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 ||

CIREC News May

MOL starts supplying Azeri crude to Slovnaft

MOL's crude purchases January 2023


Vol (ktons)

€ per ton
















Hungary’s average price for crude imports in January amounted to €386 per ton, mainly helped by the price cap on Russian crude. Purchases of crude from Russia in January amounted to 227,753 tons from the total of 360,769 tons.  The Russian price of €325.056 per ton compared against the next lowest price of €420.695 per ton from Iraq from where Hungary bought 54,993 tons in January.  Volumes from Kazakhstan, delivered by the Druzhba, amounted to 73,678 tons at a price of €540.105 per ton.  A small volume was purchased from Croatia at €644.185 per ton.

Although Russia accounted for 63% of crude imports for Hungary in January, the country is actively looking to become independent of Russian crude as soon as possible.  MOL has started transporting crude oil from its oil field in Azerbaijan to Slovnaft in Bratislava via the Adria oil pipeline. MOL said that the new transport route, originating from the Azeri–Chirag–Gunashli field off the Azeri coast in the Caspian Sea, to Bratislava is a major step in efforts to make their crude oil supply more flexible. 

Price cap on Russian crude exports to EU

The Czech Republic imported 400,073 tons of crude from Russia in February this year at €339.4 per ton compared to 189,478 tons from Azerbaijan at €622.405 per ton.  Another 47,000 tons was purchased from Kazakhstan.  The EU price cap of $60 per barrel for Russian crude took effect from 5 December last year.  Although supplies from Russia accounted for two thirds of Czech crude imports in February, this represents a short-term trend that has a limited time-span due to EU sanctions. 

Polish imports of crude oil 2023

Polish Imports of Crude Oil Jan-Feb 2023


Vol (million tons)

€ per ton

Saudi Arabia
























Poland imported 4.894 million tons in the first two months in 2023 at an average price of €521.7 per ton.  Saudi Arabia supplied 2.045 million tons at an average price of €577.7 per ton followed by Russia which supplied 1.150 million tons at an average price of €316.4 per ton. 

The price cap on Russian crude means that Russian volumes were supplied to Poland at borderline margin prices or possibly at numbers which do not cover total extraction and transport costs. 

Despite the price cap it does look good to purchase Russian crude and thus Orlen terminated the contract in late February with Tatneft for the supply of oil through the Druzhba oil pipeline.  Orlen's contract with Tatneft provided for the supply of 200,000 tons of oil per month until 2024.

PKN Orlen-petrochemical production Jan-Feb 2023

PKN Orlen Production (unit-kilo tons)


Jan-Feb 23

Jan-Feb 22






















PKN Orlen reduced ethylene production in the first two months in 2023 to 59,000 tons from 77,500 tons in the same period in 2022.  Propylene dropped from 77,700 tons to 67,800 tons. 

The decrease in olefin production meant that polyethylene production dropped from 51,600 tons in the first two months in 2022 to 50,300 tons this year whilst polypropylene production fell from 56,600 tons to 49,300 tons.

Petrochemical margins for PKN Orlen remain relatively high despite the weaker performance in the past few quarters.  Positive margins helped to offset the high energy costs in 2022 which affected European petrochemical producers.  Although costs have since softened, they remain one of the major concerns in 2023. 

MOL’s propylene project deliveries

The large-scale equipment of MOL Petrochemical's propylene plant under construction arrived at Tiszaújváros at the end of March.  The weight of the three trainsets, each almost 40 metres long, about 5 metres high and 4 metres wide. The first shipment crossed the Slovak border before delivery to Miskolc.

Orlen Group-green hydrogen

The European Commission has approved co-financing the Lotos Green H2 project at the Gdansk refinery.  The company will receive €158 million for the production of renewable hydrogen. Green H2 is a Lotos project initiated before the company was incorporated into the Orlen Group.    The money will be spent on an electrolyser for hydrogen production with a capacity of 100 MW, as well as the construction of a photovoltaic power plant with a capacity of 50 MW and an energy storage with a capacity of 20 MWh.  The electrolyser is to be launched in 2027.

Lotos and Orlen already produce hydrogen, but the so-called grey hydrogen through steam reforming, which generates CO2 emissions. The planned Green H2 installation at the Gdansk Refinery is expected to avoid emissions of up to 2.5 million tpa of carbon dioxide. The investment is also to have a balancing function in the power system.

Foundations for MOL Petrochemicals' new propylene plant was laid and started at Tiszaújváros in March 2022. The plant, built with a Ft 65 billion (€175 million) greenfield investment, is being designed to produce 100,000 tpa of propylene, thus significantly covering MOL's demand for raw materials in the chemical industry and increasing the company's self-sufficiency. This plant will partly provide propylene for the polyol complex under construction, which will enable Tiszaújváros.

Orlen petrochemical investments

A main feature of the Orlen Group’s strategy up to 2030 is focused on a transformation from oil processing group into becoming a more important producer of petrochemicals in Central Europe.  From Orlen’s updated strategy, announced in the first quarter this year, the emphasis on petrochemicals is aimed at increasing the Group's resistance to unfavourable market trends in traditional hydrocarbon-based fuels.  The expansion of production is aimed at tackling part of the deficit in petrochemicals and polymers in the Polish economy.   In 2022 PKN Orlen’s profits from the petrochemical division dropped from €732.9 million in 2021 to €474.0 million.  Revenues increased from €3.835 billion in 2021 to €6.337 billion in 2022, whilst costs rose from €3.507 billion to €5.861 billion. 

Polimery Police-first ethylene shipment received

The first ethylene delivery under the Polimery Police project took place at the Maritime Gas Terminal at Police on 27 March.  The Gaschem Rhone gas carrier delivered the first 3,500 tons of ethylene to Grupa Azoty Polyolefins, for which annual demand is estimated at 13,000 tpa.  Ethylene will be used first for the cooling processes, commissioning and testing of the above-ground tank and associated installations located at the terminal.  Ethylene will be stored in an above-ground tank with a capacity of 12,000 m3 in a state cooled to minus 104 degrees Celsius (-104°C).

The process of registration of propane and propylene in accordance with REACH was completed by Grupa Azoty Polyolefins on 7 February 2023.  Propylene registration was necessary due to the production and use for the production of polymer.  Propane registration facilitates the diversification in supplies from all global sources.  The unloading of propane into tanks in the new gas terminal was seen as a symbolic beginning of the completion of the new chemical complex. 

Polish propylene imports Jan-Feb 2023

Imports of propylene into Poland dropped in the first two months in 2023 to 16,604 tons against 33,760 tons in the same period in 2022.  Average prices dropped from €1131.6 per ton in January to February 2022 to €979.9 per tons in the first two months in 2023.   Although propylene monomer has not been sanctioned specifically by the EU to date, Russia stopped exporting to Poland in the latter part of 2022.