Europe chlorine production increased in September

Europe chlorine production increased in September

MRC -- European chlorine production and capacity utilisation rose slightly year on year in September, while caustic soda stocks were higher, according to the most recent data from statistics agency Eurochlor.

With 19,689 tonnes, the September 2023 average daily production was 2.4% lower than in the previous month, but 2.0% higher than in September 2022.

Capacity utilisation remained low in historical terms; 2023 has seen the lowest chlor-alkali production rates since ICIS data began in 2006, on the back of the very weak market for chlorine derivatives.

Caustic soda stocks rose to historically above-average levels, pointing to weak demand for caustic soda as well, compared to supply.

We remind, European capacity utilisation and chlorine production fell year on year in July, while caustic soda stocks were higher, according to the most recent figures released by Eurochlor. In July, European chlorine production reached 658,845 tonnes. With 21,253 tonnes, the July 2023 average daily production was 6.9% higher than in the previous month, but 4.2% lower than in July 2022.

Formosa Plastics Aims to Restart EVA Production in Taiwan After Renovation

Formosa Plastics Aims to Restart EVA Production in Taiwan After Renovation

MRC -- Formosa Plastics Corp. (FPC), a prominent global petrochemical producer based in Taiwan, is poised to recommence ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) production on Line 1 at its Mailiao facility, said Chemanalyst.

This strategic move follows a temporary shutdown for maintenance work, with Line 1, boasting an annual production capacity of 190 thousand tons of EVA, scheduled to resume operations on November 15. The maintenance period, initiated on November 8, represents a proactive approach by FPC to ensure optimal performance and reliability.

This planned shutdown aligns with FPC's commitment to regular maintenance cycles to uphold operational efficiency and product quality. The temporary pause in production is a standard industry practice aimed at addressing operational requirements and enhancing the overall reliability of manufacturing processes. With Line 1 set to resume production, FPC is well-positioned to meet the demand for EVA, a versatile ethylene copolymer widely used in various applications.

Earlier this year, on March 27, FPC had successfully resumed operations on Line 2 for EVA production in Mailiao after a brief hiatus for minor maintenance work. Line 2, with a capacity of 80 thousand tons of EVA per year, was temporarily closed from March 22 to facilitate necessary upkeep and ensure the seamless functioning of the production process.

The resumption of EVA production by FPC holds significance not only for the company but also within the broader context of the Asian EVA market. FPC stands as a key player alongside other major EVA producers in Asia, including Taiwan's USI Corp, South Korea's Hanwha Chemical, Honam Petrochemical, and Samsung Total Petrochemicals, as well as Japan's Sumitomo Chemical, Tosoh Corp, DuPont, Mitsui Polychemicals, and China's BASF-YPC, among others.

Analyzing import trends, data for January to August of the current year indicates a notable increase in imports of EVA to the Russian Federation. Import figures for this ethylene copolymer surged by 13.57%, reaching 31.06 thousand tons compared to 27.35 thousand tons in the same period in 2022. This underscores the growing demand for EVA on a global scale, with the material finding applications in diverse industries.

Formosa Plastics Corporation (FPC) stands as a major global chemical manufacturer, headquartered in Taiwan. The company's product portfolio includes polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), and various other petrochemical products. FPC's strategic presence and commitment to quality have solidified its position as a leading contributor to the global petrochemical industry.

We remind, Formosa Petrochemical Corp has shut its 36,000 barrel-per-day hydrocracker at its Mailiao refinery following a fire last week, reported Reuters with reference to the company spokesman's statement on Tuesday.
The refiner has cancelled gasoil exports and offered a rare cargo of 180-centistoke (cst) fuel oil for February following the accident. The company is currently carrying out investigations into the accident. The unit is expected to come back online by mid-March.

ExxonMobil drilling first lithium well in Arkansas

ExxonMobil drilling first lithium well in Arkansas

MRC -- ExxonMobil Corp. (Houston) said today it has started work on the first phase of a lithium production complex in southwest Arkansas and intends to become a leading global producer of lithium, said the company.

The company is targeting lithium production by 2027 and is “evaluating growth opportunities globally.” By 2030, ExxonMobil aims to be producing enough lithium to supply “well over 1 million electric vehicles [EVs] per year.” Demand for lithium is expected to quadruple by 2030, according to ExxonMobil. Demand is surging on rapid growth in EV and energy storage battery markets.

“Lithium is essential to the energy transition, and ExxonMobil has a leading role to play in paving the way for electrification,” said Dan Ammann, president of ExxonMobil Low Carbon Solutions. “This landmark project applies decades of ExxonMobil expertise to unlock vast supplies of North American lithium with far fewer environmental impacts than traditional mining operations.”

ExxonMobil said it is drilling the first well at the site in Arkansas and will use direct lithium extraction (DLE) to extract lithium. ExxonMobil notes the process uses conventional oil and gas drilling methods to access lithium-rich saltwater from reservoirs about 10,000 feet underground. Lithium will be converted on-site to battery-grade material, the company said.

In early 2023, ExxonMobil acquired the rights to 120,000 gross acres of the Smackover formation in southern Arkansas, which it said is one of the most prolific lithium brine resources in North America.

Nearly all lithium today is produced outside of North America, in Western Australia, South America and China. South America uses lithium-rich brine deposits and Western Australia and China use hard rock deposits.

We remind, Exxon Mobil Corp posted a sharply lower USD9.1 billion third-quarter profit, missing analysts’ estimates for the second quarter in a row, and off 54% from a year ago. Earnings by the largest U.S. oil producer have benefited from higher crude oil prices compared to the previous quarter and greater demand for gasoline and diesel, but prices are well off record year-ago levels.

China-Brunei JV inks new deal for Phase 2 petrochemical project

China-Brunei JV inks new deal for Phase 2 petrochemical project

MRC -- Hengyi Industries Sdn. Bhd. reached a significant milestone with the signing of the Pulau Muara Besar Phase 2 Development Project Implementation Agreement with the Petroleum Authority of Brunei Darussalam (PA) and the Brunei Economic Development Board (BEDB), said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Concurrently, A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was also signed between Zhejiang University (ZJU) and Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD). The event was held at the Indera Kayangan Ballroom, The Empire Brunei.

The event began with the recitation of Surah Al-Fatihah and Doa Selamat, followed by opening remarks from Yang Berhormat Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Defence II, and Mr Qiu Jianlin, Chairman of Zhejiang Hengyi Group Co. Ltd and Hengyi Industries.

The signing of the Implementation Agreement and Memorandum of Understanding was preceded by a video presentation showcasing the milestones of the development and the socio-economic contributions of Hengyi Industries Phase 1 operations, and the expectations from the Phase 2 Project. The video also showcased the career opportunities and development of the local employees.

During the signing of the Implementation Agreement, Yang Mulia Dayang Hajah Farida binti Dato Seri Paduka Haji Talib, Permanent Secretary (Energy) at the Prime Minister’s Office and Yang Mulia IR. Awang Haji Amer Hishamuddin bin Pehin Orang Kaya Amar Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Zakaria, Permanent Secretary (Infrastructure, Housing and Professional), Ministry of Development; and Yang Mulia Daniel Leong, Acting CEO of BEDB signed on behalf of PA and BEDB respectively, while Mr Chen Lian Cai, Chief Executive Officer of Hengyi Industries signed on behalf of Hengyi Industries.

We remind, Saudi chemicals giant SABIC is continuing its push into sustainable resins with two recent product introductions. One project involved developing an in-mold labeling (IML) process that uses SABIC’s certified renewable polypropylene (PP) resins from its TruCircle portfolio in mono-PP, thin-wall container packaging. The other had the firm introducing 10 new LNP Elcrin-brand, polycarbonate-based copolymers that contain up to 75 percent certified post-consumer recycled (PCR) content.

MOL posts petchems loss in Q3

MOL posts petchems loss in Q3

MRC -- Hungarian oil and gas group MOL (MOLB.BU) on Friday reported a surge in third-quarter net profit and EBITDA, boosted by strong refining margins on cheaper Russian crude, despite a government-imposed fuel price cap in Hungary, said the company.

MOL, which operates refineries in Hungary, Slovakia, and Croatia, raised its EBITDA outlook for 2022 to about $4.1 billion-$4.4 billion from its previous guidance of $3.3 billion.

According to a European Union (EU) deal on sanctions against Russia that exempted Russian oil delivered by the Druzhba pipeline going to Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, MOL's Danube refinery continues to receive Russian crude through the Druzhba pipeline.

Receiving cheap Russian Urals by pipeline has boosted margins for MOL even though the Hungarian government has imposed windfall taxes on the company, and a price cap has been in place for fuels since late-2021.

We remind, Russian fuel producers have been told by the government to prepare for the scrapping of all remaining restrictions on the export of diesel and gasoline. Russia, the world's top seaborne exporter of diesel, introduced a ban on fuel exports on Sept. 21 to tackle high domestic prices and shortages.