Grupa Azoty reduces production in March and April after difficult first quarter in 2023 - Issue 391 || PKN Orlen-petrochemical production Jan-Apr 2023 - Issue 391 || Central European styrene trade Jan-Apr 2023 - Issue 391 || Polish polyethylene production & trade Jan-Apr 2023 - Issue 391 || Polish polypropylene production & trade Jan-Apr 2023 - Issue 391 || Polish synthetic rubber trade, Jan-Apr 2023 - Issue 391 || Central European MDI trade Jan-Apr 2023 - Issue 391 || Central European methanol trade Jan-Apr 2023 - Issue 391 || Russian chemical industry-new terminals required to serve Chinese market - Issue 391 || Russian butadiene production Jan-Apr 2023 - Issue 391 || Russian plastics and polyethylene production Jan-Apr 2023 - Issue 391 || Russian polyethylene trade Jan-Apr 2023 - Issue 391 || PTA deliveries from China to Kaliningrad - Issue 391 || Russian methanol production Jan-Apr 2023 - Issue 391 || Russian methanol exports, Jan-Apr 2023 - Issue 391 || Methanol plant at Volgograd signs agreement with Chinese company - Issue 391 || Russian polyurethane raw materials 2023 - Issue 391 || Uzbek methanol island-Air Products - Issue 391 || Russian Methanol Production, exports and domestic sales 2023 - Issue 392 || Polish petrochemical production Jan-May 2023 - Issue 392 || Olefin 111 project outline - Issue 392 || Polimex Mostostal and Naftoremont-Naftobudowa-Olefin 111 project - Issue 392 || Hungarian propylene exports Jan-Apr 2023 - Issue 392 || Central European styrene trade Jan-May 2023 - Issue 392 || Czech petrochemical trade, Jan-May 2023 - Issue 392 || Polish rubber trade Jan-May 2023 - Issue 392 || Hungarian TDI-MDI exports Jan-Feb 2023 - Issue 392 || Russian propylene exports & sales Jan-May 2023 - Issue 392 || KPI polypropylene outage & exports - Issue 392 || Russian methanol producer operational balances 2023 - Issue 396 || Russian Methanol Exports October 2023 - Issue 396 || Polish Polyol Exports 2022-2023 - Issue 396 || Polish Polyol Imports 2022-2023 - Issue 396 || Central European isocyanate trade Jan-Sep 2023 - Issue 396 || Czech polyol imports Jan-Sep 2023 - Issue 396 || Polish polyol trade Jan-Sep 2023 - Issue 396 || Isocyanate/polyol imports from China into Russia - Issue 396 ||
 


Central European chemical market news

Polish oil imports Jan-Nov 2023

Polish Crude Imports Jan-Nov 2023

Country

Vol (mil tons)

€ per ton

Saudi Arabia

10.593

575.2

Lithuania

0.026

592.8

Russia

1.150

316.4

Nigeria

1.118

606.2

Norway

7.930

567.5

US

1.218

596.1

UK

0.893

620.6

Total

23.189

557.6

From the total of 23.189 million tons of crude imported into Poland in the first eleven months, supplies from Saudi Arabia amounted to 45.7% followed by Norway with 34.2%.  By volume Saudi Arabia supplied 10.953 million tons in the first eleven months at €575.2 per ton and Norway supplied 7.930 million tons at €567.5 per ton.   Further supplies from Norway have been ensured after the include Orlen Group agreement with BP providing for deliveries of up to 6 million tons. 

PGNiG Upstream Norway, a member of the Orlen Group, has been awarded 10 new licences on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. In addition, two concessions were won by KUFPEC, which the Polish company took over.  Imports of crude from Russia into Poland dropped to 4.95% in January to November 2023, after no further deliveries were made after February.

Czech crude imports Jan-Nov 2023

Czech Crude Imports Jan-Nov 2023

Country

Vol (mil tons)

€ per ton

Azerbaijan

1.796

660.3

Kazakhstan

0.608

649.9

Russia

3.960

562.5

US

0.181

596.1

Others

0.197

635.1

Total

6.743

620.8

Russia supplied 3.960 million tons to the Czech Republic in the first eleven months at an average price of €562.5 per ton.  Deliveries from Russia peaked in the middle of 2023, monthly deliveries have since declined.  In November the Czech Republic imported 530,000 tons of crude of which Russia supplied 232,331 tons against 251,156 tons in October and 340,439 tons in September.  Azerbaijan supplied 1,796 tons in the first eleven months at €660.3 per ton and there are some hopes that Kazakh deliveries could increase in 2024.   The second half this year of 2024 may be particularly difficult for Czech imports, when the capacity of the TAL pipeline will be temporarily limited due to modifications and expansion to 4.0 million tpa. 

MOL’s feedstock imports

Hungary’s crude imports amounted to 4.839 million tons in the first ten months in 2023 against 5.077 million tons in the same period in 2022.  Supplies from Russia declined from 89.1% in 2022 to 67.8% in 2023.  Overall crude import costs dropped from €2.735 million to €2.131 million.  Average prices dropped from €538.2 per ton to €500.0 per ton.  The advantages of cheaper Russian oil from which Hungary was benefiting in the first half of 2023 largely disappeared in the second half of the year as the EU price cap became less effective. 

MOL has reiterated that it will seek to continue supplying Russian oil to its refineries through the Druzhba pipeline through Ukraine, since it does not yet see the possibility of replacing this route.  

The Ukrainian authorities have already warned of their intention to stop the transit of Russian oil after 2024.  Thus, both MOL in Hungary and Slovnaft in Slovakia are striving to find short term and long-term solutions to crude supply.  The only way to transport alternative oil to Slovakia is through the Adria pipeline and the sea port of Omišalj, which is controlled by JANAF.  Owing to vulnerable position facing both MOL and Slovnaft an agreement was reached with JANAF for a one-year contract with a relatively high price for oil transport.  Both MOL and Slovnaft as well as MOL had no choice but to accept the agreement, as the Adria pipeline plays an important role in the security of alternative oil supplies for the CEE region.  MOL will pay several times higher fees compared to the reasonable standard in the EU.

Polish petrochemical production Jan-Nov 2023

Ethylene production in Poland dropped from 426,300 tons in January to November 2022 to 290,100 tons in the same period in 2023, whilst propylene fell from 384,900 tons to 259,700 tons.  Butadiene production at Plock dropped to 44,700 tons from 58,300 tons.  Due to these declines petrochemical production in Poland fell by 21% in the first eleven months in 2023.  In the plastics sector polyethylene production dropped to 245,000 tons in January to November 2023 versus 298,700 tons in corresponding period in 2023.  Polypropylene production at Plock dropped from 295,100 tons to 240,000 tons.   

PKN Orlen Production (unit-kilo tons)

Product

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Ethylene

290.1

426.3

Propylene

259.7

384.9

Butadiene

44.7

58.3

Toluene

0.5

8.4

Phenol

36.0

40.4

Polyethylene

245.0

298.7

Polypropylene

240.0

295.1

PVC

155.8

254.0

 

Hungarian Butadiene Exports (unit-kilo tons)

Hungarian butadiene exports amounted to 35,979 tons in the first ten months in 2023 against 44,463 tons in the same period in 2022.  Shipments into Poland totalled 19,033 tons in January to October 2023 against 33,304 tons in the same period in 2022.  Exports to Germany dropped from 6,049 tons to 1,995 tons and to the Czech Republic rose from 5,110 tons to 14,951 tons.  Average prices for Hungarian butadiene exports fell to €834.6 per ton versus €1020.4 in the first ten months in 2022.

 

Czech olefin trade Jan-Nov 2023

 

Czech Olefin Exports (unit-kilo tons)

Product

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Ethylene

13.449

12.114

Propylene

19.192

0.035

Butadiene

0.486

1.100

Czech Olefin Imports (unit-kilo tons)

Product

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Ethylene

28.746

16.037

Propylene

41.358

33.860

Butadiene

62.183

59.611

Styrene

29.016

13.848

Exports of ethylene from the Czech Republic amounted to 13,449 tons in the period January to November 2023 against 12,114 tons in the same period in 2022.   At the same imports of ethylene increased from 16,037 tons to 28,746 tons, with the rise in supply required to cover unplanned downtime at Litvinov.  Ethylene exports from the Czech Republic included 5,746 tons to Germany and 5,238 tons to Slovakia.

Czech Imports of Propylene

(unit-kilo tons)

Country

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Germany

35.592

18.800

Total

41.358

33.860

 Av € per ton

909.5

1407.4

Czech imports of ethylene rose from 16,037 tons in January to November 2022 to 28,746 tons in the same period in 2023.  Germany supplied 15,902 tons to the Czech Republic in January to November 2023 for €18.784 million, averaging €1.181 per ton.

Due to weak demand for petrochemicals Czech trade in propylene monomer increased in 2023, with imports rising from 33,860 tons to 41,358 tons and exports rising from only 35 tons in January to November 2022 to 19,192 tons in 2023.  From the total exports 16,167 tons were sent to Poland, primarily for internal company usage in the Orlen Group with around a thousand tons each being delivered to Germany, Hungary and Slovakia. 

Imports of propylene were sourced mainly from Germany, accounting for 35,592 tons in the first eleven months in 2023 against 18,800 tons in the same period in 2022.  Average prices for propylene imports dropped from €1407.4 per ton in 2022 to €909.5 per ton in 2023.

Central European styrene trade Jan-Nov 2023

Polish Styrene Imports (unit-kilo tons)

Country

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Belgium

7.191

9.866

Czech Republic

9.022

10.057

Finland

  0.818

0.836

Netherlands

30.525

51.017

Germany

11.996

16.437

Others

6.327

3.768

Total

65.880

91.980

Av € per ton

1123.1

1572.7

Synthos in Poland imported 65,880 tons of styrene in January to November 2023 against 91,980 tons in January to November 2022.  The Netherlands provided 30,525 tons in the first eleven months versus 51,017 tons in the same period in 2022. 

Hungarian styrene imports (unit-kilo tons)

Country

Jan-Oct 23

Jan-Oct 22

Italy

57.152

71.672

Netherlands

3.964

4.191

Others

0.548

0.066

Total

62.398

82.024

Av € per ton

1399.5

1819.4

The Czech Republic has also been an important supplier this year, shipping from Kralupy to Oswiecim.  Styrene import costs into Poland dropped from €1582.0 per ton last year to €1124.7 in the first eleven months in 2023. 

Imports of styrene into Hungary totalled 62,398 tons in January to October 2023, down from 82,024 tons in the same period in 2022.  Prices for styrene imports into Hungary dropped from €1819.4 per ton in January to October 2022 to €1399.5 per ton in 2023.

EU targets for recylced plastics-Poland

The EU's targets for the use of recycled raw materials in the production of plastic packaging have been set for 2025. This means that there is very little time left to increase the capacity of the domestic system of obtaining raw materials for recycling.  Polish recycling does not exceed 10% based om 2021 data where 4 million tons of virgin plastics were consumed and only 400,000 tons were recycled of plastic waste.  At the same period, about 4 million tons of virgin plastics were introduced to the Polish market. The rest of the plastic waste is incinerated or ends up in landfills. 

As one of the main consumers of virgin plastics in the EU, Poland is facing the challenge of reducing the amount of plastic released into the environment.  Failure to comply with EU standards in this area has already resulted in high fees and penalties for both the state budget and businesses.

Central European and Polish plastics industry 2023

Polish plastics manufacturers are seeking ways to minimize costs and maintain financial liquidity, while remaining competitive.  Plastics producers in Poland observed suppressed demand affecting purchases amongst all major customer groups in 2023.  Grupa Azoty’s plastics segment recorded a decline in polyamide 6 sales over the third and fourth quarters, estimated in the range of 20% lower than in 2022. 

The production of plastics and semi-finished products declined in Poland in 2023, with no underlying signs of improved market sentiment by the end of the year.  PVC production in Poland saw the largest fall in the first three quarters last year, dropping by 29% versus the same period in 2022, whilst polypropylene production in Poland fell by 18% and polyethylene by 7%.    The declines in polymer production are largely demand driven.  Plastics processing based on ethylene and propylene polymers fell in Poland in the first three quarters last year from 1.420 million tons to 1.307 million tons. 

 

Polish polyolefin production Jan-Nov 2023

 

Polish Polyolefin Production

(unit-kilo tons)

Product

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Polyethylene

225.7

271.0

Polypropylene

240.0

295.1

 

Production of polyethylene in Poland fell from 298,700 tons in the first eleven months in 2022 to 245,000 tons in the same period in 2023.  Production was down last year mainly due to lower demand.  Polypropylene production fell from 295,100 tons to 240,000 tons.  Currently polypropylene production in Poland takes place at Plock, but depending on Azoty’s finances production could start soon at the new Polimery Police plant.  This plant was expected to start in August or September 2023, but problems with the equipment during the start-up phase has been the cause of the delay.  Hyundai had set the start-up date for 13 February 2024, but this has been revised to some stage in the first quarter.

 

Czech polyethylene trade Jan-Nov 2023

Czech polyethylene exports (unit-kilo tons)

Product

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

LDPE

26.242

28.582

LLDPE

3.306

4.420

HDPE

330.585

332.461

EVA

3.065

5.643

Other

19.915

12.367

Total

383.112

383.474

Av € per ton

1365.7

1882.0

Czech polyethylene imports (unit-kilo tons)

Product

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

LDPE

94.240

112.746

LLDPE

21.290

20.294

HDPE

109.643

109.501

EVA

9.538

9.628

Other

38.937

39.808

Total

273.649

291.978

Av € per ton

1590.1

1935.0

Czech prices for both exports and imports of polyolefins were lower in the first eleven months this year against the same period in 2022.  Polyethylene exports amounted to 383,112 tons in the first eleven months of which HDPE comprised 330,585 tons. 

 Germany was the largest destination for Czech HDPE exports supplied from Litvinov last year, amounting to 132,784 tons in January to November for €158.026 million.  Other important markets for Czech polyethylene exports include Poland, Italy and Belgium. 

For imports of all forms of polyethylene, Czech inward shipments amounted to 291,978 tons in January to November in 2022 against 273,649 tons in the same period in 2022.  Polyethylene prices dropped from €1935.0 per ton to €1590.1 per ton.  Germany was the largest source of polyethylene imports, amounting to 58,381 tons for €87.994 million, followed by Belgium with 34,241 tons for €52.927 million.

 

Polish polyethylene trade Jan-Nov 2023

 

2

Polish Polyethylene Trade

Exports

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Vol (kilo tons)

263.824

321.608

Value (€ million)

355.386

526.505

Av € per ton

1347.1

1637.1

Imports

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Vol (kilo tons)

1150.216

1212.726

Value (€ million)

1579.199

2169.492

Av € per ton

1378.7

1788.9

Polish trade in polyethylene declined in the first eleven months in 2023 for both imports and exports, both in volume and value.  Economic conditions affected both demand and pricing.  Poland carries a large deficit in total polyethylene supply, which is part of the reason behind Orlen’s investment project Olefiny 111 at Plock now under construction. 

Polish imports of polyethylene Jan-Nov 2023

Polish imports of polyethylene totalled 1.150 million tons in January to November last year against 1.213 million tons in January to November 2022, with average prices falling from €1788.9 per ton to €1378.7 per ton.  Total costs of polyethylene imports into Poland amounted to €1.579 million in the first eleven months against €2.169 million in January to November 2022. 

Polish PE imports (unit-kilo tons)

Country

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

LDPE

318.845

322.770

LLDPE

186.848

220.145

HDPE

392.216

423.059

EVA

17.943

16.769

EAO

183.603

178.551

Others

50.761

51.433

Total

1150.216

1212.726

Av € per ton

1378.7

1788.9

HDPE is the largest category of imported polyethylene into Poland, amounting to 392,216 in January to November versus 423,059 tons in January to November 2022.  Germany was the largest supplier of HDPE to the Polish market in 2023.  LLDPE imports dropped from export184,819 tons in January to November 2022 to 152,388 tons in the corresponding period in 2023.  Most of the LLDPE imports were sourced from West Europe, including France, the Netherlands and Germany. 

Polish exports of polyethylene Jan-Nov 2023

Polish PE Exports (unit-kilo tons)

Product Group

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

LDPE

49.400

56.976

LLDPE

15.332

20.360

HDPE

174.726

214.748

EVA

4.435

3.358

EAO

10.389

21.706

Other

9.542

4.459

Total

263.824

321.608

€ per ton

1347.1

1637.1

Polish polyethylene exports amounted to 221,382 tons in the first eleven months in 2023 against 259,606 tons in the first eleven months in 2022.  Average prices for polyethylene exports from Poland declined to €1354.4 per ton against an average of €1681.8 per ton in the period January to November 2022. 

Revenues from exports decreased from €526.505 million to €355.386 million in January to November 2023.  In the first eleven months last year exports of HDPE from Poland amounted to 174,726 tons versus 214,746 tons in January to November 2022.  LDPE exports dropped from 56,976 tons to 49,400 tons.

Hungarian polyethylene trade Jan-Oct 2022

Hungarian Polyethylene Imports

(unit-kilo tons)

Product

Jan-Oct 23

Jan-Oct 22

LLDPE

28.030

19.501

LDPE

38.341

47.504

HDPE

71.678

86.289

EAO

7.712

9.522

EVA

3.595

5.061

Other

35.887

19.183

Total

185.242

187.060

Av € per ton

1477.6

1879.0

Hungarian polyethylene exports amounted to 277,075 tons in the first ten months in 2023 versus 290,884 tons in the same period in 2022.  Revenues fell from €460.924 million to €345.376 million in 2023, meaning that average prices dropped from €1584.6 per ton in 2022 to €1246.5 per ton. 

HDPE shipments from Hungary increased from 194,100 tons in January to October 2022 to 188,576 tons in the same ten months in 2023, whilst exports of LDPE decreased from 73,891 tons to 72,762 tons. 

Hungary remains a net exporter of LDPE and HDPE and still a net importer of LLDPE and ethylene copolymers.  In the first ten months in 2023 imports of all grades of polyethylene into Hungary amounted to 185,242 tons against 187,060 tons in the same period in 2022.  Import costs for polyethylene fell to €222.664 million against €286.982 million.

Hungarian Polyethylene Exports

(unit-kilo tons)

Product

Jan-Oct 23

Jan-Oct 22

LLDPE

5.400

4.331

LDPE

72.762

73.891

HDPE

188.586

194.100

Other

10.328

18.145

Total

277.075

290.884

Av € per ton

1246.5

1584.6

Hungarian import prices for polyethylene decreased on average from €1879.0 in January to October 2022 to €1477.6 in the first ten months in 2023.  Gradual price declines took place throughout the year.

Polish PP Trade Jan-Nov 2023

Polish PP Imports (unit-kilo tons)

Category

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

PP homo

518.943

558.473

Propylene copolymers

265.857

273.961

Other

22.155

18.998

Total

809.449

854.637

Av € per ton

1459.4

1817.1

Polish polypropylene imports, including homo grade and copolymers, fell in January to November 2023 to a total of 809,449 tons versus 854,637 tons in January to November 2022.  Average prices per ton decreased from €1817.1 to €1459.4 per ton.  Homo grade polypropylene imports specifically dropped from 558,473 tons in the first eleven months in 2022 to 518,943 tons in the same period this year, whilst copolymer imports dropped from 273,61 tons to 265,857 tons.

Germany supplied 76,404 tons of propylene copolymers to Poland in the first eleven months for €121.007 million followed by the Netherlands with 43,133 tons for €65.401 million and Belgium supplying 38,852 tons for €63.305 million. 

Polish PP Exports (unit-kilo tons)

Category

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

PP homo

130.510

163.941

Propylene copolymers

62.429

80.033

Other

4.468

4.531

Total

198.025

248.749

Av € per ton

1438.1

1881.2

Regarding export activity from Poland, shipments amounted to 198,025 tons against 248,749 tons in January to November 2022.  Homo polymer grades comprised the main category of Polish polypropylene exports, where Germany was the largest destination taking 32,685 tons in the first eleven months for €43.376 million.  Germany was followed by the Czech Republic taking 27,640 tons from Poland for €32.467 million.

Czech polypropylene production and trade Jan-Nov  2023

Czech polypropylene exports

(unit-kilo tons)

Product

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

PP Homo

206.599

236.414

Propylene Copolymers

43.353

47.424

Other

28.147

2.795

Total

278.099

286.633

Av € per ton

1371.1

1754.0

Exports of all forms of polypropylene from the Czech Republic amounted to 278,099 tons in January to November versus 226,225 tons in January to November 2022, with average prices dropping from €1754.0 per ton to €1371.1 per ton. 

Homo-grade PP provides the main category of Czech polypropylene exports, amounting to 206,599 tons in January to November 2023 versus 236,414 tons in the same period in 2022.   For imports of all forms of polypropylene, Czech inward shipments increased from 467,724 tons in January to November 2022 to 489,932 tons in January to November this year, with average prices dropping from €1917.1 per ton to €1591.4 per ton. 

Hungarian polypropylene trade Jan-Oct 2022

Hungarian Polypropylene Exports

(unit-kilo tons)

Product

Jan-Oct 23

Jan-Oct 22

PP homo

104.614

105.149

Propylene copolymers

75.633

82.075

Others

12.475

15.084

Total

192.721

202.308

Av € per ton

1358.6

1682.2

Hungarian Polypropylene Imports

(unit-kilo tons)

Product

Jan-Oct 23

Jan-Oct 22

PP homo

98.811

107.018

Propylene copolymers

42.898

49.668

Others

26.219

25.103

Total

167.928

181.789

Av € per ton

1605.0

1792.9

MOL shipped 104,614 tons of homo grade polypropylene (valued at €139.821 million) in January to October 2023 which was down from 104,614 tons in the same period in 2022 (€176.627 million in value).  Copolymer exports dropped from 82,075 tons (€148.730 million in value) to 75,633 tons (€106.746 million).    Hungarian export revenues dropped for all grades of polypropylene from €340.326 million to €261.825 million, with average prices dropping from €1682.2 per ton to €1358.6.

Czech PVC trade Jan-Nov 2023

Czech PVC Exports

 

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Vol ktons

72.118

103.300

Value € mil

82.066

176.583

Czech exports of PVC dropped in 2023, in the period January to November, to 72,118 tons against 103,300 tons in the same period in 2022.  Due to the much lower prices in 2023 export revenues dropped from €176.583 million to €82.066 million.  Italy was the largest destination for Spolana’s exports this year, shipping 21,422 tons in the first eleven months.  Volumes were down for both exports and imports in 2023 due to recessionary trends.  This impacted on PVC production at Neratovice and the usage of ethylene dichloride.  EDC imports dropped from 62,764 tons in the first eleven months in 2022 to 25,280 tons in 2023.   

Czech PVC Imports

 

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Vol ktons

115.559

120.985

Value € mil

150.922

208.370

Imports of PVC into the Czech Republic dropped from 120,985 tons in January to November 2022 to 115,559 tons in 2023, with import costs dropping from €208.370 million versus €150.922 million.  Most of the imports into the Czech Republic are sourced from within Europe, with the largest suppliers including Germany, Hungary and Poland.  Germany supplied 37,303 tons in the first eleven months last year for €56.417 million.

Polish PVC trade Jan-Nov 2023

Polish PVC Production & Trade Balance

(unit-kilo tons)

 

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Production

155.8

254.0

Exports

111.398

151.306

Imports

313.737

391.56

Market Balance

358.139

494.254

PVC demand dropped significantly in 2023 with consumption in all grades dropping by 27% in the first eleven months against the same period in 2022.  Production of PVC, which takes place at Wloclawek in Poland, in addition to both exports and imports fell in 2023 due to a range of economic factors.   

Polish PVC Exports

 

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Vol ktons

111.398

151.306

Value € mil

131.581

251.482

Polish PVC Imports

 

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Vol ktons

313.737

391.560

Value € mil

316.607

747.304

Production fell in January to November 2023 to 155,800 tons versus 254,000 tons in January to November 2022.  Extended cracker downtime at Plock placed limits on Anwil’s production.  This impacted on export activity where shipments dropped from 151,306 tons in the first eleven months in 2022 to 111,398 tons in 2023.  Export revenues dropped from €251.482 million to €131.581 million.  Germany was the largest destination for PVC exports from Poland, most of which are sold in Europe, amounting to 19,079 tons last year for €22.460 million.

Poland is a sizeable net importer of PVC, with imports amounting to 313,737 tons in the first eleven months in 2023 which was down from 391,560 tons in 2022.  Import costs dropped from €747.304 million to €316.607 million.  Whilst Germany was the largest source of PVC imports into Poland, amounting to 70,430 tons in January to November 2023 for €73.186 million, the second largest supplier was South Korea shipping 45,291 tons for €40.730 million.  

Hungarian PVC trade Jan-Oct 2023

Hungarian PVC Exports

 

Jan-Oct 23

Jan-Oct 22

Vol ktons

172.777

191.212

Value € mil

172.080

317.431

Hungarian PVC exports dropped by volume from 191,212 tons in the first ten months in 2022 to 172,777 tons in the same period in 2023, whilst export revenues dropped from €317.431 million to €172.080 million.  Due to lower feedstock costs combined with lower demand PVC prices dropped from €1660.1 per ton in 2022 to €996.0 in 2023.  The largest destination for Hungarian PVC exports is Poland, taking 31,889 tons in January to October 2023 for revenues of €29.638 million. 

Regarding import activity, Hungarian inward shipments of PVC amounted to 30,374 tons in Jan-Oct 2023 versus 37,431 tons in the same period in 2022.  As Hungary imports higher cost plasticized grades costs are higher than for suspension grade and averaged €2733.6 per ton.

Czech synthetic rubber trade Jan-Nov 2023

Czech Rubber Trade (unit-kilo tons)

 

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

 Exports synthetic rubber

139,685

147,297

Imports synthetic rubber

122,468

2272.3

Imports natural rubber

83,468

81,524

Czech Exports of EBSR

 

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Kilo tons

24,400

61,200

€ million

40.590

123.374

Av € per ton

1664.3

1997.0

Czech exports of synthetic rubber amounted to 139,685 tons in January to November this year versus 171,219 tons in the same eleven months in 2022.  For the same time comparisons Imports declined from 147,297 tons to 122,468 tons.  Natural rubber imports into the Czech Republic rose slightly in the first eleven months in 2022 from 81,524 tons to 83,468 tons to 2023.   

Czech Butadiene Rubber Exports

 

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Total (unit-kilo tons)

98.599

96.921

Revenues € million

167.195

214.153

Av € per ton

1505.5

2209.6

Due to the closure of the Kralupy emulsion grade synthetic butadiene rubber plant in March 2023 ESBR exports from the Czech Republic dropped in the first eleven months to 22,350 tons against 54,445 tons in the same period in 2022.  Despite the closure of the Kralupy plant, Synthos remains the largest producer of ESBR in Europe, with 190,000 tpa of at its site at Oswiecim and another 130,000 tpa at Schkopau. 

The Czech Republic exported a total of 98,599 tons of butadiene rubber in the first eleven months in 2023 against 96,921 tons in the same period in 2022.  Besides exports the Czech Republic also imported 23,302 tons of butadiene rubber in the first eleven months in 2023 versus 27,530 tons in the same period in 2022.  Average prices fell from €2209.6 per ton to €1505.5 per ton.  Czech exports of butadiene rubber to India amounted to 12,864 tons in January to November 2023 against 19,626 tons in the same period in 2022.  Other important markets included Poland where exports amounted to 12,829 tons in January to November 2023 against 12,606 tons in the same period in 2022, and South Korea rising from 4,510 tons to 10,878 tons.  

Hungarian synthetic rubber imports Jan-Nov 2023

Hungarian synthetic rubber Imports

(unit-kilo tons)

Product

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Oct 22

Butadiene Rubber

37.554

36.975

HBR

6.441

11.839

SBR

44.169

26.162

Other

20.804

38.096

Total

108.968

113.072

Revenues € mil

244.004

264.096

Av € per ton

2239.2

2335.7

Hungarian imports of synthetic rubber amounted to 108,968 tons in the first ten months in 2023 versus 113,072 tons in January to October 2022, whilst import costs dropped from €264.096 million to €244.004 million.  Average prices dropped slightly from €2335.7 per ton to €2239.2 in 2023.  Butadiene rubber imports into Hungary rose from 36,975 tons to 37,554 tons, with costs dropping from €80.076 million to €66.504 million.  Imports from Russia into Hungary dropped from 12,082 tons to 2,318 tons in January to October 2023 whilst imports from Indonesia rose from only 98 tons in the first ten months last year to 12,441 tons. 

Imports of halogenated butyl rubber into Hungary dropped from 11,839 tons in the first ten months in 2022 to 6,441 tons whilst SBR imports rose from 26,162 tons to 44,169 tons.  

Polish rubber prices and trade, Jan-Nov 2023

Polish Synthetic Rubber Imports

(unit-kilo tons)

Product

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

ESBR

19.536

12.618

Block SBR

37.099

38.268

S-SBR

20.294

13.570

Butadiene Rubber

50.932

54.907

Butyl Rubber

4.159

3.375

HBR

9.557

12.984

NBR

6.077

12.325

Isoprene Rubber

11.887

29.061

EPDM

39.914

42.401

Others

45.646

54.010

Total

245.100

273.519

Av € per ton

2,136.5

2,564.2

Rubber import prices into Poland for both synthetic and natural have seen gradual declines from January to November last year as a combination of economic factors have taken effect.  Overall, synthetic rubber prices dropped from €2564.2 in the first eleven months in 2022 to €2136.5 in 2023.

Poland imported 245,100 tons of synthetic rubber in January to November last year against 273,519 tons in the same period in 2022.  By category butadiene rubber was the largest product for sale, accounting for 50,932 tons in the first eleven months in 2023 against 54,907 tons in 2022.

Russia supplied 11,766 tons of butadiene rubber to the Polish market in January to November 2023 for €18.619 million, against 20,465 tons in the same period in 2022 for €36.669 million.  Although much reduced than in previous years Russia is legally able to export most grades of synthetic rubber up until June 2024.  In place of Russian supplies into Poland, Synthos from the Kralupy plant was able to increase its butadiene rubber exports last year, amounting to 10,727 tons in the first eleven months versus 6,104 tons in the same period in 2022.  Saudi Arabia became a new supplier of butadiene rubber to Poland in 2022, shipping 4,713 tons in January to November 2022 which increased to 8,242 tons in 2023.

Imports of halogenated butyl rubber from Russia into Poland amounted to 4,788 tons from the total of 9,557 tons in the period January to November 2023.  The US and UK have started supplying Poland to replace some of the Russian imports.   

Synthetic rubber exports from Poland amounted to 251,700 tons in the first eleven months against 267,300 tons in January to November 2022.   Exports of butadiene rubber from Poland amounted to 42,351 tons in January to November versus 41,8854 tons.   Major destinations for Polish butadiene exports were led by Belgium which took 8,545 tons in the first eleven months for €12.716 million.  Exports of butadiene to the Czech Republic amounted to 4,637 tons for €7.512 million and to Brazil 5,842 tons for €8.499 million. 

Poland exported 4,431 tons of halogenated butyl rubber in the first eleven months against 6,912 tons in the same period in 2022.  Halogenated butyl rubber is not produced in Poland and was previously imported from Russia.  Hungary was the largest destination for Polish exports of HBR in the period January to November 2023, accounting for 3,125 tons for €7.244 million.

Polish synthetic rubber production and domestic market Jan-Nov 2023

Throughout 2023, tyre sales to the market declined in all segments except motorcycles.  Passenger car tyres fell by 21%, SUV tyres by 8%, commercial vehicles by 24%, agricultural machinery by 51%, industrial tyres by 35% and truck tyres by 39%. 

Polish Exports of Synthetic Rubber

(unit-kilo tons)

Product

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22Delete Table

SBR

172.566

174.804

Butadiene Rubber

42.351

41.885

HBR

4.431

6.912

Others

32.334

44.038

Total

251.682

267.639

For the first three quarters last year rubber consumption in tyre manufacture dropped by around 70,000 tons versus 2022.  Despite the weakness of the tyre market in Poland and Europe in general, Polish tyre manufacturers reported reasonable financial results for the first three quarters. 

 

Synthos production Jan-Nov 2023

 

Synthos Production (unit-kilo tons)

 Product

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

 Polystyrene

67.0

64.7

 EPS

83.5

94.3

 Synthetic Rubber

190.0

243.9

Synthos reduced the production of synthetic rubber in the first eleven months in 2023 to 190,000 tons from 243,900 tons in the same period in 2022.  Polystyrene production at Oswiecim increased from 64,700 tons and the production of expandable polystyrene dropped from 94,300 tons to 83,500 tons. Synthos is the largest producer of expandable polystyrene in Central Europe but has come been confronted against weak demand in 2023 following the significant fall in 2022 as construction market experienced a difficult environment. 

Synthos Synthetic Rubber, with production facilities in Germany, the Czech Republic and Poland, has received ISCC low emission certification for its entire portfolio of synthetic rubber products. These include solution styrene-butadiene rubber (S-SBR), emulsion styrene-butadiene rubber (E-SBR), high and low cis polybutadiene rubber (Nd-BR, Ni-BR and Li-BR) and recycled rubber powder.

 

Polish aromatic exports Jan-Nov 2023

 

Polish Aromatic Exports (unit-kilo tons)

 Product

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Benzene

136.212

155.008

PTA

224.009

372.415

Bisphenol A

8.230

10.315

Polish PTA Exports (unit-kilo tons)

Country

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Belarus

1.275

4.463

Belgium

0.637

13.867

France

8.536

0.000

Germany

178.213

300.841

Lithuania

1.618

35.309

Switzerland

6.741

6.749

Turkey

11.478

5.984

Others

15.512

5.202

Total

224.009

372.415

Av € per ton

845.5

901.9

Polish exports of benzene totalled 136,212 tons in January to November 2023 against 155,008 tons in the same period last year.  Despite similar volumes, average prices dropped to €855.8 per ton from €1066.7 per ton in 2022.  Germany purchased 93,975 tons from Poland in the first eleven months and the Czech Republic 14,135 tons. 

The significant drop in PTA production at Wloclawek in 2023 meant that exports from Poland amounted to only 224,009 tons in January to November last year against 372,415 tons in January to November 2022.  Average PTA prices fell in the respective periods from €901.9 per ton to €845.8 per ton. 

Lower production impacted on exports to the traditional main destination Germany where deliveries fell from 300,841 tons in January to November 2022 to 178,213 tons.   Turkey was the second largest destination for PTA export shipments, taking 11,478 tons versus 5,984 tons in the first eleven months in 2022. 

Polish-Czech aromatic imports Jan-Nov 2023

Polish Aromatic Imports (unit-kilo tons)

Product

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Adipic Acid

10.001

10.840

Bisphenol A

14.276

10.315

Caprolactam

10.442

4.157

Ethylbenzene

97.547

102.921

Paraxylene

0.000

34.150

Phenol

77.793

95.198

Phthalic Anhydride

30.110

29.045

PTA

5.677

1.864

Styrene

59.710

92.211

TDI

37.825

68.962

Toluene

21.652

21.461

Phenol imports into Poland amounted to 77,793 tons in January to November 2023 which was down from 95,198 tons in the same period in 2022.  Germany was the dominant supplier of phenol to Poland in 2023, shipping 32,231 tons for €30.553 million. 

Phthalic anhydride imports into Poland increased slightly from 29,045 tons in January to November 2022 to 30,110 tons in the same period in 2023.  Imports from South Korea amounted to 11,722 tons in the first eleven months for €13.005 million, followed by the Czech Republic which supplied 2,683 tons from the Deza plant for a value of €3.929 million. 

Czech Aromatic Exports (unit-kilo tons)

Product

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Benzene

15.197

30.256

Toluene

10.258

5.203

Ethylbenzene

115.586

102.915

Styrene

10.731

8.657

Czech Aromatic Imports (unit-kilo tons)

Product

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Benzene

23.531

65.706

Toluene

6.216

6.367

Styrene

29.016

13.848

Bisphenol A

25.159

29.069

In other product areas, styrene imports amounted to 59,710 tons in the period January to November 2023 versus 92,211 tons in the same period in 2022 whilst ethylbenzene imports dropped from 102,921 tons to 97,547 tons.  Nearly all of the ethylbenzene imports come from the Kralupy plant in the Czech Republic. 

Czech benzene imports dropped in the first eleven months to 19,366 tons against 55,135 tons in the same period in 2022, whilst toluene imports dropped to 5,263 tons and styrene rose to 25,051 tons up from 13,020 tons.  Imports of bisphenol A dropped from 24,100 tons to 20,683 tons. 

Czech exports of ethylbenzene amounted to 115,586 tons in the first eleven months against 102,915 tons in the same period in 2022.  All the ethylbenzene was shipped to Oswiecim, all within the structures of the Synthos Group. 

Benzene exports from the Czech Republic dropped in the first eleven months last year to 15,197 tons against 30,256 tons in the same period in 2022.  Germany was the primary market for Czech benzene exports, accounting for 12,054 tons for €10.124 million.

Imports of benzene into the Czech Republic dropped from 65,706 tons in January to November 2022 to 23,531 tons in the same period in 2023.  Benzene imports were sourced in the first eleven months last year from Poland (14,135 tons for €11.990 million), and Serbia (9,415 tons for €8.326 million).  There are two producers of benzene in the Czech Republic including Unipetrol at Litvinov and Deza at Valasske Mezirici.  Deza is owned by Agrofert and intends to increase the production capacity of benzene to 160,000 tpa in addition to toluene to 25,000 tpa.

Bisphenol A imports into Central Europe

Czech Bisphenol A Imports (unit-kilo tons)

Country

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Belgium

3.173

5.745

Germany

2.360

7.263

Spain

1.212

0.339

South Korea

11.454

11.592

Poland

3.571

1.301

Singapore

2.025

2.180

Others

1.779

0.650

Total

25.159

29.069

Av € per ton

1334.9

2210.9

Bisphenol A imports into the Czech Republic totalled 25,159 tons in the first eleven months in 2023 against 29,069 tons in the same period in 2022.  Average prices dropped from €2210.9 per ton to €1334.9 per ton. 

The largest user of Bisphenol A in the Czech Republic is Spolchemie at Ust nad Labem, where epoxy resins are produced.  The main source of imports is South Korea which supplied 11,454 tons to the Czech Republic in the first eleven months, almost half of total imports, whilst Poland imported 10,695 tons from South Korea amounting to 80% of total imports. 

 

Demand for Bisphenol A in Europe is likely to remain volatile in 2024 as macroeconomic headwinds persist whilst a ban on food packaging and new production in China could lead to increased competition from Asian exports.   European BPA production is expected to grow by about 17% compared to 2023, but this only partially offsets the drop in 2023, while European BPA consumption is expected to grow by about 15%, only partially recovering from the previous year.

 

Central European epoxy resin trade Jan-Nov 2023

Czech Exports of Epoxy Resins (unit-kilo tons)

Country

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Austria

2.539

2.674

Germany

19.543

22.393

Spain

3.301

3.992

France

3.259

3.974

United Kingdom

1.425

1.776

Croatia

0.340

0.283

Hungary

0.216

0.123

Switzerland

0.240

0.008

Italy

3.943

4.005

Netherlands

0.844

0.834

Poland

1.614

2.422

Sweden

1.570

0.334

Turkey

2.032

1.627

Ukraine

0.321

0.175

USA

0.180

0.878

Serbia

0.139

0.033

Others

2.225

5.700

Total

43.730

51.230

Av

3104.6

4528.9

Spolchemie’s capacity for epoxy resin production amounts to 100,000 tpa making it one of the largest producers in Europe. 

In the first eleven months in 2023 the Czech Republic exported 43,730 tons of epoxy resins at an average price of €3104.6 per ton against 51,230 tons in the same period in 2022 at an average price of €4528.9 per ton.  The largest market for Czech exports was Germany, taking 19,543 tons in January to November 2023, with Spain providing the second largest destination at 3,301 tons. 

Polish Epoxy Resin Trade

Jan-Nov 2023

 

Ktons

€ million

Exports

10.389

40.165

Imports

21.643

98.746

Most of Spolchemie’s epoxy resin production is exported, with a share of the Czech market amounting to only 5%.  Besides Bisphenol A, Spolchemie also uses epichlorohydrin in the production of epoxy resins, which it produces itself from renewable resource (glycerine).   The company more epichlorohydrin than it needs for epoxy resin production and thus exports up to 5,000 tpa.  

Polish imports of epoxy resins totalled 21,643 tons in the first eleven months in 2023 for €98.746 million, whilst exports amounted to 10,389 tons for €40.165 million.  Most of the imports were sourced from European producers.  Epoxy resins production in Poland is undertaken by Lerg at Pustkow, to the east of Krakow.  Production volumes are smaller than the Czech producer Spolchemie with output totalling 16,262 tons in 2022 which was down from 19,944 tons in 2021. 

Hungarian aromatic imports Jan-Oct 2022

Hungarian benzene imports In the first ten months in 2023 amounted to 8,051 tons for total costs of €7.595 million, against very little imports in the same period in 2022.  The largest supplier of shipments into Hungary was the Czech Republic which provided 3,296 tons in the first ten months, followed by 2,790 tons from Slovakia.

Hungarian Toluene Imports (unit-kilo tons)

Country

Jan-Oct 23

Jan-Oct 22

Belgium

4.820

1.803

Germany

14.574

15.326

Netherlands

5.822

0.000

Poland

1.398

4.512

Romania

0.329

0.494

Slovakia

4.829

3.820

Others

0.732

1.744

Total

32.504

27.698

Toluene imports into Hungary amounted to 32,503 tons in the first ten months for €37.927 million in value.  This compares against 27,698 tons in the first ten months in 2022 for a total value of €29.887 million. 

Prices for toluene averaged €1166.9 per ton in 2023 against €1079.0 in 2022.  Higher cost prices have placed limits on TDI prices. 

Germany was the largest supplier of toluene to Hungary in the period January to October 2023, amounting to 14,574 tons which was down against 15,326 tons in 2022.  Slovakia increased shipments from Slovnaft’s refinery to 4,829 tons from 3,820 tons, whilst Poland reduced shipments from 4,512 tons to 1,398 tons.  The Netherlands was a new supplier to Hungary in 2023, proving 5,822 tons. 

Central European caprolactam market

Polish Caprolactam Supply/Demand Balance

(unit-kilo tons)

 

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Production

83.1

123.2

Exports

0.0

0.1

Imports

10.4

4.2

Market Balance

93.5

127.5

Over the course of 2023 the European caprolactam and PA6 markets were affected by reduced consumer demand. At the beginning of the third quarter, demand for both products remained low.  Many processors reduced their stocks of raw materials and finished products, accelerating or extending pre-planned repair and maintenance shutdowns.  Cheaper imports of PA6 products from Asia continued.

Spolana Caprolactam Exports

(unit-kilo tons)

Country

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Belgium

1.953

10.844

Germany

1.215

13.736

Italy

11.215

25.631

Slovenia

3.333

6.507

Switzerland

1.862

4.438

Others

0.510

0.520

Total

20.088

33.788

Av € per ton

1657.1

2648.1

Poland produced 83,100 tons of caprolactam in the first eleven months in 2023 against 123,200 tons in January to November 2022.  Production volumes settled at a lower range of 7,500-8,300 tons per month in the second half of the year.   

In the first eleven months last year caprolactam imports amounted to 10,442 tons, nearly all of which was supplied from Germany.  Overall, the consumption of caprolactam in Poland dropped to 93,500 tons in 127,500 tons in January to November 2022.

The Czech Republic exported 20,088 tons of caprolactam in January to November 2023 down from 33,788 tons in the same period in 2022.   Average prices dropped from €2648.1 per ton to €1657.1 in 2023.  All of the exports were shipped to European countries.  Italy was the largest destination for Spolana’s exports, reducing shipments from 25,631 tons to 11,215 tons in 2023.

 

Hungarian TDI-MDI exports Jan-Nov 2023

 

Hungarian TDI Exports

(unit-kilo tons)

Country

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Oct 22

Austria

2.488

2.197

Belgium

25.357

19.521

Germany

7.970

11.408

Italy

23.116

27.990

Poland

22.317

25.170

Portugal

9.231

9.299

Romania

12.353

11.796

Spain

8.541

7.896

Turkey

26.439

27.579

Others

60.525

54.805

Total

198.336

197.661

Av € per ton

2519.2

2734.7

Hungarian TDI exports dropped in the first ten months this year to 198,336 tons against 197,661 tons in January to October 2022.  Average prices dropped from €2734.7 per ton to €2519.2 in 2023.  Prices dropped from a peak of €3255.4 per ton in January to €1973.3 per ton in October 2023 which measured against €3405.1 per ton in October 2022. 

Hungarian MDI Exports

(unit-kilo tons)

Country

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Oct 22

Czech Republic

5.879

5.563

Germany

17.059

19.668

Italy

8.485

5.094

France

7.488

8.953

UK

4.877

6.662

Poland

25.229

27.986

Romania

13.497

17.149

Turkey

8.617

10.518

US

0.000

23.242

Others

27.967

40.235

Total

119.098

165.070

Av price

2002.3

2583.2

Exports of TDI to Belgium rose from 19,521 tons in the first ten months in 2022 to 25,357 tons in January to October 2023 whilst volumes to Italy fell from 27,990 tons to 23,116 tons.  In other parts of West Europe Hungarian TDI exports to Portugal dropped from 9,299 tons to 9,231 tons, and to Spain rose from 7,896 tons to 8,541 tons.  In Central Europe shipments to Poland fell from 25,170 tons to 22,317 tons and Romania from 11,760 tons to 12,353 tons.

MDI exports from Hungary dropped in the first ten months in 2023 to 119,098 tons from 165,070 tons in the same period in 2022.  The most significant drop in sales was the US where no shipments were made in the first ten months against 23,242 tons in January to October 2022.  MDI export prices underwent a different cycle to TDI, dropping from €2583.2 per ton in January to October 2022 to €2002.3 per ton in 2023.

Czech MDI imports (unit-kilo tons)

Country

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

China

3.815

2.968

Belgium

9.046

11.196

Germany

4.941

7.336

Hungary

9.876

7.884

Netherlands

6.259

3.442

Others

1.834

1.128

Total

35.771

33.524

Av Price € per ton

2191.4

2712.1

Poland was the largest destination for Hungarian MDI exports, shipping 25,229 tons in the first ten months in 2023 versus 27,986 tons in the same period in 2022.  Romania is the second largest market in Central and South East Europe, taking 13,497 tons in the first ten months in 2023 which was down from 17,149 tons.   

Central European isocyanate trade Jan-Nov 2023

Polish MDI Imports (unit-kilo tons)

Country

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Germany

38.511

35.888

Netherlands

22.919

22.451

Hungary

33.408

34.957

Belgium

25.071

30.222

South Korea

6.070

2.761

Others

10.929

11.845

Total

136.908

138.124

Av Price € per ton

2023.6

2595.1

MDI imports into the Czech Republic totalled 35,771 tons in January to November 2023 against 33,524 tons in the same period in 2022.  Average prices dropped from €2712.1 per ton to €2191.4 per ton.    The leading supplier was Hungary which shipped 9,876 tons in the first eleven months against 7,884 tons in the same period last year. 

TDI imports into the Czech Republic amounted to 6,643 tons in January to November in 2023 versus 6,903 tons in January to November 2022.   

MDI imports into Poland totalled 136,908 tons in January to November 2023 against 138,124 tons in January to November 2022.  Average prices dropped from €2595.1 per ton to €2023.6 in January to November 2023.  Germany increased shipments to 38,511 tons against 35,888 tons in January to November 2022, whilst imports from Hungary amounted to 33,408 tons against 34,957 tons. 

TDI imports into Poland amounted to 64,751 tons in January to November against 68,395 tons in the same period in January to November 2022.  Prices averaged €2542.5 per ton in the first eleven months in 2023 against €2925.7 per ton in 2022. 

Polish TDI Imports (unit-kilo tons)

Country

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Belgium

2.301

1.677

Germany

15.333

17.395

Hungary

27.536

34.270

Netherlands

2.301

4.766

Saudi Arabia

2.294

2.648

South Korea

8.047

4.696

Others

4.323

3.484

Total

64.751

68.935

Av € per ton

2542.5

2925.7

The cost of toluene was one of the factors behind the rise in TDI prices in the first half of 2023 but then slowed down in the third and fourth quarters allowing TDI prices to move downwards.  Besides imports, Poland exported 4,256 tons of TDI in 2023, of which 796 tons was shipped to Russia. 

Czech polyol imports Jan-Nov 2023

Czech Polyol Imports (unit-kilo tons)

Country

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Belgium

12.966

10.364

Germany

7.239

7.879

France

6.229

5.410

Netherlands

3.986

3.976

Romania

2.213

2.146

Slovakia

4.403

4.185

Others

4.759

4.982

Total

41.795

38.941

Av € per ton

2420.7

2367.5

Czech polyol imports increased in the first eleven months to 41,795 tons against 38,941 tons in the same period in 2022, with average prices rising from €2367.5 per ton last year to €2420.7 in the first eleven months in 2023.  The leading supplier to the Czech market was Belgium which shipped 12,966 tons in the period January to November 2023 against 10,364 tons in the same period in 2022, followed by Germany which exported 7,239 tons down from 7,879 tons. 

Hungary imported 33,467 tons of polyols in the first ten months in 2023 against 27,624 tons in the same period in 2022.  The largest source of imports came from Belgium in the first ten months, amounting to 12,694 tons against 2,218 tons in the same period in 2022.  Deliveries from China amounted to 8,671 tons versus 10,028 tons. 

Polish polyol trade Jan-Nov 2023

Polish Polyol Imports (unit-kilo tons)

Country

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Belgium

17.521

21.371

China

6.163

2.842

France

4.642

0.000

Germany

29.924

23.213

Netherlands

28.132

11.022

Romania

15.135

30.634

Saudi Arabia

3.416

20.078

South Korea

15.711

0.000

Others

14.067

19.292

Total

134.710

128.453

Av € per ton

2168.3

2611.4

Polish polyol imports amounted to 134,710 tons in the first eleven months in 2023 against 128,453 tons in the same period in 2022.  The major sources of imports came from Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands.  Polyol import prices dropped from €2611.4 per ton to €2168.3 per ton.  The largest source of imports came from Germany in the first eleven months, amounting to 29,924 tons against 23,213 tons in the same period in 2022.

Exports of polyols from Poland in the first eleven months amounted to 51,823 tons against 54,400 tons in the same period in 2022.  Destinations for deliveries were focused mostly on Europe in 2023, led by Germany taking 5,365 tons in the first eleven months followed by Italy taking 5,001 tons.  Due to lower prices this year export revenues dropped from €118.631 million to €95.127 million. 

Polish Polyol Exports

 

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Total volume (ktons)

51.823

55.400

Av € per ton

2227.8

2599.6

With the construction of a fifth production line for polyether polyols two years ago, PCC Rokita increased its capacity to 110,000 tpa (measured in terms of standard polyols). The fifth production line is mainly used to manufacture intermediate products for the further polyols production.

Hungarian Polyol Imports

 

Jan-Oct 23

Jan-Oct 22

Total volume (ktons)

33.467

27.624

Av € per ton

2021.9

1927.8

The PCC Rokita Group is the largest polyol producer for the production of polyurethanes used in the automotive, furniture and construction industries. The production of polyurethanes in Poland is carried out by Ciech Pianki at Bydgoszcz.  

This company has a production capacity of about 30,000 tpa and is one of the largest domestic producers in its industry.  In the first three quarters last year Ciech Pianki reduced revenues from polyurethane sales from zl 248.9 million to zl 195.8 million. 

 

Polish oxide-glycol trade

 

Polish EO/PO Imports (unit-kilo tons)

Product

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

DEG

29,677

27.949

Ethylene Glycol

97.946

52.315

Ethylene Oxide

19.356

11.504

Propylene Glycol

17.941

18.688

Ethylene oxide imports into Poland totalled 19,356 tons in January to November versus 11,054 tons in January to November 2022.   Poland stopped importing ethylene oxide from Russia in May 2022 and Germany currently represents the main source of inward shipments.  Ethylene oxide is used in Poland mostly by PCC Rokita and PCC Exol.

Ethylene glycol imports increased in the first eleven months to 97,946 tons versus 52,315 tons in the same period last year.  Belgium supplied the largest volume of glycols to the Polish market, shipping 83,696 tons in January to November 2023.    

Regarding diethylene glycol (DEG), imports amounted to 29,677 tons in the first eleven months in 2023 against 27,949 tons in the same period in 2022.  In the past two years imports from Saudi Arabia have increased sharply amounted to 13,453 tons in the first eleven months in 2023, representing 45% of total imports.   Whilst increased consumption is one factor behind the increased imports from Saudi Arabia, the disappearance of Russian DEG has also meant that Polish consumers have had to buy from other sources.  Imports from Russia amounted to 7,807 tons in the whole of 2021 but dropped to 1,192 tons in 2022 and zero in 2023.

PCC Rokita-propylene oxide supplies & prices

PCC Rokita’s capacity for propylene oxide was expanded to 57,000 tpa two years ago which has helped reduce the dependency on imports which previously had played an important part in the company’s polyol production.  The reduction in imports has almost coincided with the gradual rise in propylene oxide prices over the past few years, increasing on average from €1332.0 per ton in 2020 to €2190.1 in 2023.  By volume propylene oxide imports dropped from 17,545 tons in 2017 to 257 tons in 2023. 

The contract price for propylene oxide in Europe for January 2024 deliveries has been settled within the range of €2,000 to €2,100 per ton, maintaining consistency with the pricing observed in December.  This shift in pricing may be attributed to various market influences, including supply and demand dynamics, raw material costs, and broader economic factors impacting the industry

Hungarian maleic anhydride exports Jan-Oct 2023

Hungarian maleic anhydride exports

(unit-kilo tons)

Country

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Oct 22

Austria

2.466

3.594

Germany

1.586

1.084

Italy

2.389

2.251

Poland

2.413

4.348

Slovenia

1.728

1.682

Others

6.436

4.802

Total

17.017

17.761

Av € per ton

1170.7

2134.1

Hungary exported 17,017 tons of maleic anhydride in the first ten months in 2023 against 17,761 tons in the same period in 2022, with average prices dropping from €2134.1 per ton to €1170.7 per ton.  Export shipments to Italy and Austria amounted to 2,466 tons and 2,389 tons in the first ten months.  Exports to Poland from Hungary dropped from 4,348 tons in January to October 2022 to 2,413 tons.     

Hungarian acrylonitrile imports Jan-Oct 2023

Hungary imported 14,691 tons of acrylonitrile in the first ten months in 2023 against 52,698 tons last year.  The Netherlands was the main source of imports in both years, shipping 9,403 tons in January to October 2023 versus 34,386 tons in the same period in 2022.  Acrylonitrile prices dropped on average from €2300.0 per ton to €2090.4 per ton in 2023. 

Hungarian imports of acrylonitrile

(unit-kilo tons)

Country

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Oct 22

Germany

2.472

5.436

France

0.891

9.908

Netherlands

9.403

34.386

Russia

0.000

1.488

Others

3.374

1.480

Total

16.139

52.698

Av € per ton

2090.4

2300.0

Hungarian aniline imports Jan-Oct 2023

Aniline imports into Hungary amounted to 84,866 tons in the first ten months in 2023 against 149,740 in the same period in 2022.  Shipments from BorsodChem-MCHZ in the Czech Republic amounted to 50,861 tons against 129,574 tons in the same period last year. 

Hungarian aniline imports (unit-kilo tons)

Country

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Oct 22

Belgium

20.907

12.705

China

11.067

0.120

Czech Republic

50.861

129.574

Others

2.031

7.341

Total

84.866

149.740

Av € per ton

1442.8

1857.4

Belgium supplied 20,907 tons in the first ten months last year against 12,705 tons in the same period in 2022.  Cost prices of aniline imports dropped from €1857.4 per ton to €1442.8 in 2023.

BorsodChem opened its new plants for nitrobenzene and aniline at the start of July last year.  The nitrobenzene plant consists of a capacity of 240,000 tpa and aniline at 200,000 tpa, in addition to a plant for concentrated nitric acid plant with a capacity of 1,000 tpa. 

Polish organic chemical trade Jan-Nov 2023

Polish Organic Chemical Trade

Exports

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Vol (kilo tons)

1,349.5

2,032.1

Value (€ million)

1,078.0

1,546.1

Imports

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Vol (kilo tons)

3,604.2

4,655.9

Value (€ million)

2,439.0

2,823.0

Exports of organic chemicals from Poland fell from 2.032 million tons in January to November 2022 year to 1.350 million tons in January to November 2023, whilst imports dropped from 4.656 million tons to 3.604 million tons.    High energy prices played a key role in driving up values last year which are still impacting on production and trade.

Methanol imports into Poland totalled 581,583 tons in January to November last year against 867,543 tons in the same period in 2022.  For other organic chemical imports Poland imported 33,853 tons of acetic acid in January to November against 41,916 tons in January to November 2022.  The US was the leading supplier, shipping 15,172 tons followed by the UK with 8,644 tons. 

Polish Organic Chemical Imports (unit-kilo tons)

Product

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Acetic Acid

33.853

41.616

Acetone

6.645

6.442

Butadiene

81.385

85.688

DINP/DOP

19.322

19.839

Ethyl Acetate

16.334

13.109

Isopropanol

9.798

10.164

Lysine

44.956

51.331

Maleic Anhydride

10.584

11.719

Methanol

581.583

867.543

Propylene

99.437

120.138

VAM

16.084

16.052

Ethyl acetate imports into Poland amounted to 16,334 tons in January to November last year against 13,109 tons in January to November 2022.  Belgium provided the largest share of imports.  VAM imports amounted to 16,084 tons versus 16,052 tons.  Regarding export activity in organic chemicals, Polish shipments of monochloroacetic acid (MCAA) rose sharply in the first eleven months to 34,999 tons against 11,999 tons in the same period in 2022.  MCAA production is undertaken by the PCC Group at Brzeg Dolny.  The destinations for Polish MCAA exports are spread throughout Europe including Germany, Italy, France and Spain.   

The production plant for ultra-pure monochloroacetic acid (MCAA), which went into operation in 2016, significantly extending the value chain of the chlorine segment.  It also enabled backward integration, as MCAA serves as a raw material for the betaine production of the surfactants segment. Ultra-pure MCAA is used as an intermediate primarily in the manufacture of body care products, but also in the agricultural, food, and pharmaceutical industries.  Other organic chemical exports from Poland include acetone where shipments amounted to 11,672 tons in the first eleven months last year versus 14,240 tons in January to November 2022.  Normal butyl acetate exports dropped from 11,901 tons to 9,823 tons in January to November 2023. 

 

Central European methanol trade Jan-Nov 2023

 

2

Czech Methanol Imports (unit-kilo tons)

Country

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Germany

5.256

6.636

Russia

6.237

26.137

Poland

51.941

37.837

Others

6.382

1.497

Total

72.318

73,673

Av € per ton

378.9

466.2

Czech imports of methanol amounted to 72,318 tons in the first eleven months last year against 73,673 tons in the same period in 2022. 

Polish Methanol Imports (unit-kilo tons)

Country

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Azerbaijan

4.981

1.138

Belgium

74.877

0.044

Finland

0.000

50.816

Germany

66.991

93.565

Norway

101.129

30.160

Russia

188.185

682.488

US

22.381

0.000

Trinidad

43.007

0.000

Venezuela

38.759

0.000

Others

2.826

7.826

Total

581.583

868.359

Av € per ton

301.830

380.406

 Russia accounted for 6,237 tons against 26,137 tons in January to November 2022 whilst imports from Poland increased from 37,837 tons to 51,9441 tons.  Prices per ton for methanol imports into the Czech Republic dropped from €466.2 in the first eleven months in 2022 to €378.9 in January to November 2023. 

Imports of methanol into Poland dropped in the first eleven months in 2023 to 581,583 tons from 867,543 tons in 2022.  The sanctions on Russian methanol imports is the underlying reason for the drop in import volumes.  Imports from Russia dropped from 682,488 tons in January to November 2023 to 188,185 tons in the same period in 2023. 

Poland Methanol Exports (unit-kilo tons)

Country

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Austria

30.860

69.587

Czech

50.812

72.584

Germany

73.998

107.709

Romania

18.927

45.384

Slovakia

38.161

49.389

Ukraine

22.841

18.484

Hungary

12.354

48.343

Others

0.341

14.004

Total

248.294

425.483

Av € per ton

355.1

425.3

 In place of Russian exports Poland increased imports from Norway, rising from 30,160 tons to 101,129 tons and from new countries such as Trinidad which supplied 43,007 tons in 2023 and Venezuela which supplied 38,759 tons.  Average costs for Polish methanol imports dropped from €380.4 per ton in 2022 to €301.8 in 2023.

Exports of methanol from Poland amounted to 248,294 tons in January to November against 425,483 tons in January to November 2022.  Revenues from Polish exports of methanol dropped from €181.657 million to €90.869 million in January to November 2023, with export prices dropping from €425.3 per ton to €355.1 per ton.  Ukraine imported 22,841 tons of methanol from Poland in the first eleven months against 18,484 tons in the same period in 2022. 

Hungarian methanol imports (unit-kilo tons)

Country

Jan-Oct 23

Jan-Oct 22

Austria

2.018

2.453

Germany

24.257

13.565

Netherlands

21.318

12.464

Poland

10.242

21.518

Russia

0.000

21.526

Slovakia

4.591

21.056

Others

8.366

8.358

Total

70.992

100.941

 Polish exports to Romania dropped from 45,384 tons in the first eleven months in 2022 to 18,927 tons in the same period in 2023.  The Romanian methanol market has undergone significant changes since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine in February 2022, as nearly all of the country’s imports were sourced from Russia and delivered by rail through Ukrainian territory. 

Imports of methanol from Azerbaijan have largely replaced Russian and Polish imports, and Romania is now SOCAR’s largest customer in the EU region.    Methanol imports into Hungary in the first ten months in 2023 dropped to 70,992 tons against 100,941 tons in the same period in 2022.  Imports from Russia dropped from 21,526 tons to zero and from Slovakia from 21,056 tons to 4,591 tons.  Germany and the Netherlands became more important suppliers in 2023.

 

Grupa Azoty Jan-Nov 2023

 

Grupa Azoty Production (unit-kilo tons)

Product

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Nitrogen Fertilisers

2299

2741

Compound Fertilisers

264

769

Potassium Fertilisers

40

80

Pigments

9

24

Urea

796

1037

Oxo alcohols

53

146

Polyamide

48

126

Ammonia

33

23

Caprolactam

84.6

123.2

Speciality Fertilisers

132

247

Production volumes for Grupa Azoty were mostly lower in the first eleven months in 2023 against the same period in 2022, despite some minor improvements output in the latter part of the year.

Strong competition from Asian fertiliser producers, which benefit from both competitive labour costs and lower energy prices have been a major problem in the past two years.  Moreover, the plastics segment has had a very difficult time in conjunction with the downturn in the construction and automotive industries. High costs combined with weak demand have presented challenges to Grupa Azoty in managing production and sales.  In the chemical segment, prices are falling due to lower demand from European customers and thus effectively all the main product groups are under pressure. 

Polish Chemical Production (unit-kilo tons)

 Product

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

 Caustic Soda Liquid

277.9

373.3

 Caustic Soda Solid

56.3

54.1

 Acetic Acid

1.8

2.2

 Ammonia (Gaseous)

1615.0

1914.0

 Ammonia (Liquid)

79.1

92.6

 Pesticides

38.2

59.8

 Nitric Acid

1692.5

1824.8

Nitrogen Fertilisers

1385.1

1615.0

Phosphate Fertilisers

172.4

308.2

Potassium Fertilisers

186.7

297.1

Market cycles would not represent such a problem were it not for the group’s overinvestment. The project in Police, although strategically important, currently seems to be too expensive for Azoty's capabilities. As a result, the company currently has high debt, high financing costs, and a new complex that is not yet generating cash.  Orlen has indicated that it is ready to take over the Pulawy plant from Grupa Azoty, but for at least the time being this interest has been rejected.

Chimcomplex new cogeneration plant completed

Chimcomplex has completed a high-efficiency cogeneration plant with a capacity of up to 8 MWe at its subsidiary in Ramnicu Valcea.  The overall objective of the project was to increase the energy efficiency of Chimcomplex Borzesti-Ramnicu Valcea Branch by installing a high-efficiency trigeneration plant with a capacity of 6 MWe and achieving savings in primary energy consumption.

Regarding other investments, Chimcomplex Borzesti intends to spend around €98 million on construction of a plant that will produce epoxy resins.  Chimcomplex signed a financing agreement with the Ministry of Economy in December last year for the development of an epoxy resin production unit. State support will provide around 40% of the project value. 

Green hydrogen Central-East Europe

Chimcomplex is the largest producer of green hydrogen in East Europe, with an annual production of over 6,000 tons.  Furthermore, it is the only company in south east Europe with real potential to use hydrogen as a raw material for green chemicals.

Slovak chemical producer Duslo has received a grant of €58 million to support its green hydrogen production project.  The company aims to replace natural gas with hydrogen in ammonia production at its Sala production site.  Duslo is the largest individual gas consumer in Slovakia, and the use of alternative solutions may also affect the overall consumption of fossil fuel in the country.   The upcoming project will ensure the maintenance of work activities not only with the production of hydrochloric acid itself, but also with other plants.   Duslo wants to supply hydrogen from its own photovoltaic and wind power plants. A photovoltaic power plant and a wind park are to be built near the chemical plant.  The generated electricity is to be exported to the local distribution network and used in a 20 MW electrolyser, which produces more than 2,100 tons of hydrogen annually.   

 

Russian petrochemical and organic chemical production Jan-Nov 2023

 

Russian Petrochemical Production (unit-kilo tons)

Product

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Ethylene

4027.4

3987.3

Propylene

2348.1

2237.3

Benzene

1186.7

1188.8

Toluene

337.5

303.6

Xylenes

389.7

387.1

Orthoxylene

114.8

98.1

Paraxylene

169.2

181.2

Styrene

622.3

654.1

Ethylbenzene

697.4

724.3

Methanol

3531.2

4122.0

Isopropanol

61.9

38.9

Butanols

134.9

144.9

Phenol

229.9

210.1

Acetic Acid

178.2

187.8

Phthalic Anhydride

80.1

56.8

In spite of EU sanctions on a wide range of Russian chemical production, output remained relatively stable in 2023 based on the first eleven months.  Olefin production for neither ethylene nor propylene has not dropped, and butadiene was the only olefin monomer to record lower output which itself was due to lower production of synthetic rubber.  Aromatic monomer and derivative production in 2023 was largely comparable to 2022 and 2021, based on the first eleven months, whilst volumes of oxygenated solvents have performed relatively well. 

Russian export activity for chemical products dropped by 36% in the period January to November 2023 against 2022 domestic producers have been helped by higher domestic demand.   Methanol is the standout product where lower exports have impacted sharply on Russian production volumes, dropping from 4.122 million tons to 3.531 million tons in January to November 2023.  The decline in production may have been greater were it not for relatively stable domestic consumption. 

Overall gaps have appeared in the Russian domestic marketplace for chemical products that were previously occupied by Western companies.  However, despite the relative success of withstanding the impact of sanctions there are other difficult trade winds facing the chemical industry on the horizon.  In particular, the investment cycle in Russia in the chemical sector has been abrupted sharply by sanctions, the budgetary support for the war and general loss of market access.  Probably the only real investment taking place these days is from internal investors and even then, projects are restricted by a lack of access to technology and advanced equipment. 

 

Russian polymer production Jan-Nov 2023

 

Russian Polymer Production

(unit-kilo tons)

Product

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Plastics in Bulk

9,768.2

9,378.0

Polyethylene

3,242.1

3,174.0

Polystyrene

521.1

531.7

PVC

886.1

888.0

Polypropylene

1,856.3

1,716.6

Polyamide

121.0

151.6

Synthetic Rubber

1,276.7

1,405.0

Synthetic Fibres

156.6

171.2

The production of plastics in Russia totalled 9.768 million tons in the first eleven months in 2023 against 9.378 million tons in the same period in 2022.   Russian production of polyethylene rose from 3.174 million tons to 3.242 million tons in the first eleven months in 2023.  This market has been particularly helped by the increased consumption in pipe manufacture for water and gas pipelines. 

Polystyrene production amounted to 521,100 tons in January to November against 531,700 tons in the same period in 2022.  PVC production amounted to 886,100 tons in the first eleven months in 2023 versus 888,000 tons in 2022. 

The production of formaldehyde resins has seen a revival this year, exceeding production in the first three quarters from 2022 by 5.2%.  September was the key month where production exceeded volumes in September 2022 by 32.6%, totalling 113,000 tons. 

The production of polyamide in Russia fell from 127,500 tons in the first eleven months in 2022 to 121,000 tons in the same period in 2023.  Russian production of synthetic rubbers amounted to 1.277 million tons in the period January to November 2023 compared to 1.405 million tons in January to November 2022. 

Russian petrochemical markets

Russian Ethylene Production (unit-kilo tons)

Producer

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Angarsk Polymer Plant

132.854

191.042

Kazanorgsintez

532.213

568.549

Stavrolen

282.120

295.770

Nizhnekamskneftekhim

586.983

600.464

Novokuibyshevsk Petrochemical

29.709

37.892

Gazprom n Salavat

267.714

304.206

SIBUR-Kstovo

354.966

320.403

SIBUR-Khimprom

46.688

51.018

Tomskneftekhim

259.945

242.751

Ufaorgsintez

97.640

86.684

ZapSibNeftekhim

1442.572

1285.024

Total

4033.404

3983.803

Russian ethylene production, Jan-Nov 2023

Russian ethylene production totalled 4.162 million tons in the first eleven months in 2023 against 3.924 million tons in the same period in 2022.  Regarding individual producers ZapSibNeftekhim at Tobolsk produced 1.572 million tons in January to November 2023, up from 1.285 million tons from January to November 2022.  Nizhnekamskneftekhim produced 586,983 tons of ethylene in the first eleven months in 2023 against 600,464 tons, whilst Kazanorgsintez dropped from 568,549 tons to 532,213 tons.  Kazanorgsintez reduced production due to extended downtime.  Extra ethylene for Kazanorgsintez is purchased from Nizhnekamskneftekhim and supplied through the capacity of the Tatar-Bashkir ethylene pipeline.  This is the most important ethylene pipeline in Russia and can transport up to 250,000 tpa. 

Other important ethylene producers included SIBUR-Kstovo in the Nizhniy Novgorod region which produced 354,966 tons versus 320,400 tons versus 320,403 tons.  SIBUR-Kstovo does not consume ethylene internally but sells to RusVinyl for PVC production and SIBUR-Neftekhim for ethylene oxide and ethylene glycol production. 

In Bashkortostan Gazprom neftekhim Salavat produced 267,714 tons against 304,206 tons, whilst Ufaorgsintez increased production from 86,684 tons to 97,640 tons.  Stavrolen at Budyennovsk reduced ethylene production in the first eleven months from 295,770 tons in 2022 against 282,120 tons in 2023.  

Russian Propylene Production (unit-kilo tons)

Producer

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Angarsk Polymer Plant

67.483

103.729

Kazanorgsintez

39.497

45.916

Lukoil-NNOS

223.953

251.859

Stavrolen

110.224

135.632

Nizhnekamskneftekhim

289.393

294.997

Novokuibyshevsk

27.406

27.575

Omsk Kaucuk

59.401

48.009

Polyom

149.458

167.928

Gazprom n Salavat

101.359

133.057

SIBUR Kstovo

149.931

138.961

SIBUR-Khimprom

65.430

74.202

Tomskneftekhim

141.728

126.042

Ufaorgsintez

157.849

137.204

ZapSibNeftekhim

963.622

819.825

Total

2546.734

2504.934

SIBUR-Khimprom at Perm in the north east Urals stopped the production of ethylene and propylene on 17 January for a few days following a fire.  This fire occurred due to technical complications.  In the first eleven months in 2023 SIBUR-Khimprom produced 46,688 tons of ethylene and 65,430 tons of propylene. 

Regarding ethylene projects in Russia Nizhnekamskneftekhim hopes to complete the construction of the EP-600 cracker this year.  Most of the heavy and important equipment for the project had been delivered to the site before sanctions were applied to Russia following the invasion of Ukraine.

For other projects international sanctions have affected completion dates as Russian companies have been forced to seek out technological alternatives.  Doubts regarding the completion of these investments will persist until the project schedule is close to the end.  Irkutsk Polymer Plant has delayed its start-up date of its 650,000 tpa polyethylene plant and 2025 is the earliest date when production might start. 

The start-up date of SIBUR’s Amur Gas Chemical Complex had been set originally for 2024-2025, but 2027 is now the earliest date for completion.  SIBUR’s jv partner for this project is Sinopec on which the Russian side had hoped with lead to access to Chinese funds.  However, Chinese banks have refused to finance the Amur gas chemical project in fear of secondary sanctions from the US.  As a result, SIBUR has had to submit a request to the Russian government to provide financial support for completion of the project. 

Russian propylene production Jan-Nov 2022

Russian propylene production amounted to 2.547 million tons in the first eleven months in 2023 against 2.504 million tons in the same period in 2022.  The combined ZapSibNeftekhim Tobolsk plants raised production from 819,825 tons in the first eleven months in 2022 to 963,622 tons.  In Tatarstan Nizhnekamskneftekhim produced 289,393 tons of propylene in the first eleven months in 2023 against 294,997 tons in 2022 whilst Kazanorgsintez reduced production to 39,497 tons from 45,916 tons.  

Russian Propylene Domestic Sales (unit-kilo tons)

Producer

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Angarsk Polymer Plant

26.300

25.002

SIBUR-Kstovo

145.627

99.377

Akrilat

6.644

13.216

LUKoil-NNOS

202.772

162.942

Stavrolen

3.302

25.703

Others

5.656

2.595

Total

395.035

343.652

In Bashkortostan Gazprom neftekhim Salavat produced 101,359 tons of propylene in the first eleven months in 2023 versus 133,057 tons, whilst Ufaorgsintez increased production from 137,204 tons to 157,849 tons.  In the Nizhny Novgorod region SIBUR-Kstovo increased production of propylene from 138,961 tons to 149,331 tons.  Lukoil-NNOS at Kstovo reduced production from 251,859 tons to 223,953 tons. 

Russian sales of propylene on the domestic merchant market amounted to 395,035 tons in the first eleven months in 2023 against 343,652 tons in the same period in 2022.  The largest propylene supplier to the domestic market was Lukoil-NNOS, shipping 202,772 tons against 162,942 tons in January to November 2022 followed by SIBUR-Kstovo which increased sales from 99,377 tons to 145,627 tons. 

Russian Propylene Domestic Purchases

(unit-kilo tons)

Consumer

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Saratovorgsintez

167.433

153.856

Volzhskiy Orgsintez

8.658

10.489

Akrilat 

22.123

20.402

SIBUR-Khimprom

38.921

35.921

Omsk-Kaucuk

28.791

7.279

Tomskneftekhim

4.169

2.538

ZapSibNeftekhim

65.965

91.386

Moscow Refinery

7.824

3.213

Ufaorgsintez

11.075

10.711

Khimprom Kemerovo

4.311

6.584

Plant of Synthetic Alcohol

0.252

5.175

Others

36.958

5.054

Total

391.828

352.776

Russian propylene exports & sales Jan-Nov 2022

Propylene exports from Russia amounted to 109,300 tons in the first eleven months in 2022 against 140,500 tons in the same period 2021.  Lukoil-NNOS reduced export shipments from 85,800 tons to 63,300 tons whilst SIBUR-Kstovo reduced shipments from 15,400 tons to 10,600 tons.  European markets have been gradually closed for Russian exporters.

Russian Butadiene Production (unit-kilo tons)

Producer

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

ZapSibNeftekhim

230.948

260.657

Nizhnekamskneftekhim

170.481

213.095

Togliattikaucuk

39.571

44.770

Sterlitamak Petrochemical Plant

19.412

24.053

Omsk Kaucuk

34.585

33.375

Total

494.997

575.949

Due to lower production ZapSibNeftekhim increased merchant propylene purchases, mostly from other SIBUR plants.  Purchases increased from 60,900 tons in January to November 2021 to 91,400 tons in the same period in 2022.  Saratovorgsintez increased purchases of merchant propylene, used for acrylonitrile production, from 99,500 tons to 123,800 tons in January to November 2022, mostly supplied by Lukoil from its Kstovo refinery.  SIBUR-Khimprom at Perm reduced purchases from 47,800 tons to 35,900 tons.

Russian butadiene production Jan-Nov 2023

Russian butadiene production totalled 494,997 tons in the first eleven months in 2023 against 575,949 tons in the same period in 2022. 

The largest producers ZapSibNeftekhim and Nizhnekamskneftekhim both showed lower production as 2022 progressed.  ZapSibNeftekhim produces butadiene only for merchant market sales whilst Nizhnekamskneftekhim processes most of its butadiene into rubber SKD-N and SKD-L are butadiene rubbers based on neodymium and lithium catalysts.

Russian plastics production Jan-Nov 2023

Russian bulk plastics production amounted to 9.768 million tons in January to November last year against 9.378 million tons in the same period in 2022 and 9.969 million tons in 2021. 

Although the production of plastics increased to record levels in 2023, not all products have seen strong demand.   Polyethylene was the leading product, whilst polyamide production has been affected by lower tyre consumption and also exports.  PVC production has particularly been affected lower construction in the domestic market. 

Polyethylene production amounted to 3.242 million tons in the first eleven months in 2023, up from 3.174 million tons in the same period in 2022.  The polyethylene market has recovered somewhat after recording a decline in sales of 8.2% in 2022 over 2021.  ZapSibNeftekhim remains the largest producer of polyethylene and polypropylene in Russia, with stable volumes produced for both products in 2023. 

As PVC demand recovered to an extent in the latter part of the year this led to increases in production and volumes for the first eleven months were only slightly down on 2022.  Polyamides remain under pressure having dropped by 20.2% in the first eleven months in 2023 against 2022. 

Russian polyethylene trade Jan-Nov 2023

Russian polyethylene exports to China dropped from 459,737 tons in January to November 2022 to 186,299 tons, with values dropping from $377.3 million to $236.6 million.   Export grades from Russia to China comprise mostly HDPE and LDPE.  Export shipments peaked in August and September in 2022 when a combined total of 165,800 tons were delivered which dropped to 31,000 tons in the same two months in 2023.

By contrast inward shipments of polyethylene from China into Russia increased by value in the first eleven months to 95,891 tons versus 48,379 tons in 2022 and 21,983 tons in 2021.   Russian imports of polyethylene from China started rising in the last few months in 2022 and then stabilised in the range of 7-9,000 tons per month throughout 2023. 

The most expensive grades of polyethylene exported by China to Russia include ethylene-vinyl acetate and ethylene-hexene copolymers.  Average prices for polyethylene imports fell in the first eleven months to $1177.1 versus $1675.9 in the same period in 2022 and $1542.4 in 2021.

In terms of trade balance Russia is still a net exporter of polyethylene to China both in volume and value, but the gap is narrowing.  Imports from China amounted to $236.2 million in the first eleven months in 2023 versus exports of $162.1 million.  Overall, since the start of the war polyethylene trade has been adversely affected by sanctions and isolation from European markets.  In 2022, polyethylene exports from Russia decreased by 17.6%, which was due to the introduction of a sanctions ban on the import of ethylene polymers from Russia to the EU countries.

 

Russian polypropylene production Jan-Nov 2023

 

Russian Polypropylene Production

(unit-kilo tons)

Producer

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Ufaorgsintez

133.9

113.5

Stavrolen

107.0

92.4

Neftekhimya

114.8

140.2

Nizhnekamskneftekhim

214.2

218.3

Polyom

182.5

182.8

Tomskneftekhim

133.9

140.7

ZapSibNeftekhim

1044.7

930.0

Total

1931.0

1817.8

Production of polypropylene in Russia in the first eleven months in 2023 amounted to 1.931 million tons against 1.818 million tons the same period in 2022.  The forecast for 2023 is a total of 2.167 million tons.  In the first eleven months in 2023 ZapSibNeftekhim accounted for 52.1% of polypropylene production, whilst Nizhnekamskneftekhim took 17.9%.   

Russian polypropylene production totalled 1.994 million tons in 2022, with the highest monthly volume reported in January at 191,048 tons and the lowest in October at 138,944 tons.   Last year’s decline in production was influenced by a decrease in sales of polypropylene within the country, as well as a decrease in export supplies.  

Market possibilities for polypropylene and other plastics in Russia are constrained significantly by the shortage of labour.  A new plant was established recently at Dubna near St Petersburg where polypropylene and polycarbonate are to be processed but finding qualified workers for the 120 jobs Is proving very difficult.   The company plans to produce up to 24,000 tpa of plastics, including polycarbonate and polypropylene.   

Russian polypropylene producers-capacity expansions

Of the Russian polypropylene producers Polyom at Omsk has recently raised capacity to 224,000 tpa, which is about 20% higher than in 2013 when the plant started production.  In addition to raised capacity the plant has increased the range of grades offered to customers.  SIBUR’s new project for a polypropylene plant at Tobolsk, with a capacity of 570,000 tpa, is designed in part to use the propane available already at the site.  The plant is targeted for a start-up in 2027.  The dehydrogenation of propane and the construction of a polypropylene plant at Tobolsk will allow SIBUR to utilise the feedstock instead of export. 

Russian-Chinese polypropylene trade Jan-Nov 2023

China increased export sales of polypropylene to Russia to 57,099 tons in the first eleven months in 2023 against 31,404 tons in the same period in 2022.  Revenues for Chinese exporters increased from $69.555 million to $105.609 million.  Average prices amounted to $1898.5 per ton in January to November last year against $2045.6 in the corresponding periods in 2022 and $1675.7 in 2021.   Exports of polypropylene from Russia to China also increased last year, amounting to 137,070 tons in the first eleven months against 70,054 tons in the same period in 2022.  Average prices of Russian homo grade PP fell from $1158.4 per ton to $813.8 per ton.

Russian PTA imports Jan-Nov 23

Russian paraxylene production fell from 226,504 tons in January to November 2022 to 208,655 tons in the same period in 2023.   Ufaneftekhim reduced production from 112,269 tons to 110,899 tons whilst Gazpromneft reduced production from 68,918 tons to 58,325 tons.

Ufaneftekhim’s paraxylene capacity was increased to 260,000 tpa in 2022 but is operating at under 50% utilisation rate.  This is due to sanctions on paraxylene exports which have affected the Omsk refinery.   Ufaneftekhim has allowed Gazprom Neft the option of supplying paraxylene to Polief in order to operate the xylene isomer unit.

Russian PTA imports and import duties

The existing duty on PTA imports into Russia, in addition to Belarus and Kazakhstan, expires in March 2024 and is likely to be extended for another two years.  The Council of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) approved the introduction of a zero rate of customs duty on the import of PTA and its salts into the territory of the EAEU.  The measure is introduced to fill the deficit in raw materials in the domestic market of the Eurasian Economic Union and meet the needs of enterprises engaged in the production of PET.

Russian PTA imports from China increased in the first eleven months to 213,900 tons versus 200,800 tons in the same period in 2022 and 270,700 tons imported in January to November 2021. 

This year values of imports amounted to $167.3 million in the first eleven months against $170.8 million in 2022 and $149.2 million in 2021.  Nearly all of the PTA imports from China were shipped to Ekopet at Kaliningrad by rail.  PTA import prices averaged $779.6 in the first eleven months this year, down from $883.1 in 2022 and up from $596.7 in 2021.

The main Chinese suppliers of PTA come from the Liaoning province in the north east of the country.  Suppliers include state-run PetroChina and privately held Hengli Petrochemical, accounting for 77.5% of deliveries to Russia in the first eleven months in 2023. 

Russian PET trade Jan-Nov 23

In the first eleven months Russian import costs of PET from China amounted to $197.659 million against $237.128 million in January to November 2022 and $135.609 million in 2021.  By volume imports dropped from 234,021 tons to 215,352 tons in January to November 2023. 

Average prices dropped last year in line with lower feedstocks costs, amounting to $919.3 per ton against $1114.9 per ton in the first eleven months in 2022.  However, they were higher than the comparative period in 2021 when numbers amounted to $907.2 per ton.

Russian synthetic rubber production Jan-Nov  2023

Synthetic rubber production in Russia amounted to 1.277 million tons in January to November 2023 against 1.404 million tons in the same period in 2022 and 1.548 million tons in 2021. 

In terms of regional production Tatarstan and Bashkortostan accounted for 72% of total synthetic rubber production in the period January to November 2023.  Around 20% of production took place at Voronezhsintezkaucuk and 7% at Omsk Kaucuk. 

Russian Tyre Production (unit-kilo tons)

Product

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Jan-Nov 21

Car Tyres

220.6

254.6

267.3

Lorry tyres

49.0

42.8

36.8

Agricultural tyres

9.5

10.1

7.5

Total

279.1

307.5

311.5

 

Tyre manufacturing in Russia remains suppressed by weak demand, but the market stabilised in the second half of 2023 to an extent.  Consumption of rubber, including synthetic and natural, amounted to 279,100 tons in January to November 2023 against 307,500 tons in 2022 and 311,500 tons in 2021.  In the tyre industry S8 Capital has closed a deal to buy Bridgestone's assets in Russia.  The Bridgestone plant in Ulyanovsk with a capacity of 2.4 million tyres per annum was launched in 2016.  Bridgestone suspended production inside Russia from March 2022, and also froze investments.  Russia accounted for less than 2% of Bridgestone's global turnover.

 

The acquisition of Bridgestone's assets in Russia is the third acquisition of S8 Capital's tire division. In May, the company closed a deal to acquire Continental's Russian business, including a plant in Kaluga (4 million tyres per year with prospects for expansion to 16 million units). As part of this deal, S8 retained the Gislaved brand. In the same month, the company announced the acquisition of Russian manufacturer Cordiant, with three facilities in Omsk and Yaroslavl. The annual capacity of the Cordiant plants amounts to 9.7 million tyres.

Russian Chinese rubber trade Jan-Nov 2023

Chinese Imports of Synthetic Rubber from Russia

($ million)

Product

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

SBRs

88.342

37.094

Butadiene Rubber

129.976

90.489

Butyl Rubber

129.522

135.253

HBR

108.333

187.693

NBR

40.607

19.972

Isoprene Rubber

78.653

71.678

Others

60.142

27.885

Total

635.574

570.065

     

Chinese Imports of Synthetic Rubber from Russia

(unit-kilo tons)

Product

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

SBRs

74.157

26.981

Butadiene Rubber

101.977

59.276

Butyl Rubber

84.998

80.343

HBR

53.802

76.586

NBR

29.545

13.297

Isoprene Rubber

54.415

50.736

Others

63.822

16.269

Total

462.716

323.488

By volume Russian shipments of synthetic rubber to China amounted to 462,716 tons in the first eleven months versus 323,488 tons in 2022.  By value, Russian exports to China totalled $570.065 million in the period January to November 2022 and rose to $635.574 million in January to November 2023. 

By volume butyl rubber exports from Russia to China increased from 80,343 tons in January to November 2022 to 84,998 tons in the same period in 2023.  Butadiene rubber exports increased from 59,276 tons to 101,977 tons whilst SBS grade SBRs increased from 26,981 tons to 74,181 tons.  Only halogenated butyl rubber exports recorded a significant fall, dropping from 76,586 tons to 53,802 tons.  Nitrile-butadiene rubber shipments increased from 13,297 tons to 29,545 tons.

By value butyl rubber exports from Russia to China dropped slightly from $135.253 million in January to November 2022 to $129.522 million in the same period this year.  Butadiene rubber exports increased from $90.489 million to $129.976 million whilst SBS grade SBRs increased from $37.094 million to $88.342 million.  Halogenated butyl rubber exports recorded a significant fall, dropping from $187.693 million to $108.330 million.  Nitrile-butadiene rubber shipments increased from $13.297 million to $34.161 million.

SIBUR to construct catalyst plant at Voronezh

To meet SIBUR's own needs which have been accentuated through the exit of international companies from the Russian market, the company has decided to build its own catalyst plant at the holding's Voronezh site.  The design production capacity amounts to 350 tons per annum for pure N-butyllithium.   SIBUR plans to build three production lines for synthesis and filtration. 

Voronezhsintezkaucuk’s capacity comprises 226,000 tpa of synthetic rubber and 135,000 tpa of SBS polymers.  The company's products are in demand in many areas of industrial production: rubbers are widely used in the production of rubber for car tyres and rubber products; SBS polymers are used to improve the quality of road surfaces and roofing materials.  In 2021 Voronezhsintezkaucuk produced 221,000 tons of synthetic rubber and 125,000 tons of SBS polymers.

Nizhnekamskneftekhim-expansion of halogenated butyl rubber

Nizhnekamskneftekhim has completed the modernisation of the halogenated butyl rubber plant, increasing capacity from 150,000 tpa to 200,000 tpa.  This makes Nizhnekamskneftekhim the world's largest producer of halobutyl rubber by capacity, although the company can only sell into the European market until 24 June this year.   HBRs are used as a sealing layer in the manufacture of tubeless automobile tyres.  Due to this component, they become not only more environmentally friendly, but also economical, allowing to reduce fuel consumption. 

The updated production facilities will meet 100% of the needs of the Russian market with domestic HBR, as well as increase the volume of Russian exports to countries such as China, Thailand, Vietnam, and India. 

The start of production of halogenated butyl rubber at Nizhnekamskneftekhim first took place in March 2004.  The initial capacity of HBR production at Nizhnekamskneftekhim was 40,000 tpa.  In 2012, production increased to 100,000 tpa and then later increased to 150,000 tpa.   The company’s production of butyl rubber will remain unchanged after the HBR expansion, or possibly be reduced to accommodate higher production of rubber derivatives.  The increase in the production of HBR involves the additional construction of six new units which have already passed the necessary examinations.

Russian methanol production Jan-Nov 2023

Russian Methanol Production

(unit-kilo tons)

Producer

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Shchekinoazot

1148.272

1387.847

Gazprom Methanol

583.990

646.330

Metafrax Chemicals

1033.542

1075.025

Akron

80.455

88.305

Azot Novomoskovsk

9.320

191.670

Angarsk Petrochemical

22.616

28.547

Azot Nevinnomyssk

105.272

104.888

Tomet

411.832

437.741

Ammoni

73.543

85.042

Totals

3468.842

4045.395

Russia produced 3.469 million tons of methanol in the first eleven months in 2023 against 4.045 million tons in the same period in 2022.  Most producers reported lower production volumes with Azot at Novomoskovsk recording a drop from 191,670 tons in January to November 2022 to 9,320 tons in the same period in 2023.  Azot at Nevinnomyssk increased production slightly from 104,888 tons to 105,272 tons whilst Ammoni in Tatarstan reduced production from 85,042 tons to 55,843 tons. 

Gazprom Methanol reduced production from 646,330 tons in the period January to November 2022 to 583,990 tons whilst Metafrax reported a fall from 1.075 million tons to 1.034 million tons.  Russia’s largest producer Shchekinoazot reduced production from 1.388 million tons to 1.148 million tons.  Tomet at Togliatti produced 411,832 tons of methanol in January to November 2023 versus 437,741 tons in 2022. 

 

Russian methanol exports Jan-Nov 2023

 

Russian Methanol Exports by Producer

(unit-kilo tons)

Producer

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Azot Nevinnomyssk

9.877

4.511

Azot Novomoskovsk

57.943

72.834

Akron

0.000

4.885

Metafrax Chemicals

330.745

427.563

Gazprom Methanol

317.266

292.475

Tomet

112.611

120.398

Shchekinoazot

561.599

1016.071

Ammoni

0.000

1.470

Total

1390.042

1940.207

Russian methanol exports amounted to 1.390 million tons in the first eleven months in 2023 versus 1.940 million tons in the same period in 2022.  China accounted for 51.4% of Russian exports in January to November, amounting to 714,471 tons, against a share of only 6.8% in the same period in 2022 when exports amounted to 132,632 tons.

The third quarter and fourth quarters last year saw lower exports from Russia, mainly due to the loss of EU trade.  Volumes in the third quarter amounted to 314,162 tons against 444,089 tons in the second quarter and 447,587 tons in the first quarter.  Fourth quarter volumes looked set to be lower than in the third quarter. 

By overall volumes Tomet exported 112,611 tons in January to November 2023 versus 120,398 tons in the previous year.  Gazprom Methanol increased exports slightly in the first eleven months from 292,475 tons to 317,266 tons.   Despite not producing since the first month in 2023 Azot at Novomoskovsk managed to export 57,943 tons in January to November last year, thus acting as a trading hub.  There is some suggestion that the holding company for Azot, Evrokhim, is purchasing methanol from Shchekinoazot in order to maintain links with its own customers in Turkey until such a time production can be restarted.    

Metafrax reduced exports from 427,563 tons in the period January to November 2022 to 330,745 tons whilst Shchekinoazot reduced exports from 1.016 million tons to 561,599 tons.  Shchekinoazot completed its third plant in September 2021, increasing capacity to 1.450 million tpa but plans to expand exports to Europe have been completely overturned by the war in Ukraine and the sanctions on Russian methanol.

China’s imports from Russia were valued at $197.557 million for shipments in the first eleven months.  In terms of product pricing Russian shipments to China averaged $277.9 per ton over the period January to November 2023.  These prices test profit margins for Russian producers which are facing much higher logistics costs to China than to European markets. 

By country, Russian methanol exports to Belarus decreased to 120,676 tons in January to November 2023 against 217,828 tons in January to November 2022.  Exports to Kazakhstan in the first eleven months in 2023 increased to 45,098 tons from 35,259 tons last year whilst more significantly shipments to Poland dropped from 421,289 tons to 126,002 tons.  Exports to Turkey doubled from 104,635 tons to 232,777 tons.  The loss of access to the Finnish ports meant that shipments dropped from 672,388 tons to 106,441 tons. 

Although China has largely replaced Finland as the main export route for Russian methanol rail distances and freight costs are much greater than to European markets.  Railcars are taking longer to return to producers which acts as a limit to how much methanol can be shipped.  The export of methanol to the east is also hampered by the shortage of carrying capacity of the Eastern railway range.  

Russian Methanol Exports by Destination

(unit-kilo tons)

Country

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Belarus

120.676

217.828

China

714.471

132.632

Finland

106.441

672.388

Germany

5.265

2.095

Kazakhstan

45.098

35.259

Latvia

1.230

62.693

Lithuania

9.019

56.659

Netherlands

20.814

137.072

Poland

126.002

421.289

Romania

0.000

26.488

Slovakia

0.000

49.035

Turkey

232.777

104.635

UK

0.000

8.398

Ukraine

0.000

11.916

Others

0.777

1.727

Total

1390.042

1940.116

Most of the methanol exports to China are conducted through the port of Nakhodka-Vostochny, accounting for 96% of shipments in the first eleven months in 2023.  The other route used by Russian producers is Zabaikalsk which is located on the border with China.  Tomet appears to favour exports using this rail connection. 

Regarding consumption in China the largest region is the Zhejiang Province which received 315,338 tons in the first eleven months in 2023, followed by the Guangdong Province with 200,149 tons and Beijing with 152,249 tons.

Chinese Methanol Imports by Region Jan-Nov 2023

Location

Vol (Ktons)

$ million

$ per ton

Beijing

152.249

43.397

285.037

Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region

26.761

5.453

203.752

Zhejiang Province

315.338

85.034

269.658

Guangdong Province

200.149

55.493

277.261

Hainan Province

25.000

7.162

286.472

Total

719.497

196.538

273.160

Besides China, Turkey has also increased its imports of methanol from Russia in the past two years.  Volumes are restricted by difficulties with the carrying capacity to the ports of the Southern Basin at Kavkaz and Temyruk. 

Russian methanol domestic sales, Jan-Nov 2023

Domestic merchant market sales in Russia have been steady in recent months enabling producers to operate at reasonable levels of utilisation.    The increase in production of formaldehyde resins has been a welcome boost to offset the declines in exports.  Production of formaldehyde resins rose by 9.6% over the first eleven months in 2023 versus 2022, although the increase was only really noted in the third quarter.   

Russian Methanol Domestic Sales (unit-kilo tons)

Producer

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Azot Nevinnomyssk

6.500

16.460

Azot Novomoskovsk

13.532

118.966

Metafrax Chemicals

448.283

388.607

Gazprom Methanol

265.941

324.980

Tomet

273.000

297.180

Shchekinoazot

359.243

268.982

Ammoni (Mendeleevsk)

27.084

45.892

Total

1393.583

1461.066

In the first eleven months in 2023 Metafrax Chemicals increased domestic merchant sales to 448,283 tons against 388,607 tons in the same period in 2022. 

Gazprom Methanol reduced domestic shipments of methanol from 324,980 tons in January to November in 2022 to 265,941 tons in January to November 2023.  Previously formaldehyde was produced by Gazprom Methanol, but the assets were sold in 2021.  The largest domestic consumer for Tomet is Togliattiazot where methanol is used for the production of urea-formaldehyde concentrate.  Shchekinoazot increased domestic methanol sales from 268,982 tons in the first eleven months in 2022 to 359,243 tons in January to November 2023, partly offsetting the loss of export volumes.   

 

Russian butanol production Jan-Nov 2023

 

Russian N-Butanol Production (unit-kilo tons)

Producer

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Angarsk Petrochemical company

26.055

29.168

Azot Nevinnomyssk

17.982

16.354

Gazprom neftekhim Salavat

64.723

64.386

SIBUR-Khimprom, Perm

28.484

27.437

Total

137.243

137.345

 

Russian Isobutanol Production (unit-kilo tons)

Producer

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Angarsk Petrochemical Company

21.253

20.343

Gazprom neftekhim Salavat

35.141

31.637

SIBUR-Khimprom, Perm

65.932

51.886

Total

122.325

103.866

Russian normal butanol production rose dropped slightly from 137,345 tons in January to November 2022 to 137,243 tons in January to November 2023.  Gazprom neftekhim Salavat was the largest Russian producer, increasing production to 64,723 tons from 64,386 tons.

Isobutanol production in Russia increased from 103,866 tons to 122,325 tons in January to November 2023.  Gazprom neftekhim Salavat increased production from 31,637 tons to 35,141 tons, whilst SIBUR-Khimprom increased production from 51,886 tons to 65,932 tons.

Russian Butanol Exports (unit-kilo tons)

N-Butanol

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Gazprom neftekhim Salavat

9.239

2.603

SIBUR-Khimprom

0.000

0.746

Angarsk Petrochemical

7.110

1.994

Azot Nevinnomyssk

1.131

1.819

Dmitrievsky Chemical Plant

0.000

1.852

Total

17.480

9.014

     

Isobutanols

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Gazprom Neftekhim Salavat

6.496

27.508

SIBUR-Khimprom

15.942

15.472

Angarsk Petrochemical

0.118

2.770

Dmitrievsky Chemical Plant

1.877

0.498

Total

24.433

46.247

Normal butanol exports from Russia rose from 9,014 tons in the first eleven months in 2022 to 17,480 tons in the same period last year, including an increase in shipments by Gazprom neftekhim Salavat from 2,603 tons to 9,239 tons. 

Isobutanol exports fell from 46,247 tons in January to November 2022 to 24,433 tons in the same period in 2022.  Gazprom neftekhim Salavat reduced shipments from 27,508 tons to 6,496 tons whilst SIBUR-Khimprom increased shipments from 15,472 tons to 15,942 tons. 

Russian solvent production Jan-Nov 2023

Russian acetone production increased from 130,581 tons in the first eleven months in 2022 to 143,861 tons in the same period in 2023. 

Russian Acetone Production (unit-kilo tons)

Producer

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Ufaorgsintez

31.701

29.710

Kazanorgsintez

50.742

46.378

Novokuibyshevsk Petrochemical

27.954

29.038

Omsk Kaucuk

33.464

25.455

Total

143.861

130.581

Omsk Kaucuk produced 33,464 tons of acetone against 25,455 tons in the previous year whilst Kazanorgsintez produced 50,742 tons against 46,378 tons.  The other two producers Ufaorgsintez and Novokuibyshevsk Petrochemical Combine both increased production in 2023.  Whilst increases have been recorded in production exports fell in the first eleven months from 56,620 tons in 2022 to 7,118 tons in the same period in 2023. 

Russian Acetic Acid Production (unit-kilo tons)

Producer

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Azot Nevinnomyssk

143.674

150.882

Others

34.502

36.913

Total

178.176

187.794

Russian acetic acid production amounted to 178,176 tons in January to November 2023 against 187,794 tons in the same period in 2022.  The largest producer in Russia Azot at Nevinnomyssk reduced production from 150,882 tons to 143,674 tons.

Isopropanol production amounted to 61,944 tons in the first eleven months in 2023 against 54,617 tons in January to November 2022.  Omsk Kaucuk increased production from 23,440 tons to 32,883 tons whilst the Plant at Synthetic Alcohol at Orsk increased from 25,599 tons to 29,061 tons.   Omsk Kaucuk only started isopropanol production in 2020 and only achieved high utilisation rates last year.   Regarding other

Russian Isopropanol Production (unit-kilo tons)

Producer

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Sintez-Acetone

0.000

3.069

Khimprom

0.000

2.507

Plant of Synthetic Alcohol

29.061

25.599

Omsk Kaucuk

32.883

23.440

Total

61.944

54.617

producers Sintez-Acetone’s isopropanol unit at Dzerzhinsk was largely idle in 2023, although other parts of the company had been operating normally.  An explosion at Sintez-Acetone took place in the middle of December during the process of trying to restart the isopropanol plant.

Russian exports of organic chemicals to China Jan-Nov 2023

Russian Exports of Organic Chemicals to China

(unit-kilo tons)

Product

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Propylene

34.650

41.099

Methanol

719.302

101.302

N-Butanol

6.956

6.925

Isobutanol

11.683

3.675

Caprolactam

126.742

61.500

Russian exports of organic chemicals to China increased in the first eleven months in a number of product areas.  Methanol increased from 101,302 tons in January to November 2022 to 719,302 tons in the same period in 2023, whilst caprolactam exports increased from 61,500 tons to 126,742 tons.  Propylene shipments from Russia to China dropped from 41,099 tons in January to November 2022 to 34,650 tons in the same period in 2023.

Russian plasticizer trade Jan-Nov 2023

 

Russian plasticizer exports dropped from 7,759 tons in the first eleven months in 2022 to 5,601 tons in the same period in 2023.  Exports this year have gone largely to Turkey and Uzbekistan. 

 

Russian Plasticizer Trade (unit-kilo tons)

Exports

 

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

DOTP

5.601

7.759

Imports

DOP

3.314

5.357

DOTP

3.048

4.512

DINP

28.444

19.752

Total

34.806

29.621

Imports of plasticizers into Russia increased from 29,621 tons in January to November 2022 to 34,806 tons in the same period in 2023.  The largest share of plasticizer imports comprises DINP which increased in the first eleven months last year to 28,444 tons from 19,752 tons in 2022.   Most of Russia’s plasticizer imports last year came from South Korea, followed by China and India.

Russian isocyanate/polyol imports 

TDI imports from China into Russia declined slightly from 26,504 tons in January to November 2022 to 25,803 tons in the same period in 2023 whilst MDI imports increased from 60,672 tons to 107,491 tons.  TDI prices fell from $3013.9 per ton in January to November 2022 to $2516.4 per ton in 2023 whilst MDI prices fell from $2594.9 per ton to $1976.5.

Polyol imports into Russia from China increased from 44,227 tons in the first eleven months in 2022 to 104,964 tons in the same period in 2023.  Import costs rose from $83.257 million in the first three quarters last year to $159.474 million.  Average prices fell from $1882.5 per ton to $1519.3 in January to November 2023.  Nizhnekamskneftekhim is the main producer of polyols in Russia, but the grades are considered basic and unable to meet the more complicated demands of Russian polyurethane manufacturers.

Karakul MTO project Uzbekistan-equipment deliveries

Uzbek MTO Project Derivatives

Product

Licensor

Capacity (ktpa)

PET

Chemtex

300

MEG

Scientific Design

n/a

Polypropylene

W. R. Grace & Co

257

LDPE/EVA

Versalis

180

Five Sulzer pumps, with a total productive capacity of almost 100,000 cubic metres per hour, were delivered to the MTO project in Uzbekistan in December.  The pumps were manufactured by Sulzer Pumps Suzhou Ltd, a Chinese subsidiary of the Swiss concern Sulzer AG, specializing in the production and service of industrial machines and equipment.  These pumps are one of the largest elements of GCC MTO’s equipment and will be used for the needs of general plant facilities. 

The gas chemical complex under construction is based on MTO technology.  Air Products has been commissioned to construct the methanol plant.  The facility, known as Methanol Island, will have a capacity of 1.34 million tpa and will be part of a gas chemical complex in Uzbekistan to produce olefins from methanol. It will be built on an area of 15 hectares in the Karakul Free Economic Zone (FEZ) in the Bukhara region. The planned launch date is 2025, and the expected service life is 25 years.

Karakul FEZ is part of a "cluster" and a special zone for the polymer industry. All of its facilities will focus on polymers with the aim of increasing competitiveness, reducing costs and ensuring stable sales due to the presence of polymer producers and end users in the same territory.   

SOCAR Methanol Jan-Nov 2023

Azerbaijan Methanol Market (unit-kilo tons)

 

Jan-Nov 23

Jan-Nov 22

Production

449.1

482.8

Exports

431.7

446.8

SOCAR Methanol produced 449,100 tons of methanol in January-November 2023, against 482,200 tons in the same period in 2022.  SOCAR Methanol exported 431,700 tons of methanol in January-November (a decline of 0.4% vs 2022).  In 2022, SOCAR exported 504,335 tons of methanol for total revenues of $131.933 million, thus at an average of $261.6 per ton.  In January-November 2023, Azerbaijan exported $81.4 million worth of methanol which was 32.5% less than in the same period in 2022. 

PVC project southern Kazakhstan

On 22 December 2023 the Development Bank of Kazakhstan opened financing for an investment project for the production of caustic soda, PVC and calcium carbide in the Turkestan region in the south of Kazakhstan.  The project is being implemented by Sastobe Innovation Complex.  Kazakhstan currently does not have its own production of PVC and the future plant will fully cover the needs of the domestic market.  The project will also give an impetus to the development of the chemical industry, including an increase in the domestic market for caustic soda.

Capacity levels include up to 100,000 tpa of caustic soda, 120,000 tpa of PVC and 180,000 tpa of calcium carbide.  In addition to the domestic market, there are plans to export to the EU area, as well as to China and Turkey.

 

KMG acquires Polymer processing company

 

Kazakh Polypropylene Trade with Russia

(unit-kilo tons)

 

Jan-Oct 23

Jan-Dec 22

Exports

199.498

29.301

Imports

11.48

30.532

KMG has acquired a domestic processing company Polymer Production LLP, located near Almaty.  This plant processes polypropylene and thus provides an outlet for KMG’s polypropylene plant located in the north west of the country near Atyrau. The company is experiencing serious difficulties. The issue of transferring Polymer Production LLP to the jurisdiction of JSC NC KazMunayGaz has not yet been resolved. 

Due to the increase in polypropylene production at Atyrau, KMG is seeking out domestic opportunities for consumption.  Polypropylene trade has been transformed in the past twelve months, particularly with Russia where imports dropped in January to October 2023 to 11,480 tons and exports increased more than six-fold to 199,498 tons. 

Kazakh sodium cyanide expansion

Kazakhstan is expanding its production capacity for sodium cyanide through the construction of a new plant in addition to the increase of the existing plant near Karatau from 15,000 tpa to 30,000 tpa.  In late 2023 the State Development Bank of Kazakhstan (DBK) signed a cooperation agreement with the German bank Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen (Helaba) to finance the construction of a new plant at Taraz worth €100 million with a capacity of 25,000 tpa.  The design includes a purity of at least 98% (used in gold hydrometallurgy).  Raw materials for the project include ammonia, methane, caustic soda and air.   

The intention to increase the capacity of the second complex will raise total capacity for Kazakhstan to 55,000 tpa.  The increased sodium cyanide capacity for the current plant is expected to lower the plant’s manufacturing costs as well as expanding export potential up to 10,000 tpa. 



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