The Week in Chemistry: US PP, PE spot prices dip US$0.01/lb for week of June 13, OxyVinyls plans chlor-alkali plant upgrades ahead of potential new regulations; South Korea trucker unions strike deal, resolving logistics issues impacting petrochemicals

Sample article from our Chemicals Industry

LOS ANGELES , June 24, 2022 () –

 

US Resins

US PP and PE spot prices during the week of June 13 lost another cent as inventories continued to rise, while feedstock monomer prices fell.

As producers seek to offload high inventories through exports, they also appear to be reducing their proposed domestic price increases, rather than slashing current prices.

May PE contracts widely increased by US$0.03/lb, with some buyers reporting a lesser increase. 

Meanwhile, June contracts are expected to settle at a rollover from May as negative economic sentiment impacts market outlook. However, two major PE producers have announced they will seek a US$0.05/lb increase for July after decreasing their price hikes for June.

PP producers overall are seeking margin-enhancing contract hikes of US$0.03/lb in June. 

The primary source of this information is Plastics Today.


Chlor-Alkali

Occidental Petroleum’s OxyVinyls chemical division plans a US$1.1 billion expansion and upgrade project at its chlor-alkali production site in La Porte, Texas. The site currently has capacity for 527,800 tonnes/year of chlorine and 58,000 tonnes/year of caustic soda.

However, the company’s official filing for the project did not list additional capacity for chlorine and caustic soda.

Instead, the company will upgrade existing equipment while making investments that will better utilize membrane cell technology. The project also anticipates potential regulations on the industry that would impact its existing technologies.

The EPA proposed on April 5 to eliminate use of chrysotile asbestos in chlor-alkali manufacturing for certain grades of caustic soda– a move that, according to the American Chemistry Council, would impact nearly one-third of chlorine and caustic soda in the US.

The primary source of this information is S&P Global Platts.


South Korea Petrochemicals

South Korea’s domestic petrochemical production costs increased in the week of June 13 as a result of a truck drivers’ strike that had been ongoing for nearly a week.

Because the nation’s downstream petrochemical shipments tend to rely on land transit, the logistics disruption was particularly impactful on the industry.

However, PX and liquid chemicals were less impacted, as they are typically transported via pipeline.

Petrochemical operations in Yeosu and Daesan, South Korea, experienced high feedstock that could lead to lower production of downstream polymers, market sources said.

However, truckers’ unions reached an agreement with the transport ministry on June 14, putting trucks back on roads as of Wednesday, June 15, Reuters reported.

The primary sources of this information are S&P Global Platts and Reuters

 

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Dan Rivard
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