Latest insight


Russia's ethane production to rise more than ten-fold by 2025, petchem projects set for tax boost

Demand for ethane as petrochemical feedstock in Russia will rise to almost 300,000 b/d by 2025 from petchem plants in operation, under construction, or planned for completion, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).


Ammonia flagged as green marine fuel alternative

Potential future demand for ammonia as a low-risk choice of marine fuel could result in a requirement for additional ammonia production of up to 150 million metric tons/year (MMt/y) by 2050 to meet 30% of worldwide demand, says a new report.

Report: Aramco suspends plans for $10-billion China refinery-petchems joint venture

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 begins construction of Amur gas chemical mega-project

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.

MPHC expanding ethylene capacity at Q-Chem facility in Mesaieed, Qatar

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%.

Larsen & Toubro land MOU for CO2-to-methanol plant in India

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.

Adnoc's $3.5-billion Ruwais upgrade on track

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.

US ethylene exports to Asia bounce back, says Navigator

Navigator Holdings (London, UK) says US ethylene exports are back on the rise, driven by recovering Asian demand and a continuing arbitrage.

Report: Shell to acquire 50% stake in Nayara Energy's $9-billion petchem project in India

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.

EIA forecasts rising US ethane production, prices through 2021

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).

Second phase of Zhejiang Petrochemical refinery, petchem complex to start trial runs in fourth quarter

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.

Two methanol plants inaugurated in Iran

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 approves $1.8-billion petchem project at Paradip

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).

Orbit export terminal to start shipping ethane by November to cracker in China

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.

Adnoc, Wanhua Chemical form JV to ship LPG feedstock

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 awarded license for methanol synthesis plant by Chinese group

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.

Petchems demand rebound in NW Europe sees LPG feedstock imports soar

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 starts cracker turnaround at Mailiao, naphtha discount deepens in Asia as arbitrage flows outpace demand

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 licenses ethanol-to-ethylene technology to LanzaTech

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.

India's OMPL to revert to aromatics mode in August, halt reformate exports

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.

Chinese producer to double capacity of PDH complex

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.

MISC to buy six ethane carriers to supply new cracker in China

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.

Ethylene price at Enterprise hub trends up as exports flow

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, BASF sign development agreement for STAR propane dehydrogenation technology

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.


MEG glut sees European producers shift attention towards purified EO

In the face of an unprecedented oversupply of monoethylene glycol (MEG) worldwide, with a wave of additional new capacity due online over the next few years mainly in the US and China, producers in Europe are looking to upgrade or expand their facilities to shift production and capture more attractive returns on offer from purified ethylene oxide (PEO).

Polynt-Reichhold announces maleic project; phthalic plans by year-end

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 co-loads olefins, NGLs at Houston terminals

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.

Japanese consortium to produce p-xylene from CO2

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.

Report: Sinochem's refining, petchem complex at Quanzhou, China, to start up in August

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.

PTTGCA moves forward on Ohio project as Daelim pulls out

PTTGC (Bangkok) says it is moving forward with its much-delayed Ohio petrochemical project without its partner, Daelim Chemical USA (DCA).

Hengli Petrochemical starts up second line of No. 5 PTA unit

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 in exclusive talks with Mubadala to sell Bahia refinery

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.”

Dangote refinery-petchems complex in Nigeria to start operations by late 2022

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).

Cracker operators in Asia to hike LPG use in August, naphtha demand still rising

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 prices hurt MTO economics

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.

Tight supply, steady petchems demand keeps northwest Europe naphtha firm in June

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 raises acetic acid, acetyl intermediate prices in China, Asia

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's second-quarter petchem margin down, refinery utilization plunges

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.

Oil price rebound sees petchem cost curve return to more familiar territory

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.

Resurgence in USGC ethylene exports as Asian arbitrage opportunities emerge

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 March ethylene output at 21-month low amid turnarounds, run cuts

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.

Lockdowns, oil crash taking a toll on US ethane exports

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.

China PDH units running at full capacity on hopes of PP demand rebound, stock build

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.

WPC 2020: Propylene outlook transformed by COVID-19, crude crash

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.

Petchem makers in Asia to cut LPG cracking in May; naphtha facing weak demand

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.

WPC 2020: China's downstream value chain to act as partial buffer against COVID-19

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.

WPC 2020: Downcycle with a difference for p-xylene, PTA

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.

WPC 2020: Naphtha—A tale of two markets

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.

WPC 2020: Ethylene overbuild mitigated by operating conditions

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.

WPC 2020: Benzene price to reach historic lows this year

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.


COVID-19: China's petchem plant operating rates recovering, inventories soar

As large petrochemical enterprises in China accelerate their return to normal operations—amid the country’s ongoing recovery from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak—many are being helped by much-improved product margins following last week’s dramatic collapse in crude oil and naphtha prices.

Methanex delays Geismar 3 methanol project by up to 18 months

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.”

Benzene prices recover ground in Europe after hitting all-time low

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.

US benzene, ethylene reach new lows; propylene rebounds

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.

COVID-19: CNPC resumes work on $1.3-billion ethane cracker, PE complex in Xinjiang, China

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.

COVID-19: LyondellBasell to slow construction of PO/TBA project

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, SK Gas form JV to build $1.8-billion PDH, PP complex in Saudi Arabia

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.

PTTGC, Daelim take step forward on Ohio petchems project

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 to mothball aging Ulsan cracker, EPDM line in refocus

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 announces ethylene-based MMA project for Gulf Coast

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.

IHS Markit: Tumbling crude price could erase US ethane advantage

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.