CIREC news from issue 364

Central European refining and petrochemical margins

Margins for refining and petrochemicals for Central European producers rose in February to the highest level since 2016.  PKN Orlen and MOL both reported increases in February over January this year.  PKN Orlen reported an increase in the petrochemical margin from €889 to €1011 per ton, whilst MOL reported an increase from €545 to €624 per ton.  Refining margins for both companies rose respectively from $1.1 per barrel to $1.8 and from $1.8 to $2.1.  Grupa Lotos reported an even higher increase in refinery margins than Orlen and MOL, rising from $1.8 in January to $2.9 in February.

Refining volumes in Central and South East Europe declined overall in 2020, partly due to adverse economic conditions caused by the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting restrictions and decline in demand for petroleum products.  Another factor was the drastic reduction of the oil price in the global market with the average Brent price of $41.7 per barrel, 35% less than in 2019.

Central European Refining Volumes (unit-mil tons)

Company

Jan-Dec 20

Jan-Dec 19

INA

2.7

3.1

Lotos

10.5

10.9

Lukoil Bourgas

4.3

4.5

Lukoil Ploiesti

2.8

2.3

MOL

10.7

10.0

NIS

3.6

3.4

Orlen-Lietuva

7.8

9.5

Orlen-Plock

15.3

16.2

Petrom

5.1

4.7

Rompetrol

5.2

6.8

Slovnaft

3.9

4.4

Unipetrol

6.1

7.9

Total

78.0

83.6

Most refiners in the region reported financial losses in 2020 due to weak margins, although there is hope of recovery in 2021.  Scheduled outages are more limited in 2021; for example, Unipetrol applied a new four-year cycle for the Litvinov refinery in Q2 2020 and the next turnaround is not due until 2024.   In Romania Petromidia has developed a new operating strategy, resulting in general scheduled turnarounds taking place every four years and technological shutdowns scheduled for two years.

For current scheduled outages Lotos had scheduled a partial stop in March, whilst a full maintenance programme is scheduled for the Leuna refinery in eastern Germany.   Lukoil's Neftekhim refinery at Bourgas in Bulgaria, will be carrying out major works in the first half of 2021. 

Rompetrol Rafinare-refining (unit-kilo tons)

 

2020

2019

Raw materials processed - Petromidia

4,864

6,331

Raw materials processed - Vega

364

436

Fuel sales - internal

2,380

2,557

Fuel sales - external

1,248

2,169

Central European refinery investments

Rompetrol Rafinare-petrochemicals

(unit-kilo tons)

 

2020

2019

Processed propylene

117

153

Processed ethylene

66

38

Polymer production

143

127

Total sales

160

162

Grupa Lotos is awaiting its pending merger with PKN Orlen to be completed whilst undertaking an investment in shares in Grupa Azoty Polyolefins with regard to the Polimery Police project.  In 2020, Grupa Lotos continued work on the Hydrogen Recovery Unit (HRU) project, where the purpose is to increase the production of hydrogen, LPG and naphtha.

NIS in Serbia completed the construction of a delayed coker unit in 2020 worth over €300 million.  NIS is currently working on a project with Lummus Technology to enhance all aspects of refinery activities including increased butane production.  In Romania OMV Petrom is considering €245 million bioethanol plant for the Petrobrazi refinery and may apply for EU funds to finance the project.  Clariant is already building a bioethanol plant at Podari in southern Romania, under a €100 million investment with €40 million coming from the EU’s budget.  The plant will have a production capacity of 50,000 tpa and will be completed in late 2021.

 

Petrohemija-increase in polyethylene exports

Serbian Chemical Exports (unit-kilo tons)

Product

Jan-Dec 20

Jan-Dec 19

Polyethylene

123.4

98.5

Polypropylene

16.1

11.8

Styrene Butadiene Rubber

22.3

18.8

Methanol

124.9

129.1

Acetic Acid

84.2

90.5

HIP Petrohemija increased polyethylene exports from Serbia to 123,400 tons in 2020 against 98,500 tons in 2019.  Butane supplies could increase to the Petrohemija complex after the expansion at the NIS refinery at Pancevo, which could take place in 2021 or 2022. 

Polish Organic Chemical Exports (unit-kilo tons)

 

Jan-Dec 20

Jan-Dec 19

Acetic Acid

4.3

5.5

Acetone

20.6

20.2

DINP/DOP

2.0

3.5

2-EH

3.2

2.2

Glycerol

29.0

36.1

Methanol

225.7

221.2

Monochloroacetic Acid

40.4

37.1

Nonylphenol

8.9

11.0

N-Butyl Acetate

20.2

20.5

Methanol

225.7

221.2

HIP Petrohemija, stopped production for maintenance at Pancevo on 20 March which is expected to last until 20 April.    Maintenance will be carried out on the ethylene plant, with a capacity of 200,000 tpa, and propylene with a capacity of 85,000 tpa. The company also suspended synthetic rubber production at its Elemir facility for 30 days. The LDPE plant closed on 15 March for a period of around 35 days, 

Serbian exports of polypropylene increased from 11,800 tons in 2019 to 16,100 tons in 2020 and styrene butadiene rubber from increased from 18,800 tons to 22,300 tons.   Methanol exports from MSK Kikinda dropped from 129,100 tons in 2019 to 124,900 tons and acetic acid declined from the same plant from 90,500 tons to 84,200 tons.

Dicyclopentadiene project Orlen Unipetrol

In the second half of 2022, Orlen Unipetrol expects to start the production of dicyclopentadiene at Litvinov as part of the group’s strategy to produce more specialised petrochemicals.  The capacity of the new plant is being designed to produce 26,000 tpa which will account for about 25% of total capacity in Europe. 

Dicyclopentadiene (DCPD) is a liquid hydrocarbon produced during the refining and cracking of crude oil and oil. It will be based on technology developed by scientists from Orlen Unipetrol and the University of Chemical and Technology in Prague. The process was developed as part of a project to find a method for extracting hydrocarbons.

Demand for DCPD is forecast to rise over the next decade justifying the construction of the new unit.  Orlen Unipetrol is aiming to produce DCPD in grades of 80-94% quality.  The cost of the construction of the plant is estimated to amount to zl 145 million (€31.4 million).   

Polish trade in aromatic monomers and derivatives

Polish Organic Chemical Imports (unit-kilo tons)

 

Jan-Dec 20

Jan-Dec 19

Acetic Acid

69.6

68.6

Acetone

3.5

4.4

Ethyl Acetate

16.7

16.6

Isopropanol

19.0

10.7

Lysine

56.2

57.9

Maleic Anhydride

13.2

13.6

Methanol

671.1

655.8

VAM

17.0

18.7

Benzene exports from Poland totalled 212,400 tons in 2020 against 235,000 tons in 2019 whilst caprolactam exports amounted to 49,200 tons in 2020 versus 46,600 tons.  PTA is Poland’s most important aromatic derivative regarding export volumes, where shipments totalled 418,400 tons in 2020 versus 441,900 tons in 2019.  In 2018 PCC increased the capacity of the monochloroacetic acid (MCAA) plant at Brzeg Dolny from 42,000 tpa to 50,000 tpa.  The medium-term goal is to expand MCAA capacity to 100,000 tpa.  Exports of MCAA have been increasing in the past two years and amounted to 40,400 tons in 2020.  

Polish Aromatic Monomer & Derivative Imports

(unit-kilo tons)

Product

Jan-Dec 20

Jan-Dec 19

Adipic Acid

10.5

10.4

Benzene

12.4

14.5

Caprolactam

12.0

10.3

Ethylbenzene

99.1

147.8

Paraxylene

13.7

11.9

Phenol

90.1

100.5

P Anhydride

28.0

26.4

PTA

25.3

6.8

Styrene

120.8

99.5

TDI

80.1

74.3

Toluene

22.2

22.5

Ethylbenzene imports into Poland dropped from 147,800 tons in January to December 2019 to 99,100 tons in the same period in 2020.  Styrene imports increased from 99,500 tons in 2019 to 120,800 tons whilst toluene imports dropped from 22,500 tons to 22,200 tons.  Despite being a major producer and exporter of PTA, imports of PTA into Poland rose from 6,800 tons in 2019 to 25,300 tons in 2020 which was due to increased domestic consumption from PET and plasticizers.  Phthalic anhydride imports into Poland amounted to 28,000 tons in 2020 against 26,400 tons whilst paraxylene imports rose from 26,400 tons to 28,000 tons.   Imports of TDI rose from 74,300 tons to 80,100 tons.

Polish Aromatic Monomer & Derivative Exports

(unit-kilo tons)

Product

Jan-Dec 20

Jan-Dec 19

Benzene

212.4

235.0

Bisphenol A

8.3

6.2

Caprolactam

49.2

46.6

Ethylbenzene

99.1

147.8

Paraxylene

13.7

11.9

Phenol

90.1

100.5

P Anhydride

28.0

26.4

PTA

418.4

441.9

Styrene

1.6

5.4

TDI

3.0

2.8

Toluene

11.1

12.6

Polimery Police-construction halfway point

Polish Polyolefin Imports

 

2020 (ktons)

2020 (€ billion)

2019 (ktons)

2019 (€ billion)

Polyethylene

1184.5

1.387

1.266

1.296

Polypropylene

794.7

1.053

890.1

1.016

The Polimery Police project, which is being managed by Grupa Azoty Polyolefins, reached the halfway point in construction by the end of February.  In the maritime part of the investment, it is already possible to view tanks for propane and ethylene.  In the polypropylene production unit, the power substation is visible in addition to flyovers and concrete foundations for extruder and storage silos.

Polish Organic Chemical Imports (unit-kilo tons)

 

Jan-Dec 20

Jan-Dec 19

Acetic Acid

69.6

68.6

Acetone

3.5

4.4

Ethyl Acetate

16.7

16.6

Isopropanol

19.0

10.7

Lysine

56.2

57.9

Maleic Anhydride

13.2

13.6

Methanol

671.1

655.8

VAM

17.0

18.7

Efforts are already underway to analyse and find market opportunities for polypropylene sales.  The target market is a circle with a radius of about 1,000 km of which the Central European market is logically the most important.  The Polish internal market offers much scope, with imports of polypropylene rising to 890,100 tons in 2020 from 794,700 tons in 2019. 

Polish chemical imports Jan 2021

Methanol imports into Poland dropped from 69,200 tons in January 2020 to 54,800 tons in January this year.  Imports from Russia dropped from 55,700 tons to 24,400 tons.  Although Poland does not produce methanol exports dropped from 20,200 tons in January 2020 to 18,100 tons.

Propylene imports into Poland amounted to 18,288 tons in January against 10,700 tons in January 2020.  Lithuania provided 2,301 tons in January this year from the Orlen Lietuva refinery, whilst Germany supplied another 7,916 tons.  Russia supplied 2,426 tons from Kstovo and from Ukraine Karpatneftekhim supplied 5,643 tons to Poland.  

In the isocyanate sector Poland imported 6,503 tons of TDI in January this year against 6,600 tons.  Hungary increased deliveries to Poland from 2,900 tons in January last year to 3,214 tons this January.  MDI imports into Poland amounted to 10,189 tons in the first month this year of which Belgium supplied 2,420 tons and Germany 4,434 tons and Hungary 2,695 tons.

Polish PTA exports Jan 2021

Polish Exports of PTA (unit-kilo tons)

Country

Jan-21

Jan-20

Belarus

1.0

3.3

Germany

34.0

28.5

Lithuania

1.4

0.0

Switzerland

0.7

0.8

Turkey

0.0

1.4

Others

0.0

0.9

Total

37.2

34.8

Poland increased shipments of PTA from 34,800 tons in January 2020 to 37,200 tons in January this year.  Germany increased purchases from 28,500 tons to 34,000 tons.  Average prices for Polish PTA exports in January 2021 amounted to €510 per ton.  PTA exports from Poland have come under slight pressure from increased domestic demand.

Ciech-resin division sale to Lerg and expansion of msodium silicate facilities

Ciech-sodium silicate expansion

By the end of 2021, a new furnace for firing vitreous sodium silicate which is used in the production of precipitating silica will be launched at the Ciech plant at Zary.  The investment of about zl 80 million will increase the production capacity of the company in this business to about 240,000 tpa (from the current 180,000 tpa) and strengthen the Group's position as the largest supplier of silicates in Europe.  Construction and investment work is due to start in March 2021 and production from the new furnace will start before the end of this year. The new furnace will be characterized by better performance and fuel efficiency parameters, i.e., natural gas, which will further reduce CO2 emissions per ton of product by about 20%. 

Ciech and Lerg have signed an agreement to sell the share capital in full for Ciech Resins. The value of the transaction was about zl 160 million.  The Polish company Lerg is a leading resin manufacturer in Central Europe, specialising in the production of polyester resins.  For Ciech, the resins business sale transaction is part of the strategy for 2019-2021, which aims to maximize the value of the group to shareholders by focusing on the development of the main business lines with the largest scale of operation. 

Ciech Resins is the only epoxy resin manufacturer in Poland and a supplier of polyester resins used in the dyeing industry, as well as other specialised product.  Ciech Resins is based in Nowa Sarzyna and employs about 240 people. In 2020, the resins business generated zl 278 million in revenues for the Ciech Group.   

PCC Rokita 2020

Polish Monomer & Intermediate Imports 2020 (unit-kilo tons)

 

Product

Jan-Dec 20

Jan-Dec 19

Butadiene

100.1

100.5

DEG

22.2

20.2

Ethylene Glycol

51.9

42.5

Ethylene Oxide

13.2

11.4

Propylene

137.8

152.0

Propylene Glycol

25.5

9.5

Propylene Oxide

2.5

21.0

       

Due to expanded production PCC Rokita reduced imports of propylene oxide in 2020 to 2,500 tons against 21,000 tons in 2019.  The company’s supply of ethylene oxide is supplied by PCC Exol at Brzeg Dolny and PKN Orlen under a long-term contract.

PCC Rokita Sales (unit-kilo tons)

Category

Jan-Dec 20

Jan-Dec 19

Polyurethanes

87.8

89.9

Chlorine Division

336.8

347.5

Other chemicals

26.3

25.7

 PCC Rokita achieved revenues of zl 1.475 billion in 2020 against zl 1.491 billion in 2019, whilst the next profit rose from zl 93.3 million to zl 117.4 million.  The net profit increase was due to improved performance in the polyurethane segment where the EBITDA increased by approximately 165% compared to 2019 based on higher sales by 5.4%.  In the second half of the year there was a significant improvement and very high demand for polyether polyols, compensating for the downturn in the second quarter.  The main driver was changes in consumer trends due to increased spending on interior fittings.  In the chloro-derived segment, prices for sodium lye and caustic soda fell significantly, which affected performance of PCC Rokita. 

The main competitors of PCC Rokita include global chemical players which possess a higher degree of vertical integration and thus benefit from advantage of scale effect. To avoid direct competition PCC Rokita focuses on the development of new products, acquisition of competent personnel and implementation of products to more advanced polyurethane applications, especially in the segment of flexible foams. In 2022 a new competitor is expected to enter the market after MOL completes its installations for propylene oxide and polyols at Tiszaujvaros with a capacity of 200,000 tpa.  Due to its location MOL is expected to largely focus on Polish market, which is traditionally the largest market for PCC Rokita.

PCC Exol's sales (unit-kilo tons)

 

Jan-Dec 20

Jan-Dec 19

Surfactants-detergents and cosmetics

55.8

63.1

Surfactants-industry

32.6

30.3

PCC Exol 2020

PCC Exol achieved revenues of zl 645.93 million in 2020 compared to zl 638.61 million in 2019 whilst the net profit rose from zl 40.21 million compared to zl 22.29 million in 2019.  Sales of raw materials to PCC Rokita, including ethylene oxide, amounted to over 16% of PCC Exol’s turnover in 2020.  In late 2020 PCC Exol started preparations for the synthesis of sodium salt of sulphated octyl alcohol. This product is in demand for the application of plasterboards and extinguishing agents.  Currently, the installation is being adapted and retrofitted, and the synthesis process is optimized.  The project in Poland will increase the production capacity of the ethoxylation plant at Brzeg Dolny by approximately 10,000 tpa.

Russian chemical production and trade, Jan 2021

Russian Chemical Production

(unit-kilo tons)

Product

Jan-21

Jan-20

Caustic Soda

113.0

113.0

Soda Ash

298.0

306.0

Ethylene

388.9

356.0

Propylene

250.4

250.4

Benzene

128.0

133.0

Xylenes

47.7

42.4

Styrene

73.7

64.5

Phenol

23.9

22.5

Ammonia

1,800.0

1,600.0

Nitrogen Fertilisers

1,014.0

990.0

Phosphate Fertilisers

371.0

356.0

Potash Fertilisers

932.0

978.0

Plastics in Bulk

916.0

818.0

Polyethylene

317.0

261.0

Polystyrene

49.2

45.9

PVC

95.6

95.7

Polypropylene

182.5

168.5

Polyamide

17.2

14.8

Synthetic Rubber

155.0

133.0

Russia’s output of chemical products steadied in January after the significant rises in production in 2020.  Russian styrene and ethylene both reported rises against January 2020, increasing from 64,500 tons to 73,700 tons and from 356,000 tons to 388,900 tons respectively.  Benzene production fell from 133,000 tons to 128,000 tons whilst phenol rose to 23,900 tons from 22,500 tons.

In the inorganic chemical sector Russian production of caustic soda was unchanged at 113,000 tons whilst soda ash dropped from 306,000 tons to 298,000 tons.  Ammonia production in Russia has been increasing in the past two years due to the introduction of new capacity at several locations. Thus, ammonia amounted to 1.8 million tons in January against 1.6 million tons in January 2020.

Imports of pharmaceuticals into Russia increased from $440 million to $761 million in January 2021 whilst organic and inorganic chemicals rose by 14.2%.  Soap and synthetic detergent imports into Russia rose by 0.1%, whilst declines in imports of perfumes and cosmetics by 5.2%, and polymers and rubber by 0.7% were reported.  Imports of chemical fibres rose by 8.4% in January, and chemical filaments by 2.2%.

Imports of pharmaceutical products into Russia in January was dominated by Germany (13.5%), Ireland (9.8%), and Italy (9.7%).  Regarding organic chemical imports China dominated inward shipments providing 41%, followed by India with 12% and Germany 9%.  For inorganic chemicals, Ukraine was the leading source of imports in January, supplying large volumes of aluminum oxide accounting for 28% of total inward shipments followed by Kazakhstan with 17% and Australia with 14%. 

SIBUR’s investments 2020

Besides the Amur Gas Chemical Complex SIBUR’s other investments in 2020 included the completion of the thermoplastic elastomer project at Voronezh, taking capacity to 135,000 tpa whilst at Polief in Bashkortostan PET production has started based on secondary raw materials.   Over 2020 SIBUR invested 2.9 billion roubles to mitigate risks associated with the pandemic.  Polief launched a project for PET production with the addition of up to 25% of secondary raw materials. At the Novokuibyshevsk and Tver facilities, SIBUR increased the use of green energy produced from renewable energy sources. Outside of Russia SIBUR has started its jv in India for the production of butyl and halobutyl rubber at Jamnagar (JV with Reliance Industries Ltd).   The construction of a halo butyl production facility was completed, and the first batch of product is expected soon.     

The share of exports of chemical products in January 2021 amounted to 6.2% of total Russian exports compared to 4.8% in January 2020.   Physical exports of plastics and their products increased by 38.7%, fertilisers by 28.2%, and rubber by 16.8%.  In other sectors, exports of soaps and detergents increased by 10.1% in January 2020, and pharmaceutical products by 6.7%.

 

Amur Gas Chemical Complex-environmental attributes

Sinopec has paid SIBUR 18.274 billion roubles ($248 million) for a 40% stake in SIBUR’s project Amur Gas Chemical Complex in the Amur Oblast in the Russian Far East.  The project has come under close scrutiny over the environmental impact of the plant with questions of whether it is really necessary.  Water supply is a major issue and SIBUR stresses that it will seek not only to preserve existing fish stocks in the Zeya River but to also add new fish.  SIBUR is keen to emphasis the green attributes of the Amur Gas Chemical Complex from advanced chimney stacks void of smoke emissions to a closed water cycle that does not affect the local area.   Thus, the Amur Gas Chemical Complex is sought by SIBUR to become a modern "green" production complex.  The goals are to achieve and retain high levels of environmental performance throughout the construction stages before being continued into the operational phases.     

Baltic Chemical Complex-Ust Luga

For the construction of the gas-chemical complex at Ust Luga the first container train from the Chinese city of Chengdu to St Petersburg arrived on 15 March.  This comprised the delivery of 50 containers for the construction of Europe's largest gas-chemical complex at Ust-Luga.  The integrated complex is claimed by Gazprom that it will be the largest in Russia in terms of raw gas processing, liquefied natural gas production and polyethylene.

The Chengdu-St. Petersburg land route was recognised as the fastest in terms of time, as well as providing increased ecology and safety of cargo.  Over a period of 22 days, prefabricated structures and support materials were delivered in order to begin construction of the gas-chemical complex.  Containers with cargo from China were previously delivered to St Petersburg by sea vessels where the journey could take anywhere from a month and a half or two months.  The new land route runs through several countries including China, Mongolia and Russia. 

Another six trains with 300 containers are expected to arrive at the Shushara station bear St Petersburg in April.  Materials will include equipment for the gas processing plant in addition to prefabricated constructions of modular buildings which are intended for the residence of workers and builders of the project.

Nizhnekamskneftekhim pyrolysis unit

main characteristics

Licensor

Linde

Contract management

Gemont

Capacity

Ethylene 600 ktpa including six furnaces

Capacity

Propylene 272.8 ktpa

Naphtha Processing

1.8 million tpa

Equipment deliveries 2020

264 units

Nizhnekamskneftekhim-ethylene project update

Nizhnekamskneftekhim Production (unit-tons)

Product

Jan-Dec 20

Jan-Dec 19

Ethylene

619.1

618.2

Propylene

372.8

307.8

Benzene

284.9

275.3

LLDPE

244.0

196.6

Polypropylene

219.2

213.3

Styrene

303.8

280.1

The installation of six furnaces has begun at the ethylene EP-600 plant under construction of N7izhnekamskneftekhim.  The furnaces are to possess two radiant sections and one common conversion part.  

Nizhnekamskneftekhim intends to use five of the high-performance furnaces will be operational with one kept in reserve.  The five furnaces will process up to a total of 226 tons of straight-run gasoline per hour.  The installation of pyrolysis furnaces at Nizhnekamsk will take several months.  In addition to the 600,000 tpa of ethylene the new cracker will be able to produce 272,800 tpa of propylene.

Kazanorgsintez-EVA expansion

Kazanorgsintez (Russia's only producer of ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA), intends to increase capacity by 7.5 times, to 100,000 tpa.  The technology is being supplied by Sumitomo Chemical which will reduce the cost of production, as well as allow to produce LDPE on the same line as to EVA. The new capacity should be able to compete well against imported volumes which face an import duty into Russia of 6.5%.

 

Russian ethylene production, Jan 2021

Russian Ethylene Production (unit-kilo tons)

Producer

Jan-21

Jan-20

Angarsk Polymer Plant

20.6

20.2

Kazanorgsintez

49.5

57.2

Stavrolen

30.3

29.1

Nizhnekamskneftekhim

55.4

55.8

Novokuibyshevsk Petrochemical

5.0

5.9

Gazprom N Salavat

32.8

33.4

SIBUR-Kstovo

33.3

38.6

SIBUR-Khimprom

4.5

4.9

Tomskneftekhim

25.8

24.2

Ufaorgsintez

9.6

11.7

ZapSibNeftekhim

122.1

75.4

Total

388.9

356.4

Russian ethylene production amounted to 388,900 tons in January 2021 versus 358,400 tons in 2019.   ZapSibNeftekhim produced 122,100 tons of ethylene at Tobolsk versus 75,400 tons in the same month last year.

Nizhnekamskneftekhim produced 55,400 tons of ethylene in January 2021 against 55,800 tons in the same period in 2020 whilst Kazanorgsintez reduced output from 57,200 tons to 49,500 tons.  Gazprom neftekhim Salavat reduced production from 33,400 tons to 32,800 tons in January 2021 whilst SIBUR-Kstovo reduced from 38,600 tons to 33,300 tons.

Russian propylene production, sales- & exports, Jan 2021

Russian Propylene Production

(unit-kilo tons)

Producer

Jan-21

Jan-20

Angarsk Polymer Plant

11.1

10.9

Kazanorgsintez

4.2

4.5

Lukoil-NNOS

14.5

16.4

Stavrolen

12.0

11.0

Nizhnekamskneftekhim

28.2

27.9

Novokuibyshevsk

3.7

4.0

Omsk Kaucuk

1.4

3.6

Polyom

16.7

15.7

Gazprom neftekhim Salavat

14.5

14.2

SIBUR Kstovo

15.1

16.4

SIBUR-Khimprom

3.9

6.0

Tomskneftekhim

13.8

13.3

SIBUR Tobolsk

0.0

39.9

Ufaorgsintez

16.8

17.2

ZapSibNeftekhim

94.5

32.4

Total

250.4

233.4

Russian propylene production amounted to 250,400 tons in January 2021 against 233,400 tons in the same month in 2020.  The rise was due largely to the addition of the new plant ZapSibNeftekhim at Tobolsk which produced 94,500 tons in January 2021 measured against the comparative month 32,400 tons.  Part of the reason for the large increase by ZapSibNeftekhim was from the merger with SIBUR Tobolsk last year, which means that ZapSibNeftekhim is now responsible for two plants.  Nizhnekamskneftekhim produced 28,200 tons of propylene in January against 27,900 tons and Lukoil-NNOS produced 14,500 tons against 16,400 tons. 

Russian propylene exports amounted to 3,800 tons in January 2021 against 4,700 tons in the same month in 2020.  The main destinations for Russian propylene exports included Poland and Belarus.

Lukoil-NNOS at Kstovo shipped 12,900 tons to the domestic market in January versus 19,200 tons in January 2020, whilst SIBUR-Kstovo shipped 13,700 tons to the merchant market against 13,900 tons. 

Russian Propylene Domestic Sales (unit-kilo tons)

Company

Jan-21

Jan-20

Angarsk Polymer Plant

3.9

6.8

SIBUR-Kstovo

13.7

13.9

Lukoil-NNOS

12.9

19.2

Others

0.5

11.5

Total

31.0

39.8

The largest merchant consumer of propylene in Russia Saratovorgsintez at Saratov purchased 16,100 tons in January 2021 against 17,300 tons in the same month in 2020.  Lukoil-NNOS is currently assessing constructing its own polypropylene plant which could cause monomer supply problems for Saratovorgsintez in future.

The SIBUR Tobolsk division of ZapSibNeftekhim reduced purchases of merchant monomer from 13,900 tons in January 2020 to 4,800 tons in the same month in 2021 whilst SIBUR-Khimprom increased purchases from 2,100 tons to 5,800 tons.  SIBUR-Khimprom uses propylene for the production of oxo alcohols.  The Plant of Synthetic Alcohol at Orsk purchased 2,500 tons of propylene against 600 tons in the same month in 2020.  Propylene at Orsk is used for the production of isopropanol.  The company is currently being managed under the terms of bankruptcy/administration and profits from isopropanol sales are mainly going to creditors.

Russian styrene production & sales, Jan 2021

Russian Styrene Production (unit-kilo tons)

Producer

Jan-21

Jan-20

Nizhnekamskneftekhim

27.9

27.2

Angarsk Polymer Plant

3.5

3.1

SIBUR-Khimprom

12.0

11.8

Gazprom n Salavat

18.3

18.6

Plastik, Uzlovaya

12.0

3.9

Total

73.7

64.5

Russian styrene production totalled 73,700 tons in January 2021 against 64,500 tons in the same month in 2019.  Nizhnekamskneftekhim produced 27,900 tons in January against 27,200 tons whilst Gazprom neftekhim Salavat reduced production slightly from 18,600 tons to 18,300 tons.  SIBUR-Khimprom increased production from 11,800 tons to 12,000 tons.

Russian Styrene Exports (unit-kilo tons)

Producer

Jan-21

Jan-20

Angarsk Polymer Plant

0.9

0.4

Gazprom n Salavat

10.5

11.6

SIBUR-Khimprom

0.1

2.8

Total

11.6

14.9

Styrene exports from Russia totalled 11,800 tons in the first month in 2021 against 14,900 tons in January 2020.  Gazprom neftekhim Salavat reduced exports from 11,600 tons to 10,500 tons. 

The main destination for styrene exported from Salavat is Finland taking 68% of shipments in January 2021, followed by Turkey with 18% and Norway 3%.  Styrene sales on the Russian domestic merchant market totalled 10,600 tons in January 2021 against 7,200 tons in the same month in 2020.

 

Russian HDPE production Jan 2021

Russian HDPE Production

(unit-kilo tons)

Producer

Jan-21

Jan-20

Kazanorgsintez

38.1

48.0

Stavrolen

28.8

23.0

Gazprom n Salavat

11.3

11.0

ZapSibNeftekhim

99.2

55.0

Total

177.4

137.0

Russian production of HDPE amounted to 177,400 tons in January against 137,000 tons in January last year.  Due to the increase in production in 2020, mainly due to the start-up of ZapSibNeftekhim, Russia became a net exporter of HDPE in 2020.  The country's share of the polyethylene market based on current facilities could grow to a record 3.5% of the world's production capacity. 

ZapSibNeftekhim produced 99,200 tons of HDPE in January against 55,000 tons in January 2020 whilst Kazanorgsintez reduced production from 48,000 tons to 38,100 tons.  Gazprom neftekhim Salavat increased volumes from 11,000 tons to 11,300 tons and Stavrolen increased from 23,000 tons to 28,000 tons.

 

Russian polyethylene trade, Jan 2021

In financial terms, revenues from Russian polyethylene exports amounted to $70 million in January 2021 against $34 million in January 2020, rising in volume from 35,900 tons to 80,700 tons.  Imports dropped from $64.4 million to $54.4 million after volumes dropped from 54,800 tons to 39,800 tons. 

Russian polyethylene polypropylene, Jan 2021

Russian Polypropylene Production (unit-kilo tons)

Producer

Jan-21

Jan-20

Ufaorgsintez

11.9

10.6

Stavrolen

11.1

9.8

Neftekhimya

12.6

13.1

Nizhnekamskneftekhim

18.5

18.9

Polyom

18.2

17.0

Tomskneftekhim

13.5

13.1

SIBUR-Tobolsk

0.0

45.5

ZapSibNeftekhim

96.7

40.9

Total

182.5

168.9

Russian polypropylene production increased in January 2021 against January 2020 from 168,900 tons to 182,500 tons.  ZapSibNeftekhim and SIBUR Tobolsk, combined under the SIBUR Holding, produced 96,700 tons in January up from 86,400 tons in the same month last year. Elsewhere Polyom at Omsk produced 18,200 tons against 17,000 tons, whilst Tomskneftekhim increased production from 13,100 tons to 13,500 tons.  

Tomskneftekhim 2020

Tomskneftekhim set a record for the production of polypropylene in 2020, rising 1.7% over 2019 to a total of 149,700 tons.  LDPE production at Tomsk increased by 1.9% in 2020 and amounted to 267,400 tons.  The Tomsk cracker processed a record volume of naphtha in 2020 totalling 887,800 tons.  Last year Tomskneftekhim began industrial production of a new brand of foamed polyethylene, producing more than 5,000 tons.  The company has 2021 will completely cover the polypropylene demands of the BIAXPLEN T plant located at Tomsk. 

Russian PVC production & trade, Jan 2021

Russian PVC production amounted to 89,800 tons in January 2021, against 91,300 tons in January 2020.  RusVinyl produced 31,100 tons of PVC in January, including 2,600 tons of emulsion PVC against 32,400 tons in January last year.  For the whole of 2020, RusVinyl produced 332,900 tons against 339,800 tons in January 2020.  Sayanskhimplast matched the January figure from last year at 27,900 tons, whilst Bashkir soda produced 23,500 tons against 23,600 tons in January 2020.  Kaustik (Volgograd) produced 7,400 tons of PVC-C, compared to 7,500 tons.  Russian exports of PVC amounted to 22,000 tons in January 2021 up from 18,900 tons last year.

Russian paraxylene exports Jan 2021 

Russian Paraxylene Exports 2019-2021

Ktons

   

Year

Jan

Total

2021

5.97

6.0

2020

10.0

140.9

2019

7.3

146.7

Revenues ($ million)

 

Year

Jan

Total

2021

3.1

3.1

2020

6.4

60.0

2019

6.7

115.7

Average Price Per ton $

   

Year

Jan

Total

2021

519.3

519.3

2020

641.3

471.9

2019

917.8

775.6

Paraxylene exports from Russia amounted to 5,970 tons in January 2021 for a total of $3.1 million, falling 10,000 tons in January 2020 for $6.4 million.  Average prices in January comprised $519.3 per ton against $641.3 per ton in January 2020 and $917.8 in January 2019.  

Russian PTA imports, Jan 2021

Russian PTA Imports by Country (unit-kilo tons)

Country

Jan-21

Jan-20

Belgium

0.0

1.0

China

21.9

17.2

Total

21.9

18.2

PTA imports into Russia totalled 21,900 tons in January this year versus 18,200 tons in January 2020.  China was the sole source of imports supplying PTA worth $10.5 million and averaging $478 per ton.   PTA imports in January this year were divided by region into Kaliningrad (17,200 tons) and Moscow (4,700 tons).

 

Russian benzene production, Jan 2021

Russian Benzene Production (unit-kilo tons)

Producer

Jan-21

Jan-20

Angarsk Polymer Plant

8.6

8.1

Gazprom Neft

9.0

7.4

LUKoil-Permnefteorgsintez

4.7

5.2

Magnitogorsk MK

4.0

4.4

Nizhnekamskneftekhim

26.5

26.3

Gazprom N Salavat

18.6

19.1

Severstal

3.0

3.4

SIBUR-Holding

7.4

9.2

Slavneft-Yaroslavlorgsintez

6.6

5.3

Surgutneftegaz

5.5

4.8

Ryazan RN Holding

2.8

3.7

Ufaneftekhim

8.2

8.1

Uralorgsintez

8.4

7.6

Zapsib

7.0

6.0

Novokuibyshevsk Petrochemical

1.3

1.7

Others

1.6

8.2

Total

123.4

128.4

Russian benzene production amounted to 123,400 tons in the first month in 2021 against 128,400 million tons in January 2020.  Nizhnekamskneftekhim increased production from 26,300 tons to 26,500 tons in January 2021, whilst Gazprom neftekhim Salavat increased production from 19,100 tons to 18,600 tons.   Of the coke-based benzene producers Magnitogorsk Metallurgical Combine produced 4,000 tons versus 4,400 tons whilst Severstal at Cherepovets produced 3,000 tons against 3,400 tons. 

Russian benzene sales, Jan 2021

More than 60% of Russian benzene production is sold on the domestic merchant market, divided mostly amongst producers of caprolactam, styrene and phenol.  Kuibyshevazot purchased 16,000 tons of benzene in January against 17,800 tons last January whilst Azot at Kemerovo increased purchases from 9,400 tons to 12,700 tons and Shchekinoazot reduced shipments from 11,600 tons to 6,500 tons.  SIBUR-Khimprom purchased 99,700 tons against 88,700 tons whilst Uralorgsintez reduced purchases from 68,500 tons to 65,900 tons.  Other than caprolactam producers Kazanorgsintez purchased 7,500 tons in January 2021 against 5,600 tons last year due to the rise in the production of Bisphenol A at Kazan.  

Russian Benzene Consumers (unit-kilo tons)

Consumer

Jan-21

Jan-20

Kuibyshevazot

16.0

17.8

Azot Kemerovo

12.7

9.4

Shchekinoazot

6.5

11.6

Kazanorgsintez

7.5

5.6

Novokuibyshevsk Petrochemical

5.5

5.6

Zapsib

3.9

5.0

SIBUR-Khimprom

8.8

9.2

Uralorgsintez

6.6

8.1

Others

0.3

6.2

Total

67.8

77.5

The largest suppliers to the domestic market in the first month in 2020 included SIBUR-Kstovo which shipped 71,800 tons against 65,900 tons in 2019 and Gazprom Neft which shipped 57,200 tons against 66,900 tons.

Russian caprolactam production, Jan 2021

Russian Caprolactam Production (unit-kilo tons)

Producer

Jan-21

Jan-20

Kuibyshevazot

18.5

18.2

Shchekinoazot

5.2

5.1

SDS Azot

11.3

11.5

Total

35.0

34.9

Russian caprolactam production amounted to 35,000 tons in January 2021 against 34,900 tons in the same period in 2020.  Production facilities for caprolactam and cyclohexanone at Shchekinoazot were modernised in 2020 which should lead to higher volumes in 2021. 

Russian orthoxylene market, Jan 2021

Orthoxylene sales on the Russian domestic market rose in January 2021 to 14,100 tons against 12,900 tons in January 2020, the rise due partly to increased usage in fuels.  Kamteks-Khimprom remains the largest buyer in Russia, purchasing 7,200 tons in January 2021 for the production of phthalic anhydride against 6,900 tons in the same month in 2020. 

Russian Orthoxylene Domestic Sales (unit-kilo tons)

Company

Jan-21

Jan-20

Gazprom Neft

8.0

9.5

Ufaneftekhim

0.6

3.3

Kinef, Kirishi

5.5

0.1

Total

14.1

12.9

 Gazprom neftekhim Salavat reduced purchases from 2,100 tons to 1,750 tons whilst other buyers were much smaller, taking volumes of several hundred tons.  Roshalsky Plant of Plasticizers has started production of phthalic anhydride this year helping to increase domestic sales of orthoxylene. 

Russian toluene production January 2021

Russian Toluene Production (unit-kilo tons)

Producer

Jan-21

Jan-20

Kinef

3.5

3.5

Gazprom N Salavat

2.2

1.9

Slavneft-Yanos

3.7

3.4

LUKoil-Perm

4.2

3.0

Gazprom Neft

5.6

9.0

RN Holding

4.6

5.0

Ufaneftekhim

2.3

3.3

Others

1.7

1.3

Total

27.8

30.5

Toluene production in Russia totalled 27,800 tons in January 2021 against 30,500 tons in January last year whilst toluene sales on the Russian domestic market totalled increased to 13,500 tons against 11,200 tons in the same month in 2020.  The largest supplier to the domestic market was Lukoil-Perm which shipped 4,700 tons against 2,100 tons in January 2020.  Kirishinefteorgsintez shipped 3,500 tons of toluene to the domestic market against 3,500 tons in January 2020.  Consumers of toluene on the Russian domestic market are fairly widely dispersed both geographically and on average are small in volume. 

 

Russian phenol market, Jan 2021

Russian Phenol Production (unit-kilo tons)

Producer

Jan-21

Jan-20

Ufaorgsintez

6.6

5.7

Kazanorgsintez

7.4

6.6

Novokuibyshevsk Petrochemical

6.8

6.7

Omsk Kaucuk

3.1

3.6

Total

23.9

22.5

Russian phenol production rose in January 2021 to 23,900 tons from 22,500 tons in January 2020.  Novokuibyshevsk Petrochemical increased production from 6,700 tons to 6,800 tons whilst Ufaorgsintez increased production from 5,700 tons to 6,600 tons.  Kazanorgsintez produced 7,400 tons versus 6,600 tons.  Omsk Kaucuk reduced production from 3,600 tons to 3,100 tons.  

Phenol exports from Russia amounted to 1,900 tons in the first month in January 2021 against 3,700 tons whilst sales on the domestic market rose from 8,900 tons to 12,700 tons.  The two largest suppliers were Novokuibyshevsk Petrochemical and Ufaorgsintez, shipping 53,000 tons and 32,400 tons respectively.  At the beginning of December, Omsk Kaucuk resumed supplies of phenol to the domestic market.  The Omsk plant has faced some technical issues which has limited production in recent months.

Russian rubber production-market balance Jan 2021

Russian Synthetic & Natural Rubber Market

(unit-kilo tons)

 

Jan-21

Jan-20

 Production

155.0

133.0

 Exports

83.1

70.9

 Imports

13.6

14.6

 Supply/Demand Balance

85.5

76.7

Russian synthetic rubber production amounted to 155,000 tons in January against 133,000 tons in January 2020.  Exports amounted to 83,100 tons against 70,900 tons whilst imports dropped from 14,600 tons to 13,600 tons.  Overall domestic consumption amounted to 85,500 tons in the first month in 2021 against 76,700 tons in January 2020. 

Producers are hopeful of a better year for the market after the rubber market in Russia declined by value in 2020 of by 7.8% against 2019.  In 2018, the market figure for the Russian rubber market had amounted to 168.4 billion roubles ($2.2 billion), 11.8% higher than the value achieved in 2017. In 2019, a significant decrease in consumption of 18.5% was recorded against 2018 which was partly due to reduced car sales and partly due to the fall in rubber production at Nizhnekamskneftekhim.  Although the market improved in the first quarter in 2020, demand in the second and third quarters dropped sharply due to the pandemic before recovering in the fourth quarter.  

Russian Exports of Butyl Rubber

Year

Ktons

$ mil

$ per ton

2020

129.9

167.0

1285.3

2019

123.5

190.0

1538.1

2018

131.1

231.4

1765.1

2017

132.4

209.2

1580.7

2016

130.2

189.7

1457.5

By synthetic rubber category, the global market for butyl rubber contracted dramatically in 2020, exacerbating an already significant imbalance in supply and demand. With investment in new production capacity set to continue and the key automotive end market recovering only slowly it may take some years before the market for butyl rubber sees some degree of equilibrium.    

Total global demand for rubber decreased by around 8% to 26.5 million tons.  In 2020 the global demand for rubber in the tyre sector decreased by 10.2%, in other sectors the decline was on average 5% due to the growing demand for gloves and other medical products against the background of the pandemic of coronavirus.  The International Rubber Research Group (IRSG) predicts around 7% in growth in global natural and synthetic rubber markets in 2021.  Global demand for synthetic rubber is estimated to have fallen by 7.9% in 2020 to 13.97 million tons. Demand is expected to grow by around 7.2% in 2021.

Russian Synthetic Rubber Exports (unit-kilo tons)

Product

Jan-21

Jan-20

E-SBR

3.7

3.4

Block

5.5

2.5

SSBR

0.1

0.5

SBR

7.8

6.8

Polybutadiene

22.2

16.4

Butyl rubber

7.7

7.0

Halogenated butyl

11.3

12.6

NBR

2.7

2.9

Isoprene

22.0

18.5

Others

0.1

0.3

Total

83.1

70.9

Russian synthetic rubber exports, Jan 2021

Russian exports of synthetic rubber amounted to 83,100 tons in January for $125 million against 70,900 tons in January 2020 for $108 million.  Isoprene rubber exports increased from 18,500 tons to 22,000 tons whilst butadiene rubber exports increased from 16,400 tons to 22,200 tons.  Exports of halogenated butyl rubber amounted to 11,300 tons versus 12,600 tons with values dropping from £28.1 million to $22.9 million.

India was the largest importer of Russian of synthetic rubber in the first month of the year taking 11,800 tons against 10,000 tons last January.  Butyl rubber and halogenated butyl rubber were the two most important categories of Russian synthetic rubber exports to India. 

Halogenated butyl rubber was also an important category of exports to China, in third place behind isoprene rubber and NBR.   Total rubber exports to China dropped to 8,350 tons in January 2021 against 13,200 tons in the same month in 2020.    The highest value product category exported from Russia is halogenated butyl rubber (HBR) where exports totalled 112,300 tons in January to December 2020 at a total value of $242 million.  The largest product in terms of volume was polybutadiene which dropped from 236,500 tons to 226,000 tons followed by isoprene which dropped from 268,100 tons to 218,100 tons. 

Russian Synthetic Rubber Exports by Destination

(unit-kilo tons)

Country

Jan-21

Jan-20

Belarus

2.1

1.3

Brazil

3.1

1.7

China

8.4

13.2

Czech

2.7

2.3

Germany

2.8

2.2

Hungary

5.0

1.5

India

11.8

10.0

Mexico

3.2

0.0

Poland

8.3

6.8

Romania

1.9

2.6

Serbia

1.2

1.5

Slovakia

3.0

2.6

Turkey

8.7

3.8

Ukraine

1.3

0.9

US

2.6

3.6

Others

16.9

16.8

Total

83.1

70.9

Nizhnekamskneftekhim-to expand capacity for halogenated butyl rubber

Nizhnekamskneftekhim is planning to expand the capacity for halogenated butyl rubber (HBR) from 150,000 tpa to 200,000 tpa due to its high margin attractiveness and strong demand.  The start of production of halogenated butyl rubber at Nizhnekamskneftekhim took place in March 2004.  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. 

Nizhnekamskneftekhim rubber exports

(unit-kilo tons)

Category

Jan-21

Jan-20

Isoprene Rubber

19.6

14.9

Butyl Rubber

6.2

6.3

HBR

11.3

12.6

Polybutadiene

21.7

10.8

Others

1.4

0.1

Total

60.2

44.7

In the January 2021 Nizhnekamskneftekhim increased synthetic rubber exports to 60,200 tons versus 44,700 tons in January 2020.  Higher volumes were recorded in exports of both isoprene and butadiene rubber.  Export revenues for synthetic rubber from Nizhnekamskneftekhim rose from $73.5 million from last January to $86 million this year.   

At the end of 2020, Nizhnekamskneftekhim began start-up operations in the production of fifth-generation synthetic rubber (DSSK) with a capacity of 60,000 tpa.   Tyres which are manufactured with the use of DSSK help to save fuel as the tyres possess low resistance to rolling thus enabling the reduction of petrol or diesel.  The special properties of these tyres provide better grip on the road surface, thereby improving the safety of the car.  By the end of 2021, the production of DSSC intends to form a package of orders and work at full load. It means that Nizhnekamskneftekhim will produce all the necessary types of rubbers for the manufacture of tyres, with the exception of natural rubber.

Togliattikaucuk, Jan 2021

Togliattikaucuk Rubber Exports

(unit-kilo tons)

Product

Jan-21

Jan-20

Isoprene Rubber

0.5

0.3

Butyl Rubber

1.5

0.7

SBR

1.1

0.8

Others

0.0

0.0

Total

3.1

1.8

Togliattikaucuk exported 3,100 tons of synthetic rubber in January against 1,800 tons in January 2020.  The main increase came from butyl rubber exports which rose from 700 tons to 1,500 tons.  This was enabled by modernisation of the butyl rubber plant at Togliatti in 2020.   Isoprene rubber exports from Togliattikaucuk rose from 300 tons to 500 tons in January.  Revenues from total synthetic rubber exports increased in January to $3.8 million from $2.4 million in January 2020.

Togliattikaucuk produced 208,000 tons of synthetic rubber in 2020 which was a plant record.  The company produced 60,000 tons of styrene-butadiene-styrene rubber (SBSR) in 2020, whilst also butyl rubber production increased.  Operations were helped in 2020 by taking only a four-day shutdown in the middle of the year rather than the month-long outage as in previous years. 

In future, the production of SBSR may switch to styrene instead of alpha methylstyrene in an effort to eliminate disruptions in the supply of raw materials.  For the production of butyl rubber Togliattikaucuk aims to carry out an overhaul of two polymerizing units in 2021, as well as repair of the discharge lines and degassing systems.  Isoprene rubber production increased for Togliattikaucuk in 2020 whilst there was an increase in the production of MTBE up to 130,300 tons.  Over the past year, Togliattikaucuk managed to reduce the consumption rate for isobutylene, which has

 

Russian methanol production Jan 2021

Russia produced 389,700 tons of methanol in January down slightly from 417,600 tons in the same month in 2020.  Metafrax was the largest producer in January, producing 110,100 tons against 106,000 tons whilst Sibmetakhim at Tomsk increased production from 80,100 tons to 87,300 tons. 

Russian Methanol Production

(unit-kilo tons)

Producer

Jan-21

Jan-20

Shchekinoazot

84.2

86.6

Sibmetakhim

87.3

80.1

Metafrax

110.1

106.0

Akron

8.3

9.3

Azot, Novomoskovsk

25.9

26.3

Angarsk Petrochemical

5.4

5.8

Azot, Nevinnomyssk

12.2

11.6

Tomet

43.0

81.0

Ammoni

13.3

10.7

Totals

389.7

417.6

In the Tula Oblast Shchekinoazot produced 84,200 tons against 87,300 tons, whilst Azot at Novomoskovsk reduced production from 26,300 tons to 25,900 tons.  In Tatarstan Ammoni produced 13,300 tons of methanol against 10,700 tons in the same month in 2020.   Tomet at Togliatti operated one of two lines in January which meant that production dropped from 81,000 tons last year to 43,000 tons in January 2021.

The third M500 methanol unit for Shchekinoazot is scheduled for start-up in late 2021.  All of the equipment has been supplied to the complex in addition to most of the installation of metal structures (96%), and pipelines (60%).  The M-500 is set to be commissioned in the autumn of 2021.    

Tomet operating only one of two methanol plants

Efforts to resolve the legal challenges facing Tomet are proving extremely difficult and the company’s main debtor Uralkhim continues to pursue damages.  Triumph Development Limited, which owns Tomet offered Uralkhim in February as well as other creditors a peace agreement by writing off 69.2 billion roubles ($939 million) from the total debt of 87.7 billion roubles ($1.190 billion) but this was rejected outright by Uralkhim. 

The creditors claimed that the owners of Tomet deliberately prepared an unacceptable proposal in order to test the water.  In the opinion of Uralkhim the only way out for Tomet to fulfill the obligations to creditors is by ensuring that methanol production continues.  Effectively the plant needs a serious investor, which will restore order in the enterprise.  With only one of the two methanol lines in operation, it makes it much harder for Tomet to resolve the debt issue and thus the plant remains in a vulnerable position.

Regarding methanol plant maintenance this year Shchekinoazot plans to undertake a shutdown on the M-450/A135 plant, (this includes 450,000 tpa of methanol and 135,000 tpa of ammonia), from 4 to 17 July 2021 whilst the M-450 plant will take a shutdown for 14 days in August.  Ammoni at Mendeleevsk in Tatarstan will undertake maintenance on its methanol and ammonia plants from 15 July to 15 August.  Ammoni holds capacities for methanol at 238,000 tpa and ammonia 455,000 tpa.

Tomet-creditors and potential for bankruptcy/new owners?

Tomet's obligations to Uralkhim currently amount to 87.7 billion roubles ($1.190 billion).  This amount was arrived at after the District Court of Togliatti convicted the beneficiaries of Togliattiazot Vladimir and Sergei Mahlay and their foreign partners of fraud in 2019 in the implementation of Toaz's export operations in 2008-2011. 

The current financial condition of Tomet involves production based on constantly falling rate of profit.  As a result of accidents or technical errors recorded by Rostekhnadzor on 6 and 13 December 2020, one of the methanol units was disabled and faces a long period idle.

As the company is being monitored by a competition manager who organizes and conducts tenders by law this ensures the company will continue to work in a stable way even it is only one line.  The objective of the arbitration manager is to organise production and keep the workforce in employment, but the future is very uncertain.

The possibility of restoring company solvency appears not feasible in the short to medium term as the sum of Tomet's assets amounts only to 10 billion roubles measured against liabilities of 87 billion roubles.   The only option that seems to offer a manageable solution is by attracting a new qualified investor.  It is not clear how this might happen, but it needs an investor to carry out the financial recovery of the company through a formula of repairing the idle line, repaying creditors and full payment of wages.

Shchekinoazot-new railway lines to support third methanol plant and other projects

Shchekinoazot has set the goal of building more than 33 km of railway tracks by 2024 to ensure the life of new production complexes and unload existing congested tracks.  Currently, the main works are underway in the territory of park B which should be included in operation in May 2021 before the launch of the M-500 methanol plant, scheduled for autumn 2021.   By the end of February around 80% of work has already been completed on this line.  The area, which is 7.62 km long and with 30 arrow transfers, will make up more than a quarter of the total length of the Azot routes and will provide cargo flow for the third methanol plant.

Construction of more railway tracks began in March of this year and be fully completed by September 2023.  This would be a few months before the introduction of the ammonia and urea production complex (A-525/K-700/K).  Shchekinoazot also plans to complete construction of concentrated low-methanol formalin production capacity of 110,000 tpa, and 220,000 tpa of resins including urea-formaldehyde and urea-melamine formaldehyde

Shchekinoazot-resin development

Shchekinoazot states that it is more profitable to process methanol internally and to sell finished product on the market rather than sell methanol directly, having identified that one ton of resin can earn three times more than a ton of methanol.  Wood-chip slabs (DSP), wood fibre slabs (DVP), various types of plywood, MDF plates, OSB, laminates, special moisture-resistant varieties of paper and cardboard, and varnishes, a huge line of building materials, are all made on the basis or use of resins.  Shchekinoazot is now concentrating on a strategy of organizing the large-scale processing of methanol into resins.  

Shchekinoazot together with Hexion-Shchekinoazot is now launching a new investment project to produce resins with a combined capacity of 220,000 tpa which will increase eventually to 310,000 tpa.  Shchekinoazot could also develop the production of melamine using its urea which would help to develop its vertical chain of production.

Completion of all stages of the strategy will allow the company to increase intra-factory consumption of methanol to around 130,000 tpa and ensure the consumption of urea to 120,000 tpa.  

Russian methanol export sales, Jan 2021

Russian Methanol Exports

(unit-kilo tons)

Producer

Jan-21

Jan-20

Azot Nevinnomyssk

0.7

0.0

Azot Novomoskovsk

9.3

8.7

Akron

0.6

1.3

Metafrax

46.8

35.7

Sibmetakhim

45.2

43.0

Tomet

14.3

32.9

Shchekinoazot

62.4

68.4

Ammoni

0.0

0.0

Total

179.3

190.1

 Russian methanol producers reported methanol exports of 179,300 tons in January this year against 190,100 tons in January 2020.  Shipments to foreign markets were led by Shchekinoazot which exported 62,400 tons against 68,400 tons in January 2020.  

Metafrax increased shipments from 35,700 tons to 46,800 tons whilst due to lower production Tomet reduced exports from 32,900 tons in January 2020 to 14,300 tons in January this year.  Finland accounts the largest share of Russian exports the bulk of which is shipped to Rotterdam, as well as to Szczecin in Poland.  Average prices for methanol shipments rose in January and February which attracted more interest in export activity.   

Russian methanol domestic sales, Jan 2021

Producer sales of methanol on the domestic merchant market amounted to 175,900 tons in January 2021 versus 145,100 tons in January 2020.  Tomet reduced shipments from 44,800 tons to 31,800 tons in January this year, selling production to its main domestic customers.  Metafrax reported an increase from 33,800 tons in January last year to 45,000 tons and Sibmetakhim increased sales from 32,900 tons to 48,800 tons.  Shchekinoazot increased domestic sales on the merchant market to 18,900 tons in January 2021 against 12,500 tons in January 2020. 

The key reason for the increase in domestic sales in January was the almost doubling of purchases by Nizhnekamskneftekhim rising from 21,000 tons in January 2020 to 40,400 tons in January 2021.  Nizhnekamskneftekhim purchased 20,450 tons from Metafrax, 7,186 tons from Sibmetakhim and 6,243 tons from Tomet. 

Russian Methanol Domestic Sales (unit-kilo tons)

Producer

Jan-21

Jan-20

Azot Nevinnomyssk

3.0

2.7

Azot Novomoskovsk

18.7

17.2

Metafrax

45.0

33.8

Sibmetakhim

48.8

32.9

Tomet

31.8

44.8

Shchekinoazot

18.9

12.5

Ammoni (Mendeleevsk)

9.9

1.3

Total

175.9

145.1

Gazprom purchased 18,200 tons of methanol in January 2021 against 15,300 tons in January 2020.  All purchases by Gazprom were made from Sibmetakhim at Tomsk.  Gazprom expects to increase methanol purchases this year to help support developments in the Kamchatka and Chayanda fields.  Delivery to Kamchatka required tank containers with methanol crossing the Sea of ??Okhotsk. 

Russian Methanol Consumption (unit-kilo tons)

Consumer

Jan-21

Jan-20

Nizhnekamskneftekhim

40.4

21.0

Togliattikaucuk

14.2

14.4

Uralorgsintez

6.7

6.0

SIBUR-Khimprom

1.3

1.8

SIBUR Tobolsk

3.2

4.3

Ektos-Volga

0.2

5.3

Omsk Kaucuk

7.2

8.8

Novokuibyshevsk NPZ

4.1

5.0

Uralkhimplast

2.2

1.9

Slavneft-Yanos

1.6

0.6

Metadynea

10.6

7.1

Kronospan

14.1

8.5

Gazprom

18.2

15.3

Khimsintez

0.4

1.0

Volzhsky Orgsintez

0.6

1.3

Others

51.0

43.0

Total

175.9

145.1

Since February acetic acid on the Russian market has become more expensive due to supply shortages.  Evrokhim, which produces acetic acid at the Azot plant at Nevinnomyssk, has increased prices by around a third since the start of the year.  The first factor was that the plant built up inventory prior to the planned maintenance outage, which started on 15 March and lasts until 24 April.  Other factors include increased demand for butyl and vinyl acetate both in domestic and export markets.  Finally, international methanol prices have risen which has raised the attractiveness of exports for the Azot, which normally does not engage in foreign trade.   Prices for acetic acid are expected to remain under pressure for the next few months.   

Metafrax performance 2020

Metafrax Trading International produced 531,000 tons of products in 2020, which is 75,000 tons or 16.5% higher than planned at the start of the year. 

Metafrax new investments

Product

Capacity

Completion estimate

Formaldehyde 55%

180,000 tpa

2022

Paraformaldehyde

30,000 tpa

2022

Pentamethyl

+2,000 tpa

2021

Ammonia

307,000 tpa

2021

Urea

575,000 tpa

2021

Melamine

41,000 tpa

2021

For sales turnover for Metafrax fell by 17% against 2019 down to 19.314 billion roubles.  Methanol production amounted to 1.152 million tons for the full year. Other products included production of fifteen hundred tons of micronized urotropin, 12,000 tons of sodium formate, 2,000 tons of micronized pentaerythritol and 24,000 tons of pentaerythritol.  For the whole of 2020 Metafrax sold a total of around 846,000 tons of methanol on combined export and domestic markets.  Other sales included 182,000 tons of urea-formaldehyde concentrate and 93,000 tons of formaldehyde.  The company exported around 43% of methanol production last year.

The investment policy for Metafrax is based on a gradual increase in internal processing of methanol and provision of raw materials for its own use and subsidiaries.  A target of internal methanol consumption of around 450,000 tpa has been set by Metafrax for 2025.  Metafrax plans to complete the construction of its main flagship project (AKM) the ammonia-urea-melamine complex in 2021, possibly by the end of the third quarter.  The plant capacities include 307,000 tpa of ammonia, 575,000 tpa of urea and 41,000 tpa of melamine. 

Ayano-May methanol project referendum

The large-scale methanol project being considered by the Chinese company Sirius Holding for the Ayano-May district in the Russian Far East was rejected by local people from a referendum held on 21 March.   People in the Ayano-May district in the north of the Khabarovsk Krai were asked to answer one question, do they approve of the implementation of the complex project Ayan Gas Chemical Park on the territory of the region, including infrastructure facilities.   The referendum showed that the majority of 90% is opposed to the construction of a methanol plant. For construction only 10% supported the project.  More than 60% of the residents of Ayano-May district took part in the referendum.

The decision to hold a local referendum on the construction of the Ayan Gas Chemical Complex was made at a meeting of deputies of the Ayano-May District in December 2020.   There are only 1,870 people in the region, and the project would involve the arrival of 6,000 foreign workers.  The territory of the region is as large as Switzerland but consist of only four settlements. These are scattered from each other at distances of up to 300 km, and there are no roads.

Ruskhim methanol project 

By mid-2021 the design of a new methanol plant is expected to start for the Indiga site in the Yamal region which is being created by the Ruskhim holding.  Vitaly Yuzhilin's holding last year purchased Pechora LNG, thus obtaining licenses for the Korovin and Kuyumzhinskoye gas fields in the Yamal region.  Previously Ruskhim planned to organise the production of methanol at Ust Luga, but a number of factors influenced the investor to switch locations.

By 2025, Gazprom intends to build a gas pipeline to the coast of the Barents Sea near Indiga and primarily the plant.  Since the plant will be situated on the coast, it would be favourable for exports and gives an advantage over other exporters.  Potentially difficult points of the investment will be the environmental issues and the problems it might create.   Moreover, part of the gas pipeline to Indiga will pass above the ground. Another problem is what to do with the indigenous small peoples of the North living in the Yamal region and their nomadic lifestyle in the surrounding areas.

The agreement on the construction of the 7.2 million tpa methanol plant dates to September 2019 after agreement was reached between the Chinese company Sherwood Energy (subsidiary of Sirius Holding) and the Investment Promotion Agency.  The Ayano-May district was selected as the shortest export route for both natural gas and methanol.  

The project involved the construction of an industrial complex 3.5 km from the Ayan settlement and the construction of a gas pipeline with a length of 1,358 km and a throughput capacity of 20 billion cubic metres per annum.   The Yakutia gas company Yatek attempted to construct a methanol plant in 2015, with a capacity of 1.150 million tpa, but withdrew after local protests.  After the outcome of the referendum construction of the pipeline, gas processing plant and methanol plants remains in doubt.  According to Minister of Economic Development the plant's project was only at the stage of preparation of feasibility studies and thus the idea could be scrapped without much disruption.   

Local press questioned allowing the referendum to take place stating, “Khabarovsk region has lost a large-scale investment project due to games in democracy.”   No doubt if the 7.2 million tpa plant was constructed it would put extreme competitive pressure on other methanol projects for the Russian Far East including Skovorodino and Nakhodka. 

NSMU-Nakhodka methanol project

The Nakhodka fertiliser and methanol project are facing similar local opposition as the project in the Ayano-May district, although it is unlikely that the regional governor of Primorsky Krai would endorse a local vote.  Public hearings have been held for some time combined with some large demonstrations of protest against the construction.  Although the project would bring jobs to the region locals ask at what price.  Past investments of chemical plants in Russia have frequently incurred serious environmental effects which leads to current skepticism that future investments will be much better.

The launch of the fertiliser and methanol complex at Nakhodka will not only facilitate exports to the Asia-Pacific countries but will also give impetus to related industries such as shipbuilding.  The launch of the production volumes of 1.8 million tpa will facilitate a large increase in methanol exports from Russia with only small volumes from this plant intended for the domestic market. 

To allay local concerns the project organisers have stated that the gas pipeline passes away from populated areas, which should ensure no environmental problems will arise, and the entire production cycle will end with the export of goods by sea.  The project includes the possibility of using ships of all kinds.  For instance, In the case of domestic methanol customers in the Primorsky Krai or elsewhere in the Russian Far East the intention, it will be possible to transport goods on a small ship to another location from where further distribution can be made. 

 

Russian butanol production Jan 2021

Russian N-Butanol Production (unit-kilo tons)

 

Jan-21

Jan-20

Angarsk Petrochemical Company

5.2

3.0

Azot, Nevinnomyssk

1.8

1.4

Gazprom neftekhim Salavat

6.5

5.6

SIBUR-Khimprom, Perm

7.5

2.4

Total

21.1

12.5

     

Russian Isobutanols Production (unit-kilo tons)

 

Jan-21

Jan-20

Angarsk Petrochemical Company

2.2

1.7

Gazprom neftekhim Salavat

3.5

3.2

SIBUR-Khimprom, Perm

1.5

4.0

Total

7.3

8.9

Russian normal butanol production totalled 21,100 tons in January 2021, up from 12,500 tons in the same month in 2020.  SIBUR-Khimprom was the leading producer in January, rising from 2,400 tons in January last year to 7,500 tons.

Isobutanol production in Russia dropped slightly in January to 7,300 tons from 8,900 tons.  Gazprom neftekhim Salavat’s isobutanol production amounted to 3,500 tons against 3,200 tons in January 2020, whilst SIBUR-Khimprom reduced production from 4,000 tons to 1,500 tons. 

Russian Butanol Domestic Sales

(unit-kilo tons)

Producer

Jan-21

Jan-20

Gazprom n Salavat

0.5

0.7

SIBUR-Khimprom

1.9

3.6

Angarsk Polymer Plant

2.7

2.5

Azot Nevinnomyssk

0.1

0.2

Totals

5.2

7.0

Russian domestic butanol sales, Jan 2021

Russian butanol domestic sales in January amounted to 5,200 tons in January against 7,000 tons in January 2020.  SIBUR-Khimprom reduced shipments from 3,600 tons to 1,900 tons and Angarsk Petrochemical increased from 2,500 tons to 2,700 tons.  The two largest domestic purchasers in January 2021 were Dmitrievsky Chemical Plant which purchased 2,500 tons, versus 2,000 tons in January 2020, and Akrilat at Dzerzhinsk which purchased 1,300 tons against 1,500 tons.  

Russian Butanol Consumption (unit-kilo tons)

Consumer

Jan-21

Jan-20

Akrilat

1.3

1.5

Dimitrievsky Chemical

2.5

2.0

Volzhskiy Orgsintez

0.8

1.1

Roshalsjy Plant of Plasticizers

0.2

0.2

Others

0.4

2.1

Total

5.2

7.0

Russian acetone market Jan 2021

Russian production of acetone in January amounted to 14,800 tons versus 14,100 tons in January 2020.  Omsk Kaucuk reduced production from January last year at 2,200 tons to 1,900 tons whilst Ufaorgsintez increased production from 3,600 tons to 4,200 tons. 

Russian Acetone Production (unit-kilo tons)

Producer

Jan-21

Jan-20

Ufaorgsintez

4.2

3.6

Kazanorgsintez

4.7

4.1

Novokuibyshevsk PC

4.1

4.2

Omsk Kaucuk

1.9

2.2

Total

14.8

14.1

Russian Acetone Exports (unit-kilo tons)

Country

Jan-21

Jan-20

Belarus

1.1

1.2

Netherlands

2.6

0.8

Turkey

0.0

1.3

Lithuania

1.2

0.0

Latvia

1.5

0.1

Others

0.0

0.7

Total

6.5

4.1

Russian acetone exports totalled 38,600 tons in January to December 2019 for $17.2 million.  Exports were divided between Belarus (45%), the Netherlands (24.2%) and Turkey (14.3%).   

In the last few months Lithuania has become an important export route for Russian acetone. Regarding the domestic market stocks in warehouses tightened in March, falling 44% from the start of February to 2,380 tons at the start of the month.  

The reduction in inventories was due to an increase in the volume of in-plant processing against the background of a decrease in acetone production.  In February, the production of isopropanol at Omsk Kaucuk increased twice and amounted to 2,100 tons, which led to an increase in the volume of acetone processing.  Thus, whilst exports rose in January this year domestic demand could impact on supplies later in the year.

SIBUR-maleic anhydride project

More than 70% of equipment for the maleic anhydride project at Tobolsk had been installed by the end of February.  Construction of the 45,000 tpa plant will be completed in the fourth quarter of 2021.  Another similar plant is under construction in Tatarstan.

 

Russian TDI imports, Jan 2021

Russian TDI Imports (unit-kilo tons)

Country

Jan-21

Jan-20

Belgium

0.019

0.000

China

1.913

0.019

France

0.000

0.060

Germany

0.117

0.000

Hungary

0.964

0.900

Japan

0.020

1.260

Netherlands

0.251

0.000

Saudi Arabia

0.431

0.000

South Korea

0.840

0.140

Turkey

0.012

0.000

US

1.200

0.000

Others

0.000

0.784

Total

5.766

3.163

Russian TDI imports amounted to 5,763 tons in January against 3,163 tons in January 2020.  China supplied 1,913 tons against only 19 tons in the same month last year whilst the US provided 1200 tons.  Average TDI rose to $2592 per ton for Russian TDI imports in January against $2000 in January 2020.  Last year after the January price, numbers for TDI purchases fell before recovering in the second half of the year.  The outlook for 2021 suggests higher prices due to higher feedstock costs.   

Overall, TDI imports into the Eurasian Customs Union, which includes Russia’s neighbour states Kazakhstan and Belarus totalled 6,171 tons in January for a total of $15.858 million.  Russia accounted for $14.602 million from the total.  Although consumed mostly inside Russia some imported TDI is reexported to Belarus. Moscow accounted for the largest volume of Russian TDI purchases in January taking 4,441 tons for $10.9 million.  

Russian MDI imports, Jan 2021

MDI imports into the Russian market amounted to 10,545 tons in January this year up from 8,637 tons in January 2020.  MDI imports into the whole Eurasian Customs Union amounted to 12,519 tons for a total cost of $23.1 million of which $18.7 million was accounted through sales to the Russian market.  Average prices for MDI imports into Russia rose to $1773 per ton in January against $1446 per ton in January 2020.   

Russian MDI Imports (unit-kilo tons)

Country

Jan-21

Jan-20

Belgium

1.092

0.638

China

0.642

1.930

Germany

1.423

1.850

Hungary

0.512

0.415

Japan

0.085

0.060

Netherlands

3.045

1.240

Saudi Arabia

2.810

2.490

South Korea

0.090

0.006

UK

0.000

0.008

Others

0.845

0.000

Total

10.545

8.637

The Netherlands supplied 3,045 tons of MDI to Russia in January against 1,240 tons in January 2020 whilst Saudi Arabia increased deliveries from 2,490 tons to 2,810 tons.

In terms of regional purchases, the Vladimir Oblast accounted for the largest volume of MDI imports, taking 5,083 tons in January for a cost of $6.966 million.  The Kaluga region accounted for 1,745 tons for $2.509 million followed by Moscow with 1,170 tons for $2.0 million.

 

Ukrainian polymer imports, Jan 2021

Ukrainian Polymer Imports (unit-kilo tons)

Product

Jan 21

Jan-20

PVC

3.5

4.1

LDPE

5.6

6.0

LLDPE

4.8

4.9

HDPE

5.9

7.9

Ethylene Vinyl Acetate

0.9

1.0

Polypropylene

8.8

10.9

Imports of polypropylene amounted to 8,800 tons in January 2021 which was 11% down in January 2020 from 10,900 tons.  For the whole of 2020, the total volume of imports of propylene polymers amounted to 135,300 tons.

January imports of propylene homopolymers to the Ukrainian market decreased to 6,800 tons versus 7,800 tons in January 2020.  The fall was due to restrictions on exports from sellers in the Middle East and Russia.  Overall homopolymer polypropylene imports amounted to 102,800 tons in 2020.   Imports of block propylene copolymers amounted to 900 tons in January unchanged from last year.  Ukraine imported a total of 13,600 tons of block copolymers in 2020. 

Ukraine imported a total of 17,200 tons of polyethylene in January which was down on the same period last year due to lower HDPE requirements.  HDPE imports dropped from 7,900 tons to 5,900 tons whilst LDPE imports amounted to 5,600 tons against 6,000 tons a year earlier.  LLDPE imports comprised 4,700 tons in January, against 4,900 tons in January 2020.  Imports of other types of polyethylene including ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA), amounted to 900 tons against 1,000 tons in 2020.

 

Karpatneftekhim, Jan 2021

Karpatneftekhim Petrochemical Exports

(unit-kilo tons)

Product

Jan-21

Jan-20

Propylene

11.1

8.0

Benzene

5.2

0.5

Karpatneftekhim has started taking deliveries of offshore LPG this year after previously only importing by rail.    Since the beginning of 2021, the company has increased purchases of LPG due mainly to the rise in naphtha prices.  In the first two months, Karpatneftekhim imported 33,700 tons of LPG versus 11,800 tons in the same period in 2020.  The plant also required of sea volumes of naphtha in March due to the suspension of shipments of Russian raw materials by rail.  Accordingly, there are current problems in shipping feedstocks from the Lukoil refinery at Volgograd.  Karpatneftekhim, located in the west of Ukraine, includes capacities of 300,000 tpa of PVC, 200,000 tpa of caustic soda, 180,000 tpa of chlorine, in addition to 250,00 tpa of ethylene and 100,000 tpa of polyethylene. 

Karpatneftekhim exported propylene from Ukraine amounted to 11,100 tons in January this year against 8,000 tons in the same month in 2020 whilst benzene shipments increased from 500 tons to 5,200 tons.  On 23-24 February a shipment of 5,000 tons of benzene was loaded in the Ukrainian port of Chernomorsk for shipment to Italy. 

Belarussian chemical production Jan 2021

Belarussian Chemical Production (unit-kilo tons)

Product

Jan-21

Jan-20

Ethylene

12.8

6.9

Propylene

7.8

4.1

Benzene

9.5

7.0

Caprolactam

7.1

7.7

Orthoxylene

2.8

1.6

Paraxylene

4.9

4.6

Methanol

8.7

7.5

Ethylene production in Belarus totalled 12,800 tons in the first month in 2021, up from 6,900 tons in January 2020 whilst propylene production rose from 4,100 tons to 7,800 tons.  Benzene production rose from 7,000 tons to 9,500 tons and caprolactam production dropped from 7,700 tons to 7,100 tons. 

 

Belarussian trade aromatics, Jan 2021

Belarussian Xylene Imports

(unit-kilo tons)

Product

Jan-21

Jan-20

OX

1.3

1.2

PX

2.0

0.9

Belarus exported 3,760 tons of benzene in January this year at $688 per ton against 959 tons in January 2020 at $629 per ton.  From the 3,760 tons exported this January 1,271 tons went to the Netherlands and the remainder to Russia.   Naftan intends to carry out an overhaul of the benzene plant from 1 July to 31 July. The facility is refurbished every three years. The production capacity of the benzene plant at Novopolotsk is rated 60,000 tpa. 

Orthoxylene imports into Belarus rose from 1,200 tons in January last year to 1,300 tons in January 2020 whilst paraxylene imports increased from 930 tons to 1,980 tons.  Prices for paraxylene imports into Belarus amounted to $599 per ton against $958 in January 2020.  Russia remains the main supplier of orthoxylene and paraxylene into Belarus.  Kazakhstan started to supply Belarus in 2020 and provided 996 tons this January to Mogilevkhimvolokno.

Belarussian organic chemical exports Jan 2021

Belarussian Organic Chemical Exports (unit-kilo tons)

Product

Jan-21

Jan-20

Acrylonitrile

3.9

0.9

Melamine

1.1

0.5

Caprolactam

1.2

1.5

Phthalic anhydride

4.5

2.5

Methanol

0.2

5.5

Exports of acrylonitrile from Belarus amounted to 3,865 tons in January against 918 tons in the same month last year.  Prices rebounded to $1477 per ton in January against $1171 January 2020.  Turkey purchased 1,034 tons of acrylonitrile in January this year, in addition to 545 tons going to Hungary and the remainder to the Netherlands.  For other organic chemical exports phthalic anhydride increased in January to 4,500 tons from 2,500 tons after expansion of production facilities at Lida, whilst caprolactam exports from Grodno amounted to 1,200 tons from 1,500 tons in January 2020.

 

Belarussian PTA imports Jan 2021

Belarussian PTA Imports

(kilo tons)

Country

Jan-21

Jan-20

South Korea

3.1

1.0

Portugal

0.6

0.0

Poland

1.2

4.4

Total

4.8

5.4

PTA imports into Belarus totalled 4,988 in January 2021 against 5,488 tons in January last year.  South Korea supplied 3,100 tons versus 1,000 tons whilst Poland reduced export shipments from 4,488 tons to 1,232 tons.  Average prices for PTA imports into Belarus dropped from $741 per ton in January 2020 to $621 per ton.

Belarussian methanol market Jan 2021

Belarussian Methanol Market (unit-kilo tons)

 

Jan-21

Jan-20

Production

8.7

7.5

Exports

0.2

5.5

Imports

13.5

8.0

Balance

22.0

10.0

Exports of methanol from Belarus amounted to only 200 tons in January against 13,456 tons of imports.  The volume of imports jumped from 7,986 tons in January 2020 with prices per ton rising from $100 to $303.  With production rising slightly in January it meant that Belarussian consumption of methanol amounted to 22,000 tons versus 10,000 tons in January last year.

Kazakh chemical projects by 2025

Kazakh Petrochemical Projects

under planning and construction

Product

Capacities (ktpa)

Location

Cyclohexane

150

Atyrau

Polyethylene

800

Atyrau

Methanol

182

Uralsk

PET

430

Atyrau

Polypropylene

500

Atyrau

Polypropylene

200

Shymkent

Kazakhstan has set the target of establishing five new petrochemical plants over the next four to five years.  The ministry is planning to prepare a national plan on petrochemical industry development in which the task is to boost the sector and make it more attractive for foreign investors.  Three new plants are intended for the Atyrau region: the polypropylene plant of 500,000 tpa which is currently under construction, a technical gas production plant that will produce 57 million cubic metres of nitrogen and 34 million cubic metres of dry compressed air, and a polyethylene-terephthalate (PET) plant with a capacity of 430,000 tpa based on the paraxylene produced from the refinery. 

Another polypropylene plant is intended for construction at Shymkent to be linked with the Shymkent refinery, which will supply the raw material.  Elsewhere methanol and glycol-producing plants with a joint capacity of 182,000 tpa has been proposed at Uralsk, which is located on the north west border with Russia.  More detail on these projects are expected to be forthcoming later in 2021.

Atyrau polyethylene project dependent on finding partner

By contrast to the polypropylene project, the polyethylene section of the Atyrau Integrated Gas Chemical Complex faces delays due to the requirement to find a new foreign partner.  Borealis withdrew from this project in 2020, due partly to the pandemic and partly over doubts concerning the project itself.  Negotiations are reported to have begun with Chevron Phillips Chemical, which has offered its marTECH licensing technology and assistance in the off-take contract.

The key factor in finding a strategic partner includes the capability to the organise the construction of a gas-evaporation plant with a capacity of 9.7 billion cubic metres and with the extraction of ethane up to 1.6 million tpa    Kazakhstan does not possess ethane capacity, which holds up the polyethylene project.  The aim is to establish the gas-evaporation plant will be located on the territory on the Tengiz field in cooperation with Tengizchevroil LLP.

Atyrau polypropylene project progress

The polypropylene plant under construction in the Atyrau region on behalf of Kazakhstan Petrochemical Industries (KPI) had achieved 84% of project construction by 12 March.  The plant's capacity will comprise 500,000 tpa of polypropylene with the aim of completion by the end of 2021.  At the end of 2020 around 95% of the equipment to the project had been ordered, most of it supplied through the Aktau ports.    

Kazakh paraxylene and benzene production

The Atyrau refinery was forced to suspend shipments of paraxylene and benzene in March due to technical problems at the plant.  The production of products at the Atyrau plant will resume no earlier than April. Technical problems at the refinery have been encountered intermittently since 10 January, firstly after a large-scale power outage in the region and later equipment problems. 

As a result, the supply of benzene to Russia decreased in February to 604 tons from 1,900 tons in January. 

Kazakhstan exported 8,500 tons of paraxylene in January the bulk of which is transported by rail to the Black Sea port of Kulevi.  After reaching the Georgian port paraxylene is shipped by sea to Turkey, European countries, the US, Mexico, Brazil, in addition to China.   Damages to the Atyrau aromatics complex are estimated at around $60 million.

Uz-Kor Gas Chemical 2020

Uz-Kor Gas Chemical processed 4.49 billion cubic metres of natural gas in 2020, including the provision of 709.75 million cubic metres of gas for processing into polyethylene.  The plant produced 354,460 tons of polyethylene in 2020 and 97,500 tons of polypropylene.  Uz-Kor Gas Chemical is currently in the process of launching a high-purity hydrogen and nitrogen bottling station.  This plant is expected to meet the demand of network laboratories for high-purity hydrogen and nitrogen. 

Shurtan GTL project

The Uzbekneftegaz GTL plant at Shurtan is scheduled to become operational by July this year.   The plant the first pipeline consignment of fuel gas on 3 March and has now entered the next stage of the key pre-commissioning and commissioning works of process equipment and units.  Construction of the fuel gas pipeline for the GTL plant was completed by the Shurtan Gas Chemical Complex. 

The GTL project is part of the strategic goal of Uzbekistan to move to full gas processing by 2025. This effectively seeks to replace gas exports with polymers, and part of this strategy includes an increase in polyethylene capacity at Shurtan from 125,000 tpa to 500,000 tpa.  The GTL plant is to include capacities to produce about 3.4 million barrels of jet kerosene, diesel fuel and naphtha before the end of this year, from between 1.5 billion and 1.6 billion cubic metres of natural gas to be supplied by Uzbekneftegaz. 



Summary archives from Last year :


Latest News from 2020
Jan Feb Mar Apr
May Jun Jul Aug
Sep Oct Nov Dec




 
New User? Sign up Here  |  Log in  
Latest News from 2021
Jan Feb Mar Apr
May Jun Jul Aug
Sep Oct Nov Dec
 
Chemical Links
Paraxylene
Methanol
Ethylene
Butyl Rubber
Metafrax
Butanols
Isoprene
MDI
SIBUR
Kazanorgsintez
ZapSibNeftekhim
Propylene
Gazprom neftekhim Salavat
Benzene
Synthetic Rubber
TDI
Niznekamskneftekhim
PTA
 
FORTHCOMING EVENTS
Video
Russian Methanol Market 1st half of 2020
Youtube
Russian Methanol Projects Update Q4 2020


Home | Subscription | Monthly News | Search Engine | Statistical Database
About Us | Contact Us
Chemical Industry Consulting for the CIS & Central-East Europe
Copyright 2000-2021 Cirec.net, All Rights Reserved