Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. (Adnoc) and ADQ (Abu Dhabi) have outlined plans to invest more than $5 billion in total for seven chemical anchor projects and related infrastructure at a previously announced derivatives park at Ruwais, Abu Dhabi.
Sasol has achieved beneficial operation of the final plant at its Lake Charles Chemicals Project (LCCP) in Louisiana, bringing the overall complex to full completion.
Mitsubishi Chemical says that its affiliate Lucite International will end production of methyl methacrylate (MMA) and methacrylic acid (MAA) at Beaumont, Texas, and close the facility. It plans to terminate production on 28 February 2021. The site has a production capacity for 135,000 metric tons/year of MMA.
BASF says its joint project with Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. (Adnoc), Adani Group (Ahmedabad, India), and Borealis to build a world-scale petrochemical complex at Mundra, India, has been put on hold. The companies decided to review the timing of the investment because of global economic uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and despite all attempts to optimize the project's scope, BASF says.
Invista says it has received the final permit required that allows construction activity to take place across the full site at its 400,000-metric tons/year adiponitrile (ADN) project in Shanghai, China.
BASF has restarted toluene diisocyanate (TDI) production at its 300,000-metric tons/year plant in Ludwigshafen, Germany, although output has not yet increased sufficiently for the company to lift a force majeure (FM) it declared in August, according to sources.
Chemicals and gas tanker operator Navigator Holdings (London, UK) says it expects US ethylene exports to rise through the remainder of this year as lower US prices widen arbitrage opportunities to Asia and Europe.
While dependence on naphtha in Asia as feedstock for petrochemicals production has fallen in recent years owing to increased availability of natural gas liquids (NGLs), the situation could evolve in the coming months because of COVID-19 disruptions in the oil and refining industry, according to Premasish Das, executive director at IHS Markit.
The spread between benzene and naphtha spot prices in Europe has blown out to the highest since March, as demand from the downstream styrene sector continues to push benzene values up, according to OPIS data Friday.
Mainland China’s self-sufficiency in para-xylene (p-xylene) means that producers who traditionally export to the market will struggle to place their products amid falling demand, according to Duncan Clark, IHS Markit vice president/aromatics and fibers.
West Virginia Methanol has announced plans to build a 315,000-metric tons/year, $350-million methanol facility in Pleasant County, West Virginia. The company intends to make a final investment decision (FID) during the first half of 2021, with start-up to follow in mid-2023.
BorsodChem (Kazincbarcika, Hungary) is planning to start production at its new 200,000-metric tons/year aniline plant in Kazincbarcika during the third quarter of 2021, according to market sources.
Formosa is deferring major construction on the Sunshine Project, its proposed olefins complex in St. James Parish, Louisiana, until the COVID-19 pandemic has subsided or an effective vaccine is widely available, according to a spokesperson for FG LA, the subsidiary established to pursue the project.
UPM (Helsinki, Finland) has started construction of a new €550-million ($645-million) biochemicals facility in Leuna, Germany, that will produce 220,000 metric tons/year of bio–monoethylene glycol (bio-MEG) and lignin-based renewable functional fillers. The biorefinery, using wood as feedstock, is expected to come onstream by the end of 2022, it says.
Sabic says it is reevaluating and expanding the scope of its planned crude oil–to–chemicals (COTC) project with Saudi Aramco in Saudi Arabia to include the integration of existing facilities.
Sasol (Johannesburg, South Africa) says it has taken a hit of approximately 170,000 net saleable tons on its operations at Lake Charles, Louisiana, due to the impact of Hurricanes Laura and Delta.
Borealis has commissioned an 80,000 cubic meter naphtha storage cavern in Porvoo, Finland, saying the new facility will allow it to access feedstock for its integrated petrochemical production complex from a wider range of sources.
Europe faces a critical supply shortage of toluene diisocyanate (TDI), with two of the region’s three manufacturing facilities currently offline, which could slash output by up to 70%.
ONGC Mangalore Petrochemicals Ltd. (OMPL; Mangalore, India) shut its aromatics plant on 13 October because of ongoing margin weakness, with the stoppage to also allow some maintenance work to be carried out, according to a source with knowledge of the matter.
LyondellBasell and Sasol have agreed to form a joint venture (JV), under which LyondellBasell will pay $2 billion to acquire 50% of Sasol’s new 1.5-million metric tons/year steam cracker, and low-density polyethylene (LDPE) and linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) plants with combined capacity for 900,000 metric tons/year, as well as associated infrastructure, at Lake Charles, Louisiana.
Huntsman says it has been forced to reduce production of methylene di-para-phenylene isocyanate (MDI) at its facility in Geismar, Louisiana, owing to a mechanical failure at a third-party supplier of raw material. The company expects the outage to last about five weeks and to reduce fourth-quarter EBITDA by about $15 million.
Hengli Petrochemical (Dalian, China) will invest 11.5 billion renminbi ($1.6 billion) to build two purified terephthalic acid (PTA) units at the Daya Bay petrochemical park at Huizhou, Guangdong Province, China. Each PTA unit will have a production capacity of 2.5 million metric tons/year (MMt/y). Operations are planned to commence by the end of 2021.
A 70,000-metric tons/year isopropyl alcohol (IPA) plant will be built at Jubail, Saudi Arabia, after Advanced Petrochemical Co. (Jubail) announced it had signed an amendment to the joint venture (JV) agreement between its subsidiary, Advanced Global Investment Co. (AGIC), and SK Gas Petrochemical Pte. (SKGP), a subsidiary of SK Gas (Seoul, South Korea).
Covestro has declared force majeure at its toluene diisocyanate (TDI) plant in Dormagen, Germany, following the sudden failure of a central pump at the facility, the company says.
LyondellBasell has declared force majeure on all products within its Americas propylene oxide (PO) and derivatives portfolio. Products affected include PO, p-glycols, allyl alcohol, butanediol (BDO) and derivatives, p-series glycol ethers, and p-specialties glycol ethers.
TechnipFMC says it has agreed to collaborate with McPhy (Paris, France) on the development and commercialization of green hydrogen production and distribution systems.
The Asian naphtha market has bowed to the reality of a supply overhang as the highest arbitrage inflow since June overwhelms November demand, but the gloom is set to lift shortly following an imminent demand increase and diversion of more costly liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) to meet winter needs, market participants say.
Total liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cargo trade for September in northwest Europe (NWE) fell 10% to an estimated 680,000 metric tons compared with August, amid falling intake as petrochemical feedstock, which declined 18% month on month to 450,000 metric tons, according to OPIS records.
Saudi Aramco has suspended plans to participate in a joint venture (JV) to build a $10-billion refining and petrochemicals complex at Liaoning, China, as the company cuts spending in response to continued low oil prices, according to people familiar with the matter, reports Bloomberg.
Sibur (Moscow) says construction work is under way at its $10-billion Amur gas chemical complex at Blagoveshchensk, Russia, with the project scheduled for completion in 2024 and commissioning in 2025.
Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding Co. (MPHC; Doha), majority-owned by Qatar Petroleum, says a new furnace at its Q-Chem joint venture (JV) facility in Qatar will increase the plant’s annual ethylene production capacity by 7%.
L&T Hydrocarbon Engineering (LTHE; Mumbai), a wholly owned subsidiary of engineering and construction major Larsen & Toubro, says it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Indian power company NTPC to carry out studies for a potential carbon dioxide (CO2)–to–methanol demonstration plant.
Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) says it has made “significant progress” with a $3.5-billion upgrade of its Ruwais, Abu Dhabi, refining complex aimed at enhancing the facility's flexibility to process a wider range of crude feedstock as part of the company's push to transform Ruwais into a globally competitive chemicals cluster.
Navigator Holdings (London, UK) says US ethylene exports are back on the rise, driven by recovering Asian demand and a continuing arbitrage.
Shell plans to acquire a 50% stake in a petrochemical project planned by Nayara Energy (Mumbai, India) and involving an investment of up to $9 billion, according to reports by Reuters and local media.
Ethane production in the US is forecast to top 2 million b/d by the last quarter of 2020, nearly 9% higher than the 1.92 million b/d reported for the first quarter of this year, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Rongsheng Petrochemical plans to start trial runs for the second phase of a 40-million metric tons/year (MMt/y), or 800,000 b/d, integrated refining and petrochemical complex at its subsidiary Zhejiang Petrochemical (ZPC) at Zhoushan, China, in the fourth quarter, the company says.
Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani has officially inaugurated a 7,000-metric tons/day methanol plant at the Kaveh petrochemical complex in Bushehr Province, Iran.
Indian Oil says it will go ahead with construction of a previously announced para-xylene (p-xylene) and purified terephthalic acid (PTA) facility at Paradip in Odisha State, India, at an estimated investment of 138 billion Indian rupees ($1.84 billion).
Energy Transfer Partners (ETP; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) says the company’s Orbit ethane export terminal at Nederland, Texas, should be commissioning its first ships in November. ETP is developing the terminal in a joint venture with China’s Satellite Petrochemical.
Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. (Adnoc)’s shipping and maritime logistics subsidiary, Adnoc L&S, has formed a joint venture (JV) with Wanhua Chemical Group (Yantai, China) to ship liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) feedstock mainly to Wanhua’s production facilities in China.
Johnson Matthey (JM; London, UK) says that it has been selected by Ningxia Baofeng Energy Group (Yinchuan, China) as licensor for the third methanol synthesis plant at Ningxia Baofeng's coal-to-olefins complex near Yinchuan in Ningxia Province.
Rebounding petrochemical demand in northwest Europe, following a second-quarter slump amid lockdowns to check the spread of COVID-19, boosted July imports of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) by 230% compared with the prior month, according to OPIS data.
Formosa Petrochemical Corp. (FPCC; Taipei, Taiwan) has started a scheduled 50-day maintenance turnaround at its 1.2-million metric tons/year (MMt/y) No.3 steam cracker in Taiwan, as first reported in May, according to a source.
TechnipFMC announced today that its proprietary Hummingbird ethanol-to-ethylene technology has been selected by LanzaTech for a key application which, when combined with LanzaTech’s alcohol-to-Jet (ATJ) technology, can be used to manufacture sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) using ethanol as raw material.
ONGC Mangalore Petrochemicals Ltd. (OMPL; Mangalore, India), the largest petrochemical producer in southern India, plans to switch back to producing aromatics around the third week of August to fulfill its benzene and para-xylene (p-xylene) supply commitments, says a source with knowledge of the matter.
Clariant has announced a second contract win for its Catofin catalysts with Dongguan Grand Resource Technology (DGR) at Dongguan, China. The Catofin propane dehydrogenation (PDH) technology is an alliance under which Lummus Technology provides its PDH process and Clariant the catalysts.
Shipping group MISC Berhad (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) says it has agreed to buy six very large ethane carriers (VLECs) for a total of $726 million from Zhejiang Satellite Petrochemical (ZSP; Jiaxing, China), with the vessels to be taken by ZSP under long-term charter to supply the company’s steam cracker that is under construction at Lianyungang, China.
The price of ethylene at Enterprise's Mont Belvieu hub was up Wednesday and widening its premium to ethylene at other Gulf Coast locations as pricing at the NOVA and Choctaw hubs fell.
Thyssenkrupp and BASF said today that they have signed a joint development agreement to expand their cooperation on the STAR dehydrogenation process. The proprietary technology developed by Thyssenkrupp produces propylene from propane feedstock, or isobutylene from isobutane feedstock.
Polynt-Reichhold has decided to build a 50,000 metric tons/year maleic anhydride plant at its Morris, Illinois, site. The move is part of the company’s Strategic Integration Initiative, which was announced in 2019. The company says it is still considering its options for production of another key feedstock, phthalic anhydride, and it expects to make a decision by the end of 2020.
Enterprise Products Partners (Houston, Texas) co-loaded olefins and natural gas liquids (NGLs) twice in July, the first time such cargoes have been loaded for export from the US, says the company.
The New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO; Tokyo, Japan) has selected Chiyoda Corp, Mitsubishi Corp, Nippon Steel Engineering, and HighChem Company Ltd. to manufacture para-xylene (p-xylene) from carbon dioxide (CO2), in an attempt to substitute existing fossil fuel–derived chemicals.
Sinochem Group (Beijing, China) expects to start up a 32.50-billion renminbi ($4.64 billion) refinery expansion and new petrochemical complex in southeastern China in August, reports Reuters.
PTTGC (Bangkok) says it is moving forward with its much-delayed Ohio petrochemical project without its partner, Daelim Chemical USA (DCA).
Hengli Petrochemical (Dalian, China) started up the second train of its No. 5 purified terephthalic acid (PTA) unit at Dalian on Sunday, a company source told IHS Markit. The new No. 5 unit is able to produce 2.5 million metric tons/year (MMt/y) and comprises two trains of 1.25 MMt/y each. Train 1 achieved on-spec production on 30 June.
Petrobras has confirmed that it has entered into exclusive talks with the Mubadala Investment Co. (Abu Dhabi) to sell the Landulpho Alves Refinery (RLAM) in the state of Bahia. Petrobras says Mubadala “presented the best binding phase proposal and was invited to start negotiations.”
Construction of the $15-billion Dangote integrated refinery and petrochemicals complex at Lekki, Nigeria, is advancing with the facility now expected to start initial operations by the end of 2022, according to Sulzer Chemtech, which has been awarded the latest contract for the project by the Dangote Group (Lagos, Nigeria).
Petrochemical makers in Asia plan to use more liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in August for a second straight month as gas cracking economics improved following a jump in naphtha prices due to strong downstream and gasoline demand.
Lower crude oil and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) prices will put downward pressure on methanol prices into methanol-to-olefin (MTO) and fuel applications, although they will have little impact on methanol production costs, according to Mike Nash, global business director/syngas at IHS Markit.
The naphtha market in northwest Europe (NWE) maintained its upward thrust in June as reduced flows from Russia tightened availability amid buoyant petrochemical buying interest, which has offset weak demand from the gasoline blending sector.
Celanese (Dallas, Texas) has raised its prices for acetic acid and several acetyl intermediate products in China and Asia, effective 8 July or as contracts otherwise allow.
OMV (Vienna, Austria) says its second-quarter 2020 ethylene/propylene net margin has fallen to €393/metric ton ($445), down from €475/metric ton in the prior-year quarter and €459/metric ton in the first quarter of this year. The company calculates its margin based on Western European contract prices, with naphtha as feedstock.
A gradual rebound in oil prices has driven up costs and started to put naphtha cracker margins back under pressure, ending the remarkable phenomenon that saw crackers in Western Europe launched into the top quartile in terms of their worldwide competitiveness, according to IHS Markit.
Ethylene exports from the US Gulf Coast (USGC) are recovering from their recent trough as delivered ethylene prices in Asia continue to strengthen amid the gradual easing of lockdown restrictions and the resulting rebound in economic activity driven by China.
Japan's ethylene production in March slumped to a 21-month low, dented by steam cracker maintenance and as some operators reduced run rates after the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) hit petrochemical demand in China in February, leading to lower prices and margins.
US ethane exports are poised to decline in April under pressure from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) lockdowns and naphtha’s new cost advantage.
Propane dehydrogenation (PDH) units in China are running at full capacity despite a reduction in liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) use in steam cracking across northeastern Asia as fabricators look to build polypropylene (PP) inventories on hopes of a quick demand recovery as the nation removes movement restrictions.
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and the crude oil crash are interacting in complex ways to transform the propylene market, says Carlo Barrasa, executive director/global olefins at IHS Markit. Barrasa spoke Tuesday during a live session of the IHS Markit World Petrochemical Conference 2020 Online.
Petrochemical manufacturers in Asia plan to crack less liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in May for a second straight month, but this is unlikely to provide much support to naphtha consumption with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic denting downstream demand.
The para-xylene (p-xylene) market in China has a longer and more comprehensive value chain than the oil market to help buffer it against demand damage caused by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, according to IHS Markit’s Fenglei Shi.
The para-xylene (p-xylene) business has changed dramatically in the past year, with almost record-high margins turning sharply negative during the period, particularly in Asia.
The outlook for naphtha as a petrochemical feedstock is “a tale of two markets,” with naphtha facing a short-term period of oversupply and disruption because of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and competition from natural gas liquids (NGLs), followed by tighter long-term supply/demand dynamics, according to IHS Markit’s Premasish Das.
Even before the arrival of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), world ethylene production capacity was set to grow far ahead of demand during 2020–22, and now the excess could swell by another 6 million metric tons/year (MMt/y) or more.
The benzene market was facing several challenges in late 2019 with demand and production growth starting to slow. The global economy was decelerating, sustainability pressures were continuing to grow, production capacity was starting up, and tighter fuel regulations were due to come into force in 2020.
Methanex (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada) said on Wednesday that it was delaying construction on its Geismar 3 methanol project in Louisiana by up to 18 months “in light of the significant uncertainty in the global economy from the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in a challenging commodity-price and project-execution environment.”
Europe's benzene market had rebounded by 27 March after a frenetic start to the April benzene contract price window following record lows last week when the spot price collapsed to $150/metric ton, the lowest level since June 2006 when IHS Markit began recording daily benzene prices.
Spot US benzene prices for April delivery reached 87 cents per gallon (cpg) delivered duty paid (DDP) HTC on Monday, the first dip below the $1 per gallon level so far this year and the lowest price seen since early 2009. Benzene has been beset by weak demand worldwide, and coupled with the slump in crude markets, price support for the commodity has crumbled.
China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC; Beijing) says that its PetroChina subsidiary has resumed construction on a 9.05-billion renminbi ($1.3 billion) petrochemical project at Korla, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China.
LyondellBasell said on Monday that it has informed engineering and construction contractors it will slow construction of its world-scale propylene oxide (PO) and tertiary butyl alcohol (TBA) project in the US.
Advanced Petrochemical Co. (Jubail, Saudi Arabia) says that Advanced Global Investment Co. (AGIC) has signed an agreement with SK Gas Petrochemical Pte. (SKGP), a subsidiary of SK Gas (Seoul, South Korea), to form a joint venture (JV) called Advanced Polyolefins Co.
PTT Global Chemical’s (PTTGC; Bangkok) US subsidiary PTTGC America (PTTGCA) says it has agreed an economic development deal with the Ohio Department of Development’s Ohio Enterprise Zone Program, which would provide the long-planned PTTDLM petrochemical project in Mead Township, Belmont County, with a 15-year property tax exemption.
SK Global Chemical (SKGC; Seoul, South Korea) will mothball and potentially scrap an aging naphtha cracker and an ethylene-propylene diene monomer (EPDM) facility as it shifts focus to higher-value products, the company said on Thursday.
Mitsubishi Chemical says it has begun the design of a 350,000-metric tons/year methyl methacrylate (MMA) plant that will be located on the US Gulf Coast. The specific location of the plant, which is expected to start up in 2025, will be announced during the next few months.
Plunging crude oil prices and weakening demand have transformed the forecast for ethylene, driving down the cost of naphtha and narrowing the cost advantage of US ethane.