Energy & Feedstocks

Latest insight


US arbitrage naphtha's star rising on Asian cracker expansion wave

US arbitrage feedstock naphtha is set to gain in importance to Asian buyers in the first half of 2021 as they expand steam cracker capacity at a time when Middle East producers boost reformer capacities and increase their own captive naphtha use, according to IHS Markit.


Irena report: Renewable methanol cost-competitive by 2050

A global transition to the use of renewable methanol could dramatically expand the product's use as a chemical feedstock and fuel, while helping industrial and transport sectors achieve their carbon-neutral goals, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena; Abu Dhabi).

Jizzakh signs six technology license deals for $2.7-billion MTO plant in Uzbekistan

Jizzakh Petroleum (Tashkent, Uzbekistan) has signed six technology license agreements for its planned $2.7-billion methanol-to-olefins (MTO) complex at Karakul in southwest Uzbekistan.

Röhm warns of global feedstock crunch for methacrylates market

Röhm (Darmstadt, Germany) says the methacrylates market is facing “a global shortage of several petrochemical raw materials” as a result of global business and service disruptions, which could lead to extended product lead and delivery times.

OMV to split existing refining, petchems business; create chemicals, materials division

OMV (Vienna, Austria) has announced plans to split and expand its integrated refining and petrochemicals business into two new divisions. A new chemicals and materials division will be established that will include OMV’s existing petchems business, while a new refining division will also be created. The changes will take effect as of 1 April 2021, it says.

Shandong Yulong selects Honeywell UOP aromatics technologies for large-scale complex in China

Honeywell says that Shandong Yulong Petrochemical has selected platforming and aromatics technologies from Honeywell UOP, a Honeywell subsidiary, for Shandong Yulong’s planned petrochemical complex at Longkou, Shandong Province, China. Honeywell UOP will provide a range of technology licenses, engineering design, key equipment, and catalysts and adsorbents, as well as operator training and technical services for start-up and continuing operations.

Varennes waste-to-methanol project reaches financial close

Proman, Shell, Suncor, the Government of Québec, and Enerkem have completed an investment agreement that will allow Varennes Carbon Recycling, a waste-to-biofuels project in Varennes, Québec, to proceed. Proman, which announced the news, says the agreement entitles it to market methanol from the plant, which will have capacity to produce 100,000 metric tons/year of methanol from non-recyclable waste using technology developed by Enerkem.

Cracker operators in Asia to cut LPG use to 13-month low in March

Petrochemical producers in Asia plan to cut the use of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) as feedstock for a seventh straight month in March 2021 to at least a 13-month low, with one steam cracker also scheduled to close for an expansion program. Some producers, however, are set to raise butane cracking levels, with one to use the gas for the first time ever due to lower prices, according to an OPIS survey.

NW Europe LPG trade declines in January, US imports plunge from prior-year level

Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) trade in northwest Europe moved down marginally in January 2021 to an estimated 690,000 metric tons from 715,000 metric tons in December 2020, according to OPIS records.

Air Liquide, Siemens to collaborate on European electrolyzer, hydrogen developments

Air Liquide and Siemens Energy have agreed to collaborate on the development of industrial-scale hydrogen projects and to lay the groundwork for mass manufacturing of electrolyzers, mainly in Germany and France.

Uniper, Port of Rotterdam study green hydrogen plant for Maasvlakte, Rotterdam

Power generation company Uniper (Düsseldorf, Germany) and the Port of Rotterdam Authority say they are studying the potential construction of a large-scale green hydrogen production plant at Uniper’s existing site in the Maasvlakte area of Rotterdam, Netherlands.

Europe benzene contract falls as supplies increase

Europe's benzene contract price for February has fallen 13% from the previous month, sliding to $728/metric ton on the back of increased supply, following a flood of imports from around the world, according to market sources and IHS Markit. The price was $837/metric ton in January, after supplies tightened at the end of December following production issues, strong demand, and a continued reduction in refinery operating rates across the region.


MMA market tightness to continue in 2021

The worldwide methyl methacrylate (MMA) sector was one of the most active chemical markets in 2020, and the early signs are that the first half of 2021 will be no different.


China's Yulong Petrochemical project to raise the COTC stakes

Crude-oil-to-chemicals (COTC) technology could more than double the profitability derived from a barrel of crude oil, according to a scenario analysis from IHS Markit’s Process Economics Program.

Mubadala, Adnoc, ADQ to form Abu Dhabi hydrogen alliance

State-owned investment group Mubadala Investment Co. (Abu Dhabi), Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. (Adnoc), and ADQ (Abu Dhabi) have announced plans to establish an alliance for the development of blue and green hydrogen opportunities in emerging international markets, as well as working together to build a green hydrogen economy in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Ineos reschedules Antwerp olefins project, cracker to precede PDH unit

Ineos says it is rescheduling its €5-billion ($6 billion) olefins project at Antwerp, Belgium, and will build the planned complex’s ethane cracker before its propane dehydrogenation (PDH) plant. When it announced the project in January 2019, Ineos said the PDH unit and cracker would be built at the same time with the PDH facility due onstream a year ahead of the cracker.

March naphtha outlook in Asia bullish amid fewer cracker shutdowns

Naphtha demand in Asia is expected to strengthen in March as steam crackers restart from planned and unscheduled shutdowns, with only a small number of plants due to be offline for planned maintenance, according to market participants.

Linde to build green hydrogen plant at Leuna, Germany, chemicals complex

Linde says it will build, own, and operate the world’s largest proton exchange membrane electrolyzer plant for the production of green hydrogen at the Leuna, Germany, chemical complex.

LPG imports into Northwest Europe edge higher in December

Northwest European liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) trade in December rose marginally month on month to an estimated 715,000 metric tons, up from 675,000 metric tons in November, according to OPIS records.

BASF to close permanently HMD plant at Seal Sands, UK

BASF says it will close its idled hexamethylenediamine (HMD) plant at Seal Sands, UK, this year. The facility, owned by BASF, is located on a site owned by Ineos, which has been operating the plant on behalf of BASF.

Shell takes 40% stake in renewable chemicals, biofuels project in Québec

Shell has agreed to take a 40% stake in a proposed waste–to–renewable chemicals and biofuels plant in Varennes, Québec, Canada, after signing commercial agreements to invest in the project.

Methanex Trinidad methanol plant to remain idled indefinitely, restructuring to include job losses

Methanex (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada) says that its 875,000-metric tons/year Titan methanol facility at Couva, Trinidad, “will remain idled indefinitely” and, as a result, the company has decided to restructure its operations there to support a “one-plant operation.”

Saudi energy ministry approves ethane feedstock increase for Saudi Kayan

Saudi Kayan Petrochemical, a Sabic affiliate, says that Saudi Arabia’s energy ministry has approved a request by the company to increase its allocation of ethane feedstock by up to 30 million cubic feet/day (MMcf/d) from future gas production projects.

Larsen & Toubro wins $1.6-billion steam cracker, FCC packages for petchems complex in Rajasthan, India

L&T Hydrocarbon Engineering (LTHE; Mumbai, India), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Larsen & Toubro, says it has been awarded two engineering, procurement, construction, and commissioning (EPCC) contracts with a total value of up to 120 billion Indian rupees ($1.6 billion) by HPCL Rajasthan Refinery Ltd. (HRRL) for a steam cracker and fluid catalytic cracker (FCC) at Pachpadra in the Barmer district of Rajasthan State, India.

Ineos completes $5-billion acquisition of BP's aromatics, acetyls businesses

Ineos has completed the $5-billion acquisition of BP’s worldwide aromatics and acetyls businesses, comprising 15 manufacturing sites and 10 joint ventures (JVs).

Latest insight


Global base chemicals demand stays strong in 2020

Total global base chemicals demand is currently about 650 million metric tons/year, with the six major value chains of ethylene, propylene, methanol, chlorine, benzene, and para-xylene representing about 80% of it, according to Dewey Johnson, global vice president/chemicals at IHS Markit.


Petchems to prop up oil demand in 2021

Petrochemical feedstocks are forecast to gain demand momentum in 2021 on the back of recent petchem capacity additions in China and the US, according to the latest monthly oil market report by The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC; Vienna, Austria).

CKPC suspends PDH/PP project in Alberta indefinitely

Plans for an integrated propane dehydrogenation (PDH) and polypropylene (PP) plant in Alberta, Canada, have been “suspended indefinitely,” according to Pembina Pipeline (Calgary).

BASF completes first phase of Geismar MDI project

BASF has completed the first phase of its methylene di-para-phenylene diisocyanate (MDI) expansion project in Geismar, Louisiana, starting up a new synthesis unit and shutting down an older unit.

Lummus, CLG license process technologies to Pertamina/Rosneft JV in Indonesia

Lummus Technology and Chevron Lummus Global (CLG) have been awarded multiple technology license and engineering contracts by PT Pertamina Rosneft Pengolahan dan Petrokimia (PRPP), a joint venture (JV) between Pertamina (Jakarta, Indonesia) and Rosneft Oil Co. (Moscow, Russia), for a grassroots refinery and petrochemical complex being built in Tuban, Indonesia. No value for the contracts has been disclosed.

US ethylene prices reach new 2020 highs

Ethylene prices reached annual highs in early December, and they continue to rise across all three major storage hubs in the US.

Axens licenses ethanol-to-ethylene technology to Sumitomo for circular project in Japan

Sumitomo Chemical has agreed to license Axens’ ethanol-to-ethylene technology for a waste-to-polyolefins circular economy project being developed by Sumitomo in Japan.

Seqens details IPA expansion

Seqens (Ecully, France) has confirmed details of its previously announced isopropyl alcohol (IPA) expansion at Roussillon, France. The company says it will build an additional unit with capacity for 45,000 metric tons/year of IPA that is scheduled to be onstream early in 2022.

OQ to increase oxo intermediate prices on strong demand, rising raw material costs

OQ Chemicals (Monheim am Rhein, Germany) says it will increase prices for several of its oxo intermediates products in the Americas, Europe, and “other regions” as of 1 January 2021 due to strong demand and rising raw material costs.

ExxonMobil plans six-week turnaround at Rotterdam aromatics unit in March

ExxonMobil is planning to shut its aromatics unit in Rotterdam-Botlek, Netherlands, for six weeks of maintenance between March and April next year, according to market sources. This work is part of a larger turnaround program at ExxonMobil's interconnected 191,000-b/d Botlek refinery and Rotterdam aromatics plant beginning in the first quarter, OPIS reported in October.

Ineos declares force majeure on EO from plant in Germany

Ineos Oxide, an Ineos subsidiary, has declared force majeure on supplies of ethylene oxide (EO) from its 280,000-metric tons/year plant in Cologne, Germany, sources told OPIS Thursday. "We heard about the Ineos ethylene oxide force majeure earlier in the week," a market source said.

Ineos Styrolution, Indaver granted EU funding for project to produce ABS from recycled feedstock

Ineos Styrolution, the styrenics subsidiary of Ineos, and waste management company Indaver (Mechelen, Belgium) say they will collaborate as technology partners in a project to produce acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) from recycled feedstock.

Enel, Maire Tecnimont to build green hydrogen plant in US

Enel Green Power (EGP), the renewable energy subsidiary of Italy’s Enel Group, and Maire Tecnimont (Rome, Italy) have agreed to work together on the development and construction of a green hydrogen production plant in the US. A specific location has not been given.

BASF declares force majeure on n-butanol, n-butyl acrylate, idles plant at Ludwigshafen

BASF has declared force majeure on the supply of n-butanol and n-butyl acrylate after hitting unspecified technical problems at its n-butanol production plant in Ludwigshafen, Germany.

Enerkem announces waste-to-methanol, biofuels plant in Quebec

Enerkem (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) has announced plans to build an 875-million Canadian dollar ($684 million) waste-to-methanol and biofuels plant at Varennes, Quebec, in partnership with Shell, Suncor, and Proman.

Haldor Topsoe, Skovgaard to build green ammonia plant in Denmark

Haldor Topsoe (Ravnholm, Denmark) and renewable energy developer Skovgaard Invest (Lemvig) say they will build a 5,000-metric tons/year green ammonia plant in Western Jutland, Denmark. No investment figure has been given.

Latest insight


Energy companies ramping up investment in refining-petchems integration

Energy company investment into chemicals, largely to increase integration of refining with petrochemicals, is expected to rise as petchems become the dominant driver of oil demand growth, according to Dewey Johnson, global vice president/chemicals at IHS Markit.


Mainland China continues lead role as global styrene demand, price driver

Asia, especially mainland China, will continue to lead worldwide styrene demand and price directions amid massive capacity additions that will result in industry-wide restructuring, according to Brian Lee, executive director at IHS Markit.

Cracker operators in Asia to cut LPG as feedstock to 11-month low

Petrochemical makers in Asia plan to cut liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) usage as feedstock for a fifth consecutive month in January 2021 to the lowest level in 11 months on firmer gas prices due to increased winter heating fuel demand and steam cracker outages, according to an OPIS poll.

Mitsubishi Chemical chooses Geismar for US Gulf Coast MMA project

Mitsubishi Chemical says it has acquired a greenfield property at a large integrated site at Geismar, Louisiana, and plans to advance a feasibility study for the design and construction of a 350,000-metric tons/year methyl methacrylate (MMA) plant there.

Braskem, Encina to collaborate on circular propylene feedstock supply from new recycling plant

Braskem and Encina Development Group (Encina; The Woodlands, Texas) have agreed to develop a long-term relationship aimed at establishing a supply of circular propylene feedstock from Encina’s planned new post-consumer plastics recycling plant in the US.

Latest insight


IEA: Petchems to cement position as largest driver of future oil demand growth

Petrochemicals are set to cement their position as the largest driver of future oil demand growth, accounting for two thirds of total growth to 2030, and three quarters by 2040, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA; Paris, France).

Sinochem commissions ethylene plant at Quanzhou, China

Sinochem Quanzhou Petrochemical Co., a Sinochem Group subsidiary, has started up its 1-million metric tons/year (MMt/y) ethylene plant at Quanzhou, Fujian Province, China, which uses KBR technology.

Sinopec plans $4.4-billion ethylene project at Tianjin

Sinopec’s board has approved plans to build a 1.2-million metric tons/year (MMt/y) ethylene plant and downstream units in the Nangang area of the port of Tianjin, China, according to an announcement posted on 4 December. Sinopec estimates the cost of the project at 28.8 billion renminbi ($4.4 billion).

Saudi loan approval enables construction start for PDH/PP complex at Jubail

Advanced Petrochemical Co. (Jubail, Saudi Arabia) says construction of an 843,000-metric tons/year propane dehydrogenation (PDH) plant and an associated 800,000-metric tons/year polypropylene (PP) unit at Jubail will start in 2021 after the approval of a 3.0-billion Saudi riyal ($800 million) loan from the Saudi Industrial Development Fund (SIDF).

Eni, Enel plan green hydrogen pilot projects to supply two refineries in Italy

Eni and electricity utility Enel say they will develop two green hydrogen pilot schemes aimed at supplying two Eni refineries in Italy.

Cargill, IFPEN, Axens team up to commercialize renewable acrylic acid production

Cargill, IFP Energies Nouvelles (Ifpen), and Axens have teamed up to develop and potentially scale up commercial production of biobased acrylic acid using lactic-to-acrylic-acid technology licensed exclusively to Cargill from Procter & Gamble (P&G) earlier this year.

Sibur's ZapSib complex at full capacity, Putin pledges further petchems industry support

Sibur (Moscow, Russia) says it has ramped up its ZapSibNeftekhim (ZapSib) complex at Tobolsk in western Siberia to full nameplate capacity ahead of schedule.

LyondellBasell, Sasol complete $2-billion Louisiana JV deal

LyondellBasell and Sasol have closed a previously announced $2-billion transaction to form their Louisiana Integrated Polyethylene joint venture (JV) at Lake Charles.

Chinese firm awards Johnson Matthey technology license for five-plant methanol complex

Johnson Matthey (London, UK) has been awarded a contract by Ningxia Baofeng Energy Group (Yinchuan, China) to develop five of the largest single-train methanol plants in the world at Baofeng’s methanol-to-olefins complex at Ordos, Inner Mongolia, China. No financial value for the contract has been disclosed.

Samsung Engineering wins $1.07-billion contract to build methanol plant in Malaysia

Samsung Engineering will proceed with construction of a 5,000-metric tons/day methanol plant at Bintulu, Sarawak, Malaysia, after being awarded a $1.07-billion contract by Sarawak Petchem.

Recovery and ESG in the Chemical Industry