Westlake Chemical announces 4Q 2023 distribution

Westlake Chemical announces 4Q 2023 distribution

MRC -- The board of directors of Westlake Chemical Partners GP LLC, the general partner of Westlake Chemical Partners LP (the "Partnership"), has declared a distribution of USD0.4714/unit , said the company.

This is the 38th quarterly distribution announced by the Partnership since its initial public offering. The distribution will be payable on 20 Feb 2024, to unit holders of record on 2 Feb 2024.

We remind, Westlake Chemical Partners LP reported net income attributable to the Partnership in the third quarter of 2023 of USD13.2 million, or USD0.37 per limited partner unit, compared to third quarter 2022 net income of USD14.8 million. The reduction in Partnership net income in the third quarter of 2023 compared to the third quarter of 2022 was the result of higher interest expense attributable to higher interest rates on floating rate debt.

Westlake Chemical Partners is a limited partnership formed by Westlake Corporation to operate, acquire and develop ethylene production facilities and other qualified assets. Headquartered in Houston, the Partnership owns a 22.8% interest in Westlake Chemical OpCo LP. Westlake Chemical OpCo LP’s assets include three facilities in Calvert City, Kentucky, and Lake Charles, Louisiana which process ethane and propane into ethylene, and an ethylene pipeline.


Tanker with Russian diesel to discharge at the port of Venezuela

MRC -- A fuel tanker is discharging Russian diesel at the port of Venezuela, after U.S. sanctions were eased last year, data from traders and LSEG showed on Monday, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Sea Maverick with about 33,000 metric tons of ultra-low sulfur diesel loaded at the end of December 2023 at the Russian Baltic port of Primorsk is discharging at the El Palito port in Venezuela, according to LSEG data.

The U.S. broadly eased sanctions on Venezuela's oil sector in response to a deal reached between the government and opposition parties for the 2024 election.

A new general license issued by the U.S. Treasury Department authorized OPEC member Venezuela, which had been under crushing sanctions since 2019, to produce and export oil to its chosen markets for the next six months without limitation and also to source oil imports from any country.

Since the full EU embargo on Russian oil products took effect on Feb. 5, traders have diverted diesel exports from Russian ports to countries in Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Previously Europe was the main buyer.

Russian ULSD shipments to Brazil hit a record high in November, data from traders and LSEG showed.

In December last year, Russia has also sent a diesel cargo loaded in Primorsk to Panama, according to shipping data.

We remind, Russia will likely cut exports of naphtha by some 127,500 - 136,000 bpd, or around a third of its total exports, after fires disrupted operations at refineries on the Baltic and Black Seas, according to traders and LSEG ship-tracking data. Asia's naphtha markets surged about 19% this week against the backdrop of supply disruption fears from Russia. There are jitters in the market because Russia is a key exporter of naphtha to Asia, and this kind of short-term disruption could cause prompt tightness, a naphtha trader said.


Formosa Plastics temporarily halts olefins production at Point Comfort cracker

Formosa Plastics temporarily halts olefins production at Point Comfort cracker

MRC -- Formosa Plastics USA, a subsidiary of a prominent global petrochemical producer, has temporarily ceased olefin production at its cracker facility in Point Comfort, Texas, USA, attributing the shutdown to a technical breakdown, said Chemanalyst.

The olefin shutdown impacts a substantial capacity, encompassing 930,000 tonnes of ethylene and 335,000 tonnes of propylene annually, with the interruption taking effect on January 22.

Earlier reports had indicated Formosa Plastics USA's intention to recommence olefin production on April 30 at the Point Comfort cracking plant, which had previously been closed for commercial reasons. The initial closure, motivated by economic considerations, took place on August 2, affecting olefins with a capacity of 730,000 tonnes of ethylene and 275,000 tonnes of propylene annually.

It's noteworthy that Formosa Plastics Corporation (FCP), the parent company, is a significant global chemical manufacturer headquartered in Taiwan. FCP's primary product portfolio includes polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyethylene, polypropylene (PP), and various other petrochemical products.

The decision to temporarily halt olefin production at the Point Comfort facility in Texas is rooted in a technical breakdown. Such interruptions are not uncommon in the petrochemical industry, where stringent operational standards necessitate immediate responses to technical issues to ensure safety and maintain the integrity of production processes.

The significant capacity impact of the shutdown underscores the magnitude of Formosa Plastics USA's operations at Point Comfort. With a combined annual production capacity of nearly 1.3 million tonnes of ethylene and propylene, the facility plays a pivotal role in the company's global petrochemical footprint.

As part of Formosa Plastics USA's strategic response to market dynamics, the decision to temporarily close the cracker for commercial reasons aligns with the company's commitment to operational efficiency and economic viability. The phased approach to the shutdown and subsequent restart reflects a calculated approach to navigate economic fluctuations and optimize production schedules.

Looking ahead, the scheduled resumption of olefin production at the end of April indicates Formosa Plastics USA's anticipation of resolving the technical issues and ensuring a seamless restart. The company's proactive communication about the restart date is a testament to its commitment to transparency and effective stakeholder management.

The broader context of Formosa Plastics Corporation as a major global chemical player highlights the interconnectedness of the petrochemical industry on a global scale. With headquarters in Taiwan, FCP's diversified product range contributes to various sectors, reinforcing its role as a key player in the global supply chain for petrochemical products.

Formosa Plastics USA's temporary shutdown of olefin production at the Point Comfort cracker in Texas, while a response to a technical breakdown, reflects the dynamic nature of the petrochemical industry. The strategic decision-making, encompassing both economic and technical considerations, showcases the company's adaptability and commitment to maintaining operational integrity. As the company works towards a scheduled restart, the incident underscores the importance of continuous monitoring, proactive maintenance, and transparent communication in the global petrochemical landscape.

We remind, on January 14, Ineos took measures to curtail its olefin production capacity at the Chocolate Bayou facility in Texas, USA, in response to the prevailing cold weather conditions in the region. The production capacity of olefins at this site, comprising 1.97 million tons of ethylene and 475 thousand tons of propylene annually, faced adjustments to navigate the challenges posed by the adverse weather.


China records a 21.5% drop in ABS imports for the year 2023

China records a 21.5% drop in ABS imports for the year 2023

MRC -- In 2023, China witnessed a notable downturn in its imports of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), registering a significant decline of 21.5% compared to the previous year, said Chemanalyst.

The total ABS imports for the year amounted to 1,078.094 thousand tonnes, a considerable drop from the 1,373.79 thousand tons recorded in 2022. This downturn reflects a substantial shift in the country's ABS import dynamics.

The primary sources of China's ABS imports in 2023 were predominantly Taiwan, South Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, and Japan. These countries played a crucial role in supplying ABS to meet China's industrial and manufacturing demands. The diversification of sources indicates a strategic approach to securing ABS imports from various regions, contributing to the resilience of China's supply chain.

Examining the monthly trends, it was reported earlier that China experienced a 20% year-on-year decrease in ABS imports in October 2023, amounting to 93.91 thousand tons. In the same month of the previous year, ABS imports stood at 117.38 thousand tons. Despite the year-on-year decline, there was a marginal 1.4% increase in ABS imports from September to October. The cumulative ABS imports for the period from January to October 2023 reached 900.76 thousand tons.

The significant reduction in ABS imports in 2023 underscores various factors influencing the market dynamics. Economic conditions, global supply chain disruptions, and specific industry demands could have contributed to the observed decline. The choice of ABS suppliers from Taiwan, South Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, and Japan suggests a strategic sourcing strategy to diversify suppliers and ensure a steady supply of ABS amid potential challenges in the global market.

China's ABS import figures are critical indicators of the country's manufacturing and industrial activities. ABS, a versatile thermoplastic polymer, finds extensive applications in various sectors, including automotive, electronics, construction, and consumer goods. The decline in ABS imports may reflect shifts in domestic demand, production dynamics, or a combination of both.

While the ABS import figures provide insights into the overall market trends, it is essential to consider the broader economic context and industry-specific factors. Economic fluctuations, trade policies, and technological advancements can influence the demand and supply of ABS in the global market. China's strategic sourcing from multiple countries suggests a proactive approach to managing potential risks and uncertainties associated with ABS supply.

The marginal increase in ABS imports from September to October 2023 indicates a nuanced aspect of the market. While the year-on-year comparison shows a reduction, the month-to-month variation suggests potential fluctuations in demand or supply chain dynamics. Analyzing these patterns provides stakeholders with valuable insights into short-term market trends and potential areas of focus for the industry.

We remind, ABS issued an approval in principle to Lemissoler Navigation for its design of a 65K DWT methanol-fueled Ultramax bulk carrier, the first such methanol vessel for China’s shipbuilding industry, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.
The Lem65ePlus-SDARI Methanol design, a joint development of Lemissoler and SDARI explores the feasibility of using methanol as fuel to reduce carbon emissions to reach the IMO’s net-zero target by 2050.


GAIL And ADNOC gas ink a long-term lng contract fuelling India’s natural gas industry growth

GAIL And ADNOC gas ink a long-term lng contract fuelling India’s natural gas industry growth

MRC -- GAIL Limited, India's largest Natural Gas company, has successfully concluded a long-term LNG purchase agreement for purchase of around 0.5 MMTPA LNG from ADNOC Gas, said Polymerupdate.

This is pursuant to an MoU dated 30.10.2022 between GAIL and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) P.J.S.C wherein Parties agreed that, in potential areas of collaboration both parties shall explore opportunities including purchase of LNG by GAIL from ADNOC for a tenure ranging from short term to medium and long-term. This significant development between GAIL and ADNOC will reinforce the robust cultural and economic bonds between India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Under this agreement, the deliveries will commence from 2026 onwards for a duration of 10 years, across India. This arrangement is believed to further aid in India’s rising energy security requirements and, simultaneously, also fuel GAIL’s strategic growth objectives to cater to its downstream customers in the rapidly evolving Natural Gas landscape of the country.

Shri. Sandeep Kumar Gupta, Chairman & Managing Director, GAIL (India) Limited said on this long-term LNG deal that this long-term LNG deal with ADNOC by GAIL will contribute to bridging gap in India’s demand and supply of natural gas and will open more avenues of strategic partnership between GAIL and ADNOC in other areas of energy domain.

Underlining the broader impact of the agreement, Shri Sanjay Kumar, Director (Marketing), GAIL stated that this long-term LNG transaction by GAIL will help India in moving towards Government of India’s objective of enhancing share of natural gas in India’s energy basket to 15%. Further, this deal will also help GAIL to augment its significantly large LNG portfolio to serve its diverse consumer profile.

We remind, GAIL India is looking to allot Rup 30,000 crore of investment in the succeeding three years for pipelines, city gas distribution projects, existing petrochemical projects, equity contribution in group firms, and operational capex. It also anticipates polymer sales to rise twofold and natural gas transmission volume to increase by 12% in FY 2024. (1 crore=10 M, 1 lakh=100,000).

GAIL, headquartered in New Delhi, is India’s largest natural gas company, with a diversified interest across natural gas value chain of trading, transmission, LPG production & transmission, LNG re-gasification, petrochemicals, city gas, E&P etc. It owns and operates a network of over 16,000 km of natural gas pipelines spread across the country along with concurrently working on enhancing the spread further. GAIL commands around 70% market share in gas transmission and has a gas trading share of over 50% in India.