier it was reported that sales of expandable polystyrene (EPS) in the domestic North American market increased by 18.8% in the first eight months of 2021 compared to the same period last year. Export sales of EPS in the region increased by 13.1%.

According to the MRC's ScanPlast, the total estimated consumption of EPS in August increased by 15% compared to August last year and amounted to 11,650 tonnes. The total production volume of EPS for the reporting month amounted to 8,770 tonnes, a decrease in comparison with August last year amounted to 8%.

Epsilyte is one of North America’s leading producers of advanced materials used in construction, packaging, and safety equipment. We are a company of scale focused on solving customer needs for efficient, highly insulative materials. Our more than 300 employees focus every day on reducing energy usage in buildings; ensuring safe and healthy food through innovative packaging technology; protecting lives with our impact resistant technology; and enabling cost effective and efficient infrastructure investment around the world. Epsilyte is a portfolio company of Balmoral Funds LLC. For more information please visit

COVID-19 - News digest as of 04.10.2021

1. Russian idle primary oil refining capacity to revise up 9% in October

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Russia is expected to have 3.464 million tonnes of primary oil refining capacity offline in October, a weekly estimate based on Refinitiv Eikon data and Reuters calculations showed on Friday, up 9.1% from last week's estimate, according to Hydrocarbonprocessing. That is still be lower than the previous month, with many plants expected to finish maintenance. Expected idled refining capacity for September was estimated at 3.943 million tonnes, down 7.9% from last week's estimate. The revisions follow adjustments to maintenance schedules by some refineries.


More than a quarter of European PVC plants shut for turnarounds

More than a quarter of European PVC plants shut for turnarounds

MOSCOW (MRC) -- More than a quarter of the total production of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) in Europe is currently idle, as plants are shut for scheduled and unscheduled maintenance works, reports Kunststoffweb.

The total PVC production capacity in Europe is approximately 8.7 mln tonnes per year. Market players expect that the availability of SPVC is unlikely to improve in October and even until the end of the year. There will be an acute shortage, and prices will continue to rise, as plants continue to be closed due to force majeure and planned shutdowns.

For example, INOVYN, one of the largest producers of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) in the world, on 17 September announced force majeure for PVC shipment from the German city of Rheinberg due to interruptions in the supply of VCM. This production with a capacity of 320,000 tonnes/year of PVC and 250,000 tonnes/year of VCM was closed for an unknown time.

According to MRC's DataScope report, August SPVC imports to Russia exceeded 14,000 tonnes from 8,700 tonnes in July. Good seasonal demand and a shortage of polymer from Russian producers led to a jump in imports in July-August. Overall imports totalled 42,700 tonnes in the first eight months of 2021, compared to 35,700 tonnes a year earlier, with PVC from China accounting for the main increase in imports.