Covestro inks green hydrogen supply deal with Australia’s Fortescue Future Industries

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Australian Fortescue Metals Group said on Monday it intends to sign a long-term deal to supply German chemicals maker Covestro AG with "green hydrogen" and its derivatives, reported Reuters.

Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) will supply the equivalent of up to 100,000 tonnes of green hydrogen per year once the deal is formalised, it said on its website.

"This collaboration reinforces that green hydrogen is a practical, implementable solution for a range of difficult-to-decarbonise industries," FFI Chief Executive Officer Julie Shuttleworth said.

Under the deal, green hydrogen - a clean-burning fuel made by using energy from renewable sources to electrolyse water - will potentially be supplied to Covestro in Asia, North America and Europe from 2024 onwards.

Fortescue, which aims to become carbon-neutral by 2030, has signed a string of projects through FFI over the past year to underline its push to transition from a pure-play iron ore producer to a green energy firm.

FFI expects to spend between USD400 million and USD600 million this financial year to develop green trains, trucks and shipping, as welll as decarbonisation technologies. It also expects to expand its green hydrogen production to 15 million tonnes per year by 2030.

As MRC informed before, in April 2021, DSM completed the sale of the resins & functional materials businesses to Covestro for EUR1.6 billion (USD1.9 billion), including EUR1.4 billion in cash.

We remind that Covestro closed the sale of its European polycarbonates (PC) sheets business to the Munich-based Serafin Group effective January 2, 2020. This includes key management and sales functions throughout Europe as well as production sites in Belgium and Italy.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated consumption of PC granules (excluding imports and exports to/from Belarus) decreased in the first eleven months of 2021 by 11% year on year due to a major fall of imports and higher exports. Thus, overall estimated consumption in Russia totalled 74,300 tonnes in January-November 2021 versus 83,600 tonnes a year earlier.

Covestro (formerly Bayer MaterialScience) is an independent subgroup within Bayer. It was created as part of the restructuring of Bayer AG from the former business group Bayer Polymers, with certain of its activities being spun off to Lanxess AG. Covestro manufactures and develops materials such as coatings, adhesives and sealants, polycarbonates (CDs, DVDs), polyurethanes (automotive seating, insulation for refrigerating appliances) etc. With 2020 sales of EUR 10.7 billion, Covestro has 33 production sites worldwide and employs approximately 16,500 people (calculated as full-time equivalents).

Pipe extruder Aliaxis acquires fittings maker Harco

Pipe extruder Aliaxis acquires fittings maker Harco

MOSCOW (MRC) -- In a move that has ramifications for the Canadian market, Brussels-based piping systems maker Aliaxis SA is acquiring Harco, a Lynchburg, Va.-based producer of gasketed fittings, said Canpastics.

The financial terms of the deal have not been announced. Harco will become part of Ipex Group, an Aliaxis brand and company that has corporate headquarters in Oakville, Ontario. Ipex also has manufacturing facilities and distribution centres across North America and a U.S. headquarters, Ipex USA LLC, in Pineville, N.C.

Ipex makes a range of thermoplastic piping systems for the North American market. Harco’s annual revenues were roughly USD75 million in 2021, Aliaxis officials said in a Jan. 19 news release.

“Harco is a well-established brand in municipal, irrigation and agriculture end-markets,” Aliaxis CEO Eric Olsen said. “With this acquisition, we will continue to strengthen our presence in the U.S."

As per MRC, Aliaxis (Brussels) acquired the remaining shares in its Chilean competitor Vinilit (Santiago de Chilel) in a deal the financial details of which were not disclosed. The Belgian group already owned a 40% stake in Vinilit and bought the outstanding shares from construction group Pizarreno (Santiago / Chilel), which in turn belongs to Etex (Brussels / Belgium).

We remind, Ipex has completed its stock purchase of Silver-Line Plastics. Silver-Line Plastics is a U.S. manufacturer of plastic pipe products with production facilities in North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Florida.

The Aliaxis Group is a leading global manufacturer and distributor of primarily plastic fluid handling systems used in residential and commercial construction, as well as in industrial and public infrastructure applications.

COVID-19 - News digest as of 25.01.2022

1. Sumitomo Chemical to expand LCP capacity in Japan

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Sumitomo Chemical is building additional production lines for its liquid crystal polymer (LCP) super engineering plastic at the company's site in Ehime, said the company. This expansion will increase the group’s production capacity of LCP by around 30%, it said in a statement. The new production lines are scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2023. LCP has been used for a broad range of applications, including electronic components for PCs and smartphones. Demand for LCP is continuing to grow strongly as the rollout of 5G data communications systems is progressing at scale, while electric vehicles are becoming more popular on the back of accelerated efforts to mitigate environmental impact. To immediately address a recent tightening of the global supply-demand conditions, Sumitomo Chemical has decided to construct new facilities to increase its production capacity for LCP.


OQ Chem to restart its PP plant in Oman after unscheduled shutdown

OQ Chem to restart its PP plant in Oman after unscheduled shutdown

MOSCOW (MRC) -- OQ Chem plans to resume operations at its polypropylene (PP) plant in Liwa Plastics Industries Complex (LPIC), Oman after an unscheduled turnaround, according to CommoPlast with reference to market sources.

This plant was unexpectedly taken off-stream on 10 January, 2022, due to a technical issue following seawater backflow.

The PP plant that consists of three production lines with a combined capacity of 300,000 tons/year will remain shut for about two weeks.

Meanwhile, the company’s 880,000 tons/year polyethylene (PE plant) was not affected by the incident.

As MRC reported earlier, in May, 2020, Energy powerhouse OQ (formerly Oman Oil and Orpic Group) announced the launch of the commissioning phase of Liwa Plastics Industries Complex (LPIC), a giant petrochemicals project being set up at an investment of USD6.7 billion.

According to MR's ScanPlast report, PP shipments to the Russian market were 1,363,850 tonnes in January-November, 2021, up by 25% year on year. Supply of homopolymer PP and block-copolymers of propylene (PP block copolymers) increased, whereas supply of injection moulding PP random copolymers decreased significantly.

PE imports to Ukraine rise by 4% in 2021

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Last year's overall polyethylene (PE) imports into the Ukrainian market reached 277,300 tonnes in the first eleven months of 2021, up by 4% year on year. Shipments of all PE grades increased with one exception, according to a MRC's DataScope report.

Last month's PE imports to Ukraine were 30,500 tonnes versus 26,400 tonnes in November, local companies raised their purchasing of low density polyethylene (LDPE) and high density polyethylene (HDPE). Thus, overall PE imports reached 177,300 tonnes in 2021, compared to 165,900 tonnes a year earlier. Only HDPE imports decreased, whereas imports of other PE grades increased. The structure of PE imports by grades looked the following way over the stated period.

Last month's HDPE imports grew to 10,700 tonnes from 9,600 tonnes a year earlier, shipments of film grade and pipe grade PE increased. Overall HDPE imports totalled 90,700 tonnes in the twelve months of 2021 versus 97,300 tonnes a year earlier.

December LDPE imports were 10,900 tonnes versus 8,100 tonnes a month earlier, Ukrainian companies raised their PE purchases in Azerbaijan and Belarus. Overall LDPE imports reached 86,300 tonnes over the stated period, up by 9% year on year.

Last month's linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) imports were 7,300 tonnes, which virtually corresponded to the November figure. Thus, overall LLDPE imports reached 81,800 tonnes in 2021, up by 8% year on year.

Imports of other PE grades, including ethylene-vinyl-acetate (EVA), totalled about 18,500 tonnes last year, compared to 13,400 tonnes a year earlier.