Sinopec Maoming had to shut several PP and PE lines in China

Sinopec Maoming had to shut several PP and PE lines in China
Sinopec Maoming Petrochemical, a subsidiary of Sinopec, one of the world's largest energy and chemical companies, has stopped HDPE and LDL production in Maoming, China, due to a fire, said Commonplast.

So, on 8 June, the company shut the production of LDPE on line No. 2 with a capacity of 280,000 tonnes and HDPE with a capacity of 400,000 tonnes per year for an unknown time.

It was previously reported that Sinopec Maoming Petrochemical, a subsidiary of one of the world's largest energy and chemical companies - Sinopec, almost completely stopped the production of aromatics and ethylene production from the cracking unit in Maoming (China) due to a fire. The fire occurred on the afternoon of Wednesday, 8 June, and was extinguished approximately two hours later, the company said.

According to sources close to the company, cracking unit No. 2 with a capacity of 640,000 tonnes of ethylene per year was stopped due to a fire, and the capacity for the production of polyethylene and polypropylene, respectively, was 680,000 tonnes and 500,000 tonnes per year, respectively.

The 380,000 tpa ethylene cracker N1, which was under maintenance and scheduled to restart on Thursday, could also extend the overhaul, a market source said.

Benzene production was also suspended. Due to this accident, the launch of new styrene production facilities with a capacity of 420,000 tonnes per year may be delayed. The company's existing styrene production capacity of 100,000 tonnes is under maintenance, a source at the company said, and the new capacity was put into test mode earlier this year.

The resumption of MEG production with a capacity of 120,000 tonnes per year was postponed due to a fire.

Earlier it was reported that Sinopec Maoming Petrochemical closed the production of butadiene on line No. 2 in Guangdong province (China) on June 8 due to technical reasons. It is not yet known how long the maintenance will continue on this line with a capacity of 100,000 tonnes per year. According to information received from a source in the market close to the company, there was a fire at the plant, and the No. 2 cracker and butadiene production were stopped.

North American PP market to see two startups, challenged demand in 2022

North American PP market to see two startups, challenged demand in 2022

North American polypropylene producers won't see this year a repeat of 2021, when stronger-than-expected demand as the pandemic eased after vaccines met extreme supply tightness, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

This year is different not just because of startups in Louisiana and Canada that will add resin but also because demand isn't as strong.

“Pretending to maintain last year's margins is hard considering we are in a pretty balanced market, with all this new capacity about to be added up, and taken to a market with a weakened demand environment,” said a market participant, speaking on the condition that his name be withheld. North American supply will soon increase by 10%, the source estimated.

Officials at Braskem, North America's biggest polypropylene producer, said in May, during the first quarter 2022 earnings call, that they projected for 2022 spreads similar to those from last year. Braskem, with five polypropylene plants in the U.S., all located in the northeast and in the Gulf Coast, is the biggest polypropylene producer in North America. Based in Sao Paulo, it is also the biggest petrochemical company in Latin America.

The global polypropylene market is worth about USD87 B annually, according to a press release from Future Market Insights. BASF, Dupont, Eastman Chemical, Exxon Mobil, Formosa, INEOS, LyondellBasell, SABIC, Total, and Westlake Chemical are some other global polypropylene market participants.

As per MRC, Braskem (Sao Paulo, Brazil) said it is supporting the efforts by Danish company Plastix (Lemvig) to market recycled plastics fibre waste of old fishing nets and other marine debris collected at various ports.

Solvay seen starting polymer expansion in Ohio plant

Solvay seen starting polymer expansion in Ohio plant

Solvay has started works related to expansion plans that include installing equipment to increase sulfone polymers capacity at its plant in Marietta, Ohio, according to a mid-May publication by the USW Oil Workers union, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

“Local 14200 President Gregory May said the company (Solvay) has not said how many workers it will hire as a result of the expansion, but unionized contractors and USW workers will be installing the new equipment,” according to the release. The Marietta expansion will increase capacity with completion scheduled within two years of one of its sulfone polymers products, polysulfone, which is a rigid, high-strength plastic pellet, it said.

Sulfone polymers are transparent plastics that can withstand prolonged exposure to water, chemicals and heat. Solvay announced in February 2021 a multi-year plan to increase sulfone polymers capacity. “First steps in this initiative will add more than 25% of capacity for both Udel polysulfones and basic dichlorodiphenyl sulfone at the company’s production sites in the U.S. by 2024,” Solvay said at the time.

“This new multi-year program marks an important step in our strategy for future growth and affirms our number one position in the U.S. sulfone polymers market,” said at the time Carmelo Lo Faro, president of Solvay's Materials segment.

Sulfone products have uses in healthcare, water purification and pharmaceutical. Key applications include hemodialysis.

As per MRC, Solvay, a leading global supplier of specialty polymers, announces the production of the new generation solvent Rhodiasolv IRIS, with eco-friendly properties. Previously manufactured in China, this solvent will now be produced from 2023 onwards at Solvay's Melle site, France.

We also remind that in August, 2020, through the acquisition of the Solvay polyamide (PA) business, BASF enhanced its R&D capabilities in Asia Pacific with new technologies, technical expertise, and upgraded material and part testing services. BASF is planning to integrate the R&D centers from Solvay into its R&D existing facilities in Shanghai, China, and Seoul, Korea. The enhanced capabilities will boost BASF’s position as a solution provider to develop advanced material solutions for key industries.

Solvay is a science company whose technologies bring benefits to many aspects of daily life. With more than 24,100 employees in 64 countries, Solvay bonds people, ideas and elements to reinvent progress. The Group seeks to create sustainable shared value for all, notably through its Solvay One Planet plan crafted around three pillars: protecting the climate, preserving resources and fostering better life. The Group’s innovative solutions contribute to safer, cleaner, and more sustainable products found in homes, food and consumer goods, planes, cars, batteries, smart devices, health care applications, water and air purification systems. Founded in 1863, Solvay today ranks among the world’s top three companies for the vast majority of its activities.

Saudi cuts crude supply to some Chinese refiners in July

Saudi cuts crude supply to some Chinese refiners in July

Saudi Aramco has notified at least five North Asian refiners, mostly Chinese, that it will be supplying less than contracted volumes of crude oil in July, several sources with knowledge of the matter said on Thursday, said Reuters.

The cuts to Chinese refiners come as more cheap Russian oil heads to the world's top oil importer, which has refused to condemn Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Chinese oil demand has also been depressed by COVID-19 restrictions in the past two months. In addition, demand for Saudi crude has been climbing in Europe where the European Union has moved to phase out Russian crude and European buyers are racing to find other suppliers.

"Saudi crude supply is very tight in the market," a Singapore-based trader said. Four major Chinese refiners and one in North Asia will be receiving less Saudi crude oil loading in July, the sources said. Another three North Asian refiners and one South Asian refiner are receiving full allocations, they said.

Saudi Aramco is also stepping up crude shipments to its joint venture refinery with Malaysia's Petronas in Pengerang, one of the sources said. Saudi Aramco did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Saudi's oil supply cuts to China also come after the world's top oil exporter raised its official selling prices (OSPs) more than expected.

Saudi Arabia and other OPEC+ states agreed this month to hike production to offset Russian output losses by 648,000 bpd in July and a similar amount in August versus the initial plan to add 432,000 bpd a month over three months until September.

But the group's production is likely to fall short of official targets, keeping global markets tight during peak summer season demand in the northern hemisphere, analysts said. Saudi's OSP for July-loading Arab Light to Asia rose by USD2.10 a barrel from June to USD6.50 a barrel over Oman/Dubai quotes, just off an all-time-high recorded in May.

As per MRC, Saudi Aramco posted a record first-quarter net profit of riyal (SR) 148bn (USD39.5bn), up by about 82% year on year, thanks for strong crude oil prices and sales volumes, as well as improved downstream margins.
The energy giant’s total hydrocarbon production in the first three months of the year stood at 13m boe/day (barrels of oil equivalent per day), Saudi Aramco said in a statement on 15 May. Capital expenditure in January-March 2022 was USD7.6bn, it said.

As per MRC, Aramco is exploring further collaboration with Thailand’s national oil company PTT, as it expands its downstream presence in Asia. The two companies signed a memorandum of understanding at a ceremony in Bangkok on May 11. The companies aim to strengthen cooperation across crude oil sourcing and the marketing of refining and petrochemical products and LNG. Other potential areas of activity include blue and green hydrogen and various clean energy initiatives.

Saudi Aramco, officially the Saudi Arabian Oil Company, is a Saudi Arabian national oil and natural gas company based in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Saudi Aramco's value has been estimated at up to USD10 trillion in the Financial Times, making it the world"s most valuable company. Saudi Aramco has both the largest proven crude oil reserves, at more than 260 billion barrels, and largest daily oil production.

Covestro extends contract with CEO Dr. Markus Steilemann

Covestro extends contract with CEO Dr. Markus Steilemann

Dr. Markus Steilemann will remain Chief Executive Officer of Covestro for a further five years, said the company.

The Supervisory Board has extended his contract, which runs until May 2023, until May 31, 2028. Steilemann has been a member of the Covestro Board of Management since September 2015 and its Chief Executive Officer since June 2018.

"Markus Steilemann has provided Covestro with outstanding leadership as Chief Executive Officer during his tenure to date, setting important strategic direction and driving the Group's sustainable growth. We look forward to continuing our successful cooperation," said Dr. Richard Pott, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Covestro AG. "By extending his mandate ahead of schedule, we are emphasizing our confidence in Mr. Steilemann to successfully continue the transformation Covestro has begun to become fully circular."

Following his contract extension, Dr. Markus Steilemann responds: "I would like to thank the Supervisory Board for the trust it has placed in me. We have restructured Covestro and, together with my colleagues, I look forward to leading the company to a successful and sustainable future."

In his role as Chief Executive Officer, Steilemann is responsible for the central functions of the company: Strategy, Sustainability & Public Affairs, Group Innovation, Corporate Audit, Human Resources and Communications.

Other members of Covestro's Board of Management are Sucheta Govil as Chief Commercial Officer, Dr. Klaus Schafer as Chief Technology Officer and Dr. Thomas Toepfer as Chief Financial Officer.

As per MRC, Covestro is expanding its production capacities for thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) Films in the Platilon range, as well as the associated infrastructure and logistics and schedules to complete the new facilities as early as the end of 2023.

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 overall consumption of PC granules (excluding exports from Belarus) totalled 7,800 tonnes in January 2022, down by 4% year on year (8,100 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 2021 sales of EUR 15.9 billion, Covestro has 50 production sites worldwide and employs approximately 17,900 people (calculated as full-time equivalents).