Global PC and PP markets navigate turbulent waters amidst supply chain disruptions

Global PC and PP markets navigate turbulent waters amidst supply chain disruptions

In the aftermath of recent supply chain disruptions due to Red Sea crisis, the global markets for Polypropylene (PP) and Polycarbonate (PC) are on high alert for potential price fluctuations, said Chemanalyst.

The suspension of production by automotive giants Tesla and Geely-owned Volvo Car in Europe, attributed to a shortage of components linked to Red Sea shipping attacks, is poised to impact the consumption and pricing of these crucial chemical commodities like PP and PC.

The conflicts in the Red Sea, coupled with shifts in transport routes and disruptions in key canals such as the Suez Canal and the Panama Canal, have set off a ripple effect across the production and transportation of chemical commodities such as PC and PP. The resulting longer transportation times and logistical challenges are contributing to uncertainties in supply chains, further influencing the dynamics of the PC and PP markets.

While global freight rates showed a bullish trend in the past month, a recent slight decrease in freight between China and the U.S. West Coast in the second week of 2024 has been observed. This dip is attributed to a slowdown in demand for PP and PC manufactured in Asia, prompting ocean carriers to adjust freight rates accordingly. The broader context of supply chain disruptions, compounded by the geopolitical events in the Red Sea, adds a layer of complexity to the pricing dynamics of PC and PP.

The attacks on shipping in the Red Sea have triggered concerns about extended shipping route disruptions, particularly through the Suez Canal. Consequently, the automotive industry's supply chain has been directly affected, leading to reduced production and a potential oversupply of PP and PC in the market. Analysts from ChemAnalysts, anticipate that this oversupply may exert downward pressure on prices in the European and US regions in the coming weeks.

Vessels traversing the Red Sea have faced attacks over the past several weeks from Yemen-based Houthis, prompting shipping companies to alter routes, resulting in a spike in freight rates. Embarking on longer detours around the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa has pushed ocean freight rates up, diverting container ships carrying over $200 billion worth of goods away from the Red Sea waterway to avoid potential strikes by Houthi militants.

Industry experts are closely monitoring these developments, anticipating potential shifts in market conditions and urging stakeholders to remain adaptable to the evolving situation. The extent of the impact on PC and PP prices will depend on the duration and severity of the supply chain disruptions caused by ongoing geopolitical tensions and their subsequent effects on global trade routes.

We remind, Turkish petrochemicals powerhouse, Bayegan Group, is set to revolutionize the nation's polypropylene production with a groundbreaking $1.9 billion plant slated for construction in the southern region. The ambitious project, situated in Hatay province, aims to establish a 450,000-ton-per-year facility, accounting for approximately 20% of Turkey's polypropylene demand and curbing the need for imports, particularly in the carpet industry.

Nan Ya Plastics restarts BPA manufacturing operations in Mailiao

Nan Ya Plastics restarts BPA manufacturing operations in Mailiao

Nan Ya Plastics, a subsidiary of the Formosa Group based in Taiwan, has successfully recommenced bisphenol A (BPA) production in Ningbo, China, following a scheduled maintenance period, said Chemanalyst.

The maintenance work, initiated on December 10 of the previous year, was anticipated to conclude by January 10, 2024. The company is now on track to achieve full production capacity starting the upcoming week. However, during this period, Nan Ya Plastics has decided not to supply spot cargo to the market, as confirmed by an insider from the company.

In a prior report, Nan Ya Plastics, a key player within the Formosa Group, had inaugurated a new production line for bisphenol A (BPA) in Ningbo, Zhejiang, China, in early December. The newly established line boasts an annual production capacity of 170 thousand tons of BPA.

Bisphenol A serves a critical role as a hardening agent in the fabrication of plastics and plastic-derived products. It stands as a pivotal monomer in the synthesis of epoxy resins and polycarbonate (PC). Nan Ya Plastics, operating as a subsidiary of the renowned Taiwanese petrochemical entity Formosa Group, encompasses a diverse portfolio that includes not only the BPA plant but also four monoethylene glycol (MEG) plants situated at the same production site in Mailiao.

The resumption of BPA production in Ningbo signifies Nan Ya Plastics' commitment to sustaining its pivotal role in the petrochemical industry. As the company prepares to attain full production capacity, it strategically withholds spot cargo supply to the market for the current week, potentially influencing market dynamics.

The addition of the new BPA production line in Ningbo, with its substantial annual capacity, underscores Nan Ya Plastics' continuous efforts to expand and enhance its manufacturing capabilities. This expansion aligns with the company's strategic objectives and contributes to its position as a significant player in the global petrochemical landscape.

As a component deeply entrenched in the production processes of plastics and related materials, BPA's role in shaping various industries cannot be overstated. From reinforcing plastics to being a foundational element in epoxy resins and polycarbonate production, BPA's applications are diverse and widespread.

Nan Ya Plastics, within the broader Formosa Group, operates within the multifaceted realm of petrochemicals. The company's strategic decisions, such as initiating maintenance schedules and launching new production lines, reflect its commitment to operational excellence, product quality, and meeting market demands.

The Formosa Group's subsidiary, Nan Ya Plastics, remains a pivotal contributor not only to the BPA sector but also to the broader petrochemical industry. The company's presence in Mailiao, where multiple plants are operational, signifies a consolidated and integrated approach to petrochemical production.

We remind, Sinopec Mitsui Chemicals, a strategic collaboration between China's Sinopec and Japan's Mitsui Chemicals, has achieved a successful resumption of Bisphenol A (BPA) production at its Caojing facility in China following a period of extensive renovations. The refurbishment endeavors at this cutting-edge plant, renowned for its annual BPA production capacity of 120 thousand tons, were officially launched on December 11.

Chevron Lummus Global awarded new licensing contract for HPCL's integrated hydrocracker and catalytic dewaxing unit

Chevron Lummus Global awarded new licensing contract for HPCL's integrated hydrocracker and catalytic dewaxing unit

Chevron Lummus Global LLC announced the award of a new licensing contract by Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited for the development of a grassroots integrated hydrocracker and catalytic dewaxing unit and a full catalyst reload of their existing lube oil upgrading program at the Mumbai Refinery in India, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

"Chevron Lummus Global is honored to once again work with HPCL on this transformative project," said Rajesh Samarth, Chief Commercial Officer of Chevron Lummus Global. "Our deep expertise in hydroprocessing technologies, paired with HPCL's forward-looking approach, underscores our shared commitment to advancing India's energy independence and strengthening its position in the premium base oil market."

The integrated hydrocracker and catalytic dewaxing unit will have a nameplate capacity of 550 KTPA and will facilitate the production of Gr. II+ and Gr. III premium base oils. This strategic move will enable HPCL to make a significant foray into the premium base oil market, tapping into new avenues for growth and market expansion.

We remind, Chevron expects 2024 capital expenditures (capex) of $15.5bn-16.5bn for its subsidiaries and $3bn for its affiliates. Two-thirds of its planned $14bn upstream spending is allocated to the US, including $6.5bn to develop its US shale and tight portfolio. About 80% of its estimated $1.5bn downstream spending is allocated to the US. Both budgets include about $2bn in lower carbon capex.

Tecnimont awarded a FEED contract for a green ammonia plant in Norway

Tecnimont awarded a FEED contract for a green ammonia plant in Norway

MRC -- MAIRE announces that Tecnimont has been awarded a FEED contract by Fortescue, a global green technology, energy and metals company, for a green ammonia plant to be located in the Nordgulen fjord in Norway, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The scope of work entails the design of electrolyzer integration, the air separation unit for nitrogen production, the ammonia production plant, as well as its storage and ship loading facilities. As part of the agreement, Tecnimont will also submit an Engineering, Procurement and Construction proposal for the realization of the plant.

The facility will produce green ammonia through electrolyzers that will use renewable hydropower for the hydrogen production. Unlike other renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, hydropower is stable over time, greatly simplifying the configuration and operation of the plant as well as its efficiency.

The plant aims to ship the resulting green ammonia to domestic and European markets, contributing to the decarbonization of hard-to-abate industries. These objectives align with both Norwegian and European ambitions of accelerating the green energy market.

Alessandro Bernini, MAIRE CEO, commented: “We are proud to support Norway with this new sustainable initiative aimed at decarbonizing hard-to-abate industries, in particular the shipping sector, where ammonia is playing a pivotal role. This project is concrete evidence of our strong positioning in the energy transition thanks to our technology-driven value proposition”.

Russia's Oil Freight Costs Decline Amid Sanctions, Weather Challenges, and Red Sea Incidents

Russia's Oil Freight Costs Decline Amid Sanctions, Weather Challenges, and Red Sea Incidents

As the early months of 2024 unfold, Russia finds itself at the intersection of multiple challenges and intriguing developments in the realm of oil shipping, said Chemanalyst.

Despite facing security concerns in the Red Sea, disruptions from winter weather, and heightened scrutiny due to a Western-imposed price cap, the nation's oil shipping expenses to Asia from its primary Baltic ports have witnessed a noteworthy moderation.

Two reliable trading sources unveiled significant reductions in the expenses linked to shipping 100,000-ton Urals cargoes from Primorsk and Ust-Luga to Indian ports. These costs dropped to $8 million from the approximately $10 million recorded in late November. Notably, the figure had reached as low as $5 million in September, marking a considerable fluctuation within a relatively short timeframe.

The prevailing tightness in the tanker market, coupled with security concerns emanating from Red Sea attacks disrupting the crucial Europe-Asia shipping route through the Suez Channel, has exerted upward pressure on global crude oil freight rates. Despite these challenges, the impact of storms in the Black Sea and cold snaps in the Baltic—conditions that typically elevate freight costs—has been relatively limited for Russian crude. Notably, traders have observed that Russia has not yet imposed ice class restrictions for oil tankers in its Baltic ports, showcasing strategic adaptability to weather-related challenges.

Another significant factor influencing this intricate scenario is the heightened control exercised by the United States over the price cap. This cap imposes restrictions on Western companies, prohibiting them from providing maritime services, including financing, insurance, and shipping, for Russian oil transactions exceeding a predetermined price. However, the increased scrutiny has not translated into a surge in transportation costs, as indicated by traders. In November, Urals FOB (free on board) prices fell below the $60 cap, aligning with a retreat in Brent prices. This market movement prompted some smaller shipping companies to re-enter the Russian oil market, marking a noteworthy shift in dynamics.

While major Western shipping companies have not yet re-engaged with the Russian oil market, a sufficient number of participants have played a role in curbing a pronounced increase in transportation costs, according to a Urals trader. This delicate equilibrium in market dynamics underscores the resilience of the Russian oil shipping sector in navigating through an array of challenges, including security concerns, weather-related disruptions, and evolving regulatory constraints imposed by Western entities.

As the industry continues to adapt to these multifaceted challenges, the interplay of factors such as security dynamics, weather patterns, and regulatory frameworks will shape the trajectory of oil shipping costs. Moreover, these developments contribute to the broader dynamics of Russia's oil trade in the global market, emphasizing the strategic considerations and adaptability required for sustainable and efficient oil logistics operations.

We remind, in January, Bulgaria embarked on a significant shift in its oil import strategy, opting to replace Russian crude with shipments from Kazakhstan, Iraq, and Tunisia. The decision came amid changes in legislation, with the Bulgarian parliament shortening the country's derogation period from the EU-wide ban on Russian crude imports until the start of March. Furthermore, as of January, Bulgaria enacted a ban on the export of fuels produced using Russian oil.