Polyethylene imports up 8% in Ukraine in January

MOSCOW (MRC) -- In January 2010, polyethylene (PE) imports in Ukraine went up by 8% (to 18.99 kt) compared to the same period last year - reported in MRC DataScope review.

High-density polyethylene (HDPE) imports were up 21% (to 8.24 kt). Half of HDPE imports were intended for the film extrusion sector. There was seasonal decrease in buying activity in the pipe-grade HDPE market. In January, pipe-grade feedstock imports dropped by 45% compared to December 2009.

Low-density polyethylene (LDPE) imports fell by 12% (to 7.40 kt) compared to the same period last year. At the same time, imports dropped by 21% compared to December 2009. There was a sharp decline in supply of polyethylene produced by Polymir of Belarus (by 50%).

At the beginning of the year supplies of Russian oil to Belarusian refineries were suspended, which was the reason of a serious decrease in LDPE output at Novopolotsk. The first signs of feedstock shortage emerged in mid-February in the Ukrainian market.

In January, linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) imports hiked by 40% (to 2.90 kt) compared to the same period last year. At the same time, imports fell by 39% compared to December 2009.


For more detailed information on the Ukrainian polyethylene market, see DataScope Report.

Arkema increases Orevac prices

February 23 (yourindustrynews) -- Arkema announces a ┬ 150/ton increase for its Orevac functional polyolefins effective March 1st 2010 . This measure has been made necessary by the deterioration of margins in recent months, resulting from consecutive rises in raw material costs.

With their outstanding adhesive properties, Orevac polymers are used in the production of multilayer structures (polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene, polyamide, polyester, aluminium, steel, paper, etc.) primarily for packaging as well as industrial applications (pipe, pipeline, fuel tank, fuel line, etc.).

MRCMRC Reference


Total to meet unions to end French refinery strike

February 23 (Bloomberg) -- Total SA, the French refiner grappling with a nationwide strike, will meet with unions today in an effort to end a dispute that threatens fuel shortages.

Michael Crochet-Vourey, a spokesman for the Paris-based company, confirmed the meeting in a telephone interview yesterday. The strike started Feb. 17 in an effort to secure jobs at an idled plant near Dunkirk. Workers at Exxon Mobil Corp.'s French plants are scheduled to join the walkout today.

The Confederation Generale du Travail union said yesterday it wouldn't advise members to return to work until management resumes talks to seek a ⌠global settlement, representative Philippe Saunier said by telephone.

Total, Europe's largest refiner, has six French plants with a total capacity of 1.08 million barrels a day. Some filling stations have run dry as drivers rush to buy diesel and gasoline before shutdowns stop refinery production.

⌠We have operational reserves of seven to 10 days, Jean- Louis Schilansky, head of industry group Union Francaise des Industries Petrolieres, said on BFM radio today. ⌠Should the situation become really critical, there are still strategic reserves.

Total said it would hold a works council meeting with unions on March 8, three weeks earlier than scheduled, to discuss plans for the Flanders site as well as refining in France. The Confederation Francaise Democratique du Travail union said that advancement was a ⌠step forward, and recommended members end their six-day strike.

Today's meeting was arranged ⌠at the Elysee's request, Energy Minister Jean-Louis Borloo said on Europe1 radio, referring to the presidential palace. Greater consumption of alternative fuel meant the oil market was changing, and the ⌠change must be accommodated, he said.

Unions had called on Total management to arrange a meeting earlier to give workers more details about the future of the Flanders plant, which was idled in September amid a drop in fuel demand. Total, which has faced government pressure to maintain jobs in the run-up to March's regional elections, said Feb. 1 it was delaying a final decision on the site even as management said refining would be permanently halted.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy met with Total Chairman Thierry Desmarest yesterday to discuss the strikes, an Elysee Palace official said. Regional elections will take place on March 14 and 21.

Besides Flanders, Total's plants are at Gonfreville in Normandy, Donges, Provence, Feyzin and Grandpuits. The refineries supply about 50 percent of French fuel demand, while its 4,000 gasoline stations have about 25 percent of the market.

Total reiterated it won't close or sell any of its other French refineries and said all employees at the Flanders plant will retain jobs with the company.

⌠As we have said no refineries are under consideration as far as closures are concerned, Chief Executive Officer Christophe de Margerie said in New York yesterday. ⌠Our priority is to stop this conflict and certainly not use the fear of consumers to put pressure on workers, he said.

Ineos Group Holdings Plc's Lavera oil refinery in France ⌠continues to operate as normal, spokesman Richard Longden said today in an e-mailed statement. Workers at Petroplus Holdings AG's two French refineries have no immediate plans to join the strike by Total employees, according to a CFDT union representative.


PetroChina plans capacity increase at Dushanzi refinery

February 23 (plastemart) -- In 2010, PetroChina, a subsidiary of China National Petroleum Corp plans to increase output of the Dushanzi refinery in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region that commenced operations in September 2009. The company plans to raise refining capacity by 50%, while ethylene output is expected to rise 114% from levels seen in 2009. The RMB 30 bln refining and petrochemical project comprises ten refining machines, 11 chemical units and other supporting facilities. The complex is capable of processing 10 mln tpa of crude oil by distillation and 2 mln tpa of crude oil by hydrocracking, and producing 1 mln tons of ethylene, 900,000 tons of polyethylene and 550,000 tons of polypropylene.


Sabic infromed customers of price hike for engineering thermoplastics

February 23 (plasteurope) -- Sabic Innovative Plastics has sent out letters to its European customers informing them that it will raise the prices of several engineering thermoplastics. Specifically, the hike of EUR 220/t, which comes into effect on 15 March 2010, involves all polycarbonate resins, the ⌠Lexan copolymer grade, the ⌠Cycoloy blend (PC/ABS) and the ⌠Cycolac (ABS) styrene range. The group also is planning to raise the price of its ⌠Ultem range.

As part of the same announcement, Sabic also communicated price increases of EUR 150/t for its ⌠Noryl (PPE/PS), ⌠Valox (PBT) and ⌠LNP resins and compounds.

MRCMRC Reference

Sabic. The share in the Russian market in 2008:
PE - 0.2%;
PP - 0.4%;
PS - 0.2%.

Annual sales growth in Russia over the last 5 years:
PE - 33%;
PP - 62%.