European chloralkali utilization rates in July fell to below 70

European chloralkali utilization rates in July fell to below 70

MOSCOW (MRC) -- In July, the average chlor-alkali plant utilization rate dropped below 70% for first time this year; daily production of chlorine in Europe is down to 22,234 metric tons, as per Eurochlor.

European chloralkali utilization rates in July fell to below 70% for the first time since 2013, according to the most recent Eurochlor figures, as high electricity costs and low demand for chlorine derivatives weighed on production.

At 22,234 tonnes, the July 2022 average daily production was 2.3% lower than in the previous month, and 19.2% lower than in July 2021.

Caustic soda stocks rose both year on year and month on month; they were were 6.4% higher than in the previous month, and 10,638 tonnes above the level of July 2021. This indicates that lower output did not cause stock depletion or a sharply tightening market in July.

Average utilization rates have fallen by 5.8 percentage points in the first half of 2022 compared to 2021, according to Eurochlor figures, with some market players predicting that rates will fall as low as 60-65% in September 2022.

The overall average of utilization rates between January and July is at it's lowest level since 2013, at 76.6%, driven by sky-high electricity costs and globally weaker demand for chlorine derivatives. Demand is softer because of inflation, changing patterns of spending following coronavirus travel restrictions being lifted, and increased uncertainty about the global economy.

As per MRC, European chlorine production and chloralkali utilisation fell year-on-year in June, but caustic soda stocks increased. At 22,759 tonnes, the average daily production in June 2022 was 5.7% lower than in May, and 15.3% lower than in June 2021. At 194,998 tonnes, the caustic soda stocks in June 2022 were 0.3% lower than in May, but 20,876 tonnes above levels seen in June 2021.

Hanwha Solutions, GS Energy to produce sheets for solar power

Hanwha Solutions, GS Energy to produce sheets for solar power

MOSCOW (MRC) -- South Korea’s Hanwha Solutions Corp., Hanwha Group’s energy services arm, is entering into a sizeable co-investment to strengthen its solar power business, said Kedglobal.

The company’s chemical division and Korea’s GS Energy Corp. have agreed to launch a joint venture to produce ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) at Yeosu Industrial Complex, South Jeolla Province, Hanwha Solutions said on Wednesday. Solar EVA sheets are a core part of solar power panels for enhancing durability and performance. Hanwha Solutions’ chemical division produces EVA for the sheets that the company’s advanced materials unit makes.

The 590 billion won (USD425.8 million) JV, named H&G Chemical, is aiming to start producing the material in September 2025, with an annual capacity of up to 300,000 tons. In line with the expansion of EVA production, Hanwha Solutions’ advanced material unit will invest 41.7 billion won to increase its sheet manufacturing facilities in Eumseong, North Chungcheong Province.

Once the JV starts production in 2025, Hanwha Solutions will become the world’s largest EVA manufacturer with 920,000 tons of annual production, exceeding US energy giant Exxon Mobil's 790,000 tons, Hanwha said. The global EVA market reached 4.4 million tons last year. The market will show a 5.6% compound annual growth rate with soaring demand from governments and corporates aiming for net zero, Hanwha Solutions said.

Hanwha Q Cells, a photovoltaic solar cell-making unit within Hanwha Solutions, will also invest 130 billion won in facilities to manufacture tunnel oxide passivated contact (TOPCon) solar cells and modules at its plant in Jincheon, North Chungcheong Province.

TOPCon enhances power generation efficiency by 1% in absolute value terms by inserting thin oxide film in the solar cells. Q Cells will also upgrade its M6 wafer production line to M10 for increased power of the TOPCon modules, Hanwha Solutions added.

The investments are a move to gain the upper hand in the global renewables market as well as secure the production capabilities for high-powered solar cells in Korea, a Hanwha Solutions official said. The 50-year history of Hanwha Solutions’ material production and GS Energy’s competitive raw materials will grow the JV into a world-renowned EVA maker, the official said.

We remind, Hanwha Solutions plans to increase its caustic soda, chlorine and ethylene dichloride (EDC) capacity annually at its Yeosu facility in South Korea. Hanwha Solutions currently produces 840,000 tonnes of caustic soda per year and is the No. 1 company in the CA field in Korea. Caustic soda is a raw material necessary for cleaning, smelting, and bleaching of industrial materials such as metals, and it is essential to remove impurities in the cathode material production process, which is a core material for secondary batteries.

Technip Energies and APChemi collaborating to commercialize plastic waste-to-olefins technology

MOSOCW (MRC) -- Technip Energies (Paris) and APChemi Pvt Ltd. have entered into a cooperation agreement to commercialize APChemi’s advanced plastic waste to high quality pyrolysis oil technology, in conjunction with Technip Energies’ pyrolysis oil upgradation and steam cracking technology, said the company.

APChemi’s patented “Pyromax™” pyrolysis technology for recycling plastic waste closes the gap in the plastic supply chain by taking dirty and mixed plastic waste, including municipal solid waste segregated plastics and multilayer packaging, and breaking it down to produce high quality pyrolysis oil which can be chemically recycled into circular plastics. The process has a lower carbon footprint, as it displaces the need for crude-oil-based feedstocks for plastics manufacturing, while reducing the need for intensive plastic waste sorting.

Technip Energies is closing the circular loop from pyrolysis oil to polyolefins building blocks by bringing its ethylene furnace and steam cracker design expertise, along with the preparation and purification technologies. The Pure.rOil by T.EN purification technology ensures safe, reliable and optimized integration with crackers.

Bhaskar Patel, SVP of Sustainable Fuels, Chemicals and Circularity of Technip Energies, commented: “This strategic partnership with APChemi will provide Technip Energies’ clients with an additional option in our growing plastic waste-to-olefins solution portfolio setup around our Pure.rOil technology. It will help to solve the puzzle of circular economy by offering a waste-to-olefins solution, reducing carbon dioxide emissions and end-of-life plastic pollution. The approach is a way to achieve recycled content targets, while continuing the use of current packaging materials."

Suhas Dixit, CEO of APChemi said: “We offer our full support to Technip Energies for extending this plastic waste to polyolefins solution. Our robust Pyromax™ technology would be an integral part of Technip Energies’ efforts to eliminate plastic pollution. This strategic collaboration will help us extend our leadership in pyrolysis technology beyond India. APChemi also intends to utilize this collaboration for building world-class pyrolysis oil manufacturing facilities in India and abroad."

As per MRC, Technip Energies announced the purchase of Biosuccinium technology from DSM, adding a technology solution to its growing Sustainable Chemicals portfolio. This technology synergizes with recently developed proprietary bio-polymer technologies and provides a commercially referenced production of bio-based succinic acid (bio-SAc) that serves as feedstock for the production of polybutylene succinate (PBS).

OMV will not sue former CEO Seele for damages following special audit

OMV will not sue former CEO Seele for damages following special audit

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The special audit, commissioned by the OMV Supervisory Board, in connection with a possible misconduct by former CEO Rainer Seele has been completed, said the company.

It has been conducted by the German law firm Gleiss Lutz and the Austrian law firm hba. The report was presented to the Supervisory Board. Possible breaches of duty and resulting potential claims for damages against the former CEO Rainer Seele were investigated in the following areas: 1) conclusion of a side agreement with an OMV executive, 2) conclusion of a sports sponsorship agreement with the Zenit St. Petersburg football club in 2018, and 3) the amendments to the gas supply agreements with Gazprom Export in 2018.

According to the investigation report presented to and discussed by the Supervisory Board, the former Chairman of the OMV Executive Board, Rainer Seele, acted within the scope of his authorization when making changes to gas supply agreements in 2018. Indications of deviations from internal company guidelines were found in the conclusion of a side agreement with an OMV executive and in the conclusion of the sports sponsorship agreement with the Zenit St. Petersburg football club. Nevertheless, legal experts are of the opinion that both agreements were concluded in a legally binding manner, explains lawyer Johannes Zink of the law firm hba: “Despite established deviations from internal company guidelines, no actionable misconduct on the part of the former CEO could be determined”. As a result, there are no further reasons preventing the discharge of the former executive at the next Annual General Meeting according to Zink.

Following an extensive discussion, the Supervisory Board has decided not to sue Rainer Seele for damages.
Chairman of the Supervisory Board Mark Garrett: “We have taken the allegations very seriously and we commissioned an external investigation. The Supervisory Board therefore follows the recommendation of the legal experts and, as things stand today, will not instigate legal action and will propose to the upcoming Annual General Meeting that the former Chairman of the Executive Board be discharged.

However, the findings of the investigation also show negligence by the former CEO in the interpretation of OMV’s strict compliance rules and code of conduct, which the OMV Supervisory Board does not tolerate. It was therefore right and important to initiate a comprehensive review of the allegations as a clear signal that behavior of this kind has no place in OMV. As a result, we have sharpened our internal guidelines, which now stipulate a formal approval by the Supervisory Board for strategically significant contracts."

As per MRC, OMV informs that a mechanical incident occurred today at the Schwechat refinery which has been undergoing its maintenance turnaround since 19 April 2022. Two persons were slightly injured. The incident has damaged the main distillation unit for crude oil. For this reason, the start-up of the refinery will be partially delayed. A review of the extent of the damage and the duration of the shutdown is still underway. We will work closely with our customers and suppliers to mitigate any impact on product availability.

Mitsui Chemicals to build new elastomer plant in Singapore

Mitsui Chemicals to build new elastomer plant in Singapore

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Mitsui Chemicals is building a new production facility for high-performance elastomers in Singapore to increase total manufacturing capacity in the country by nearly 50%, said European-rubber-journal.

Singapore-based subsidiary Mitsui Elastomers Singapore, which already operates an existing manufacturing facility in Jurong Island, will build a new facility to add 120 kilotonnes per annum (ktpa) of capacity for Tafmer-branded alpha-olefin copolymers.

Scheduled for completion in fiscal 2024, the unit, which will also be located in Jurong Island, will bring total production capacity to 345ktpa, said Mitsui 30 Aug.

Tafmer, according to Mitsui’s website, is an -olefin elastomer with lower density, lower modulus, and lower melting point, compared to polyethylene or polypropylene.

It is used both as a soft moulding material and as a resin modifier to improve resin properties, and has wide applications in automotive, solar cells, industrial, and packaging materials.

We remind, Mitsui Chemicals, Inc. (Tokyo) and Teijin Ltd. (Toyko) jointly announced that they will become Japan’s first companies to develop and market biomass-derived bisphenol A (BPA) and polycarbonate (PC) resins, that will support efforts to achieve carbon neutrality by reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions throughout product lifecycles.