U.S. plastic resin production sees 7.3% monthly decrease in Feb. 2023; Canada’s InterPipeline to add random copolymers in coming months; Canadian chemical group comments on 2023 federal budget; Caprolactam market seen expanding at 5% annual rate

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Image courtesy of InterPipeline. PDH and polypropylene complex near Edmonton in the province of Alberta, Canada.

U.S. plastic resin production sees 7.3% monthly decrease in Feb. 2023

U.S. production of major plastic resins totaled 7.5 billion pounds during February 2023, a 7.3% decrease from the prior month, the American Chemistry Council said in an April 4 press release.

The February production represented a 2% increase compared with the same month in 2022. 

Cumulative plastic resin production during both January and February was 15.6 billion pounds, a 1% increase compared with the same period in 2022.

Sales and captive (internal) use of major plastic resins during February 2023 totaled 7.4 billion pounds , a 4.2% decrease from the prior month and nearly flat from a year earlier. 

Year-to-date sales and captive use were 15.2 billion pounds, a 2% increase compared with the same period in 2022.

Canada’s InterPipeline to add random copolymers to portfolio in coming months

Canada´s InterPipeline said it anticipated producing more polypropylene grades before year´s end, as it officially confirmed the full startup of the propane dehydrogenator (PDH) and polypropylene complex in a press release in the third week of March.

“Heartland is currently producing a range of homopolymers with a plan to add random copolymers to its production schedule later in 2023. Production currently focuses on serving the high demand for film, sheet extrusion, fibers and injection molding,” it said.

“As the new entrant to the market, and one that brings Heartland’s promise of reliability, service and sustainability, there is high interest in our products,” said company CEO Todd Karran about the start of the complex with 525,000 tonnes of annual polypropylene capacity.

InterPipeline has long been in the midstream part of the oil and gas business with activities that included transporting propane but the complex is its first venture downstream into plastics.

Before the PDH plant entered into service, Heartland was producing polypropylene with polymer grade propylene feedstock from parent company Inter Pipeline’s NGL business, “Canada’s only PGP producer prior to PDH entering into service,” it said.

Canadian chemical group issues comment of 2023 federal budget

The Chemistry Industry Association of Canada (CIAC) said in late March that it recognized “the federal government’s commitment to targeted policies in support of advancing a low carbon economy.”  

The budget earmarks over $20 billion in support of carbon reducing technologies, the CIAC said.

The CIAC said that it “welcomes the government’s continued commitment to investment tax credits for clean hydrogen, clean technology and carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS).”

Dow contemplates a project in Alberta that will use carbon capture utilization to reduce emissions into the atmosphere.

The CIAC also said it “welcomes the government’s signal to implement CCfDs, and encourages their broad eligibility as a form of long-term insurance against future carbon price volatility to all industrial emitters, including chemistry, making large decarbonization investments.” 

“Carbon Contracts for Differences (CCfD) can be an effective mechanism to de-risk the uncertainty of future carbon prices or carbon credit prices below currently scheduled carbon price increases to $170/tonne by 2030,” it said.

“Thanks to our low emissions electricity grid, our electro-chemistry sector is already close to achieving net-zero production,” said Bob Masterson, president and CEO of CIAC. 

Caprolactam market seen increasing at 5.3% annual growth rate until 2027

The global market for caprolactam, an intermediate chemical that helps produce many goods including textiles, will expand at an annual rate of 5.3% until 2027, ResearchAndMarkets said on March 23 in a report.

The global caprolactam market will expand to over $19 billion in 2027 from under $15 billion in 2022, according to the Dublin-based research company.

Major players in the caprolactam market with operations in the Americas are Mexico´s Alpek, Lanxess, and Honeywell International, according to the report.

The caprolactam market consists of sales of caprolactam synthesized from raw materials such as benzene and ammonia. Caprolactam is used for nylon 6 production.

Asia-Pacific was the largest region in the caprolactam market in 2022 while North America was second.

Some raw materials used in caprolactam include phenol, cyclohexane, and hydroxylamine sulfate. The phenol is used as BPA in container coatings, adhesives, electronic insulators, and automotive polycarbonates.

Phenol applications include nylon 6 filaments, textile yarn, nylon 6 fibers, engineering plastics and printer inks. The various end-users include the textile industry, automobile industry, electrical and electronics industries.

“The growth of the automotive industry is expected to propel the growth of the caprolactam market going forward,” according to the report.

“The shift towards fuel-efficient and environment-friendly automobiles has encouraged the use of nylon 6 in automobiles to reduce weight and fuel consumption by the vehicle,” the report said.

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