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LyondellBasell, the world’s largest licensor of polyolefin technologies, announced that Duqm Refinery and Petrochemical Industries Company LLC (DRPIC) has selected LyondellBasell’s PP and HDPE technologies for the new facility. The new 280,000-tpy PP and the 480,000-tpy HDPE plants, which will use LyondellBasell’s Spheripol PP and Hostalen ACP process technologies, respectively, will be built in Al Duqm, Oman, PMW has learnt.
The Duqm Petrochemical Project (DPP) is the second stage of the integrated refinery and petrochemical complex planned by Duqm Refinery, which comes as part of the strategic partnership between OQ Company and Kuwait Petroleum International. The project will be located in the Special Economic Zone in Duqm (SEZAD) and exploit the established infrastructure and facilities in the zone. It will be aimed at the launch of such products as ethylene glycol, oxo chemicals and butadiene in Oman and at expansion of the existing petrochemical portfolio there. The new PE and PP grades to be made by DPP would both diversity and complement the current shareholder’s product portfolio. Construction of DPP under the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract is progressing steadily, being nearly 20% complete.
Several US producers have shut plants in as a precaution against the hurricane Laura that is forecast to extend from San Luis Pass, Texas, just south of Houston, to Intracoastal City, Louisiana, east of Lake Charles, according to the National Hurricane Centre.
Chevron Phillips has stopped the 930,000-tpy HDPE unit in the Pasadena Plastics Complex in Texas, according to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). LyondellBasell have also taken the 920,000-tpy HDPE and the 218,000-tpy PP units in Chocolate Bayou out of action. Sasol have done the same with the 420,000-tpy LDPE and the 470,000-tpy LLDPE plants in Lake Charles, Louisiana this week. ExxonMobil has idled the 650,000-tpy LLDPE unit in Beaumont. Westlake has also suspended operations at the 380,000-tpy LDPE and the 200,000-tpy LLDPE in the Lake Charles complex. Emissions started on 25 for unknown period of time.
Several plants have gone offline for technical reasons. LyondellBasell closed the 110,000-tpy LDPE plant in La Porte, Texas, on 21 August, according to the official data, because of an incident and the consequent emissions in the atmosphere. An investigation is under way now, PMW has learnt. Ineos declared force majeure on PP production on 25 August.
The Port of Houston has announced it may be closed on Wednesday and possibly on Thursday depending on the storm track. This will limit PE supply in the USA and prices may increase soon.
INEOS Group Holdings S. A.* has released the Q2 2020 results, reporting a gross profit decrease of €296.4 million or about 56.1% to €231.9 million in April—June 2020 versus €528.3 million in the same period last year. The drop resulted from weaker sales, lower margins and higher inventory holding losses.
The EBITDAE of the Olefins & Polymers (O&P) North America segment decreased at an annualised rate of €86.6 million or 45.7% to €102.8 million in April—June 2020. The scheduled turnaround of one of the Chocolate Bayou-based crackers accounted for about €40 million of the decrease. As the North American ethylene (O&P) market generally remained glutted in Q2 2020, lower demand and prices dampened margins then. Larger propylene sales led to a year-on-year rise in the aggregate olefins ones.
The EBITDAE of the O&P Europe segment tumbled by €105.4 million or 69.9% on an annualised basis to €45.3 million in April—June 2020. The olefin business was suffering from reduced demand in the quarter as a result of the COVID-19 disruptions. Butadiene prices decreased the most compared to the same period of 2019 due to the automotive market collapse. The other olefin segments also saw a year-on-year price reduction mainly because of oversupply and weaker demand. Besides, one of the Cologne-based crackers was under maintenance in Q2 2020, which made about a €25 million dent in the earnings. Higher margins of the polymer business, which benefitted from strong demand from the consumables market, its healthcare and food packaging segments especially, partially offset the losses.
Phenol and acetone sales were poorer in Q2 2020 than in the same period of 2019 amid a demand drop exacerbated by the global COVID-19 pandemic. Selling prices were following those for raw materials. So, phenol depreciated by 44% roughly compared to last year in April—June 2020 in the wake of a sharp decline in benzene prices, and acetone prices plunged 24%, following a downtrend in the propylene market.
* - The Group’s statement covers three business segments: O&P North America, O&P Europe and Chemical Intermediates.
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