Impact of strike by South Korean truckers on autos, steel, petrochemicals, others

Impact of strike by South Korean truckers on autos, steel, petrochemicals, others

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Thousands of South Korean truckers were on strike for the seventh day on Monday, protesting over pay as fuel costs surge, disrupting production, slowing port operations and posing new risks to a strained global supply chain, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

South Korean industries, including auto, steel, petrochemical and cement, faced accumulated losses worth about 1.6 T won (USD1.2 B) as of Sunday due to the ongoing trucker strike, the industry ministry said. Following are details of the disruption, lost production and reactions from union officials and businesses.

The trucker strike had cost the South Korean auto industry about 5,400 vehicles in lost production, worth about 257 B won as of Sunday, according to the industry ministry. Hyundai's Ulsan factories makes about 6,000 vehicles daily, the union said. The strike had cost the automaker more than 3,800 vehicles as of Friday - worth up to 120 B won, according to the company's union.

Some employees at Hyundai Motor and affiliate Kia Corp were using newly assembled cars to make deliveries, customers told Reuters. Hyundai Motor Group's spokesperson was not immediately available for comment. Hankook Tire & Technology Co Ltd, supplier to major automakers such as Volkswagen AG and Mercedes-Benz Group AG, has seen daily shipments fall by about 50%, a spokesperson said.

The industry ministry estimated that about 640,000 tires worth about 57 B won had faced shipping issues as of Sunday. The truckers plan to stop shipments of raw materials for semiconductors produced in Ulsan, said union official Park Jeong-tae.

Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and SK Hynix Inc , two of the world's biggest memory chip makers, declined to comment. One major tech manufacturer does not expect near-term disruptions given its inventories of raw materials, said an official at the manufacturer on condition of anonymity.

Steelmaker POSCO said it halted work at some plants on Monday due to a lack of space to store unshipped products. About 450,000 tons of steel products worth about 698 billion won have faced transport issues due to the strike.

The Korea Cement Association estimated daily revenue losses of about 15 B won for the cement industry since the strike began last Tuesday. The industry ministry estimated that the strike had cost cement companies about 75 B won as of Sunday.

S.Korea's average daily shipments of about 74,000 metric tons of petrochemical products have been slashed by 90% since the strike, the Korea Petrochemical Industry Association said. The strike had cost the country's petrochemical sector about 500 billion won as of Friday, according to the industry ministry. South Korea has the world's fifth-largest refining capacity.

As per MRC, S-Oil Corporation has brought the residual fluidization catalytic cracking plant (RFCC) online. S-Oil Corporation has brought the residual fluidization catalytic cracking plant (RFCC) online on 24 May 2022, four days after an explosion rocked the company’s refinery unit in Ulsan, forcing the maker to take all downstream plants offline as a safety measure. The RFCC plant has an annual output of 200,000 tons of propylene. CommoPlast is unable to rectify the operating status at other downstream plants at the time of this report.
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Solvay extends its sustainable polymer offering for smart devices and wearables

Solvay extends its sustainable polymer offering for smart devices and wearables

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Solvay just launched the Kalix 10000 series, an ideal structural material for precision electronics components used in smart devices, to complement its Kalix product line, said the company.

The newest HPPA-based material is set to take both performance and sustainability to the next level. The Kalix 10000 series, a partially bio-based material made with renewable feedstock from non-food competing sources, is produced with 100% renewable electricity. Available with a wide range of recycled content alternatives for diverse customer needs, it also has a lower global warming potential (GWP) than traditional polyamides. Additionally, it offers higher heat resistance, stain resistance, and lowest moisture absorption in the Kalix® families, making it suitable for use in electronic applications with more demanding customer requirements.

“Our Kalix portfolio has seen high demand, as it delivers the highest elongation and weld line strength of all HPPA, as well as great stiffness and chemical resistance. It also shows low moisture absorption, which makes it an ideal structural material for precision electronics components,” said Andrew Lau, Senior Executive Vice President of Solvay Materials. “The Kalix® 10000 series further strengthens the Kalix® family as it not only exceeds the performance demands of structural and cosmetic frames for smartphones, but it also is a more sustainable solution that meets evolving customer needs."

The average lifespan of consumer devices, and the parts that go into them, have been rapidly decreasing. Vast amounts of waste will continue to be generated and cause sustainability challenges. Solvay has developed advanced technologies to help manufacturers close the loop between product design and production execution on the factory floor. With a multitude of sustainable materials solutions that address various market needs, the company is working to put our society on a fast track towards more circular solutions.

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.
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Hyosung to restart PP plant in June

Hyosung to restart PP plant in June

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Vietnam’s Hyosung to restart PP plant in June, said the Commonplast.

Meanwhile, the upstream 600,000 tons/year PDH plant is scheduled to come online in July. Once the operation is stabilised, Hyosung would be able to operate both the PP plants using internal feeds.

According to market sources, Hyosung Vina Chemical might be able to restart part of its PP plant in Vietnam by mid of June using spot propylene the company procured from the spot market.

The company reportedly took both of the PP units with a capacity of 300,000 tons/year each offline on 11 May 2022 after a technical issue at the propane dehydrogenation (PDH) plant cut off the feed supply. It is unsure which PP unit the producer would bring online first.

Meanwhile, the upstream 600,000 tons/year PDH plant is scheduled to come online in July. Once the operation is stabilised, Hyosung would be able to operate both the PP plants using internal feeds.

As per MRC, Hyosung Vina Chemicals, a subsidiary of a large petrochemical manufacturer in South Korea - Hyosung Corporation, on February 4 stopped production at a propane dehydrogenation plant in Cai Mep (Vietnam) in order to carry out planned preventive measures to repair equipment. Maintenance at this unit with a capacity of 600 thousand tons of propylene per year continued until the beginning of March this year.

Hyosung Corporation is a Korean industrial conglomerate founded in 1957. The company operates in various fields, including the petrochemical industry, heavy equipment manufacturing, IT, trade and construction.
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S-Oil restarted the RFCC unit after the explosion

S-Oil restarted the RFCC unit after the explosion

MOSCOW (MRC) -- S-Oil Corporation has brought the residual fluidization catalytic cracking plant (RFCC) online, said Commonplast.

S-Oil Corporation has brought the residual fluidization catalytic cracking plant (RFCC) online on 24 May 2022, four days after an explosion rocked the company’s refinery unit in Ulsan, forcing the maker to take all downstream plants offline as a safety measure.

The RFCC plant has an annual output of 200,000 tons of propylene. CommoPlast is unable to rectify the operating status at other downstream plants at the time of this report.

In the meantime, S-Oil decided to carry out unscheduled maintenance work at the 1.79 million tons/year PX plant following the incident. The restart date is set for 15 July 2022. Stay tuned for more updates on the restart schedule at other units.

As per MRC, S-Oil Corp, has suspended production of several processing units after a blast at its Onsan refinery, it said on Friday, a step that could tighten gasoline supplies and boost refiners' margins in Asia. Aramco Overseas Co., a subsidiary of Saudi Aramco, is S-Oil’s major shareholder. According to the local media, firefighters were notified of an explosion at the S-Oil refinery at 8:52 p.m. The facility is situated some 400 km southeast of Seoul.

As MRC reported earlier, S-Oil, South Korean petrochemical major, took off-stream its residue fluid catalytic cracker (RFCC) unit for a turnaround in June, 2020. The company undertook a planned shutdown at the unit by early-July, 2020. The unit remained off-line for about two weeks. Located at Onsan, South Korea, the RFCC unit has a propylene capacity of 705,000 mt/year.
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Repsol approved the sale of a 25% stake in Repsol Renewables

Repsol approved the sale of a 25% stake in Repsol Renewables

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Repsol's Board of Directors today approved the sale of a 25% stake in Repsol Renewables to the consortium formed by the French insurance company Credit Agricole Assurances and Switzerland-based Energy Infrastructure Partner (EIP) for EUR905 mln, said the company.

The transaction, a new milestone in the fulfillment of the multi-energy company's 2021-2025 Strategic Plan, values Repsol's renewable business at €4.383 billion, including debt and minority holdings. The transaction demonstrates the strength of Repsol's growth and business model for this business created three years ago. The minority stake sale has generated great interest among the international investment community, with top-tier entities bidding during the various phases of this process.

The incorporation of Credit Agricole Assurances and EIP as partners includes an investment commitment that reinforces Repsol Renovables' growth in line with the ambitious objectives of its Strategic Plan to reach 6 GW of installed capacity in 2025 and includes entering new markets and incorporating complementary technologies like offshore wind.

"Having reputed partners such as Credit Agricole Assurances and EIP joining us in Repsol Renovables represents a validation of our renewable strategy, supports our ambition to be a key player in the energy transition and fulfills our expectations in this important process. Our target is to reach an installed capacity of 6GW in 2025 and 20 GW in 2030. As partners, they share our strategic vision to grow in renewables, contribute additional expertise and underscore the value of our growth platform,” said Josu Jon Imaz, CEO of Repsol.

The transaction, effective from January 1, 2022, is expected to close before year-end subject to the approvals of regulatory authorities. Under the terms of the shareholder agreement, Repsol will continue to control the renewables business. As a result, Repsol Renovables and its affiliates will continue to be consolidated within the accounts of Grupo Repsol. In accordance with accounting norms, the transaction will have no effect on the Group’s earnings.

As per MRC, Repsol will invest EUR105 mln in the Puertollano Industrial Complex to build the first plant in the Iberian Peninsula capable of manufacturing ultra high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE), a material considered a 'super polymer' due to its exceptional properties. This new plant will be operational by the end of 2024 and will have an annual capacity of 15,000 tons. For the construction of the plant, Repsol has selected the technology of DSM, a renowned UHMWPE producer based in the Netherlands. This involves the use of cutting-edge, proven technology that adapts to the needs of customers.
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