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V54 N32 – 15-22 August 2016

Williams, Williams Partners Agree to Sell Canadian Businesses to Inter Pipeline

Tulsa— Williams and Williams Partners said it has entered into an agreement with Inter Pipeline for the sale of its Williams Canada natural gas liquids (NGL) midstream businesses for a cash consideration of C$1.35-billion, subject to closing adjustments. Williams Canada’s assets include two liquids extraction plants near Fort McMurray, Alberta, with the capacity to recover approximately 40,000 b/d of NGL and olefins; a fractionator near Redwater, Alberta, and the Boreal NGL and olefins pipeline system that connects these facilities. Inter Pipeline will also assume responsibility to proceed with construction of a planned propane dehydrogenation (PDH) facility, based on UOP’s Oleflex process, near the Redwater fractionator (PCN, 2 Nov 2015, p 1). The facility would convert about 22,000 b/d of low-cost, locally sourced propane into approximately 525,000 t/y of polymer grade propylene. Start-up is planned for the end of 2019. “We are proud of the tremendous businesses our Canadian team has built since we first began operating in Canada in 2002,” said Williams President and Chief Executive Alan Armstrong. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2016, subject to customary closing conditions and Canadian regulatory approval.

KAP Announces Agreement to Buy PP, HDPE Manufacturer Safripol

Cape Town—KAP Industrial has reached an agreement with shareholders of Safripol Holdings to acquire the entire issued ordinary share capital of Safripol, a polypropylene (PP) and highdensity polyethylene (HDPE) producer in South Africa. The transaction, with an enterprise value of R4.1- billion, is expected to close 1 Jan. 2017, subject to customary closing conditions and competition authority approval. “The transaction represents an ideal fit for KAP in terms of its key investment criteria, being Safripol’s market leadership, high barriers to entry, strong cash generative qualities and competent management with sufficient depth and continuity,” KAP said. Safripol will form part of a diversified chemical segment, which also includes KAP’s Hosaf and Woodchem businesses.

Indorama Again Postpones Completion Of Rotterdam PTA Expansion Project

BangkokIndorama Ventures, in announcing its second quarter results for 2016, said completion of its 330,000-t/y purified terephthalic acid (PTA) brownfield expansion in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, will be delayed until the first half of 2017 (PCN, 16 May 2016, p 2). This past May, Indorama said it expected the project to be completed in the second half of this year, later than the originally scheduled 2014 completion date.

 

V54 N31 – 8 August 2016

Sumitomo Chem & Zeon Agree to Study Potential Merger of S-SBR Businesses

Tokyo—Sumitomo Chemical and Zeon Corp. have reached a basic nonbinding

agreement for a joint study on the possible consolidation

of both companies’ solution styrene butadiene rubber

(S-SBR) businesses.

The parties are considering forming a new joint venture

company in April 2017, and will transfer their current SSBR

operations, including those of their respective subsidiaries,

to the new company. Completion of due diligence

and studies is expected by the end of next month.

With the aim of strengthening the S-SBR business, the

new partnership will accelerate new product development,

enhance cost competitiveness and secure a stable product

supply, the companies noted.

Sumitomo and Zeon will discuss and agree on particulars

relating to the business consolidation and the details

of the new joint venture company. Legally-binding agreement

will be settled after both companies finalize internal

authorization procedures. At the same time, necessary

steps will be taken to obtain regulatory approvals and

clearances in both Japan and abroad.

Signing of definitive agreements is expected by the end

of December 2016. Updates on the consolidation will be

“promptly released as details are finalized,” Zeon said.

 

DAK Completes Transaction with IMG For Controlling Interest in Selenis

Charlotte—DAK Americas has completed the acquisition of a controlling

stake in Selenis Canada from IMG Group of Portugal.

Selenis operates a polyethylene terephthalate (PET)

plant in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, which has the capacity

to produce 144,000 t/y of PET resin. No other details of the

transaction were given.

“The facility offers the ability to expand operations into

Canada, to produce differentiated products and enhance

raw material synergies,” DAK noted.

The Montreal facility began PET production in 2011

(PCN, 30 May 2011, p 1). It provides both melt and solid

state processing capabilities for copolyester commodities

and specialty polyesters production.

 

IRPC Concludes Acquisition of Thai ABS; Concurrently Dissolves Merged Business

Bangkok—IRPC Pcl, which has held 99.99% of the shares in Thai

ABS Co., completed the acquisition of the entire business

of Thai ABS on 1 Aug. and dissolved the subsidiary on the

same day.

IRPC said it took these measures to reorganize the

management structure and to manage the operating cost

more effectively.

Thai ABS was established in 1991 to manufacture and

sell styrenics such as acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, polystyrene

and expandable polystyrene. Thai ABS recently

began producing styrenics for IRPC, using raw materials

supplied by IRPC.

 

LyondellBasell Decides to Construct HDPE Facility on U.S. Gulf Coast

Houston—LyondellBasell has made a final investment decision to build a

500,000-t/y high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plant on the

U.S. Gulf Coast.

The facility, for which a specific location was not given,

will be the first commercial plant to employ Lyondell-

Basell’s new Hyperzone PE technology, the company noted.

Start-up is scheduled for 2019.

“Innovation is key to our future success,” said LyondellBasell

Chief Executive Bob Patel. “This new proprietary

technology will have the capability to produce a wide

range of HDPE products with enhanced properties, many

of which have the potential to exceed industry benchmarks,”

he added.

LyondellBasell currently produces 3.5-million t/y of

HDPE, including capacity of its joint venture facilities.

Production from the new plant will be available globally.

The project is expected to create up to 1,000 construction

jobs and about 75 permanent positions.

 

Acron Inaugurates New 700,000-T/Y Veliky Novgorod Ammonia Plant

Moscow—Acron said it has launched its new 700,000-t/y Ammonia-4 unit, “one

of the largest in the CIS,” at Acron’s production site in Veliky

Novgorod, Russia.

The approximately $500-million project, financed with

the company’s own funds, began construction in June 2014.

Novgorod GIAP was general designer, while Haldor Topsoe

supplied the technology.

The Ammonia-4 facility “will also contribute to the development

of the region by creating new jobs and increasing

tax payments,” noted Viatcheslav Kantor, chairman of

Acron Group’s coordinating committee. “Projects like Ammonia-

4 serve as [a] foundation for reindustrialization of

the country.”

With the new ammonia unit in operation, the site’s total

ammonia output will reach 1.9-million t/y. Acron also

produces 600,000 t/y of ammonia at it Dorogobuzh facility

in Russia’s Smolensk region and 100,000 t/y of ammonia at

Hongri Acron in China.

 

PKN Orlen Lets Elektrobudowa Contract To Install Metathesis Unit at Plock Site

Plock—PKN Orlen has awarded a contract to Elektrobudowa for a new

metathesis unit in Plock, Poland, that will increase propylene

capacity at the site (PCN, 25 July 2016, p 1).

Under the contract, valued at approximately PLN 250-

million, Elektrobudowa will design, supply, construct and

install the metathesis unit, which will raise propylene capacity

to 550,000 t/y from 450,000 t/y. Start-up is planned

in the second half of 2018.

The new unit will be built under a license from Lummus

Technology. Under the agreement, Lummus will also

provide technical and engineering consulting services for

the estimated PLN 400-million project.

 

Wison Engineering Awarded Contracts For Connel Chemical’s New MTO Unit

Shanghai—Wison Engineering has been awarded two contracts for the

first phase of Connel Chemical Industry Co.’s 600,000-t/y

methanol-to-olefins project in China.

One of the contracts is for the engineering, procurement

and construction of the first phase, which involves a

300,000-t/y MTO plant. Wison was also awarded a licensing

and design package contract for its olefin separation

technology.

The project will utilize an integrated solution that leverages

UOP’s MTO+OCP (olefins cracking process) technology

and Wison’s high recovery olefin separation technology,

Wison noted.

Specifically, Wison will be responsible for the engineering,

design, procurement and construction of the MTO reaction

and concentration unit, the olefin separation unit,

olefin cracking unit and additional auxiliaries. Delivery of

the project is scheduled for October 2017.

“The 600,000-t/y MTO project is an important step for

Connel Chemical’s industrial upgrading, as well as a key

link in Jilin City’s fine chemical supply chain,” said Connel

Group General Manager Wang Daxiang.

 

Solvay Divesting to Caffaro Its Italian Chlorine, Peroxide Derivatives Site

Brussels—Solvay said it has agreed to sell its chlorine and peroxide derivatives

site in Bussi sul Tirino, Italy, to Italian chemical producer

Caffaro.

Caffaro plans to further develop the site, which is

mainly dedicated to chlorine and its derivatives. It will

ensure sustainability of the plant by proceeding with a series

of investments at the site, as well as creating synergies

with its current portfolio of activities. Value of the transaction

was not disclosed.

Under the agreement, Caffaro will take over Solvay’s

production of Eureco organic peroxides and further develop

the product’s technology supported by the on-site teams.

“Solvay’s peroxides global business unit will continue to

market and develop Eureco as its exclusive distributor in

all countries except Italy and thereby ensures the long

term partnerships with key customers,” Solvay noted.

 

CF Industries Gives Further Updates On Its Capacity Expansion Projects

Deerfield—CF Industries, in discussing its second quarter 2016 results,

said its new ammonia plant in Donaldsonville, La., is expected

to begin production during the third quarter of

2016, and its new Port Neal, Iowa, ammonia plant complex

is now mechanically complete, and offsite and utilities are

operational.

The 3,300-t/d ammonia plant at Donaldsonville is part

of a project that will result in the largest nitrogen facility

in the world, CF earlier said. The project also includes a

3,500-t/d urea plant, which came on stream in late 2015,

and a 4,500-t/d urea ammonium nitrate facility that was

started up earlier this year (PCN, 9 May 2016, p 2).

At Port Neal, a new 2,200-t/d ammonia plant is expected

to begin production late in the third quarter or the

beginning of the fourth quarter of 2016 (PCN, 22 Feb 2016,

p 4). A 3,500-t/d urea plant at the site is expected to begin

production “closely thereafter.”

 

Acron Group Sells Interest in Hongri Acron Chinese Fertilizer Production Subsidiary

Beijing—Acron Group has sold its 50.5% stake in Chinese fertilizer

producer Hongri Acron to an independent investment holding

company based in Hong Kong, for an undisclosed

amount.

“In line with Acron Group’s long-term development

strategy, we decided to sell our stake in Hongri Acron plant

in China and focus on further development of our Russian

production assets,” explained Alexander Popov, chairman

of Acron’s board of directors. “Nevertheless, China has

been and will remain our key partner and a priority market

to sell our products outside Russia.”

Hongri Acron produces 100,000 t/y of ammonia, 400,000

t/y of sulphuric acid and 800,000 t/y of NPK. The facility

was fully commissioned in 2000.

 

Chemours Chooses Wilmington, Delaware As Location for Its Global Headquarters

Dover—The Chemours Co. has selected Wilmington, Del., as the location

for its new global headquarters.

Recent changes to Delaware’s corporate tax structure

brought about by the Delaware Competes Act, were key

components in Chemours’ decision, the company noted.

Chemours was launched as an independent, publiclytraded

corporation, following its spin-off from DuPont last

year (PCN, 6 July 2015, p 1). It consists of the chemical

solutions, fluoroproducts and titanium technologies business

of DuPont.

 

People on the Move

Petro Rabigh—Nasser al-Mahasher has been appointed

president and chief executive of Rabigh Refining

and Petrochemical Co. (Petro Rabigh), effective 1 Sept.

Previously chief executive of S-Oil, he succeeds Abdullah

bin Saleh al-Suwailem, who is retiring.

Huntsman—Pavneet Mumick has been named global

vice president of Technology & Innovation for the company’s

Polyurethanes Division, effective 22 Aug. 2016, to

replace Keith Day, who has retired. Mumick will join

Huntsman from Momentive Performance Materials, where

he was global vice president of technology.

LSB Industries—John Diesch, previously president

and a member of the board of Rentech Nitrogen, has become

executive vice president of manufacturing. He replaces

Richard Sanders, a director of the board of LSB,

who has served as interim executive vice president of

chemical manufacturing.

Plaza Group—Jose Flores has been named vice president

of Aromatics & Olefins, responsible for all commercial

and supply chain activities for products under the division.

He had been business manager of benzene, xylene and

toluene.

Ashland Inc.—Suzanne B. Rowland has joined the

company as group vice president, industrial specialties,

responsible for the coatings, adhesives and other industrial

end markets. She was most recently at Tyco and prior to

that was at Rohm and Haas, where she served as vice

president of Global Adhesives & Sealants; vice president of

Coatings for North America, and vice president of Procurement

& Logistics.

 

Innospec Purchasing Huntsman’s European Surfactants Business

The Woodlands—Specialty chemicals company Innospec Inc. has committed

to buy Huntsman’s European surfactants business for an

enterprise value of $225-million.

As part of the transaction, Innospec will acquire

Huntsman’s manufacturing facilities in Saint-Mihiel,

France; Castiglione delle Stiviere, Italy, and Barcelona,

Spain. Huntsman will retain its related account receivables

and trade payables.

Closing is expected by the end of the fourth quarter of

this year, subject to customary conditions, including the

representative bodies consultation processes where required

by applicable law.

Following close of the transaction, Huntsman will enter

into supply and long-term tolling agreements with Innospec

in order to continue marketing some of the products.

“The decoupling of our European surfactants business

would allow us to concentrate our focus and grow businesses

within our portfolio with greater long term strategic

fit,” said Huntsman President and Chief Executive Peter

R. Huntsman. “Additional reshaping of Huntsman will

occur soon, as we are actively working towards a spin-off of

our titanium dioxide, additives and textile effects businesses,”

he added.

 

HIP-Petrohemija Inviting Tenders For Feasibility Study of PP Unit

Pancevo—HIP-Petrohemija

is accepting tenders for a feasibility study for its

planned polypropylene (PP) facility in Pancevo, Serbia

(PCN, 10 Nov 2014, p 3).

In 2014, the company announced that it signed an

agreement with the directorate for the construction and

renovation of Pancevo, to begin developing a plan to build a

local PP facility. Petrohemija said the project would require

an investment of about €120-million. A capacity for

the plant was not disclosed.

Offers must be submitted to the company in written

form no later than 12:00 pm local time on 19 Sept. 2016.

For more information about the tender, contact Veselka

Mitić, email veselka.mitic@hip-petrohemija.rs.

 

Enterprise, Occidental Begin Service At JV Natural Gas Processing Plant

Houston—Enterprise Products Partners and Occidental Petroleum

have begun operations at their new joint venture cryogenic

natural gas processing plant in the Delaware Basin (PCN,

4 May 2015, p 3).

The 150-million cu ft/d facility is owned by Delaware

Basin Gas Processing, an equally-owned joint venture company

formed by Enterprise and Occidental for the purpose

of building the plant.

The new plant is supported by long-term contracts and

is designed to accommodate the growing production of

natural gas liquid (NGL)-rich natural gas from the Delaware

Basin.

Additionally, Enterprise has completed construction of

an 82-mile, 12-inch diameter pipeline that will transport

NGLs from the gas processing facility to Enterprise’s

Chaparrel NGL pipeline, which will allow customers access

to Enterprise’s NGL fractionation and storage complex in

Mont Belvieu, Texas.

 

Iran Selects Linde to Perform FEED Work For Planned Kian Petrochemical Facility

Tehran—Iran’s Kian Petrochemical Co. has awarded a front-end

engineering design (FEED) contract to Linde Group for

construction of an olefin, butadiene, benzene and hydrodealkylation

unit in Iran, according to local news

sources.

The $39.17-million project is expected to be completed

in 12 months. Kian plans to sign a complementary contract

with Linde in the future for engineering, procurement

and construction, purchase of equipment and operation of

the units.

Kian Petrochemical was established in 2012 in Asalouyeh

for the purpose of implementing the olefins complex.

 

Westlake Plans Offering of Senior Notes To Help Fund Planned Axiall Purchase

Houston—Westlake Chemical Corp. intends to offer senior unsecured

notes to finance the previously announced proposed acquisition

of Axiall Corp. (PCN, 20 June 2016, p 1).

Westlake will use the proceeds from the proposed offering,

cash on hand and proceeds from other financial transactions,

to finance the acquisition, to repay certain indebtedness

of Axiall and pay related fees and expenses.

The combination of Westlake and Axiall, valued at

about $3.8-billion, is planned to be completed by the fourth

quarter of 2016. The transaction, which has received approval

by the board of directors of both companies, is subject

to approval by Axiall stockholders and customary closing

conditions, including the applicable waiting period under

the Hart-Scott Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act.

 

Evonik Completes Capacity Expansion Of Sodium Methylate at Mobile Site

Mobile—Evonik Corp. recently completed an expansion at its Mobile, Ala.,

facility that increased sodium methylate capacity at the

site to 72,000 t/y.

The project “represents the first phase of expansion

plans for sodium methylate,” noted Alexander Weber, general

manager and vice president North America, business

line functional solutions. Details on further expansion

plans were not given.

 

Deepak Fertilisers Announces Project To Build Dahej Nitric Acid Facility

Dahej—Deepak Fertilisers and Petrochemicals Corp. said it is investing

approximately Rs 550 crore in a new state-of-the-art nitric

acid manufacturing plant to be set up in Dahej, India.

Deepak currently has a plant in Taloja, Maharashtra,

which produces approximately 840,000 t/y of various

grades of nitric acid, including dilute, concentrated and

strong. Most of the capacity is used for captive consumption,

with only about 160,000 t/y available for merchant

sale. With the new capacity at Dahej, the company will be

capable of providing an incremental capacity of close to

148,000 t/y.

The project, scheduled to be completed by the second

half of 2018, is being built to meet the expected rise in demand

for nitric acid. Land for the project has already been

acquired, the company noted.

 

MEO Australia Gives Updated Information On Tassie Shoal Methanol, LNG Project

Melbourne—MEO Australia has received updated environmental approvals

for the liquefied natural gas (LNG) portion of its

proposed Tassie Shoal methanol and LNG project offshore

northern Australia (PCN, 11 Aug 2014, p 4).

The updated approvals extend the approval period for

the LNG plant to 2052, aligned with the methanol portion

of the project, and allows the company to increase the flexibility

to process gas of varying qualities into LNG.

The project involves two 1.75-million-t/y methanol facilities,

based on technology from Johnson Matthey Davy

Technologies, which would use 4-trillion cu/ft of raw gas

over 25 years.

With a design capacity of 3-million t/y, the LNG plant

“provides significant cost savings relative to other LNG

development options,” MEO said. The project is surrounded

by “significant discovered but undeveloped high

CO2 gas fields, currently under retention leases,” it added.

“The industry is starting to recognize the need to take

steps to collaborate to secure lowest cost and efficient resource

development in Australia,” noted Peter Strickland,

chief executive and managing director.

 

Chiyoda Consortium Gets EPC Contract For Expansion of Tangguh LNG Plant

West Papua—Chiyoda, in a consortium with Tripatra, Saipem and Suluh

Ardhi Engineering, has been awarded a contract by BP

Perau for the engineering, procurement and construction

(EPC) of the Tangguh liquefied natural gas (LNG) expansion

project in Teluk Bintuni, West Papua (PCN, 11 July

2016, p 3).

The project involves construction of a third LNG process

train at the site with 3.8-million t/y of production capacity,

including an LNG jetty and associated infrastructure.

There are currently two LNG process trains at the

site with a total production capacity of 7.6-million t/y.

Work will begin this year with completion scheduled in

fiscal year 2020. Value of the lump-sum contract was not

disclosed.

BP Berau, operator of the Tangguh facility, and its affiliates

in Indonesia hold a 37.16% stake in the project.

Other partners include MI Berau (16.30%), CNOOC Muturi

(13.90%), Nippon Oil Exploration (12.23%), KG Berau

Petroleum (8.56%), Indonesia Natural Gas Resources Muturi

(7.35%), Talisman Wiriager Overseas (3.06%) and KG

Wiriager Petroleum (1.44%).

 

Sinopec LPEC Successfully Hands Over PP Plant to China’s Fude (Changzhou)

Beijing—Sinopec Luoyang Petrochemical Engineering Co. (LPEC)

said a new 300,000-t/y polypropylene (PP) plant and

90,000-t/y olefin conversion unit have reached mechanical

completion and were successfully handed over to Fude

(Changzhou) Energy & Chemical Development Co.

LPEC was engineering, procurement and construction

contractor for the project. No other details were given.

In addition to this project, LPEC said it was also the

main contractor for a 1-million-t/y methanol-to-olefin plant

and 500,000-t/y ethyl benzene facility. “The owner is very

satisfied by the successful commissioning of these projects,”

LPEC noted.

 

Beijing Offering Cash to Chem Companies Willing to Relocate Plants Out of the City

Beijing—Beijing is offering cash rewards as an incentive for chemical

companies to voluntarily move their plants out of the

city by 2018, according to the China Daily citing Beijing’s

local work safety watchdog.

The cash reward is based on a set of criteria including

the size of the plant, safety record and production process,

tax contributions and number of employees. Those who

apply early will receive additional bonuses. Value of the

cash incentives was not disclosed.

“Smaller chemical plants with simple production process,

poor management and high risk storage will be first to

go,” said the report quoting the watchdog. “The removal of

the facilities should not disrupt the city’s supply of hazardous

chemical goods,” it added.

About 60 chemical facilities are expected to leave the

city this year, with 20 more leaving between 2017 and

2018.

 

PetroChemical News Briefs

S. Korea is seeking to impose an anti-dumping duty

on butyl glycol ether from the U.S. and France, reported

local sources. The anti-dumping duty, ranging from 20.1%

to 25%, would be imposed for a period of five years.

Brenntag AG will invest over £50-million in its UK

operations over the next five years, including investments

in the North of England and Scotland. “Irrespective of the

current ‘Brexit’ concerns, the UK represents a significant

market for our products and services and will remain an

integral part of our European and global growth strategy,”

said Chief Executive Steven Holland.

Manali Petrochemicals received board approval to invest

an additional $500,000 in its wholly-owned Amchem

Specialty Chemicals subsidiary, for pursuing its overseas

investment plans.

 

 

V54 N30 – 1 August 2016

Mitsubishi Chemical Selling Interests In Indian, Chinese PTA Businesses

Tokyo—Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corp. announced it has concluded
agreements to sell its Mitsubishi Chemical Corp. (MCC)
subsidiaries’ purified terephthalic acid (PTA) operations in
India and China (PCN, 6 June 2016, p 2).
Mitsubishi will divest its 99.4% interest in MCC PTA
India (MCPI) to Chatterjee Management Co., an affiliate of
the Chatterjee Group. Chatterjee Management operates
Haldia Petrochemicals Ltd. and has petrochemical operations
near MCPI’s Haldia facility. The transfer is scheduled
for completion by the end of October 2016.
MCC’s 100% stake in Ningbo Mitsubishi Chemical Co.
is expected to be transferred to Union King Holdings Ltd.
(UKH) and its affiliate Ningbo Hongbang Petrochemicals
Co. (NHP) by the end of December 2016.
Additionally, MCC will transfer to UKH and NHP, a
33% interest and 67% interest, respectively, in polytetramethylene
ether glycol producer MCC Advanced Polymers
Ningbo Co.
Since 2012, supply has significantly exceeded demand
in China’s PTA market, said Mitsubishi. Therefore, the
company had positioned PTA operations as businesses to
be restructured.
After examining all possible drastic measures and implementing
various rationalization measures, such as reducing
production costs at each country’s production sites,
Mitsubishi decided there would be no change in the PTA
business situation in India and China, and that it would be
difficult for MCC to continue those businesses.

 

Westlake Completes Ethylene Expansion At OpCo’s Petro 1 Unit in Lake Charles

Lake Charles–Westlake Chemical, in reporting its second quarter 2016
results, said it recently completed a turnaround and ethylene
expansion of its OpCo affiliate’s Petro 1 facility in Lake
Charles, La. (PCN, 25 Apr 2016, p 1).
Ethylene capacity at the site was increased by 250-
million lbs/yr to a total of around 1.5-billion lbs/yr. The
facility is currently in the process of restarting, Westlake
noted.
The additional capacity “helps in continuing our path of
increasing our distributions at a low double-digit growth
rate for our unitholders,” said Westlake President and
Chief Executive Albert Chao.

 

LG Chem Boosting Elastomer Production To Satisfy Rising Global Market Demand

Seoul—LG Chem Ltd. plans to invest 400-billion won to more than
triple elastomer production capacity in order to meet increased
global demand.
The company will build a new 200,000-t/y elastomer
plant in Daesan, S. Korea. The new output will increase
LG’s total elastomer production capacity to 290,000 t/y by
2018.

 

Sabic & ExxonMobil Consider Development Of New U.S. Gulf Coast Petrochemical JV

Houston—Sabic and ExxonMobil are evaluating the possible development
of a joint venture petrochemical complex on the
U.S. Gulf Coast.
The project would include a world-scale steam cracker
and derivative units to be built in Texas or Louisiana, near
natural gas feedstock. Capacities and other details were
not given.
The companies noted that before a final investment decision
is made, they will perform necessary studies and
work with state and local officials to help identify a potential
site with adequate access to infrastructure.
“We are focused on geographic diversification to supply
new markets,” said Sabic Vice Chairman and Chief Executive
Yousef Abdullah Al-Benyan. “The proposed venture
would capture competitive feedstock and reinforce Sabic’s
strong position in the value chain,” he added.
“We have the capability to design a project with a
unique set of attributes that would make it competitive
globally,” noted Neil Chapman, president of ExxonMobil
Chemical. “That is vitally important as most of the chemical
demand growth in the next several decades is anticipated
to come from developing economies.”

 

Alpek in Negotiations With Petrobras Over Petroquímica Suape & Citepe

Monterrey—Alpek is in exclusive 60-day negotiations with Petrobras for the
potential acquisition of Petrobras’ stakes in Petroquímica
de Pernambuco (Petroquímica Suape) and Compañhia Integrada
Tȇxtil de Pernambuco (Citepe).
Petroquímica Suape and Citepe operate an integrated
purified terephthalic acid/polyethylene terephthalate facility
in Ipojuca, Pernambuco, Brazil, with an installed capacity
of 700,000 t/y and 450,000 t/y, respectively. Citepe also
operates a 90,000-t/y texturized polyester filament plant at
the site.
The 60-day exclusive negotiation period may be extended
for an additional 30-days. If the parties reach an
agreement, the closing of the transaction will require approvals
by both companies and approval by appropriate
governmental authorities.

 

CVR Raises E. Dubuque NH3 Output With Installation of New Converter

Chicago—CVR Partners installed a new ammonia converter during a
turnaround, which has increased ammonia production at it
East Dubuque, Ill., facility.
The new converter has allowed the plant to produce
ammonia at rates above 1,000 t/d—an increase of more
than 75 t/d from prior levels.
CVR acquired the East Dubuque facility from Rentech
Nitrogen earlier this year (PCN, 11 Apr 2016, p 4). The
facility also includes the production of urea and urea ammonium
nitrate.

 

Dhunseri Gets Calcutta High Court Nod For Planned Scheme of Arrangement

Mumbai—Dhunseri Petrochem Ltd. (DPL) announced it has received
approval from the High Court of Calcutta for the scheme of
arrangement between DPL and Dhunseri Petglobal Ltd.
(DPGL) and their respective shareholders.
The scheme will be effective upon filing of the certified
copy of the Order of the High Court, DPG said, adding that
it has applied for a certified copy of the court order.
Earlier this year, Indorama Ventures (IVL) and DPL
agreed to form an equally-owned joint venture for the production
and sale of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) in
India (PCN, 7 Mar 2016, p 1).
As part of the agreement, IVL will divest a 50% stake in
its Indian PET manufacturing company, Micro Polypet, to
DPL. Micro Polypet has 216,000 t/y of PET capacity in
Panipat. DPL will divest to IVL its 50% stake in the newly
carved-out entity DPGL. The new entity is to own DPL’s
480,000-t/y PET production plant in Haldia, India.
The joint venture is expected to be completed in the
second half of this year.

 

Jindal Poly Films Recently Started Up New BOPP Production Line at Nashik

Mumbai—Jindal Poly Films in mid-July commissioned its seventh

biaxially oriented polypropylene (BOPP) line at Nishak,

Maharastra in India (PCN, 13 June 2016, p 4).

The facility’s BOPP capacity was increased by 41,000

t/y to a total capacity of 251,000 t/y. Jindal’s total worldwide

production capacity for BOPP is now 466,000 t/y.

Nashik is the “world’s single largest site for production

of BOPP and BOPET [biaxially oriented polyethylene

terephthalate],” Jindal noted adding that its current combined

global capacity of BOPP and BOPET is 593,000 t/y.

Jindal noted that the expansion project required an investment

of approximately Rs 240 crore, which was paid

with a combination of Indian rupee loans and foreign currency

loans.

The company expects to complete new BOPP lines at its

site in Brindisi, Italy, and LaGrange, Ga., by mid-2017.

The new lines will each add 60,000 t/y of BOPP capacity at

the sites.

 

Celanese Decides to End MMA Production At Its Cangrejera Manufacturing Plant

Cangrejera—Celanese Corp., following a strategic business review, has

decided to discontinue production, storage and distribution

of monomethylamine (MMA) at its acetyl intermediates

manufacturing facility in Cangrejera, Mexico.

The company concluded that production and distribution

of MMA are no longer a viable business option. The

production cessation includes both anhydrous and 50%

solution grades of MMA.

The site will continue to produce dimethylamine (DMA)

and trimethylamine (TMA) “with a focus on growing and

expanding the company’s amines business, along with

other key acetyl products manufactured at the site,” Celanese

noted.

Equipment at the facility has been completely converted

to produce increased volumes of DMA and TMA exclusively,

the company added.

 

Chevron Phillips Chemical Completes PE Pilot Unit at Bartlesville Facility

Bartlesville—Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. (CPChem) has completed a

new state-of-the-art polyethylene (PE) pilot plant at its

research and technology center in Bartlesville, Okla. (PCN,

22-29 Dec 2014, p 4).

The plant will utilize CPChem’s MarTech loop slurry

process and its newer MarTech advanced dual loop technology,

enabling production of bimodal PE resins for advanced

applications.

The site will provide leading-edge PE research, including

new catalyst and polymer development, to take place

on a pilot scale prior to implementation in full-scale operations,

including the company’s $6-billion investment along

the U.S. Gulf Coast (PCN, 29 Feb 2016, p 2).

CPChem’s Gulf Coast petrochemicals project involves

an ethane cracker to produce 1.5-million t/y of ethylene at

its Cedar Bayou plant in Baytown, Texas, and two 500,000-

t/y PE plants at its Sweeny complex in Old Ocean, Texas.

Start-up is expected next year.

 

RusTechnip Awarded Service Contract For Gazprom Neft’s Omsk Refinery

Omsk—RusTechnip, a joint venture of Technip and Rustechexport, has

been awarded a service contract for Gazprom Neft’s existing

refinery in Omsk, Russia.

The scope of work covers engineering, procurement and

construction management services for the construction of a

new crude distillation unit—vacuum distillation unit complex.

Value of the contract was not disclosed, however,

Technip said it was in the range of €50-million to €100-

million.

Front-end engineering design of the project was also

performed by RusTechnip.

 

Braskem’s CTI Invests in New EVA Lab

São Paulo—Braskem’s Center for Technology and Innovation (CTI)

recently invested R$500,000 in a new lab in Triunfo, Brazil,

for the purpose of processing ethylene vinyl acetate

(EVA).

The new facility will be used to develop new applications

for EVA and support customers in developing their

own formulations.

 

People on the Move

Jacobs Engineering—Steven J. Demetriou, president

and chief executive, has been appointed to the additional

position of chairman of the board, effective immediately.

Linda Fayne Levinson, a director since 1996, has been

elected to serve as lead director.

Petkim—Anar Mammadov, head of Socar Greece, has

also been named director general of Petkim. He replaces

Sadeddin Korkut.

Verdezyne—David Kelsey has been appointed chief financial

officer to replace Brian Conn, who left the company

earlier this year. Kelsey was most recently chief financial

officer of Elevance Renewable Sciences. He has held leadership

roles in a number of industries, from finance to renewable

chemicals.

 

Kraton Performance Polymers Preparing To Start Up New HSBC Unit in Taiwan

Mailiao—Kraton Performance Polymer, in its quarterly results ending

30 June 2016, said it was preparing for the start-up of

its new 30,000-t/y state-of-the-art hydrogenated styrenic

block copolymer (HSBC) plant in Mailiao, Taiwan.

In 2013, Kraton and Formosa Petrochemical Corp. revived

plans to form an equally-owned joint venture to

build, own and operate the HSBC facility at Formosa’s existing

site (PCN, 13 May 2013, p 2).

At the time, the companies said that Kraton would have

exclusive rights to purchase all production from the plant,

which was expected to cost $200-million and be based on

Kraton’s technology. It would also be obligated to purchase

a minimum volume each year, with the minimum obligation

increasing over the first three years the plant is operational.

“We are very pleased to announce that we now expect

the capital cost to be approximately $185-million, well below

our initial estimate of more than $200-million,” noted

Kraton President and Chief Executive Kevin M. Fogarty,

in discussing the results.

 

BIPC’s Chlor-Alkali Unit Halts Production; New Membrane Process Being Installed

Tehran—Iran’s Bandar Imam Petrochemical Co. (BIPC) has stopped production

at its chlor-alkali unit, according to local sources.

The unit will be modified to use membrane technology

and eliminate the use of mercury. Know-how for the project

will be supplied by ThyssenKrupp.

Electrolyzers to replace mercury cells in the unit will be

delivered soon, the reports said. Capacity of the unit and

an expected completion date for the project were not given.

 

Hindustan Petroleum Updates Schedule For Visakh Refinery Expansion Project

New Delhi—Hindustan Petroleum Corp. Ltd. (HPCL) expects to complete

an expansion of its Visakh refinery in Visakhapatnam,

Andhra Pradesh, within 48 months, according to local

sources citing the company.

The refinery, which currently has about 8.5-million t/y

of capacity, is being expanded to 15-million t/y of capacity

(PCN, 8 Feb 2016, p 4). No other details were given.

Earlier this year, PCN reported that HPCL completed a

feasibility study for a 1-million-t/y olefins and aromatics

complex to be built in the Petroleum, Chemicals and Petrochemicals

region being established in Vishakhapatnam.

The company is now considering setting up the project in

Machilipatnam.

 

Mitsui Chem Increasing Milastomer Capacity With Additional Production Line at Chiba

Tokyo—Mitsui Chemicals is building a new production line for Milastomer

brand thermoplastic olefinic elastomers at its

wholly-owned Sun Alloys subsidiary in Chiba, Japan.

The new 5,000 t/y Milastomer line is being added to respond

to upswings in demand for the product. Construction

will start in February 2017 and is scheduled for completion

in June 2017. Commercial operations are expected

to begin in October of next year.

 

Mexichem Secures VCM Feedstock After Force Majeure at PMV JV

Veracruz—Mexichem disclosed in its quarterly report that it has secured alternate

vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) supplies, enabling it to

cover its raw material needs for the rest of the year after

its Petroquímica Mexicana de Vinilo (PMV) joint venture

with Pemex declared force majeure on VCM this past April

(PCN, 2 May 2016, p 1).

On 20 Apr., PMV’s Pajaritos petrochemical complex in

Veracruz, Mexico, experienced an explosion, resulting in a

declaration of force majeure on VCM, ethylene, dichloroethane,

muriatic acid and anhydrous hydrogen chloride

shipped from the complex.

At the same time, Mexichem Resinas Vinilicas and

Mexichem Resinas Colombia placed polyvinyl chloride on

an allocation plan for the month of May and subsequent

months, Mexichem said.

A full report on the cause of the accident is expected “in

the coming weeks,” the company noted in its results.

 

CB&I Wins Contract from PERTAMINA For Balikpapan Refinery Upgrade

Jakarta—CB&I has been awarded the license and engineering design of a

grassroots alkylation unit by Pertamina, as part of the upgrade

of Pertamina’s refinery in Balikpapan, East Kalimantan,

Indonesia (PCN, 15 Dec 2014, p 3).

Pertamina’s Refinery Unit V will use CB&I’s CDAlky

advanced sulfuric acid alkylation technology and Haldor

Topsoe’s wet gas sulfuric acid technology.

In 2014, Pertamina signed memorandums of understanding

(MoUs) with Saudi Aramco, Sinopec and JX Nippon

Oil & Energy to partner in a $25-billion upgrade of

Indonesian refineries.

Under the MoUs, Saudi Aramco agreed to join Pertamina

in the upgrade of the Dumai refinery in Riau; the

Cilacap refinery in Central Java and the Balongan refinery

in West Java. Sinopec agreed to help with the upgrade of

the Plaju refinery in South Sumatra and JX agreed to work

with Pertamina to upgrade the Balikpapan refinery.

Pertamina earlier said it expected the upgrades to be

completed in three to four years and more than double its

refinery capacity to 1.68-million b/d from 820,000 b/d.

 

Bahri & Arab Petroleum Investments Launch $1.5-Billion Shipping Fund

Riyadh—The National Shipping Co. of Saudi Arabia (Bahri) and Arab Petroleum

Investments Corp. (Apicorp) have initiated a $1.5-

billion shipping fund.

The companies aim to acquire approximately 15 very

large crude carriers (VLCCs) over three phases with total

investments of up to $1.5-billion, composed of debt and equity.

Apicorp will invest 85% in the fund with Bahri investing

the remainder. The fund will be a closed-end fund with

a 10-year life period, and will deliver returns derived from

the commercial employment of the VLCCs.

Bahri will act as the exclusive commercial and technical

manager, while Apicorp will be the main investor and fund

manager.

The acquisition will make Bahri the “biggest VLCCs

operator in the international VLCC market segment,”

Bahri noted.

 

New Study Shows Environmental Benefits Of Using Plastics Versus Alternatives

Washington—The environmental cost of using plastics in consumer goods

and packaging is nearly four times less than if plastics

were replaced with alternative materials, according to a

new study by Trucost, which the American Chemistry

Council (ACC) commissioned.

The study, “Plastics and Sustainability: A Valuation of

Environmental Benefits, Costs, and Opportunities for Continuous

Improvement,” is based on natural capital accounting

methods, which measure and value environmental impacts—

such as consumption of water and emissions to air,

land and water—which are not typically factored into traditional

accounting.

Trucost’s latest study builds on earlier research by comparing

the environmental costs of using plastics to alternative

materials and identifying opportunities to help lower

the environmental costs of using plastics in consumer

goods and packaging.

“These significant results disrupt a common misperception

around plastics,” said the ACC. “Trucost found that

replacing plastics in consumer goods and packaging with a

mix of alternative materials that provide the same function,

would increase environmental costs from $139-billion

to $533-billion annually. That’s because strong, lightweight

plastics help us do more with less material, which

provides environmental benefits throughout the lifecycle of

plastic products and packaging.”

The study also concluded that the environmental cost of

alternative materials can be lower per ton of production

but are greater in aggregate due to the much larger quantities

of material needed to fulfill the same purposes as

plastics.

In addition, the authors of the latest report recommend

steps to help further reduce plastics’ overall environmental

costs, including increasing the use of lower-carbon electricity

in plastics production, adopting lower-emission transport

modes, developing even more efficient plastic packaging,

and increasing recycling and energy conversion of

post-use plastics to help curb ocean litter and conserve resources.

“Now is an exciting time for plastics and for sustainability,”

noted Steve Russell, vice president of plastics for the

ACC. “Emerging economies around the world are creating

opportunities for more people to have access to heath and

hygiene products, good nutrition and the things that help

us get more out of life. Making smart choices about what

we produce and how we produce it will benefit people and

the planet,” he added.

 

Vietnam Cancels Proposed Project For New Refinery & PC Complex

Hanoi—Vietnam has decided to cancel a $20-billion refinery and petrochemical

complex planned by Thailand’s PTT, according to local

news reports.

The project involved construction of a 400,000-b/d refinery

and production of 5-million t/y of olefins and aromatics

in Binh Dinh province (PCN, 11 July 2016, p 2).

This past June, PTT postponed the project, attributing

its decision to political changes in Vietnam and uncertainty

in the global oil markets and said it would review the investment

at the end of the year.

Saudi Aramco recently exited the proposed joint venture

project with PTT.

 

Sibur Completes Expansion at Tobolsk To Raise Gas Fractionation Capacity

Tobolsk—Sibur has finished an expansion of the natural gas liquids (NGL)

processing facility at its Tobolsk complex in Western Siberia’s

Tyumen Region, increasing gas fractionation capacity

at the site (PCN, 20 July 2015, p 3).

The RUB 5.5-billion project increased overall gas fractionation

capacity at Tobolsk to 8-million t/y from 6.6-

million t/y.

Nipigas was general designer of the project, which involved

installing additional equipment for internals, heat

exchange and pump equipment, construction of a cooling

tower and expanded feedstock range.

 

Oryx GTL Awards SNC-Lavalin Contract For Engineering Consultancy, Support

Doha—Oryx GTL has awarded a five-year engineering consultancy and

support services contract to SNC-Lavalin for Oryx GTL’s

gas-to-liquids (GTL) complex in Ras Laffan, Qatar.

The contract is with SNC-Lavalin’s local entity, Qatar

Kentz WLL, and is aligned to support Oryx’s long-term

sustaining capital plan, SNC-Lavalin noted. The agreement

includes general engineering, feasibility studies,

modeling, drawings and documentation.

“We are delighted to establish this . . . agreement with

Oryx GTL, at a time when the industry is looking for continued

development of assets,” said Christian Brown,

president of Oil & Gas at SNC-Lavalin.

Oryx GTL is a joint venture of Qatar Petroleum (51%)

and Sasol (49%).

 

Tank Storage Asia Conference/Exhibition Scheduled for 27-28 Sept. in Singapore

Singapore—Tank Storage Asia 2016 conference and exhibition is being

held in Singapore on 27-28 Sept. 2016 at the Marina Bay

Sands hotel.

The conference and exhibition is the only dedicated

show in the region for the South East Asian bulk liquid

storage industry to network, learn and do business.

For more information on Tank Storage Asia, contact

Amy Jordan at StockExpo by phone 44 (0) 20 8843 8837,

email amy@stocexpo.com or visit the conference website at

www.tankstorageasia.com.

V54 N29 – 25 July 2016

PKN Orlen Receives Board Approval To Raise Plock Propylene Capacity

Plock—PKN Orlen has received management and supervisory board approval

to build a new metathesis unit that will increase

propylene capacity by 100,000 t/y at its site in Plock, Poland

(PCN, 1 Sept 2014, p 1).

The project, estimated to cost approximately PLN 400-

million, is now entering the execution stage. It will raise

propylene capacity at Plock to 550,000 t/y from 450,000 t/y.

A schedule was not given.

The new unit will be built under a license from Lummus

Technology. Under the agreement, Lummus will also

provide technical and engineering consulting services.

“We want to maximize capacity utilization in Poland

and the Czech Republic, and push for greater integration

between petrochemical and refining areas, which will give

us flexibility required to respond to market changes in demand

for fuels and petrochemicals,” said Wojciech Jasiński,

president of PKN’s management board.

“We will focus on products with a broad range of applications

in the plastics industry, because the industry’s purchasing

power is growing and its medium-term prospects

point to a steadily upward trend,” he added.

 

Unipar’s Offer for Solvay Indupa Stake Rejected by Argentine Regulator CNV

Buenos Aires—Unipar Carbocloro’s offer to purchase a 70.59% interest in

Solvay Indupa was rejected by Argentina’s securities regulator

CNV, the Comision Nacional de Valores (PCN, 11

July 2016, p 1).

This past May, Solvay signed a definitive agreement to

sells its stake in Solvay Indupa to Unipar for $202-million,

subject to customary closing conditions and approvals.

CNV said it rejected the offer based on interpretation of

the Argentine Capital Markets Law No. 26,831. Unipar

has 30 days to adjust the terms of the offer.

In 2013, Solvay signed a definitive agreement to sell its

70.59% interest in Solvay Indupa to Braskem and Braskem

was to buy the remainder of Solvay Indupa on the Buenos

Aires stock exchange (PCN, 13 Jan 2014, p 1).

CNV rejected Braskem’s takeover bid of $1.35 per

share for the remaining approximately 30% shares of Solvay

Indupa.

 

Odebrecht Uses Its Stake in Braskem As Guarantee for Outstanding Loans

São Paulo—Odebrecht Serviços e Participações has used its entire

stake in Braskem as collateral to certain financial institutions

for loans granted to Odebrecht, Braskem announced.

Odebrecht has a 38% interest in Braskem, but holds

50.1% of the voting shares. In March, Reuters reported

that Odebrecht was considering exiting Braskem.

Details of the agreement between Odebrecht and the financial

institutions were not disclosed.

 

YPFB Project Achieves Steam Generation; Urea Production Expected to Start ‘Soon’

La Paz—Bolivia’s Yacimientos Petroliferos Fiscales Bolivianos

(YPFB) project has successfully achieved the milestone of

steam generation and is looking forward to the final goal of

urea production, said Samsung Engineering.

When asked when production was expected, Samsung

told PCN that it “anticipates the start of urea production

soon.”

In 2013, YPFB began construction on the $843-million

urea plant in Bulo Bulo, Cochabamba province, Bolivia.

The plant is expected to produce 2,100 t/d of urea, using

1.4-million cu m/d of natural gas. At the time, YPFB said

completion was scheduled in 2015.

Toyo Engineering was awarded a contract for the project

in 2012, covering the supply of urea synthesis and

granulation technologies, development of basic design and

supply of proprietary equipment.

Samsung was awarded the contract for front-end engineering

design, engineering, procurement and construction

and pre-commissioning of the project, which includes an

ammonia unit.

 

Enterprise Adds Propylene Exports To Houston Ship Channel Offerings

Houston—Enterprise Products Partners has added propylene exports to its

service offerings at the Enterprise Hydrocarbons Terminal

(EHT) along the Houston Ship Channel in Texas.

The company has the capability to load 5,000 t/d of refrigerated

polymer-grade propylene (PGP) at the EHT dock

facilities, which are supplied directly by propylene fractionators

and storage wells from Enterprise’s Mont Belvieu,

Texas, complex. Enterprise said it has loaded its first

two vessels with PGP for export.

“With the addition of our 1.65-billion pound PDH [propane

dehydrogenation] plant, which is scheduled to begin

service in the second quarter of 2017, Enterprise will have

the capability to produce 7.5-billion pounds of propylene

per year,” noted A.J. Teague, chief executive of Enterprise’s

general partner.

The PDH unit had originally been scheduled for completion

in September 2016 (PCN, 14 Mar 2016, p 1).

 

U.S. ESBR Producers File Petition To Impose Anti-Dumping Duties

Washington—U.S. emulsion styrene butadiene rubber (ESBR) producers have

filed an anti-dumping petition with the U.S. Dept. of

Commerce and the U.S. International Trade Commission

against ESBR from Brazil, Korea, Mexico and Poland.

The petitioners said they seek the imposition of antidumping

duties to offset the margin of unfair pricing by

foreign producers in the U.S. market. The estimated

dumping margins for imports from these countries range

from 30% to 80%.

U.S. companies supporting the petition include Lion

Elastomers and East West Copolymer.

 

EBRD Arranges $155-Mn in Financing For Fertilizer Producer Rustavi Azot

Rustavi—The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

(EBRD) said it has arranged a financing package, valued

at $155-million, to support Rustavi Azot, Georgia’s “largest”

fertilizer producer.

The funds will be used to upgrade and modernize the

company’s 220,000-t/y ammonia production line. The line

will be made more energy efficient, aiming to decrease energy

consumption by 30%. The funds will also be used for

debt restructuring.

“This is an important investment for Georgia’s chemical

sector and will significantly increase export capacities,”

noted Bruno Balvanera, EBRD’s director for Caucasus,

Moldova and Belarus.

EBRD will provide a $125-million syndicated loan, to be

split among three lenders, with $50-million from EBRD’s

own account, $25-million from the Dutch development

bank FMO and $50-million from East West United, a Luxembourg-

based bank. A $30-million parallel loan will be

extended by the Bank of Georgia.

Rustavi also has 500,000 t/y of ammonia nitrate production

capacity.

 

Dow, DuPont Get Stockholder Approval For Merger and Subsequent Spin-Off

Midland—Dow and DuPont have received approval from stockholders of

both companies for the proposed merger of equals, valued

at around $130-billion, and the subsequent separation of

the combined company (PCN, 20 June 2016, p 4).

The combined company, to be named DowDuPont, is

planned to be separated into three independent, publicly

traded companies—Material Science, Specialty Products

and Agricultural, subject to DowDuPont board approval

and receipt of required regulatory approvals. The separation

is not expected to take longer than 18 months to 24

months after the merger closing.

“We are now focused on important next steps toward

completing the merger transaction, including working with

regulators in the appropriate jurisdictions,” said DuPont

Chairman and Chief Executive Ed Breen. “We are confident

that this merger will create long-term, sustainable

value for stockholders and superior solutions and choices

for customers.” The transaction is expected to close in the

second half of 2016.

 

Westlake’s Calvert City Plant Restarting Following Unexpected June Shutdown

Houston—Westlake Chemical is in the process of restarting its Calvert

City, Ky., complex following an unexpected shutdown

on 1 June 2016.

A mechanical failure of its ethylene unit resulted in a

complete outage of the complex, causing Westlake, its subsidiaries

and affiliates to declare force majeure on all production,

including ethylene dichloride, vinyl chloride

monomer, chlor-alkali and polyvinyl chloride.

The company said it is working with its customers and

suppliers to mitigate the impact of the outage and meet

their needs as production resumes.

Impact of the outage is estimated at approximately $40-

million, and will affect both the second and third quarter

financial results.

 

Metabolix Plans Strategic Restructuring; Pursuing Sale of Biopolymers Business

Woburn—Metabolix said it is implementing a strategic restructuring,

which will involve eliminating about 45 positions in its

biopolymer operations and corporate organization, and

pursuing the sale of its biopolymers business assets.

Once the restructuring is complete, the company’s

Yield10 Bioscience platform will become its core business.

Consistent with its new strategy, Metabolix plans to rebrand

itself as Yield10 Bioscience in the coming months.

The company is actively looking to secure additional

capital resources over the next several weeks to support its

new strategy. In addition, it is holding its biopolymer assets

for sale and may sell or license all or portions of the

inventory, equipment and intellectual property.

“There can be no assurance that these efforts will be

successful,” Metabolix said. “If the company is not able to

secure such additional capital resources or otherwise fund

its operations, it will be forced to wind down its remaining

operations, including the Yield10 program, and pursue options

for liquidating the company’s remaining assets, including

intellectual property and equipment.”

 

Ineos & MSM Poly Sign Non-Binding MoU Related to Barex IP, Production Support

Rolle—Ineos Barex AG, Ineos Barex USA and MSM Poly LLC

have signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding

(MoU) for the possible sale of intellectual property (IP) and

production support related to the Barex brand acrylonitrile

methyl acrylate copolymer latex (AMAC) product line.

The agreement would allow MSM to purchase all existing

IP from Ineos, as well as specific physical assets, commercial/

operational support and a supply of Barex resin.

Both parties plan to complete the transaction in the third

quarter of this year.

Ineos announced plans in 2014 to discontinue production

of its AMAC formulation marketed under the name

Barex (PCN, 15 Feb 2016, p 4). MSM Poly said it formed

for that purpose and is “moving rapidly to commercial production.”

Earlier this year, MSM began production of pilot plant

quantities of its Anobex AMAC. At the time it said it expected

to scale up to full commercial production between

July and October of this year.

Ineos Barex has continued to operate its Lima, Ohio,

Barex facility in an effort to meet guaranteed production

volume by contracted customers. The production period is

expected to conclude in the third quarter of 2016, followed

by dismantling of the physical assets. Other Ineos businesses

at the Lima site are unaffected by the closure.

 

People on the Move

PPG—Michael H. McGarry, president and chief executive,

will become chairman and chief executive, effective 1

Aug. He will succeed Charles E. Bunch, who will retire on

the same day after 37 years with the company.

Occidental Petroleum—Oscar K. Brown will join the

company as senior vice president, worldwide business development,

effective 9 Aug. 2016. He was most recently

with Bank of America Merrill Lynch as managing director

and co-head of Americas energy investment banking.

 

India’s Union Cabinet Approves Revival Of Three Defunct Fertilizer Facilities

New Delhi—India’s Union Cabinet has approved a plan to revive three

closed fertilizer units in India, which were shut down between

1990 and 2002 (PCN, 22 Nov 2004, p 3).

The facilities to be revived include two urea units of

Fertilizer Corp. India Ltd. (FCIL), located in Sindri and

Gorakhpur, and Hindustan Fertilizers Corp. Ltd.’s (HFCL)

urea plant in Barauni.

Plans involve restoring the units by means of a special

purpose vehicle (SPV) of public sector units. The SPV will

include Indian Oil Corp., FCIL/HFCL, Coal India Ltd. and

National Thermal Power Corp.

In 2002, the government determined there was no future

use for the units unless they could be converted from

naphtha-based feedstock to natural gas feedstock. At the

same time, it questioned the availability of natural gas and

the capital to convert the plants.

Earlier in 2015, the government approved the revival of

these three units through a ‘bidding route,’ which failed

due to lack of applications.

Start-up of the fertilizer units is expected to create

1,200 direct and 4,500 indirect employment opportunities,

as well as meet the demand for urea.

Approval has already been given for gas pooling for the

urea sector, which will enable these units to get gas at

pooled price on its revival, making the units globally competitive,

the Union Cabinet noted.

 

Stolt-Nielsen Announces Plan to Purchase Chem Tanker Operations of Jo Tankers

London—Stolt-Nielsen Ltd. has agreed to acquire Jo Tankers’

chemical tanker operations, which includes 13 chemical

tankers and a 50% interest in a joint venture with eight

chemical tanker newbuildings.

The transaction, valued at about $575-million, includes

the proportional share of the newbuildings in the joint venture.

The acquisition is subject to competition authority

approval, with a decision expected before the end of September

2016.

The 13 chemical vessels consist of eight stainless steel

ships, ranging from 19,000 dwt to 38,000 dwt, and five

tankers with a combination of stainless steel and coated

tanks, all about 37,000 dwt. Six of the ships have been on

time chart to Stolt Tankers for the last five years.

The newbuildings consist of eight all stainless steel ecofriendly

ships of 33,000 dwt, on order from New Times

Shipbuilding in China. The first ship was delivered in

early July 2016, with the remaining scheduled to be delivered

in the second half of this year and in 2017.

“The transaction covers the tonnage replacement needs

of our current chemical tanker fleet for the next several

years,” said Stolt-Nielsen Chief Executive Niels G. Stolt-

Nielsen. “While giving us some operational savings, it

adds new trade routes to our service offering,” he noted.

 

Total & Iran Pursue Petchem Project

Tehran—Total is pursuing studies and economic evaluation with Iran on a

petrochemical complex to be built in the Parsian Special

Economic Energy Zone, reported the Mehr News Agency.

Total and Iran’s National Petrochemical Co. signed a

memorandum of understanding for the project last year,

which is expected to produce various grade of polyethylene.

 

Jacobs Engineering Completes Sale Of French Subsidiary to Nox Sarl

Pasadena—Jacobs Engineering entered a share purchase agreement to transfer

its Jacobs France operations to Nox Sarl, also located in

France. The sale, for which a value was not disclosed, was

settled in cash at closing.

“We carefully reviewed our strategy for our Jacobs

France subsidiary, and a sale to Nox evolved as the preferred

solution for all parties,” said Jacobs President and

Chief Executive Steve Demetriou. “The business in France

fits well with Nox and supports the company’s ambitions

for continued growth amongst its core market segments.”

Jacobs France has offices in Paris, Lyon, Le Havre and

Aix en Provence, and approximately 250 employees.

“For Jacobs, this represents our continued efforts to

streamline our overall operational efficiency in regions that

fit within our target markets and geographies,” Demetrious

added.

 

SCT&E LNG Signs Agreement with Technip For Monkey Island LNG Export Terminal

Cameron—Technip has been awarded a master services agreement

(MSA) by SCT&E LNG for a proposed 12-million t/y liquefied

natural gas (LNG) export terminal on Monkey Island,

in Louisiana’s Cameron Parish.

SCT&E is planning three 4-million-t/y natural gas liquefaction

trains, including necessary utilities, storage, and

marine facilities. Cost of the project and a schedule were

not disclosed.

The MSA will be used to perform engineering services

necessary to develop the project, including the front-end

engineering design and supporting the Federal Energy

Regulatory Commission process.

 

ExxonMobil Expanding Newport Plant To Increase TPV Elastomers Capacity

Newport—ExxonMobil said it plans to expand its elastomers facility

in Newport, Wales, UK, to increase capacity for Santoprene

high-performance thermoplastic vulcanizate (TPV).

The project will increase ExxonMobil’s total global TPV

capacity by 25% and is expected to be completed in late

2017.

“Santoprene elastomers perform like vulcanized rubber

and process like plastic fro applications in diverse markets,”

the company explained. The elastomers “provide

manufacturing flexibility, ease of processing and consistent

product durability.”

ExxonMobil also produces Santoprene TPV at its facility

in Pensacola, Fla.

 

Sumitomo Boosting PES Capacity

Tokyo—Sumitomo Chemical has decided to construct a new 3,000-t/y polyethersulfone

(PES) production facility at its Chiba Works in

Ichihara City, Japan.

Once fully operational, Sumitomo’s total PES production

capacity will grow “two-fold,” the company said.

Commercial production is scheduled to begin in 2018.

The company also has a PES unit at its Ehime site in

Niihama, Japan.

 

Port of Antwerp Enters Agreement To Collaborate with Iranian Port

Antwerp—The Antwerp Port Authority has signed a five-year collaboration

agreement with Shahid Rajaee Port Authority, which controls

the port of Bandar Abbas in Iran.

“Today we are restoring our trading relations with Iran,

a country with great economic growth potential that is also

a gateway to neighboring countries,” said Eddy Bruyninckx,

who signed the agreement on behalf of the Antwerp

Port Authority. “Antwerp is perfectly situated to support

the further growth of the trade with this country.”

Bandar Abbas is responsible for 90% of the imported

and exported containers of Iran and for almost half of the

200-million tons of freight handled by Iran’s 11 ports.

Before sanctions were applied, Antwerp was the most

important European destination port for Iranian cargo, the

Antwerp Port Authority noted. In March of this year, after

sanctions were lifted, Iranian shipping company IRISL

resumed shipments to Antwerp. Not only container traffic,

but break-bulk and bulk freight are expected to expand

rapidly in the next few months, it added.

Under the memorandum of understanding (MoU), the

port authorities of Antwerp and Bandar Abbas will collaborate

closely once more and develop trade between the two

regions. The parties will exchange information on statistics

and port development projects, as well as collaborate in

the field of training, among other things.

Antwerp Port Authority held a port seminar immediately

after the signing of the MoU, stressing advantages of

the port of Antwerp. In addition to the usual freight categories

of containers, the seminar focused on Antwerp’s petrochemical

cluster. The liquid bulk sector for its part accounted

for 67-million tons out of the more than 208-

million tons of freight handled in Antwerp last year.

 

APLA’s Latin American Logistic Meeting Being Held 9-10 Aug. in Panama City

Panama City—The Latin American Petrochemical and Chemical Assn.

(APLA) is holding its 18th Latin American Logistic Meeting

from 9-10 Aug. 2016 at the Sheraton Panama Hotel &

Convention Center in Panama City, Panama.

The event will focus on logistics in the petrochemical

and chemical industry and will feature the latest in process

improvements, new technologies and trends.

For more information and to register, contact APLA by

phone 54 (11) 4325 1422, email logistica@apla.com.ar or

visit online at www.apla.com.ar.

 

Amec Foster Wheeler Confirms Award For Cilicap Refinery Upgrade Project

Jakarta—Amec Foster Wheeler confirmed the award of an engineering and

project management services contract by Pertamina and

Saudi Aramco for an upgrade and expansion of the

348,000-b/d Cilicap refinery in Central Java, Indonesia

(PCN, 30 May 2016, p 2).

The project, estimated to cost between $4-billion and

$5-billion, will increase capacity of the refinery to 370,000

b/d and expand aromatics and polypropylene production to

more than 600,000 t/y and 160,000 t/y.

Amec Foster Wheeler, over the next nine months, will

perform the basic engineering design study, develop the

scope of the proposed project and finalize the process configuration

and licensors’ packages.

The front-end engineering design phase is planned to be

completed in 2018, with the engineering, procurement and

construction stage beginning in 2019. Completion of the

project is expected by the end of 2022.

 

U.S. DOE Grants $15-Mn for Three Projects Advancing Algae-Based Biofuel/Products

Washington-The U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE) has awarded $15-million

for three projects aimed at reducing production costs of

algae-based biofuels and bioproducts through improvements

in algal biomass yields.

The projects, located in California and Florida, will develop

highly productive algal cultivation systems and combine

those systems with effective, energy-efficient, and lowcost

harvest and processing technologies.

Funding from the DOE will be used to “advance the research

and development of advanced biofuel technologies to

speed the commercialization of renewable, domestically

produced, and affordable fossil-fuel replacements,” the

DOE explained.

The grants are being awarded to Global Algae Innovations

in San Diego, Calif., Algenol Biotech in Ft. Myers,

Fla., and MicroBio Engineering, located in San Luis

Obispo, Calif.

 

PetroChemical News Briefs

DuPont Performance Materials announced the start

of operations at its “largest” engineering plastics compounding

facility in Shenzhen, China. The site produces

Zytel polyamide, Crastin polybutylene, Delrin acetal polyoxymethylene,

Bynel adhesive resins and Fusabond resins.

S-Oil will create 3,000 new jobs with its new residue

upgrading and olefin downstream complex in Onsan, S.

Korea, according to local sources. The project, on which

construction recently began, is expected to be completed in

the first half of 2018 (PCN, 6 June 2016, p 1).

V54 N28 – 18 July 2016

Invista Announces Multi-Phase Restructuring Of Global Nylon 6,6 Production Capabilities

Wichita–Invista is planning a multi-phase restructuring of its

global nylon 6,6 polymer manufacturing capabilities, including

the discontinuation of nylon 6,6 production at its

Chattanooga, Tenn., facility.

“Unfortunately, the infrastructure at Chattanooga is

less competitive than other Invista North American regional

polymer assets,” said Kevin Robles, senior vice

president of Invista operations. “Therefore, to better position

the company for long-term success, we are consolidating

our North American polymer assets to most efficiently

meet our customers’ preference for regional supply.”

The impact of the restructuring on other Invista businesses

and assets at the facility has not yet been finalized.

Also, because this is a multi-phase restructuring process, it

is premature to know how many employees will be impacted

and when, the company noted.

Site leadership anticipates the ongoing need for a consistent

workforce into 2017 to assist with the transfer of

production assets in addition to completing necessary steps

to safely secure the nylon 6,6 polymer assets not needed in

the future, said Invista.

Invista has polymer facilities in Camden, S.C., and

Kingston, Ontario, Canada, where productivity improvements

and targeted investments have enabled the planned

restructuring. Capacities of the plants were not disclosed.

 

Iran’s Kavian Petrochemical Starts Up Second Phase of Ethylene Production

Tehran—Iran’s Kavian Petrochemical Co. (KPC) has launched the second

phase of ethylene production to supply petrochemical

plants along the West Ethylene Pipeline, reported Shana.

KPC has the capacity to produce 2-million t/y of ethylene

using ethane from phases 15 and 16 of the South Pars

gas field in Asaluyeh.

 

Tatarstan in Discussions with Saipem For Construction of Ammonia-2 Plant

Kazan—Tatarstan is in talks with Saipem SpA for construction of the

Ammonia-2 project in Tatarstan, reported the Russian

news agency Tass.

Saipem acted as licensor of the carbamide synthesis

technologies within the framework of the first ammonia

plant, which began operations in the third quarter of 2015.

Ammonia-1 has the capacity to produce 483,700-t/y of

ammonia, 233,800 t/y of methanol and 717,500 t/y of carbamide,

the news agency said. It began operating at full

capacity on 12 Feb. 2016.

Details of the Ammonia-2 project were not given, however,

according to a release on the Government of the Republic

of Tatarstan’s website, Tatarstan earlier this year

signed a memorandum of intent with Mitsubishi Heavy

Industries and Sojitz for construction of the project. Both

companies were involved in the first project.

 

LyondellBasell Lets WorleyParsons Contract For Proposed PO/TBA Facility in Texas

Houston—LyondellBasell has awarded an Integrated Project Management

Team (IPMT) contract to WorleyParsons for its

proposed propylene oxide and tertiary butyl alcohol

(PO/TBA) project in Channelview and Pasadena, Texas

(PCN, 15 Feb 2016, p 1).

The project, earlier described as the “world’s largest

PO/TBA plant,” involves a PO/TBA facility in Pasadena,

expected to produce 1-billion lbs/yr of PO and 2-billion

lbs/yr of TBA, as well as an ethers unit at LyondellBasell’s

Bayport Chaote site near Pasadena, Texas. Operations are

expected to begin in 2019.

WorleyParsons will work closely with LyondellBasell as

an integrated project team, to assist LyondellBasell in

managing the recently commenced front-end engineering

design (FEED), and project execution and site construction.

Fluor was awarded a contract for FEED services earlier

this year.

 

Metanor’s Copenor Subsidiary Indefinitely Halts Methanol Production at Camacari

Camacari—Metanor announced that effective 18 July, its Copenor subsidiary

will stop methanol production at its Camacari, Brazil,

site, indefinitely.

The decision was based on the significant reduction in

methanol production margins as the result of a fall in

methanol prices in the international market, without a

corresponding reduction in the price of local natural gas.

Copenor will continue producing formaldehyde and

hexamine at the site using imported methanol, which ensures

predictability and profitability, Metanor said.

Management will continue to evaluate the best use of

its methanol assets.

 

Enterprise Products Partners Starting Up Morgan’s Point Ethane Export Terminal

Houston—Enterprise Products Partners has begun start-up and commissioning

activities for its new Morgan’s Point ethane

export terminal in Texas, according to industry sources

citing a report from the Texas Commission on Environmental

Quality.

The 200,000-b/d facility, located along the Houston Ship

Channel, will be capable of loading fully refrigerated ethane

at rates up to 10,000 barrels per hour. The terminal

will receive supply from its natural gas liquids fractionation

and storage complex in Mont Belvieu, Texas, through

a 24-inch diameter pipeline (PCN, 16 Nov 2015, p 2).

Last November, Enterprise announced the terminal

was approximately 90% contracted in terms of operating

capacity and was on schedule to begin operations in the

third quarter of 2016.

The start-up process began 12 July and is expected to

last until 15 July. Enterprise did not respond to PCN’s

request for a comment.

 

Anellotech Names Toyota Tsusho Partner In Renewable Aromatics Supply Chain

Silsbee—Anellotech announced it has made public Toyota Tsusho as

a corporate partner and strategic equity investor in the

renewable aromatic chemicals supply chain (PCN, 21-28

Mar 2016, p 3).

Toyota’s investment has been used to fund development

of Anellotech’s Bio-TCat technology, including the installation

and commissioning of the TCat-8 development and

testing facility being installed at South Hampton Resources’

site in Silsbee, Texas, which is planned to be completed

shortly. Commissioning and start-up of the facility

is expected later this year.

The purpose of TCat-8 is to confirm the viability and

suitability of the Bio-TCat process for scale-up, and generate

the data needed to design commercial plants using the

technology, Anellotech explained. Following verification of

the continuous operation of TCat-8, Anellotech’s alliance

partner Suntory plans to move ahead with studies on the

development of the first commercial-scale Bio-TCat plant.

The TCat-8 unit was jointly designed by Anellotech and

its research and development partner IFPEN, and will use

a novel catalyst under joint development by Anellotech and

Johnson Matthey.

Earlier this year, Anellotech received an additional $3-

million equity investment for the project from an unnamed

and confidential investor and corporate partner. Anellotech

received $7-million from the same partner in late 2015.

 

Jurong Aromatics PC Complex Restarted; Commercial Production Expected Soon

Singapore—Jurong Aromatics Corp. (JAC) has restarted its refining

and petrochemical complex on Jurong Island, Singapore,

after being shutdown since December 2014 on a technical

issue, Reuters reported.

“The plant processed condensate on Wednesday [13

July] and operated smoothly,” said Reuters citing a source

with direct knowledge of the matter. “It may reach commercial

production in a few weeks’ time,” the source added.

Earlier reports said JAC’s $2.4-billion aromatics complex,

which was started up in 2014, was expected to produce

800,000 t/y of paraxylene, 450,000 t/y of benzene,

200,000 t/y of orthoxylene and 2.5-million t/y of fuels (PCN,

28 Apr 2014, p 1).

 

Indonesia’s Pupuk Sriwijaya Gives Update On Status of New Ammonia & Urea Unit

Jakarta—Pupuk Sriwijaya (Pusri) expects its new ammonia and

urea project to come on stream next month, following a

four-month delay, reported Antara News Agency.

The project, which was delayed due to a problem with

gas feedstock, is almost 100% complete and ready for trial

operation. It will have a production capacity of 660,000 t/y

of ammonia and 907,500 t/y of urea.

“With the new unit, the production capacity of Pusri

will total 2.65-million tons of urea and 1.85-million tons of

ammonia a year,” said the report citing Pusri President

Director Mulyono Prawiro.

Pertamina EP, ConocoPhillips, Medco Energy and

Pertagas Niaga have agreed to supply 85-million standard

cubic feet per day of gas to the new facility.

 

IFC Grants $73.5-Million Loan to Support Development of Port Harcourt Terminal

Nigeria—International Finance Corp. (IFC), a member of the World

Bank Group, is providing a $73.5-million loan to support

development of an export terminal at Port Harcourt, in

Nigeria, Reuters reported.

The project, Indorama Port, is a joint venture of Indorama

Eleme Petrochemicals and Oil and Industrial Services

Ltd. It will have the capacity to handle up to 2-

million t/y of dry bulk urea exports.

Indorama Port will handle fertilizers from Indorama

Eleme’s ammonia and urea plant under construction in

Port Harcourt (PCN, 19 May 2014, p 3).

The fertilizer facility, costing approximately $4.4-

billion, includes a 2,300-t/d ammonia plant, a 4,000-t/d

urea plant, a urea granulation unit, associated infrastructure

and utilities. IFC earlier said the terminal and fertilizer

facility were expected to be completed and begin operations

by April 2016. A new schedule was not available.

Rand Merchant Bank is also providing a $31.5-million

loan for the terminal.

 

LPEC Awarded Contract for Feasibility Study Of Chinese Integrated Refining, PC Project

Beijing—Sinopec’s Luoyang Petrochemical Engineering Corp.

(LPEC) was awarded a contract from Huatong Jinggang

(Tangshan Caofeidian) Chemical Co. to study the feasibility

of a 15-million-t/y integrated refining and petrochemical

project to be built in China.

The project will be located in Caofeidian, Tangshen,

Hebei Province, China. No other details were given.

 

Asahi Kasei Boosting Global S-SBR Production Capacity by 30,000 T/Y

Tokyo—Asahi Kasei plans to increase its annual production capacity of solution-

styrene butadiene rubber (S-SBR) by 30,000 t/y in

Singapore by the second half of 2018, the Nikkei Asian Review

reported.

Following the capacity expansion, Asahi Kasei will have

a global S-SBR production capacity of 260,000 t/y.

The company has also committed to investing $47.4-

million to remodel its Singapore production facilities, the

report said.

 

People on the Move

Celanese—Dr. Verghese Thomas has been appointed

chief technology and innovation officer. He is currently

global technology and innovation director of the Celanese

engineered materials and EVA polymers businesses.

Borealis—Maria Ciliberti has joined the company as

vice president of marketing and new business development,

polyolefins. She comes from Celanese Europe BV,

where she served as vice president of sales for Europe,

Middle East and Africa.

Thyssenkrupp—Johan P. Cnossen has been appointed

to the board of the Industrial Solutions business area as

chief operating officer, effective 1 Aug. 2016. He is currently

head of the transformation office for implementation

of the company’s “planets” program,

 

Participants in LNG Canada Joint Venture Decide to Delay Final Investment Decision

Kitimat—Participants in LNG Canada have decided to delay a final

investment decision (FID) on a liquefied natural gas (LNG)

project in Kitimat, B.C. (PCN, 26 May 2014, p 4).

The LNG Canada project is to be built in phases, with

the first phase initially comprising two processing trains,

each with about 6-million t/y of LNG production capacity,

with an option for two additional trains. A decision had

been expected to be made by the end of this year.

“In the context of global industry challenges, including

capital constraints, the LNG Canada joint venture participants

have determined they need more time prior to taking

a final investment decision. At this time, we cannot confirm

when this decision will be made,” said LNG Canada.

“In the coming weeks, LNG Canada will continue key

site preparation activities and work with its joint venture

participants, partners, stakeholders and First Nations to

define a revised path forward to FID,” the company added.

Foster Wheeler, in a joint venture with Chiyoda,

Saipem and WorleyParsons, was earlier awarded a contract

for the front-end engineering design and project execution

services for the project.

The LNG Canada participants are Shell (50%), Petro-

China (20%), Mitsubishi Corp. (15%) and Kogas (15%).

 

Siluria Technologies Raises Over $45-Mn In Latest Series E Financing Round

San Francisco—Siluria Technologies has successfully closed its latest Series

E Preferred financing round, in which it raised over

$45-million through a combination of new investments and

its existing investors.

The Series E round was led by National Petrochemical

Industrial Co., a Saudi Arabian producer of propylene and

polypropylene and a subsidiary of Alujain Corp. Other

major investors include Air Liquide Global E&C Solutions

and Maire Tecnimont.

“The advantages of Siluria’s proprietary technologies

are clearer than ever in a petrochemical and energy industry

challenged by market and financial volatility,” said

Erik Scher, interim chief executive, president and cofounder

of Siluria. “Entirely new options in feedstock flexibility,

combined with disruptive scalability, offer our customers

previously unavailable strategic solutions to their

problems,” he added.

“Our latest partnerships expand Siluria’s technology

reach into additional downstream markets and build on

the company’s proven competencies to translate first-of-akind

process technologies into steel in the ground,” Scher

noted.

 

Sipchem Awards Contract to Jacobs For General Engineering Services

Jubail—Saudi International Petrochemical Co. (Sipchem) has awarded a

three-year contract to Jacobs Engineering Group to provide

general engineering services.

Under the terms of the contract, Jacobs will provide a

wide range of engineering services, on an as-needed basis,

for a portfolio of minor capital expenditure projects at Sipchem’s

facilities in Jubail Industrial City, Saudi Arabia.

Value of the contract was not disclosed.

 

GPCA Schedules Annual Forum in Dubai Based on the Theme ‘Competitiveness’

Dubai—The Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Assn. (GPCA) has selected

Competitiveness: Riding New Waves as the theme for

the 11th Annual GPCA Forum to be held 27-29 Nov. 2016

at the Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai, UAE.

Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and chief

executive of Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. and Amin H. Nasser,

president and chief executive of Saudi Aramco, will

present the keynote address.

Among the other speakers are James R. Fitterling,

president and chief operating officer of Dow Chemical;

Yousef Al-Benyan, vice chairman and chief executive of

Sabic and chairman of GPCA; Lanxess Chief Executive

Matthias Zachert; Dr. Rudolf Staudigl, president and chief

executive of Wacker Chemie; Graham van’t Hoff, executive

vice president of Shell Chemicals and Tom Crotty, director

of Ineos, among others.

For registration and more information on the forum,

visit www.gpcaforum.net.

 

Superior Plus Begins Legal Action To Recover $25-Mn from Canexus

Calgary—Superior Plus has begun legal action to recover a $25-million termination

fee from Canexus Corp. (PCN, 4 July 2016, p 4).

On 30 June 2016, Superior announced that its board of

directors had decided to terminate an arrangement agreement

to acquire all issued and outstanding shares of Canexus

for about C$1.70 per share.

Superior claimed that Canexus made certain long-term

incentive compensation awards after signing the arrangement

agreement without Superior’s consent, thereby

breaching the agreement. Canexus failed to remedy those

breaches, Superior noted.

Canexus has failed to pay the termination fee, despite

Superior’s demands for payment, making this legal action

necessary, Superior said. Superior has also filed a statement

of defense to Canexus’ claim for a reverse termination

fee of $25-million from Superior.

 

Emery Opens New Application Lab For Its Green Polymer Additives

Cincinnati—Emery Olechemicals said it has opened a new state-of-the-art application

lab for its Green Polymer Additives business inside

its recently completed Technical Development Center

(TDC) in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The application lab will offer renewable and innovative

polymer additive solutions to high growth markets such as

automotive, building and construction, electronics, packaging

and toys and sports equipment. The products will be

marketed under the name Loxiol and Edenol.

“Our lab . . . is specifically designed to leverage our indepth

application knowledge of polymer processes and

technical capabilities to deliver customizable market-ready

solutions to the North American market,” noted Dr. Harald

Klein, global business director of the Green Polymer Additives

business.

“By providing our customers with the latest innovations,

we aim to be an instrumental partner in the development

of polymer additives that are sustainable, environmentally

friendly and exceed the requirements in today’s

polymer industry,” he added.

 

Europe’s Complex Regulatory Framework Poses ‘Burden’ on EU Chemical Industry

Brussels—The cost of implementing major regulations for the European

chemical industry doubled between 2004 and 2014,

posing a significant burden on EU chemical companies,

amounting to €10-billion per year over the studied period,

according to a study commissioned by Cefic, the EU chemical

industry council.

The newly released Cumulative Cost Assessment (CCA)

shows that the total cost as a result of EU legislation borne

by chemical companies from six sub-sectors between 2004

and 2014, amounts to 12% of the value added of the EU

chemical industry, with variations between sub-sectors

ranging from nearly 3% for plastics to 23% for crop protection

products. Compared to gross operating surplus, the

additional costs reaches 30%.

“This report, which is part of the Better Regulation

process of the Commission, shows facts, not opinions,” said

Cefic General Director Marco Mensink. “The picture is

very clear. Europe needs to focus on its competitiveness, of

which the regulatory burden is a big factor.”

According to the study, the three main drivers of regulatory

costs, among the legislative packages, are regulations

on chemicals, generating 29% of the cost, industrial

emissions, with 33% and worker safety, with 24%, as well

as energy legislation. The chemical industry will face an

increasing cost to comply with stricter emission limit values,

with more ambitious carbon dioxide reduction targets

and energy efficiency objectives.

The costs identified in the study are not the total cost of

regulation, the report stressed, they only include the portion

that is particularly European legislation. All other

horizontal legislation that impacts the chemical industry is

not included. Also, the regulatory costs in energy prices

are not accounted for in quantitative terms, and pending

future regulation is not yet considered.

Although the report indicates that costs almost doubled

during the studied period, no concrete conclusions about its

impact on global competitiveness can be drawn. In a second

phase, the study will compare these costs to other regions,

“shining a light” on the impact of regulation on competitiveness

on a broader scale, Cefic said.

“Cefic will continue to explore with the EU institutions

how the regulatory framework can be made more costeffective

and fit for purpose while upholding the same high

level of safety, health and environmental protection,” the

chemical industry council concluded.

For further information on the study, contact Dervla

Gleeson, Cefic’s media relation manager, at dgl@cefic.be.

 

AIChE Names BASF Chairman, CEO Smith Among Excellence in Innovation Honorees

New York–The American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE)

will honor BASF Chairman and Chief Executive Wayne T.

Smith; Inge G. Thulin, chairman of the board, president

and chief executive of 3M, and Biogen Chief Executive

George A. Scangos, at its 2016 gala, which will spotlight

excellence in innovation.

“AIChE is thrilled to be recognizing and celebrating

these three innovative companies and their exemplary

leaders,” said AIChE Executive Director June Wispelwey.

“Innovation is a hallmark of chemical engineering. Chemical

engineers have brought, and are bringing, their knowledge,

imagination and versatility to efforts to improve the

quality of life and address the critical challenges society

faces,” Wispelwey added.

The gala, being held 28 Nov. in New York City, will also

feature the presentation of the Hoover Medal to Robert S.

Langer, the David H. Koch Institute professor at the Massachusetts

Institute of Technology. The medal is sponsored

by U.S. engineering societies for outstanding civic

and humanitarian achievements in engineering.

 

Kuwait Styrene Gets $280-Mn Loan

Kuwait City—The National Bank of Kuwait, in a filing to the Kuwaiti stock

exchange, said it has loaned Kuwait Styrene Co. $280-

million for general business purposes, Reuters reported.

Kuwait Styrene was formed in 2004 as a joint venture of

Kuwait Aromatics Co. and Dow Chemical Co.

 

PetroChemical News Briefs

Iran’s Bu Ali Sina petrochemical complex, which was

hit by a fire on 6 July, is expected to restart operations

within three weeks, reported local new sources. The cause

of the fire is under investigation (PCN, 11 July 2016, p 1).

Toray Plastics (America) has begun construction on a

facility designed to house a new, high-speed, 4.5-meter

metallizer. Construction is expected to be completed by

December, with production of the new metallizer beginning

in 2017.

Enterprise Products Partners has paid the second

and final installment of $1-billion to acquire 100% of the

membership interests in EFS Midstream (PCN, 8 June

2015, p 4). Enterprise made an initial $1.5-billion payment

on 8 July 2015, when it closed on the purchase of EFS.

V54 N27 – 11 July 2016

Ineos Plans Major Investment at Hull To Increase Ethyl Acetate Capacity

London—Ineos Oxide is planning a multi-million pound investment to increase

ethyl acetate capacity by 100,000 t/y at its Saltend,

Hull site, in the UK.

A pipeline connecting Ineos’ Grangemouth petrochemicals

plant with the Hull site will allow the plant to use

ethylene feedstock produced from imported U.S. shale gas.

The additional capacity is expected to be available by the

end of 2017.

The Hull facility was designed to be expanded, so the

project should be completed quickly with very good cost

economics, Ineos said, adding that the expansion will support

its customers needs over the long term.

The company noted that this is the first major UK investment

decision made following the Brexit vote and reflects

its confidence in the UK economy and its ability to

continue to deliver for its customers.

“We believe in British manufacturing and will support

it wherever we can,” said Ineos Founder and Chairman

Jim Ratcliffe. “Our Hull plant is at capacity and this extra

investment will enable us to significantly increase production

that we will sell all over Europe and across the world.”

In 2008, Ineos acquired from BP a 250,000-t/y ethyl

acetate unit at Saltend (PCN, 7 Apr 2008, p 1).

 

Solvay Completes Divestment of Inovyn, Ending Its Chlorovinyls JV with Ineos

Brussels—Solvay has completed the sale of its 50% stake in Inovyn to

Ineos for €335-million, ending its chlorovinyls joint venture

with Ineos and making Ineos sole owner (PCN, 13 June

2016, p 1).

Inovyn was created in 2015 to combine the European

polyvinyl chloride, caustic soda and chlorine derivatives

businesses of Solvay and Ineos. At the time, it was

planned that after three years Solvay would withdraw its

interest in Inovyn and sell it to Ineos.

Solvay is planning to transform into a specialty chemicals

group. This past May, it signed a definitive agreement

to sell its 70.59% stake in Solvay Indupa to Unipar Carbocloro

for $202.2-million. The transaction is subject to customary

closing conditions and approvals.

 

MEGlobal Selects Dow’s Meteor Technology For New Freeport MEG Production Unit

Freeport—MEGlobal has selected Dow Chemical’s Meteor ethylene

oxide/ethylene glycol process technology and Meteor EORetro

catalyst for a new monoethylene glycol (MEG) facility

being built in Freeport, Texas (PCN, 4 Apr 2016, p 3).

The project, which will be located adjacent to Dow’s

Oyster Creek site, involves construction of a 700,000-t/y

MEG unit and is MEGlobal’s first manufacturing unit in

the U.S.

Dow will supply ethylene to the MEG plant, which is

expected to come online in mid-2019.

 

Casale’s Ammonia Technology Selected For Three Chinese Ammonia Plants

Beijing—Casale announced contract awards for three new ammonia facilities

that will be built in China using Casale’s ammonia

technology.

Under the first contract, Casale will be responsible for

process design, license of its synthesis technology and supply

of proprietary equipment for a new 1,800-t/d coal-based

ammonia plant being built by Henan Jindadi Chemical Co.

in Henan province.

Casale was also selected by Yihua Fertilizer Co. (YFC)

to provide its ammonia synthesis technology for two new

coal-based ammonia units.

The first ammonia facility, being built by YFC’s Hubei

Yihua Fertilizer Co. subsidiary, will have a capacity of

1,820 t/d and will be located near the city of Yichang, in

Hubei province.

Yichang Xingxing Bluesky Technology Co. will also utilize

Casale’s ammonia synthesis technology for a new 1,250-

t/d ammonia facility, which will be located near Yinchang

City. Casale will provide know-how, process design, ammonia

converter internals and site assistance for the

plants. Value of the contracts were not disclosed.

 

Oiltanking Buys Antwerp Gas Terminal NV; Will Focus on Further Expanding Terminal

Antwerp–Oiltanking GmbH has acquired a 100% interest in Antwerp

Gas Terminal NV, “one of Europe’s largest” independent

liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and petrochemical

gas terminals, Oiltanking said, without disclosing the

value of the transaction.

The terminal, with an existing capacity of 138,400 cu m,

is located in the Port of Antwerp, which connects the site

with the most important chemical and petrochemical clusters,

while also providing direct access to the North Sea,

the company noted.

Antwerp Gas Terminal offers storage, throughput and

distribution services for both pressurized and refrigerated

LPG and petrochemical gases. It provides deep water access,

as well as pipeline, waterway, rail and road connectivity.

As part of the acquisition, Oiltanking will focus on

further expanding the terminal.

 

Iran Experiences Blaze in Mahshahr At Bu Ali Sina PC Refinery Complex

Tehran—A fire broke out at Iran’s Bu Ali Sina petrochemical refinery complex

on 6 July in the port city of Mahshahr, Iran, according

to Tasnim News Agency.

A crisis task force was established to deal with the fire,

which was brought under control on 7 July. The task force

was ordered to drain all the reservoirs of the refinery after

one, which was full of naphtha, caught fire.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. There are

no known casualties.

 

New Vesta Methanation Technology Successfully Passes Pilot Testing

Shanghai—Vesta Once-through Methanation New Technology with Wide

H2/CO Flexibility, jointly developed by Clariant, Wison

Engineering and Amec Foster Wheeler, has successfully

passed pilot plant testing (PCN, 17 June 2013, p 1).

The pilot plant, built in June 2014, completed all pilot

tests by the end of April 2016, signifying that the technology

is ready for commercial application, Clariant noted.

Vesta technology produces synthetic natural gas (SNG)

from synthesis gas obtained from gasification of coal or

petroleum coke. It is a once-through operation with no

need for expensive compressors, providing an economical

solution for the SNG process.

Clariant supplied the proprietary catalyst, Wison was

responsible for the engineering, design and construction,

and Amec Foster Wheeler licensed the technology.

“Substitute natural gas is an effective synthesis pathway

for clean fuel energy which can help alleviate the

shortage of China’s natural gas output,” noted Andy Hemingway,

Amec Foster Wheeler’s Vice President of Technology.

 

Solvay Installs Its First MyH202 Unit At Suzano Papel e Celulose in Brazil

Brussels—Solvay and its affiliate Peroxidos do Brasil have agreed to build a

small dedicated hydrogen peroxide (H202) production unit

using Solvay’s myH202 technology, at Suzano Papel e Celulose’s

site in Imperatriz, Maranhão, Brazil

“This is the first agreement that Solvay has signed for

its myH202 peroxide technology, developed for installation

at remote customer premises,” Solvay noted. The unit will

use Suzano’s hydrogen feedstock, utilities and site services

and supply all of the site’s H202 needs.

The myH202 units, with production capacities ranging

from 5,000 t/y to 20,000 t/y, have a low environmental footprint

as they limit H202 truck supplies and reuse the hydrogen

already available from other production processes

on the customer’s site, Solvay explained, adding that it is

discussing several opportunities for its satellite myH202

plants with customers at remote locations worldwide.

 

Heraeus Announces New Indian Facility To Recycle Spent Reforming Catalysts

Rajasthan—Heraeus, “one of the world’s largest” recyclers of reforming

catalyst, said it has opened a new plant in India to recover

precious metals from spent petroleum catalysts.

The new facility, located in Udaipur, Rajasthan, will be

operated by the German-Indian joint venture, Ravindra

Heraeus. It will offer India’s petrochemical industry more

capacity and state-of-the art technology to recycle platinum

and palladium.

“Indian companies will therefore benefit from larger national

recycling facilities, which will provide less transport

costs and easier file processing, faster recycling times and

better transparency in the market and overall improved

costing for catalyst recycling,” the company explained.

“The new recycling facility of Ravindra Heraeus in India

will allow our customers from the petrochemical sector

to receive outstanding catalyst recycling standards,” noted

André Christi, president of Heraeus Metal Management.

 

Aramco to Drop Out of JV Project with PTT For Vietnamese Refinery & PC Complex

Hanoi—Saudi Aramco has decided to exit the proposed joint venture

project with Thailand’s PTT for a refinery and petrochemical

complex in Vietnam, Bloomberg reported.

The project involves construction of a 400,000-b/d refinery,

expected to cost about $20-billion, and production of 5-

million t/y of olefins and aromatics in Binh Dinh province

(PCN, 4 July 2016, p 1).

PTT recently postponed the project, attributing its decision

to political changes in Vietnam and uncertainty in the

global oil markets. The company said it will review the

investment at the end of the year.

Aramco and PTT were planning on each holding a 40%

interest in the project, with the Vietnamese government

owning the remaining stake.

 

Talke Transfers Its Belgian and Dutch Logistics Locations to Katoen Natie

Cologne—Talke has sold its logistics locations and activities in Belgium and

the Netherlands to Katoen Natie, a logistics company

based in Antwerp, Belgium.

The sale, for which a value was not disclosed, is part of

a program to optimize Talke’s location portfolio. Talke is

divesting subsidiaries that no longer fit into its location

strategy. The company plans to focus more intensely on its

business in other parts of Europe, the Middle East, Asia

and the U.S., Talke noted.

 

People on the Move

Total SA—Bernard Pinatel will join the group as president

of Refining & Chemicals and member of Total’s executive

committee. He is currently a member of Arkema’s executive

committee, responsible for the high performance

business segment.

Philippe Sauquet, currently president of Refining &

Chemicals and member of Total’s executive committee, has

been appointed president of the newly created Gas, Renewables

& Power branch. He has also been appointed

executive vice president of Strategy & Innovation. He will

remain on the executive committee.

Jean-Jacques Guilbaud has been named senior advisor

to the chairman and chief executive. All appointments are

effective 1 Sept. 2016.

Carbon Recycling International—K-C Tran, cofounder

and chief executive, has decided to step down from

his position as chief executive, but will provide assistance

to the company’s advisory board.

Sindri Sindrason, chairman of the board of directors,

will assume the chief executive responsibilities and become

executive chairman.

William Companies—Dr. Kathleen Cooper, currently

a director, has been appointed chairman of the board of

directors. She will replace Frank T. MacInnis, who has

decided to step down from that position.

European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic)—

Aaron McLoughlin has been named executive director of

public affairs, effective 1 Aug. 2016. He is senior vice

president and senior advisor in the environment and

chemicals practice of FleishmanHillard.

 

Tangguh LNG Facility Being Expanded; Will Include Third LNG Process Train

West Papua—Shareholders of the Tangguh Production Sharing Contract

Partners led by BP announced approval of a final investment

decision to advance development of the Tangguh liquefied

natural gas (LNG) expansion project in Teluk Bintuni,

West Papua.

The project will add an additional LNG process train at

the site with 3.8-million t/y of production capacity. The

site currently has two LNG process trains with a total production

capacity of 7.6-million t/y.

Awards for the project’s key engineering, procurement

and construction contracts are expected in the third quarter.

Production is scheduled to begin in 2020.

The Tangguh facility is operated by BP Berau on behalf

of the other production sharing contract partners as contractor

to SKK Migas. BP Berau and its affiliates in Indonesia

hold a 37.16% interest in the project. Other partners

include MI Berau (16.30%), CNOOC Muturi (13.90%), Nippon

Oil Exploration (12.23%), KG Berau Petroleum

(8.56%), Indonesia Natural Gas Resources Muturi (7.35%),

Talisman Wiriagar Overseas (3.06%) and KG Wiriagar Petroleum (1.44%).

 

Iran Resumes PC Exports to Britain; Plans to Regain Lost Market Share

Tehran—Iran has once again begun exporting petrochemical products to Britain

following the lift of international sanctions imposed on

Iran, reported the Tehran Times, citing the Mehr News

Agency.

Before the international sanctions, European countries

accounted for 13% of Iran’s petrochemical exports, totaling

about $2.5-billion.

“With sanctions fully lifted, it is possible for Iran to regain

its lost market share within one and a half to two

years,” from its competitors in Saudi Arabia and Qatar,

said the report, quoting Fariborz Karimaei, deputy director

of Iran’s Petrochemical Employers Assn.

In Europe, Britain is the “fourth largest” country to receive

petrochemical products from Iran after France, Italy

and Germany, the report noted. Bulgaria, Romania and

Greece are customers as well.

 

EuroChem Acquires Controlling Stake In Brazilian Fertilizantes Tocantins

Brasília—EuroChem announced the acquisition of a 50% interest

plus one share in Brazil’s “leading fertilizer distribution

company,” Fertilizantes Tocantins, making EuroChem the

majority stakeholder.

The acquisition is in line with EuroChem’s strategy to

strengthen its presence in the fast growing Latin American

fertilizer market, EuroChem noted. The transaction, for

which a value was not disclosed, is planned to be completed

by the end of August 2016, subject to regulatory approval.

Under the terms of the acquisition, Jose Eduardo

Motta, owner of Fertilizantes Tocantins, will retain a significant

interest in the venture, while continuing as chief

executive. He will oversee the operational management

and the strategic growth of the business.

“The acquisition . . . creates compelling growth opportunities

for EuroChem in Brazil,” noted EuroChem Chief

Executive Dmitry Strezhnev.

 

Air Products Dedicates New World-Scale Hydrogen Plant in Fort Saskatchewan

Edmonton—Air Products held a dedication ceremony on 7 July for its new

world-scale hydrogen production unit in Fort Saskatchewan,

Alberta, Canada (PCN, 21 Oct 2013, p 2).

The 150-million standard cubic feet per day plant is

connected to Air Product’s existing hydrogen pipeline network,

which supplies chemical processors, refiners, upgraders

and other industries in the Alberta Industrial

Heartland region.

The new hydrogen facility features the latest technology

advancements to maximize energy efficiency, the company

noted.

Air Products earlier said the plant would be built under

a long-term agreement to supply Shell’s Scotford operations

with hydrogen and steam.

 

Linde Philippines Investing €25-MN To Upgrade ASU & Add New NLU

Manila—Linde Philippines, a member of the Linde Group, is investing

€25-million to upgrade its existing air separation unit

(ASU) and add a new nitrogen liquefaction unit (NLU) at

its Apalit Pampanga site in the Philippines.

Once upgrades are complete, the production facilities at

the site will be able to produce over 400 t/d of liquefied

gases and related solutions to support the growing demand

of the shipbuilding, fabrication, electronics, healthcare,

and food and beverage industries.

The NLU, scheduled to start up in 2018, will support

the expansion of Linde’s liquid nitrogen and liquid oxygen

capacity and “strengthen the position of Linde as one of the

leading and most reliable gas manufacturers in the country,”

the company said.

 

IHS Asia Chemical Conference/Workshop Scheduled for 9-11 Nov. in Singapore

Houston—IHS Chemical will host the 4th Annual Asia Chemical Conference

and Workshop 9-11 Nov. 2016 at the Grand Hyatt

Singapore in Singapore.

The conference will cover the global energy and feedstocks

outlook; transformation of the global chemical industry;

olefins market developments; coal-to-chemicals

updates; a deep dive into specific product chains including

polyolefins, aromatics, the polyester chain, fibers and feedstocks,

butadiene and elastomers, and logistics infrastructure

for increasing trade.

For further information on the conference, visit the IHS

website at www.ihs.com/events/annual-asia-chemicalconference/

overview.html.

 

Toray Completes Korean PPS Plant

Seoul—Toray Advanced Materials has completed the “world’s first” integrated

polyphenylene sulfide (PPS) resins and compounds

facility in Gunsan, Korea, according to local reports.

Located at Toray’s Saemangeum complex, the plant has

the capacity to produce 8,600 t/y of PPS resins and 3,300

t/y of PPS compounds, as well as their raw materials (PCN,

20 Oct 2014, p 4).

Toray will be able to export the products to China under

the Korea-China Free Trade Agreement.

 

Covestro Starts Up Second Facility For HDI Production in Shanghai

Shanghai—Covestro, formerly Bayer MaterialScience, has opened a second hexamethylene

diisocyanate (HDI) facility at its integrated site

in Shanghai, China (PCN, 31 Mar 2014, p 3).

The new world-scale 50,000-t/y HDI plant was built in

response to Asia’s growing demand for high performance

coatings and adhesives. “The addition of the new plant

makes Shanghai one of the largest HDI production centers

in the world,” noted Dr. Klaus Schäfer, member of the

Covestro management board, responsible for production

and technology.

The plant uses the “very latest technology,” Schäfer

said. “It’s not only very safe and highly efficient, it also

stands out because of its particularly environmentally

friendly production process.” Overall, the carbon footprint

of HDI production has been reduced by up to 70%, he

added.

Covestro said the new plant is part of an investment

program for the site with a volume of more than €3-billion,

which was launched over 10 years ago and is now expiring.

The program also calls for polycarbonate production capacities

at the site to double to about 400,000 t/y before the

end of 2016.

The company’s first HDI plant at the site, which started

up in 2006, was expanded in 2013 from its original capacity

of 30,000 t/y.

 

BASF & Markor Inaugurate New Plant For PolyTHF Production in China

Xinjiang—BASF and Xinjiang Markor Chemical Industry Co. have started

up a new polytetrahydrofuran (PolyTHF) facility in Korla,

Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region in China (PCN, 8 Feb

2016, p 1).

The 50,000-t/y PolyTHF facility, operated as a joint

venture between BASF and Markor under the name BASF

Markor Chemical Manufacturing (Xinjiang) Co., complements

BASF’s existing Asian production facilities in Shanghai,

China and Ulsan, Korea, BASF noted.

BASF also produces PolyTHF in Geismar, La., and

Ludwigshafen, Germany, and has a total global PolyTHF

capacity of 350,000 t/y.

In January, the two companies inaugurated a new 1,4-

butanediol plant at the Korla site. The 100,000-t/y facility

is operated by another joint venture between BASF and

Markor, registered under the name Markor Meiou Chemical

(Xinjiang) Co.

 

JBF Industries Provides Update Of New Mangalore PTA Plant

Mangalore—JBF Industries, in its latest financial results, said that its JBF Petrochemicals

subsidiary is proceeding satisfactorily with implementation

of a new purified terephthalic acid (PTA)

plant in Mangalore, India (PCN, 25 Apr 2016, p 4).

The 1.25-million-t/y facility, which is based on BP’s latest

technology, had originally been scheduled for commissioning

by June of this year. JBF Industries now expects

the project to be completed by the end of its current financial

year, 31 Mar. 2017.

JBF Petrochemical entered into a long-term agreement

earlier this year with ONGC Mangalore Petrochemicals for

the supply of paraxylene to the PTA plant.

 

ACC Announces Release of Its Annual Guide to the Business of Chemistry

Washington—The American Chemistry Council (ACC) has released its 2016

edition of the Guide to the Business of Chemistry, which it

describes as a detailed economic profile of the chemistry

industry and its contributions to the U.S. and world economics.

“2016 has so far proven to be another year of robust and

sustained growth for the American chemical industry,”

said ACC Chief Economist Kevin Swift. “Growth is happening

despite economic challenges, and compared to producers

in other parts of the world, American chemical

manufacturers are greatly advantaged with access to

cheaper and more abundant feedstock and energy, resulting

in significant capital investment in American chemistry—

nearly $44-billion in 2015.”

The report, prepared annually by ACC’s Economics and

Statistics Dept., divides the $797-billion chemistry business

into over thirty categories of production, ranging from

inorganic chemicals to plastic resins; from adhesives and

sealants to oilfield chemicals; and from fertilizers to pharmaceuticals

and consumer products. Each section of the

guide covers a variety of topics in detail.

For more information on the guide, phone the ACC at

301, 617-7824.

 

PetroChemical News Briefs

Synthomer has successfully completed the acquisition

of Hexion Performance Adhesives & Coatings from

Hexion. The existing leadership team will transfer with

the business to Synthomer.

Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilizers confirmed that

on 2 July a boiler exploded at its chemical factory in

Chembur, India, while the facility was shut down for routine

maintenance and inspection. Three workers were

killed while working on the boiler. The incident has not

disrupted any operation of the company, Rashtriya noted.

Heurtey Petrochem has signed two contracts, totaling

€38-million, for the delivery of process furnaces. The first

contract is for delivery of delayed coker furnaces to a refinery

in the U.S. The second contract involves engineering,

supply and fabrication of a steam reforming furnace for an

ammonia-urea unit in India.

V54 N26 – 4 July 2016

Dow to Reduce 2,500 Positions Globally Following Dow Corning Restructure

Midland—Dow Chemical said has taken a series of steps to “achieve synergy

capture and accelerate shareholder value creation”

from the restructuring of its ownership of Dow Corning,

which will result in a reduction of approximately 2,500 positions

globally.

Dow plans to shut down silicones manufacturing plants

in Greensboro, N.C., and Yamakita, Japan, as well as some

administrative, corporate and production facilities.

Cost synergies will also be achieved through a combination

of workforce consolidations and savings from actions

such as harmonizing energy contracts at large sites, optimizing

warehouse and logistics footprints, implementing

materials and maintenance best practices, combining information

technology service structures and leveraging

existing research and development knowledge management

systems, the company explained.

“We are moving quickly and effectively to integrate Dow

Corning and deliver the synergies that will drive new levels

of value creation for our customers and generate even

greater returns for our shareholders,” said Andrew N. Liveris,

Dow’s chairman and chief executive.

“With these difficult but necessary actions, we are

bringing together the best of each company’s talent and

technology, accelerating Dow’s strategy to go narrower and

deeper into attractive, targeted market sectors, and setting

the stage for the new Dow—the world’s leading material

science company,” he added.

On 1 June 2016, Dow completed an ownership restructuring

of Dow Corning, making Dow 100% owner of Dow

Corning’s silicones business.

 

Kinder Morgan Selling 50% Equity Stake In Utopia Pipeline Project to Riverstone

Houston—Kinder Morgan Inc. (KMI) is selling a 50% equity interest

in its Utopia Pipeline Project to Riverstone Investment

Group LLC (PCN, 6 Oct 2014, p 2).

The project includes approximately 215 miles of new,

12-inch diameter pipeline built entirely within Ohio, from

Harrison County to Fulton County. It will connect with an

existing KMI pipeline and associated facilities in order to

transport ethane and ethane-propane mixtures to petrochemical

companies operating in Ontario, Canada.

Riverstone will reimburse KMI at closing for its 50%

share of prior capital expenditures related to the project

and a payment in excess of capital expenditures to recognize

the value created by KMI in developing the project.

Riverstone will also fund its share of future capital expenditures

necessary to complete the project, which is estimated

to cost about $500-million.

In 2014, Nova Chemicals signed a long-term transportation

agreement with Kinder Morgan Energy Partners to

transport its product through the pipeline. At the time, the

companies said the project was expected to be in service by

early 2018 with the receipt of timely permitting and regulatory

approvals.

 

W.R. Grace Completes Acquisition of Assets Of BASF’s Polyolefin Catalysts Business

Columbia—W. R. Grace & Co. has completed the acquisition of the assets

of BASF’s polyolefin catalysts business for an undisclosed

amount (PCN, 2 May 2016, p 1).

The purchase includes BASF’s Lynx high-activity polyethylene

catalyst technologies and its Lynx polypropylene

catalyst technologies. The transaction also includes production

plants in Pasadena, Texas, and Tarragona, Spain,

as well as patents, trademarks and about 170 employees.

The assets will provide Grace with significant additional

flexibility and capacity for its global polyolefin catalysts

manufacturing network, Grace noted, adding that

with this acquisition the company now has the broadest

portfolio of polyolefin catalyst technologies of any independent

catalysts producer.

“We are excited to begin working with our new customers

and to add the high-performing Lynx products to our

portfolio of polyolefin catalysts,” said Grace Chairman and

Chief Executive Fred Festa. “We are equally excited to

welcome a group of talented employees to Grace. They are

an important part of serving our customers and achieving

our business strategy in polyolefin catalysts.”

 

Thailand’s PTT Decides to Postpone Vietnamese Refinery, PC Complex

Hanoi—PTT of Thailand has shelved plans to build a $20-billion refinery

and petrochemical complex in Vietnam and will review the

investment at the end of the year, reported Reuters, citing

PTT, which attributed the decision to political changes in

Vietnam and uncertainty in global oil markets.

The project, to be built in partnership with Saudi

Aramco, involves a 400,000-b/d refinery and the production

of 5-million t/y of olefins and aromatics in Binh Dinh province

(PCN, 2 Feb 2015, p 3).

PTT and Aramco are planned to each own a 40% interest

in the project, with the Vietnamese government owning

the remaining stake.

 

Saudi Aramco & Sabic to Conduct Study On Proposed Oil-to-Chemicals Facility

Yanbu—Saudi Aramco and Sabic have signed a heads of agreement to

study the feasibility of building a fully integrated crude oilto-

chemicals complex in Yanbu, Saudi Arabia (PCN, 11 Apr

2016, p 3).

“Derived from improved refining technology, the crude

oil-to-chemicals process will involve innovative configurations

with proven conversion technologies,” said Aramco.

“This will create a fully integrated petrochemical complex

which maximizes chemical yield, transforms and recycles

by-products, drives efficiencies of scale and resource optimization

and diversifies the petrochemical feedstock mix in

the Kingdom.”

Under the agreement, the companies may form a joint

venture if the study has a positive outcome. A schedule for

the study was not given.

 

Energy Transfer Equity Terminates Merger Agreement with Williams

Dallas—Energy Transfer Equity (ETE) has terminated its merger agreement

with the Williams Companies, effective 29 June 2016

(PCN, 23 May 2016, p 2).

The agreement involved ETE acquiring Williams in a

transaction valued at approximately $37.7-billion, including

the assumption of debt and other liabilities.

On 24 June 2016, the Delaware Court of Chancery issued

an opinion finding that ETE was contractually entitled

to terminate the merger agreement with Williams in

the event ETE’s counsel was unable to deliver a required

tax opinion prior to the 28 June 2016 outside date in the

merger agreement. The counsel was unable to deliver an

opinion by the outside date that tax authorities would treat

the transaction as tax free.

Williams said it has concluded that it is in the best interests

of its stockholders to seek among other remedies,

monetary damages from ETE for its breaches, and has appealed

the Delaware Court of Chancery’s decision to the

Delaware Supreme Court.

“While taking appropriate actions to enforce its rights

and deliver benefits of the merger agreement to its stockholders,

Williams will renew its focus on connecting the

best natural gas supplies to the best markets,” Williams

noted.

 

LSB’s El Dorado Ammonia Facility Operating at Nameplate Capacity

El Dorado—LSB Industries’ new 375,000-t/y ammonia plant in El Dorado,

Ark., which began production earlier this year, has been

operating at nameplate capacity since 22 June (PCN, 23

May 2016, p 1).

The project, costing about $830-million, includes a

300,000-t/y nitric acid plant and 40,000-t/y concentrator.

Both units were completed in 2015.

“The addition of ammonia production capabilities at El

Dorado will be transformative to that facility’s economics,

which we expect to be reflected in LSB’s overall financial

performance in the second half of 2016,” said LSB Chief

Executive Daniel Greenwell.

El Dorado has become a net seller of ammonia since

reaching nameplate capacity, with all ammonia that the

facility has not upgraded into other products being sold via

pipeline to Koch Fertilizer under a three-year offtake

agreement, the company noted.

 

Abu Dhabi Government Plans Merger Of IPIC and Mubadala Development

Abu Dhabi—Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan has

issued a resolution to merge International Petroleum Investment

Co. (IPIC) and Mubadala Development Co.

The resolution stipulated that a joint committee is to be

created and will be responsible for merging the businesses

of the two companies, which “would create greater benefits

and enhanced economic value to the Government of Abu

Dhabi,” Al Nahyan said.

The combined entity will realize synergies and growth

in multiple sectors, including energy, technology, and financial

investments, among others. It may also have the

ability to contribute more significantly to the diversification

of the economy, he added.

 

ChemChina, Rosneft Agree to Cooperate In Far East Petrochemical Co. Project

Moscow—China National Chemical Corp. (ChemChina) and Rosneft

have signed a heads of agreement to cooperate in a feasibility

study of Rosneft’s Far Eastern Petrochemical Co.

(Fepco) project at Nakhodka in Russia’s Primorsk region

(PCN, 14 Sept 2015, p 2).

Under the agreement, ChemChina will acquire a 40%

stake in the project, which Rosneft earlier said would process

3.4-million t/y of hydrocarbon feedstock and have the

capacity to produce 2-million t/y of ethylene and propylene.

No other details are available.

“The agreement marks a new and important step in the

development of Fepco—one of the largest industrial complexes

in Russia,” said Rosneft Chief Executive Igor

Sechin. “Bringing ChemChina will enable Rosneft to optimize

the project financing and co-organize the sale of highmargin

products of the future complex.”

 

Technip & FMC Union Progresses; U.S. Antitrust Review Concluded

Paris—Technip and FMC Technologies’ pending merger has received an early

decision from U.S. antitrust regulators under the Hart-

Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvement Act of 1976, successfully

concluding U.S. antitrust review of the proposed

transaction (PCN, 20 June 2016, p 4).

Under a memorandum of understanding signed this

past May, the companies will combine in an all-stock

merger valued at $13-billion. Each of the company’s shareholders

will own close to 50% of the combined company,

which will be named TechnipFMC.

The transaction remains subject to shareholder approval

of both companies, conclusion of antitrust review in

other countries, regulatory approvals, and other customary

closing conditions.

 

Dow Signs Contract with RSA-Talke For Storage of Chemical Products

Dubai—Dow Chemical Co. and RSA-Talke have signed a supply chain contract

for the storage of chemical products manufactured at

Dow’s various global production sites.

RSA-Talke, a joint venture of RSA Logistics and Talke

Group, will receive and store the chemical products in specialized

chemical warehouses at Dubai South in the United

Arab Emirates.

“The signing of this significant agreement with Dow has

again confirmed the interest of our customers in our strategy

of providing a full service portfolio for chemical logistics

in Dubai,” said Richard Heath, director, Middle East &

USA at Talke and director of RSA-Talke.

 

People on the Move

Honeywell—Darius Adamczyk, currently president

and chief operating officer, has been named chief executive,

effective 31 Mar. 2017. He will succeed Chairman and

Chief Executive Dave Cote, who will continue as chairman

until the company’s annual shareowners meeting in April

2018. Cote will then begin a five-year consulting and noncompete

agreement with Honeywell.

 

Rosneft and Sinopec Sign Agreement For Gas Processing & PC Complex

Moscow—Rosneft and Sinopec have signed a framework agreement for a joint

pre-feasibility study of a project that involves construction

of a gas processing and petrochemical complex in east Siberia

(PCN, 21-28 Dec 2015, p 4).

Further to a memorandum of understanding signed between

the parties last year, the agreement provides for

technology selection, as well as selection of a project management

consultant. The partners will also identify competitive

challenges and when to address them prior to the

front-end engineering design stage. The parties plan to

create a joint venture in 2017.

“The project will meet the growing demand for polyethylene

and polypropylene in Russia and China,” Rosneft

noted. The integrated complex, to be located near the administrative

center of Boguchany district, is expected to

have a capacity of 5-billion cu m/yr of gas yielding up to 3-

million t/y of polymers and petrochemical products.

Last year Rosneft said the complex was expected to

process up to 10-billion cu m/yr of gas and produce up to 3-

million t/y of ethylene with about 6-million t/y of derivative

production.

 

AGC Renames Vietnamese Subsidiary; Sets Southeast Asia as Priority Area

Hanoi—Asahi Glass Co. (AGC) has changed the name of its Phu My Plastics

& Chemicals subsidiary in Vietnam to AGC Chemicals

Vietnam, effective 23 June 2016.

AGC Chemicals Vietnam, located in Ba Ria-Vung Tau

province, has a polyvinyl chloride (PVC) production capacity

of 150,000 t/y. The subsidiary is owned by AGC (78%),

Mitsubishi Corp. (15%) and Vung Tau Shipyard Corp. (7%).

The AGC Group, under its management policy, has set

the chlor-alkali and PVC business in Southeast Asia as a

priority area. AGC has integrated the brand name of its

PVC products for the Southeast Asian market to ASNYL,

which is the brand name used by AGC’s Indonesian chemical

subsidiary Asahimas Chemical.

By changing the company name and the PVC brand

name, AGC said it will increase the sales of PVC products

in the region through a close cooperation between its Vietnamese

and Indonesian subsidiaries.

 

Clariant Joins Carbon2Chem Project To Lower Industrial CO2 Emissions

Munich—Clariant is participating in the Carbon2Chem project, a crossindustry

project for the reduction of carbon dioxide (CO2)

emissions of industrial steel production plants.

The project, which has now begun its “active phase,”

aims at transforming smelting gases from the steel industry

into valuable chemicals, said Clariant.

“Currently, these chemicals are only used energetically—

as a source of power generation in the steel power

plant. The objective of the Carbon2Chem project is to find

a solution for using the smelting gases for the production of

materials, for example methanol,” the company explained.

Clariant is providing methanol catalysts and know-how

in order to validate the suitability. It will also participate

in the upstream processing of the smelting gases. For the

gas purification, Clariant is contributing adsorbents, catalysts

and know-how of their application.

 

Fibrant Discontinuing U.S. Operations; Closing Augusta Caprolactam Plant

Sittard—Fibrant LLC is discontinuing operations in the U.S. with the closure of

its caprolactam facility in Augusta, Ga., according to several

media reports.

In January, Fibrant announced that business activities

previously known as DSM Caprolactam have been renamed

Fibrant. The decision to change the name followed

completion of a joint venture transaction between CVC

Capital Partners and DSM to acquire DSM’s global

caprolactam activities. CVC holds a 65% stake in the venture,

with DSM holding the remaining 35%.

Fibrant produces a total of 900,000 t/y of caprolactam

and 1.5-million t/y of ammonium sulfate at its sites in Nanjing,

China; Augusta, Ga., and Geleen, the Netherlands.

Operations at Augusta are expected to shut down in approximately

16 months.

The company will “meet all obligations to its employees,

and serve the needs of its customers to the extent possible,”

the reports quoted Fibrant as saying. Between 500 and

600 employees will be affected by the closure.

 

JX Nippon Further Studying Feasibility Of Polyisobutylene Expansion in Japan

Kawasaki—JX Nippon Oil & Energy has launched front-end engineering

design and is proceeding with a further detailed feasibility

study to increase polyisobutylene (PIB) capacity at

its site in Kawasaki, Kanagawa, Japan.

The company is planning to build a 5,000-t/y PIB plant

at the site of its existing 7,000-t/y PIB facility, in order to

respond to the global demand of 35,000 t/y of PIB. Cost of

the project was not given.

Construction is expected to begin between January and

March 2018 with commercial operations scheduled to start

in October 2019.

 

Wison Engineering Wins EPC Contract For EO/EG Facility in Saudi Arabia

Riyadh—Wison Engineering has been awarded an engineering, procurement

and construction (EPC) contract for an ethylene oxide/

ethylene glycol (EO/EG) project in Saudi Arabia.

Under the contract, Wison will be responsible for expansion

of the EO/EG plants and auxiliary units. Mechanical

completion is expected in the third quarter of

2017. No other details were available.

“The award of this EO/EG project will reinforce Wison’s

project execution capabilities in glycol facilities featuring

different mainstream technologies,” the company noted.

 

Qatar’s Tasweeq Being Absorbed by QP

Doha—Qatar International Petroleum Marketing Co. (Tasweeq) will be

absorbed into Qatar Petroleum (QP), both owned by the

State of Qatar.

The integration will involve transitioning Tasweeq’s assets,

employees and customer relationships into the QP

organization before the end of the year.

Combining the companies will “help us maximize

greater value for QP and the State of Qatar across the entire

oil and gas value chain,” said Saad Sherida al-Kaabi,

president and chief executive of QP

 

Borealis Completes Purchase of 100% Stake In German Plastics Recycler MTM Plastics

Berlin—Borealis has completed the acquisition of a 100% interest

in German plastics recycler MTM Plastics and MTM Compact,

for an undisclosed amount (PCN, 6 June 2016, p 4).

Based in Niedergebra, MTM Plastics said it is regarded

as a “technology leader” in the recycling of mixed postconsumer

plastic waste and as “one of Europe’s largest”

producers of post-consumer polyolefin recyclates.

“Over the past decade, innovations are increasingly addressing

sustainability issues and caused stakeholders to

rethink and reshape their approach to value creation,”

noted Alfred Stern, executive vice president of Polyolefins

and Innovation & Technology at Borealis.

“As a leader in our industry, it is a part of our responsibility

to be in the driving seat to couple growth ambitions

with providing solutions to solve society’s global challenges,”

he said. “This is why we are fully committed to

the principles or the circular economy and with this acquisition

we now take our engagement to plastics recycling to

the next level,” Stern added.

The recycling companies will retain the current managing

directors to ensure business continuity, and will become

part of the Borealis Group.

 

Superior Plus Cancels Agreement To Buy 100% Interest in Canexus

Calgary—Superior Plus announced that its board of directors has decided to

terminate an arrangement agreement to acquire all issued

and outstanding shares of Canexus for about C$1.70 per

share (PCN, 23 May 2016, p 2).

Late last month, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

filed an administrative complaint, alleging that the

planned acquisition of Canexus by Superior Plus would

violate U.S. antitrust laws. The FTC authorized its staff to

seek a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction

to prevent closing of the proposed acquisition,

pending completion of the administrative proceeding.

Canexus and Superior had been engaged in discussions

to potentially extend the 29 June 2016 outside date of their

arrangement agreement, in order to allow Superior time to

defend the action by the FTC.

“The arrangement agreement provides that the transaction

may be terminated by Superior under certain circumstances,

which have occurred,” Superior said, adding that

it “had been in discussions with Canexus, but the parties

have failed to reach agreement on terms that would allow

the transaction to proceed.”

 

India to Set up PC Hubs Around Refineries To Create Additional Jobs in the Region

New Delhi—The government of India plans to set up petrochemical

complexes in and around all 22 of India’s refineries to help

create more jobs and attract major investment, reported

the Times of India, citing Union Chemicals and Fertilizers

Minister Ananth Kumar.

“This will result in savings as cluster approach can reduce

costs. The projects need not be confined only to

greenfield projects, but also cover brownfield projects already

running at various places,” he said.

India is urging the chemical industry to become competitive

and not rely only on government incentives.

The government can provide common facilities in these

clusters, including infrastructure, effluent plants, testing

and trading facilities, which can lower expenses by 25% to

30%, Kumar noted.

 

Arkema Opening Innovation Lab At HanYang University in Seoul

Seoul—Arkema is “strengthening its research network” by opening an innovation

center, which will be based within HanYang University

in Seoul, Korea, the company announced.

The new laboratory will specialize in high performance

polymers and renewable energies, two of HanYang’s areas

of excellence, Arkema noted.

Arkema already operates research centers in China and

Japan. The new application laboratory will complement its

existing research and development facilities, the company

noted. It will also enable Arkema’s teams in the region to

provide local support, in particular to customers in the adhesives

and technical polymers markets.

 

Socma & DHS Schedule 10th Annual Chemical Sector Security Summit

Alexandria—The Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates (Socma),

in conjunction with the Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS),

will hold the 10th annual Chemical Sector Security Summit

19-21 July 2016 at the Hilton Mark Center in Alexandria,

Virginia.

The summit, based on the theme “Securing Our Nation

Together, Now and in the Future,” will feature a keynote

address by DHS Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. It

will also include regulatory updates from key DHS officials

on chemical facility anti-terrorism standards and other

issues impacting the sector, as well as sessions on cyber

security and threats to the chemical sector.

There is no fee to attend the summit, but those interested

in attending must register. For further details, visit

www.socma.com.

 

V54 N25 – 27 June 2016

Socar Signs Financing, Construction MoU For Azerbaijani Gas Chemical Complex

Baku—Socar, Gazprombank, Italian export credit agency Sace and Russia’s

export credit agency Exiar have signed a memorandum

of understanding (MoU) for the financing and construction

of Socar Gas Plastics Co.’s gas chemical complex

in Garadagh, Azerbaijan.

According to preliminary estimates, the total investment

budget of the project is $3.5-billion and involves construction

of a gas processing unit with an annual capacity

of approximately 10-billion cu m of natural gas, a polyethylene

plant with about 570,000 t/y of capacity and a propylene

unit with approximately 120,000 t/y of capacity, as

well as related infrastructure.

Tecnimont, promoter of the project, said it would be

best positioned for the project’s engineering, procurement

and construction phase.

“Gazprombank Group is already implementing a number

of large projects with Socar in Azerbaijan, said Andrey

Akimov, chairman of the board of Gazprombank. “This

mutually beneficial cooperation is a good example of combining

the financial and technological capabilities of the

group.”

 

Azot Selects Tecnimont, Codest to Build Kemerovo Fertilizer Project in Russia

Kemerovo—Russian chemical company Azot has signed a memorandum

of understanding with Tecnimont and construction

company Codest for development of a fertilizer complex in

Kemorovo, southwestern Siberia, Russia.

The project consists of a “world-scale” complex with the

capacity to produce 2,000 t/d of ammonia, a 1,250-t/d nitric

acid unit, a 1,000-t/d porous ammonium nitrate plant and

a 1,250-t/d ammonium nitrate solution unit, Tecnimont

noted. Cost of the project and an expected completion date

were not given.

 

DCM Shriram Nearing Completion Of Indian Chlor-Alkali Expansions

New Delhi—DCM Shriram has notified the Bombay Stock Exchange that it

expects to complete a chlor-alkali capacity expansion at its

facilities in Bharuch and Kota, India, by September or October

of this year.

At Bharuch, chlor-alkali capacity is being increased by

499 t/d to a total of 949 t/d. DCM Shriram already commissioned

420 t/d of the new chlor-alkali capacity on 14

June 2016.

Chlor-alkali capacity at Kota is being raised by 6 t/d to

a total of 336 t/d. The company is also expanding the

power plant at both locations. Total investment for the

projects is Rs 607.20 crore.

“The brownfield expansion and technology upgradation

will strengthen our competitiveness and industry position,”

the company noted. According to DCM Shriram, it is the

third largest chlor-alkali producer in India.

 

Braskem Idesa Joint Venture Opens Ethylene XXI Project in Veracruz

Veracruz—Braskem Idesa, a joint venture of Braskem (75%) and Idesa

(25%), has inaugurated its Ethylene XXI complex in Veracruz,

Mexico (PCN, 9 May 2016, p 1).

The $5.2-billion petrochemical complex consists of a 1-

million-t/y ethane-based cracker, two high-density polyethylene

plants with a combined capacity of 750,000 t/y and a

low-density polyethylene unit. Production will be sold locally

and will also be exported to the U.S., Europe, Asia

and Central and South America.

The complex is the “largest greenfield industrial investment

ever made by a Brazilian company abroad,”

Braskem noted. “With the additional production from

Mexico, Braskem will have capacity to produce 8.7-million

tons of thermoplastic resins, including polyethylene, polypropylene

and polyvinyl chloride. With this volume,

Braskem strengthens its global leadership being the five

largest producers of thermoplastic resins.”

 

Gables Energy Partners Forms Company To Build, Own and Operate PC Plants

Coral Gables—Gables Energy Partners has formed a new company, Encina

Solutions, to build, own and operate petrochemical

plants in key markets utilizing established technologies.

“We are currently working with our team on the development

of small- to mid-sized petrochemical plants that

are capable of capturing 100% of the CO2, as well as eliminating

sulfur and substantially reducing mercury, from low

value coal feedstock through the plant process,” said David

Schwedel, lead investor and executive director of Encina.

“We are excited to be deploying technology that is designed

to extract value from coal while at the same time

maintain our commitment to the environment,” he noted.

“Our team is gearing up to manage more than $2-billion in

opportunities over the next several years.”

Based in Coral Gables, Fla., Encina will initially aim

for projects in North America, with plans to expand into

the UK, Germany and Australia.

 

Velesstroy Working with Maire Tecnimont On EuroChem’s Kingisepp NH3 Facility

Moscow—Russian construction company Velesstroy has signed a collaboration

agreement to cooperate with Maire Tecnimont

on construction of EuroChem’s 1-million-t/y high-tech ammonia

plant in Kingisepp, Russia (PCN, 7 Sept 2015, p 2).

The project, valued at around €900-million, will be

based on KBR’s latest ammonia production technology.

Construction is scheduled to begin in October, with production

expected in 2018.

Maire Tecnimont was last year awarded the engineering,

procurement and construction (EPC) contract, valued

at €660-million. Sace is providing a €575-million loan

guarantee to EuroChem for the EPC contract.

 

Primus Announces Methanol Plant Project; Delivery to Alberta Scheduled for 2018

Alberta—Primus Green Energy has signed a memorandum of understanding

with an Alberta-based capital and operating

partner to develop and deliver a 160-t/d methanol plant to

an operating site in Alberta, Canada.

The plant will use a standardized modular gas-toliquids

system to convert low-cost feedstock from Alberta

natural gas fields into methanol, thus saving natural gas

producers and processors in the region on production and

transportation costs of methanol, Primus explained. Production

will begin in the first quarter of 2018.

Primus has applied to Alberta Energy’s Petrochemicals

Diversification Program, which encourages companies to

invest in the development of new Alberta petrochemical

facilities by providing up to $500-million in incentives

through royalty credits.

“Royalty credits are an important incentive as we make

a final investment decision and will affect the final location

decision of our methanol plant,” said George Boyajian,

chief commercial officer at Primus.

In addition to its 160-t/d Marcellus methanol plant announced

earlier this year, Primus plans to deliver up to

three additional units in North America, with capacities

ranging from 160 t/d to 640 t/d (PCN, 9 May 2016, p 2).

 

Talke Building Logistics Facility in Litvinov For Unipetrol’s New Polyethylene Facility

Litvinov—Unipetrol has awarded a 700-million CZK contract to

Talke to build a logistics facility for Unipetrol’s new highdensity

polyethylene (PE3) plant under construction in

Litvinov, Czech Republic (PCN, 13 June 2016, p 2).

Talke, general contractor for the project, will be responsible

for the engineering, procurement and construction of

the logistics facility. When complete in the first quarter of

2018, the facility will have the capability to handle and

package 270,000 t/y of HDPE from the PE3 project.

The PE3 unit is based on Ineos’ Innovene S technology

and will replace the older PE1 plant. The 200,000-t/y PE2

unit will continue operating. Construction on PE3 is expected

to be completed in mid-2018.

 

Chemical Industry Bracing for Aftermath Of UK’s Vote to Exit the European Union

London—The UK’s 23 June decision to leave the European Union

(EU) is a “negative signal for the further economic development”

in Europe, said Marijn Dekkers, president of VCI,

the German Chemical Industry Assn.

“Less economic growth in the EU member states and

weaker export business will be the consequences. But the

political damage weighs just as heavily,” he noted.

Cefic, the EU chemical industry council, said its members

and the members of the UK Chemical Industries

Assn. had jointly supported the UK remaining part of the

EU, because it opens markets and reduces trade barriers

for the UK industry. However, Cefic added that it “fully

respects” the UK’s decision.

“We need to work closely to ensure that existing trade

and investment is not weakened and future opportunities

are seized. . . . We look forward to playing our part towards

carving out a strong and reformed Europe,” Cefic added.

 

Covestro Gets Go Ahead to Enhance German MDI Production Capacity

Brunsbüttel—Covestro has received approval from the board of management

to nearly double diphenylmethane diisocyanate

(MDI) production capacity at its Brunsbüttel, Germany,

site to about 400,000 t/y.

Preliminary plans call for a total investment volume (in

euros) in the “low hundreds of millions,” Covestro noted.

The company will convert an existing idled toluene diisocyanate

unit at the site for the production of MDI. Commissioning

of the new plant is scheduled for late 2018.

“The planned MDI plant complex is a milestone in

terms of energy efficiency, environmental compatibility

and productivity, in addition to meeting the highest safety

standards,” said Dr. Steffen Kühling, site and production

manager at Brunsbüttel.

“The Covestro Brunsbüttel Industrial Park is particularly

well-suited for the MDI expansion because raw materials

and other precursors are available there,” the company

noted, adding that the site’s employees also have “extensive”

expertise and experience.

 

Sadara Chemical Increases Capital With Loans from Its Shareholders

Jubail—Sadara Basic Services Co., a subsidiary of Sadara Chemical Co.,

said in a letter to Tadawul that Sadara has increased its

capital by approximately 22.9% with a loan from shareholders.

The additional capital is needed to offset losses resulting

from an increase in the operational activities of Sadara.

It will not result in any financial impact on Sadara Basic

Services Co.

Sadara is a joint venture of Saudi Aramco’s Performance

Chemicals Holding Co. subsidiary (65%) and Dow

Chemical Co.’s Dow Saudi Arabia Holding BV subsidiary

(35%). The partners will retain their original ownership

percentage.

Sadara is investing $20-billion in construction of a

world-scale chemical complex in Jubail, Saudi Arabia. The

complex, comprised of 26 manufacturing units, is expected

to achieve full operation by 2017 (PCN, 14 Dec 2015, p 1).

 

Idemitsu and SSSKK Amend Schedule Of Integration & Share Acquisition

Tokyo—Idemitsu Kosan and Showa Shell Sekiyu KK (SSSKK) have changed

the schedule of a planned business integration of the two

companies and Idemitsu’s acquisition of a 33.3% interest in

SSSKK (PCN, 16 Nov 2015, p 2).

The schedule was amended due to the Japan Fair Trade

Commission’s ongoing review of the proposed combination,

said Idemitsu, noting that the share acquisition is contingent

upon the completion of the review. All required reviews

in other jurisdictions have been completed.

Idemitsu and SSSKK signed a memorandum of understanding

last November to form a new equally-owned company

in order to support Japan’s energy security. The new

company was planned to be launched between October

2016 and April 2017. The new effective combination date

is 1 April 2017.

The share purchase agreement, expected to be completed

in the first half of 2016, is now planned for completion

in September 2016.

 

TCI Sanmar Awards Jacobs Contract For PVC-2 Expansion in Port Said

Port Said—TCI Sanmar Chemicals awarded a contract for detailed engineering

and procurement assistance services to Jacobs Engineering

for TCI Sanmar’s polyvinyl chloride plant expansion

(PVC-2) in Port Said, Egypt (PCN, 18 Apr 2016, p 3).

Production capacity at the site will be doubled to

400,000 t/y from 200,000 t/y. The project’s schedule includes

18 months of engineering and 21 months for mechanical

completion.

TCI Sanmar currently has a combined total of 300,000

t/y of PVC capacity in Mettur and Cuddalore, India. Once

the Port Said expansion is complete, TCI Sanmar will be

“among the largest PVC companies in the world,” according

to Fairfax India Holdings, which is in the process of acquiring

a stake in the Sanmar Chemicals Group.

Fairfax earlier this year agreed to invest $300-million,

through a combination of equity and fixed income securities,

into Sanmar in exchange for a 30% interest.

 

Arkema & Jurong Amend, Restate Contract For Sunke Acrylics Joint Venture in China

Taixing—Arkema, which earlier this year decided not to exercise a

first call option to raise its equity stake in its Chinese

Sunke joint venture with Jurong Chemical to 67% from

55%, said the partners have entered into an amended and

restated joint venture contract (PCN, 8 Feb 2016, p 3).

Under the new contract, Jurong no longer has the right

to dilute Arkema’s interest in Sunke from 55% to 33%. The

parties have agreed that all call options be terminated and

the shareholding in Sunke shall remain with Arkema holding

55% and Jurong holding 45%.

Sunke and Arkema are obligated to pay an aggregate

consideration of RMB 800-million to Jurong for assets

which had been injected into Sunke in July 2015, and to

maintain the joint venture equity proportion.

The partners also agreed that effective 18 June 2018,

Arkema has the right to appoint four directors to the

Sunke board. The board currently consists of six director,

three of whom are appointed by Jurong and the remaining

three appointed by Arkema.

The venture owns and operates acrylic acid and butyl

acrylate production units in Taixing, China.

 

Invista Resolves Arbitration in China For Its Proprietary PTA Technology

Shanghai—Invista has resolved an intellectual property arbitration

against a Chinese company for misuse of Invista’s confidential

and proprietary purified terephthalic acid (PTA)

technology.

“We are glad to see that our intellectual property protection

initiatives in China align well with the government’s

increased enforcement of these rights,” said Mike

Pickens, president of Invista Performance Technologies.

“This allows Invista to confidently continue developing and

licensing leading-edge technology in China.”

During the course of this arbitration, the company introduced

its P8 technology, which it describes as a new

PTA platform that drives customers’ variable and capital

costs even lower.

“We will take similar steps to protect this latest generation

technology, using legal actions as necessary to ensure

protection of our intellectual property,” Pickens noted.

 

Matheson Tri-Gas Agrees to Purchase Certain U.S. Assets from Air Liquide

Trenton—Matheson Tri-Gas, a single source provider of industrial and

specialty gases, has executed an agreement for the purchase

of 18 air separation plants in 16 locations from Air

Liquide in the U.S.

The assets include four carbon dioxide plants, two nitrous

oxide units, and related assets. The agreement also

includes Matheson’s purchase of three Airgas retail stores

in Alaska.

The assets sale is required by the U.S. Federal Trade

Commission in connection with Air Liquide’s recently completed

acquisition of Airgas (PCN, 30 May 2016, p 4).

Matheson, a subsidiary of Taiyo Nippon Sanso, last

year entered into an agreement with Sasol to build an air

separation unit (ASU) to supply tonnage oxygen and nitrogen

to Sasol’s 1.5-million-t/y ethane cracker being built in

Lake Charles, La. (PCN, 26 Jan 2015, p 2).

The ASU will be owned and operated by Matheson and

is scheduled for start-up in 2018. It will “augment existing

operations, supplying both Sasol and existing customers,

while also providing for additional expansion in the Lake

Charles area,” Matheson earlier noted.

 

RIL & IIP Develop Indigenous Technology To Extract Benzene from Light Naphtha

New Delhi—Reliance Industries Ltd. (RIL), in partnership with the Indian

Institute of Petroleum (IIP), has developed a new indigenous

technology to extract benzene from naphtha produced

in fluid catalytic cracker units, RIL announced.

“Due to health and environmental concerns, there has

been an increasing pressure on refiners around the world

to reduce the amount of benzene and other hazardous air

pollutants in the gasoline pool,” said RIL.

In 2011, RIL and IIP signed an agreement to co-develop

an extractive distillation process using a solvent that

would not significantly degrade in the presence of difficult

species and contaminants. Following several experiments,

the partners established a selected solvent that met required

performance criteria.

The process, named Benzene Recovery Unit, was commissioned

on 23 May and the on-specification raffinate

product (less that 0.2 volume-% benzene) was sent to storage

for blending and sales.

RIL claims that there are many enquiries for licensing

the new technology.

 

Eni Terminates Talks with SK Capital For Sale of Majority Stake in Versalis

Milan—Eni

announced that negotiations with SK Capital over the sale

of a majority interest in Eni’s wholly-owned subsidiary

Versalis have been terminated (PCN, 29 Feb 2016, p 4).

The parties could not reach an agreement on certain

issues, including the future governance of the company.

Therefore, starting from the second quarter results, Eni

will fully consolidate Versalis within the group’s accounts.

Eni earlier this year said it had classified Versalis as

“discontinued operations” in its fourth quarter and full

year 2015 results, and that selling a majority interest in

Versalis would support Eni in implementing the industrial

plan designed to upgrade the business.

 

Worldwide Ammonia Capacity Set to Grow ‘Considerably’ by 2020, Says GlobalData

London—Over the next five years, global ammonia capacity is expected

to rise “considerably,” from 225.3-million t/y in 2015

to 271-million t/y by 2020, according to a new report by

research and consulting firm GlobalData.

The U.S. and Iran will be responsible for the majority of

the 80 ammonia projects planned to come online during

that period. The U.S. will add about 8.3-million t/y of capacity

with 15 projects, and Iran will add about 7.4-million

t/y of capacity by 2018 with 12 planned projects. Capital

expenditure for the U.S. and Iran’s projects over the next

five years total $3.47-billion and $3-billion, respectively.

In the U.S., CF Industries and Incitec Pivot will account

for major capacity additions. A majority of the capacity

additions in Iran will come from the country’s National

Petrochemical Co.

Asia will also see major additions by 2020, led by India

and China, which are adding about 6.2-million t/y of ammonia

capacity with an investment of $4.07-billion.

A majority of the $1.39-billion capacity additions in Africa

will be located in Nigeria. Ammonia capacity will be

increased by about 4.2-million t/y in 2017. Dangote Group

will account for the major ammonia projects in the country.

In Europe, most ammonia projects will be located in

Russia and will add about 3.5-million t/y of capacity by

2018. Total cost of the projects is estimated at $2.05-

billion.

Finally, Brazil plans to spend $1.17-billion to add approximately

1.7-million t/y of ammonia capacity, which is

scheduled to come on stream by 2020.

For more information on the report, phone GlobalData

at 44 (0) 161-359-5822 or email pr@globaldata.com.

 

Obama Signs Chemical Safety Act into Law To Reform Toxic Substances Control Act

Washington–President Barack Obama has signed into law the bipartisan

Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st

Century Act, legislation to reform the 40-year old Toxic

Substances Control Act (PCN, 13 June 2016, p 2).

Under the new law, chemical evaluation and regulation

will meet new 21st century standards, which will improve

the lives of American families, support American manufacturing

and bolster U.S. economic growth, according to

American Chemistry Council President and Chief Executive

Cal Dooley.

 

Cryogenmash to Supply Nitrogen Unit For Socar Polymer’s HDPE, PP Plant

Baku—Cryogenmash

will build a nitrogen unit for Socar Polymer’s highdensity

polyethylene (HDPE) and polypropylene (PP) project

under construction at the Sumgait Chemical Industrial

Park in Azerbaijan (PCN, 2 May 2016, p 3).

A cooperation agreement for the nitrogen unit was

signed between the State Oil Co. of Azerbaijan Republic

(Socar) and Gazprombank, the largest shareholder in Cryogenmash.

Socar Polymer, a venture of Socar, Pasha Holding, Azersun

Holding and Gilan Holding, plans to commission the

120,000-t/y HDPE unit and 180,000 t/y PP plant in 2018.

 

PetroChemical News Briefs

Lukoil is in discussions with Shell and Total for a

petrochemical complex in Iraq, reported the Russian news

agency Tass. “The Iraqi side supports our efforts,” said the

report citing Lukoil President Vagit Alekperov. No specific

details were given.

Wison Engineering has begun construction on its

first engineering, procurement and construction project on

site in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates. The project

is part of the ethylene plant expansion of a “leading provider

of innovative, value creating plastics solutions,”

Wison said, without disclosing the company’s name. Mechanical

completion is expected in October 2017.

Rabigh Refining and Petrochemical Co. has initiated

a precautionary shutdown of its ethane cracker following a

fault in a turbine generator. A technical evaluation is being

done ahead of the necessary repair and maintenance

operations and restart of the unit. Financial impact of the

shutdown is also being evaluated. Further developments

will be announced as they occur.

ONGC Petro additions (OPaL) may sell up to a 25%

stake in the company, according to Indian reports. The

company is in talks with petrochemical companies for the

sale. OPaL is a joint venture of ONGC, Gail and Gujarat

State Petroleum Corp.

Trinseo has broken ground for new research and development

facilities in Terneuzen, the Netherlands, to increase

collaboration and innovation, the company said.

Covestro has launched its carbon dioxide (CO2)-

based products under the brand name cardoyn. The company

said it will soon begin operations at the first production

plant for CO2-based polyether polyols at its site in

Dormagen, Germany (PCN, 20 June 2016, p 3).

V54 N24 – 20 June 2016

Lotte & Axiall JV Begins Construction On Lake Charles Chemical Complex

Lake Charles—LACC LLC, a joint venture of Lotte Chemical and Axiall

Corp., has broken ground on a $3-billion chemical manufacturing

project in Lake Charles, La. (PCN, 21-28 Dec

2015, p 2).

The project includes an ethane cracker with the capacity

to produce 1-million-t/y of ethylene, to be shared

equally by the partners. The cracker will provide partial

backward integration for Axiall’s vinyls business and will

supply an adjacent 700,000-t/y monoethylene glycol (MEG)

plant being built by Lotte, which is expected to be the largest

MEG plant in the U.S., according to Louisiana Economic

Development’s website.

“Among Korean petrochemical companies, Lotte Chemical

is the first to locate a project in the United States; as

such, this project represents a significant investment by

Lotte chemical,” said Soo Young Hoo, president and chief

executive of Lotte.

CB&I will execute the main steam cracker contract, using

its proprietary technology, following successful completion

of front-end engineering and design, and other earlystage

engineering works.

Louisiana has offered the companies an incentive package

that includes a Modernization Tax Credit of $4.55-

million for the ethane cracker. The projects will receive

Economic Development Award Program incentives of

$700,000 for the cracker and $1.47-million for the MEG

facility to pay for site infrastructure improvements. In

addition, the companies are expected to utilize the state’s

Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs.

 

Unipetrol Once Again Becoming Owner Of Czech Chemical Producer Spolana

Prague—Unipetrol has concluded a share purchase contract with Anwil,

under which Unipetrol will acquire Czech polyvinyl chloride

and fertilizer producer Spolana, which Anwil bought

from Unipetrol in 2006 (PCN, 27 June 2011, p 2).

Unipetrol noted that the €1-million acquisition will enable

the group to better plan and optimize the production

function, make it more resilient to external conditions and

prepare for the planned start-up of its PE3 installation,

expected in mid-2018 (PCN, 13 June 2016, p 2).

The PE3 facility, on which construction recently began,

will have the capacity to produce 270,000 t/y of highdensity

polyethylene.

“We see the acquisition of the Spolana company as a

very important step for further improvement of management

and coordination of our value chain, namely with regard

to the utilization of the steam cracker,” said Unipetrol

Chief Executive Marek Świtajewski. “Takeover of Spolana

opens up additional possibilities to further strengthen and

integrate Unipetrol’s position in the Czech Republic.”

Spolana, headquartered in Neratovice, is a major consumer

of ethylene, Unipetrol noted, adding that Unipetrol

and Spolana are both connected with the Litvinov-

Neratovice pipeline system for product deliveries.

 

Westlake, Axiall Sign Definitive Agreement For the Acquisition of Axiall by Westlake

Houston—Westlake Chemical and Axiall Corp. have entered into a

definitive agreement, under which Westlake will acquire

all outstanding shares of Axiall for $33 per share in an allcash

transaction (PCN, 13 June 2016, p 1).

The combination, valued at approximately $3.8-billion,

was unanimously approved by the board of directors of

both companies. Subject to approval by Axiall stockholders

and customary closing conditions, including the applicable

waiting period under the Hart-Scott Rodino Antitrust Improvements

Act, the sale is expected to be completed by the

fourth quarter of this year.

“We believe this strategic combination will drive significant

value for our customers and business partners as we

create a North American chlorovinyls leader with a highly

integrated chain, diverse product portfolio and a globally

competitive cost structure,” said Axiall President and Chief

Executive Timothy Mann Jr.

The combined company will be “the third largest” chloralkali

producer and “the second largest” polyvinyl chloride

producer in North America, with expected combined pro

forma revenues of $7.6-billion, the companies noted.

As part of the agreement, Westlake will withdraw its

nomination to replace Axiall’s board with nine independent

directors.

 

Jacobs Awarded Engineering Contract For Sahara’s Jubail Petchem Plants

Jubail—Jacobs Engineering Group has been awarded a three-year contract

from Sahara Petrochemicals to provide general engineering

services at Sahara’s chemical facilities in Jubail Industrial

City, Saudi Arabia.

Specifically, Jacobs will provide engineering, procurement,

construction supervision, project management, precommissioning

and commissioning support to a range of

small- to medium-sized capital projects for Sahara’s propane

dehydrogenation, polypropylene, chlor alkyl, ethylene

dichloride and peripheral utilities operating units.

 

Honeywell UOP Opens Production Line For Catalysts at Shreveport Facility

Shreveport—Honeywell UOP has started up a new $150-million production

line at its catalyst manufacturing facility in Shreveport, La.

The new line will allow Honeywell UOP to produce a

new range of catalysts for hydroprocessing and meet the

industry’s increased demand for hydroprocessing catalysts.

With the new line, and other investments at the site,

the Shreveport plant will now “be able to produce catalysts

in less time, while keeping inventories lower,” the company

said, noting that most of the plant’s production is exported.

The Shreveport facility produces catalysts that can be

used in Honeywell UOP’s Oleflex, isomerization and hydroprocessing

processes, and for processing naphtha.

 

Technip Acquires Hummingbird Technology From BP to Convert Ethanol-to-Ethylene

Paris—Technip has completed the acquisition of Hummingbird

ethanol-to-ethylene technology from BP Chemicals for an

undisclosed amount.

The process converts a wide range of ethanol feedstocks

to ethylene through dehydration, and can be easily integrated

into existing ethylene facilities, Technip noted.

“This acquisition progresses Technip’s onshore strategy

to add process technologies that differentiate us and bring

value to our customers,” said Stan Knez, president of

Technip Stone & Webster Process Technology. “Hummingbird

allows us to offer customers an alternative

method to produce sustainable products from bio-based

materials while expanding our technology positions in ethylene-

derived chemicals and plastics such as PE [polyethylene],

EB/SM [ethyl benzene/styrene monomer] and PET

[polyethylene terephthalate],” he added.

Hummingbird is available for license through Technip’s

center in Milton Keynes, UK. Ongoing catalyst development

will be provided by the Technip Research Center in

Weymouth, Mass.

Technip noted that acquiring Hummingbird builds on

its long-standing purified terephthalic acid (PTA) alliance

with BP, “one of the largest PTA producers in the world.”

 

Felda, Newlight & Innogas Drop Plans To Explore Palm Oil Waste-to-Plastic

Kuala Lumpur–Felda Global Ventures (FGV), Newlight Technologies and

Innogas Technologies are terminating a memorandum of

understanding (MoU) the parties signed last year to produce

biodegradable plastics from palm oil biomass waste in

Malaysia (PCN, 4 Jan 2016, p 4).

FGV’s board of director’s said that the companies were

unable to reach acceptable agreement terms, and thus had

taken steps to terminate the MoU. There will be no financial

impact from the decision.

Last December, the parties agreed to convert biogas

from FGV’s palm oil mills into thermoplastics, using Innogas’

technology.

 

Dow Receives First Trading License From the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Riyadh—Dow Chemical said it has become the first company to receive a

trading license from the Saudi Arabian government, allowing

100% ownership in the country’s trading sector.

Saudi Arabia recently approved the issuance of trading

licenses to companies outside the Kingdom in alignment

with the country’s strategy to diversify its economy and

address challenges brought by lower global energy prices.

The licenses are expected to create additional employment

opportunities in the country, with a particular focus

on improving women’s participation in the workforce.

Dow, the largest foreign investor in Saudi Arabia, currently

has 500 employees there.

“Dow has been a strategic partner in Saudi Arabia for

nearly 40 years and we look forward to playing a key role

in helping advance the Saudi’s Vision 2030 plan, designed

to create a vibrant society and a thriving diversified economy,”

commented Dow Chairman and Chief Executive Andrew

N. Liveris.

 

S2G Achieves Commercial Production Of Sugar-Based Glycols from Waste

Memphis—Vancouver-based S2G BioChemicals Inc. has successfully initiated

commercial production of sugar-based glycols from

natural, non-food waste at the site of its operating partner,

Pennakem, in Memphis, Tenn.

S2G’s proprietary process was integrated into Pennakem’s

existing chemical facility in April 2016 and has

produced industrial-grade bio-based glycols during a fiveweek

scale-up. The glycols will be used as a drop-in replacement

for common petroleum-based chemicals currently

being used. Production capacity was not given.

“While glycol supply has long been dominated by oil and

natural gas, S2G has proven our ability to provide natural,

fossil-free glycols that challenge petrochemical glycols on

both cost and performance,” noted S2G President and Chief

Executive Mark Kirby.

S2G said it also achieved successful product evaluations

by several industrial customers; the sale of bio-glycols to

an industrial resin plant; and, the production of sample

quantities of United States Pharmacopeia (USP) quality

propylene glycol that has been reserved for select glycol

customers who has shown interest in sourcing high-quality

bio-glycols as a replacement for their petrochemicalderived

sources.

 

Methanex, Petrobras to Settle Dispute Relating to Gas Delivery Obligations

Vancouver—Methanex, via its Methanex Chile subsidiary, has reached

an agreement with Petrobras Argentina to settle a legal

dispute in relation to Petrobras’ natural gas delivery obligations

to Methanex.

Petrobras has agreed to pay a lump sum of $32.5-

million to Methanex in order to terminate both a long-term

natural gas supply agreement between the two companies

and any and all claims related to the agreement.

 

Kuraray Building Ulsan PVB Film Unit

Ulsan—Kuraray has broken ground on a new polyvinyl butyral

(PVB) film production plant in Ulsan, S. Korea, according

to Yonhap News Agency.

Construction on the new $50-million facility is expected

to be completed by the end of next year. No other details

were available.

The project is part of the company’s plan to make the

Ulsan plant a production hub for entry into the Asian market,

the report said.

 

People on the Move

Pemex—Luis Rafael Sanchez Montanaro has been appointed

chief executive of the company’s ethylene production

subsidiary Pemex Etileno. He had been manager of

Pemex’s Morelos petrochemical complex and deputy director

of petrochemical planning.

Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilizers Ltd.—Manoj

Mishra, chairman and managing director of National Fertilizers

Ltd., has taken over the additional roles of chairman

and managing director of Rashtriya, effective immediately.

He succeeds R. G. Rajan.

 

Wison’s Olefin Separation Technology Achieves ‘Highest’ Recovery Globally

Shanghai—

Wison Engineering said it has achieved the “highest” olefin

recovery in the industry worldwide at Shandong YangMei

Hengtong Chemicals Co.’s new methanol-to-olefins plant in

China (PCN, 23 Feb 2015, p 1).

Wison was responsible for the olefin separation technology,

procurement of equipment and materials, construction

and project management of the 300,000-t/y facility, which

it handed over to YangMei in February 2015 and has been

operating steadily for 10 months.

During a 72-hour performance test, the plant maintained

stability running at full capacity. The product recovery

of ethylene and propylene reached 99.89% and

99.96%, respectively, higher than the guaranteed value,

Wison noted. Energy consumption was also above the

guaranteed requirement.

 

SCG Plans to Invest in New HVA PE Grade; Production Aimed to Begin by Year-End

Bangkok—Siam Cement Group’s SCG Chemicals subsidiary plans to

invest in a new grade of high value added (HVA) polyethylene

(PE), with commercial production beginning by the

end of the year, reported the Bangkok Post, citing SCG

President Chonlanat Yanaranop.

SCG plans to submit a proposal at next month’s board

meeting for the project, Chonlanat said. No other details

were given.

The company has budgeted 4-billion baht this year to

invest in segments highlighted by Thailand’s super-cluster

policy and another 6-billion baht to use towards maintenance

and new equipment.

 

Total’s Petrochemical Subsidiary Fined For ’09 Explosion at Carling Facility

Paris—Total’s

petrochemical subsidiary was found guilty by a French

court and fined $225,100 for an explosion at Total’s Carling

petrochemical plant in 2009, Reuters reported.

In July 2009, a steam generator exploded at the site

during the restart of the cracker, resulting in two deaths

and six injuries (PCN, 5 Oct 2009, p 1).

“The disrespect of the procedure by field operators is

the direct cause of the explosion but is not the sole and exclusive

cause,” the court said, adding that the explosion

would not have occurred if flame detectors had worked

properly.

 

EC Clears Proposed LNG Joint Venture Between Air Liquide and Russian OMZ

Brussels—The

European Commission (EC) has approved the proposed

creation of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) joint venture by

Air Liquide Global E&C Solutions France SA and OMZ, a

Russian heavy machine building company.

The venture will be active in the research and development,

design and engineering of natural gas liquefaction

technology, mainly in Russia. No other details were given.

The commission concluded that the proposed transaction

would raise no competition concerns because of the

negligible combined market shares of the companies in the

provision of LNG engineering services and the production

of cold boxes used in the liquefaction process.

 

Covestro Begins Using CO2 at Dormagen To Produce Polyols at Industrial Scale

Dormagen—Covestro has begun industrial scale production of a new

type of polyol made with 20% carbon dioxide (CO2) at its

Dormagen, Germany, site (PCN, 21-28 Mar 2016, p 4).

The company invested €15-million in the plant, which

has a production capacity of 5,000 t/y. The new polyol has

been engineered initially for flexible polyurethane foam

and has the same standards as conventional material produced

using only petrochemical raw materials.

“If the new CO2-based products are received as warmly

as is hoped, Covestro can envisage significant production

expansion,” the company said, adding that it is working on

producing many other plastics with CO2 and its “vision is

to one day largely dispense with crude oil in plastics production.”

 

Chevron Lummus Global Awarded Contract For Swedish Residue Upgrading Complex

Stockholm–

Chevron Lummus Global, a joint venture of CB&I and

Chevron, received a contract for the technology license and

design of a residue upgrading complex in Lysekil, Sweden,

from Beowulf Energy, who recently signed a cooperation

agreement with Preem for the project.

The contract involves the license of Chevron Lummus

Global’s LC-Slurry technology with integrated Isocracking

and ancillary units. Also, CB&I will develop a detailed

cost estimate and execution plan for the engineering, procurement

and construction phase of the complex.

A schedule for the project was not given, but Preem last

month said the analysis, detailing and permitting processes

is estimated to take two to three years.

 

Cabot Plans New Asia Technology Center; Will Include Application Innovation Lab

Shanghai—

Cabot Corp. plans to establish a new Asia Technology Center

in Shanghai, China, which will encompass an application

innovation laboratory to accelerate innovation and

applications development.

The new laboratory will be co-located at Cabot’s regional

headquarters and will feature state-of-the-art analytical

and application testing equipment. It will initially

house over 30 researchers and scientists, working together

with extended research teams throughout the company’s

global network.

 

BASF SE Reopens Office in Tehran

Tehran—BASF SE

has announced the reopening of its office in Tehran, Iran,

reported the Mehr News Agency.

The reopened office is expected to “accelerate and facilitate

the talks with BASF SE over investment and exports of

petchem products to Europe and Germany in particular,” said

the report quoting Kambiz Mirkarimi, commercial and executive

director of Iran’s Jam Polypropylene Co.

BASF signed a €6-billion memorandum of understanding

with Iran earlier this year for construction of a petrochemical

complex in Asaluyeh, that would involve the production

of ethylene in the first phase and various grades of

polyethylene in a second phase (PCN, 25 Apr 2016, p 3).

No new agreements have been signed between the parties,

the report said.

 

Sabic Joins Teesside Collective Network, UK’s ‘Leading’ Green Growth Initiative

Teesside—

Sabic has become a member of the Teesside Collective network,

the UK’s “leading” green growth initiative aimed at

reducing industrial carbon emissions and attracting investment

to the region, announced the Teesside Collective.

Following confirmation from the Dept. of Energy and

Climate Change of further funding for Teesside Collective’s

work, the cluster will scope out how carbon capture and

storage, carbon usage, hydrogen production and other technologies

could reduce carbon emissions from industrial

processes.

Sabic noted that it operates the “world’s largest” carbon

dioxide (CO2) utilization plant in Saudi Arabia, which currently

compresses 1,500 t/d of raw CO2 from its glycol

plants to make urea and methanol.

“Sabic’s recent work on carbon re-use in Saudi Arabia

has shown us first-hand the feasibility of Teesside Collective’s

vision and the benefits that realizing income streams

can bring,” said John Bruijnooge, site director of Sabic’s

Teesside operations.

The group of companies involved in the project include

Lotte Chemical UK, BOC, CF Fertilisers, Sembcorp Utilities

UK, Tees Valley Unlimited and Nepic.

 

Technip & FMC Execute Agreement For Planned Business Combination

Paris—Technip

and FMC Technologies have signed a business combination

agreement (BCA) regarding their proposed merger (PCN,

23 May 2016, p 3).

The companies signed a memorandum of understanding

(MoU) last month to combine in an all-stock merger valued

at $13-billion. Under the MoU, Technip shareholders will

receive two shares of the new company for each share of

Technip, and FMC shareholders will receive one share of

the new company for each share of FMC.

Each company’s shareholders will own close to 50% of

the combined company, which will be called TechnipFMC.

Subject to approval of Technip and FMC’s shareholders,

regulatory approvals, and other customary closing conditions,

the transaction is expected to close early next year.

“With the signing of the BCA, we have reached an important

milestone paving the way to building a unique offering,

driving change by redefining the production and

transformation in the oil and gas industry,” said Technip

Chairman and Chief Executive Thierry Pilenko, who will

serve as executive chairman of TechnipFMC.

 

Hexion Building New Analytical Lab At Technology & Business Center

Houston—Hexion is

building a new analytical laboratory at its Technology &

Business Center in Stafford, Texas, to support expanded

research and development (R&D).

The new laboratory will increase the size of the R&D

facilities at the site, accommodating the growing need for

chromatography, spectroscopy, rheology, microscopy and

materials characterization to support new product, process

and application development for the company’s Epoxy

Phenolic and Coating Resins and Forest Products Divisions.

Completion is expected by the end of the year.

“This new state-of-the-art facility will provide expanded

resources for our researchers for the Epoxy Specialties

business as well as other Hexion divisions,” said Scott Bastian,

business director, Epoxy Specialties Americas. “The

expansion will enable us to consolidate analytical instruments

and add new capabilities to increase efficiency and

capacity.” The facility will house the recently formed Analytical

& Materials Testing Group.

 

PetroChemical News Briefs

Lotte Group has postponed plans for an initial public

offering of shares in Lotte Chemical Titan, which could

have raised over $500-million, Bloomberg reported. The

decision was due to widening investigations into alleged

slush funds and embezzlement at Lotte.

Dow Chemical plans to invest 2.3-billion baht to set

up its first analytical technology center in Map Ta Phut,

Thailand, and increase production of rigid polyol, according

to the Bangkok Post. Construction of the polyol plant is

expected to start next year and commercial operations are

planned to begin in 2018. A capacity was not given.

Evonik will begin preparations for reopening its midmolecular

polyester facility in Mobile, Ala. The plant is

being revitalized and will have an annual capacity of “several

thousand metric tons,” the company said. Completion

is scheduled in 2018.

Dow and DuPont have each scheduled special meetings

of shareholders on 20 July to seek adoption of their

proposed merger agreement and approval of related matters

(PCN, 30 May 2016, p 2). The companies last year

agreed to combine in an all stock merger of equals, valued

at around $130-billion. The combined company will be

named DowDuPont. The transaction is expected to close in

the second half of 2016.

Albemarle has signed a definitive agreement to sell

its Chemetall Surface Treatment business to BASF for approximately

$3.2-billion. Subject to regulatory approvals

and other customary closing conditions, the transaction is

expected to close by the end of the year.

V54 N23 – 13 June 2016

Shell Makes FID to Proceed with Plans For Pennsylvania Petrochem Facility

Pittsburgh—

Shell Chemical Appalachia (Shell) announced a final investment

decision (FID) to build a “major” petrochemical

complex at Potter Township in Monaca, Penn. (PCN, 29

June 2015, p 3).

The complex, earlier estimated to cost $2.5-billion, will

include an ethylene cracker and polyethylene (PE) derivatives

unit. Main construction will start in about 18

months, with commercial production expected to begin

early in the next decade.

Shell’s new complex will use low-cost ethane from shale

gas producers in the Marcellus and Utica basins to produce

about 1.6-million t/y of PE. Because of the close proximity

to gas feedstock, “the complex, and its customers, will

benefit from shorter and more dependable supply chains,”

compared to supply from the Gulf Coast, the company explained.

“Shell Chemicals has recently announced final investment

decisions to expand alpha olefins production at our

Geismar site in Louisiana and, with our partner CNOOC

[China National Offshore Oil Corp.] in China, to add a

world-scale ethylene cracker with derivative units to our

existing complex there,” said Graham van’t Hoff, executive

vice president for Royal Dutch Shell’s global chemicals

business.

Shell broke ground early this year for a new 425,000-t/y

linear alpha olefins (LAO) plant in Geismar, which will

increase LAO capacity at the site to over 1.3-million t/y

(PCN, 22 Feb 2016, p 1). Production is planned to begin in

early 2018.

The project with CNOOC involves completing construction

of a 1-million-t/y ethylene cracker and derivative units

in Huizhou (PCN, 4 Apr 2016, p 2). Completion is expected

in about two years.

 

Commission Clears Ineos’ Acquisition Of Sole Control Over Inovyn Venture

Brussels—The

European Commission has approved Ineos’ acquisition of

sole control over its 50-50 Inovyn chlorovinyls joint venture

with Solvay (PCN, 9 May 2016, p 1).

Inovyn was formed in 2015 to combine the European

polyvinyl chloride, caustic soda and chlorine derivatives

businesses of Ineos and Solvay. At formation, it was

planned that after three years Solvay would withdraw its

interest in Inovyn, making Ineos the sole owner.

The companies recently signed a binding agreement to

end their joint venture ahead of the original July 2018

schedule. Upon completion of the transaction, expected in

the second half of this year, Solvay will receive a final payment

of €335-million.

Last month, Solvay announced that it had signed a definitive

agreement to sell its 70.59% interest in Solvay Indupa

to Unipar Carbocloro for $202.2-million. The sale is

subject to customary closing conditions and approvals.

Solvay’s divestitures are part of a plan to transform into

a specialty chemicals group.

 

Lotte Chem Makes Offer to Acquire Axiall; Westlake Continues Takeover Attempts

Atlanta—

Lotte Chemical, joint venture partner with Axiall Corp. in

an ethane cracker project, has submitted a proposal to acquire

Axiall for an undisclosed amount.

Axiall Chief Executive Timothy Mann Jr., in a letter

dated 7 June to Axiall employees, said: “As I have shared

previously, our board is open to considering strategic alternatives

for Axiall in addition to continuing as a stand-alone

company. Our board is willing to consider all alternatives

that deliver full and fair value for all stockholders. At this

time, our board has not made any decisions concerning the

Lotte offer.”

Since the beginning of 2016, Westlake Chemical has

been attempting to take over Axiall (PCN, 11 Apr 2016, p

2). Its original offer to acquire Axiall for $20 per share was

unanimously rejected by Axiall’s board.

In April, Westlake increased it proposal for all of the

outstanding shares of Axiall to $23.35 per share. Its offer

was again turned down by the Axiall board.

Westlake last month said it intended to submit a revised

proposal by 3 June 2016 and will continue to proceed

with its current proxy contest to replace Axiall’s board with

nine independent directors.

 

BASF Shelves FID On Proposed Freeport Natural Gas-Based Propylene Complex

Freeport—

BASF has postponed a final investment decision (FID) for

its proposed world-scale methane-to-propylene complex at

its site in Freeport, Texas (PCN, 23 Mar 2015, p 1).

The facility, planned to have a production capacity of

475,000 t/y of propylene, would be the “largest single-plant

investment to date,” the company earlier noted.

BASF attributed its decision to shelve the project to the

current volatility of raw material prices and the prevailing

economic environment.

“On-purpose production of propylene based on favorable

U.S. shale gas is interesting for BASF,” said Wayne T.

Smith, member of the board of executive directors. “We

will regularly review the development of raw material

prices and the relevant market conditions to determine the

right point in time to commence such a major investment.”

 

SK Advanced Begins Commercial Production At New Joint Venture PDH Plant in Korea

Ulsan—

SK Advanced Co. has begun commercial operations at its

new 600,000-t/y propane dehydrogenation (PDH) facility in

Ulsan, South Korea (PCN, 21-28 Mar 2016, p 1).

The plant, which required an investment of approximately

$1-billion, ran “safe and stable at design capacity

for one full month,” after successfully completing performance

tests on 13 April, and on 14 May began commercial

production, SK Advanced said.

SK Advanced is a joint venture of SK Gas, Advanced

Petrochemical’s Advanced Global Investment Co. and Kuwait

Petroleum Corp.’s Petrochemical Industries Co.

 

Unipetrol Breaks Ground on PE Facility At Existing Czech Republic Complex

Litvinov—

Unipetrol has begun construction on a new 270,000-t/y

high-density polyethylene plant (PE3) at its existing complex

in Litvinov, Czech Republic (PCN, 25 Apr 2016, p 1).

The 8.5-billion CZK facility, based on Ineos’ Innovene S

technology, will be “among the most advanced production

facilities of its kind in Europe,” the company noted. Construction

is expected to be completed in mid-2018.

“The new polyethylene unit will push Unipetrol into the

group of European leaders in terms of plastic production

quality and enable the company to reach more industrial

sectors,” said Marek Świtajewski, chief executive and

chairman of the board of directors.

Technip is the engineering, procurement and construction

contractor for the PE3 facility, which will replace the

older PE1 unit. The 200,000-t/y PE2 unit will continue

operating.

 

U.S. Senate Passes Legislation to Reform 40-Yr Old Toxic Substances Control Act

Washington—

The U.S. Senate on 7 June passed the bipartisan Frank R.

Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (H.R.

2576), legislation to reform the 40-year old Toxic Substances

Control Act (TSCA).

“This legislation is significant not only because it is the

first major environmental law passed since 1990, but because

TSCA reform will have lasting and meaningful benefits

for all American manufacturers, all American families

and for our nation’s standing as the world’s leading innovator,”

said American Chemistry Council President and Chief

Executive Cal Dooley. “We look forward to the enactment

of H.R. 2576 by President Obama in the coming days.”

Commenting on the congressional passage of H.R. 2576,

Dow Chairman and Chief Executive Andrew N. Liveris

noted that this “landmark legislation will fundamentally

reform our nation’s chemical regulatory program, restore

confidence in the safety of chemicals and provide companies

like Dow with the regulatory certainty necessary to

drive investment.”

For more information on H.R. 2576, visit the U.S. Congress’

website at https://www.congress.gov/bill/114thcongress/

house-bill/2576.

 

JG Summit Planning Feasibility Study On Expanding Batangas PC Capacity

Manila—JG

Summit Holdings will conduct a feasibility study on the

potential expansion of its petrochemical facility in Batangas,

the Philippines, according to Business World, citing

Lance Y. Gokongwei, JG Summit’s president and chief operating

officer.

“We’re planning to spend $500-million to $600-million

in expanding our petrochemical operations. This will require

us to expand the cracker, build further downstream

for butadiene and aromatics stream,” Gokongwei noted.

JG Summit expects to expand the capacity of the petrochemical

plant at Batangas to 500,000 t/y from 320,000 t/y

by 2019.

In 2014, JG Summit started up the Philippines’ first

naphtha cracker at Batangas, which was designed to produce

320,000 t/y of ethylene and 190,000 t/y of propylene

(PCN, 16 June 2014, p 1).

 

Orion Engineered Carbons Considering Closure of French Carbon Black Plant

Paris—Orion

Engineered Carbons SAS is considering ending carbon

black production at its Ambès, France, site.

Management has begun consultations with the Works

Council at the site in order to implement a restructuring

and down-staffing with a potential discontinuation of carbon

black production by the end of the year.

“In order for the group to remain competitive in today’s

global marketplace, it must fully utilize the capabilities of

its carbon black operations, concentrating resources at

more efficient facilities and those capable of producing

technically special and unique grades that can compete in

today’s challenging environment,” said Jack Clem, Orion’s

group chief executive.

If production is discontinued at Ambès, the facility will

be deactivated simultaneously with the depletion of existing

capacity.

 

Borealis Plans €40-Million Investment To Upgrade Porvoo Steam Cracker

Porvoo—Borealis

is investing €40-million in an upgrade of its steam cracker

at Porvoo, Finland, to increase propylene production capacity

and enhance energy efficiency.

Scheduled for completion in the third quarter of 2017,

the project will increase propylene production capacity by

30,000 t/y and crude C4 capacity by 10,000 t/y.

“The project will also upgrade the quality of all produced

propylene to polymer grade, thereby increasing

value as well as productivity in the adjacent polypropylene

production plant,” Borealis said.

“Through continuous investments, Borealis is securing

its position among the most innovative and reliable polyethylene

and polypropylene suppliers in Europe,” noted

Markku Korvenranta, executive vice president of base

chemicals.

 

KP Engineering Completes Acquisition Of Consulting & Design Firm MPEC

Houston—Engineering,

procurement and construction solutions company

KP Engineering has completed the purchase of McDaniel

Process Engineering Consultants, a chemical engineering

consulting and design firm in Houston, Texas.

KP said the acquisition will enhance its expertise in

petrochemical process engineering, refining and midstream,

particularly fractionation applications. Value of

the transaction was not disclosed.

 

People on the Move

Lubrizol Corp.—Eric R. Schnur has been named

president, effective immediately, and will become chairman

and chief executive on 2 Jan. 2017, to succeed James L.

Hambrick, who is retiring. Schnur has been serving as

executive vice president and chief operating officer.

Nexam Chemical—Johan Arvidsson, most recently

chief executive of aXichem AB, will join Nexam as chief

sales officer, effective 1 Aug. 2016.

Thyssenkrupp—P. D. Samudra has been appointed

chief executive of Regional Cluster India for Thyssenkrupp

Industrial Solutions. He has been managing director.

 

Sasol Says Louisiana PC Project Cost Could Increase to About $11-Billion

Lake Charles—

Sasol announced that the total capital expenditure of its

Lake Charles, La., ethane and derivatives project could

increase up to $11-billion from $8.1-billion (PCN, 14 Mar

2016, p 1).

The project includes a 1.5-million-t/y ethane cracker

and downstream production of low- and linear low-density

polyethylene, ethylene oxide and ethylene glycol. It also

includes three smaller, higher-value derivative units for

the production of specialty alcohols, ethoxylates and other

products.

This past March, Sasol said it would conduct a detailed

review of the project, after deciding to pace the execution of

the project to support the company’s low oil price response

plan. The increased project cost was from a preliminary

finding from the ongoing review, which is planned to be

completed during the third quarter of 2016.

The company noted that current indications are that

the estimated increase is mainly caused by construction

delays from rainfall, higher labor costs, lump-sum bid contract

prices being higher that originally estimated, as well

as quantities of bulk materials being in excess of those included

in the original estimate.

As of 30 Apr. 2016, project completion has progressed to

over 40%. The cracker is expected to achieve beneficial

operation in the second half of 2018, which will enable

around 80% of the total output from the project to reach

beneficial operation in late 2018 or early 2019. Remaining

volumes from the other derivative units will become operational

by the second half of 2019, Sasol said.

 

Alberta’s PCs Diversification Program Receives Significant Investor Interest

Calgary—

Alberta’s new Petrochemicals Diversification Program,

which encourages companies to invest in the development

of new local petrochemical plants through C$500-million in

royalty credits, has received “roughly double” the amount

of applications expected.

On 1 Feb. 2016, companies were invited to apply for up

to C$200-million in royalty credits for a single project, with

credits being awarded following completion of the project

and start of production (PCN, 8 Feb 2016, p 4). Applications

to the program closed 22 Apr.

Each application will be evaluated by a third-party

monitor to ensure the proposed project is economically viable,

meets Alberta’s strict environmental performance

conditions and demonstrates the best overall benefits to

Alberta. Final decisions will be made within 60 days from

6 June 2016.

The program is expected to create up to 3,000 jobs during

construction and over 1,000 jobs once operation begins.

 

BASF Boosting Production Capacities At German UV/EB Acrylates Plants

Ludwigshafen—

BASF said it is “significantly” increasing its production

capacities for Laromer UV/EB (ultraviolet/electron beam)

acrylates at existing production units at its Ludwigshafen,

Germany, site.

The additional capacities will be available as of the

third quarter of this year and will help BASF respond to

the rising demand for high-quality UV/EB acrylates.

 

Global Bioenergies & IBN-One Get Funds For Commercialization of Bioisobutene

Paris—Global

Bioenergies and IBN-One, a joint venture of Global Bioenergies

and Cristal Union, have been approved to receive

€9-million in funding by the Investissements d’Avenir program

for the commercialization of bio-based isobutene

(PCN, 27 July 2015, p 2).

Global Bioenergies, Cristal and L’Oréal have launched

a 44-month industrial and commercial project focused on

the first bioisobutene plant in France, which will use

Global Bioenergies’ process to produce isobutene from renewable

resources.

“The process is now entering a new phase of development:

step by step, we are leading up to our targeted performance,

and we are getting ready to run the process in

our demo plant, whose construction in Germany will be

completed within the next few months,” said Global Bioenergies

Chief Operations Officer Frédéric Pâques.

Global Bioenergies is the project coordinator, mainly responsible

for completing the industrial development of the

process, and may receive up to €5.7-million. IBN-One may

receive €3.3-million, which will mostly be dedicated to life

cycle analyses, engineering design work in the French

plant and market value validation of derivatives intended

for the fuels, materials and cosmetics.

The new commercial plant is now entering the detailed

engineering phase and is expected to begin operations in

2019. It will have a capacity of 50,000 t/y. CO2 emissions

will be reduced by more than twice the amount of isobutene

produced, noted Bernard Chaud, chief executive of

IBN-One.

Cristal is working on the supply of sugar beet substrates

and preparing the integration of the future production

unit into one of its sites.

“This project is developing in the context of the impending

end to sugar quotas, which is inspiring the entire

European beet growing industry to identify additional outlets,”

said Xavier Astolfi, deputy chief executive of Cristal.

L’Oréal will test batches of compounds from the bioisobutene

and may become a customer of IBN-One once the

operations begin.

 

Siluria, Air Liquide Partner to Develop Novel Catalytic Process Technologies

San Francisco–

Siluria Technologies and Air Liquide Global E&C Solutions

have entered into a strategic partnership to collaborate on

the development of novel catalytic processes using both

companies’ expertise in gas conversion technologies.

The new process offering will be developed using the

same platform as Siluria’s Oxidative Coupling of Methane

(OCM) technology, but will be focused on new fields beyond

the companies’ current product offerings. The partners

will work together in the commercialization, licensing and

marketing of the new process technologies.

As part of the agreement, Air Liquide Global E&C Solutions

has invested in Siluria’s Series E financing.

“Global markets require compelling new solutions to

meet the ever changing demand for petrochemicals and

other energy products,” said Erik Scher, interim chief executive

and president of Siluria.

Siluria’s OCM technology is the first commercial process

to directly convert natural gas into ethylene. The company

last month said it has proven the commercial viability

of the technology (PCN, 16 May 2016, p 2).

 

Looming Retirement of ‘Baby Boomers’ Challenges N. American Companies

Washington—The

large number of retiring “baby boomers” in the next three

to five years, combined with a shortage of experienced

workers, could cause challenges for North American

chemical companies, if not resolved, said a new survey by

Accenture and the American Chemistry Council (ACC).

These workforce turnover issues could mean more unplanned

operations disruptions, more hiring and training

costs and more efforts to maintain safety.

Of the chemical companies surveyed, 86% agree that if

the aging workforce issue is not resolved in the next three

to five years, the chemical industry’s profitability will suffer

significantly at a time when industry expansion is expected

to continue in North America.

Only about 25% of North American chemical companies

retained 90% or more of their millennial employees hired

in the past three years. Most saw a 30% to 50% attrition

rate among millennials, said the survey, noting a new Accenture

strategy study that shows new university graduates

expect to stay on the job for more than three years.

“Abundant supplies of domestic natural gas from shale

have moved the U.S. from being a high-cost producer of key

petrochemicals and resins to among the lowest cost producers

globally, creating a period of unprecedented

growth,” stated ACC President and Chief Executive Cal

Dooley.

“We currently have more than 262 new chemical projects

announced that are valued at over $161-billion. For

the first time in more than a decade, the U.S. chemical industry

is once again creating good, high-paying American

jobs and it’s vital that we be able to attract and retain a

talented workforce that helps us continue to drive economic

expansion, innovation, and global competitiveness,”

he added.

“We must not only hire the right people as older workers

retire and transfer their knowledge to a younger work

force, we must bridge the gap with millennials and get

them excited about what we do with chemistry, as we develop

new products to meet the needs of their generation,”

noted Inga Carus, ACC board member.

New technologies are also challenging the industry,

however, “60% of chemical companies said they are adapting

to digital technologies, but with some resistance,” commented

David Yankovitz, managing director and chemical

practice lead for Accenture. “They also recognize a greater

need to embrace digital technologies to gain a competitive

advantage. So as the industry overcomes this resistance . .

. , success will come in many areas.”

 

Jindal Poly Films Extends Completion Date Of BOPP Capacity Boost for Europe, U.S.

New Delhi—

Jindal Poly Films Ltd., in its recent earnings conference

call, said a new biaxially oriented polypropylene (BOPP)

line at its sites in Brindisi, Italy, and LaGrange, Ga., will

be complete by mid-2017 (PCN, 21-28 Dec 2015, p 3).

The new lines, originally scheduled for completion by

the fourth quarter of 2016, will each add 60,000 t/y of

BOPP capacity at the sites. Jindal is also increasing metallizing

and extrusion capabilities at the sites.

Also, the company said an additional BOPP line in India

is complete and likely to be operational in the next two

months, adding 41,000 t/y of capacity.

There are no plans to expand biaxially oriented polyethylene

terephthalate capacity, Jindal noted.

 

TCEQ Issues Trecora Resources Permit To Build, Operate New Reformer Unit

Sugar Land—

Trecora Resources has received a construction and operating

permit from the Texas Commission on Environmental

Quality (TCEQ) for a new 4,000-b/d reformer unit at its

South Hampton Resources (SHR) subsidiary in Silsbee,

Texas (PCN, 7 Dec 2015, p 4).

Utilizing Chevron Phillips Chemical Co.’s Aromax Process,

the new unit will support the recently completed DTrain

expansion. Cost of the project is estimated between

$45-million to $50-million. Construction will begin immediately

with completion expected in the second quarter of

next year.

The unit will produce a “significantly higher value byproduct

stream compared with our existing reformer,” said

Trecora President and Chief Executive Simon Upfill-

Brown. “In addition, the new reformer will provide a secure

and reliable source of hydrogen for SHR’s high purity

pentane production and custom processing activities.”

Trecora expects the Aromax Process benzene, toluene

and xylene by-product stream to be sold well above feedstock

costs, unlike recent quarters, where by-product volume

was sold at average prices below feedstock cost, significantly

impacting gross margins, Upfill-Brown noted.

 

Amec Foster Wheeler Gets Contract For LNG Terminal In Tamil Nadu

Chennai—Amec

Foster Wheeler has been awarded a contract by Indian Oil

LNG Private Ltd. for a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal

in Ennore, Tamil Nadu, India.

Amec Foster Wheeler’s scope of work includes supervision

of works related to various engineering, procurement

and construction contracts for the LNG regasification and

marine import facilities, as well as the LNG storage tanks.

Included in Amec Foster Wheeler’s contract is responsibility

for project management consultancy activities for the

entire project, from engineering development and construction

phases, through to pre-commissioning, commissioning

and start-up.

The contract, which will be delivered at the end of 2018,

follows the successful completion of a front-end engineering

and design contract for the terminal in 2012.

V54 N22 – 6 June 2016

IFC Investing $25-Million to Support Carbon Holdings’ PC Capacity Boost

Washington—

International Finance Corp. (IFC), a member of the World

Bank Group, has decided to invest $25-million in the expansion

of Carbon Holdings’ petrochemicals capacity.

Carbon Holdings late last year entered into a partnership

with French asset management firm Lazard to attract

about $3-billion in financing for Carbon Holdings’ Tahrir

petrochemical project in Ain Sokna, Egypt (PCN, 14 Sept

2015, p 3).

The project, estimated to cost $7-billion, includes a

1.36-million-t/y ethylene facility, three 450,000-t/y polyethylene

plants, a 350,000-t/y polypropylene unit and a

400,000-t/y ethylbenzene/styrene monomer facility.

“We look forward to partnering with IFC and tapping

the potential for Egypt’s chemicals sector to grow and

make a meaningful contribution to job creation and tax

revenues in a country where unemployment is very high,”

said Carbon Holdings Chief Executive Basil El Baz.

 

Sabic Enters Agreement with SNCG To Potentially Develop PC Complex

Ningxia—Sabic

signed a project development agreement with Shenhua

Group’s Shenhua Ningxia Coal Industry Group (SNCG)

subsidiary for a proposed greenfield petrochemical complex

in Ningxia, China, using local coal feedstocks.

The partners will conduct a feasibility study on the project

within three years, starting 30 May 2016. Subject to a

positive outcome, they will submit the necessary paperwork

to obtain project approval from China’s National Development

and Reform Commission.

“This project reflects our enthusiasm to diversify our

sources of feedstock, paving the way for further investment

opportunities that depend on different and untraditional

sources of feedstock,” said Yousef Al-Benyan, Sabic vice

chairman and chief executive. “This protects Sabic against

the fluctuations and cyclical movements in feedstock price

in the international markets, which helps ensure a profitable

growth strategy.”

Once all government approvals are received and a final

investment decision is made, the partners will proceed

with further actions to implement the project.

 

S-Oil Breaks Ground on RUC & ODC At Onsan Refinery in South Korea

Ulsan—S-Oil has

broken ground for its residue upgrading complex (RUC)

and olefin downstream complex (ODC) at its Onsan refinery

in Ulsan, S. Korea, reported the Korea Herald.

The project, valued at about $4-billion, involves construction

of a plant to upgrade low-value residue oil to

high-value gasoline and propylene (PCN, 25 Apr 2016, p 1).

The propylene will be used for the production of 405,000 t/y

of polypropylene and 300,000 t/y of propylene oxide. Completion

is planned in the first half of 2018.

 

YPFB Selects Spheripol PP Process For New $2.2-Bn Project in Bolivia

La Paz—Bolivia’s

Yacimientos Petroliferos Fiscales Bolivianos (YPFB) has

selected LyondellBasell’s Spheripol polypropylene (PP)

technology for a new $2.2-billion propylene and PP facility

in Tarija, Bolivia (PCN, 9 May 2016, p 1).

The project, on which construction is planned to start

next year, will have the capacity to produce 250,000 t/y of

PP. Operations are scheduled to begin in late 2021.

“We selected the Spheripol process for Bolivia’s first

polymer plant because of its superior economics, proven

track record and broad product slate,” said Mario Salazar

Gonzales, YPFB’s petrochemical plants manager.

The Central Bank of Bolivia has granted a $1.8-billion

credit for the project.

 

Maire Tecnimont, Siluria Agree to Develop Natural Gas Based Technologies for PCs

Rome—

Maire Tecnimont and Silura Technologies have entered

into a collaboration agreement to jointly develop new natural

gas based technologies for petrochemical markets.

Under the agreement, the partners will combine their

respective technologies and expertise to bring to the marketplace

a unique process to convert natural gas directly

into commodity chemicals and their derivative products,

the companies explained.

“We are excited to expand our product portfolio by

teaming with Maire Tecnimont to enable a completely new

pathway to produce additional petrochemical derivatives

from natural gas,” said Erik Scher, interim chief executive

and president of Siluria.

“This new product offering will expand Siluria’s portfolio

beyond our current solutions focused on gasoline and

ethylene, to address an even larger share of the global petrochemical

and energy market,” he added.

Along with the signing of the collaboration agreement,

Maire Tecnimont has made a $10-million minority investment

in Siluria’s share capital through a Series E financing

round. Siluria has raised over $40-million in equity

through the Series E offering since last November.

 

Iran Inaugurates Mahabad PC Facility; Production to Include PE & Butane

Tehran—Iran on

31 May inaugurated the Mahabad petrochemical plant in

West Azerbaijan province, according to a report from

Shana on National Petrochemical Co.’s (NPC) website.

The plant will produce 300,000 t/y of linear low- and

high-density polyethylene (PE) and 30,000 t/y of butane.

The West Ethylene Pipeline will supply feedstock for the

new facility.

Last year, NPC said it would also commission new PE

plants in Kordestan and Lorestan provinces and a new 1-

million t/y ammonia and urea project in Fars province by

March 2016 (PCN, 1 June 2015, p 1).

 

Stepan Targets Mid-2016 Completion Of Polyester Polyol Boost in Poland

Warsaw—Stepan

Co. confirmed that an expansion of its polyester polyol facility

in Brzeg Dolny, Poland, will be completed in the middle

of this year.

The company added a new reactor to the facility, which

is required to support Stepan’s growth in the coatings, adhesives,

sealants and elastomers (CASE) business for its

European customers. No other details were given.

In addition, Stepan has completed a relocation of its

European research and development and technical center

to new laboratories in Wroclaw, Poland. The expanded

facilities, which include a wide range of test and production

equipment for Stepan’s customers with innovation and

technical development projects, will serve its business in

insulation foams and CASE.

“The completion of this expansion to our facilities in Poland

marks a significant milestone in our growth story

within the European polyester polyol industry,” said Roger

Stubbs, vice president, polymers Europe. “Together with

manufacturing and technical centers in the Americas and

Asia, Stepan is one of the leading suppliers of polyester

polyols around the world.”

 

Mitsubishi Chem Explores Options to Exit MCC PTA Manufacturing Joint Venture

Haldia—

Mitsubishi Chemical Corp. is considering exiting its purified

terephthalic acid (PTA) joint venture, MCC PTA India,

and selling a majority interest in the venture, reported the

Economic Times (ET) Now, citing sources familiar with the

company’s plans.

Mitsubishi Chemical “is looking at selling a majority

stake in the venture MCC PTA located in Haldia, West

Bengal, in which they hold 66%. The venture has incurred

losses in the past due to a difficult market environment

and the imports from China,” said one of the sources, adding

that Mitsubishi is in an “advanced stage of negotiations

with private equity firm The Chatterjee Group.”

Mitsubishi told ET that the company is considering

various measures, however, no decisions have been made.

In 2009, MCC PTA completed an expansion in Haldia,

increasing PTA capacity at the site to 1.27-million t/y

(PCN, 2 Nov 2009, p 1).

 

Petronas and JX Nippon Oil & Energy Sign Sales & Purchase Agreement for PL9SB

Sarawak—Petronas and JX Nippon Oil & Energy (JX NOE) have

signed an agreement for the sale and purchase of equity in

Petronas LNG 9 Sdn Bhd (PL9SB), a wholly-owned subsidiary

of Petronas (PCN, 2 Feb 2015, p 3).

Under the agreement, JX NOE will acquire a 10% interest

in PL9SB, which owns the ninth liquefied natural

gas (LNG) liquefaction train within the Petronas LNG

complex in Bintulu, Sarawak, Malaysia.

The 3.6-million-t/y state-of-the-art train, expected to

begin commercial operations in the first quarter of 2017,

will increase capacity at the Petronas LNG complex to 30-

million t/y.

The partnership aims to expand the LNG business even

further and ensure a reliable supply of energy for their

customers. A marketing support agreement was also

signed.

 

Petro Rabigh Studying Polyols Project; Awards Clean Fuels Contract to KT

Rabigh—Rabigh

Refining and Petrochemical Co. (Petro Rabigh), a joint venture

of Saudi Aramco and Sumitomo Chemical, said in a

statement to Tadawul that it is studying the possibility of a

polyether polyol production facility and future developments

will be announced in a timely manner.

Also in the filing, the company said it has awarded an

SAR 563-million contract to Kinetics Technology (KT), a

subsidiary of Tecnimont, for a clean fuels project that includes

a 17,000-b/d naphtha treating unit and a 106,000-

t/y sulfur recovery unit. Completion is expected during the

third quarter of 2019.

Petro Rabigh noted it will be “self-financing” the clean

fuels project.

 

Gevo Exploring Strategic Alternatives

Englewood—

Gevo Inc. has begun a review of strategic alternatives and

has engaged Cowen & Company LLC as financial advisor

to assist in the review.

“After careful consideration, including discussions with

a range of stakeholders, we believe it is an appropriate

time to undertake a comprehensive review of the company’s

strategic and financial alternatives,” said Ruth I.

Dreessen, chairman of the board. “The board is thoroughly

committed to exploring . . . alternatives, while simultaneously

supporting management in the development of

Gevo’s technology and business.”

Gevo did not disclose if the review included a potential

sale of assets.

 

People on the Move

Yara International—Terje Tollefsen has become chief

strategy and business development officer of the executive

management group. He had been head of strategy and

business development.

Pierre Herben has joined the executive management

group as chief technology officer. He was previously chief

technology officer, reporting to Yara’s chief executive.

Archer Daniels Midland (ADM)—Pierre Duprat has

been appointed president of ADM’s business in Europe,

Middle East and Africa and India. He was most recently

director of international business development for the company’s

corn processing unit.

Toray Plastics—Justin Larson, most recently key accounts

manager of the Lumirror Polyester Film Division,

has been named product manager of the division.

Kline—Frances Davidson and Hardeep Parmar have

both been named a director in the chemicals practice of

Kline’s management consulting business. They will succeed

Ian Butcher, who has decided to retire, but will maintain

a directorship of Kline Europe.

Davidson, who recently joined Kline’s U.S. office, was

previously with Townsend Solutions as a business development

director.

Parmar recently joined the firm’s London office and has

experience accrued at consultancies including Nexant, Jacobs

Consultancy and Arthur D. Little.

Mark De Decker will become managing director of

Kline’s office in Brussels. He has been serving as vice

president of custom research.

 

Sace Guarantees $840-Million Credit Line To Support Construction of Liwa Project

Muscat—

Sace, wholly-owned by Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP), has

guaranteed an $840-million credit line issued by CDP for

construction of Oman Oil Refining and Petroleum Industries’

(Orpic) Liwa Plastic Industries Complex in Oman.

The $6.5-billion project, located in Sohar, includes a

steam cracker with over 800,000 t/y of capacity, 838,000 t/y

of linear low- and high-density polyethylene capacity,

215,000 t/y of polypropylene capacity and a 300-km natural

gas liquids pipeline between Fahud and Sohar (PCN, 21-28

Mar 2016, p 4). Commissioning is scheduled in 2020.

“The financing is intended to sustain supply contracts

awarded by Orpic to Maire Tecnimont, and subcontracts

that will be assigned to numerous Italian companies, especially

SMEs [small to medium enterprises], that produce

machinery tools for the oil and gas sector,” explained Sace.

Once complete, Liwa will become one of the world’s

most technologically advanced petrochemical complexes,

enabling the country to develop a solid local plastics industry,

Sace noted.

 

Hemla Vantage, Kharg Petrochemical May Partner for Iranian Gas Project

Tehran—Hemla

Vantage and Iran’s Kharg Petrochemical Co. may form a

joint venture to produce and export liquefied natural gas

(LNG) and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in Iran by 2017,

reported a local news source citing the Financial Times.

The $600-million project will be equally-owned by both

companies and will produce 500 t/y of LNG and 200 t/y of

LPG in the first phase. A floating production vessel will be

shipped to Kharg Island by October. It will be leased from

Exmar, a Belgian company.

“We are inspired that Iran really wants to shift from a

traditional player to a modern player,” said the report

quoting Gerhard Ludvigsen, founding member of Hemla

Group and director of Hemla Vantage. “Nobody would believe

that Iran could be the first in the world to produce

LNG from a floating production vessel,” he added.

 

Praxair Purchases Yara’s CO2 Business; Includes 34% Stake in Yara Praxair JV

Danbury—

Praxair has completed the acquisition of Yara International

ASA’s European carbon dioxide (CO2) business and

Yara’s remaining 34% stake in the Yara Praxair Holding

industrial gas joint venture for €300-million.

The CO2 business operates liquefaction plants and dry

ice production facilities across the UK, Ireland, Scandinavia,

Germany, Benelux, France and Italy.

 

APLA Schedules Annual Meeting 19-22 Nov. 2016 in Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires—

Asociacion Petroquímica y Quimica Latinoamericana

(APLA) has scheduled its 36th Latin American Petrochemical

Annual Meeting from 19-22 Nov. 2016 at the

Sheraton Buenos Aires Hotel & Convention Center in Buenos

Aires, Argentina.

For further information and registration, contact APLA

by phone 54 (11) 4325 1422; fax 54 (11) 4325 0086; email

reunionanual@apla.com.ar or visit www.apla.com.ar.

 

ADKL Awarded Contract from MSPIC For Iranian Petrochemical Facilities

Tehran—Abels

Decker Kuhfuß Lenzen (ADKL) has received a contract

from Iranian firm Masjed Soleyman Petrochemical Industries

Co. (MSPIC) for a petrochemical project in Masjed

Soleyman, Iran, reported Shana News Agency.

The project involves the production of 2,050 t/d of ammonia

and 3,250 t/d of urea in the first phase. No other

details were given.

Under the contract, valued at €2-billion, ADKL will in

the first phase cooperate in providing funds, transferring

technology and implementing contracts for the project

within the framework of engineering, procurement, construction

and finance. The contract value may be increased

to up to €10-billion in the future.

 

Brenntag Getting Remaining Interest In Chinese Distributor Zhong Yung

Beijing—Brenntag

has signed an agreement to purchase the remaining 49%

interest in Chinese distributor Zhong Yung Chemical Ltd.,

for an undisclosed amount.

Since acquiring a 51% stake in Zhong Yung in 2011, the

Chinese firm has demonstrated a positive development,

Brenntag said, noting that Zhong Yung has a significant

presence across the mainland of China with modern

equipped distribution facilities in Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai

and Guangzhou.

“The successful cooperation between Brenntag and

Zhong Yung laid a strong foundation for the positive expansion

and further growth in China,” said Ni Jianzhong,

chairman of the board of Zhong Yung and future chairman

of the board on Brenntag in China. “We will continue to

build upon this solid platform to broaden our product portfolio

further.”

 

Crest Acquires Optimal Field Services

Geismar—

Crest Industries LLC has acquired U.S. industrial field

services company Optimal Field Services.

Optimal provides turn-key industrial services to the

petrochemical, specialty chemical, petroleum, gas processing

and paper processing industries. Value of the transaction

was not disclosed.

“The strength of the Crest Industries foundation and its

leadership team will be the catalyst for Optimal Field Services

to emerge and become the go-to turnaround company

in the refining, petrochemical and chemical markets,” said

Optimal President Andre Folse.

Optimal will operate as a subsidiary of Crest Industries

at its current location in Geismar, La., and will retain all

employees and key leaders.

 

NCC Receives Fifth Chemical Tanker

Riyadh—The

National Shipping Co. of Saudi Arabia’s National Chemical

Carriers (NCC) subsidiary has now received all five second

hand chemical tankers ordered from Scorpio Tankers Inc.

(PCN, 14 Mar 2016, p 3).

NCC signed a memorandum of understanding earlier

this year to purchase the five ships from Scorpio at a total

price of $166.5-million. The tankers were built at the

Hyundai Mipo Dockyard in South Korea in 2014.

 

SES, Simon Renew & Extend Agreement To Include Global Engineering Support

Houston—

Synthesis Energy Systems (SES) and Simon India, an engineering,

procurement and contracting subsidiary of Zuari

Global, have renewed an agreement to jointly market SES

Gasification Technology (SGT) for coal and biomass gasification

projects in India, and have added global engineering

support to the partnership.

The new engineering services agreement will extend

SES’s capability to engage Simon for broader SGT engineering

support globally.

“We value the relationship we have built with Simon,

and Simon will continue to advance SES’s interests in India,

a country increasingly desirous of an affordable and

environmentally beneficial clean energy solution to address

ever-growing energy demand,” said DeLome Fair, president

and chief executive of SES.

SGT, known for its unparalleled feedstock flexibility, is

well-suited for the high-ash, low-grade coals that comprise

about 80% of all locally available coal in India, SES noted.

“We are committed to SGT as the clean energy technology

solution for India,” said Simon India Chief Executive

and Executive Director Ashok Grover. “We look forward to

working with SES to develop the first SES Gasification

Technology project in India.”

 

Borealis Enters Agreement for 100% Interest In German Plastics Recycler MTM Plastics

Berlin—

Borealis has agreed to acquire a 100% stake in German plastics

recycler MTM Plastics and MTM Compact for an undisclosed

amount, subject to regulatory approvals.

“Plastics are simply too valuable to be disposed of in

landfills,” said Alfred Stern, executive vice president of

polyolefins and innovation and technology at Borealis.

“Plastic recycling provides a circular business opportunity

in a growing market within a broader sustainability

agenda,” he continued.

“There are many areas in which mechanical recycling of

post-consumer waste make business and ecological sense.

The acquisition of MTM Plastics and MTM compact reflects

our pro-active and dedicated ‘keep discovering’ approach

to provide specific and innovative solutions in tackling

core global challenges,” he added.

MTM Chief Executive Michael Scriba said that with

Borealis as its partner, MTM “will continue the successful

growth of the last years also in the future.” A completion

date for the transaction was not given.

 

Messer Subsidiary Gains Air Liquide’s Hungarian Industrial Gases Business

Budapest—The

Hungarian subsidiary of Messer Group has completed the

acquisition of Air Liquide’s Hungarian industrial gases

business, Air Liquide Hungary Ipari Gaztermelo Kft.

(PCN, 21 Sept 2015, p 3).

The purchase includes an on-site air separation unit

(ASU), two nitrogen generators, a gas cylinder filling plant,

tankers, customer tanks and steel cylinders, as well as

about 50 employees and Air Liquide’s existing customers.

Value of the transaction was not given.

Messer will fully integrate and merge the two companies

in the short term to boost efficiency. In the meantime,

Air Liquide Hungary will continue to exist unchanged under

the name Messer Iparigaz Kft., Messer noted.

Separately, Messers said it plans to soon commission a

new ASU in Tiszaújváros, Hungary. There are also plans

to increase carbon dioxide production capacity in Olbo, set

up additional on-site nitrogen generators, and develop and

modernize the tank container and gas cylinder inventory.

 

Royal Vopak Sells 40% Ownership In Japanese Terminals Venture

Tokyo—Royal Vopak

has completed the sale of its 40% stake in Nippon Vopak to

Macquarie Asia Infrastructure Fund for about €26-million.

Nippon Vopak owns and operates five terminals in Japan

with a combined operational capacity of 203,200 cubic

meters. The terminals are located in Kawasaki, Kobe,

Moji, Nagoya and Yokohama.

The sale is in line with Vopak’s plan announced last

year to divest about 15 smaller terminals (PCN, 4 Apr

2016, p 3).

Earlier this year, Vopak sold its UK terminals and

Thames Oilport to Macquarie Capital and Greenergy, respectfully.

 

Solvay Becomes Sole Owner of Primester

Kingsport—

Solvay has completed the acquisition of Eastman Chemical’s

interest in their former cellulose acetate production

joint venture Primester (PCN, 23 May 2016, p 4).

Eastman will provide the long-term supply of basic

utilities and raw materials to the Kingsport, Tenn., plant.

Value of the transaction was not given.

V54 N21 – 30 May 2016

Honeywell UOP Breaks Ground in China For Facility to Produce MTO Catalysts

 

Honeywell UOP has broken ground on a new manufacturing

facility in China to produce state-of-the-art catalysts

used in Honeywell’s advanced methanol-to-olefins (MTO)

technology.

The MTO technology converts methanol, which can

readily be produced from coal or natural gas, into ethylene

and propylene. The new catalysts line, located in an industrial

park in Zhangjiagang City, is expected to begin production

in 2017.

“MTO is an innovative, proven technology that enables

countries such as China that are rich in coal, but which

have had to import petroleum, to make plastics,” said Rajeev

Gautam, president and chief executive of Honeywell’s

Performance Materials and Technologies business group.

“While global demand for ethylene and propylene is

growing 4% to 5% per year, China is expected to invest

more than $100-billion in coal-to-chemicals technology by

2020,” Honeywell explained. “This would reduce China’s

dependence on imported oil for the manufacture of plastic

resins, films and fibers that are used to make millions of

different products.”

The site, open since 2015, also produces catalysts for

Honeywell’s Oleflex process and produces adsorbent materials

used in petrochemical and refining production and

natural gas processing.

 

Repsol Finishes Construction in Spain On New Metallocene-Based PE Plant

Tarragona—

Repsol has completed construction on a new metallocenebased

polyethylene (PE) plant at its site in Tarragona,

Spain (PCN, 1 Feb 2016, p 1).

The new swing plant, based on Chevron Phillips Chemical’s

proprietary technology, is capable of producing both

linear low-density and high-density PE. Repsol has completed

the first tests on the facility with success.

Earlier this year, Repsol said it planned to start up the

plant during the second quarter.

The new range of metallocene-based PE grades will be

marketed under Repsol’s Resistex trademark.

 

Uz-Kor Gas Chemical Inaugurates Ustyurt Gas Chemical Complex

Tashkent—Uz-Kor Gas

Chemical LLC has inaugurated its new $3.9-billion Ustyurt

gas chemical complex in Surgil, Uzbekistan, according

to local sources.

The complex is designed to process 4.5-billion cu m/yr of

gas and has the capacity to produce 400,000 t/y of highdensity

polyethylene, 100,000 t/y of polypropylene, sales

gas, pyrolysis gas and pyrolysis oil, according to Uz-Kor’s

website (PCN, 19 Oct 2015, p 4).

Uz-Kor is a 50-50 joint venture of Uzbekistan and a Korean

consortium of Lotte Chemical (24.5%), Korea Gas

Corp. (22.5%) and GS E&R (3%).

 

CF Industries and OCI NV Terminate Planned Combination of Businesses

Deerfield—CF

Industries and OCI NV have terminated the proposed

combination of CF with OCI’s European, North American

and global distribution businesses for approximately $8-

billion (PCN, 4 Jan 2016, p 2).

An announcement from the Treasury on 4 Apr. 2016

“materially reduced the structural synergies of the combination,”

the companies said. “Since that time, both companies

have worked together collaboratively to explore alternative

transactions and structures that would be attractive

to their respective shareholders. However, the companies

were unable to identify an alternative acceptable to

both parties and, therefore, agreed to terminate the combination,”

they explained.

“Although the original deal created significant value for

both parties, changes in the regulatory and commercial

environments forced us to re-evaluate the combination and

led us to the conclusion that terminating the agreement is

in the best interests of CF Industries and its shareholders,”

said CF President and Chief Executive Tony Will.

Under the combination agreement, CF will pay OCI

$150-million in connection with the termination.

 

Technip Wins Contract from CTCI For New Jubail Cracking Furnace

Jubail—Technip

has been awarded a contract by CTCI to supply basic engineering

and proprietary equipment for Saudi Kayan’s new

ethylene cracking furnace in Jubail, Saudi Arabia (PCN,

22 Feb 2016, p 2).

The additional furnace, which will add 93,000 t/y of ethylene

capacity, will be based on Technip’s proprietary USC

furnace technology. Cost of the project is estimated at

around $94.5-million.

CTCI won a contract from Saudi Kayan earlier this

year to provide engineering, procurement and construction

for the project. Completion is expected during the second

half of 2017.

Technip said it will execute the project through its operating

center in Milton Keynes, UK.

 

Stepan Closing Longford Mills Facility; Production to be Moved to Other Sites

Toronto—

Stepan Co. has decided to end production activities and

shut down its facility in Longford Mills, Canada, by the

end of this year.

Production at the facility will be relocated to Stepan’s

existing North American manufacturing sites.

According to the company’s website, Stepan produces

alkoxylates, amides, sulfonates, sulfates, blends and phosphate

esters at Longford Mills. Ethoxylation production

was discontinued at the site earlier this year.

“The plant closure will allow us to improve our asset

utilization in North America and further reduce our fixed

cost base,” said Stepan President and Chief Executive F.

Quinn Stepan Jr.

 

Dow & DuPont Name New Appointments To DowDuPont Senior Leadership Team

Midland—

Dow Chemical and DuPont have announced additional appointments

for DowDuPont’s senior leadership team, following

consummation of the proposed merger of equals

(PCN, 8 Feb 2016, p 2).

Last year, Dow and DuPont said they will combine in

an all-stock merger of equals, valued at around $130-

billion. The combined company, to be named DowDuPont,

is planned to be separated into three independent, publicly

traded companies—Material Science, Specialty Products,

and Agriculture, subject to DowDuPont board approval.

The new senior leadership appointments include Howard

Ungerleider as chief financial officer of DowDuPont.

He is vice chairman and chief financial officer of Dow.

Jim Fitterling, president and chief operating officer of

Dow, will become chief operating officer of the new Material

Science business, which will be named Dow.

James C. Collins Jr. will become chief operating officer

of the DowDuPont Agriculture business. He is currently

executive vice president for DuPont and leader of DuPont’s

agriculture business segment.

Marc Doyle, now executive vice president and leader of

DuPont’s Electronics & Communications, Industrial Biosciences,

Nutrition & Health, Performance Materials and

Safety & Protection businesses, will become chief operating

officer for DowDuPont’s Specialty Products business.

As previously disclosed, Andrew N. Liveris, chairman

and chief executive of Dow, will become executive chairman

of DowDuPont. Edward D. Breen, chairman and chief

executive of DuPont, will be chief executive of DowDuPont.

The DowDuPont board of directors and other leadership

roles are expected to be announced prior to closing, which

is expected in the second half of 2016, subject to customary

closing conditions and shareholder approval.

 

Sabic & Saudi Aramco Deny Reports Of Merging Petrochems Businesses

Riyadh—Sabic

and Saudi Aramco have denied recent press reports about

the possible merger of the two companies’ petrochemicals

businesses and clarified that they have no plans of pursuing

this option.

However, noted Sabic, “both companies will continue to

explore mutually beneficial opportunities to work together

as partners and contribute to the continued growth and

diversification of the Kingdom’s economy.”

 

RSA-Talke Completes First Phase Of Dubai Integrated Chems Hub

Dubai—RSA-Talke

has completed the first phase of its integrated chemicals

hub in Dubai’s Jebel Ali Free Zone in the United Arab

Emirates (PCN, 7 Sept 2015, p 4).

The site is designed to handle hazardous and nonhazardous

liquid chemicals and includes 1,800 TEU (20-

foot equivalent unit) ISO tank and storage capacity as the

central element. Cleaning, maintenance, inspection and

certification services for ISO tank containers are also

available.

A second and third phase is planned and includes construction

of facilities for drumming hazardous and nonhazardous

liquid chemicals, as well as a warehouse for

packed products.

 

Amec Foster Wheeler Awarded Contract For Cilacap Refinery Upgrade Project

Jakarta—

Pertamina and Saudi Aramco have awarded an engineering

and project management services contract to Amec Foster

Wheeler to conduct the basic engineering design study

for their Cilacap refinery upgrade project in Central Java,

Indonesia (PCN, 15 Dec 2014, p 3).

The project, estimated to cost between $4-billion and

$5-billion, will increase the refinery’s capacity to 370,000

b/d. Gasoline and diesel production will be maximized and

higher quality base oils will be produced for domestic use.

Petrochemicals capacity will also be enhanced at the refinery

to over 600,000 t/y of aromatics and 160,000 t/y of

polypropylene. The front-end engineering design phase is

planned to be completed in 2018, with the engineering,

procurement and construction stage beginning in 2019.

Project completion is expected by the end of 2022.

 

Braskem Enhancing R&D Capabilities To Support New La Porte PE Facility

Pittsburgh—

Braskem has implemented new ultra-high molecular

weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) capabilities at its Innovation

and Technology (I&T) Center to support a new

UHMWPE plant being built in La Porte, Texas (PCN, 4

Jan 2016, p 2).

The improvements at the I&T Center in Pittsburgh,

Penn., are in anticipation of the fourth quarter 2016 startup

of the new UTEC UHMWPE plant, the company noted.

“The new capabilities will continue to enable Braskem

to expand its technical leadership in UHMWPE by providing

instrumentation for testing, application development,

and new product research,” said Braskem.

Capacity of the new La Porte plant was not disclosed.

The company earlier said the unit would complement its

existing UHMWPE facility in Brazil.

 

Sabic’s Al-Benyan Elected GPCA Chair

Dubai—

Yousef Abdullah Al-Benyan, chief executive and vice

chairman of Sabic, has been elected chairman of the Gulf

Petrochemicals and Chemicals Assn. (GPCA), effective

immediately.

Previously vice chairman of the GPCA, Al-Benyan will

replace Rashed Saud Al-Shamsi, former petrochemicals

director at Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. (Adnoc).

Abdulaziz Al-Hajri, Adnoc’s new director of refining and

petrochemicals, assumes the role of vice chairman of the

GPCA. Qatar Vinyl Co. Chief Executive Hamad Al-Nuaimi

has become the GPCA’s new treasurer.

 

People on the Move

Solvay—Pascal Chalvon, most recently president of

energy services, has been appointed chief sustainability

officer. He succeeds Jacques Kheliff, who is retiring.

Trinseo—Barry Niziolek has been named vice president

and chief financial officer, effective 13 June. He will

also join the executive leadership team. Niziolek had been

vice president and controller at DuPont.

Petrobras—Pedro Parente has been appointed chief

executive and director, replacing Aldemir Bendine. Parente

is chairman of BM&FBovespa.

 

TonenGeneral Sekiyu Begins Operations At New Mixed Xylene Unit in Ichihara

Tokyo—Tonen-

General Sekiyu recently began operations at a new

230,000-t/y mixed xylene recovery unit at its Chiba refinery

in Ichihara, Japan (PCN, 12 Jan 2015, p 3).

The new unit, based on GTC’s Advanced Distillation

technology, has a “unique” design, which allows for the

production of high-purity toluene and C9 aromatics out of

the same column with the xylenes, GTC explained.

The unit uses GTC’s Dividing Wall Column technology

for high energy efficiency. GTC also provided the process

license, basic engineering design, equipment supply and

process guarantees.

“Construction of the new unit is aligned with the company’s

shift from fuels to petrochemicals,” said TonenGeneral.

The unit “will enable the company to respond flexibly

to the drop in domestic demand for petroleum products and

the anticipated increase in demand for petrochemical

products in China and elsewhere,” TonenGeneral added.

Earlier reports said the unit was expected to cost about

$42-million and would have 200,000 t/y of capacity. Commercial

operations were planned to begin as early as 2017.

 

EPCA’s 50th Annual Meeting Scheduled To Be Held 1-4 Oct. 2016 in Budapest

Brussels—The

European Petrochemical Assn. (EPCA) will hold its 50th

annual meeting from 1-4 Oct. 2016 at the Budapest Marriott

Hotel, Hotel InterContinental Budapest and Hotel

Sofitel Chain Bridge in Budapest, Hungary, based on the

theme “50 Years of Global Chemical Industry Evolution:

What’s Next?”

The speakers include Arkema’s Chairman and Chief

Executive Thierry Le Henaff; Dr. Martin Brudermueller,

chief technology officer at BASF SE and vice chairman of

the board of executive directors; Bob Patel, Lyondell-

Basell’s chief executive and chairman of the management

board; Nathalie Brunelle, senior vice president of strategy,

development and research at Total, and Vopak Chairman

and Chief Executive Eelco Hoekstra.

For further details and registration information, contact

EPCA by phone at 32(02)2 741 8660, fax 32(02)2 741 8680

or email meetings@epca.eu.

 

Mountaineer Proceeding with Plans For Its Natural Gas Storage Project

Clarington—

Mountaineer NGL Storage has concluded a successful nonbinding

open season for its natural gas storage project near

Clarington, Ohio, which resulted in requests for more than

three times the amount of initial planned capacity (PCN,

18 Apr 2016, p 3).

The project plans to offer up to 2-million barrels of initial

storage capacity with over 40,000 bbls/day of load-in

and load-out. It will be designed to store ethane, propane,

butane and y-grade products. Construction is planned to

begin in early 2017 with operations starting in early 2018.

“We’re pleased to see that the support of this project in

the heart of the Marcellus/Utica wet gas shale play is as

strong as it is,” said David Hooker, managing director of

Mountaineer NGL.

The project is “strategically placed” to provide service to

the expanding network of pipelines, rail, truck and barge

infrastructure that is currently being built to transport

Marcellus and Utica natural gas liquids, he added.

 

Sadara in Agreement to Supply EO & PO To SDC Joint Venture at PlasChem Park

Jubail—

Sadara Chemical Co. has signed an agreement with Surfactants’

Detergent Co. (SDC) to supply ethylene oxide

(EO) and propylene oxide (PO) for a new chemical production

facility planned to be built in PlasChem Park in Jubail

Industrial City II, Saudi Arabia.

Under the agreement, Sadara will supply EO and PO to

SDC via pipeline. No other details were disclosed.

“Infrastructure development on site at PlasChem Park

is nearly complete, with power and utilities tie-ins being

finalized in each of the divided lots,” noted Sadara’s Value

Park Director Mohammad Alazzaz.

The park “is uniquely positioned to enable and support

downstream opportunities in many market segments, such

as those industries that rely on EO and PO, and we look

forward to welcoming SDC to the EO/PO cluster,” he said.

PlasChem Park is collaborative effort between Sadara

and the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu.

 

Ford Motor Co. Touts “First Automaker” Using Captured CO2 for Plastic, Foam

Dearborn—

Ford Motor Co. is the “first” automaker to develop and test

new plastics and foams using captured carbon dioxide

(CO2), and researchers expect to see the new biomaterials

in Ford production vehicles within five years, Ford said.

The foam, formulated with up to 50% CO2-based polyols,

is “showing promise” as it meets rigorous automotive

test standards. It could potentially reduce petroleum use

by more than 600-million lbs/yr.

In 2013, Ford began working with several companies,

suppliers and universities to discover applications for captured

CO2. Novomer, which uses captured CO2 from production

plants to produce innovative materials, is one of

the firms working with Ford.

Through a system of conversions, Novomer produces a

polymer that can be formulated into a variety of materials

including foam and plastic that are easily recyclable.

“Novomer is excited by the pioneering work Ford has

completed with our Converge CO2-based polyols,” noted

Peter Shepard, chief business officer at Novomer.

 

Obama Signs into Law New MTB Process To Help U.S. Specialty Chem Producers

Washington–

President Obama has signed into law the American Manufacturing

Competitiveness Act of 2016, bipartisan legislation

that would create a Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB)

process, representing a “landmark victory” for specialty

chemical producers, noted the Society of Chemical Manufacturers

and Affiliates (SOCMA).

The law will eliminate tariffs on inputs and other products

that aren’t produced or available in the U.S., by requiring

a review of domestic availability, including public

comments, by the International Trade Commission (ITC).

After its analysis, the ITC will issue a public report to

Congress recommending certain products that meet the

MTB tests. Congress will then be able to consider the MTB

within existing rules. The new process is expected to be in

place by October.

“With federal regulatory costs on the rise and increased

foreign competition, this victory could not have happened

at a better time,” said William E. Allmond, vice president

of government and public relations at SOCMA.

 

SNF Vostok Breaks Ground in Russia For New Polymers Production Plant

Moscow—SNF

Vostok has broken ground for a new polymers production

facility in Saratov, Russia.

Saratovorgsintez, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Lukoil

and the sole producer of acrylonitrile in Russia, will supply

acrylonitrile feedstock to the new plant.

The unit is being built near Lukoil’s petrochemical facility

to enable the transport of feedstock and end products at

lower cost. The close proximity will also allow for the import

substitution of considerable volumes of chemicals.

In 2013, Lukoil said it entered into an agreement with

SNF SAS of France to proceed with acrylamide and polyacrylamide

production by SNF at Saratovorogsintez’s existing

site in Saratov (PCN, 27 May 2013, p 1).

In a first phase, which was scheduled to come on

stream in the first quarter of this year, SNF was to establish

the production of 50,000 t/y of acrylamide and 30,000

t/y of polyacrylamide. Saratovorgsintez agreed to supply

up to 20,000 t/y of acrylonitrile feedstock.

In the second phase, SNF plans to expand acrylamide

production to 60,000 t/y and consider increasing polyacrylamide

production to 100,000 t/y, depending on market

conditions. A completion date was not given for this phase.

 

Air Liquide Completes Airgas Purchase; Announces Executive Appointments

Paris—Air Liquide

said it has completed the acquisition of Airgas for

$13.4-billion, making Air Liquide the “leader” in the North

American industrial gas business (PCN, 23 May 2016, p 3).

Airgas will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Air

Liquide within Air Liquide’s U.S. operations and, commercially,

will go to market as Airgas, an Air Liquide company.

Pascal Vinet, member of Air Liquide Group’s executive

committee, will become chief executive of Airgas, following

a short, post-closing transition phase. During the transition,

Michael Molinini will continue to serve as interim

chief executive of Airgas, and will retire later this year.

Other appointments include Andrew Cichocki, who has

been named chief operating officer of Airgas; Pierre Dufour,

senior executive vice president and board director of

Air Liquide, has been appointed chairman of the board of

Airgas, and Michael Graff, member of the Air Liquide

Group’s executive committee and executive vice president

of the Houston hub, has been named vice chairman of the

board of Airgas. Peter McCausland, Airgas’ executive

chairman of the board, has retired.

 

Rosneft, Pertamina Sign Agreement For Refinery & PC Complex in Java

Jakarta—Rosneft

and Pertamina have signed a framework agreement to

study the feasibility of a new refinery and petrochemical

complex in Tuban, East Java, Indonesia, and establish a

joint venture for the project.

Estimated to cost about $13-billion, the project will

have a refining capacity of 300,000 b/d. Details of the petrochemical

portion of the complex were not given. Start-up

is planned in 2022, according to local sources.

Pertamina will have a majority stake in the joint venture.

A final investment decision on the project will be

made upon results of the feasibility study.

 

Honeywell & PetroVietnam Ink MoU To Advance Cooperation in Vietnam

Hanoi—Honeywell

has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU)

with PetroVietnam to advance cooperation in Vietnam’s oil

and gas industry.

Under the terms of the MoU, Honeywell will have the

opportunity to provide consulting services to PetroVietnam

and its subsidiaries for potential investment projects, as

well as perform engineering design and economic and

technical project feasibility studies for all of PetroVietnam’s

facilities.

 

PetroChemical News Briefs

Mitsui Chemicals plans to increase diphenylmethane

diisocyanate capacity in Korea to 350,000 t/y from 250,000

t/y, through its Mitsui Chemicals & SKC Polyurethanes

joint venture with SK Holding.

CVC Capital Partners is selling its remaining 4.2%

interest in Evonik, according to Reuters. The stake is valued

at around $598-million and will be sold via an accelerated

book building process, which is expected to be complete

by 31 May 2016.

The Government of Oman has OK’d a 35% tax on petrochemical

companies and a tax increase on liquefied natural

gas (LNG) companies to 55%, reported the Times of

Oman. Tax on LNG firms is currently 15%. The new taxes

are being attributed to the government’s budget deficit.

Allnex New Zealand’s proposed acquisition of Nuplex

Industries by way of scheme of arrangement has received

clearance from the Federal Antimonopoly Service of the

Russian Federation (PCN, 23 May 2016, p 2). Necessary

regulatory approvals in all remaining jurisdictions are expected

by the end of June 2016.

Russia’s Prime Minister has approved the country’s

development plan for its chemical and petrochemical industry

until 2030. The plan calls for technical upgrade and

modernization of existing chemical and petrochemical facilities

during the period 2016-2030. New cost-effective,

environmentally-friendly plants will also be set up.

V54 N20 – 23 May 2016

Ineos Oligomers Makes FID for World-Scale LAO Unit at Ineos’ Chocolate Bayou Site

Houston—

Ineos Oligomers has made a final investment decision

(FID) to build a new world-scale linear alpha olefin (LAO)

plant at Ineos’ Chocolate Bayou site in Texas (PCN, 13

July 2015, p 3).

The 420,000-t/y LAO unit will be 20% larger than originally

planned and will be based on the company’s own proprietary

and differentiated “broad-based” LAO technology,

which includes improvements that will reduce the company’s

variable costs. Once the project comes on stream in

November 2018, Ineos Oligomers global LAO production

capacity will reach about 1-million t/y.

“We continue to believe our market and technology focus,

combined with our access to U.S. Gulf Coast ethylene

economics, makes this a very attractive opportunity,” said

Ineos Oligomers Business Director Joe Walton. “Hence,

our ultimate decision to build a unit larger than the

350,000 t/y originally envisioned.”

The Chocolate Bayou site is home to two world-scale

ethylene crackers with ready access to the U.S. Gulf Coast

ethylene pipeline distribution network, and has enough

space for future expansions, noted Peter Steylaerts, project

general manager.

“Our new unit will be well placed to supply the significant

polyethylene capacity being built on the Gulf Coast

over the next several years,” said Walton. “In addition, the

unit will also provide the feedstock that will enable our

long term PAO [polyalphaolefin] capacity growth.”

 

LSB Industries Announces Production At New El Dorado Ammonia Facility

El Dorado—LSB

Industries announced that its new 375,000-t/y ammonia

plant in El Dorado, Ark., is operational and has begun production

(PCN, 22 Feb 2016, p 1).

The plant will gradually ramp up production volume

over the next two months and is anticipated to reach full

capacity by the beginning of the third quarter of this year.

Ammonia is expected to be sold into the pipeline by the end

of the month.

Costing approximately $830-million, the project includes

a 300,000-t/y nitric acid plant and 40,000-t/y concentrator

that were completed last year.

 

Hanwha Total Petrochemicals Venture Planning Third SM Plant at Daesan

Daesan—Hanwha

Total Petrochemicals, a 50-50 joint venture of Hanwha

and Total SA, is planning to build a third styrene monomer

(SM) unit in 2018 at Daesan, South Korea, according to an

industry source.

Expected to produce 600,000 t/y of SM, the new plant

will increase Hanwha Total Petrochemicals’ total nameplate

capacity to 1.65-million t/y.

The joint venture already owns a 400,000-t/y and

650,000-t/y SM facility at Daesan.

 

Shandong Luqing Reaches Full Production At New Chinese Oleflex Isobutylene Unit

Beijing—

Shandong Luqing Petrochemical has reached full production

capacity of isobutylene at “China’s first” standalone

Honeywell UOP C4 Oleflex unit, located in Shandong Province,

China (PCN, 23-30 Nov 2015, p 1).

Performance of the 170,000-t/y isobutylene plant, which

started up late last year, has been accepted by Shandong

Luqing, Honeywell noted. The unit will support the growing

demand for petrochemicals and fuels in China.

“While Shandong Luqing is the first Chinese operator of

a standalone Honeywell UOP C4 Oleflex process, the technology

now has seven customers in the country with three

of them anticipated to start up by the end of 2016,” Honeywell

noted.

 

 

Clariant Enters Agreement To Develop Catalysts for Gevo’s ETO Technology

Englewood—

Clariant has entered into an agreement with Gevo to develop

catalysts for Gevo’s ethanol-to-olefins (ETO) technology,

which uses ethanol to produce tailored mixes of propylene,

isobutylene and hydrogen.

Clariant will focus on the development and scale-up of

the catalyst, while Gevo will continue focusing the majority

of its internal resources on optimizing its core isobutanol

technology. Once the ETO technology has been successfully

developed and scaled-up, Clariant can produce quantities

needed for commercial production requirements.

Gevo has filed a series of patent applications related to

this technology and said it expects to grow its ETO business

through licensing.

“We see the opportunity for Clariant catalysts to convert

ethanol, produced from cellulosic or other carbohydrate

sources, into more value-added products to create

greater growth potential for the ethanol industry,” noted

Stefan Brejc, head of specialty catalysts business segment

of Clariant.

 

Jacobs Awarded Contract by Satorp For General Engineering Services

Jubail—Jacobs Engineering

Group was awarded a two-year contract from

Saudi Aramco Total Refining and Petrochemical Co.

(Satorp) to provide general engineering services at Satorp’s

Jubail Industrial City II facilities in Saudi Arabia.

Under the terms of the contract, Jacobs will provide

feasibility studies, concept design and detailed engineering

services for minor capital expenditure projects.

Satorp began operations in 2015 at its $12.8-billion

Jubail complex, which includes a 400,000-b/d full conversion

refinery with 200,000 t/y of polymer-grade propylene,

700,000 t/y of paraxylene and 140,000 t/y of benzene capacity

(PCN, 19 Oct 2015, p 2).

Saudi Aramco and Total late last year said they were in

talks to expand petrochemical production in Jubail. The

project would involve production of elastomers, linear alpha

olefins and polyalphaolefins.

 

Williams Files Lawsuit Against ETE; Claims Breach of Merger Agreement

Tulsa—Williams

has filed a lawsuit with the Delaware Court of Chancery

seeking a Declaratory Judgment and injunction preventing

Energy Transfer Equity (ETE) from terminating or otherwise

avoiding its obligations under the merger agreement

signed on 28 Sept. 2015 between the companies (PCN, 5

Oct 2015, p 1).

The agreement involves ETE acquiring Williams in a

transaction valued at about $37.7-billion, including the

assumption of debt and other liabilities.

Williams alleges that ETE has breached the merger agreement

through a pattern of delay and obstruction designed

to allow ETE to avoid its contractual commitments.

Williams believes that the merger agreement prevents

ETE from doing so.

Responding to the claim, Kelcy Warren, chairman of the

board of ETE’s general partner said ETE is “disappointed

that Williams, rather than seriously engaging in discussions

regarding the transaction, has chosen to file a third

lawsuit in the last six weeks regarding our pending

merger. The filing of these lawsuits has contributed materially

to the very delay in completing the Securities and

Exchange Commission’s review . . . and proceeding towards

a stockholder meeting.”

In May 2015, Williams announced plans to acquire Williams

Partners for $13.8-billion. Because of its agreement

with ETE, Williams cancelled merger plans with Williams

Partners and agreed to pay a $428-million termination fee.

ETE’s willingness to acquire Williams was dependent

on termination of the transaction with Williams Partners.

 

Canexus, Superior Plus Expect Closure Of Transaction in First Half of 2016

Calgary—Canexus,

in reporting its first quarter 2016 results, said the

planned acquisition by Superior Plus of all issued and outstanding

common shares of Canexus is expected to be completed

in the first half of this year (PCN, 12 Oct 2015, p 3).

The companies entered into an arrangement agreement

last October, under which Superior will acquire the shares

of Canadian-based sodium chlorate and chlor-alkali producer

Canexus for a value of approximately C$1.70 per

share. Canexus shareholders will receive 0.153 of a Superior

share for each Canexus share.

“Having obtained both shareholder and court approvals

on 11 Dec. 2015, closing of the transaction now depends on

the receipt and timing of regulatory approvals,” Canexus

noted.

Canexus has a chlor-alkali facility in North Vancouver,

Canada, and Espirito Santo, Brazil, and three sodium chlorate

units in Canada located in Nanaimo, Brandon and

Beauharnois.

 

Mofcom OKs Proposed Acquisition Of Nuplex By Allnex New Zealand

Beijing—China’s

Ministry of Commerce (Mofcom) has unconditionally approved

Allnex’s proposed acquisition of Nuplex Industries

Ltd. for NZ$5.43/share in cash by way of a scheme of arrangement

(PCN, 9 May 2016, p 3).

Subject to obtaining other necessary regulatory approvals

in all remaining jurisdictions, the transaction is expected

to close in November of this year. The parties received

U.S. regulatory clearance earlier this month.

 

Metabolix Exploring Strategic Alternatives For Its Mirel PHA Biopolymers Business

Cambridge–

Metabolix is exploring strategic alternatives for its Mirel

polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) biopolymers business, which

may include selling the business to a third party.

The company said it is currently in talks with interested

parties regarding the potential sale of the biopolymers

business as an operating business. In addition, Metabolix

has been working on the possible “spin-out” of its

Yield 10 crop science program.

Metabolix is seeking additional funding to complete its

review. “If the company is not able to secure such additional

funding or otherwise fund its strategic review process

and operations, it will be forced to wind down some or

all of its operations and pursue options for liquidating the

company’s assets, including inventory, equipment and intellectual

property,” the company explained.

In January, Metabolix said it was continuing to ramp

up its PHA biopolymer market development activities and

work to transition from pilot scale to commercial scale operations

(PCN, 1 Feb 2016, p 4).

 

Mukesh Ambani Receives CHF Award For His Entrepreneurial Leadership

Philadelphia—

Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director of Reliance

Industries (RIL), has been chosen by the Chemical

Heritage Foundation (CHF) as the new recipient of the

prestigious Othmer Gold Medal for his entrepreneurial

leadership.

The annual award recognizes individuals who have

made multifaceted contributions to the chemical and scientific

heritage through outstanding activity in such areas as

innovation, entrepreneurship, research, education, public

understanding, legislation or philanthropy.

Ambani was recognized for his leadership, which resulted

in the expansion of India’s petroleum refining industry,

creation of the Jamnagar refinery in Gujarat—the

world’s “largest” grassroots petroleum refinery, and pathbreaking

initiatives in oil and gas exploration, CHF said.

The medal was presented to Ambani on 16 May during

CHF’s Heritage Day in Philadelphia, Penn.

 

People on the Move

Oxea—Dr. Salim Al Huthaili has been appointed chief

executive under the company’s new management structure.

He had been a member of the executive board.

Dr. Martina Floel, who has been serving as a spokeswoman

for the company’s executive board, will leave the

company.

Wood Group—Raymond Schlaff has been named senior

vice president and chief procurement officer. He had

been senior vice president and group chief procurement

officer for National Grid in London and Boston.

Sibur International—Marat Avetisov, most recently

head of the Moscow branch and chief operating officer of

the trading company, has been appointed chief executive.

He succeeds Andrey Frolov, who will continue as sales director

of Sibur’s Plastics, Elastomers and Organic Synthesis

Division.

OMV—Peter Loscher has been elected chairman of the

supervisory board. He had been chief executive at Siemens.

 

Technip & FMC Technologies to Merge; Combination to be Called TechnipFMC

Paris—Technip

and FMC Technologies have entered into a memorandum

of understanding (MoU) and expect to sign a definitive

business combination agreement to combine the two

companies in an all-stock merger valued at $13-billion.

Under the terms of the MoU, Technip shareholders will

receive two shares of the new company for each share of

Technip, and FMC shareholders will receive one share of

the new company for each share of FMC.

Each company’s shareholders will own about 50% of the

combined entity, which will be called TechnipFMC and be

headquartered in Paris, France.

“The new company will combine Technip’s innovative

systems and solutions, state-of-the-art assets, engineering

strengths and project management capabilities with FMC

Technologies’ leading technology, manufacturing and service

capabilities,” said the companies.

“Together, TechnipFMC will engage with customers

earlier in the development process to design, deliver and

install more comprehensive solutions, redefining the production

and transformation of hydrocarbons,” they added.

Technip Chairman and Chief Executive Thierry Pilenko

will serve as executive chairman of the new company,

while Doug Pferdehirt, president and chief operating officer

of FMC, will be chief executive of TechnipFMC.

Subject to approval of both companies’ shareholders,

regulatory approvals and consents, as well as other customary

closing conditions, the transaction is expected to

close in early 2017.

 

U.S. FTC Gives Conditional Approval To Air Liquide’s Purchase of Airgas

Washington—The

U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has approved the

acquisition of Airgas by Air Liquide, subject to certain conditions

(PCN, 29 Feb 2016, p 4).

As part of the $13.4-billion transaction, Airgas will become

a wholly-owned subsidiary of Air Liquide and the

combined entity will be the “largest industrial gas company

in the world,” Airgas earlier said.

Air Liquide has agreed to the FTC’s conditions, which

include the sale of certain assets. The conditions are to be

satisfied following the closing of the transaction. “A divestiture

package has been prepared and the divestiture process

is well underway,” Air Liquide noted, without disclosing

any details.

Subject to the satisfaction of remaining customary closing

conditions, the sale is expected to be completed on 23

May 2016.

 

Azelis Americas to be Sole Distributor For Chemtura’s Urethanes Business

 

Philadelphia—

Chemtura Corp. has chosen Azelis Americas to become the

sole distributor for its pre-polymer urethanes, curatives

and polyester polyols product lines in North America, effective

26 July 2016.

“Chemtura is committed to enabling our customers’

growth; hence consolidating our distribution channel with

Azelis makes sense given their world-class technical capabilities

and supply chain expertise allowing Chemtura to

more effectively serve all market segments,” said Bill Wallace,

business director for the Americas at Chemtura.

 

Dow Chemical Partners with NRG Energy To Supply Wind Power to Freeport Units

Midland—

Dow Chemical said it has partnered with NRG Energy and

NRG Yield to supply wind power to Dow’s Freeport, Texas,

facilities, advancing Dow’s vision to accelerate the development

of cost-effective clean energy alternatives and reduce

carbon emissions.

Under a 10-year wind power purchase agreement, NRG

will supply power to Dow’s Freeport units, from its 150-

MW Goat Mountain I and Goat Mountain II wind farms.

“Dow’s 2025 sustainability goals define the path forward

for our company, and today we are pleased to increase

our renewable energy targets from 400 MW up to

750 MW by 2025,” said Dr. Neil Hawkins, corporate vice

president and chief sustainability officer at Dow.

“Dow is proud to be the first company in the U.S. to

power manufacturing sites with renewable energy at this

kind of scale and that we’ve become one of the largest corporate

purchasers of wind energy in America,” he added.

Dow noted it is now one of the top five industrial users of

renewable power in the U.S.

Last year Dow signed an agreement with a subsidiary

of Bordas Wind Energy to supply 200 MW of wind power

annually (PCN, 23 Mar 2015, p 3). Dow currently supplies

its Freeport facilities with 350 MW a year of wind power.

 

Air Products Offering Support Services For Customer-Owned Hydrogen Units

Lehigh Valley–

Air Products has launched a new Hydrogen Services business

to help customers improve the reliability and productivity

of their own hydrogen plants.

“Air Products has been reactively providing service on

customer-owned hydrogen plants for more than 30 years,”

said Kevin Michaelis, vice president, products and technology–

industrial gases. “We have seen such market pull that

we are proactively packaging our technical knowledge and

experience into an offering that can help customers run

their hydrogen plants more effectively, as well as solve operational

issues.”

Hydrogen Services helps customers with inquiries such

as producing more or less hydrogen from steam methane

reformers (SMR), planning SMR turnarounds, solving mechanical

integrity issues, feedstock changes, pressure

swing adsorber revamps, and improving energy efficiency.

“Whether our customers need know-how, elbow grease

or both, engaging Air Products’ Hydrogen Services business

allows them to focus on their area of expertise, while

we focus on ours,” noted Scott Siegmund, global manager of

customer plant support.

 

Worley Parsons, CNCEC Form Alliance

Beijing—

Worley Parsons and China National Chemical Engineering

Co. (CNCEC) have signed a strategic alliance agreement in

order to promote CNCEC’s globalization and speed up the

implementation of the Chinese government’s “Going Out”

strategy, which encourages Chinese companies to invest in

overseas expansion.

“CNCEC and Worley Parsons’ scope of work highly

match each other, especially in the field of chemical and

petrochemical,” said CNCEC. “The combination of the two

groups will bring each other bigger market and greater

opportunities,” the company added. No other details were

provided.

 

Aramco Stresses Importance of PC Sector In Implementing the Kingdom’s Vision

Dhahran—

Saudi Aramco’s Warren W. Wilder said that the petrochemical

sector and the company’s continued growth of its

downstream business has the potential to play a pivotal

role in the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 for a diversified and sustainable

economic future.

In addressing the audience at a technical dinner of the

Saudi Arabia section of the American Institute of Chemical

Engineers, Wilder noted that Aramco’s entry into chemicals

and its ambitious strategic plans to become a fully integrated

global petroleum and chemicals enterprise will

leverage its capabilities and resources to create jobs and

help diversify the Saudi economy beyond oil, which is a key

national objective.

The country’s petrochemical sector employees 89,000

people and provides indirect employment for at least three

times as many, Wilder said. “Employment in this sector

has been growing at a very healthy 9% per year over the

past 10 years,” with the petrochemical sector employing

the highest percentage of Saudis. “It is therefore not surprising

that the petrochemicals sector was highlighted as

an important vehicle for implementing the National Transformation

Vision.”

In order to maintain competitiveness and achieve its

full potential, the industry must address certain key challenges,

said Wilder, identifying diversification of feedstocks

and product slate, and the promotion of downstream industries

as the three main challenges.

“Most of the Kingdom’s petrochemicals presently being

exported are commodities. These products, such as polyethylene,

polypropylene, and MEG [monoethylene glycol]

account for 98% of Saudi petrochemical production, compared

to only 60% to 70% for Germany and the U.S.

“While Saudi Arabia certainly needs its commodities

production strength, we also need to radically alter the

downstream equation to derive greater benefits in-

Kingdom, through knowledge-based and innovation-driven

small and medium-sized enterprises,” he explained.

Aramco’s approach to growth in the chemicals sector is

based on a two-pronged integration strategy, involving integration

with refineries and other feedstock providers,

and integration, or closer ties, with customers.

The company “will be a powerful force for the future,

helping to diversify the industry, attracting foreign and

local investment into the Kingdom and facilitating the development

of a knowledge economy,” Wilder concluded.

For more information on Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030,

visit http://vision2030.gov.sa/en.

 

Sabic Inaugurates New State-of-the-Art Research Facility in the Netherlands

Geleen—Sabic

has opened a new state-of-the-art research center at the

brightlands Chemelot Campus in Geleen, the Netherlands,

to support its vision of becoming the world leader in the

chemical industry.

“This research center . . . combines our expertise in

chemicals, polymers and excellence in innovative application

development,” said Bert Groothuis, director, corporate

sustainability Europe.

“With Sabic’s new research building, as well as some

300 Sabic scientists now active, the campus community

will develop further,” noted Bert Kip, chief executive of

Brightlands Chemelot Campus. “We are on our way to

turning this community into a European material hotspot

for businesses and research institutes with new and unprecedented

opportunities to grown and innovate.”

 

Rosneft & PetroVietnam Sign Agreement To Pursue Hydrocarbon Opportunities

Moscow—

Rosneft and PetroVietnam have signed an agreement to

pursue opportunities in the exploration and production of

hydrocarbons.

Under the agreement, the companies will expand their

cooperation in Russia, Vietnam and third countries in the

area of hydrocarbons exploration and production, processing,

commerce and logistics, and staff training.

The partners will consider potential joint projects and

define the basic terms of cooperation, as well as form a

working group for each area of cooperation.

“Rosneft is interested in further expansion of its business

in the country, including refining, petrochemicals,

commerce and logistics,” said Igor Sechin, chairman of the

management board of Rosneft. “The new stage of cooperation

will enable the company to get a new channel of marketing

hydrocarbons in the Asia-Pacific market and create

additional synergies due to refining in the region.”

 

PetroChemical News Briefs

Solvay and Eastman Chemical have signed a definitive

agreement to terminate their cellulose acetate production

joint venture. Solvay is expected to become sole owner

in the second quarter of 2016, subject to customary regulatory

approvals.

Akzo Nobel has completed the first phase of its €2.5-

million performance coatings plant expansion in Cikarang,

Indonesia. The investment will increase capacity at the

unit by 40%.

Novatek and Thailand’s PTT inked a memorandum

of understanding to cooperate and study potential joint

opportunities in the exploration and production of hydrocarbons,

the implementation of liquefied natural gas projects

(LNG), the supply of LNG and the development of

LNG markets, and the supply of liquid hydrocarbons.

Emerald Performance Materials has agreed to sell its

Emerald Specialties and Polymer Additives and Nitriles

business groups to DyStar LP. The sale involves five of

Emerald’s nine plants. The sale is expected to close in the

third quarter of this year, subject to regulatory approvals.

V54 N19 – 16 May 2016

Honeywell Makes Decision to Spin Off Resins & Chemicals to Shareholders

Morris Plains―

Honeywell has announced its intention to spin off its resins

and chemicals business to shareholders, creating a standalone,

publicly-traded company to be named AdvanSix Inc.

“Our $1.3-billion resins and chemicals business enjoys a

leading position in the industries its serves and a global

cost advantage,” noted Honeywell Chairman and Chief

Executive Dave Cote. “It is favorably positioned to continue

to achieve global growth as a standalone enterprise,

with added flexibility to make capital investments that

enhance its offerings and service to customers,” he said.

“Following the spin-off, Honeywell and AdvanSix will

each have a more focused business and be better positioned

to invest more in growth opportunities and execute strategic

plans best suited to its respective business,” Cote explained.

“The transaction will create added value for our

shareholders, who will receive AdvanSix shares tax-free in

addition to the Honeywell shares they already own.”

Completion of the transaction is expected by early 2017,

subject to certain customary conditions, including, among

others, assurance that the spin-off will be tax-free to Honeywell

shareholders.

With completion, AdvanSix will be a leading producer

of nylon 6. It will also produce ammonium sulfate fertilizers

and chemical intermediates, including phenol, acetone

and cyclohexanone, and will be the largest single-site producer

of caprolactam.

Erin Kane, who is currently serving as vice president

and general manager of Honeywell’s resins and chemicals

business, will serve as president and chief executive of the

new AdvanSix.

 

Reichhold, Polynt in Definitive Accord To Merge The Two Resin Businesses

Durham—Reichhold

Group and Polynt Group have entered into a definitive

agreement to merge the two businesses, which they

said is expected to create a leading global, verticallyintegrated

manufacturer of resins for specialized chemicals,

including intermediates, plasticizers, additives and

compounds.

Subject to necessary regulatory approvals and customary

closing conditions, the transaction is expected to be

completed in the second half of 2016.

“This compelling deal is expected to result in significant

synergy opportunities and will enable our combined businesses

to be more competitive, offer better services and

more innovative solutions to our customers,” said Reichhold

President and Chief Executive John S. Gaither. “It

will allow us to respond more effectively to evolving industry

dynamics and customer needs.”

Reichhold is owned by a group of investors, including

funds managed by Black Diamond Capital Management,

and Polynt is wholly-owned by funds managed by Investindustrial.

Black Diamond and Investindustrial intend to

invest equally in the combined business, and become majority

stakeholders.

 

AGC’s Asahimas Chem Subsidiary Plans Further VCM Capacity Boost at Cilegon

Jakarta—

Asahimas Chemical (ASC), a subsidiary of Asahi Glass Co.

(AGC), is planning a further increase of vinyl chloride

monomer (VCM) production capacity in Cilegon, Indonesia

(PCN, 22 Feb 2016, p 1).

ASC, which earlier this year completed an expansion

project at Cilegon that raised VCM capacity to 800,000 t/y

from 400,000 t/y, has decided to increase VCM capacity to

900,000 t/y. Completion is expected in 2018.

“The volume increase from the two-phased capacity enhancement

will be allocated for the exports to Phu My

Plastics and Chemicals Co. Ltd., which is AGC’s consolidated

subsidiary in Vietnam, and other customers in

Southeast Asian countries, as well as for the domestic PVC

[polyvinyl chloride] production at ASC,” AGC said.

The recently completed expansion project at Cilegon

also included an increase of PVC capacity to 550,000 t/y

and caustic soda capacity to 700,000 t/y.

 

Ineos Agrees to Sell EPS Assets To Synthos SA for €80-Million

Rolle—Ineos Enterprises

has reached an agreement in principle to sell its expandable

polystyrene business (EPS), Ineos Styrenics, to Synthos

SA for €80-million.

The transaction, expected to close in the second half of

2016, includes EPS manufacturing sites in Wingles and

Ribecourt, France, and in Breda, the Netherlands. The

sale is subject to customary closing conditions.

The three sites are supported by a purpose-built research,

development and product testing facility in Breda,

including a research laboratory and pilot plant facilities.

The approximately 250 employees of Ineos Styrenics are

included in the deal.

 

Ube, JSR & Mitsubishi Rayon in Talks To Combine Their ABS Subsidiaries

Tokyo—Ube Industries,

JSR Corp. and Mitsubishi Rayon have reached a

basic agreement to begin discussions on the feasibility of a

merger of the three companies’ respective acrylonitrile butadiene

styrene (ABS) subsidiaries.

The combination involves JSR’s Techno Polymer Co.

subsidiary, and UMG ABS, a 50-50 joint venture of Ube

and Mitsubishi. A final agreement is expected to be concluded

by 31 Oct. 2016, with completion of the merger targeted

for 1 Oct. 2017.

“The main purpose of the merger is to optimize operations,

improve manufacturing efficiencies, and secure cost

competitiveness for the ABS resin business, in order to secure

the stable supply of products in Japan and expand

sales in global markets, amid an increasingly severe business

environment,” the companies explained.

Techno Polymer and UMG ABS are both located in Tokyo,

Japan.

 

Siluria Confirms OCM Process Viability; Ready for Commercial Ethylene Units

San Francisco—

Siluria Technologies said it has proven the commercial viability

of its Oxidative Coupling of Methane to ethylene

(OCM) technology through a successful first year of operations

at its La Porte, Texas, demonstration plant (PCN, 13

Apr 2015, p 4).

Siluria’s OCM technology is the first commercial process

to directly convert natural gas into ethylene, the company

noted. The demonstration plant, co-located with a

polymer plant operated by Braskem America, is the final

pre-commercial scale-up of Siluria’s OCM process. “Braskem’s

world-class operations team has worked closely with

Siluria and has been key in making this demonstration

facility a success,” noted Gary Koehler, Siluria’s vice president

of operations.

“Both our proprietary catalyst and OCM process have

performed reliably at our demonstration plant, further

validating the commercial performance of our multiple

years of pilot plant operations,” said Erik Scher, interim

chief executive and president of Siluria. “This paves the

way to move forward with commercial ethylene production

projects in process in the U.S. and abroad.”

Siluria is working jointly with Linde Engineering to deliver

this technology to the marketplace.

 

Indorama Eyes 2nd Half ’16 Completion Of Brownfield PTA Boost in Rotterdam

Bangkok—

Indorama Ventures now expects the brownfield expansion

of its purified terephthalic acid (PTA) capacity in Rotterdam,

the Netherlands, to be completed in the second half of

this year, later than the originally scheduled 2014 completion

date (PCN, 10 Oct 2011, p 1).

In announcing the project, the company said the expansion

would add 330,000 t/y of PTA capacity. Earlier reports

listed Indorama as currently having a 350,000-t/y

PTA plant at its Rotterdam site.

 

EC Clears Celanese’s Sale to Ineos Of Certain European BuAc Assets

Brussels—The

European Commission (EC), under the European Union

Merger Regulation, has approved Celanese’s sale to Ineos

of certain European n-butyl acetate (BuAc) assets.

The sale involves assets used to market BuAc, including

existing European commercial relationships that will enable

Ineos to continue supplying Celanese’s current BuAc

customers. The acquisition does not include Celanese’s

manufacturing assets in Frankfurt, Germany, which will

be shut down. No other details were available.

 

BASF Increasing Capacity in Germany Of Basonat Aliphatic Polyisocyanates

Ludwigshafen–

BASF said it is planning to invest in an expansion of its

Basonat aliphatic polyisocyanates capacity in Ludwigshafen,

Germany, significantly increasing its local production

capacity.

The company noted a “considerable increase in global

demand” for the product over the last few years. The additional

capacity will be available by the end of 2017. No

other details were given.

 

Kuraray Decides on Expansion Project To Boost EVOH Capacity in the U.S.

Pasadena—

Kuraray Co. is increasing production capacity for EVAL

ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH) at its Kuraray America subsidiary

in Pasadena, Texas.

The project will increase EVOH capacity at the site by

11,000 t/y to a total of 58,000 t/y. Operations are expected

to begin in mid-2018.

“Previously, the increase in EVAL demand had been

centered primarily in industrialized nations, such as Japan

and the United States as well as those in Europe,” Kuraray

said. “However, demand is now rising in emerging nations.

To secure a stable supply structure, Kuraray has concluded

that it is necessary to boost its EVAL production capacity.”

Last year, the company announced a project to increase

EVOH production capacity at its Antwerp, Belgium, site by

11,000 t/y to a total of 35,000 t/y (PCN, 9 Feb 2015, p 4).

Operations are scheduled to start at the end of this year.

Kuraray also has an EVOH facility in Okayama, Japan,

with 10,000 t/y of capacity.

 

Incitec Pivot Obtains Full Commitment For Waggaman Ammonia Production

Waggaman—

Australian chemicals and fertilizer producer Incitec Pivot

Ltd. (IPL) announced that production offtake from its new

800,000-t/y ammonia plant in Waggaman, La., “is fully

committed through to 2026” (PCN, 10 Aug 2015, p 3).

The $850-million facility is now 97% complete and is on

track and on budget, with “beneficial production” expected

in the third quarter of this year.

“In 2011, we identified the productivity challenge confronting

Australia,” noted IPL Managing Director and

Chief Executive James Fazzino. “At the same time, we

foresaw the future economic impact of the shale gas revolution

in the U.S. and seized a classic first mover advantage

with the decision to develop a world-scale ammonia plant

in Louisiana,” he continued. “Today, U.S. gas prices sit at

around $2.00/MMBTU and our investment thesis remains

intact.”

Located within Cornerstone Chemical Co.’s Fortier

manufacturing complex, the plant is based on KBR’s ammonia

technology.

 

People on the Move

Braskem America—Mark Nikolich has become chief

executive, responsible for leading the polypropylene (PP)

and ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene business

units, as well as U.S. growth projects. He previously led

the PP business unit in the U.S.

Sinopec Group—Dai Houliang, most recently senior

vice president and chief financial officer of Sinopec Corp.,

has been named general manager of the group. He succeeds

Wang Tianpu.

Evonik Industries—Christian Kullmann has been

appointed deputy chairman of the executive board, effective

immediately. He has been on the executive board

since July 2014 and also serves as chief strategic officer.

DuPont-Mitsui Polychemicals—Hitoshi Tachino,

currently director of the board, has been named president

of the DuPont and Mitsui Chemicals joint venture, effective

23 June. He replaces Sohei Morita, who is retiring.

 

Petronas Confirms Three EPCC Contracts For Pengerang Petrochemical Facilities

Johor—

Petronas’ PRPC Polymers and PRPC Glycols subsidiaries

have awarded engineering, procurement, construction and

commissioning (EPCC) contracts for petrochemical plants

being built as part of the Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated

Development (Rapid) project in Pengerang, Malaysia

(PCN, 7 Dec 2015, p 2).

An EPCC contract was awarded by PRPC Polymers to a

joint venture of Tecnimont and China HuanQiu Contracting

& Engineering for a new 900,000-t/y polypropylene

(PP) plant, which will based on LyondellBasell’s Spherizone

and Spheripol PP technologies.

A consortium of Samsung Engineering Co., Samsung

C&T and Samsung Engineering Sdn Bhd received an

EPCC contract from PRPC Glycols for a 740,000-t/y ethylene

oxide/ethylene glycol (EO/EG) facility.

The Samsung consortium also received the EPCC contract

for a 350,000-t/y linear low-density polyethylene

(LLDPE) facility from PRPC Polymers.

The contracts follow a Letter of Award issued to the

companies late last year. At the time, Petronas said the

PP contract was valued at $482-million, the EO/EG contract

was valued at about $577-million and the LLDPE

contract was valued at approximately $305-million.

Expected to be operational by early 2019, the Rapid project

includes a 300,000-b/d refinery.

 

Jacobs Providing Engineering Services For Mitsubishi’s Polyester Film Plant

Pasadena—

Jacobs Engineering has been awarded a contract to provide

engineering services for the $100-million expansion of Mitsubishi’s

polyester film plant in Greenville County, S. C.

Under the terms of the agreement, Jacobs’ scope of

work includes installation of a polyester film production

line, which is expected to combine high level technology

with production efficiency, Jacobs noted. Completion is

planned by late 2017.

 

Nova Unveils Newly Transformed Center For PE Resin Testing and Applications

Calgary—

Nova Chemicals has unveiled its transformed Centre for

Performance Applications, which expands on the former

Nova Chemicals Technical Centre and is dedicated to polyethylene

(PE) resin testing and applications development.

Located in Calgary, Canada, the facility has a new

wing, much of it focused on customer collaboration, and

serves as a hub for supporting customers in developing

higher-value products and applications. It includes industry-

leading research and development capabilities for a

number of markets.

“Our expanded capabilities allow us to perform product

development work and trials that simulate customer manufacturing

methods and application performance under

real-world conditions—a distinct advantage in our competitive

landscape,” noted Daryll Harrison, Nova’s vice president

of technology.

The installation of new equipment and upgrades, including

an extensive suite of conversion equipment, physical

and analytical test lab equipment and more, allows

Nova’s applications development experts to perform critical

work and even reimagine how PE resins are used.

 

Fujian Shenyuan New Materials Plans Caprolactam Production by Year End

Fujian—Fujian

Shenyuan New Materials is expected to begin operations of

the first phase of its caprolactam project by the end of this

year (PCN, 27 May 2013, p 2).

China Chemical Fiber Group said the first phase includes

a 400,000-t/y caprolactam line, with a total investment

of 15-billion yuan. In a second phase, for which a

schedule was not disclosed, a 600,000-t/y caprolactam line

will be built with an investment of 25-billion yuan.

In 2013, Air Liquide was awarded a contract to supply

industrial gases for the project.

Under the contract, Air Liquide was to invest in an

eight-unit industrial gases complex that would include an

air separation unit of 2,000 t/d of oxygen, a gasification

unit, a purification unit of synthesis gas and an ammonia

plant to supply hydrogen, nitrogen and ammonia. The

plants were scheduled to be commissioned in early 2016.

 

TUM Opens New Catalysis Research Center To House Research Alliance with Clariant

Munich—

The Technical University of Munich (TUM) has opened a

new world-class Catalysis Research Center (CRC) in Munich,

Germany, which will be the new home to MuniCat,

the catalysis research alliance between TUM and Clariant.

The new €84.5-million CRC is dedicated entirely to research

work, noted Clariant. It comprises over 75 state-ofthe-

art chemistry and physics laboratories, and is designed

to facilitate collaboration among the 19 CRC research

teams, which represent complementary aspects of catalysts

studies, from theory and development to technological application.

 

LG Duped into Fraudulent Payment For Naphtha Supplied by Aramco

Seoul—LG Chem

has become the victim of a scam that resulted in the company

making a $21-million payment for naphtha purchased

from Aramco Products Trading Co. to a fraudulent

bank account, according to several local business reports.

LG spokesman Song Choong-seop explained that the

company received an email that appeared to be from

Aramco Products Trading stating there had been a change

in bank accounts. The sender, which has not been identified,

was aware of the amount of money owed by LG and

requested that the amount be wired to the new account.

“We have requested an investigation by prosecutors,”

said Song, adding that his company is considering legal

action against Aramco on the grounds that it failed to protect

its email accounts.

 

China Reviewing Chloroprene Dumping

Beijing—

China’s Ministry of Commerce on 10 May began an antidumping

review of chloroprene rubber from Japan, the

U.S. and European Union (PCN, 16 May 2011, p 2).

The review is to determine whether dumping or damages

to the domestic industry would reoccur if dumping

measures were terminated. The ministry expects to complete

the review by 9 May 2017.

Duties were originally imposed in May 2005 and extended

for an additional five years in 2011.

 

German Chemical Production Increased, While Prices, Sales Fell in 1st Quarter

Frankfurt—

The German chemical industry, including the pharmaceutical

sector, had a mixed start in 2016, with production up,

but prices and sales down, according to the latest quarterly

report by Verband der Chemischen Industrie (VCI), the

German chemical industry association.

For the first three months of this year, production

“clearly improved” over the weak previous quarter, rising

2.2% over the previous quarter and 0.6% over the 2015

first quarter, said VCI. Capacity utilization was 83.6%.

From January to March 2016, chemical product prices

fell 1.3% from the last quarter of 2015 and 1.4% from the

first quarter of last year. The decline, attributed to the low

oil price, is “a new record low,” VCI noted.

The cut in prices led to a drop in sales for the third consecutive

quarter, down 0.9% compared to the previous year

fourth quarter and 3.5% from the 2015 first quarter.

The chemical business will remain difficult in the current

year, predicted VCI President Marijn Dekkers. “So

far, the overall economic development in Germany and

Europe is reaching our companies only to a limited extent,”

he said. “Exports to major markets . . . are weaker than in

the previous year. Furthermore, the fall in prices continues.

All this speaks against brisker business in the short

term.”

VCI is forecasting a 1% increase in chemical production

for 2016. However, as prices are expected to fall by 2%,

chemical sector sales are seen dropping 1% to €187-billion.

 

Mitsui Chem, SKC Announce Start-Up Of New PU System House in Mexico

Nuevo Leon—

MCNS Polyurethanes Mexico (MCNS-MX), a wholly-owned

company of Mitsui Chemicals SKC Polyurethane Co.

(MCNS), which is an equally-owned joint venture of Mitsui

Chemicals and SKC, has opened a new 13,000-t/y polyurethane

system house in Nuevo Leon, Mexico.

The $4-million facility produces and sells polyurethane

system products, and has the capability to adjust polyurethane

foam material formulations, including those derived

of polyol, to cater to customer’s individual needs.

“Our new venture will not only support our customers

and the growth of the Mexican automotive industry

through safe and stable plant operations and business activities,

but will also seek to contribute to the welfare of

the neighboring community and all our stakeholders,” said

SKC Chairman Shin Won Choi.

 

Honeywell Aiding EagleClaw Midstream In Recovery of NGLs with UOP Process

Des Plaines—

Honeywell UOP is providing a modular Russell cryogenic

gas processing plant to help EagleClaw Midstream Ventures

recover natural gas liquids (NGLs) in the Permian

Basin.

The skid-mounted modular plant will be shipped to

EagleClaw’s East Toyah plant in Reeves County, Texas.

When it begins operating, the plant is capable of processing

200-million standard cubic ft/d of natural gas to extract

NGLs. An operational start date was not given.

“Because this unit is shop-fabricated and shipped as a

modular system, it benefits from standardized design and

construction techniques that ensure fast project completion

and highly reliable performance,” noted John Gugel, vice

president and general manager for Honeywell UOP’s Gas

Processing and Hydrogen business.

Modular gas processing plants allow midstream gas

companies to expand incrementally as feed volumes increase

over time using parallel process trains, and to upgrade

facilities with additional process capabilities or to

adapt to changing feedstocks and product slates.

 

A Personal Note from the Publisher

With this issue, I

am stepping down as senior editor and publisher of Petro-

Chemical News and turning those responsibilities over to

my very capable daughter, Tammi Weir, who has been a

part of PCN for over 20 years, and an editor for the past

three years.

I have been with PCN for 39 years and have worked in

every aspect of this business. I started out in promotion

and circulation, was promoted to production assistant, became

editor of PCN in 1985 and took over my father Bill

Bland’s role as publisher in 1996. It has been a wonderful

journey, during which I have witnessed a lot of changes.

In 1977, when I first started with PCN, computers,

internet, email and fax didn’t exist. We typed the issue on

galley sheets using an electric typewriter. Typos were not

fixed using spell check or copy and paste, but were corrected

with a straight edge and razor blade on a light box.

We received the majority of our news by mail or telex from

correspondents located around the world or press releases

sent by your companies. Today, we are very grateful for

websites, the speed of email and for change.

It has been my pleasure and a wonderful experience to

be able to travel and get to know many of you personally

over the years. Many friendships and many fond memories

have been made.

I thank you for your continued loyalty and support and

wish you all the very best as I move on to the next chapter

of life—retirement and pursuing personal interests.

V54 N18 – 9 May 2016

Solvay Agrees to Sell Solvay Indupa Stake To Unipar Carbocloro for About $202-MN

Brussels—

Solvay has signed a definitive agreement to sell its 70.59%

interest in Solvay Indupa to Unipar Carbocloro for a total

enterprise value of $202.2-million.

“Solvay’s divestment of Indupa follows our announced

early exit of our European PVC (polyvinyl chloride) joint

venture as Solvay is transforming into a specialty chemicals

group,” said Vincent De Cuyper, member of Solvay’s

executive committee.

Solvay and Ineos recently signed a binding agreement

to end their equally-owned Inovyn PVC venture ahead of

the original July 2018 schedule (PCN, 4 Apr 2016, p 2.

Solvay Indupa, in which Braskem holds the remaining

interest, has facilities for the production of 220,000 t/y of

PVC, 185,000 t/y of caustic soda and 40,000 t/y of caustic

soda pearls in Bahia Blanca, Argentina.

“In acquiring Solvay Indupa, Unipar will strengthen its

strategic position in the caustic soda and chlorine value

chain, extending its chemical footprint in PVC and allowing

for the further development of Indupa,” De Cuyper

added. The transaction is subject to customary closing

conditions and antitrust approval.

 

Bolivia Seeks Engineering Study Bids For Yacuiba Propylene & PP Project

La Paz—The

Bolivian government has invited tenders on the basic engineering

study for a propylene and polypropylene (PP) facility

to be built by state-owned YPFB at Yacuiba, Tarija, in

southern Bolivia (PCN, 18 Apr 2016, p 1).

The $2.2-billion project, for which the Central Bank of

Bolivia has granted a $1.8-million credit, will have the capacity

to produce 250,000 t/y of PP.

YPFB Chief Executive Guillermo Acha said bids must

be received by 2 Sept. 2016. Construction is expected to

begin during the second half of next year, with operations

scheduled to begin in late 2021.

Acha noted that the construction contractor will be required

to hire domestic workers and a Bolivian supplier.

 

Zhejiang Petrochem Awards Design Contract For New Refinery & PC Complex in China

Ningbo—

Zhejiang Petrochemical, owned 51% by Rongsheng Holding

Group, has awarded a design contract to three firms for a

new $15-billion refinery and petrochemical complex in

China, reported Reuters citing industry sources.

The complex, to be built in Zhoushan, involves a

400,000 b/d refinery and a 1.4-million-t/y ethylene plant.

Start-up is expected around 2020.

China Huanqiu Contracting and Engineering Corp. and

Sinopec’s Luoyang Petrochemical Engineering Corp. are

two of the three companies to receive the design contract.

The third company was not identified.

This project will be China’s “first and largest energy installation

to be built by a non-state investor,” the report

noted.

 

Lotte Chemical’s Louisiana EG Project To Use Scientific Design’s Technology

Lake Charles—

Lotte Chemical Louisiana LLC has selected Scientific Design’s

(SD) ethylene oxide/ethylene glycol (EO/EG) technology

for a 700,000-t/y EG plant to be built in Lake Charles,

La. (PCN, 2 Nov 2015, p 2).

SD said the award includes the license of process technology,

the provision of a process design package, technical

assistance and start-up services and the initial charge of

SD’s EO catalyst. A project schedule has not been given.

Samsung Engineering last year received an early works

contract to provide detailed engineering, procurement and

construction plans for the EO plant.

Lotte is erecting the plant adjacent to an ethane-based

ethylene cracker it is building in a joint venture with Axiall

Corp (PCN, 21-28 Dec 2015, p 1). The cracker is expected

to begin production in early 2019.

 

Braskem Confirms 2nd HDPE Facility Has Started Production in Veracruz

São Paulo—

Braskem, in discussing the company’s first quarter earnings,

disclosed that its Braskem Idesa joint venture has

started up the second high-density polyethylene (HDPE)

plant at the Ethylene XXI complex in Veracruz, Mexico.

The first HDPE plant came on line in early April (PCN,

11 Apr 2016, p 1). Braskem Idesa is already selling HDPE

in the Mexican market, and has made its first exports.

Braskem Idesa’s complex consists of a 1-million-t/y ethane-

based cracker, which came on stream in March, two

HDPE plants with a combined 750,000 t/y of capacity, and

a 300,000-t/y low-density polyethylene (LDPE) unit.

“The next step will be the start-up of the third and last

LDPE plant and the stabilization of operations,” Braskem

noted.

 

Sinopec Yangzi Boosting PC Production Using Honeywell UOP MaxEne Process

Nanjing—

Honeywell’s first commercial installation of its UOP Max-

Ene process has successfully entered production at Sinopec

Yangzi Petrochemical Co.’s (YPC) integrated refinery and

petrochemical facility in Nanjing, China, allowing for

higher yields of petrochemicals.

Sinopec partnered with Honeywell UOP to jointly commercialize

the process using Honeywell’ UOP’s pilot plant

technology. Honeywell UOP provided the basic engineering,

key equipment, adsorbents and technical support for

the new unit.

The MaxEne process separates full-range naphtha into

a stream rich in normal paraffins, and a second stream of

iso-paraffins, naphthenes and aromatics, Honeywell explained.

“The normal paraffins are ideal for steam crackers

because they produce high yields of light olefins. The

remaining components are perfect for catalytic reforming

units because they produce high yields of aromatics.” The

process results in up to a 40% higher yield of ethylene from

an existing naphtha cracker without loss in propylene.

 

Braskem Secures Supplies of Propylene To Meet 16% of U.S. & European Needs

São Paulo—

Braskem has entered into a long-term agreement with Enterprise

Products for the supply of sufficient propylene to

meet approximately 16% of the requirements for Braskem’s

polypropylene (PP) plants in the U.S. and Europe.

Braskem has five PP plants in the U.S. with a combined

capacity of 1,465,000 t/y of capacity, and two in Europe

with a total of 545,000 t/y of capacity. The company noted

that its U.S. and European PP plants operated at 100% of

capacity during the first quarter of this year.

Under the 15-year agreement with Enterprise, Braskem

will purchase the propylene at a price based on the

international reference for propane.

Enterprise is currently building a propane dehydrogenation

unit in Mont Belvieu, Texas, that will have the capacity

to produce 750,000 t/y of polymer grade propylene

(PCN, 14 Mar 2016, p 1). The unit is scheduled to begin

commercial operations in the second quarter of 2017.

 

Primus Signs Offtake Accord with Tauber For Marcellus Region Methanol Output

Pittsburgh—

Primus Green Energy has entered into an offtake agreement

with Tauber Oil for all of the methanol to be produced

by Primus at a yet-to-be-determined site in the Marcellus

shale region (PCN, 4 Apr 2016, p 4).

Primus plans a 160-t/d plant that will use its standardized

modular gas-to-liquids systems to convert low-cost

Marcellus gas feedstock into methanol, saving clients in

the region both production and transportation costs.

In addition to Tauber being responsible for the marketing,

sale and distribution of the methanol into the regional

market, its Interconn Resources subsidiary will be responsible

for the supply of natural gas for the Primus plant.

Methanol production is anticipated to come on line in

the fourth quarter of 2017, and Primus has said it expects

to add three additional methanol trains, eventually expanding

capacity to 640 t/d. A site location for the plant

will be announced “in the coming months,” Primus noted.

 

Lotte Chemical Finalizes Acquisition Of Some Samsung Chemical Assets

Seoul—Lotte

Chemical has completed the previously announced acquisition

of interests in Samsung Group’s chemical businesses,

according to local media reports.

Late last year, Samsung confirmed plans to sell a 49%

interest in Samsung BP Chemicals, a 90% interest in Samsung

SDI and the entire stake in Samsung Fine Chemicals

to Lotte in a transaction valued at approximately $2.6-

billion (PCN, 2 Nov 2015, p 1).

 

Iran Commissions Lorestan PE Plant

Tehran—Iran

has started commercial operations at a high-density polyethylene

(HDPE) plant in the western province of Lorestan,

according to Shana News Agency.

The plant is designed to produce 300,000 t/y of HDPE

and 30,000 t/y of butane-1 using 324,000 t/y of ethylene

feedstock supplied via the West Karoun Ethylene Pipeline.

The Iranian Bank of Industry and Mine invested €250-

million to finance development of the project.

 

CF Industries ‘Almost to Finish Line’ With Capacity Expansion Projects

Deerfield—CF Industries,

in reporting its first quarter 2016 results, said

that the company “is almost to the finish line” with its capacity

expansion projects, which are expected to be fully on

line later this year (PCN, 4 Apr 2016, p 2).

A new 3,300-t/d ammonia plant at its Donaldsonville,

La., nitrogen complex is mechanically complete, with precommissioning

and commissioning activities taking place.

The unit is part of a project that will result in the largest

nitrogen facility in the world and includes a 3,500-t/d

urea plant, which came on stream in late 2015, and a

4,500-t/d urea ammonium nitrate plant that was started

up earlier this year.

“These investments will increase our production capacity

and corresponding cash flow by more than 25%,” said

Tony Will, president and chief executive of CF Industries

Holdings.

 

Socar Signs Agreement With Air Liquide For Heydar Aliyev Oil Refinery Project

Baku—State

Oil Co. of Azerbaijan Republic (Socar) and Air Liquide

have signed license, engineering and guarantee agreements

for the Heydar Aliyev oil refinery modernization

project in Baku, Azerbaijan (PCN, 2 May 2016, p 3).

The reconstruction and modernization of the refinery is

expected to be completed in several phases by 2020. No

other details were available on the contract.

Socar last month awarded a front-end engineering design

contract to Amec Foster Wheeler for the project.

 

APNA Opens U.S. Plastic Compounds Unit

Athens—

Asahi Kasei Plastics North America (APNA) has opened a

new plastics compounding unit in Athens, Greece (PCN, 26

May 2014, p 3).

APNA earlier said the facility would have the capacity

to produce 30,000 t/y of Thermylene polypropylene, Leona

polyamide 66 and other performance plastic compounds.

APNA has begun the process to evaluate sites for a new

plastics compounding facility in Queretaro, Mexico.

 

People on the Move

Braskem—Fernando Musa has been appointed president,

replacing Carlos Fadigas, who will continue working

in the Odebrecht Group. Musa was most recently president

of Braskem America.

Ascend Performance Materials—Phil McDivitt, previously

president of the company’s nylon business, has become

president and chief operating officer.

Univar—Stephen D. Newlin has been named president

and chief executive, effective 31 May. He currently serves

as executive chairman of the board at PolyOne and will be

retiring from that position as of 12 May. Newlin will replace

Erik Fyrwald, who is leaving Univar later this month

to become chief executive of another company.

Occidental Petroleum—Vicki A. Hollub has become

president and chief executive, succeeding Stephen I.

Chazen (PCN, 21-28 Dec 2015, p 2). She was most recently

president and chief operating officer.

 

Phillips 66 Partners Reaches Agreement To Buy Sweeny Frac, Standish Pipeline

Houston—

Phillips 66 Partners (the partnership) has reached an

agreement with Phillips 66 to acquire the remaining 75%

interest in Phillips 66 Sweeny Frac LLC (Sweeny Frac)

and the Standish products pipeline, for a total consideration

of $775-million.

Sweeny Frac owns the newly built Sweeny Fractionator

One, a 100,000-b/d natural gas liquids (NGL) fractionator

at Phillips 66’s Sweeny complex in Old Ocean, Texas. It

also owns the Clemens Cavern storage facility that includes

five newly developed caverns that will have an approximate

storage capacity of 7.5-million bbls of Y-grade

NGL, propane and butane, with the capability for future

expansion (PCN, 14 Dec 2015, p 4).

Once the acquisition is complete, the partnership,

which acquired a 25% interest in Sweeny Frac this past

March, will have full ownership. The sale is expected to

close later this month.

 

JX Nippon Develops New Elastomer Type With Rubber and Plastic Characteristics

Tokyo—JX

Nippon Oil & Energy has developed a new type of elastomer,

which is easy to process, and combines the elasticity

of rubber and the cost-competitiveness of plastic, reported

Nikkei Asian Review.

Previous grades lacked flexibility and elasticity, pushing

the company to improve the feedstock mix. The new

elastomer can be produced in large quantities at low cost

and is more environmentally friendly.

The product will be introduced into the local market by

the end of fiscal 2016. Annual demand in Japan is expected

to reach approximately 1-million t/y.

 

U.S. Regulatory Clearance Is Granted For Acquisition of Nuplex by Allnex

Auckland—The

U.S. anti-trust regulatory review process for the proposed

acquisition of Nuplex Industries Ltd. by Allnex Belgium, a

subsidiary of Advent International, has been successfully

completed and approved.

Nuplex, a polymer resins producer, and Allnex, a coating

resins producer, have entered into a Scheme Implementation

Agreement whereby Allnex will acquire all outstanding

shares in Nuplex for NZ$5.43/share in cash.

Subject to the parties obtaining other necessary regulatory

approvals, the transaction is expected to be completed

in November of this year.

 

PQ Completes Merger with Eco Services

Malvern—

PQ Corp. has completed the combination with Eco Services

Operations LLC, a provider of sulfuric acid recycling services,

creating a leading global producer of inorganic specialty

materials and catalysts (PCN, 24-31 Aug 2015, p 3).

The combined business, which retains the name PQ,

will provide “mission-critical products and services to the

refinery industry, with PQ supplying catalysts necessary

for the refining of crude oil and Eco Services providing sulfuric

acid regeneration services needed in the alkylation

process,” said George J. Blitz, president and chief executive

of the combined company.

 

PGPIC Seeking Public Contributions To Finance Petrochemical Projects

Tehran—Persian

Gulf Petrochemical Industries Co. (PGPIC) said it needs

$7-billion to finance new petrochemical projects this calendar

year and is seeking public contributions.

“In the first step, we will renovate the holding’s plants

as much as possible, and will then move on to carrying out

new projects to supply domestic and international markets,”

noted Adel Nejad Salim, head of PGPIC.

In a final step, the company will consider stakes in “lucrative”

petrochemicals firms.

PGPIC has begun talks with 15 international petrochemicals

companies for completing the projects.

 

Sabic Looking to the U.S. for Supplies Of Shale Gas for Petchem Production

Riyadh—Saudi

Basic Industries Corp. (Sabic), due to a shortage of local

natural gas, is considering the U.S. for the supply of shale

gas feedstock for petrochemicals production, according to

Reuters.

“In terms of industry growth, we see growth chasing

where feedstock is competitive, and the U.S. is top of the

list,” said the report quoting Mosaed Ohali, chief financial

officer of Sabic.

Last year, the company signed its first agreement with

an unidentified party for the supply of ethane from the

U.S. to Sabic’s Wilton, Teeside, site in the UK, where its

cracker is being modified to use shale gas (PCN, 27 Apr

2015, p 2). That project is due to be completed this year.

Separately, Ohali noted that Sabic is eyeing technologies,

such as coal-to-chemicals in China. No other details

were available.

 

AkzoNobel, Royal Cosun to Process Sugar Beets for Cellulose Products

Amsterdam—Akzo-

Nobel and Royal Cosun, an agro-industrial cooperative,

have partnered to develop novel products from cellulose

side stream resulting from sugar beet processing.

The companies will combine AkzoNobel’s expertise in

the chemical modification of cellulose with Royal Cosun’s

knowledge in separating and purifying agricultural process

side streams.

“This is an exciting collaboration with a lot of possibilities,”

said Geert Hofman, general manager of performance

additives in AkzoNobel’s Ethylene and Sulfur Derivatives

business. “It has the potential to deliver a wide range of

innovative cellulose-based products . . . , addressing the

need for more sustainable raw materials from a variety of

industries, such as food and healthcare, as well as the coatings

and construction sectors.”

 

U.S. Chemicals Acquired by Maroon

Avon—Maroon

Group LLC, owned by Maroon Group management and

affiliates of equity firm CI Capital Partners, has acquired

U.S. Chemicals for an undisclosed amount.

U.S Chemicals supplies specialty chemicals to the plastics,

lubricants and CASE (coating, adhesives, sealants and

elastomers) industries.

The management team of U.S. chemicals will continue

to actively manage the business.

 

‘World’s Largest’ Ethane Vessel to Deliver Ethane to Borealis’ Stenungsund Units

Stenungsund–

Navigator Aurora, which will be the “world’s largest” ethane

carrier after its commissioning in the fourth quarter of

this year, will deliver ethane to Borealis’ production facilities

in Stenungsund, Sweden (PCN, 11 Aug 2014, p 3).

In 2014, Borealis signed a shipping agreement with

Navigator Holdings to build a ship to ensure long-term,

reliable ethane supply to Sweden. The 35,000 cubic meter

state-of-the-art vessel is equipped with dual fuel engines

and has the capacity to hold up to 20,000 tons of ethane.

The carrier will transport ethane from the Marcus

Hook, Penn., refinery to Stenungsund. Commercial operations

are scheduled to begin in the fourth quarter of 2016.

Additionally, Borealis noted that its €160-million project

at Stenungsund to upgrade and revamp four of six

cracker furnaces is proceeding according to plan (PCN, 7

Dec 2015, p 2).

The project involves upgrading the four furnaces to the

highest currently available standards in process safety and

energy efficiency. Completion is expected by 2020. The

project also includes a new unloading and storage facility,

which will begin commissioning in the fourth quarter of

this year.

 

Biochemtex & Valmet Join to Develop Process for Biochemicals from Lignin

Tortona—Biochemtex,

a subsidiary of Mossi Ghisolfi Group, and Valmet

are collaborating in a project that will combine the companies’

technologies to convert lignin into biochemicals.

The project will combine Valmet’s proprietary Ligno-

Boost technology for the extraction of purified lignin from

black liquor, with Biochemtex’s proprietary Moghi technology,

which converts lignin into biofuels and biochemicals.

The partnership will provide the biochemical industry with

a consistent lignin stream for use as feedstock to produce

bio-based thermoplastic polymer.

“Cooperation with Valmet will allow to increase the

feedstock available to produce bioPX [bio paraxylene], a

key raw material for the production of PET [polyethylene

terephthalate] made from 100% renewable sources,” said

Biochemtex Chief Executive Giovanni Bolcheni.

Existing pilot plant facilities, and a dedicated demonstration

unit under construction in Italy, “combined with

the skills and know-how of both organizations, will provide

a solid base to deliver a fast and positive outcome for this

exciting opportunity,” he added.

 

Air Products in Definitive Agreement to Sell Performance Materials Division to Evonik

Allentown–

Air Products has signed a definitive agreement to sell its

Performance Materials Division (PMD) to Evonik Industries

for $3.8-billion in cash (PCN, 21-28 Mar 2016, p 4).

Under the terms of the agreement, the operational facilities,

supplier contracts, labs, contracts, customers, and

employees and certain legal entities associated with PMD

would transfer to Evonik. Evonik plans to continue running

the PMD from Allentown, Penn.

The sale, subject to regulatory approvals and customary

closing conditions, is expected to close before the end of this

year.

Air Products previously announced its intention to spinoff

its Electronic Materials Division (EMD) to shareholders

and rename it Versum Materials. The company said it is

on track to separate EMD by the end of September and will

continue to evaluate whether debt and equity market conditions

are favorable for a tax-free spin off.

PMD and EMD are both part of Air Products’ Materials

Technologies segment.

 

M. Holland Expands Resins Distribution With Acquisition of Puerto Rican Firms

San Juan—

M. Holland Co. has expanded its thermoplastic resins distribution

business with the acquisition of sibling companies

Able International Corp. and Tril Export Corp., both

based in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

M. Holland said Able is the leading resin distributor in

Puerto Rico, while Tril is the leading resin distributor in

the Caribbean, in addition to serving customers in Central

and South America. Combined, the two companies sell

about 50-million lbs/yr of thermoplastic resins.

“This expansion will help position M. Holland as the

resin distribution leader in Latin American markets,”

commented M. Holland President and Chief Executive Ed

Holland.

 

ChemChina Finalizes $1-BN Purchase Of Machinery Producer KraussMaffei

Munich—Chem-

China, in a consortium with Guoxin International Investment

Corp. and AGIC Capital, has completed the purchase

of Munich, Germany-based KraussMaffei Group from Onex

Corp. for $1-billion (PCN, 18 Jan 2016, p 4).

Going forward, KraussMaffei will remain headquartered

in Munich and will serve as ChemChina’s principal

business entity in the operating and managing of related

machinery enterprises. ChemChina’s existing rubber machinery

and related production businesses will integrate

with the KraussMaffei Group.

“Through our strong management and technology skills

we will be able to develop several fields and strengthen

them to compete within the international market,” said

Frank Stieler, chief executive of KrassMaffei. “We are

thereby expanding our existing product portfolio, especially

in the field of machines for the production of tires. The

necessary steps will be initiated in the coming weeks.”

V54 N17 – 2 May 2016

W. R. Grace Initials Accord for Purchase Of BASF’s Polyolefin Catalysts Business

Columbia—

W. R. Grace & Co. has signed an agreement to acquire the

polyolefin catalysts business assets of BASF for an undisclosed

amount.

BASF’s polyolefin catalysts business includes its Lynx

high-activity polyethylene catalysts technologies and its

Lynx polypropylene catalyst technologies. The acquisition

also includes production plants in Pasadena, Texas, and

Tarragona, Spain, as well as patents, trademarks and

about 170 employees worldwide.

The assets will provide Grace with significant additional

flexibility and capacity for its global polyolefin

manufacturing network, Grace noted. The transaction is

expected to close in the third quarter of this year, pending

customary closing conditions.

“This is an important addition to Grace’s strong portfolio

of polyolefin catalysts technologies,” said Grace Chairman

and Chief Executive Fred Festa. “Grace is uniquely

positioned to serve the growing needs of the polyolefins

market and benefit from operational synergies. This opportunity

is perfectly aligned with our focus on core catalysts

and materials technologies.”

 

Maharashtra Refinery and PC Complex Under Study by IOCL, BPCL & HPCL

New Delhi—

Indian Oil Corp. Ltd. (IOCL), Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd.

(BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corp. Ltd. (HPCL) are

planning to jointly establish a refinery and petrochemical

complex in Maharashtra, India, according to local business

reports citing Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of State for

Petroleum & Natural Gas.

Engineers India Ltd. is conducting a detailed feasibility

study for the project, which would be undertaken in two

phases and include a 60-million-t/y refinery.

IOCL, BPCL and HPCL, in consultation with the Maharashtra

government, are in the process of selecting a site

for the project.

Once the financial and operational parameters of the

complex are determined, the three companies will make a

decision on the project’s equity structure and financing.

 

Xinjiang Blue Ridge Tunhe Chem Starts PTMEG Line Using Invista Technology

Shanghai—

Xinjiang Blue Ridge Tunhe Chemical Industry JSC has

started up a new 46,000-t/y polytetramethylene ether glycol

(PTMEG) line in Changji City, China.

The line utilizes Invista’s latest methanolysis catalyst

removal technology.

“We look forward to extending the successful cooperation

between Tunhe and Invista on a more long-term prospect

involving expansion of Tunhe’s BDO (1,4 butanediol)

asset, expansion of Tunhe’s polyester assets and backward

integration into PTA (purified terephthalic acid),” said

Tunhe Chairman Li Peng.

 

Nova Chem Suspends Work at PE1 Site Due to Accident/Death of a Contractor

Joffre—Nova

Chemicals has suspended construction on its PE1 expansion

project, following the injury and death of a contractor

working on a stationary crane at the site.

The site has been secured and an investigation has begun.

“We are collaborating fully with the regulatory authorities

as they carry our their investigation,” said Bill

Greene, senior vice president of Nova. An expected restart

date was not given.

The PE1 project will add between 950-million and 1.1-

billion lbs/yr of linear low-density polyethylene (PE) capacity,

increasing the site’s PE capacity by about 40% (PCN,

23 June 2014, p 4).

When announcing the project in 2014, Nova said the

project was due to be commissioned in the fall of 2015.

Last month, the company said mechanical completion is

scheduled in the third quarter of this year, with commissioning

and start-up expected in the fourth quarter.

 

PMV Venture Declares Force Majeure; Pajaritos Death Toll Increases to 32

Pajaritos—The

Petroquímica Mexicana de Vinilo (PMV) joint venture between

Mexichem and Pemex has declared force majeure on

vinyl chloride monomer, ethylene, dichloroethane, muriatic

acid and anhydrous hydrogen chloride shipped from its

Pajaritos petrochemical complex in Veracruz, Mexico, as a

result of a 20 Apr. explosion (PCN, 25 Apr 2016, p 1).

At the same time, Mexichem Resinas Vinilicas and

Mexichem Resinas Colombia have placed polyvinyl chloride

on an allocations plan “for the month of May and subsequent

months,” Mexichem noted.

As of PCN’s press deadline, the death toll from the incident

had risen to 32, and PMV had not yet determined the

cause of the incident or extent of damage.

 

CPDC Exercises an Option to Sell Axiall Its 40% Stake in TCI Chlor-Alkali JV

Atlanta—Axiall

has confirmed that China Petrochemical Development

Corp. (CPDC) has exercised its option to sell its 40% interest

in Taiwan Chlorine Industries (TCI), a chlor-alkali joint

venture of Axiall and CPDC, to Axiall for $100-million.

In 2013, PPG Industries separated its commodity

chemicals business and merged the business with Georgia

Gulf to establish Axiall, making TCI a joint venture of Axiall

and CPDC (PCN, 4 Feb 2013, p 1).

Axiall, which currently holds a 60% interest in TCI, has

the contractual option to have PPG rather than Axiall acquire

CPDC’s 40% interest. Axiall said it is assessing the

matter.

TCI noted that it uses the most advanced membrane technology

to produce chlor-alkali. It produces liquid chlorine,

liquid caustic soda, hydrochloric acid, bleach and hydrogen.

The company has about 120,000 t/y of liquid chlorine

capacity.

 

Aramco Supporting Saudi Vision 2030 To Move Away from Oil Dependence

Dhahran—Saudi

Aramco has expressed its unequivocal support for Saudi

Vision 2030, a plan announced 25 Apr. by the Council of

Ministers to transform the Saudi economy away from its

dependence on oil.

Khalid A. Al-Falih, chairman of the company’s board of

directors, noted Saudi Vision 2030, which includes an initial

public offering of 5% of Saudi Aramco, is a “pioneering

and game-changing plan that will enable sustained economic

growth, diversification and job creation to benefit

the Kingdom and its citizens for generations to come.” He

said Saudi Aramco “will remain fully engaged as a champion

of transformation.”

Al-Falih agreed on the urgent need to shift Saudi Arabia

from an oil-based economy. “There needs to be a fundamental

shift in our economic landscape if we are to reduce

our unsustainable over-reliance on oil. Therefore,

accelerating reforms across key economic sectors, privatization

of key industries and the creation of a globally competitive

small- and medium-sized enterprise sector are essential

to delivering Saudi Vision 2030.

“The message is clear: Saudi Arabia is opening itself for

further investment by those already in the Kingdom, as

well as openly inviting potential future investors,” Al-Falih

continued. “Investment and export opportunities exist for

global companies who want to take advantage of Saudi

Arabia’s ready access to infrastructure and abundant supply

of energy. . . . The government will continue to ease

regulations to make the Kingdom one of the most attractive

locations in the world to do business.”

 

Praxair Investing in Geismar Facility To Add New CO Purification Train

Geismar—Praxair

is spending over $100-million at its Geismar, La., facility to

add a new carbon monoxide (CO) purification train to support

growing customer demand in the Mississippi River

corridor.

The 13-million standard cu ft/day train will include a

new CO cold box and other upgrades that utilize Praxair’s

own technologies. Completion is expected in the second

half of 2018.

“Our investment will result in increased supply for our

customers throughout the region as we continue to see the

growth of their own production capabilities,” said Dr.

Samir Serhan, president of Global Hydrogen. “We are

committed to serving this accelerating marketplace by expanding

our network.”

 

Air Liquide Finishes Redevelopment Of Its Bayport Industrial Complex

Houston—Air Liquide

has completed a $230-million upgrade and expansion

of its world-scale industrial complex in the Bayport industrial

district in Texas (PCN, 1 July 2014, p 4).

The project included upgrades to four state-of-the-art,

energy efficient cogeneration units to increase capacity and

extend the life of the units by more than 20 years. It also

included the upgrade and expansion of an air separation

unit, as well as additional infrastructure upgrades.

Air Liquide announced the project in 2013, when it

signed a new long-term contract to provide steam, power,

air gases and water to three LyondellBasell sites at the

Bayport industrial hub.

 

AkzoNobel Teams with Atul to Study Possible Monochloroacetic Acid JV

Gujarat—Akzo-

Nobel and Atul Ltd. have signed a letter of intent to explore

the feasibility of establishing a joint venture to produce

monochloroacetic acid (MCA) in India.

The two companies plan to build a world-scale MCA

plant at Atul’s existing site in Gujarat. The project would

use chlorine and hydrogen produced by Atul, and would

take advantage of Atul’s existing infrastructure and Akzo-

Nobel’s eco-friendly hydrogenation technology.

“As a company, we are committed to achieving growth

in India and this cooperation presents a unique opportunity

for us to participate in the Indian MCA market,” said

Werner Fuhrmann, member of AkzoNobel’s executive

committee responsible for specialty chemicals.

 

Kayan Restarts EO/EG Dependent Units

Jubail—

Sabic affiliate Saudi Kayan has notified Tadawul that as of

26 Apr. 2016 it has restarted all units at its Jubail complex

that rely on ethylene oxide (EO) and ethylene glycol (EG).

The company on 10 Apr. resumed operations of the

EO/EG plant after completing periodic scheduled maintenance

and necessary technical reforms.

Saudi Kayan, in which Sabic holds a 35% interest, has

the capacity to produce 550,000 t/y of EO and 566,000 t/y of

EG in Jubail.

 

Sergey Vasnetsov Leaving LyondellBasell

London—

Sergey Vasnetsov, LyondellBasell’s senior vice president of

Strategic Planning and Transactions, has announced his

decision to leave the company at the end of May for personal

and family reasons.

Having held the position since joining the company in

2010, Vasnetsov “has played a key role in guiding the company

to its leading industry position,” commented Chief

Executive Bob Patel. No replacement has been named.

 

People on the Move

Shin-Etsu Chemical—Yasuhiko Saitoh, currently an

executive vice president, has been named president to succeed

Shunzo Mori, who will become director and counselor.

Fumio Akiya has been named vice chairman. He is

presently an executive vice president. The appointments

will be formally decided at a board of director’s meeting on

29 June.

China Petrochemical Development Corp.—Lin

Keh-ming has been appointed chairman, effective immediately,

to replace Shen Ching-ching, who has resigned for

health reasons. Lin has been a member of the board.

Amec Foster Wheeler—Dr. Jonathan Lewis has been

appointed chief executive, effective 1 June, to replace interim

chief executive Ian McHoul, who will remain as chief

financial officer. Lewis is currently at Halliburton as senior

vice president of the Completions and Production Division

and a member of the executive committee.

BASF Vietnam—Tanachart Ralsiripong, most recently

local business manager – ASEAN, Intermediates, has been

named managing director of BASF Vietnam, effective 1

May. He succeeds Petrus Ng, who will become managing

director of BASF Thailand.

 

Arkema Joins Project to Recycle PMMA To Make New Thermoplastic Materials

Colombes—

Arkema has signed an agreement to join Reverplast—a

project aimed at introducing recycled materials, namely

polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), into the production of

new thermoplastic materials.

The Reverplast project is part of new measures

launched by the French government to assist companies in

their circular economy approach based on committing to

green growth. “Given the growing scarcity of raw materials,

the circular economy goes well beyond mere recycling;

it also has to contribute to securing supply to fast growing

markets and to minimizing extraction at source,” Arkema

explained.

Altuglas PMMA best meets the criterion, the company

noted, as it is “able to be regenerated into its original

monomer and so be reintroduced into the new ‘resins’

manufacturing process.”

Accordingly, the Reverplast project aims to create an

end-of-life PMMA recovery stream to obtain the new

acrylic resins. The resins will then be used to manufacture

thermoplastic composite materials.

Other partners in the project include Canoe, Paprec,

Indra and Plastinov.

 

PTTGC Firming Partners, Financing And Design of Ohio Ethane Cracker

Bangkok—PTT

Global Chemical’s (PTTGC) plans for an ethane cracker

and petrochemical complex in Belmont, Ohio, are expected

to be finalized in terms of partnership, finance and design

in early 2017, reported the Bangkok Post, citing PTTGC

Chairman Prasert Bunsumpun.

The $5.7-billion complex will use shale gas from the

Marcellus basin and will be designed to produce 1-million

t/y of ethylene, 700,000 t/y of high-density polyethylene

(HDPE), 500,000 t/y of ethylene glycol and 100,000 t/y of

ethylene oxide (PCN, 16 Nov 2015, p 1).

PTTGC earlier awarded Technip a contract for the supply

of its ethylene technology and the process design package

for the cracker, and selected Ineos’ Innovene S process

for the HDPE plant.

 

Amec Foster Wheeler Wins Feed Contract To Modernize Heydar Aliyev Oil Refinery

Baku—

Amec Foster Wheeler has been awarded a front-end engineering

design contract by State Oil Co. of Azerbaijan Republic

(Socar) for the modernization of the Heydar Aliyev

oil refinery in Baku, Azerbaijan.

In an alliance with Socar Foster Wheeler Engineering,

Amec Foster Wheeler’s scope of work includes the development

of several facilities and the integration of technologies

by other providers at the refinery to increase the refinery’s

capacity and improve the quality of fuel produced.

A number of existing facilities will also be revamped.

Amec Foster Wheeler’s portion of the project is scheduled

for completion in the first quarter of 2017, while the

whole refinery modernization process is expected to be

completed in several phases by early 2020.

In 2011, Socar completed a pipeline for the transport of

dry gas from the refinery to its Azerikimya subsidiary’s

ethylene and polyethylene facilities at Sumgayit in Azerbaijan

(PCN, 15 Aug 2011, p 4).

 

BioAmber Secures C$10-Million Loan To Grow Renewable Chems Business

Sarnia—Bio-

Amber Sarnia, a joint venture of BioAmber and Mitsui &

Co., has secured a C$10-million loan from BDC Capital to

strengthen the balance sheet and increase the working

capital of the venture’s bio-succinic acid plant in Sarnia,

Ontario, Canada (PCN, 15 Feb 2016, p 3).

BioAmber Sarnia recently began commercial scale production

of bio-succinic acid at its new 30,000-t/y plant. The

facility, which uses glucose as feedstock, is expected to

reach full capacity in 2017.

“The financing announced today will enable BioAmber

Sarnia to expand its working capital and grow its renewable

chemicals business,” said Jerome Nycz, executive vice

president of BDC Capital.

“By supporting companies that invest in clean technologies,

we will help diversify and strengthen our economy

while also generating jobs and prosperity for the longterm,”

Nycz explained.

The loan is subject to completion of certain customary

conditions.

 

Mofcom Maintains Anti-Dumping Duties On PA6 from U.S., EU, Russia & Taiwan

Beijing—

China’s Ministry of Commerce (Mofcom), following an expiry

review that began on 22 Apr. 2015, has decided to

maintain measures against polyamide 6 (PA6) from the

U.S., EU, Russia and Taiwan for five years (PCN, 29 June

2015, p 4).

The ministry has determined that “if the anti-dumping

measures were terminated, the dumping of [PA6] may continue

or recur in China and their damages made to the

mainland industry may continue or recur.”

 

BASF Opens New Specialty Amines Unit

Nanjing—

BASF has inaugurated a new specialty amines production

plant at its existing site in the Nanjing Chemical Industry

Park in Nanjing, China.

The new facility produces polyetheramines and dimethylaminopropylamine.

The plant complements existing

facilities in the U.S. and Germany, the company noted.

“This new production plant improves our flexibility to

better and quicker serve our customers by ensuring a stable

supply in the Asia Pacific region,” said Narayan Krishnamohan,

senior vice president, BASF Intermediates Asia

Pacific.

 

Socar Polymer Arranges Product Sales

Baku—Socar

Polymer has arranged for the sale of high-density polyethylene

(HDPE) and polypropylene (PP) from plants under

construction at the Sumgayit Chemical Industrial Park in

Azerbaijan to be handled by subsidiaries of State Oil Co. of

Azerbaijan Republic (Socar), according to the Azerbaijan

Business Center.

Socar Polymer, a venture of Socar, Pasha Holding, Azersun

Holding and Gilan Holding, expects to commission

facilities for the production of 120,000 t/y of HDPE and

180,000 t/y of PP in 2018 (PCN, 25 Jan 2016, p 2).

The Socar Marketing & Economic Operations Dept. will

be responsible for sale of HDPE and PP locally, while Socar

Trading will be responsible for foreign sales.

 

Clariant Discloses Strategy in China With Focus on 5 Local Components

Shanghai—

Clariant has unveiled steps it plans to take to become a

“China insider,” focusing on five local components (5Ls)—

local insight, competitiveness, empowerment, innovation

and partnership.

The 5Ls strategic framework is intended to bring the

Greater China region of Clariant into more focus, Clariant

explained. The company is taking decisive measures to

manage this market differently, including the relocation of

Christian Kohlpainter, member of Clariant’s executive

committee, to China as of 1 May.

“China is a decisive market for Clariant,” said Kohlpainter.

“When we look at the specialty chemicals market

in China, we expect growth of about 7% per year. There is

a clear trend for more consumption driven growth, with

increasing consumer demands and a shift towards innovative

products and service offerings.”

Jay Kreibaum, regional head for Clariant in Greater

China, provided details on the 5Ls plan. He noted the One

Clariant Campus, on which construction is set to begin at

the end of this year to house the company’s regional headquarters

and a regional innovation center.

Additionally, Clariant intends to invest 40% of its

global investments in China during 2017.

“Our vision is to support China’s transformation with

our innovative and sustainable solutions. Through our 5Ls

strategic framework, Clariant is continuing to extend the

depth and breadth of our vision in China’s changing business

landscape as we become a true China insider,” Kreibaum

said during Chinaplas 2016. “We will be able to focus

on those segments relevant to China’s development

going forward, enhance our innovation activities, take a

more active part in the collaboration with partners, and

improve our routes to market in order to help bring sustainable

development here to benefit the rest of the world.”

 

NKNK Starts Up Purification Unit

Nizhnekamsk—

Nizhnekamskneftekhim (NKNK) has started up a glycol

purification unit in the ethylene glycol (MEG)-1 unit of its

ethylene oxide plant in Nizhnekamsk in Russia’s Tatarstan

Republic.

Pilot-scale tests have shown that the quality of MEG

meets the requirements of polyethylene terephthalate and

synthetic fiber producers.

The company said it plans to install a similar unit in its

MEG-3 facility.

 

Society of Plastics Engineers Names Three Dow Researchers as Fellows

Midland—The Society

of Plastics Engineers (SPE) has elected three Dow researchers

among the newest Fellows of the society to be honored

for their outstanding contributions in plastics science,

engineering, or management.

The Dow honorees include Bharat Chaudhary, principal

research scientist. He has more than 26 years of experience

leading research and development in a variety of areas

related to polymer modification.

Stephane Costeux, research and development fellow,

has applied his expertise in rheology, materials science,

polymer processing and modeling to the design of commercial

high-melt strength resins and new foam materials, and

to the advancement of nanocellular foam technology.

Finally, Mridula Kapur, a materials science fellow in

Dow’s Packaging and Specialty Plastics business unit, is

being recognized for her research work in a number of areas

including a novel multifunctional analyzer approach

for product quality control; combination of catalyst, process,

and materials science with application performance

requirements resulting in new, enhanced performance

polyethylene product portfolios; and intellectual property

protection.

They will be honored at SPE’s Antec 2016 conference on

23-25 May 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

 

Covestro Announces Goal to Reduce Its CO2 Emissions in Half by 2025

Leverkusen—Covestro

said it has set “ambitious” sustainability targets for

itself with plans to reduce its specific carbon dioxide (CO2)

emissions per ton of product by 50% by 2025 using a base

line of 2005.

“We set our first target of a 20% reduction of CO2 emissions

in 2005 and hit this within six years. We then set a

target of 30% and achieved that within three years. The

next target was 40%, and, while we are still on the home

stretch, we are already planning for a new record,” explained

Richard Northcote, chief sustainability officer.

The company noted it is joining global governments,

civil society and forward-looking private sector businesses

in making a commitment to the United Nations Sustainability

Development Goals.

 

NAC Global Signs LoI for Merger With Swiss Heights Engineering

Jacksonville—NAC

Global Technologies Inc. (NACG) has signed a letter of intent

to acquire Swiss Heights Engineering SA, a Lugano,

Switzerland-based company that holds 100% of the Bellelli

group of companies and 100% of the Petrochem Industrie

group of companies.

NACG said the proposed merger would “vastly” expand

its business size and global footprint in the petrochemical,

chemical processing, engineering services and energy markets.

The acquired companies would become wholly-owned

subsidiaries of NACG.

Additional details will be disclosed once a definitive

agreement is executed, which is expected during the second

quarter of this year.

V54 N16 – 25 April 2016

Mexichem Confirms Explosion, Deaths At VCM Plant of PMV Joint Venture

Pajaritos—Mexichem

has confirmed a 20 Apr. explosion and resulting

deaths at the Clorados III vinyl chloride monomer (VCM)

plant belonging to its Petroquímica Mexicana de Vinilo

(PMV) joint venture with Pemex at the Pajaritos petrochemical

complex in Veracruz, Mexico.

Following the explosion, all pipelines and valves were

turned off and the plant was shut down. After the facility

is cooled, work will begin to determine the cause of the accident

and to assess the damage, Mexichem said.

The company also confirmed the deaths of at least 24

workers, with a total of 136 injured workers taken to area

hospitals.

In 2013, PMV launched a project to increase the site’s

VCM production to its nameplate capacity of 405,000 t/y

from an actual production rate of about 200,000 t/y (PCN, 7

Mar 2016, p 3).

 

Unipetrol Sets Damaged Cracker Restart; PE Plant Construction to Begin in June

Litvinov—

Unipetrol expects in August to begin partial operation of

the steam cracker damaged by a fire last August at its Litvinov,

Czech Republic, complex (PCN, 7 Dec 2015, p 1).

Chief Executive Marek Switajewski said the company

has transported four new furnaces to the site and plans to

complete all repairs in July. It is expected the 544,000-t/y

ethylene plant will resume operations at 80% of capacity in

August and achieve maximum capacity utilization in October

2016.

“In the first quarter of 2016 we also proceeded with intensive

preparatory works for construction of the new polyethylene

(PE) unit,” Switajewski added. “The main part of

the production, the construction of the modern production

facility, will begin in June.”

Unipetrol last year awarded Technip the engineering,

procurement and construction contract for a 270,000-t/y

high-density PE plant in Litvinov based on Ineos’ Innovene

S technology (PCN,1 Feb 2016, p 3).

 

Invista Successfully Starts Up Facility For Production of HMD in Shanghai

Shanghai—Invista

has successfully started up a new 215,000-t/y hexamethylene

diamine (HMD) facility at the Shanghai Chemical

Industry Park in China (PCN, 31 Mar 2014, p 1).

“Asia—and China in particular—remains a region with

long-term potential for demand growth in nylon 6,6, and

the new HMD facility enables us to better support our customers,”

noted Bill Greenfield, president of Invista Intermediates.

The HMD facility is part of an approximately $1-billion

project that includes a new 150,000-t/y nylon 6,6 plant and

300,000-t/y adiponitrile unit. All the plants are based on

Invista’s advanced technologies. Expected start-up of the

remaining plants was not given.

 

Westlake Begins Ethylene Expansion At Petro 1 Olefins Unit in Louisiana

Lake Charles—

Westlake Chemical told PCN it has begun an ethylene expansion

at its Petro 1 olefins unit in Lake Charles, La.

(PCN, 24 Nov-1 Dec 2014, p 1).

The expansion, being done during a planned turnaround

that is expected to last approximately 80 days, will

increase ethylene capacity at the site by about 250-million

lbs/yr to a total of around 1.5-billion lbs/yr.

In 2014, Westlake awarded Technip a contract to provide

detailed engineering and procurement services for the

expansion. At the time, Westlake said it planned to invest

more than $330-million in the project.

 

Technip to Supply Proprietary Equipment For S-Oil’s Fluid Catalytic Cracking Unit

Ulsan—

Daelim has awarded Technip a contract by to provide its

proprietary equipment for the “world’s first” commercial

high severity catalytic cracking (HS-FCC) unit at S-Oil’s

refinery in Onsan, S. Korea (PCN, 20 July 2015, p 2).

The HS-FCC unit, being built as part of an expansion of

S-Oil’s existing residue conversion facilities at the refinery,

cracks heavy hydrocarbons into lighter olefins, such as

propylene, and lighter fuels, such as gasoline.

Last May, a consortium of Daelim and Daewoo Engineering

received an order from S-Oil to build a $4.1-billion

refinery and olefins project at S-Oil’s Onsan refinery that

is planned for completion in the first half of 2018.

 

LyondellBasell Initiates Planned Boost Of Corpus Christi Ethylene Capacity

Houston—LyondellBasell,

in reporting its first quarter 2016 results, said it

has begun an ethylene capacity expansion at its Corpus

Christi site in Texas (PCN, 8 Feb 2016, p 1).

The expansion, being performed during a planned

maintenance turnaround, will add 800-million lbs/yr of

ethylene capacity. The company expects to ramp up toward

full utilization of the expanded capacity during the

third quarter.

 

Kuraray America Completes Construction Of New Bayport Polyvinyl Alcohol Plant

Houston—Kuraray’s U.S. subsidiary Kuraray America has completed

construction of a new polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) plant in Bayport,

Texas, costing approximately $300-million.

The 40,000-t/y facility “is capable of integrated manufacturing

from dealing with the raw material vinyl acetate

monomer to creating finished products, and is highly costcompetitive

owing to its ability to use shale gas and other

inexpensive raw materials and fuels,” the company noted.

With this plant, Kuraray now has a total worldwide

PVA production capacity of 361,000 t/y.

 

NWIW Cancels Tacoma Methanol Project Following Careful Review & Evaluation

Tacoma—

Northwest Innovation Works (NWIW), after a careful review

and evaluation, has decided to cancels plans for a new

methanol facility on the Port of Tacoma site (PCN, 18 Apr

2016, p 2).

Plans for the project included a two-phase, $3.6-billion

natural gas-to-methanol facility that would include up to

four lines, each with a capacity of 5,000 t/d using Johnson

Matthey’s ultra-low emission reforming technology.

NWIW’s decision to terminate the project was based on

several factors, including the length of time it would take

to resolve pollution that remains at the former smelter site;

the lack of time to conduct necessary due diligence and

environmental analysis, and the various proposals to

change the regulatory requirements for the site, which

have injected additional risk into the process.

“Given what we know about the site and the process going

forward, we estimate that we would need at least three

more years of development activities to perform the necessary

due diligence, public process, and environmental

analysis,” NWIW President Vee Godley said.

“While we do not see a way forward with the Port of Tacoma

to realize this vision at this location, we remain

committed to building facilities that offer a cleaner way to

make products necessary for daily life, and to investing

billions in local communities in the Pacific Northwest,”

noted Godley. The company plans to build similar projects

at Port of Kalama, Wash., and Port Westward, Oregon.

 

Malaysia Receives Proposal for 2nd Ammonia Plant in State of Sabah

Sipitang—Malaysia’s

Sabah state cabinet has accepted a proposal from an unidentified

petroleum firm for construction of a second ammonia

plant in the state, Malaysian sources reported.

State Deputy Chief Minister Raymond Tan Shu Kiah

said the project, costing between $3-billion and $5-billion,

would be the largest gas to liquid project in the Sipitang

Oil and Gas Industry Park (SOGIP) and turn the state into

a world-class petrochemical hub.

Petronas Chemicals Group (PCG) is currently completing

the first ammonia and urea facility in SOGIP (PCN, 14

Mar 2016, p 3). Tan said PCG’s plant, designed to produce

740,000 t/y of ammonia and 1.2-million t/y of urea, is on

schedule to begin commercial production in the third quarter

of this year, marking the start of Sabah’s petrochemical

industry.

 

DSM Opens New Research & Tech Center In Ranjangaon for Engineering Plastics

Pune—DSM

has opened its new research and technology center for engineering

plastics in Ranjangaon, Pune, India.

DSM will be able to work closely with customers in supporting

new product and application development using a

wide variety of equipment for material and application

testing, including injection molding, polymer characterization,

physical property testing and thermal and thermal

analysis, the company explained.

The facility, capable of providing test data for DSM’s

wide portfolio of engineering plastics, also includes a laboratory-

scale twin screw extruder. New testing equipment

and capabilities can be added as needed.

 

Indorama Ventures Lifts Force Majeure Declared on Clear Lake EO/EG Facility

Houston—

Indorama Ventures has lifted the force majeure declared

on ethylene oxide (EO) and ethylene glycol (EG) at its Indorama

Ventures Oxide and Glycols Ltd. facility in Clear

Lake, Texas (PCN, 29 Feb 2016, p 2).

The force majeure, declared on 16 Feb. 2016, was the

result of a mechanical problem, which occurred while

changing a catalyst. The plant has returned to normal

operations, Indorama said.

Indorama Ventures Oxide and Glycols has a total capacity

of 550,000 t/y of EO and EG.

 

Competitive Pressures Continue to Rise For EU Chem Sector, Says Cefic Report

Brussels—

Despite growing global demand for chemicals and better

environmental and energy efficiency performance of the

EU chemical industry, competitive pressures on the sector

keep rising, according to a new report by Cefic, the EU

chemical industry council.

The world landscape of the industry is changing rapidly.

China continues to dominate and is planning an ambitious

industrial policy strategy to take its chemical industry

to the next stage of development, Cefic noted. The

U.S., which is riding the shale gas boom, is challenging the

EU chemical industry, and in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia

is embarking on an ambitious strategy aiming to increase

downstream production of chemicals.

By comparison, the European chemical industry faces

high energy and feedstock costs and a complex regulatory

environment, resulting in declining export competitiveness.

Producing ethylene in Europe is twice as expensive

as in the U.S. This is boosting profits abroad and attracting

billions of dollars in investment, which Europe is missing

out on.

“It is crucial for Europe to enable this sector to innovate

and transform from the existing asset base, to allow it to

act as enabler of key materials and supplier for other sectors

in Europe, also in the next decades,” said Marco Mensink,

incoming Cefic director general.

“Keeping Europe an attractive place for chemical investment

requires urgent action on the cost of energy and

feedstock and on better regulation.” He predicted that

“90% of global GDP growth will happen outside the EU in

the coming decades, of which we need to take our share.

Growth and jobs are highly dependent on a strong domestic

business climate.”

 

People on the Move

MHG—Stephen Croskrey will join the biopolymer

manufacturing firm as chief executive, effective immediately.

Previously chief executive of Armor Holdings Products,

he succeeds Paul A. Pereira.

Univar—David Jukes has been named executive vice

president, and president of Univar USA and Latin America,

effective 1 June. He has been serving as president of

Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), Latin America

and Asia Pacific.

Chris Oversby, who has been president of Global Oil,

Gas and Mining since 2012, has been appointed to the new

role of president, Univar EMEA. He will relocate to Surrey,

UK, later this year

 

Petro Rabigh JV Commences Operations At Expanded Rabigh Ethane Cracker

Rabigh—Petro

Rabigh, a joint venture of Saudi Aramco and Sumitomo

Chemical, begun full operations on 19 Apr. at its ethane

cracker expansion in Rabigh, Saudi Arabia (PCN, 14 Mar

2016, p 1).

The expansion, part of the Rabigh Phase II project, increased

the cracker’s production capacity to 1.6-million t/y

from 1.3-million t/y.

Phase II, expected to be completed in September, includes

units to produce ethylene propylene rubber, thermoplastic

polyolefins, methyl methacrylate, polymethyl

methacrylate, low-density polyethylene/ethylene vinyl acetate,

paraxylene/benzene, cumene and phenol/acetate.

In addition to the ethane cracker, the complex currently

has 900,000 t/y of propylene capacity and downstream

units for the production of polyethylene, polypropylene,

propylene oxide, ethylene glycol and butene-1.

 

BASF Opens New World-Scale Facility In the UK to Produce Bioacrylamide

Bradford—BASF

has opened a new world-scale bioacrylamide (BioACM) production

facility at its Bradford, UK, site.

“With the start-up of the BioACM plant at Bradford, we

will increase our operational efficiency and supply reliability

for polyacrylamide, whilst securing the location where

we have a long history and strong relationships,” said

Christian Fischer, president of BASF’s Performance

Chemicals Division.

The enzymatic process for producing the acrylamide

consumes less energy and produces less waste. It operates

at ambient temperature and normal atmospheric pressure

and generates fewer interfering byproducts for easier

downstream processing.

Bradford is the company’s polyacrylamides production

hub. “This major investment will help to ensure the longterm

future of one of the UK’s largest chemical manufacturing

facilities,” the company noted.

BASF said it is actively investigating potential BioACM

projects at other locations, including Asia Pacific.

 

TSRC’s Lam Elected President of IISRP; Executive Committee Members Named

Houston—TSRC

Corp. Senior Vice President Hendrick Lam has been elected

president international of the International Institute of Synthetic

Rubber Producers (IISRP) for 2016-2017.

Lam, who will also serve as president to IISRP’s Asia

Pacific Section, succeeds Greg Nelson, who has become

past president international.

Other members appointed to IISRP’s executive committee

for the 2016-2017 year are: Yaumasa Yamokoshi of

Asahi Kasei Chemicals as Asia Pacific vice president; Ralf

Irmert of Trinseo and Enrico Lucchese of Versalis as president

and vice president, respectively, of the EMEA Section;

Peter Herzog of TSRC Dexco Polymers and Robert Handlos

of Firestone as president and vice president, respectively,

of the Americas Section, and Ken Hertl of Goodyear

Chemical as treasurer.

Abraham Brink of Karbochem will continue to serve as

a member of the executive committee, along with IISRP

Managing Director, Chief Executive, Assistant Treasurer

and Secretary Juan Ramon Salinas.

 

BASF Signs MoU with Iranian Firm To Build PC Complex in Asaluyeh

Tehran—BASF has

signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with an

Iranian petrochemical company to construct a “huge” petrochemical

complex in Asaluyeh, according to a report by

Mehr News Agency, which PCN could not confirm.

The MoU, valued at €6-billion, involves the production

of ethylene in the first phase and various grades of polyethylene

in the second phase. BASF will purchase some of

the products, with the remainder being exported.

“Final talks are being held with BASF on gas sale

prices, as well as creation of processing units and value

chain, and the final agreement will soon be sealed,” said

the report citing Parviz Sahafzadeh, deputy director of

Iran’s Petrochemical Employers Assn.

“Apparently, the first deals for development of petrochemical

industries in the post sanction era will be inked

with Total and BASF,” he added.

Last month, National Petrochemical Co. of Iran signed

an MoU with Total of France for a petrochemical complex

to be built on the coast of Iran (PCN, 21-28 Mar 2016, p 3).

 

Avantium Raises Funds to Use Toward Commercializing Its YXY Technology

Amsterdam—

Avantium has raised €20-million in a financing round to be

used to commercialize its YXY technology for producing

polyethylenefuranoate (PEF), a 100% bio-based packaging

material (PCN, 21-28 Mar 2016, p 4).

The investments are being made by PMV, an independent

investment company for Flanders; FPIM, a federal

holding and investment company in Belgium, and Avantium’s

existing shareholders.

Avantium’s “roll-out” plan includes construction of a

reference plant, with a capacity of up to 50,000 t/y, in Antwerp,

Belgium. It will be the “world’s first” commercial

facility to produce furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA), the

building block for PEF.

Last month, Avantium and BASF signed a letter of intent

to establish a joint venture for the production and

marketing of FDCA, as well as the marketing of PEF. The

partners intend to license the YXY technology for industrial

scale applications.

 

Sabic’s Strengthening Strategy Includes Acquisitions & Sale of Some Businesses

Riyadh—

Sabic, as part of its efforts to consolidate operations, increase

efficiency and reduce costs, is considering acquisitions,

as well as the sale of some assets, reported Reuters,

citing Acting Chief Executive Yousef Abdullah al-Benyan.

In the fertilizer sector, the sale of its 50% interest in

Ibn Al-Baytar to Sabic affiliate Saudi Arabia Fertilizers

Co. (Safco) is being evaluated.

Safco, at the same time is looking to invest in ammonia,

urea and specialty urea projects outside of Saudi Arabia.

Sabic is also considering the sale of portions of its specialties

plastics business, particularly in Asia and the U.S.

“I think by the end of this year, we should really know

which one to let go,” Benyan said.

Regarding possible acquisitions, he noted: “It is all

about chemicals and polymers, our core business products

that we need to strengthen, but the second part is also

technology.”

 

EPA Annual U.S. GHG Inventory Shows 9% Drop in Emissions over Last 10 Yrs; API Says Report Is ‘Seriously Flawed’

Washington—

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) newly

released 21st annual Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas

Emissions and Sinks (GHG Inventory) shows a 9% drop in

GHG emissions since 2005.

Total U.S. GHG emissions were 6.108-billion tons of

carbon dioxide equivalent in 2014. By sector, power plants

were the largest source of emissions, accounting for 30% of

total GHG gas pollution, followed by the transportation

sector at 26%, and industry and manufacturing at 21%.

EPA noted that a 1% increase in GHG emissions between

2013 and 2014 was driven by increased fuel use,

largely due to increased demand for heat during the winter

and in the transportation sector.

National GHG emissions are going down over the long

term, but minor variability year-to-year is to be expected,

said EPA, adding that there has been tremendous momentum

in the energy sector toward low-carbon solutions over

the last decade.

The inventory covers seven key GHGs—carbon dioxide,

methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons,

sulfur hexafluoride and nitrogen trifluoride.

EPA explained that it revises methods in the annual

GHG Inventory whenever new, improved data become

available. This year’s inventory incorporates significant

new emissions data from EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Reporting

Program and other sources. “Data on oil and gas show that

methane emissions from the sector are higher than previously

estimated. The oil and gas sector is the largest emitting

sector for methane and accounts for a third of total

U.S. methane emissions,” EPA stated.

Separately, the American Petroleum Institute (API)

said EPA’s inventory is “seriously flawed and inconsistent

with previous EPA reports and other scientific research.”

Kyle Isakower, API’s vice president of regulatory and

economic policy, commented: “EPA’s inventory has consistently

shown a downward trend in emissions even as oil

and natural gas production has soared. Somehow, in this

year’s inventory, using a flawed new methodology, EPA

has erased that progress from its historic data.”

Since 2000, the industry’s investments in zero- and lowcarbon

technologies have totaled $90-billion. “EPA’s prior

inventories reflect these investments . . . in reducing methane

and other emissions. It doesn’t make sense that all of

a sudden those reductions would stop,” Isakower said. “We

think these new figures are not an accurate reflection of

science or reality.”

 

ONGC Mangalore to Supply Paraxylene To Feed JBF’s PTA Unit in Karnataka

Mangalore—

JBF Industries confirmed that its JBF Petrochemicals subsidiary

has entered into a long-term agreement with

ONGC Mangalore Petrochemicals (OMPL) for the supply of

paraxylene to JBF’s purified terephthalic acid (PTA) plant

in Mangalore, India (PCN, 28 Jan 2013, p 1).

JBF Petrochemicals expects to commission the 1.25-

million-t/y PTA facility, which is based on BP’s latest technology,

by June of this year.

Under the10-year agreement, OMPL will supply paraxylene

through a dedicated pipeline, an industry source

explained. Paraxylene supply may be extended for an additional

five to 10 years, with the consent of both parties.

 

Muntajat & Milaha Extend Agreement For Export of Qatari Petrochemicals

Doha—Qatar

Chemical and Petrochemical Marketing and Distribution

Co. (Muntajat) and Qatar Navigation (Milaha) have signed

a one-year feeder contract for the export of petrochemicals

from Qatar, extending their previous two-year agreement

(PCN, 21 July 2014, p 3).

The contract, which is in effect from 1 Apr. 2016 to 31

Mar. 2017, calls for Milaha to transport up to 150,000

twenty foot equivalent units of petrochemicals.

Milaha said it will support Muntajat in the optimization

of vessel sizes to improve operational efficiency and

reduce the number of weekly calls required at the port of

Mesaieed. Milaha has also introduced fixed berthing windows

in Doha, reducing the possibility of delays at Doha

Port and improving schedule reliability for Muntajat at

Mesaieed.

Muntajat is responsible for the marketing, sales and

distribution of all petrochemicals produced in Qatar.

 

Jubail United Petrochemical Plant Fire Kills 12 & Injures 11 in Saudi Arabia

Jubail—Jubail

United Petrochemical Co., an affiliate of Sabic, experienced

a fire on 16 Apr. at a chemical facility in Jubail Industrial

City, Saudi Arabia, killing 12 people and injuring 11.

The fire, which began during maintenance of the plant,

was extinguished immediately. Smoke inhalation contributed

to the death and injuries.

The company produces ethylene, polyethylene, ethylene

glycol and linear alpha olefins at the site.

 

Johor Eyes Ban on PS and Plastics

Iskandar Puteri—

Malaysia’s Johor State is planning to ban the use of polystyrene

(PS) and other plastics in containers in order to

protect the environment, Bernama news agency reported.

To accomplish this plan, the Johor Biotechnology and

Biodiversity Corp. is preparing a working paper on the use

of biodegradable and biocompostable containers to replace

PS and plastics, according to the report citing State Health

and Environment Committee Chairman Ayub Rahmat.

He said the ban is expected to be announced at the end

of next year.

V54 N15 – 18 April 2016

Petronas Scrapping Elastomers Portion Of Rapid Project Being Built in Johor

Pengerang—

Petronas Chemicals Group (PCG) has cancelled the $1.3-

billion elastomers project, which was planned as part of the

Refinery and Petrochemicals Integrated Development

(Rapid) project in Johor, Malaysia (PCN, 9 Nov 2015, p 1).

“The decision was based on a review which was conducted

on various key aspects of the elastomers project,

including the product’s market outlook and project return

on investment,” the company explained. “The project cancellation

is expected to improve the overall returns of

PCG’s investments.”

PCG last November acquired from Petronas Refinery

and Petrochemical Corp. (PRPC) the entire equity in three

companies participating in the Rapid project. The RM

13,000 investment included PRPC Glycols, PRPC Polymers

and PRPC Elastomers.

The initial total projected investment cost for the glycols,

polymers and elastomers segments was about $3.9-

billion and included a combined capacity of 3.5-million t/y.

Cancellation of the elastomers project will reduce capacity

by 350,000 t/y and project cost by $1.3-billion.

The commencement date for PRPC Polymers and PRPC

Glycols is on schedule to start in 2019.

Petronas’ Rapid project consists of a 300,000-b/d refinery,

expected to be operational by early 2019, and a petrochemical

complex with the capacity to produce over 7-million

t/y of products.

 

CEL Signs Definitive Agreement to Invest In 50% Interest in OCI NV’s Natgasoline

Houston—

Consolidated Energy Ltd. (CEL) has entered into definitive

agreements to acquire a 50% stake in OCI’s Natgasoline

subsidiary, which is constructing a methanol production

plant in Beaumont, Texas (PCN, 21-28 Mar 2016, p 2).

As part of the agreement, CEL will inject $630-million

in equity and an additional $50-million shareholder loan

via its G2X subsidiary. Combined with OCI’s existing equity

of $520-million and shareholder loans of $511-million,

CEL’s investment will complete the funding requirements

for the project.

The methanol plant is expected to have a capacity of up

to 1.75-million, based on Lurgi’s MegaMethanol technology,

and will be the “United States’ largest methanol production

facility,” OCI said. Production is expected to start

in the second half of 2017.

CEL, owned by the Proman Group and its long-term

partner Helm, will lead efforts to market and distribute

the methanol. Proman and G2X will contribute key management

personnel and will provide technical leadership in

the start-up, operations and maintenance of the facility.

“The addition of the world-scale Natgasoline investment

to our global portfolio allows our group to expand in

North America and to better serve our customers worldwide

with high quality competitively priced methanol,”

noted David Cassidy, chief executive of Proman and chairman

of CEL.

 

Pembina & PIC Commit to Joint Study For Integrated PP Project in Alberta

Calgary—

Pembina Pipeline Corp. and Kuwait Petroleum Corp.’s Petrochemical

Industries Co. (PIC) subsidiary are undertaking

a joint feasibility study for a world-scale combined propane

dehydrogenation and polypropylene (PP) upgrading facility

in Alberta, Canada.

The project, which could consume about 35,000 b/d of

propane and produce up to 800,000 t/y of PP, represents an

opportunity to develop crucial new market demand for propane

in Alberta, noted Pembina.

The two companies will conduct a detailed technical, financial

and commercial study to determine the viability of

the project. The study is expected to take approximately

six months, followed by Pembina and PIC approval to proceed

to front-end engineering design. A final investment

decision is expected in mid-2017, and, subject to necessary

approvals, operations are targeted to begin by 2020.

“This project potentially builds on both Pembina’s position

as the largest supplier to Alberta’s existing petrochemical

industry, as well as being one of Canada’s leading

energy infrastructure companies,” said Pembina President

and Chief Executive Mick Dilger.

 

Bolivia’s YPFB Plans $1.8-Bn Project To Produce Propylene, PP in Tarija

La Paz―Bolivia’s

Yacimientos Petroliferos Fiscales Bolivianos (YPFB) has

announced plans for a $1.8-billion propylene and polypropylene

(PP) project to be set up in Yacuiba, Tarija, Bolivia.

The project, being made possible “thanks to the nationalization

of hydrocarbons,” will use 1,498 t/d of propane to

produce 250,000 t/y of PP, said YPFB. Construction is expected

to begin in 2017, with commissioning anticipated in

the last quarter of 2021.

Between 10% and 20% of the PP production is intended

for domestic consumption, with the remainder to be exported

to Brazil, Argentina, Peru and China.

YPFB in 2014 awarded Tecnimont a consulting services

contract for the realization of a 350,000-t/y propylene and

PP facility in Tarija (PCN, 17 Nov 2014, p 1).

 

Alpek Concludes Purchase from BASF Of Expandable PS Facility in Chile

Monterrey—Alpek,

in reporting its first quarter 2016 results, announced it has

successfully completed the acquisition of BASF’s 20,000-t/y

expandable polystyrene (EPS) plant in Concon, Chile

(PCN, 26 Oct 2015, p 1).

“The facility began operations under Alpek’s control as

of 1 Apr. 2016, thus complementing our assets in the region,”

the company said. Value of the transaction was not

disclosed.

Alpek has a 5,000-t/y molded EPS facility in Santiago,

Chile, and a 2,000-t/y molded EPS plant in Puerto Montt,

Chile. Both facilities are operated by Styropek Chile.

 

Ineos & Rex Enter NGL Supply Agreement For Ineos’ European Cracker Complexes

London—

Ineos Europe and Rex Energy have entered into a sale and

purchase agreement for the supply of natural gas liquids

(NGLs) from the Appalachian shale basin to Ineos’ European

cracker complexes.

The agreement covers ethane, propane and butane,

which will transported through the Mariner East infrastructure

and exported by sea from Marcus Hook, Penn., to

the crackers.

Ethane transport will begin this month. Propane and

butane shipments will begin in 2017, following completion

of Sunoco Logistics’ Mariner East 2 pipeline project (PCN,

22 Feb 2016, p 2).

“This contract adds value to our supply portfolio providing

for long-term sourcing of advantageously priced U.S.

natural gas liquids for our European crackers,” said David

Thompson, chief executive of Ineos Trading and Shipping.

Ineos has invested $2-billion to bring U.S. shale gas to

Europe. “Shale gas economics has revitalized U.S. manufacturing;

it has the potential to do the same for European

manufacturing,” noted Ineos Chairman and Founder Jim

Ratcliffe.

On 23 Mar. 2016, Ineos confirmed that its Ineos Intrepid

Vessel arrived at its petrochemicals plant in Rafnes,

Norway, carrying U.S shale gas ethane (PCN, 14 Mar

2016, p 4). “This was the very first time that ethane from

U.S. shale gas had ever been exported from the U.S. and

the first time it has been imported into Europe,” the company

noted.

 

EC Investigating Write-Off of Debt By Govt. of Romania for Oltchim

Brussels—The European

Commission (EC) has opened an in-depth investigation

to verify whether Oltchim debt written off by the Romanian

government and continued supplies to Oltchim by

state-owned enterprises, despite the company’s deteriorating

financial situation, were in line with European Union

state aid rules.

“Following the economic difficulties of Oltchim and the

cancellation of public debts owned by the company, we

need to verify whether a private creditor would have accepted

to act in the same way,” said EC Commissioner

Margrethe Vestager.

“Thanks to its recent reorganization, Oltchim’s financial

situation has improved and Romania hopes to find a

new investor,” she continued. “Our aim is to facilitate a

sustainable future for the economic activities of the company

without the need for further government support.”

The Romanian government holds a 54.8% interest in

Oltchim, which was declared insolvent in 2013 (PCN, 9

Sept 2013, p 4).

 

Chemtura Expanding Capacity in Italy For LF MDI Polyurethane Elastomers

Philadelphia—

Chemtura is expanding production capacity of Adiprene

Low Free (LF) diphenylmethane diisocyanate (MDI) polyurethane

elastomers at its Latina, Italy, facility.

The expansion, for which a capacity was not given, will

complement the company’s existing LF MDI capability in

Gastonia, N.C., and ensure a flexible, reliable supply of LF

MDI to its customers, Chemtura noted.

 

NWIW Updates Operational Impact, Benefits of Tacoma Methanol Plant

Tacoma—Northwest

Innovation Works (NWIW) has released updated information

on the safety, operational impacts and economic

benefits of its planned methanol project in Tacoma, Wash.,

on which work was halted in February following local opposition

(PCN, 29 Feb 2016, p 1).

NWIW has plans to build a two-phase, $3.6-billion

natural gas-to-methanol plant that will include up to four

production lines, each having a capacity of 5,000 t/d using

Johnson Matthey’s ultra-low emission (ULE) reforming

technology.

The risk assessment shows “no measurable risk of an

offsite fatality” and the project would have “no significant

risk of injury to workers during operation,” said NWIW.

Regarding emissions, the use of ULE reforming technology

will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 92% compared

to coal-to-methanol processes and by 61% compared

to conventional natural gas reforming technology.

Replacing coal with natural gas to produce methanol for

olefins cuts carbon emissions by up to 70%, noted NWIW,

citing Asia Chem, a coal-chemical consultancy.

Based on an analysis completed by economic consulting

firm ECONorthwest, the plant will generate millions in

annual taxes for the region and the state, and significantly

boost local economic activity. “This facility could become a

crucial component of Tacoma’s economy, providing familywage

jobs and long-term growth,” stated NWIW President

Murray V. Godley III.

 

Air Liquide Building ASU in Maoming To Supply Gases to MPCC’s EO Units

Shanghai—Air

Liquide has signed a long-term contract with Maoming

Petrochemical Co. (MPCC), a subsidiary of Sinopec, to

build a new air separation unit (ASU) to supply gases, including

oxygen and nitrogen, to MPCC’s new and existing

ethylene oxide (EO) plants in China.

The ASU, expected to cost about €40-million, will have

a total capacity of 850 t/d of oxygen and will be located in

Maoming City, Guangdong Province. It will be owned and

operated by the ALMPCC joint venture of Air Liquide and

MPCC. A schedule for the project was not given.

 

People on the Move

Israel Chemicals Ltd. (ICL)—Charlie Weidhas, currently

president of ICL Industrial Products, has been

named executive vice president and chief operating officer

of ICL, effective 1 July 2016. Weidhas will succeed Asher

Grinbaum, who is retiring after 41 years with the ICL

Group.

Cabot Corp.—Jay R. Doubman has been appointed

senior vice president, corporate strategy and development.

He had been vice president and general manager of the tire

and elastomer composites product lines within the Reinforcement

Materials segment.

Hobart C. Kalkstein, most recently vice president of

corporate strategy and development, has become senior

vice president of the Reinforcement Materials segment.

Amec Foster Wheeler—Eoin Quirke has been named

president, Asia Pacific, effective immediately. He had been

project delivery director for the Asia, Middle East, Africa

and Southern Europe region.

 

State Oil Co. of Azerbaijan Republic Estimates Sumgait Urea Plant Cost

Baku—The State

Oil Co. of Azerbaijan Republic (Socar) has estimated the

cost of its urea plant being built in Sumgait, Azerbaijan, at

between €910-million and €920-million, reported the Azerbaijan

Business Center.

The facility, which will consist of plants to produce

2,000 t/d of urea and 1,200 t/d of ammonia, was originally

planned to come on stream in 2015 (PCN, 9 Nov 2015, p 4).

Samsung Engineering, the engineering, procurement,

construction and pre-commissioning contractor for the project,

expects to complete construction of the urea plant in

the first quarter of 2018.

The estimated project cost includes Samsung’s contract,

valued at €498-million, infrastructure costs, and tax and

customs payments of about €200-million.

“We’ve applied to the government with a request to

provide guarantees for loans of the urea plant,” said the

report quoting Khayal Jafarov, director of the Sumgait

urea facility. “We hope to have the governmental guarantee

in June or July and the financing for the project will be

defined.”

 

Mountaineer Holding Open Season For Natural Gas Liquids Storage

Denver—Privatelyheld

energy firm Mountaineer NGL Storage LLC is holding

a non-binding open season for up to 1.6-million barrels of

initial storage capacity with more than 25,000 bbls/day of

load-in and load-out, which will be made available through

a natural gas liquids (NGL) storage facility in Monroe

County, Ohio.

The Mountaineer NGL storage project will be designed

to store ethane, propane, butane and y-grade products and

“will be strategically located to provide service to the expanding

network of pipelines, rail and barge infrastructure

that is currently being built to transport Marcellus and

Utica NGLs to markets throughout the Northeast, Mid-

Atlantic, Mid-Continent and Gulf Coast,” said David

Hooker, managing director of the company.

The Marcellus shale and the Utica shale “have surprised

the entire industry and are fast becoming the next

super-producers of natural gas in this country, but there is

a dire need for reliable storage solutions,” he added.

Open season began on 11 Apr. and will end on 9 May.

For questions about the open season or for a bid package,

contact Hooker at dhooker@mngls.com, 720, 318-9738; or

Tim Hanley at tehanley@mngls.com, 816, 810-8588.

 

Linde Building East Malaysian ASU For Region’s Growing Industries

Sarawak—Linde

Eastern Oxygen (Linde EOX), a subsidiary of Linde Malaysia,

will invest €7.4-million to build an air separation unit

(ASU) at Tanjung Kidurong, Sarawak, in East Malaysia, to

serve the region’s growing industries.

Linde will design, build and manage the new ASU,

which will have a total production capacity of 33 t/d. Combined

with an existing 33-t/d ASU, Linde EOX will be become

the largest ASU gases producer in East Malaysia.

Once the plant comes on stream in 2017, it will provide

liquefied gases to East Malaysia’s emerging chemical, engineering,

construction, oil and gas, healthcare and metal

processing industries.

 

Eagle Mountain, Shandong Pusheng in JV For Oil, Gas, Petroleum Product Trading

Houston—

Eagle Mountain Corp. and Shandong Pusheng Petrochemical

Co. have signed an agreement creating a new joint venture

for oil, gas and petroleum products trading.

The two companies have also signed their first purchase

order, a binding contract commitment to purchase light

naphtha through the joint venture company.

The contract provides for Eagle Mountain to source and

negotiate the purchase and delivery of about 300,000 tons

of naphtha per month for a period of five years.

Shandong, Pusheng, which is currently developing

large-scale storage facilities in China, will be responsible

for the sale of the naphtha into Southeast Asian markets,

in cooperation with China’s state enterprises.

 

India Hopes to Increase Ties with UAE; Offers Stakes in PC, Refinery Projects

Dubai—India’s

Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra

Pradhan, during a recent visit to the United Arab Emirates

(UAE), called for greater economic and strategic cooperation

between India and the UAE, according to local business

reports.

Citing the UAE’s pledge to invest $75-billion in India,

he promised “fair, transparent and attractive” policy regime

for those investments through “appropriate policy,

regulatory and fiscal interventions.”

As part of India’s strategy to increase ties, Pradhan

said India is offering interests in several projects. Among

those projects is a 26% stake in ONGC PetroAdditions’ Dahej

petrochemical complex (PCN, 23-30 Nov 2015, p 4).

India is also offering an equity interest of between 25%

and 40% in a greenfield petrochemical complex to be undertaken

as a joint venture of Hindustan Petroleum and

GAIL in Andhra Pradesh (PCN, 8 Feb 2016, p 4).

Pradhan noted another potential area of investment is

a 24% stake in a project that will expand the capacity of

Bharat Petroleum’s Bina refinery in Madhya Pradesh.

 

Fairfax India Investing $300-Million For 30% Sanmar Chemicals Stake

Mumbai—Fairfax

India Holdings Corp., through wholly-owned subsidiaries,

has agreed to invest $300-million in exchange for a 30%

equity interest in the Sanmar Chemicals Group.

Fairfax is limited to investing no more than 25% of its

total assets in any single investment, with a current limit

of about $250-million. The company said it will fund an

initial tranche of $250-million upon the closing of the

transaction, and the second tranche of $50-million will be

funded within 90 days thereafter by subsidiary Fairfax

Financial Holdings Ltd. The first tranche is expected to be

completed during the second quarter of this year.

Sanmar currently has a combined total of 300,000 t/y of

polyvinyl chloride (PVC) capacity at facilities in Mettur

and Cuddalore, India. The company is also expanding its

Egyptian PVC capacity to 400,000 t/y from 200,000 t/y

(PCN, 10 Nov 2014, p 3).

“Once the expansion is completed, Sanmar will have a

total PVC capacity of over 700,000 t/y, making it among

the largest PVC companies in the world,” noted Fairfax.

Additionally, Sanmar produces ethylene, caustic soda and

other chemicals.

 

With Sanctions Lifted, Iran Is Focused On Development of PC Value Chain

Tehran—The lifting

of sanctions on Iran has made development of the country’s

petrochemical value chain one of the most promising

avenues to significantly add value to its economy, according

to a new Frost & Sullivan report.

“Abundance of feedstock, relatively suitable infrastructure,

low cost of production and access to skilled labors are

key factors that make Iran interesting for investors in the

petrochemical space,” in the opinion of Ali Mirmohammad,

Frost & Sullivan’s senior consultant and business development

manager for Iran. “The country’s natural reserves

of ethane, propane and naphtha are sufficient to set up

new petrochemical complexes within the next 10 years.”

Additionally, he noted, “the government is adopting a

foreign policy approach to not only strengthen local capabilities,

but also to increase non-oil exports to more than

$50-billion based on downstream verticals derived from

petrochemical and mining industries.”

The “Iran Vision 2025” aims to make the country the

largest producer of petrochemical products along the value

chain in the region. To achieve this goal will require at

least $70-billion of financial resources. Such an investment

is expected to increase petrochemical industry exports

to over $40-billion by the end of 2025 from less than

$12-billion in 2015.

Iran plans to attract foreign investments to resume over

60 halted petrochemical projects that would increase production

capacity to 130-million t/y in the next five years

from 58-million t/y currently. The government has proposed

36 new investment projects that could raise the production

capacity to over 180-million t/y in 2025.

“Creating value-added opportunities along the entire

propylene industry value chain is one of the primary focus

areas for the government for the next 10 years with regard

to the petrochemical sector,” said Ali. “Importing high

technologies and catalysts to produce various grades of

polypropylene . . . are other key policies.”

To encourage investment, the government is offering

several incentive plans, including discounts on natural gas,

long-term tax-exempt savings plans, and 25-year guaranteed

feedstock supply agreements. The country also plans

to develop infrastructure, such as power plants, desalinated

water facilities and road and rail transportation.

“Lifting of sanctions is expected to usher huge opportunities

for the country through access to advanced technologies

and international financial resources. This is expected

to significantly boost Iran’s image in the global petrochemical

industry landscape,” he concluded.

 

Amec Foster Wheeler Awarded Contracts For Sonatrach’s New Algerian Refineries

Algiers—

Amec Foster Wheeler has been awarded front-end engineering

design contracts by Sonatrach for three new refineries

to be built in Algeria.

Located in Biskra, Tiaret and Hassi Messaoud, the refineries

will each have 5-million t/y of crude oil capacity.

Each refinery will include facilities for atmospheric distillation,

liquefied petroleum gas separation, hydrocrackers,

desulphurization, bitumen production, utilities, blending,

effluents treatment, control room and laboratories, as well

as storage tanks, shipping facilities and administrative

buildings.

Amec Foster Wheeler will also support the selection of

technology licensors for all three refineries. Its scope of

work is scheduled for completion in the third quarter of

2017.

 

Iran’s PGHC Eying $7-BN Agreement For PC Project with European Firm

Tehran—Iran’s

Persian Gulf Holding Co. (PGHC) expects to sign an agreement

with an unidentified “prominent” European company

for the development of a $7-billion petrochemical project in

Assaluyeh, Iran, reported Shana News Agency.

Adel Nejad Salim, head of PGHC, said PGHC has held

constructive talks with major European and Asian firms

since the removal of sanctions on Iran, and the result of

these negotiations will become evident in coming months.

“Over the course of the past 12 years, the relations between

Iran’s petrochemical industry and foreign firms were

nearly severed, but during the past two years, given the

removal of western sanctions, ground is being paved for

restoration of Iran’s relations with other countries.”

Salim did not give specific details on the project, other

than it will take five years to complete and it entails all

parts of the value chain.

 

Kuwaiti Oil & PC Union Plans Strike

Kuwait City—

Members of Kuwait’s Oil and Petrochemical Industries

Workers Confederation plan a strike starting on Sunday,

17 Apr. to protest a government plan to reduce benefits

and wages, reported Reuters.

Companies where workers plan to join the strike include

Equate Petrochemical Industries Co., Kuwait Petroleum

Corp. (KPC), Kuwait Oil Co., Kuwait Oil Tanker Co.

and Kuwait Gulf Oil Co.

“If the strike happens, we do have a strategy in place to

deal with this kind of action where extra staff will be used

to run operations,” said Khaled Al-Asousi, deputy chief

executive for support services of KPC’s Kuwait National

Petroleum Co. subsidiary.

 

V54 N14 – 11 April 2016

IVL Completes Acquisition of 100% Stake In Cepsa Spain’s PTA, PET & PIA Assets

Madrid—

Indorama Ventures (IVL) has completed the purchase of a

100% interest in the purified terephthalic acid (PTA), polyethylene

terephthalate (PET) and purified isophthalic acid

(PIA) business of Cepsa Quimica, a subsidiary of Cepsa in

Spain (PCN, 16 Nov 2015, p 1).

The acquired business, located in Guadarranque-San

Roque, Cadiz, Spain, will be renamed Indorama Ventures

Quimica. The Guadarrangue plant produces 480,000 t/y of

PTA, 175,000 t/y of PET and 220,000 t/y of PIA. Value of

the transaction was not disclosed.

“Our Spanish assets will complement Indorama Ventures’

existing portfolio in Europe with consolidation of

PTA and PET assets and with addition of PIA, a high value

add business,” said IVL Group Chief Executive Aloke Lohia.

“We see some debottlenecking opportunities at the

plant that will increase efficiency,” he added.

 

KBR Upgrading Chinese FCC Unit To Utilize Its Maxofin Technology

 

Shandong—KBR

has received a license and basic engineering design contract

for the revamp of a fluid catalytic cracker (FCC) unit

in China’s Shandong Province with its Maxofin technology.

Under the terms of the contract with an unidentified

client, KBR will provide the licensing package for the

Maxofin conversion, which will enable the existing FCC

unit to produce higher amounts of propylene, while retaining

the flexibility to produce more gasoline when market

demand or prices are favorable.

“Maxofin technology is a flexible option to help clients

increase their propylene production without major grassroots

capital investment,” explained John Derbyshire,

president of KBR Technology & Consulting.

 

Kinder Morgan Lets IHI E&C Contract For Planned U.S. LNG Export Facility

Savannah—

Kinder Morgan subsidiaries, Elba Liquefaction Co. and

Southern LNG Co., have awarded a contract to IHI E&C

for the engineering, procurement, construction, commissioning

and start-up of Kinder Morgan’s liquefied natural

gas (LNG) export facility at Elba Island, Ga.

The approximately $2-billion project will consist of 10

Movable Modular Liquefaction System trains using Shell’s

proprietary technology. The new units will connect to

Kinder Morgan’s existing regasification terminal at Elba

Island, which will be modified to receive LNG from the new

liquefaction facilities.

The project, when complete, will process and liquefy

about 2.5-million t/y of LNG. Shell will receive all of the

product through new ship-loading services.

IHI E&C will perform initial engineering, procurement

and construction planning through its Houston, Texas, office

while awaiting project approval by the Federal Energy

Regulatory Commission.

 

Braskem Idesa Begins PE Production At Ethylene XXI Complex in Mexico

Veracruz—Braskem

Idesa, a joint venture of Braskem and Idesa, has begun

producing polyethylene (PE) at its Ethylene XXI complex

in Veracruz, Mexico (PCN, 22 Feb 2016, p 1).

The $5.2-billion project includes a 1-million-t/y ethanebased

ethylene cracker based on Technip’s technology,

which was started up in March, two high-density PE units

with a combined capacity of 750,000 t/y based on Ineos’

Innovene process and a 300,000-t/y low-density PE plant

using LyondelBasell’s Lupotech T technology. Pemex will

supply ethane to the complex through a 20-year contract.

The company said it plans to reach full production “over

the coming months.”

 

China Prosperity Launches Production On Second Invista PTA Line in China

Shanghai—

China Prosperity recently started up its second purified

terephthalic acid (PTA) plant in China based on Invista’s

technology.

Located at the site of the first line in Shizhuang, Jiangyin,

the plant incorporates Invista’s E2R, Solvent Interchange

and R2R technologies. On-spec product was

achieved within 24 hours of start-up. Capacity of the plant

was not given.

China Prosperity started up its first Invista line, with

600,000 t/y of PTA capacity, in early 2011 (PCN, 14 Mar

2011, p 1).

A polyester resin plant, which will also utilize Invista’s

technology, is being constructed at the site. No details

were given.

 

Inovyn Planning Investment to Convert Stenungsund to Membrane Technology

Antwerp—

Inovyn has announced its intention to undertake a “major

investment” to convert its mercury chlorine cellroom at

Stenungsund, Sweden, to membrane technology.

Without disclosing the amount of the investment, the

company said initial design and feasibility studies are currently

underway, with completion of the conversion expected

by the end of 2017.

Inovyn’s wider chlorine strategy includes the expansion

of its membrane chlorine cell room at the Antwerp/Lillo

site in Belgium, which is due for completion in the fourth

quarter of this year (PCN, 15 Feb 2016, p 2). Inovyn is also

building a 155,000-t/y potassium hydroxide facility at the

Lillo site that is scheduled for completion in late 2017.

These projects will complement the company’s existing

membrane-based production portfolio with assets in Belgium,

France, Germany, Italy, Norway and the U.K.

Inovyn noted that it is still evaluating options for the

mercury cell room at its Martorell site in Spain, but said

that the lack of competitively priced raw materials makes

future investment in cellroom conversion significantly less

attractive.

 

Sibur’s Makes Organizational Changes; Tobolsk Site Becomes a Business Unit

Moscow—Sibur

said it has completed organizational and staff changes,

including the transfer of several management functions to

the regional level, which is designed to facilitate the implementation

of its development strategy in the most balanced

way.

Included in the changes: Mikhail Karislav, previously

executive director, has been appointed chief operating officer,

while Vladimir Razumov will head Sibur’s Research

and Development, Organizational Projects Management,

and Ethics and Discipline Committees.

The Plastics and Organics Synthesis Division and the

Synthetic Rubbers Division have merged into one business

unit, the Plastics, Elastomers and Organic Synthesis Division.

Pavel Lyakhovich continues to head the Division.

Sibur’s Hydrocarbons Division has been reorganized to

streamline production assets performance management.

Sibur Tyumun Gas, formerly part of the Hydrocarbons Division,

now reports directly to Karisalov. Uralorgsintez

has become part of the Plastics, Elastomers and Organic

Synthesis Division.

Also announced, Sibur’s Tobolsk production site has

been assigned the status of a standalone business unit.

The new business unit is similar to a division and will be

headed by Konstantin Belkin, management board member

of Sibur and managing director of the Tobolsk site.

 

Zhongjing Petrochemical Producing PP Under First Phase of Project in Fujian

Fujian―Zhongjing

Petrochemical has started up the first phase of a polypropylene

(PP) project at Fuqing, in China’s Fujian Province,

according to a report by the China Chemical Fiber

Group.

The facility, which is currently operating at about 50%

of its capacity, is designed to produce 350,000 t/y of PP for

local distribution.

The two phase project, requiring a total investment of

15-billion RMB, includes a liquefied natural gas terminal

and a warehouse for the storage of 5-million tons of propane

and propylene. Details on the second phase were not

available.

 

REG Begins Expanding, Upgrading Ames Lab To Enhance Renewable Chem Capabilities

Ames—

Renewable Energy Group (REG) has begun an expansion

and upgrade of its Ames, Iowa, laboratory to further enhance

renewable chemical related biotechnology research,

development and commercialization.

New fermentation equipment will be installed, as well

as significant analytical capabilities. Once complete, new

full-time positions will be added to focus on commercialization

and integration of products to be developed by REG in

south San Francisco into production and delivery platforms,

the company explained.

“These upgrades will allow us to increase our Midwestern

focus on product development for renewable chemicals,”

said REG President and Chief Executive Daniel Oh.

Legislation is expected to be signed soon, which will

provide tax credits for the renewable chemical industry.

This should provide “extra momentum” for REG’s investment

in the field, Oh noted.

 

Westlake Increases Proposal for Axiall; Offer Again Rejected by Axiall’s Board

Houston—

Westlake Chemical Corp. has increased its proposal to acquire

all of the outstanding shares of Axiall Corp. to $23.35

per share from its original offer of $20 per share, which

had been unanimously rejected by Axiall’s board earlier

this year (PCN, 22 Feb 2016, p 2).

The revised proposal was also unanimously rejected,

confirmed Axiall President and Chief Executive Timothy

Mann Jr. “Despite its request, Axiall was not provided the

opportunity to conduct due diligence with respect to Westlake’s

business, which it would need given the substantial

stock component to Westlake’s proposal,” Axiall noted.

“We are not opposed to a strategic transaction, provided

that it delivers full and fair value to Axiall shareholders,”

said Mann in a letter to Westlake. “We remain willing to

share information and have further discussions, but the

value you currently propose simply ignores the high quality

of our assets, the significant growth potential of our

business and the powerful synergies available in a combination,”

he explained.

Westlake President and Chief Executive Albert Chao

notified Axiall that given their response, Westlake intends

to proceed with a proxy contest to replace Axiall’s directors

with new independent directors who are willing to evaluate

all options, in accordance with their fiduciary duties.

 

People on the Move

Mitsui & Co. (USA)—Yasushi Takahashi has been

appointed president and chief executive, effective 1 Apr.

He will concurrently serve as senior executive managing

officer and chief operating officer of the Americas business

unit of Mitsui & Co. Ltd. in Tokyo. He succeeds Motomu

Takahashi, who will continue to serve as executive vice

president of Mitsui & Co. Ltd., following his two-year tenure

as president and chief executive of Mitsui USA.

Nova Chemicals—Arnel Santos, previously regional

vice president of manufacturing at Shell Eastern Petroleum,

will join Nova as senior vice president of operations,

effective 18 Apr. He succeeds Bill Greene, who will retire

at the end of next month.

Honeywell—Darius Adamczyk has been appointed to

the newly created role of president and chief operating officer,

effective immediately. Previously president and chief

executive of Honeywell Performance Materials and Technologies

(PMT), he is succeeded by Rajeev Gautam.

Rebecca Liebert, most recently senior vice president/

general manager of the Catalysts, Adsorbents and

Specialties business, will replace Gautam as president of

Honeywell UOP.

KBR—Greg Conlon, most recently leader of global

business development at WorleyParsons, will join KBR as

president of Engineering & Construction, Asia-Pacific, effective

1 May.

Anellotech—Dr. Charles “Chuck” Sorensen has been

appointed chief technology officer. He was previously vice

president of Research, Development & Engineering.

Odfjell Terminals—Frank Erkelens has been named

chief executive, effective 1 May, to succeed Odfjell Group

Chief Executive Kristin Morch, currently serving as interim

chief executive of Odfjell Terminals. Erkelens was

previously president of EMEA for Vopak.

 

America Becomes World’s ‘Most Attractive’ Place to Make Chemicals, Says the ACC

Washington—

Investments in U.S. shale gas have reached $164-billion,

as America has become the “most attractive place in the

world to make chemicals, and a historic wave of expansion

and investment is underway,” said Owen Kean, the American

Chemistry Council’s senior director of energy policy.

The $164-billion in capital spending could lead to $105-

billion per year in new chemical industry output and support

738,000 permanent new jobs across the U.S. by 2023,

including 69,000 new chemical industry positions, 357,000

jobs in supplier industries and 312,000 jobs in communities

where workers spend their wages.

“America enjoys a robust supply outlook, expected to

last for decades, and a price environment that’s the envy of

the world.” However, “we need the right regulatory and

policy approaches in order to fully realize the potential of

shale gas as an engine of manufacturing growth,” he said.

Kean believes that policymakers must avoid unreasonable

restrictions on oil and gas production on public lands;

keep oversight of production on private lands in the hands

of the states; and expedite the construction and permitting

of infrastructure, such as pipelines to transport natural gas

and natural gas liquids to market.

The $164-billion in investments involves 264 projects,

with 40% of the projects completed or underway and 55%

in the planning phase.

 

Air Products Decides on Write-Off Of Energy-from-Waste Business

Lehigh Valley—Air

Products will exit its Energy-from-Waste (EfW) business

because of challenges with the Tees Valley, UK, projects.

The Tees Valley 1 and Tees Valley 2 facilities are based

on advanced plasma gasification technology and are located

next to the North Tees chemical complex. Both facilities

produce renewable electricity from non-recyclable

residual waste.

“Testing and analysis completed during the company’s

fiscal second quarter indicated that additional design and

operational challenges would require significant time and

cost to rectify,” the company explained. “Consequently, the

board of directors has decided that it is no longer in the

best interest of the company and its shareholders to continue

the Tees Valley projects.”

Air Products expects to record a pre-tax charge in the

range of $900-million to $1-billion in discontinued operations,

mainly to write down assets associated with the EfW

business to their realizable value.

 

Petronas & Sarawak Eye Joint Study On Development of State PC Sector

Kuching—

Petronas and the government of the Malaysian state of

Sarawak have signed a memorandum of understanding to

jointly conduct a study for the Sarawak Petrochemical

Master Plan, local sources reported.

Under the agreement, the two will undertake a technical,

commercial and economic feasibility study for the joint

development of the petrochemical industry in Sarawak.

At the same time, Petronas has signed an agreement to

supply Sarawak Energy with 250-million standard cubic

ft/d of natural gas for an existing power plant and a new

power plant, with 200-million standard cubic ft/d to be

used as feedstock for the state’s petrochemical sector.

 

LyondellBasell Completes Purchase Of Zylog’s PP Compounding Assets

Houston—LyondellBasell

has completed the acquisition of Zylog Plastalloy’s

polypropylene (PP) compounding assets in India

(PCN, 7 Dec 2015, p 3).

With the acquisition of Zylog’s manufacturing operations

in Sinnar, Maharashtra, and Chennai, Tamil Nadu,

LyondellBasell is now the third largest producer of PP

compounds in India with a capacity of 44,000 t/y, and the

third largest PP producer in the world with 1.4-million t/y

of capacity.

LyondellBasell late last year acquired SJS Plastiblends

PP compounding assets in India.

“Our investments in India demonstrate Lyondell-

Basell’s continued focus on strategic growth projects that

increase our competitive advantage and provide a strong

return on assets,” said Bhavesh (Bob) Patel chief executive

and chairman of the management board of LyondellBasell.

 

Sabic, Saudi Aramco Reportedly Considering Refinery to Produce Chems from Crude Oil

Yanbu—

Sabic and Saudi Aramco are mulling construction of a joint

venture refinery in Yanbu, Saudi Arabia, to produce

chemical products from crude oil, reported Bloomberg citing

people close to the matter.

“This move is long overdue given that both companies

are operating and competing in the same markets,” said

the report quoting Energy Analyst Mohamed Ramady.

“Sabic and Aramco cooperation will ensure that both companies

will avoid duplication of projects in this period of

Saudi economic rationalization and cost effectiveness.”

Aramco is testing a new technology to produce chemicals

from crude oil, according to Aramco Chief Executive

Amin Nasser, the report said.

 

Sibur & Aekyung Sign $10-MM Contract For Plasticizer Production Technology

Seoul—Sibur

and Aekyung Petrochemical have signed a contract, valued

at $10-million, for the export of Aekyung’s eco-friendly

plasticizer manufacturing technology to Sibur, according to

a Korean business report citing Sibur.

The technology, developed by Aekyung in 2008, uses

steam generated during the manufacturing process, which

helps reduce production costs. It also addresses phthalate

plasticizer mixing problems.

 

Dow Enters Settlement Agreement In Urethanes Opt-Out Litigation

Midland—Dow Chemical

Co. has entered into a settlement agreement that will

resolve claims from purchasers who elected not to be class

members in the previously settled urethanes class action

litigation (PCN, 7 Mar 2016, p 3).

The agreement provides for Dow to pay the opt-out

plaintiffs $400-million, which is estimated to result in net

cash payments of approximately $250-million.

Based on the risk assessment and potential outcomes,

Dow said it believes this settlement is the right decision for

the company and its shareholders.

Dow maintains that consistent with its position in the

class action litigation, it “never agreed with its competitors

to fix polyurethane prices at any time.”

 

Chemical Industry Is Facing Record Year In M&A Activity, Predicts A.T. Kearney

Chicago—On

a global basis, the value of mergers and acquisitions

(M&A) deals in the chemical industry rose 30% in 2015 to

$110-billion, a fourth straight annual increase, which lays

the ground for an all-time record spike this year, according

to A.T. Kearney’s fifth edition of Chemicals Executive M&A

Report.

The report notes the pending $130-million Dow Chemical

and DuPont merger and ChemChina’s $43-billion bid

for Syngenta, as well as potential large new transactions

generated by emerging market players, and predicts total

chemicals M&A values for 2016 could double the level

reached in 2015.

This wave of activity comes as chemical conglomerates

and their investors question the value of the traditional

diversification model and look for stronger coherence in

their portfolios.

“Chemical companies are taking a fresh look at their

portfolios, divesting assets that do not fit with a clear portfolio

logic,” said Andy Walberer, A.T. Kearney partner and

leader of the firm’s Americas chemicals practice. “At the

same time, they are looking for increased scale in their remaining

businesses, driving increased M&A.”

A.T. Kearney’s research determined that chemical company

executives see five core drivers of the surge in M&A

deals: limited organic growth options; favorable feedstock

prices, especially in the U.S.; lower oil prices; portfolio optimization,

and pressure from activist investors.

The report shows that North America is the largest

market for chemicals M&A activity, but China is a close

second. “China’s influence on the global M&A market is

likely to increase in 2016 as more companies look to acquire

world-class know-how and growth opportunities outside

their slowing home markets,” said Linus Hildebrandt,

A.T. Kearney principal, Asia Pacific. “Undervalued targets

in mature markets, such as Europe, are likely to be attractive

targets for these acquirers,” he added.

 

Linde Breaks Ground for Bangladesh ASU

Dhaka—

Linde Bangladesh, a member of Linde Group’s Gases Division,

has begun construction on a new €14.6-million air

separation unit (ASU) in Rupganj, Bangladesh.

The state-of-the-art, energy efficient ASU, when completed

in 2017, will produce about 100 t/d of liquefied gases

to the country’s growing healthcare, food and beverage,

fabrication, pharmaceutical, shipbuilding and recycling

industries. Linde will design, build and manage the plant.

 

Ube Merges Three Spanish Subsidiaries To Strengthen Business, Secure Growth

Tokyo—Ube

Industries has merged its three chemical subsidiaries in

Spain in order to enhance the operational framework and

achieve business efficiencies in the country, as the Ube

Group moves to further strengthen its business platform

and secure growth.

Ube Chemical Europe and Ube Engineering Plastics

will be absorbed into Ube Corp. Europe, as the surviving

company. Ube Corp. Europe will continue as a whollyowned

subsidiary of Ube Group and will be headed by

President Bruno De Bievre.

Effective 31 Mar. 2016, Ube Corp. Europe manufacturers

and markets nylon resin, caprolactam, ammonium sulfate,

fine chemicals and other products.

 

CVR Partners Gets Rentech Nitrogen, Becomes a Nitrogen Fertilizer Leader

Los Angeles—

CVR Partners has completed the acquisition of all outstanding

shares of Rentech Nitrogen for $533-million, creating

a leader in the North American nitrogen fertilizer

business (PCN, 21-28 Mar 2016, p 3).

The acquisition primarily includes Rentech Nitrogen’s

East Dubuque, Ill., facility, which produces ammonia, urea

and urea ammonium nitrate (UAN).

The combination of the East Dubuque facility with

CVR’s Coffeyville, Kansas, plant, also producing ammonia,

urea and UAN, “positions us as an emerging leader in the

North American nitrogen fertilizer industry and makes us

more competitive in a changing market environment,”

noted CVR Chief Executive Mark Pytosh.

Last year, the Coffeyville plant produced 385,4000 tons

of ammonia and 928,600 tons of UAN, and the East Dubuque

facility produced 340,300 tons of ammonia and

279,000 tons of UAN.

 

China Places Duties on Acrylic Fibers Coming from Japan, Korea & Turkey

Beijing—

China’s Ministry of Commerce has imposed anti-dumping

duties on imports of acrylic fibers from Japan, Korea and

Turkey, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

The decision follows a year-long investigation that

found evidence that these imports are harming the domestic

industry.

As of 2 Apr. 2016, importers of acrylic fibers from the

three countries will be required to pay deposits ranging

from 6.1% to 17.8%, based on the level of dumping.

 

Borealis, Gazprom Eye Joint Opportunities

Moscow—

Borealis and Gazprom have signed a memorandum of understanding

related to the two companies’ interest in

evaluating opportunities to develop joint gas chemical projects

in Russia.

Statements issued by Borealis and Gazprom gave no

further specific details.

 

V54 N13 – 4 April 2016

IVL Completes Acquisition from BP Of Decatur PTA, PX & NDC Assets

Decatur—Indorama

Ventures (IVL) has completed the acquisition of all of BP

Amoco Chemical’s purified terephthalate acid (PTA), paraxylene

and naphthalene dicarboxylate (NDC) assets in

Decatur, Ala. (PCN, 11 Jan 2016, p 1).

The acquisition includes three PTA units with a combined

capacity of 1.2-million t/y, a paraxylene unit and a

NDC plant. Also included in the transaction are employees,

working capital and related infrastructure, as well as

the assumption of certain contracts with suppliers and customers.

Value of the assets was not given.

Located adjacent to IVL’s AlphaPet polyethylene (PET)

terephthalate plant, the Decatur complex has been the

main supplier of PTA to the PET unit.

IVL noted that this is its first acquisition of 2016 and is

expected to be followed by the “imminent” acquisition of

the 720,000-t/y PET, PTA and purified isophthalic acid

complex of Cepsa in Cadiz, Spain, in the second quarter of

2016 (PCN, 16 Nov 2015, p 1).

The acquisition “coincides” with the U.S. International

Trade Commission’s 31 Mar. 2016 affirmative vote to apply

anti-subsidy and anti-dumping duties on PET resin imports

from China, Canada, India and Oman (PCN, 19 Oct

2015, p 3). These trade actions will help improve the supply

chain economics and operating rates, IVL said.

 

Sabuco Begins Commercial Output At Jubail Butanol Production Unit

Jubail—Saudi Butanol

Co. (Sabuco), following successful testing of plant

equipment and production efficiency, has begun commercial

operations at its new butanol plant in Jubail, Saudi

Arabia (PCN, 15 July 2013, p 1).

The facility has the capacity to produce 330,000 t/y of nbutanol

and 11,000 t/y of iso-butanol. The company earlier

said the project would cost $517-million.

Sabuco is a joint venture of Sadara, Saudi Kayan and

Saudi Acrylic Acid. It was established for the purpose of

owning and funding the butanol facility. Butanol produced

at the plant will be distributed to the partners through

tolling and processing agreements.

 

Chambal Awards Contract to Toyo For Large-Scale NH3/Urea Plant

Mumbai—Toyo Engineering

has received a contract for the construction of

Chambal Fertilisers and Chemicals’ large-scale fertilizer

complex in Kota, Rajasthan, India (PCN, 29 Feb 2016, p 4).

The complex will include a 2,200-t/d urea plant based

on KBR technology and a 4,000-t/d urea plant using Toyo’s

“ACES21” urea synthesis technology. Production is scheduled

to begin in early 2019.

Valued at about $600-million, the scope of the contract

includes grant of license, engineering, procurement, construction

and commissioning services.

 

Ineos Resuming Operations on 2nd Line Of KG Ethylene Plant in Grangemouth

London—

Ineos confirmed it has completed successful operational

and rigorous recommissioning trials on the second train of

its Grangemouth, Scotland, KG ethylene plant, which was

mothballed in 2008.

The work is being done in preparation for the arrival of

shale gas ethane from the U.S., with the first deliveries

expected to arrive at Grangemouth by ship this autumn.

The ethane will be used as a supplemental feedstock to

compensate for declining North Sea gas supplies.

“With the successful completion of the train 2 trial, we

are now in great shape to receive shale gas from the U.S.

and to finally run the Grangemouth plant at full rates,”

said Ineos Grangemouth Operations Director Gordon

Milne, without disclosing exact capacity.

“All the parts of the jigsaw are finally coming together

and Grangemouth will soon be back in the premier league

of European petrochemical plants,” he added.

In 2013, Ineos announced plans for an ethane import

and storage facility as part of its long-term survival plan

for the Grangemouth complex (PCN, 28 Oct 2013, p 1).

The company noted that the 830,000-t/y Fife ethylene

plant in Mossmorran, Scotland, will also benefit from the

terminal following a long-term ethane sale and purchase

agreement signed last year with ExxonMobil Chemical and

Shell Chemicals (PCN, 16 Nov 2015, p 2).

 

Mitsui and Thai Oil Launch Production Of LAB through Labix Joint Venture

Bangkok—Labix

Co., a joint venture owned 25% by Mitsui & Co. and 75%

by a wholly-owned subsidiary of Thai Oil, has started up a

new 100,000-t/y linear alkyl benzene (LAB) plant at Si

Racha, Chonburi, Thailand (PCN, 12 Aug 2013, p 1).

The new LAB unit is located within Thai Oil’s petrochemical

and refining complex, marking “the first LABproducing

company in Southeast Asia to fully integrate the

entire manufacturing process from the raw material

through the finished products,” said Mitsui.

 

Chevron Phillips Planning 20% Expansion Of Baytown Low Viscosity PAO Capacity

Baytown—

Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. said it has decided to proceed

with a 20% expansion of the low viscosity polyalphaolefins

(PAO) capacity at its Cedar Bayou plant in Baytown,

Texas (PCN, 10 Nov 2014, p 1).

The project, which will increase PAO capacity to 58,000

t/y from 48,000 t/y, will also improve process safety and

overall unit efficiencies, while reducing waste generation.

Construction is expected to begin this month with completion

and start up expected by mid-2017.

Feedstock for the PAO plant will come from the company’s

recently completed 100,000-t/y normal alpha olefins

expansion at Cedar Bayou.

 

CNOOC & Shell Decide to Move Ahead With Expansion of Huizhou Complex

Huizhou—China

National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC) and Shell Nanhai

BV have made the final investment decision to expand

CNOOC and Shell Petrochemical Co.’s (CSPC) existing

equally-owned joint venture complex in Huizhou, China

(PCN, 21-28 Dec 2015, p 1).

Subject to regulatory approvals, the CSPC joint venture

will take over CNOOC’s ongoing project to build new petrochemical

facilities adjacent to CSPC’s complex.

The project involves completing construction of an ethylene

cracker, with more than 1-million t/y of capacity, and

ethylene derivative units. It will also include a styrene

monomer and propylene oxide (SM/PO) plant that will be

“the largest such plant ever built in China.”

Shell will provide its SM/PO, Omega and Polyols technologies

to produce 150,000 t/y of ethylene oxide, 480,000

t/y of ethylene glycol and 600,000 t/y of high-quality polyols,

increasing the volumes and diversity of CSPC’s product

range to approximately 2-million t/y. Completion is expected

in about two years.

 

Williams Energy Canada Completes 2nd Offgas Liquids Extraction Unit

Fort McMurray—

Williams Energy Canada has started up its second offgas

liquids extraction plant to increase domestic production of

petrochemical feedstocks and significantly reduce emissions

in the oil sands production process.

This plant will serve an upgrader facility north of Fort

McMurray, Alberta. Williams’ first plant of this kind

serves the upgrader of another third-party oil sands producer.

The two plants recover ethane, propane, propylene

and other liquids from the upgrader’s offgas streams,

which Williams then transports, fractionates and markets.

During the oil sands production process, the new unit is

designed to cut carbon dioxide emissions by an average of

about 200,000 t/y and sulphur dioxide by about 2,800 t/y.

Williams noted the facility increases the amount of

natural gas liquids (NGL) it produces in Canada by 60% to

a total of approximately 40,000 b/d.

After extraction at the upgrader, the NGL/olefins mixture

will be transported by Williams’ recently extended

Boreal Pipeline to its expanded Redwater Olefinic Fractionator,

the only olefin/paraffin fractionator in Canada.

Most of the propane is expected to feed Williams’ planned

525,000-t/y propane dehydrogenation unit near Edmonton

(PCN, 2 Nov 2015, p 1).

 

CF Starts Donaldsonville UAN Production

Deerfield—

CF Industries has started up the new 4,500-t/d urea ammonium

nitrate (UAN) plant at its Donaldsonville, La.,

nitrogen complex (PCN, 22 Feb 2016, p 4).

The unit is part of a project that will result in the largest

nitrogen facility in the world and includes a 3,300-t/d

ammonia plant, scheduled for start-up later this year and a

3,500-t/d urea plant, which came on stream late last year.

“The finish line for our Donaldsonville capacity expansion

project is now in sight,” said CF President and Chief

Executive Tony Will. He noted the new UAN and urea

plants “are running consistently at or above nameplate

capacities, and the new ammonia plant is within a few

weeks of being mechanically complete.”

 

BASF Completes Two-Phase Expansion To Boost Geismar BDO Capacity 20%

Geismar—BASF

has completed a two-step 1,4-butanediol (BDO) capacity

expansion in Geismar, La., increasing production by about

20% (PCN, 26 Jan 2015, p 1).

The double-digit million-dollar investment, which increases

BASF’s global BDO capacity to 670,000 t/y, entailed

implementing measures to enhance efficiency and

improve infrastructure.

In addition to the Geismar plant, BASF produces BDO

in Ludwigshafen, Germany; Kuantan, Malaysia; Caojing,

China; and Chiba, Japan, as well as through a recently

completed joint venture with Markor in Korla, China

(PCN, 8 Feb 2016, p 1).

 

Solvay and Ineos Firm Agreement On Solvay’s Exit from Inovyn JV

Brussels—Solvay and

Ineos have signed the binding agreement to end their 50-

50 Inovyn chlorovinyls joint venture ahead of the original

July 2018 schedule (PCN, 21-28 Mar 2016, p 1).

The joint venture was established in 2015 to combine

the European polyvinyl chloride, caustic soda and chlorine

derivatives businesses of Solvay and Ineos. At formation,

it was intended that Solvay would withdraw its interest in

Inovyn after three years.

It is now expected that Solvay will end its participation

in the second half of this year, subject to normal regulatory

approvals. Upon completion of the transaction, Ineos will

become the sole shareholder in Inovyn and Solvay will receive

a final payment of €335-million.

 

Nexeo Solutions Signs Merger Accord To Become Part of WL Ross Holding

The Woodlands—

Chemical and plastics distribution company Nexeo Solutions

has entered into a merger agreement with special

purpose acquisition firm WL Ross Holding Corp., in which

Nexeo will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of WL Ross.

Immediately following the merger, valued at $1.575-

billion, WL Ross, majority owned by TPG Capital, plans to

change its name to Nexeo Solutions.

“This transaction allows us to align our ownership

structure in a way that accelerates our progress towards

defining distribution,” said Nexeo Solutions President and

Chief Executive David Bradley. “With a strong, centralized

operating platform and access to multiple sources of

capital, I believe we will be positioned to grow organically

and through acquisition.”

In 2011, TPG acquired Ashland Distribution and renamed

the firm Nexeo Solutions (PCN, 4 Apr 2011, p 3).

 

BNDES Reduces Holding in Braskem

São Paulo—

Braskem said it has received notification from BNDES

Participacoes SA concerning the divestment by BNDES of

class “A” preferred shares in Braskem’s capital stock during

regular trading sessions held from 18 Feb. 2016 to 16

Mar. 2016.

As a result, the equity interest held by BNDES, equivalent

to 10.00% of Braskem’s class “A” preferred capital and

4.33% of Braskem’s total capital, has been reduced to

6.61% and 2.86%, respectively.

 

Sabic & ExxonMobil Venture Starts Up New Carbon Black Facility in Jubail

Jubail—Kemya,

a 50-50 joint venture of Sabic and ExxonMobil, has started

up a new 50,000-t/y carbon black plant in Jubail, Saudi

Arabia (PCN, 21-28 Dec 2015, p 2).

Based on Continental Carbon’s technology, the unit will

produce carbon black mainly for the tire industry, which

will be commercialized by Continental Carbon Europe.

The carbon black unit is part of a project, which, when

complete, will also produce more than 400,000 t/y of rubber

(butyl, styrene butadiene, polybutadiene and ethylene propylene

diene monomer) and thermoplastic specialty polymers.

Commercial operations of the initial units are expected

to begin during the second quarter of 2016.

 

Nuberg Engineering Wins EPC Contract For Chlor-Alkali Project in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi—

Nuberg Engineering has received an engineering, procurement

and construction contract from Emirates Chemical

Factory, part of the Said Al Khaili Group, for a chloralkali

plant in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The unit, to be built in the Khalifa Industrial Zone, will

have the capacity to produce 150 t/d of chlor-alkali and

caustic soda. The project will be based on bipolar membrane

cell technology.

Nuberg said its $76-million contract covers engineering,

procurement services, construction management, inspection

and expediting services, site supervision and commissioning.

A project schedule was not given.

“This contract reinforces our headship in UAE, an area

where we have been associated with all players of the

chlor-alkali industry and have delivered projects successfully,”

commented Nuberg Managing Director A. K. Tyagi.

 

SES, Yima JV Touts Formal Acceptance Of Gasification Technology in Henan

Henan—Synthesis

Energy Systems (SES) announced that its Yima

joint venture plant in China’s Henan Province has completed

the required performance testing of the SES Gasification

Technology (SGT) systems and has received its Performance

Test Certificate, exceeding all performance targets

(PCN, 17 June 2013, p 2).

The coal-to-methanol facility, owned 25% by SES and

75% by Yima Coal Industry Group Co., has three SES gasification

systems, two in operation and one as a backup,

producing syngas for methanol production with a total

methanol design capacity of 1,033 t/d.

“The formal acceptance of the test results reaffirms

SGT’s industry-leading performance, exceeding the syngas

production targets utilizing less than the specified amount

of both coal and oxygen,” stated SES.

 

Vopak Completes Sale of UK Assets

London—Royal

Vopak has completed the sale of its UK terminals and

Thames Oilport as part of a plan announced last year to

divest about 15 smaller terminals (PCN, 20 July 2015, p 4).

Specifically, Vopak Terminal London, Vopak Terminal

Teesside and Vopak Terminal Windmill were sold to Macquarie

Capital, and Thames Oilport was sold to Greenergy.

The combined value of the sales is £335-million.

 

MEGlobal Picks Dow’s Freeport Site For New MEG Production Facility

Freeport—MEGlobal

has decided to build its previously announced

world-scale monoethylene glycol (MEG) plant at Dow

Chemical’s Oyster Creek site in Freeport, Texas (PCN, 26

Oct 2015, p 1).

The facility, which will be owned by MEGlobal and is

its first manufacturing unit in the U.S., is scheduled to

come on stream in mid-2019. Capacity was not given.

Ethylene will be supplied from Dow’s new ethylene

cracker at the site, through a long-term supply agreement.

The cracker is on track to start-up in the second quarter of

2017 (PCN, 14 Mar 2016, p 4).

 

BP and KPC Agree to Jointly Explore Future Energy Sector Opportunities

Kuwait City—BP

and Kuwait Petroleum Corp. (KPC) have signed a framework

agreement to study possible joint opportunities for

investment and cooperation in future petrochemical, oil,

gas and trading ventures.

To be considered under the agreement are global midstream

and petrochemical projects, including the potential

use of BP’s proprietary paraxylene technology in KPC’s

petrochemical projects.

The agreement also covers enhancing oil and gas recovery

from Kuwait’s existing resource base, as well as investments

in future global oil and gas exploration, and

possible oil and gas trading deals, including liquefied natural

gas trading and related ventures.

 

Olin to Reduce Chlor-Alkali Capacity Across Three Separate U.S. Facilities

Clayton—Olin

Corp. plans to close a combined total of 433,000 t/y of chloralkali

capacity at three separate Olin facilities in the U.S.

(PCN, 9 Nov 2015, p 1).

Effective 31 Mar. 2016, chlor-alkali capacity at its Freeport,

Texas, plant will be reduced by 220,000 t/y from its

diaphragm cell capacity. Following the reduction, Olin will

have 1.58-million t/y of diaphragm cell capacity and 1.45-

million t/y of membrane cell capacity.

Effective 31 Mar. 2016, Olin’s Henderson, Nev., facility

discontinued production of chlor-alkali, eliminating

153,000 t/y of capacity. The site will be reconfigured to

produce bleach and distribute caustic soda and hydrochloric

acid. Olin will also cut 100 jobs at Henderson.

The company reduced chlor-alkali capacity earlier this

year at its plant in Niagara Falls, N.Y, to 240,000 t/y from

300,000 t/y.

 

Teijin Adding Para-Aramid Capacity

Tokyo—Teijin

Ltd. is expanding production capacity for its Technora

para-aramid fiber by 10% at the company’s Matsuyama

plant in Japan.

Construction on the ¥1.5-billion project will begin in

June 2016, with the new capacity scheduled to come on

stream in October 2017.

Teijin explained that by boosting Technora capacity, the

company is putting a higher priority on leveraging highperformance

materials in advanced solutions to meet diverse

demands in the global market.

 

Braskem Investing R$380-MM to Upgrade Camacari Complex to Use Ethane Feed

São Paulo—

Braskem has received Board of Directors approval for a

R$380-million project that will allow the use of up to 15%

ethane feedstock for the cracker at its Camacari petrochemical

complex in Bahia, Brazil.

To facilitate the project, Braskem has also entered into

a long-term agreement with an affiliate of Enterprise Products

Partners for the supply of shale gas ethane feedstock

starting in mid-2017.

The investment will be used to adapt the logistics infrastructure

at the Port of Aratu terminal and the connecting

pipeline, and to adjusting technologies at Braskem’s now

100% naphtha-based basic petrochemicals unit in the

Camacari complex.

“The investment aims to increase the competitiveness

and flexibility of our feedstock consumption,” said Marcelo

Cerqueira, vice president of Braskem’s basic petrochemicals

unit. “This increased diversification with the use of

gas-based feedstock – which is currently abundant in the

U.S. market – is a global trend in the petrochemical industry,”

he noted.

The adaptations will begin during a maintenance shutdown

scheduled for this October. The cracker is expected

to start using ethane feedstock in October 2017.

 

BVFCL Seeks Partner for NH3/Urea Plant

Namrup—

Brahmaputra Valley Fertilizer Corp. (BVFCL) is seeking a

partner for a new brownfield ammonia and urea complex to

be built within its existing site at Namrup, Assam, India.

The Indian Cabinet has approved BVFCL’s plans for

the 865,000-t/y ammonia and urea project to be established

on a public-private partnership basis.

 

Iran Gains PET Production Know-How

Tehran—Iran

has acquired the technical knowledge to produce polyethylene

terephthalate (PET), reported the Islamic Republic

News Agency, quoting Mohammad Reza Sovizi, assistant

professor of analytical chemistry at the Malek Ashtar University

of Technology.

“We have been able to indigenize the production of the

petrochemical catalyst and Iran is the first country in the

region to acquire self-sufficiency in the production of this

chemical item, which used to be imported,” he said. “This

has saved Iran $22-million annually,” Sovizi added.

 

Primus Green Energy Eyes Delivery Of Marcellus Region Methanol Unit

Hillsborough—

Primus Green Energy Inc. has announced plans to develop

and deliver a 160-t/d methanol plant to a production site in

the Marcellus shale region of the U.S.

Production is scheduled to begin in 2017 for regional

distribution, and three additional trains in the following

years are expected to increase capacity to 640 t/d.

Primus explained that its standardized modular gas-toliquids

(GTL) systems will convert low-cost Marcellus feedstock

into methanol, saving clients in the region both production

and transportation costs. “As a result, the systems

are cost-competitive with the world-class methanol plants

located on the Gulf Coast of the U.S. and in international

markets.”

The company also plans up to four additional methanol

plants in other North American regional markets with capacities

ranging from 160 t/d to 640 t/d.

“In North America specifically, our technology offers

clients a politically-stable, cost-effective avenue for local

methanol and gasoline production, and we look forward to

continuing to provide the industry with this domestic solution,”

said Primus Chief Executive Sam Golan.

 

Ethiopia Establishing PVC Production

Addis Ababa—

Ethiopia’s Endowment Fund for the Rehabilitation of Tigray

has signed an agreement with China CEC Engineering

Corp. and Fengda Chemical Planning and Design for

construction of a polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plant in Tigray,

Ethiopia, according to local media reports.

The project, valued at about $236-million, will have the

capacity to produce 60,000 t/y of PVC and 50,000 t/y of

caustic soda.

Sur Construction and Mesfin Industrial Engineering

will participate in construction of the project, which is expected

to be completed within 30 months, the reports said.

 

PetroChemical News Briefs

Lanxess and Saudi Aramco on 1 Apr. completed the

formation of Arlanxeo, a 50-50 joint venture for synthetic

rubber valued at €2.75-billion and based in the Netherlands

(PCN, 15 Feb 2016, p 3).

Hanbang Petrochemical has started up a new 2.2-

million-t/y purified terephthalic acid (PTA) plant in Jiangyin

City, Jiangsu Province, China. This is its second PTA

unit at that location.

Kurt Bock has been nominated to succeed Marijn

Dekkers as the next president of VCI, the German chemical

industry association. An election will be held on 23

Sept. 2016. Bock is chairman of the board of executive directors

at BASF.

Azerbaijan’s Socar has divested 2.75% of its interest

in Turkey’s Petkim to a foreign investment fund for $51-

million. Socar continues to hold a 56.32% equity stake in

Petkim.

 

V54 N12 – 21-28 March 2016

Solvay and Ineos Advance Schedule For Solvay’s Exit from Inovyn JV

Brussels—Solvay

and Ineos plan to end their 50-50 Inovyn chlorovinyls joint

venture earlier than originally anticipated, with Ineos to

become the sole owner (PCN, 6 July 2015, p 1).

Inovyn was established on 1 July 2015 to combine the

European polyvinyl chloride, caustic soda and chlorine derivatives

activities of both companies. Solvay was expected

to withdraw from Inovyn in July 2018, receiving a final

exit payment of €335-million.

“Thanks to the fast and efficient integration of its teams

and assets, Inovyn is now a sound and sustainable

chlorovinyls player. This allows us to bring forward Solvay’s

exit,” explained Solvay Chief Executive Jean-Pierre

Clamadieu.

Closing of the transaction is now targeted for the second

half of 2016, subject to finalizing definitive legal agreements

and normal regulatory approvals.

 

BASF & Kolon Plastics Forming Venture To Produce Polyoxymethylene in Korea

Gimcheon—

BASF and Kolon Plastics have signed an agreement to establish

an equally-owned joint venture in Korea for the

production of polyoxymethylene (POM).

The new venture, Kolon BASF innoPOM Inc., will build

a 70,000-t/y POM plant at Kolon’s existing site in Gimcheon,

Korea, which already includes POM production.

The plant, based on Kolon’s technology, is scheduled to

begin operations in the second half of 2018 creating in total

the world’s largest complex for the production of POM.

The POM will be marketed globally by the two companies

under their respective trade names and proprietary

formulations.

Following start-up of the plant in Gimcheon, BASF will

discontinue production of POM in Ludwigshafen, Germany.

 

KBR Wins Additional Contract in Egypt For Kima’s Stalled NH3, Urea Project

Aswan—KBR

has received a proprietary equipment contract, its second

contract for Egyptian Chemical Industries Holding Co.’s

(Kima) previously suspended ammonia and urea facilities

in Aswan, Egypt (PCN, 20 Oct 2014, p 1).

The project, originally due for July 2014 completion, includes

a 1,200-t/d ammonia unit, using KBR’s Purifier Ammonia

Technology, and a 1,575-t/d urea melt unit based on

Stamicarbon’s Pool Reactor technology. The project is now

expected to reach provisional acceptance in 34 months.

KBR said it has also resumed work under the earlier

contract for the license and basic engineering design of

Kima’s ammonia plant, which was awarded by Tecnimont,

the engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning

contractor for the project.

Under the new contract, KBR will provide Tecnimont

with post basic engineering design support, as well as the

supply of proprietary equipment.

 

SK Advanced Begins Trial Production At Joint Venture PDH Unit in Korea

Ulsan—SK Advanced

Co. has begun trial production of propylene at its

recently completed propane dehydrogenation (PDH) plant

in Ulsan, South Korea (PCN, 25 Jan 2016, p 1).

The new 600,000-t/y facility will be subject to performance

testing. It will “take one to three months to monitor

and confirm the plant reliability and sustainability to operate

on a commercial basis,” said Advanced Petrochemical.

Commercial operations are expected to begin in the

second quarter of 2016.

SK Advanced was created in 2014 as a joint venture of

SK Gas Co. and Advanced Petrochemical’s Advanced

Global Investment Co. (AGIC) for the purpose of building

the approximately $1-billion PDH project. AGIC held a

35% equity interest in the project and SK held the remaining

65%.

Petrochemical Industries Co., a 100% owned subsidiary

of Kuwait Petroleum Corp., recently decided to acquire a

25% interest in the joint venture. Following completion of

the transaction, for which a date was not given, SK will

hold a 45% stake in SK Advanced and AGIC will hold 30%.

 

Yara Lays Foundation Stone in Sluiskil For Its New Urea Granulation Facility

Sluiskil—A

ceremony was held on 14 Mar. for the first stone laying of

Yara’s new urea granulation plant being built in Sluiskil,

near Terneuzen, the Netherlands (PCN, 3 Aug 2015, p 3).

The project involves a 2,000-t/d urea granulation plant,

based on Yara’s technology, which allows for the production

of special, sulfur enriched, urea grades. Completion is

expected in 2017.

Last year, Maire Tecnimont was awarded an engineering,

procurement and construction contract for the plant,

including some utilities. The contract is valued at about

€125-million.

 

BASF Petronas JV Starts Construction On PIB Production Plant in Kuantan

Kuantan—

BASF Petronas Chemicals, a joint venture of BASF and

Petronas, has broken ground for a new 50,000-t/y highly

reactive polyisobutene (PIB) facility in Kuantan, Malaysia.

The plant, being built at the joint venture’s existing

site, will be the “first of its kind in South East Asia,” the

companies said. Production is expected to start in the

fourth quarter of 2017 (PCN, 27 July 2015, p 1). Cost of

the project was not disclosed.

 

Consolidated Energy Agrees to Purchase 50% Stake in OCI’s Natgasoline Project

Houston—

Consolidated Energy Ltd. (CEL) has entered into a binding

agreement to acquire a 50% stake in OCI’s Natgasoline

subsidiary, which is developing a methanol production

complex in Beaumont, Texas (PCN, 9 Nov 2015, p 1).

CEL, owned by the Proman Group and Helm AG, will

inject $630-million in equity and a $50-million shareholder

loan, through CEL’s G2X Energy subsidiary. The investment,

combined with OCI’s existing equity of $520-million

and shareholder loans of $511-million, will complete the

funding required for the project.

The methanol plant, expected to have a capacity of up

to about 1.75-million t/y, will use Lurgi MegaMethanol

technology and will be “the United States’ largest methanol

production facility,” OCI noted. Production is planned to

start in the second half of 2017.

“Natgasoline is expected to be one of the most competitive

methanol producers globally, with access to low-cost

natural gas feedstock in the United States, in what we believe

will remain a deficit methanol market for the foreseeable

future,” said OCI Chief Executive Nassef Sawiris.

CF Industries, which entered into a combination

agreement last year with OCI, has consented to OCI’s entry

into the agreement with G2X. As part of the consent,

OCI agreed CF has no further obligation to invest in the

Natgasoline project. CF is expected to have the option to

acquire up to a 50% stake in the project in the future.

OCI and CF will amend their combination agreement to

show G2X’s participation in the project, revised capital

structure and the terms of CF’s option. The merger is expected

to be completed this year.

 

Mitsui Moves to Dissolve, Liquidate Chlor-Alkali Subsidiary in Texas

Houston—Mitsui &

Co. Texas Chlor-Alkali Inc., a subsidiary of Mitsui & Co.

Ltd., is dissolving and liquidating its chlor-alkali business

in Texas.

Mitsui cited Dow Chemical’s decision to split off the majority

of its chlor-alkali and downstream derivatives business

and merge those assets with Olin Corp. (PCN, 12 Oct

2015, p 1). Those assets included Dow’s 50% interest in

the Dow-Mitsui Chlor-Alkali joint venture in Freeport.

In October 2015, Mitsui sold its share in the venture by

exercising the tag-along right. As a result, and following

the completion of sales procedures, Mitsui expects to complete

the liquidation by the end of March 2016.

 

Rosneft Expresses Interest in Acquiring 49% Equity Stake in Essar Oil Limited

Gujarat—Rosneft

and Essar Oil Ltd. have held negotiations in which Rosneft

has confirmed its interest in acquiring a 49% equity stake in

Essar Oil.

Preliminary mutual understanding has been achieved

on the timing and structure of the deal. The parties intend

to sign and close the transaction by the end of June 2016,

Rosneft noted.

Essar Oil plans to implement a modernization program

to expand its Vadinar refinery’s capacity to 25,000 t/y from

20,000 t/y currently, “including production of 1-million t/y

of propylene/polypropylene,” said Rosneft. The Vadinar

refinery is located in Gujarat, India.

 

Lanxess, Saudi Aramco Name Executives Of New Arlanxeo SynRub Joint Venture

Cologne—

Lanxess and Saudi Aramco have announced the executive

board of their new Arlanxeo 50-50 synthetic rubber joint

venture, which is scheduled to launch on 1 Apr. 2016

(PCN, 15 Feb 2016, p 3).

Both companies will have equal representation on the

board. Lanxess will be represented by Jan Paul de Vries,

who will serve as chief executive, and Jorge Nogueira, who

will become member of the executive board. They have

been responsible for the High Performance Elastomers

business unit and the Tire & Specialty Rubbers unit of

Lanxess, respectively.

Saudi Aramco will be represented by Ali Ba-Baidhan

and Fayez Alsharef, who will become chief financial officer

and chief procurement officer, respectively.

Ba-Baidhan currently serves on the board of directors of

Aramco Gulf Oil Co. Alsharef is manager of the Domestic

Sales and Logistics Department at Saudi Aramco.

The €2.75-billion venture will be based in Maastricht,

the Netherlands, and will develop, produce, market, sell

and distribute synthetic rubber. It will comprise Lanxess’

Tire & Specialty Rubbers and High Performance Elastomers

business unit, including 20 production facilities in nine

countries.

 

HPCL and Gail Narrow Location List For Refinery & Petrochem Complex

New Delhi—Hindustan

Petroleum Corp. Ltd. (HPCL) and GAIL (India)

have short listed three sites in Andhra Pradesh for establishing

a 15-million-t/y refinery and petrochemical complex,

India’s Economic Times reported.

In January, India’s Union Minister for Chemicals and

Fertilizers announced that the two companies had been

selected to jointly undertake the refinery and a greenfield

petrochemical complex in Andhra Pradesh (PCN, 18 Jan

2016, p 1). The project, requiring an investment of about

Rs 50,000 crore, has received in-principle approval from

the government.

The selected sites, for which studies have been completed,

are Nakkapalli near Visakhapatnam, Kakinada in

East Godavari, and Machilipatnam.

HPCL and GAIL have carried out a pre-feasibility and

configuration study for an integrated refinery and petrochemical

complex and also a standalone petrochemical

complex, said Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan. He

noted that a project schedule will depend on completion of

a detailed feasibility study, financial appraisal and necessary

approvals.

 

People on the Move

DuPont—Randy L. Stone has been named president of

the DuPont Performance Materials business, succeeding

Patrick E. Lindner, who has left the company. Stone was

most recently global business director of high performance

solutions for DuPont Performance Materials.

PolyOne—President and Chief Executive Robert M.

Patterson has been elected to serve in the additional role of

chairman of the board of directors, effective 12 May 2016.

He will replace Stephen D. Newlin, current executive

chairman and former president and chief executive of

PolyOne, who will retire and will not stand for re-election

at the 12 May meeting of shareholders.

 

NPC of Iran Signs MoU with French Total To Build Iranian Petrochemical Complex

Tehran—

Iran’s National Petrochemical Co. (NPC) and Total in

France have signed a memorandum of understanding

(MoU) to build a petrochemical complex on the coast of

Iran, according to a report from Shana on NPC’s website.

The complex will include a steam cracker that will utilize

ethane, naphtha, liquefied petroleum gas and other

liquid feedstock. A specific location and schedule for the

project were not disclosed.

Total is responsible for initiating feasibility studies of

the project, which when complete, will supply petrochemical

products domestically and internationally.

 

Shell & Saudi Refining in Agreement On Separation of JV Motiva Assets

Houston— Royal

Dutch Shell, through is downstream U.S. affiliate, and

Saudi Aramco, through its Saudi Refining Inc. (SRI) subsidiary,

have signed a non-binding letter of intent to divide

the assets of their 50-50 Motiva Enterprises joint venture.

As proposed, Shell will assume sole ownership of the

235,000-b/d Norco, La., refinery, where it operates a chemicals

complex, the 230,000-b/d Convent, La., refinery, nine

distribution terminals, and Shell branded markets in Florida,

Louisiana and the Northeastern U.S. region.

SRI will retain the Motiva name, assume full ownership

of the 600,000-b/d Port Arthur, Texas, refinery, retain 26

distribution terminals, and have an exclusive license to use

the Shell brand for gasoline and diesel sales in Texas.

Motiva in 2012 completed a project that doubled capacity

of the Port Arthur refinery and included 8,000 b/d of

liquefied petroleum gas, 5,000 b/d of propylene, 3,000 b/d of

butane and 1,500 b/d of isobutene capacity (PCN, 11 June

2012, p 1).

 

Cabot’s Prevost Resigns as President, CEO; Sean Keohane Appointed as His Successor

Boston―

Patrick M. Prevost has elected to step down as president

and chief executive, effective immediately, to focus on his

recovery from the effects of a recent stroke.

Prevost, who will continue as a director and advisor to

the company, explained: “I would love to continue to lead

this extraordinary organization, but . . . , I am unable to

devote the time required to be as effective as I would like.”

Sean D. Keohane has been named president and chief

executive to succeed Prevost, and a member of the board of

directors. He most recently was executive vice president

and president of the reinforcement materials segment.

 

Anellotech Receives Additional $3-Million To Fund Bio-TCat Process Development

Silsbee—

Anellotech has received an additional $3-million equity

investment from an unnamed and confidential investor

and corporate partner for the development of Anellotech’s

Bio-TCat process and the installation of a development and

testing facility in Silsbee, Texas.

The process will be used to cost-competitively produce

renewable aromatic chemicals from non-food biomass

(PCN, 25 Jan 2016, p 2).

Anellotech received $7-million from the partner last

November.

 

Cosmo Confirms Intent to Raise Interest In Maruzen Petrochemical to Over 50%

Tokyo—

Cosmo Energy Holdings said it will later this month buy

additional shares in Maruzen Petrochemical from JNC

Corp., raising its stake in Maruzen to 52.7% from 43.9%

(PCN, 11 Jan 2016, p 2).

The acquisition is expected to result in Maruzen eventually

becoming a consolidated subsidiary of Cosmo.

Cosmo operates a refinery adjacent to Maruzen’s naphtha

cracker in Ichihara, Chiba Prefecture, Japan.

 

Rentech Nitrogen Sells Pasadena Unit; Plans to Soon Close Merger with CVR

Los Angeles—

Rentech Nitrogen Partners has completed the sale of its

Pasadena, Texas, facility to Pasadena Commodities International,

an affiliate of Interoceanic Corp., a long-time distributor

of the plant’s ammonium sulfate production.

The transaction involves an initial cash payment of $5-

million to Rentech Nitrogen and a cash working adjustment,

which is expected to be about $6-million.

Sale of the plant was a condition to the completion of

Rentech Nitrogen’s planned merger with CVR Partners

(PCN, 1 Feb 2016, p 3).

Last year, CVR entered into a definitive agreement to

purchase all outstanding shares of Rentech Nitrogen for

$533-million. The merger is expected to be completed “on

or about the end of this month,” Rentech Nitrogen said.

 

Sumitomo Upgrading Naphtha Storage At PCS’ Jurong Island, Singapore, Site

Singapore—

Sumitomo Chemical plans to invest between ¥8-billion and

¥9-billion to build naphtha feedstock storage tanks and a

wharf on Jurong Island in Singapore at a plant operated by

Petrochemical Corp. of Singapore (PCS), in which Sumitomo

holds an interest.

Targeted for completion in 2017, the project includes

tanks with the capacity to store 240,000 kiloliters of naphtha,

and a wharf to accommodate tankers with a capacity

of 50,000 tons to 70,000 tons, double what can now be accommodated.

PCS, which has said its challenge is to successfully implement

naphtha import facilities, currently receives naphtha

feedstock by pipeline from nearby refineries as well as

imports from the Middle East.

 

Malaysia’s MISC and AET Combining Chemical and Clean Products Fleets

Kuala Lumpur—

Malaysia International Shipping Corp. (MISC) plans to

merge its chemical fleet with the clean petroleum products

(CPP) fleet operated by its wholly-owned AET subsidiary.

AET will assume control of the 13 chemical carriers and

single liquefied petroleum gas vessel currently owned and

operated by MISC, and combine them with its own fleet of

eight CPPs to create a new entity.

“With growth forecast in the petrochemical industry,

particularly in the U.S. and Arabian Gulf, along with the

current low oil price environment, we are confident we will

see a strengthening of exports and higher demand for

product tankers,” predicted MISC President and Group

Chief Executive Yee Yang Chien.

 

BASF & Avantium Plan to Establish JV For Production, Marketing of FDCA

Ludwigshafen—

BASF and Avantium have signed a letter of intent and entered

into exclusive negotiations to create a joint venture

for the production and marketing of furandicarboxylic acid

(FDCA) and marketing of polyethylene furanoate (PEF).

FDCA, the chemical building block for PEF, will be produced

using Avantium’s YXY process. The partners plan

to further develop the process as well as build a 50,000-t/y

reference plant for the production of FDCA at BASF’s Verbund

site in Antwerp, Belgium. FDCA and PEF enable

improved food packaging and plastic bottles.

The aim of the partnership is to “build up world-leading

positions in FDCA and PEF, and subsequently license the

technology for industrial scale application,” BASF noted.

Partnering with BASF “provides us with access to the

capabilities that are required to bring this technology to

industrialization,” said Tom van Aken, chief executive of

Avantium.

Avantium earlier entered into agreements with ALPLA

Werke Alwin Lehner, Coca-Cola Co. and Danone with the

goal of bringing 100% bio-based PEF bottles to market by

2016 (PCN, 10 June 2013, p 3).

 

Asahi Kasei to Consolidate, Enhance R&D Facilities at Mizushima Works

Tokyo—Asahi

Kasei Chemicals will spend approximately ¥3-billion to

consolidate and enhance the research and development

(R&D) facilities at its Mizushima site in Okayama, Japan,

and build a new research complex.

R&D facilities at the site, which are currently separated

across different locations in District B and District C, will

be centralized in District C with construction of the research

complex and the enhancement of existing R&D facilities.

Construction on the research complex is scheduled

to start this July and be completed in June 2017.

Remodeling and renovations of existing laboratories located

adjacent to the new research complex are planned to

begin in July 2017 and be completed in June 2018.

The site has served as a central base for the development

of core technologies including petrochemical processes

and catalyst chemistry. “These measures are expected

to result in higher-level combinations of differing

technologies by facilitating collaborative research in catalyst,

process, and material fields, and greater interaction

among researchers in different organizations,” Asahi Kasei

explained.

 

Covestro Working with Partners in Germany On Carbon Dioxide to Elastomers Process

Berlin—

Covestro announced it is working with German partners

RWTH Aachen University and the Technical University of

Berlin on a further process that will enable the use of carbon

dioxide (CO2) for the production of elastomers on an

industrial scale.

The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research

is providing up to €1.5-million in funding over the

next three years for the project.

Covestro said it is aiming to open the first production

facility this year to produce a polyol with a 20% CO2 content

as a precursor at its Dormagen, Germany, site.

 

Air Products Reportedly in Advanced Talks To Sell Performance Materials to Evonik

Allentown—

Air Products is in advanced talks to sell its Performance

Materials Division to Evonik Industries, Reuters reported

citing unnamed sources. No decision has been made.

Air Products recently filed a registration statement

with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to proceed

with the previously announced spin-off of its Materials

Technologies business and rename it Versum Materials

(PCN, 16 Nov 2015, p 3).

Materials Technologies consists of the Performance Materials

Division and the Electronic Materials Division.

 

Orpic Completes Liwa Project Funding

Muscat—

Oman Oil Refining and Petroleum Industries Co. (Orpic)

has completed a $3.8-billion project financing facility for its

$6.5-billion Liwa Plastic Industries Complex (LPIC), The

Times of Oman reported.

LPIC financing is being supported by export credit

agencies representing the governments of Italy, the Netherlands,

Korea, the U.K. and Germany, along with 19 international,

regional and local commercial lenders.

Orpic completed the financing on a highly accelerated

timetable that was designed to coincide with the scheduled

start of construction.

Scheduled for commissioning in 2020, the LPIC includes

a steam cracker with over 800,000 t/y of capacity,

838,000 t/y of linear low- and high-density polyethylene

capacity, 215,000 t/y of polypropylene capacity and a 300-

km natural gas liquids pipeline between Fahud and Sohar

(PCN, 8 Feb 2016, p 3).

 

Mitsui Chemical Opening Korean Subsidiary

Seoul—

Mitsui Chemicals’ new Mitsui Chemicals Korea subsidiary

will begin operations on 1 Apr. 2016 as a restructuring of

its Mitsui Chemicals Korean Branch marketing hub established

in 2014 (PCN, 13 Oct 2014, p 4).

Mitsui said the new company will form an optimum

sales network to further expand its operations in Korea.

Those operations include an equally-owned polyurethanes

venture with SK Holdings’ SKC subsidiary, and a 50-50

polypropylene catalyst joint venture with Lotte Chemical

(PCN, 6 July 2015, p 4; 15 Apr 2013, p 1).

V54 N11 – 14 March 2016

Enterprise Expects Early 2017 Start-Up Of Mont Belvieu Propane Dehydro Unit

Houston—

Enterprise Products Partners said it expects to commission

its new propane dehydrogenation (PDH) unit being built in

Mont Belvieu, Texas, in the first quarter of 2017 (PCN, 4

Aug 2014, p 4).

The facility, which will produce 1.65-billion lbs/yr of

polymer grade propylene, had originally been scheduled for

completion in September 2016. Commercial operations are

now planned in the second quarter of 2017.

R. B. Herrscher, senior vice president of unregulated

NGL assets and petrochemicals, attributed the delay to an

increase in project cost, but noted that once operational,

the PDH plant “will be kicking out a cash flow of sizeable

proportions.” The company has already contracted out

100% of the capacity.

Amec Foster Wheeler was awarded the engineering,

procurement and construction contract for the project in

2013; however, in December 2015, they were replaced as

primary construction contractor by Optimized Process Designs

LLC.

Once the PDH unit is up and running, Enterprise will

be able to produce 9.5-billion lbs/yr of polymer-grade propylene.

The company’s other PDH projects have been put

on hold or cancelled, so this unit is needed, Herrscher said.

 

Azerkimya Signs Contract with Technip For Ethylene-PE Plant Reconstruction

Baku—State

Oil Co. of Azerbaijan’s (Socar) Azerkimya subsidiary has

awarded a detailed engineering and procurement services

contract to Technip for the reconstruction of an ethylenepolyethylene

(PE) facility at Sumgayit in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Socar said the project involves “reconstruction of the

ethylene-PE production plant, modernization of current

units and construction of new ones that will boost production

capacity, provide the polypropylene-PE plant constructed

in Sumgayit with raw materials, increase export

capacity and enhance sustainable and secure exploitation.”

The design and construction work will be carried out in

stages until 2019. Value of the contract was not disclosed.

 

Egypt’s Ethydco Nearing Completion Of Petchem Complex in Alexandria

Alexandria—

Egyptian Ethylene and Derivatives Co. (Ethydco) has completed

more than 97% of its $1.9-billion petrochemical

complex in Alexandria, Egypt, according to local business

reports citing Chairman Abd El-Rahman Zeid.

Scheduled to begin production last year, the complex

has the capacity to produce 460,000 t/y of ethylene, 400,000

t/y of polyethylene, 20,000 t/y of butadiene and 26,000 t/y

of butadiene derivatives (PCN, 30 Mar–6 Apr 2015, p 4).

Egyptian Minister of Petroleum Sherif Ismail has referred

to the complex as “one of the most important” projects

in the national plan because its production will help

establish transformational industries and realize the highest

revenues and added value for the Egyptian economy.

 

Sasol Moves to Slow Pace of Execution On La. Ethane & Derivatives Project

Johannesburg—

Sasol President and Chief Executive David E. Constable,

in discussing Sasol’s financial results, disclosed that because

of the uncertain economic environment, the company

has decided to pace the execution of its Lake Charles, La.,

ethane and derivatives project (PCN, 22 June 2015, p 4).

The $8.1-billion project includes a 1.5-million-t/y ethane

cracker and downstream production of low- and linear lowdensity

polyethylene, ethylene oxide and ethylene glycol,

which had been scheduled to come on stream in 2017.

Constable said the engineering and procurement are at

an advanced stage and site construction has fully commenced.

He acknowledged some “initial challenges” associated

with ground work because of heavy rain last year

and the regulatory need to relocate a small waterway.

“This shift in schedule will also give us the opportunity to

further optimize field efficiency.”

Sasol’s current view is that “some smaller derivative

units will move into calendar year 2019 and the overall

end-of-job project cost estimate will remain under pressure.”

Constable noted that a detailed review of the project

cost and schedule is underway and likely to be completed

by the middle of this year.

 

Petro Rabigh Completes Mechanical Works For Ethane Cracker Expansion at Rabigh

Rabigh—

The Rabigh Refining and Petrochemical Co. (Petro Rabigh)

joint venture of Saudi Aramco and Sumitomo Chemical has

completed the mechanical works for an ethane cracker expansion

as part of its Rabigh Phase II project in Rabigh,

Saudi Arabia (PCN, 11 Jan 2016, p 1).

The cracker was expanded to a production capacity of

1.6-million t/y from 1.3-million t/y. Petro Rabigh said it

will employ the expanded production capacity upon the

supply of ethane gas from relevant parties.

Phase II includes the addition of units to produce ethylene

propylene rubber, thermoplastic polyolefins, methyl

methacrylate monomer, polymethyl methacrylate, lowdensity

polyethylene/ethylene vinyl acetate, paraxylene/

benzene, cumene and phenol/acetate. The project is

scheduled to be completed in September.

In addition to the ethane cracker, the complex currently

has 900,000 t/y of propylene capacity and downstream

units for the production of polyethylene, polypropylene,

propylene oxide, ethylene glycol and butene-1.

 

Casale Wins Eurochem NH3 Revamp

Novomoskovsk—

Casale has received a contract from Eurochem’s Nak Azot

subsidiary for the revamp of an ammonia plant at Novomoskovsk,

in Russia’s Tula region.

The project, scheduled for completion by the end of

2017, is intended to increase ammonia capacity up to 2,000

t/d, while reducing energy consumption.

Casale said it will provide, license, know-how and the

basic design for the revamp.

 

Mitsubishi, Asahi Kasei Obtain Approvals For Unified Mizushima Cracker Venture

Tokyo—

Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corp. and its Mitsubishi

Chemical Corp. subsidiary, and Asahi Kasei Corp. and its

Asahi Kasei Chemical Corp. subsidiary have received necessary

regulatory approvals for the establishment of an

equally-owned joint venture to operate a unified naphtha

cracker in Mizushima, Japan (PCN, 1 June 2015, p 2).

Scheduled to begin operations on 1 Apr., the new venture

will be named Asahi Kasei Mitsubishi Chemical Ethylene

Corp. and will be headquartered in Tokyo, Japan.

The venture will procure feedstocks and produce basic

petrochemicals for sale to the parent companies. Each subsidiary

currently has 500,000 t/y of ethylene capacity at the

Mizushima site. Those crackers are being operated by Nishi

Nippon Ethylene, a limited liability partnership of the

two companies.

With the launch of the new venture, the partners have

agreed to unify production on Mitsubishi’s cracker, while

Asahi Kasei’s facility will be disposed of. Mitsubishi’s

cracker will be increased to 570,000 t/y of capacity through

the replacement of the main component of a compressor.

Makoto Sakamoto, currently general manager, Basic

Chemicals Division at Asahi Kasei Chemicals, has been

appointed president of the new company. Hiroaki Numata

has been named vice president. He is currently assistant

to the chief operation officer of the Basic Petrochemicals

Division at Mitsubishi Chemical Corp.

 

NatureWorks Opens $1-MM R&D Lab For Methane-to-Lactic Acid Process

Minnetonka—

NatureWorks has opened a new $1-million laboratory at its

world headquarters in Minnetonka, Minn., for the research

and development of a commercially viable methane-tolactic

acid conversion technology.

The methane-to-lactic acid research project began in

2013 as a collaborative effort between NatureWorks and

Calysta for NatureWork’s lactic acid-based Ingeo biopolymers

and intermediates. The U.S. Dept. of Energy

awarded a $2.5-million grant to the project in 2014 (PCN, 3

Nov 2014, p 4).

NatureWorks is considering construction of a $50-

million demonstration plant within the next six years. “It’s

conceivable that within the next decade NatureWorks will

bring online the first global-scale methane-to-lactic acid

fermentation facility,” NatureWorks noted.

Six scientists will be hired to staff the new research and

development laboratory.

 

Tebodin Selling Asia-Pacific Business To Vietnam-Based Archetype Group

Singapore—

Consultancy and engineering company Tebodin has signed

an agreement to sell its Asia-Pacific operations to Archetype

Group, a multidisciplinary construction consultancy

located in Vietnam.

“We have found a strong and developing engineering

company for our operations in Asia Pacific, whose business

is highly complementary and whose focus is on growing the

Asia Pacific region,” stated Tebodin Chief Executive Jurgen

P. von Hollen. “Our . . . clients will benefit from the

strengthened expertise and broad coverage in Asia Pacific.”

Details of the transaction were not given.

 

Sabic Receives Certificate to Optimize Logistics Operations Through Genk

Genk—Sabic

Capital and Polymers Supply Chain, during a meeting with

Belgian and Dutch customs authorities, received a certificate

for its logistics operations to and from Genk, Belgium.

This is based on the European Union’s (EU) “Single

Window/One Entry” e.Customs principle, which enables

companies to administer the actions required for cross

boarder transportation via the system of the EU member

state where the exporting company officially resides.

Sabic is one of the first companies extending its current

license, the electronic cross-border export, from Germany

and Poland to now also include Belgium. “Cross border

transportations entail quite a lot of effort to administer the

import and export of goods and to comply with all guidelines

and criteria of the involved countries and other

stakeholders,” the company explained.

“Sabic was awarded an Authorized Economic Operator

(AEO) license several years ago,” said Ton Geilenkirchen,

Sabic’s manager for EMEA Customs & Excise Tax. “This

AEO license enabled us to also acquire the license for the

logistics (export) for Genk. . . . We managed to bring together

all processes and information on cargo, import and

export in one automated and single system. Business continuity,

efficiency, mutual trust, alignment and transparent

information sharing are key. The license is the result,

and we are one of the first companies to have it; something

to be proud of!”

 

G2X Awards Contracts to Toyo & JM For Lake Charles Methanol Project

Houston—G2X

Energy, along with its engineering, procurement and construction

contractor Proman Group, has awarded contracts

to Toyo Engineering and Johnson Matthey (JM) for a

world-scale methanol production facility being built in

Lake Charles, La. (PCN, 13 July 2015, p 4).

The 1.4-million-t/y methanol plant, being built by G2X’s

Big Lake Fuels subsidiary, will take about three years to

complete and will include the necessary facilities to convert

methanol to automotive gasoline in the future.

Toyo will provide basic engineering for offsite and utility

units and detailed engineering of the complete methanol

facility.

JM will be responsible for supply of technology license,

basic engineering, catalyst and technical services. The

methanol plant will use JM’s steam reforming and methanol

synthesis technologies.

Methanol Holdings Trinidad Ltd. (MHTL) earlier announced

plans to invest in the project with G2X. As part of

its investment, MHTL said it would enter into the negotiation

of an exclusive off-take agreement to market all the

production from the methanol plant.

 

People on the Move

PolyOne Corp.—Michael A. Garratt has been appointed

senior vice president and chief commercial officer

to replace Michael E. Kahler, who has decided to retire.

Garratt joined the company in 2013 as president of Performance

Products & Solutions (PP&S).

Donald K. Wiseman has been named senior vice president,

president of PP&S. He had been general manager of

PolyOne’s Geon business unit from Johns Manville.

 

Enterprise Products Negotiating Contracts For Gulf Coast Ethylene Export Facility

Houston—

Enterprise Products Partners is currently negotiating contracts

with interested shippers to support an ethane export

facility project it is considering on the U.S. Gulf Coast.

During a 9 Mar. analyst meeting, R.B. Herrscher, senior

vice president of unregulated NGL assets and petrochemicals,

said the project is in response to Asian demand

for ethylene, which continues to grow beyond local production,

and added that Asia is looking to diversify with stable

shale-advantaged pricing.

The project would involve the use of existing, repurposed

caverns at Mont Belvieu, Texas, building or repurposing

an ethylene export pipeline and construction of new

ethylene refrigeration and storage units. No other details

were given.

“The 40% expansion in ethylene production in the U.S.

will result in an over supplied U.S. ethylene market,” explained

Herrscher. “Domestic producers need to reach

global markets, otherwise the operating capacity of U.S.

crackers will be reduced as new builds are completed. . . .

Ethylene export is the next logical step.”

 

NNPC to Be Divided into 30 Companies As Part of an Ongoing Transformation

Abuja—The

Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. (NNPC) is to be unbundled

into 30 profit-making companies in the coming

weeks as part of the national oil company’s ongoing transformation,

according to Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, Minister of

State for Petroleum Resources and NNPC Group Managing

Director.

“For the first time, we are unbundling the subset of the

NNPC to 30 independent companies with their own managing

directors,” said Kachikwu. “Titles like group executive

directors are going to disappear and in their place you

are going to have chief executive officers (CEO) and they

are going to take responsibilities for their titles. At the end

of the day, the CEO of an upstream company must deliver

an upstream result.”

NNPC, which went from a loss of N160-billion to about

N3-billion by January 2016, is expected to start seeing a

profit by the end of the year, the Minister added.

 

Asahi Kasei Establishes Dusseldorf Base To Further Expand European Business

Dusseldorf—

Asahi Kasei Corp. has established Asahi Kasei Europe

GmbH in Dusseldorf, Germany, as a base to further expand

its business in Europe, beginning 1 Apr. 2016.

The new base, to be led by Hideki Tsutsumi as president,

will become an operating holding company through

the absorption of Asahi Kasei Chemicals Corp., Asahi Kasei

Fibers Corp. and Asahi Kasei E-materials Corp. These

operations, together with Asahi Kasei Microdevices Corp.,

form a newly organized Material business sector for Asahi

Kasei Group.

With integrated marketing in the Material sector in

general and the automotive industry in particular, together

with research and development and technical support,

Asahi Kasei Europe is expected to enhance the group’s

presence and maximize earnings in the European market.

 

PCG’s Delayed Samur Project on Track For Commissioning in 2nd Half 2016

Sipitang—

Petronas Chemicals Group (PCG) President and Chief Executive

Sazali Hamzah said the company’s delayed Sabah

Ammonia Urea (Samur) project “is currently more than

90% completed” and is expected to be commissioned in the

second half of 2016 (PCN, 5 May 2014, p 3).

The project, being constructed in Samur, Malaysia, is

designed to produce 740,000 t/y of ammonia and 1.2-million

t/y of urea. With completion, PCG’s total urea production

capacity will rise to about 2.6-million t/y, “potentially

making us one of the largest urea producers in the region,”

noted Sazali.

Originally scheduled for completion by 31 Aug. 2015,

PCG in 2014 announced the project would be “delayed by

at least six months” due to a fire on a ship that had been

transporting critical equipment to the construction site.

 

Bahri’s National Chemical Carriers Affiliate Receives First of Five Used Chem Tankers

Riyadh—

The National Shipping Co. of Saudi Arabia (Bahri) said its

80% owned National Chemical Carriers (NCC) subsidiary

has received the first of five second hand chemical tankers

from Scorpio Tankers.

NCC recently signed a memorandum of understanding

to purchase the five ships from Scorpio, built in 2014 at

Hyundai Mipo Dockyard in South Korea, at a total price of

$166.5-million. The remaining ships are to be delivered to

NCC by 30 June 2016.

 

Iran Reopening Korean Petchem Office

Seoul—Iran,

in order to increase exports of products to South Korea,

plans to reopen its petrochemical office in Seoul within

weeks, the Mehr News Agency reported.

“South Korea is a buyer of Iran’s polymer products;

however the export of these products to South Korea is

done with caution in order to maintain market in China,”

said Iran Petrochemical Commercial Co. Managing Director

Mehdi Sharifi Niknafas.

Samsung and LG Group companies are traditional customers

of Iran’s petrochemical production, noted the report,

adding that the first shipment of gas condensate from

South Pars has been dispatched to Hanwha Total Petrochemicals

Co. in Seoul.

 

Sibur Integrating Tobolsk Businesses

 

Tobolsk—Sibur

plans this year to integrate its Tobolsk businesses into a

standalone business unit identified as Tobolsk Industrial

Site that will operate as a division of Sibur.

The integration will combine Tobolsk-Neftekhim, which

has been renamed Sibur Tobolsk, with Tobolsk-Polymer

and Tobolsk HPP. Konstantin Belkin, managing director

and member of Sibur’s management board, has been appointed

to head Tobolsk Industrial Site and Sibur Tobolsk.

The new business is expected to manage all operations,

including gas fractionation, production of monomers, polypropylene

and methyl tertiary butyl ether, and heat and

power generation. It will also be responsible for laying the

groundwork for the start of ZapSibNeftekhim’s operations.

 

Dow Progresses on Freeport Ethylene Unit; Updates on Plastics, Elastomers Facilities

Freeport—

Dow Chemical Co. said it continues to make significant

progress on its world-scale ethylene unit being built in

Freeport, Texas (PCN, 30 June 2014, p 1).

The 1.5-million-t/y ethylene plant, expected to start-up

in the first half of 2017, is part of a multi-billion dollar investment.

It will support market growth and expansion of

the company’s performance plastics franchise.

The investment includes a 200,000-t/y Nordel metallocene

ethylene propylene diene monomer expansion, a

320,000-t/y high melt specialty index elastomers project, a

400,000-t/y Elite enhanced polyethylene (PE) plant and a

new 350,000-t/y specialty low-density PE plant. Completion

of the projects will be “synchronized” with the new

ethylene unit.

Separately, Dow’s new 750,000-t/y propane dehydrogenation

unit in Freeport, which began commercial operations

this past December, has successfully completed the

performance test and is operating at full capacity (PCN,

21-28 Dec 2015, p 1).

“The unit enables the replacement of purchased propylene

with cost-advantaged production that will ultimately

enable growth in attractive markets across North and

South America,” said Dow President and Chief Operating

Officer Jim Fitterling. “The timing of Dow’s strategic

growth investments on the U.S. Gulf Coast has afforded us

first-mover advantage.”

 

Comet Biorefining Gets Grant from SDTC For Bio-Based Chemicals Plant in Sarnia

Sarnia—

Comet Biorefining has been awarded a C$10.9-million

grant from Sustainable Development Technology Canada

(SDTC) for the construction of a “first-of-a-kind” advanced

bio-based chemicals plant in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada.

The facility will use Comet’s proprietary conversion

technology to convert corn stover into dextrose sugar for

the production of bioplastics, amino acids and organic acids.

Comet’s dextrose sugar will help reduce Canada’s

greenhouse gas emissions.

Last month, Comet said it chose the Trans Alta Energy

Park in Sarnia as the location of a 60-million-lb/yr commercial-

scale biomass derived sugar facility. The project is

expected to come online in 2018.

Comet noted that its facilities “may be built on a small

scale that enables flexibility to locate production close to

biomass supplies, reducing transportation costs.”

 

Ineos Confirms First Transport of Ethane Has Left Marcus Hook Bound for Rafnes

London—

Ineos Chairman Jim Ratcliffe confirmed that the Ineos Intrepid

gas carrier has departed the Marcus Hook terminal

in the U.S. carrying 27,000 cubic meters of U.S. shale gas

ethane for delivery in Rafnes, Norway (PCN, 28 Jan 2013,

p 4).

“This is an important day for Ineos and Europe,” said

Ratcliffe. “We know that shale gas economics revitalized

U.S. manufacturing, and for the first time Europe can access

this important energy and raw material source too.”

Ineos has built large ethane storage tanks at its complexes

in Rafnes and Grangemouth, Scotland, where it will

use the ethane from U.S. shale gas as feedstock for its gas

crackers at those sites. Shipments to Grangemouth are

expected to begin next year.

 

India Imposes Anti-Dumping Duties On Polypropylene from Singapore

New Delhi—India

has imposed an anti-dumping duty of $145.2 per ton on

polypropylene (PP) originating in or exported from Singapore,

reported the Press Trust of India.

The duty is effective for a period of five years and shall

be paid in Indian currency.

PP producers claimed that the product being dumped in

India is identical to the goods produced by the domestic

industry. Reliance, Haldia Petrochemicals, Indian Oil and

HPCL-Mittal Energy all produce PP in India.

“Originally, the government had in 2009 imposed antidumping

duty on PP imports from Oman, Saudi Arabia

and Singapore,” a Revenue Dept. notification said. “The

safeguard duty on imports from Singapore was extended by

one year to 29 July 2015. There was no duty thereafter”

(PCN, 10 Aug 2009, p 3).

 

Socar-KBR JV Awarded PMC Contract For Baku Oil Refinery Modernization

Baku—Socar-

KBR has been awarded a project management consultancy

(PMC) contract for the Baku oil refinery modernization

project in Azerbaijan (PCN, 29 Feb 2016, p 1).

The project, estimated to cost $1-billion, involves increasing

overall refining capacity to 7.5-million t/y from 6-

million t/y currently, increasing the catalytic cracking unit

to 2.5-million t/y from 2-million t/y, and establishing Euro

5 standards for all refined products. Work will begin immediately

with completion expected by late 2018.

Socar-KBR was formed in mid-2015 by State Oil Co. of

Azerbaijan (Socar) and KBR to help Azerbaijan’s ambition

of creating a world-class Azerbaijan-based engineering

company (PCN, 20 Apr 2015, p 3). This is the joint venture’s

first award, KBR noted.

V54 N10 – 7 March 2016

Indorama and Dhunseri Form 50/50 JV To Manufacture and Sell PET Resins

Mumbai—Indorama

Ventures Pcl (IVL) and Dhunseri Petrochem Ltd.

have agreed to form an equally-owned joint venture for the

production and sale of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) in

India for the local market and for export.

As part of the agreement, IVL will divest a 50% interest

in its Indian PET manufacturing company, Micro Polypet

Pvt. Ltd., to Dhunseri. Micro Polypet is located in Panipat

and has 216,000 t/y of PET capacity.

In addition, IVL will acquire a 50% equity stake in a

new carved-out entity from Dhunseri. The new entity will

own Dhunseri’s 480,000-t/y PET manufacturing facility in

Haldia, India. Value of the transactions were not given.

The joint venture is expected to gain synergy benefits

as the sole producer of PET resin in North and East India

and with both sites being virtually integrated with third

party purified terephthalic acid feedstock suppliers, IVL

noted. The joint venture is expected to be completed in the

second half of 2016, subject to regulatory approvals.

“Dhunseri believes that coming years will bring opportunities

for expansion in the petrochem sector and this

joint venture will bring scale benefits to all stakeholders,”

said Dhunseri Chairman C.K. Dhanuka. “The Indian joint

venture between both the organizations will benefit from

IVL’s global presence and technological leadership.”

Indorama acquired Micro Polypet at the end of last year

from a joint venture of BLG Group and Action Petrochem

Pvt. Ltd. (PCN, 4 Jan 2016, p 1).

 

PTTGC Schedules Start of Production For Aromatics & Phenol Expansions

Bangkok—PTT

Global Chemicals (PTTGC) has updated the planned startup

of its aromatics and Phenol 2 expansion projects in

Thailand, reported Reuters, citing Jittasak Soonthronpan,

investor relations manager for the company.

The $128.8-million aromatics expansion in Rayong will

come on stream during the first quarter of this year, adding

170,000 t/y of capacity. PCN earlier reported the project

would increase paraxylene capacity to 770,000 t/y from

655,000 t/y, raise benzene capacity to 390,000 t/y from

355,000 t/y, and add 20,000 t/y of orthoxylene capacity

(PCN, 10 Aug 2015, p 1). The complex also has 60,000 t/y

of toluene capacity.

PTTGC shut down the aromatics complex on 28 July

2015 for scheduled maintenance and to tie in the debottlenecked

capacity. It had been expected to come back on

stream during the fourth quarter of last year.

Additionally, PTTGC’s wholly-owned PTT Phenol plans

to complete and start up the Phenol 2 project in Map Ta

Phut during the second quarter of this year (PCN, 1 July

2013, p 1).

The $348.3-million project, originally scheduled to begin

commercial operations by the third quarter of 2015, involves

250,000 t/y of phenol capacity and 155,000 t/y of

acetone capacity.

 

TJOCI Venture Selects Axens’ Technologies For New Isononyl Alcohol Plant in Taiwan

Taipei—

Taiwan-Japan Oxo Chemical Industries (TJOCI), a joint

venture between CPC and KH Neochem, has selected Axens’

technologies and catalysts for a new NT$13.7-billion

isononyl alcohol (INA) project in Taiwan (PCN, 16 Feb

2015, p 3).

The facility, being built in Kaohsiung area, will have an

initial production capacity of 180,000 t/y of INA to be used

as feedstock for diisononyl phthalate (DINP). Commercial

operations are scheduled to begin in 2019.

Axens said it will provide a whole chain of technologies

including MTBE (methyl tertiary butyl ether) and Dimersol-

X technologies to ensure octenes production utilized for

the synthesis of the INA via hydroformylation.

“Demand for DINP, and hence also for INA, is expected

to grow every year in the foreseeable future,” noted Axens,

adding that the project “is the largest single investment

ever held by Japanese and Taiwanese companies in the

petrochemical area in Taiwan.”

TJOCI is owned 47% each by CPC and KH Neochem,

and 6% by Mega International Commercial Bank, financial

advisor to the joint venture, according to earlier reports.

 

Tecnimont and KBR Plan EPC Venture For Cronus’ Illinois NH3/Urea Project

Chicago—Tecnimont

and KBR have executed an agreement to establish

a joint venture for the engineering, procurement and construction

(EPC) of an ammonia and urea facility, including

utilities and offsites, for Cronus Fertilizers in Tuscola, Ill.

(PCN, 2 Mar 2015, p 2).

Cronus last year awarded Tecnimont the EPC contract

for a 2,200-t/d ammonia and 3,850-t/y urea project in Tuscola.

The facility will use KBR’s ammonia technology and

Stamicarbon urea technology. Construction is expected to

take about three years.

Tecnimont noted that the project, expected to be worth

about $1.5-billion, is subject to financing.

 

MCNS Begins Commercial Operations At Bio-Polyol Production JV in India

Gujarat—

Mitsui Chemicals & SKC Polyurethanes (MCNS) has begun

commercial operations at its bio-polyol production joint

venture in Gujarat, India (PCN, 16 Sept 2013, p 4).

The joint venture company, Vithal Castor Polyols, was

established in September 2013 by Mitsui Chemicals, Jayant

Agro Organics and Itoh Oil to produce 8,000 t/y of biopolyol

using non-edible plant derived fatty acid.

Last year, Mitsui Chemicals integrated its polyurethane

business with SKC to form MCNS (PCN, 6 July

2015, p 4). Mitsui’s investment in Vithal Castor Polyols

now falls under MCNS.

MCNS holds a 40% interest in the bio-polyol joint venture,

with Jayant holding 50% and Itoh holding 10%.

 

Topsoe Claims ‘First’ Iron-Free Catalyst Can Earn Millions for NH3 Producers

Lyngby—Haldor

Topsoe announced that its new “world’s first” hightemperature

shift catalysts can potentially increase ammonia

producers’ revenues by millions of dollars a year for

a large-scale ammonia plant.

The SK-501 Flex catalyst allows ammonia producers to

choose to save on feedstock and energy or boost production

by up to 5% with the same setup.

“For a large-scale ammonia plant, the improvement in

revenue is approximately $11-million per year or $57-

million over a typical catalyst lifetime,” noted Johan Jonsson,

product manager at Topsoe.

SK-501 Flex also prevents the formation of iron carbides

that reduce the catalyst strength of conventional

iron-based HTS catalysts, and is completely absent of chromium.

“Without chromium and its associated risks, there is no

need for extra procedures at start-up. In addition, activation

is fast and typically takes place in connection with the

start-up of the reforming section, so costly downtime is reduced

significantly,” the company explained.

 

Evonik Expands Production of Catalysts And Adds Scale-Up Operations at Marl

Marl—Evonik

has completed a “low double-digit million euro investment”

that involved the addition of a catalyst production area and

construction of a facility to house research, development

and scale-up operations for fixed bed catalysts at its site in

Marl, Germany.

In the production area, a facility with highly innovative

technology has been added for the optimized forming of

catalysts for customer delivery and application.

The new scale-up plant is intended for the research and

development of catalyst formulas at laboratory scale before

using pilot units to up-scale those formulas and optimize

them for application in commercial production.

“Innovations and constant product optimizations are

what’s at the heart of the catalysts business,” explained

Johannes Ohmer, member of Evonik Resource Efficiency

GmbH board of management. “Excellent catalysts are

critical to achieving resource efficiency in the chemicals

business,” he added.

 

Agilyx Converting Waste Plastic-to-Oil Unit To Make Styrene from Polystyrene Waste

Tigard—

Agilyx Corp. has begun shutting down its mixed waste

plastic-to-oil process in order to convert the plant to take in

polystyrene (PS) waste for the production of styrene.

“We’re not giving up on plastic to oil,” said Chief Executive

Ross Patten, “But right now the economic conditions

of the oil industry don’t allow us to go forward.”

Agilyx plans to initially collect enough PS waste from

local companies that usually dump the material into landfills,

but eventually plans to use the plastic waste from

waste companies that normally gets thrown in the trash,

such as styrofoam packaging. Styrene produced from the

converted plant will be sold to PS producers.

When gas prices rise again, the company plans to build

a second plastic-to-oil conversion plant, which will be located

in Philadelphia, Penn. A regulatory permit has already

been obtained. No other details were given.

 

SCG Expects Delay in Vietnam Project As It Seeks Partner to Replace QPI

Hanoi—Siam Cement

Group (SCG) expects implementation of its planned

joint venture Long Son petrochemical complex in Vietnam

will be delayed by six months so it can finalize an agreement

with a new partner following Qatar Petroleum International’s

(QPI) recent withdrawal of its 25% interest in

the project (PCN, 21-28 Dec 2015, p 2).

SCG is in negotiations with several potential partners

for the $4.5-billion complex, reported the Bangkok Post

citing SCG Chief Financial Officer Chaovalit Ekkabut.

The massive size of the project dictates that we should wait

until every major component is in place, he added.

“We think we are still in the timeline to complete everything

in six months so that the project would go ahead and

be completed as planned,” said Chaovalit.

The complex, in which SCG holds a 46% interest and

PetroVietnam holds 29%, will be set up in Ba Ria-Vung

Tau province and is expected to include the production of

1.4-million t/y of olefins and downstream production of 2.7-

million t/y of polyethylene and polypropylene. Prior to

QPI’s exit, the project had been planned to come on line in

2018.

 

Corbion Makes Decision to Proceed For Rayong Polylactic Acid Project

Bangkok—Corbion

NV, having completed pre-engineering for a 75,000-t/y

polylactic acid (PLA) plant in Rayong, Thailand, has made

a decision to go ahead with the project and entered the basic

engineering phase (PCN, 10 Nov 2014, p 4).

Following strong customer interest in PLA, Corbion began

pre-engineering in 2015. “We have now obtained the

necessary technical and financial validation for such a

plant,” said Corbion Chief Executive Tjerk de Ruiter.

The company is also expanding its existing lactide plant

in Thailand by 25,000 t/y to serve both its own PLA plant

and current and future lactide customers.

Construction on both projects, with an anticipated combined

cost of about €85-million, is expected to begin this

year. Production is targeted for the second half of 2018.

 

People on the Move

Olin Corp.―John E. Fischer, currently president and

chief operating officer, has been elected president and chief

executive, effective 1 May 2016. As chief executive, he will

succeed Joseph D. Rupp, who will continue as chairman.

Petrochemical Industries Co. (PIC)—Mohammad

Al-Farhoud, chairman of PIC, has assumed additional responsibilities

as chief executive to succeed Asaad Al-Saad.

Al-Farhoud had been director for finance and planning at

PIC’s parent company Kuwait Petroleum Corp. He will

also replace Al-Saad on the board of directors of Gulf Petrochemicals

and Chemicals Assn.

Huntsman Corp.—Scott Wright will succeed James

Huntsman as president of the Advanced Materials Division,

effective 1 June. He has been vice president, Europe,

for that division.

Honeywell―Briand Greer as been named president of

Honeywell Southeast Asia to succeed Jim Bujold from 15

Feb. Greer, most recently president of Honeywell Aerospace

Asia-Pacific, will work to grow and establish Honeywell’s

products, technologies and brand name in the region.

 

Dow Enters into Settlement Agreement Resolving Urethanes Class Litigation

Midland—Dow

Chemical has entered into an agreement to pay plaintiffs

in a urethanes class action litigation $835-million to resolve

the case.

In 2013, a jury found that major urethane producers,

including Dow, participated in an unlawful price-fixing

conspiracy. At that time, the jury entered a $1.06-million

judgment against Dow.

This settlement, which resolves the 2013 judgment, is

conditional on the U.S. Supreme Court agreeing to hold in

abeyance Dow’s pending Petition for a Writ of Certiorari

that seeks to set aside the judgment, and the subsequent

approval of the class settlement by the U.S. District Court

of Kansas.

“Growing political uncertainties due to recent events

within the Supreme Court and increased likelihood for unfavorable

outcomes for business involved in class action

suits have changed Dow’s risk assessment of the situation,”

the company said. “Dow believes this settlement is the

right decision for the company and our shareholders.”

Dow stressed that although it is settling this case, “it

continues to strongly believe that it was not part of any

conspiracy and the judgment was fundamentally flawed as

a matter of class action law.”

The judgment covered alleged legacy activity between

2000 and 2003. Dow noted that it cooperated with an extensive

U.S. Dept. of Justice investigation that closed in

2007 without any action taken or proposed against Dow.

“Dow’s position at the U.S. Supreme Court is that the

judgment violates class action law in multiple ways, notable

with respect to the Supreme Court’s Walmart decision

of 2011 and the Comcast decision of 2013, both authored by

Justice Scalia,” who recently passed away.

 

Chemours Completes Sale to Dow Chem Of Beaumont Aniline Facility in Texas

Beaumont—

The Chemours Co. has completed the sale of its Beaumont,

Texas, aniline facility to Dow Chemical for approximately

$140-million in cash (PCN, 23-30 Nov 2015, p 1).

Chemours will continue to supply additional aniline to

Dow from its Pascagoula, Miss., facility. Capacity of the

Beaumont plant was not disclosed.

Chemours was launched as an independent, publiclytraded

corporation, following its spin-off from DuPont last

year. It consists of the chemical solutions, fluoroproducts

and titanium technologies business of DuPont.

 

Fluor Finalizes Purchase of Stork Holding From UK-Based Arle Capital Partners

Amsterdam—

Fluor Corp. has completed the acquisition of Stork Holding

from UK-based private equity firm Arle Capital Partners

for $755-million (PCN, 29 Feb 2016, p 3).

Stork is a global supplier of maintenance, modification

and asset integrity services associated with large existing

industrial plants in the petrochemicals, chemicals, oil and

gas, and power markets. It has operations in Europe, the

UK, the Middle East, Asia-Pacific and the Americas.

Fluor will begin combining its Operations & Maintenance

business with Stork. The combined group will operate

under the name Stork and will be headquartered in the

Netherlands.

 

Ballance Begins Search for New Investors For NH3, Urea Redevelopment Project

Taranaki—

Ballance Agri-Nutrients said it is looking for a partner for

the proposed redevelopment of its ammonia and urea facility

at Kapuni in Taranaki, New Zealand (PCN, 20 July

2015, p 2).

The Kapuni plant produces about 260,000 t/y of urea

and is the “only one of its kind in New Zealand.”

Ballance has completed a year-long feasibility study of

the project, which included talks with international specialists

in converting gas to fertilizer, followed by an extensive

tendering round.

“We now have a potential price for a world-class ammonia-

urea plant capable of meeting the highest safety, environment

and production standards,” said Ballance Chief

Executive Mark Wynne.

“As you can imagine, a project of this scale has lots of

moving pieces. The costs are in the hundreds of millions

and they have come in higher than expected. It makes

good sense for us to be looking at inviting an appropriate

partner on board who can share in the investment and add

value to the wider business,” he added.

 

Mexichem, Pemex VCM Joint Venture Impacted by Fire at Pajaritos Plant

Pajaritos—Petroquímica

Mexicana de Vinilo (PMV), the vinyl chloride

monomer (VCM) joint venture of Mexichem and Pemex,

experienced a fire on 26 Feb. at its Pajaritos complex in

Mexico’s Veracruz state, according to Reuters, which cited

a statement by Pemex.

The fire occurred in the incinerator area of the complex

and resulted in one death. Pemex said the complex was

operating normally following the incident.

In 2013, PMV launched a project to increase the site’s

VCM production to its nameplate capacity of 405,000 t/y by

the fourth quarter of 2015 from its current production rate

of about 200,000 t/y (PCN, 21 Oct 2013, p 1). At that time,

PMV explained that unspecified problems had been preventing

the plant from reaching its full capacity.

 

Mitsubishi Names New Integrated Company Created by Merger of Three Subsidiaries

Tokyo—

Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corp. has decided on Mitsubishi

Chemical Corp. as the trade name of its new integrated

company being created by the merger of three consolidated

subsidiaries (PCN, 29 Feb 2016, p 2).

The merger, which will take effect 1 Apr. 2017, involves

an absorption-type split-off of Mitsubishi Chemical Corp.,

Mitsubishi Plastics Inc. and Mitsubishi Rayon Co.

 

Nippon Shokubai, LG Settle SAP Dispute

Seoul―Nippon

Shokubai and LG Chem have reached a settlement on

patent disputes in Korea related to super absorbent polymers

(SAP).

In late 2014, Nippon Shokubai filed a suit in the Seoul

Central District Court against LG seeking injunctions

against infringement of several of its Korean patents for

SAP and the method of production (PCN, 8 Dec 2014, p 2).

“With respect to the patent infringement lawsuit . . .

both parties reached a settlement,” Nippon Shokubai said.

 

GCC Chemical Producers Welcoming Innovative Practices from Outside

Dubai—Chemical

producers in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region

are becoming more and more open to innovative insights

and ideas from research institutions, academia, customers,

suppliers and technology providers to maintain a competitive

edge, according to a new Gulf Petrochemicals and

Chemicals Assn. (GPCA) survey.

The survey of GPCA member companies measures perceptions,

challenges and opportunities in fostering “open

innovation” in the GCC chemical industry. The “clear majority”

of companies surveyed support open innovation and

practice it, noted GPCA.

“Open innovation has a key role in maintaining the

global competitiveness of the chemical industry in the Arabian

Gulf,” commented GPCA Secretary General Dr. Abdulwahab

Al-Sadoun. “The broadening of research beyond

traditional research and development (R&D) boundaries

and the increased collaboration with external parties has

become a crucial component in the race for new, innovative

technologies.”

GPCA member companies invested an estimated $529-

million in R&D in 2014, compared to $368-million in 2013,

which represents the highest increase in petrochemicals

R&D spending globally. “Open innovation enables GCC

chemical producers to access external solutions, experiences

and competencies relevant to their innovation

agenda faster, cheaper and often at a higher level of innovativeness,”

said Al-Sadoun. “There are positive developments:

more than half of all respondents have indicated

that this attitude has been employed within their organizations,

and there is a strong indication that this trend will

continue into the medium term.”

An estimated two-thirds of those surveyed indicated

that open innovation has been used by their companies

within the last five years, with a further 24% indicating

that these policies are or will be implemented.

“There are qualitative and quantitative activities that

achieve an open innovation culture,” Al-Sadoun concluded.

“GCC organizations have already indicated that they are

meeting challenges associated with effective open innovation

policies by encouraging managerial initiatives that

focus on internal capabilities; and by adopting a work culture

that promotes innovating and enhancing customer

experience.”

A report on the survey, Unlocking Open Innovation in

the GCC Chemical Industry, was released during GPCA’s

recent 3rd Research and Innovation Summit in Dubai. For

more information, visit www.gpcaresearch.com.

 

German Chemical Sector Ends 2015 Facing ‘Sober Realities,’ Notes VCI

Frankfurt—The

turbulent business year of 2015 ended with “sober realities”

for the German chemical and pharmaceutical sector,

according to VCI, the German chemical industry association,

in its latest quarterly report.

“All indicators of importance to the industry pointed

downward at the end of the year; this holds true for chemical

production, producer prices and sales. Chemical business

at home in Germany was adversely affected by the

weak domestic demand, while weaker dynamics in China

and the USA made themselves felt in foreign trade,” notes

the report.

“Last year did not come up to our expectations,” says

VCI Director-General Utz Tillmann. “With weak industrial

growth, only a minor rise in demand for chemicals can

be expected in Germany in 2016. Prospects should be

somewhat more positive for foreign trade. Overall, chemical

companies are anticipating business to pick up only

slightly in the coming months.”

For 2016, VCI is forecasting a 1% increase in chemical

production, while prices are expected to fall by 0.5%. For

the year, chemical industry sales could rise slightly by

0.5% to €191-billion.

 

Iran’s NPC Revising Plans to Increase Methanol & Urea Capacities by 2025

Tehran—Iran’s

National Petrochemical Co. (NPC) has decided to scale

back the country’s plans for increasing methanol and urea

production capacities under its 2025 long-term plan, according

to Iran’s energy news agency Shana.

Hamid Reza Rostami, an official with NPC, explained

that in light of the global energy market and the slow progress

of Iranian petrochemical projects during the period

when sanctions were in force, some revisions to the 2025

outlook were necessary.

The plan had anticipated methanol capacity would rise

to 25-million t/y and urea capacity to 16-million t/y in 2025.

These planned capacities have been reduced to 16-million

t/y for methanol and between 12.5-million t/y and 13-million

t/y for urea.

 

Indian Oil’s Board Approves Setting-Up New FCC Unit at Bongaigaon Refinery

New Delhi—

The board of Indian Oil Corp. (IOC) has approved setting

up a new Indmax fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) unit at the

Bongaigaon refinery at Dhaligaob in India.

The 740,000-t/y unit is expected to require an investment

of Rs 2,582 and will include liquefied petroleum gas

treatment. A schedule for the project was not given.

IOC’s Indmax (Indane Maximization) technology is

“more competitive and highly suitable for heavy feed contaminated

with metals,” said Sanjiv Singh, IOC’s director

of refineries. “This process has also been optimized to enhance

propylene yield from paraffinic VGO [vacuum gas

oil] feedstock.”

The Bongaigaon refinery was formed in 2008 upon the

merger of IOC with Bongaigaon Refinery & Petrochemicals

Ltd. (PCN, 17 Mar 2008, p 3).

 

V54 N09 – 29 February 2016

Northwest Innovation Pauses Permitting For Planned Tacoma Methanol Project

Tacoma—

Northwest Innovation Works (NWIW), citing public concerns,

has asked the city of Tacoma, Wash., to pause the

environmental review of its proposed Tacoma methanol

plant (PCN, 28 Sept 2015, p 3).

NWIW, led by a partnership between the Chinese

Academy of Sciences and Double Green Bridge Hong Kong,

has plans to build a two-phase, $3.4-billion natural gas-tomethanol

plant that will include up to four production

lines, each with a capacity of 5,000 t/d. The project is expected

to use Johnson Matthey’s ultra-low emissions reforming

technology, which will emit substantially lower

greenhouse gas and other air pollutants than conventional

technologies for reforming natural gas to methanol.

The company has also announced similar projects in

Port of Kalama, Wash., and Port Westward, Oregon.

“NWIW’s goal is to build a local industry that contributes

to the economy and protects the environment by reducing

global greenhouse gas emissions,” stated NWIW

President Murray V. Godley, III. “NWIW’s use of new

clean technology provides an exciting opportunity for

Washington and Oregon to become world leaders in addressing

climate change through innovation,” he added.

“Given these objectives, we have been surprised by the

tone and substance of the vocal opposition that has

emerged in Tacoma. To force a facility on a community

that does not welcome it would not be consistent with our

goals,” Godley explained.

Over the next several months, NWIW will engage the

Tacoma community in further dialogue to share more details

about the project and hear directly from the public

about their concerns.

 

MOL Completes Slovnaft LDPE Plant; Updates 2015 Petrochemical Activity

Budapest—

MOL, in discussing its full-year 2015 results, said its Slovnaft

Petrochemical subsidiary has completed construction

of a new low-density polyethylene (LDPE) plant in Bratislava,

Slovakia (PCN, 14 Sept 2015, p 1).

“These days we are expecting the first polymers to come

out from our LDPE plant finalized in Slovnaft this month,”

said Jozsef Simola, MOL’s chief financial officer.

Initially scheduled for completion in the first quarter of

2015, the plant is based on LyondellBasell’s Lupotech T

technology. It replaces seven older lines, increasing the

company’s LDPE capacity by 40,000 t/y to 220,000 t/y.

Simola noted that the company has since December

been producing butadiene from the 130,000-t/y extraction

unit in Tiszaújváros, Hungary, which was commissioned

last November (PCN, 16 Nov 2015, p 1).

Saying that he is “definitely” confident about the company’s

downstream business going forward, Simola noted

that during 2015, MOL increased its petrochemical production

by more than 15% and refinery production by almost

10% overall.

 

Technip Receives Contract from SP Olefins For Gas Cracking Ethylene Plant in China

Taixing—

Technip has been awarded a contract from SP Olefins

(Taixing) Co., a subsidiary of Singapore-based SP Chemicals,

to supply ethylene technology for a new 650,000-t/y

grassroots gas cracker in Taixing, China.

Specifically, Technip will supply its proprietary ethylene

technology, process design package, technical services

and proprietary equipment to SP Olefins for the facility,

which will use low-cost ethane and propane from North

America. Cost and schedule for the project were not given.

“Technip’s proven ethane cracking technology and track

record of recent gas cracker awards provide a solid foundation

for this plant, which will be the first gas cracking ethylene

plant in China,” said Stan Knez, president, Technip

Stone & Webster Technology.

Key proprietary technology components of the plant will

include Technip’s Ultra Selective Conversion furnaces and

Heat-Integrated Rectifier System, along with its Ripple

Trays and Wet Air Oxidation process.

 

Socar Suspends Planning for OGPC; Will Upgrade Refinery & PC Assets

Baku—State Oil

Co. of Azerbaijan Republic (Socar) is putting plans for its

$17-billion oil and gas processing and petrochemical complex

(OGPC) on hold because of the drop in oil prices, according

to local media reports.

The OGPC, planned near Baku, Azerbaijan, involved a

10-million-t/y refinery, a 10-billion-cu m/yr gas processing

plant, an 800,000-t/y polyethylene plant and a 300,000-t/y

polypropylene unit. Several foreign firms, including Mitsui

& Co., had expressed interest in the project.

“We can say that active work on the OGPC has been

temporarily frozen, said one report citing Socar Vice President

Tofig Gahramanov, who added Socar is still in talks

with Mitsui about future participation in the project “as an

investor and a partner.”

In lieu of the OGPC, Socar has decided to invest $1.3-

billion to upgrade its existing refinery in Baku and chemical

units operated by its Azerikimya Production Union.

Gahramanov said the project will be undertaken in

phases over the next four years and could result in temporary

refinery shutdowns during that period. Work will

involve increasing refining capacity to 7.5-million t/y from

6-million t/y, as well as the installation of seven or eight

new units. No other details were available.

 

Chevron Phillips Chemical Is Optimistic About Long-Term Petrochem Prospects

Houston—

Chevron Phillips Chemical Executive Vice President Mark

Lashier said his company holds “an enthusiastic long-term

view for petrochemicals thanks to a one-two combination of

strong global demand and competitive feedstocks from the

U.S. share resource boom.”

Speaking during last week’s IHS CERAWeek conference

in Houston, Lashier cited a United Nations forecast

that the global middle class will grow to nearly 5-billion

people by 2030 from under 2-billion today.

“The economic growth that accompanies this rise of the

middle class will fuel demand for plastic consumer products,

meaning billions of people will have access to better

quality-of-life products,” he noted.

To begin meeting this demand, Chevron Phillips Chemical

is focused on the 2017 start-up of its $6-billion U.S.

Gulf Coast Petrochemicals Project (PCN, 15 Dec 2014, p 1).

The project involves an ethane cracker to produce 1.5-million

t/y of ethylene at the company’s Cedar Bayou plant in

Baytown, Texas, and two 500,000-t/y polyethylene plants

at its Sweeny, complex in Old Ocean, Texas.

“While we may need to take a deep breath as the global

economy settles, we are convinced that we are on the verge

of a growth curve,” Lashier said. “Demand for the chemicals

and plastics business is strong, compelling us to continue

to search the globe for the next major investment.”

 

Elekeiroz & Nexoleum Form Joint Venture To Explore Global Bio-Plasticizers Market

São Paulo–

Elekeiroz and Nexoleum has formed a joint venture to explore

the worldwide plasticizers market “through an innovative

portfolio of bio-based products, with patents granted

internationally,” the companies said.

The venture plans to produce, sell and distribute

“green” plasticizers obtained from the chemical synthesis of

renewable feedstock, such as vegetable oils.

Additionally, the joint venture will build a new 24,000-

t/y bio-based plasticizers facility, which is scheduled to

start up in the first quarter of next year.

“We are moving towards a company focused in creating

solutions to the challenges faced by our customers and the

society, and prepared to anticipate regulatory restrictions

that are naturally becoming more stringent,” noted Elekeiroz

Chief Executive Marcos de Marchi. “The consolidation

of this joint venture is a great step towards this continuous

process of change.”

 

Indorama Ventures Declares Force Majeure At Its IVOG EO/EG Facility in Clear Lake

Houston—

Indorama Ventures has declared force majeure at its Indorama

Ventures Oxide and Glycols Ltd. (IVOG) ethylene

oxide (EO) and ethylene glycol (EG) facility in Clear Lake,

Texas.

A mechanical problem occurred while changing a catalyst,

resulting in the shut down. Indorama said it will inform

the stock exchange when the issue has been resolved

and the plant and supplies have returned to normal.

The plant has a total capacity of 550,000 t/y of EO and

EG. Indorama acquired the facility from Old World Industries

I, Ltd. in April 2012 and renamed it IVOG (PCN, 9-16

Apr 2012, p 1).

 

Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings to Absorb 100% Owned Chemicals, Plastics Units

Tokyo—Mitsubishi

Chemical Holdings Corp. (MCHC) has unveiled plans

for an absorption-type split-off of the existing operations of

its wholly-owned Mitsubishi Chemical Corp. (MCC) and

Mitsubishi Plastics Inc. (MPI) subsidiaries.

With effect from 28 Mar. 2016, the rights and obligations

of MCC and MPI will be centralized as a unit of

MCHC as the succeeding company to be led by Hitoshi

Ochi as president and chief executive.

Since the split involves wholly-owned subsidiaries,

there will be no compensation to MCC and MPI.

MCHC in December said it planned to integrate MCC,

MPI and Mitsubishi Rayon through a merger in April

2017, with Mitsubishi Rayon as the merging company

(PCN, 14 Dec 2015, p 1). No mention of Mitsubishi Rayon

was made in MCHC’s most recent announcement.

 

People on the Move

Eastman Chemical—Damon C. Warmack has been

appointed senior vice president, corporate development

and chemical intermediates, effective 1 July 2016. He is

currently vice president of corporate development.

Lucian Boldea, presently group vice president of Additives

& Functional Products, will become senior vice president

of that division on 1 July 2016.

Mark K. Cox, currently senior vice president and chief

manufacturing and engineering officer, will assume the

additional role of executive leader of global supply chain,

effective, 1 Mar. 2016.

Also effective 1 Mar., Brad A. Lich, executive vice president,

will be responsible for outside-U.S. regional business

leadership in addition to his current responsibilities for the

advanced materials segment and the sales and marketing

organization. On 1 July 2016, he will becomes executive

vice president and chief commercial officer with additional

responsibilities for the fibers segment and procurement.

Chief Operating Officer Ronald C. Lindsay will retire

on 1 Apr. 2016 and Godefroy A.F.E. Motte, senior vice

president, integrated supply chain and chief regional and

sustainability officer, will retire effective 1 Apr. 2016. Replacements

were not named.

Nova Chemicals—Julie Beck, previously vice president

of finance and divisional chief financial officer of Joy

Global’s underground mining segment, will join the company

as senior vice president and chief financial officer,

effective 29 Feb. 2016. She will succeed Todd Karran, who

was appointed president and chief executive of Nova last

year (PCN, 20 Apr 2015, p 2).

Bayer AG—Effective 1 May 2016, Werner Baumann

will succeed Dr. Marijn Dekkers as chairman of the board

of management. Baumann will also continue in his current

role as board member responsible for strategy and

portfolio management.

Calysta—Douglas Sheldon has been appointed to the

new position of vice president of operations. He comes

from Dow Chemical where he most recently oversaw site

expansions, divestitures, consolidations and site service

development for multiple Dow global facilities as global

offering director and commercial director for the Dow Services

business, and for the Mergers, Acquisitions and Divestitures

Technology Center for Dow operations in Houston,

Texas.

 

USPTO Grants Patent to Anellotech For Process to Make Intermediates

Pearl River—The

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has granted

Anellotech patent number 9,249,080, which describes “a

catalytic process for converting non-food biomass into a

wide range of intermediates for the chemical industry.”

Specifically, the process is for the production of intermediates

such as paraxylene, terephthalic acid, styrene,

cumene and adipic acid that are used at large-scale for the

production of polymers.

“This new patent is an extension of Anellotech’s technology

for producing aromatics from clean, non-food biomass,

providing broad scope for the conversion of biomass

into a spectrum of chemicals that form the backbone of the

modern chemical industry,” explained Anellotech President

and Chief Executive David Sudolsky.

“Our R&D program continues to yield new approaches

to developing bio-based chemical building blocks used to

make polymers . . . . As we execute our R&D program, we

are also continuing to make progress towards commercialization

and bringing our proprietary technology to a large

and global addressable market,” he added.

 

Kazakhstan Seeks Replacement for LG As Partner in Ethylene & PE Complex

Atyrau—

Kazakhstan’s Energy Ministry, in a report on the sector’s

accomplishments in 2015 and plans for 2016, said the

country is looking for a new partner to replace LG Chem in

an ethylene and polyethylene (PE) joint venture, according

to a local media report.

LG, having in 2011 established a joint venture with

state-owned Kazakhstan Petrochemical Industries, withdrew

from the venture earlier this year (PCN, 1 Feb 2016,

p 2). LG cited the continuing decline in global oil prices.

The partners had planned to invest $4.1-billion in an

equally-owned venture for the production of 840,000 t/y of

ethylene and 800,000 t/y of PE in Atyrau, Kazakhstan, using

ethane extracted from “abundant” local natural gas.

In 2015, GS Engineering & Construction notified the

Korea Stock Exchange of its withdrawal from a contract to

build the project because of a disagreement over the construction

cost.

 

Bangladesh Proposing Penalty for Delay In Start-Up of Shahjalal Fertilizer Unit

Dhaka—

Bangladesh’s Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry

of Industry has recommended that a penalty be imposed

for the delay in completion of the Shahjalal fertilizer

project, according to a local media report.

The facility, costing approximately $580-million, is

planned to produce about 600,000 t/y of urea and 330,000

t/y of ammonia at Fenchuganj in Sylhet (PCN, 28 Sept

2015, p 3).

Completion of the facility was expected by June 2015,

with the inauguration planned this past October.

China National Complete Plant Import & Export Corp.

has been implementing the project, the report said, adding

that Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corp. is the executing

agency of the fertilizer facility.

Shahjalal is one of three fertilizer units being set up by

the government. The other two are to be built by Bhola

Fertilizer Factory and North West Fertilizer Factory.

 

Air Products Breaks Ground in Baytown For World-Scale SMR at Covestro’s Site

Baytown—Air

Products has broken ground for a new world-scale steam

methane reformer (SMR) at Covestro’s Baytown, Texas,

facility (PCN, 2 Nov 2015, p 2).

As previously announced, Air Products is investing

$350-million to $400-million to build, own and operate the

SMR, which will produce about 125-million standard cu

ft/d of hydrogen and a world-scale supply of carbon monoxide

(CO). Start-up is scheduled in 2018.

The production will be supplied to Covestro and other

customers linked to Air Products’ Gulf Coast hydrogen and

CO pipeline networks. Production is already completely

sold out.

The SMR is being built through a global hydrogen alliance

with Technip. Air products will supply its latest gas

separation technology to maximize energy efficiency and

reduce emissions, with optimal heat integration, which

results in lower feedstock consumption. Technip will provide

its design and construction expertise.

 

EC OKs Fluor’s Acquisition of Stork From Arle Capital for $755-Million

Brussels—The European

Commission (EC) has approved Fluor’s proposed

acquisition of Stork Holding and Stork Technical Services

Group of the Netherlands from Arle Capital Partners for

$755-million (PCN, 14 Dec 2015, p 4).

Stork provides maintenance, modification and asset integrity

services for large existing production facilities in

the petrochemical, chemical, oil and gas, industrial and

power markets. It has operations in Europe, the UK, the

Middle East, Asia Pacific and the Americas.

The acquisition is expected to close in the first half of

this year. Once complete, Fluor will begin combining its

Operations & Maintenance business with Stork. The combined

group, branded Stork, will be headquartered in the

Netherlands.

The EC concluded that the proposed transaction would

raise no competition concerns because the overlaps between

the companies’ activities resulting from the acquisition

are limited.

 

Orpic Schedules Two Month Turnaround; Will Allow for Integration of New Units

Sohar—Oman

Oil Refineries and Petroleum Industries Co. (Orpic) has

scheduled a major maintenance turnaround for the Sohar

refinery and polypropylene plant from 23 Feb. 2016 to 23

Apr. 2016.

The company explained that while a large turnaround

is undertaken every three years, this time “the scope will

be larger as Orpic wants to make modifications to the existing

plant to allow a full integration of the new units being

constructed under the Sohar Refinery Improvement

Project, which is due for commissioning later in the year,”

and includes an expansion of the refinery’s capacity to

180,000 b/d from 116,000 b/d (PCN, 20 Apr 2015, p 3).

“This turnaround will witness a large revamp of the

Residue Catalytic Cracker unit, which is the core of the

existing refinery,” said an Orpic representative. “However,

we would like to reiterate that there will be no disruption

to the nation’s supply for fuel.”

 

PTTGC To Use Naphtha from Refinery To Boost Ethylene, Propylene Output

Bangkok—PTT

Global Chemical (PTTGC) is launching “Map Ta Phut Retrofit,”

a program to utilize surplus naphtha from its refinery

as feedstock to increase its production of ethylene and

propylene, Bangkok Post reported, citing the company.

The program involves a new naphtha cracker to produce

500,000 t/y of ethylene and 261,000 t/y of propylene,

requiring 1.5-million t/y of naphtha feedstock, and increasing

PTTGC’s ethylene and propylene capacities to 2.8-

million t/y and 800,000 t/y, respectively.

The company also plans to carry out a feasibility study

for downstream production of such petrochemicals as

acrylic acid, styrene, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene and

polystyrene.

PTTGC intends to invite bids for the project and have a

final list of contractors by the end of the year, with start of

production anticipated in 2020.

 

Air Liquide Inaugurates Its New €25-Million Research & Technology Center in China

Shanghai—

Air Liquide has inaugurated its new €25-million Shanghai

Research & Technology Center (SRTC) in the Shanghai

Xinzhuang industrial park, China (PCN, 4 Aug 2014, p 4).

The SRTC will ultimately host 250 employees, including

researchers, experts in customer applications and

business development teams. It will become a major center

for Air Liquide’s innovation in the Asia-Pacific region, the

company noted.

The center will address issues such as carbon dioxide

emissions reduction, energy transition and waste water

treatment.

 

Honeywell & M. Holland in Agreement To Expand Nylon Distribution Accord

Chicago—

Honeywell Resins and Chemicals and thermoplastic resin

distributor M. Holland have expanded their nylon distribution

partnership to include flexible packaging applications.

“This gives us a complete set of resins to combine for

various functional requirements, allowing us to become a

‘one-stop-shop’ for our customers who make high performance

films,” said Rudy Bourgeois, vice president of film

development for M. Holland.

M. Holland’s current film resin portfolio includes Honeywell’s

6 and 6/6,6 nylons.

 

Eni Lists Versalis Subsidiary Operations As ‘Discontinued’ for the Full Year 2015

Milan—Eni,

in its fourth quarter and full year 2015 results, said it has

classified its wholly-owned Versalis subsidiary as “discontinued

operations.”

Negotiations are underway to define an agreement with

an industrial partner, who, by acquiring a controlling stake

of Versalis, would support Eni in implementing the industrial

plan designed to upgrade the business, the report

said. Details on the acquisition were not available.

Therefore, effective for the full year, Versalis assets and

liabilities, revenues and expenses and cash flow have been

listed as discontinued. “In addition, Eni’s net assets in

Versalis have been aligned to the lower of their carrying

amount and their fair value based on the transaction that

is underway.”

 

Air Liquide, Airgas Combination Progresses; Will Be ‘Largest’ Industrial Gas Company

Paris—

Airgas shareholders have approved the previously announced

acquisition of Airgas by Air Liquide, a transaction

with a total enterprise value of $13.4-billion on a fully diluted

bases and including the assumption of Airgas debt

(PCN, 23-30 Nov 2015, p 4).

Once the acquisition is completed, Airgas will become a

wholly-owned subsidiary of Air Liquide and the combined

entity will be the “largest industrial gas company in the

world,” Airgas noted.

The transaction is expected to be completed in the second

or third calendar quarter of 2016, assuming timely

receipt of necessary antitrust and other regulatory approvals,

and satisfaction of closing conditions.

 

Chambal Enters Loan Agreements To Partially Fund New Urea Unit

Mumbai—Chambal

Fertilisers and Chemicals Ltd. has executed agreements

for foreign currency loans to partially fund a new 1.34-

million-t/y urea plant at Gadepan, Kota, Rajasthan, India

(PCN, 4 Jan 2016, p 2).

The company has entered into agreements with State

Bank of India for $150-million, HDFC Bank for $150-

million, Axis Bank for $125-million and Export and Import

Bank of India for $125-million.

Chambal’s board of directors recently approved the sale

of Chambal’s shipping business to help fund the project.

Chambal currently has two urea plants at Gadepan producing

a combined total of approximately 2-million t/y.

 

Mitsui Chemicals Plans Reorganization

Tokyo—

Mitsui Chemicals has announced an organizational restructuring,

effective 1 Apr. 2016, which is intended to implement

its 2014 Mid-Term Business Plan and result in

more cross business synergies.

Among the corporate changes, the basic chemicals business

sector, the petrochemicals business sector and Mitsui

Chemicals & SKC Polyurethanes will be incorporated as

the basic materials business sector.

 

V54 N08 – 22 February 2016

Braskem Idesa Accepts Feedstock Delivery; First Quarter PE Production Anticipated

Veracruz—

Braskem Idesa, during the fourth quarter of last year,

reached 99% completion on its Ethylene XXI complex in

Veracruz, Mexico, and has now taken delivery of the main

and accessory feedstock to support the cracker’s startup

and the launch of polyethylene (PE) production.

The $5.2-billion project, a joint venture owned 75% by

Braskem and 25% by Idesa, includes a 1-million-t/y ethane-

based ethylene cracker using Technip technology, two

high-density PE units with a combined capacity of 750,000

t/y based on Ineos’ Innovene technology and a 300,000-t/y

low-density PE plant based on LyondellBasell’s Lupotech T

technology (PCN, 12 Aug 2013, p 3).

Braskem said the complex is currently in the commissioning

phase and PE production is expected to begin during

the first quarter of this year.

Identified as the “most modern petrochemical complex

in the Americas,” the project was initially expected to cost

$2.5-billion and begin production in June 2015.

 

Asahimas Chemical Makes 1st Shipment Of PVC from Expanded Cilegon Facility

Jakarta—

Asahi Glass Co. announced that subsidiary Asahimas

Chemical has shipped the first polyvinyl chloride (PVC)

from an expansion of its Cilegon, Indonesia, facility (PCN,

16 Sept 2013, p 2).

The project, costing approximately $400-million, increased

caustic soda capacity to 700,000 t/y from 500,000

t/y, doubled vinyl chloride monomer capacity to 800,000 t/y

from 400,000 t/y and increased PVC capacity to 550,000 t/y

from 300,000 t/y.

Asahi Glass, which holds a 52.5% interest in Asahimas

Chemical, said commercial production will be launched

during the first quarter of this year.

Other partners in the venture are Rodamas (18%),

Ableman Finance (18%) and Mitsubishi Corp. (11.5%).

 

BASF Declines to Comment on Reports Of Talks with Iran for PC Investment

 

Ludwigshafen—

BASF’s director for media relations, Jennifer Moore-Braun,

declined to comment on reports that BASF is involved in

negotiations with Iran’s National Petrochemical Co. (NPC)

to invest in an Iranian petrochemical project.

NPC Managing Director Marziyeh Shahdaei was

quoted in several media reports as saying that BASF plans

to invest up to $4-billion to build a petrochemical complex

in the Parsian Special Industrial Zone.

“BASF intends to take a 60% stake in the first phase of

investment,” Shahdaei said. The remaining 40% would be

held by Iranian companies, she added.

Hamid Reza Rostami, NPC’s director for planning, has

said BASF would supply technology and management for a

project that involves olefins and downstream production.

 

Shell Chemical Breaks Ground in Geismar On World’s Largest Single-Site LAO Plant

 

Geismar—

Shell Chemical has broken ground on a $717-million linear

alpha olefins (LAO) project in Geismar, La., that will result

in “the world’s largest single-site production” of LAO (PCN,

7 Dec 2015, p 1).

The new plant, with a capacity of 425,000 t/y, will be

the fourth LAO plant on Shell’s site, increasing the company’s

Geismar LAO capacity to over 1.3-million t/y. Production

is scheduled to begin in early 2018.

Baton Rouge-based Turner Industries has been selected

as general construction contractor for the project, which

will use the proprietary Shell Higher Olefins Process.

Graham van’t Hoff, executive vice president for Shell’s

global chemicals business, recently noted that Shell has

“strong technology, advantaged ethylene feedstock from

nearby Norco and Deer Park sites, and operational flexibility”

for this project.

 

LSB Achieves Mechanical Completion At New El Dorado Ammonia Facility

El Dorado—LSB

Industries has reached mechanical completion at its new

375,000-t/y ammonia plant in El Dorado, Ark. (PCN, 14

Dec 2015, p 3).

“Mechanical completion represents one of the final critical

phases in our El Dorado expansion project,” noted LSB

Chief Executive Daniel Greenwell. “We were able to

achieve mechanical completion in the time frame that we

outlined in September of last year, and we continue to expect

ammonia production at El Dorado to begin early in the

second quarter of 2016,” he added.

Cost of the project is not expected to exceed the company’s

budget of $831-million to $855-million.

The expansion project includes a 300,000-t/y nitric acid

plant and 40,000-t/y concentrator that were completed last

year to replace facilities destroyed in a 2012 explosion at

the complex.

 

Lukoil Starts Up Gas Processing Unit At Stavrolen Petrochemical Complex

Moscow—Lukoil

has started up the first phase of a gas processing unit at its

Stavrolen petrochemicals complex in Budennovsk, Russia.

The unit, with a capacity of 2.2-billion cu m/yr of raw

gas, “will make it possible for Lukoil to fully utilize associated

petroleum gas produced from the fields in the Northern

Caspian, supply [its] own gas to new power generation

facilities of the Lukoil Group in the Stavropol region and

begin production of petrochemicals,” the company said.

A portion of the associated petroleum gas will be used

as feedstock to produce polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene

(PP), which is expected to “stimulate the development

of small and mid-sized plastics processing businesses in

the region,” Lukoil added.

The Stavrolen complex has the capacity to produce over

300,000 t/y of PE, 120,000 t/y of PP, 80,000 t/y of benzene

and 50,000 t/y of vinyl acetate.

 

Westlake Pursues Takeover of Axiall; Will Nominate New Board Members

Houston—Westlake

Chemical Corp., after having its proposal to acquire

Axiall Corp. unanimously rejected by Axiall’s board of directors,

has notified Axiall of its intent to nominate 10 independent

board members at Axiall’s 2016 annual meeting

(PCN, 8 Feb 2016, p 1).

In the notice, Westlake said it believes that the election

of its slate of directors “may increase the likelihood that

Westlake Chemical’s proposal to acquire the company

would be successful.”

Westlake’s offer to acquire Axiall for $20 per share in

the form of $11 in cash and 0.1967 shares of Westlake

stock was rejected by the board because the board believes

that the proposal is an “opportunistic attempt to take advantage

of challenging public equity market conditions and

exploit trough conditions in chlor-alkali,” said Axiall.

“We believe that Westlake’s nomination of a slate of

board candidates is a clear attempt to force a sale of Axiall

to Westlake at a price that significantly undervalues Axiall’s

assets and its long-term prospects,” explained Axiall.

“Westlake’s nominees would have inherent conflicts given

Westlake’s focus on acquiring Axiall.”

Westlake President and Chief Executive Albert Chao

said that “the nominations give Axiall shareholders an opportunity

to voice their disappointment with Axiall’s refusal

to engage in discussions regarding our proposal.”

 

Sunoco Logistics Awards Fluor Contract For Mariner East 2 Expansion Project

Marcus Hook—

Sunoco Logistics has awarded a construction management

contract to Fluor for Sunoco’s Mariner East 2 expansion

project at Marcus Hook, Penn. (PCN, 21 Sept 2015, p 4).

Mariner East 2, expected to have an initial capacity of

275,000 b/d of natural gas liquids (NGLs), will deliver the

NGLs from the liquid-rich shale areas in Western Pennsylvania,

West Virginia and Eastern Ohio to Sunoco’s Marcus

Hook complex for distribution to local, domestic and international

markets.

Fluor will manage the construction of new terminal facilities

to store, chill, process and distribute ethane, propane

and butane at the complex.

The project “enables the continuing development of the

Marcus Hook industrial complex into a world-class NGL

hub,” said Jim Brittain, president of Fluor’s Energy &

Chemicals business in the Americas.

Combined with the 70,000 b/d of capacity from Mariner

East 1, the Mariner East project will provide 345,000 b/d of

total NGL takeaway capacity.

 

Maire Tecnimont & PGPIC Sign €1-Bn MoU For Iranian Petrochem, Refinery Projects

Tehran—

Maire Tecnimont and Persian Gulf Petrochemical Industries

Co. (PGPIC) signed a memorandum of understanding

(MoU) worth €1-billion to cooperate in the construction of

new petrochemical complexes and refineries in Iran.

Among key themes that were agreed on, the MoU covers

financing and equipment supply, said Tecnimont Chief

Executive Pierroberto Folgiero.

“PGPIC plays a seminal role in the capital market, as

well as in petrochemical products in the region,” noted

Adel Nejad Salim, managing director of PGPIC.

 

Saudi Kayan Taps CTCI for EPC Work On New Cracking Furnace in Jubail

Jubail—Saudi

Kayan Petrochemical Co. has awarded CTCI a contract for

the engineering, procurement and construction of an additional

ethylene cracking furnace in Jubail, Saudi Arabia.

Last year, the Saudi Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral

Resources agreed to increase Saudi Kayan’s allocations of

ethane, enabling the company to increase ethylene and

ethylene oxide production capacity (PCN, 16 Feb 2015, p

1). Saudi Kayan said it would add 93,000 t/y of ethylene

capacity.

CTCI said the contract covers front-end engineering design,

detailed engineering design, procurement, construction,

pre-commissioning, commissioning assistance, training

of Saudi Kayan personnel and start-up of the furnace.

The project, with an estimated value of $94.5-million, is

expected to be completed during the second half of 2017,

Saudi Kayan disclosed in a filing with Tadawul.

Saudi Basic Industries Corp. earlier this year awarded

CTCI a front-end engineering design contract for affiliate

Saudi Kayan’s ethylene oxide and ethylene glycol project in

Jubail (PCN, 18 Jan 2016, p 1).

 

Vopak Starts Up JV LPG Plant with SK At Jurong Island, Singapore, Terminal

Singapore—

Vopak, in a partnership with SK Gas, said it has received

its first cargo at the new liquefied petroleum gas (LPG)

facility on Jurong Island, Singapore, marking the start-up

of Southeast Asia’s first independent LPG import and storage

facility (PCN, 19 May 2014, p 3).

The facility, located at Vopak’s Banyan terminal, has

an initial capacity of nearly 80,000 cu m. ExxonMobil Asia

Pacific, one of the anchor tenants of the Vopak terminal,

will receive the first shipment, fully refrigerated propane.

“The LPG facility will help in providing us increased

flexibility in securing advantaged feedstock for our integrated

refining and petrochemical complex,” noted Gan

Seow Kee, chairman and managing director of ExxonMobil

Asia Pacific.

“With this new LPG facility, crackers can now tap on

alternative feedstock,” said Damian Chan, executive director,

energy and chemicals, Singapore Economic Development

Board. “This will strengthen our integrated chemicals

value chain and further enhance Jurong Island’s attractiveness

as a manufacturing location for high-value

added chemicals,” he added.

 

AkzoNobel Announces Intent to Acquire BASF’s Industrial Coatings Business

Amsterdam—

AkzoNobel has made an agreed offer to purchase BASF’s

industrial coatings business for €475-million (PCN, 15 Feb

2016, p 2).

The transaction includes technologies, patents and

trademarks, as well as securing supply to customers globally.

It also includes a manufacturing plant in the UK and

one in South Africa. Completion of the transaction is

planned in the second half of this year, subject to customary

closing conditions.

AkzoNobel Chief Executive Ton Buchner noted that the

proposed acquisition fits well with the company’s existing

business and allows it to offer essential solutions to its customers.

 

Fluor Receives EPCM Contract from BASF For Revamp of Alcohol, Plasticizers Unit

Houston—

Fluor was awarded an engineering, procurement and construction

management (EPCM) contract by BASF for the

revamp of BASF’s alcohol and plasticizers plant in Pasadena,

Texas (PCN, 2 Nov 2015, p 3).

The project involves converting production from BASF’s

current general-purpose plasticizers, Palatinol dipropyl

heptyl phthalate (DPHP) and Palatinol diisononyl phthalate

(DINP), to Palatinol diethylhexyl terephthalate

(DOTP). It will be BASF’s first DOTP facility in North

America.

In addition, 2-propylheptanol production will be converted

to 2-ethylhexanol to provide raw material for the

DOTP plant. Start up in scheduled is early 2017.

Fluor has already completed front-end engineering and

design for the project under its North American partnership

agreement with BASF and is executing the EPCM

under a recent global engineering services agreement

(PCN, 29 June 2015, p 1).

BASF earlier said it would continue to market DPHP

and DINP in North America by importing the products

from its global production network.

 

KPC Board Approves Formation of KPRC For Petrochemical and Refinery Projects

Kuwait—

Kuwait Petroleum Corp.’s (KPC) board has approved the

establishment of Kuwait Petrochemical Refining Co.

(KPRC) as a new company to be responsible for a new petrochemical

complex, the Al-Zour Refinery currently under

construction and a liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal,

according to local sources.

KPRC, which still requires approval by the Supreme

Petroleum Council, will be responsible for these projects

with three different partners – the Kuwait government,

the private sector and a partner with expertise in the petrochemical

sector.

The new venture is valued at about $30-billion, with

$16-billion for the refinery, $10-billion for the petrochemical

complex and $2.5-billion for the import terminal.

PCN earlier reported that Kuwait was considering

combining the 615,000-b/d Al-Zour refinery with an olefins

and aromatics complex that would likely include LNG import

facilities (PCN, 19 Oct 2015, p 3).

 

Asahi Kasei Opens Mexican Subsidiary To Provide Sale and Technical Support

Queretaro—

Asahi Kasei Chemicals announced the recent opening of

Asahi Kasei Plastics Mexico, a subsidiary for the sale and

technical support of performance plastic compounds.

The facility, owned by Asahi Kasei Chemicals’ U.S. subsidiary

Asahi Kasei Plastics North America (APNA), is located

in Queretaro and headed by Iichiro Kitsuda. It will

provide sale and technical support of Thermylene polypropylene

(PP), Leona polyamide 66 (PA66), and other performance

plastics compounds.

In addition, APNA is expected to start-up a new plastic

compounds plant this month in Athens, Ala. (PCN, 26 May

2014, p 3).

The 30,000-t/y unit will include the production of Thermylene

PP and Leona PA66. APNA also owns a 105,000-

t/y plastic compounds facility in Fowlerville, Mich.

 

Yokogawa’s Offer to Acquire KBC Accepted; AspenTech Subsidiary Not Revising Offer

London—

KBC Advanced Technologies has reached an agreement on

the acquisition by Yogokawa Electric of the entire issued

and to be issued share capital of KBC for approximately

£180.3-million, or 210 pence/share (PCN, 18 Jan 2016, p 1).

The acquisition will be implemented by means of a

court-sanctioned scheme of arrangement. Subject to approval

and availability of the court, the companies expect

the acquisition to become effective during the second quarter

of this year.

AspenTech Technology’s ATI Global Optimisation subsidiary

made an offer last month valued at 185 pence/share

for the acquisition of KBC. AspenTech said it does not intend

to revise its offer.

“The KBC board considers that the Yokogawa acquisition

represents a superior proposal for KBC shareholders

to the AspenTech proposal and accordingly has withdrawn

its recommendation of the AspenTech proposal and now

intends to recommend that KBC shareholders vote in favor

of the acquisition,” said KBC Chairman Ian Godden.

 

Grupa Azoty Commissions Expansions In Fertilizer and Oxo Alcohols Sectors

Warsaw—

Grupa Azoty has completed and started up expansions in

its fertilizers and oxo alcohols segments requiring a total

investment of 45-million Polish zloty (PLN) to increase capacities,

reduce production costs and lower environmental

impact.

In excess of PLN 30-million was spent to modernize an

ammonia line, which involved replacing the ammonia synthesis

reactor’s interior, installing a more efficient condensation

system for non-pressurized ammonia storage, and

building a new purge gas separation unit.

Also completed was a PLN 7-million expansion of the

company’s NOXy urea solutions production capacity to

100,000 t/y from 50,000 t/y, as well as expansions of the

NOXy storage and loading facilities.

A further investment of nearly PLN 8-million was for a

project that allows waste gas streams to be used in generating

steam for the oxo alcohols unit.

 

Afco Launches Petrochemicals Division To Focus on Trade, Risk Management

Singapore—

Afco Energy has established Afco Petrochemicals as a new

division specializing in the trading and risk management

of petrochemical products and their derivatives.

“We want to take advantage of the market inefficiencies

resulting from the consolidation of the energy industry and

flux in the restructuring of national economies,” explained

Afco Energy Managing Director Ali Nael. “Such broad

changes will open the doors for Afco Petrochemicals, which

though newly set up, is managed by experienced traders

widely respected in the petrochemical industry.”

Afco Petrochemicals Managing Director Lim Fang Wei

said the new division aims to build confidence in a global

climate of uncertainty by delivering petrochemicals safely

and reliably. “Historically, when markets are exuberant,

less attention is paid to the quality of growth. Some players

bail out when the market does not afford the outsized

returns in the short term,” he noted.

 

Versalis, Genomatica Produce Bio-Butadiene At Pilot-Scale Using Renewable Feedstock

Milan—

Versalis and Genomatica, in a technology joint venture

formed in 2013, have begun pilot-scale production of biobutadiene

(bio-BDE) from fully renewable feedstock (PCN,

15 Apr 2013, p 2).

Versalis, majority stakeholder in the joint venture, used

the bio-BDE to make bio-polybutadiene (bio-BR) at its research

and development center in Ravenna, Italy.

The success of this undertaking results from a newlydeveloped

process for the on-purpose production of butadiene

using various types of sugars as feedstock. The companies

plan to license the technology.

“Initial testing of the bio-BDE and bio-BR demonstrates

good compatibility with industry standards,” said Genomatica.

“Versalis is continuing to test the bio-BDE within

its other proprietary rubber and plastics downstream technologies

such as styrene butadiene rubber, styrene butadiene

styrene rubber and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene.”

The partners earlier said the process would be licensed

by the joint venture across Europe, Asia and Africa and

that future licensees of the process, including Versalis,

would provide the capital to build and operate their own

production facilities, and would be responsible for the use

and sale of the resulting butadiene.

 

Shell Completes Acquisition of BG Group; Combining ‘Two World-Class Portfolios’

London—

Shell announced it has completed the acquisition of BG

Group for approximately $50-billion, bringing together two

world-class portfolios and creating a more competitive company

(PCN, 1 Feb 2016, p 3).

“This is an important moment for Shell,” said Shell

Chief Executive Ben van Beurden. “It significantly boosts

our reserves and production and will bring a large injection

to our cash flow. We have acquired productive oil and gas

projects in Brazil and Australia and other key countries.

We will now be able to shape a simpler, leaner, more competitive

company, focusing on our expertise in deep water

and LNG.”

Shell earlier said it expected an overall potential reduction

of about 2,800 positions following completion of the

acquisition, as part of a proposed operational and administrative

restructuring. The cuts are in addition to Shell’s

previously announced plan to reduce its headcount and

contractor positions by 7,500 globally (PCN, 21-28 Dec

2015, p 3).

 

CF Commissioning Louisiana UAN Unit; Ammonia Plant to Start Up in Mid-2016

Deerfield—CF

Industries, in its fourth quarter 2015 results, said its new

urea ammonium nitrate (UAN) plant at Donaldsonville,

La., is mechanically complete and in the process of being

commissioned for start-up (PCN, 21-28 Dec 2015, p 3).

The UAN unit is part of a $2.1-billion expansion project

at the site that includes a 3,300-t/d ammonia plant, which

is planned to start up in mid-2016, and a 3,500-t/d urea

plant, which started up late last year. When complete, the

complex will be the “largest nitrogen facility in the world.”

CF noted that the urea plant has produced over 230,000

tons of granular urea since start-up through the end of

January 2016.

Separately, the company said the new 2,200-t/d ammonia

and 3,500-t/d urea plants in Port Neal, Iowa, are expected

to be mechanically complete during the second

quarter of 2016 (PCN, 8 Feb 2016, p 4).

 

Haike Awards Licensing Contract to KBR For Alkylates Project in Dong Ying City

Beijing—

Haike Ruilin Chemical Co. has awarded a licensing contract

to KBR to provide its K-SAAT solid acid alkylation

technology for use at the Dong Ying Port Economic Development

District, Shandong Province, China.

“Unlike traditional refinery alkylation technologies that

utilize strong acids, K-SAAT produces alkylates by combining

light olefins and isobutane using a solid catalyst that is

intrinsically safer and more environmentally benign,” KBR

explained, adding that this will be the first time it is licensing

the K-SAAT technology.

Details of the project, including cost of the contract,

were not disclosed.

 

Air Products, Unipetrol Renew Contract For Industrial Gases Supply Until 2027

Litvinov—Air

Products and Unipetrol have signed a new long-term contract

under which Air Products will continue to supply industrial

gases from its air separation unit, located on

Unipetrol’s site in Litvinov, Czech Republic, to fulfill

Unipetrol’s needs until 2027.

The contract also includes the provision of operational

and maintenance services on industrial gas production

equipment in Litvinov.

 

Iran Eyes Methanol-to-Propylene Unit

Tehran—Iran’s

Petrochemical Research and Technology Co. is in negotiations

with Air Liquide for the development of a 500,000-t/y

propylene-to-methanol project in Iran, according to Shana

News Agency.

Esmaeil Qambari, managing director of Petrochemical

Research and Technology, said his company has held talks

with German, French, Norwegian and Japanese firms for

the purchase of petrochemical technologies. Most recently,

talks have been held with Air Liquide for a scientific partnership

for developing a propylene-to-methanol plant.

Iran last year started up a pilot-scale, 120,000-t/y propylene-

to-methanol project in Mahshahr.

V54 N07 – 15 February 2016

Hengli Petrochem Selects Axens Technologies For Crude-to-Paraxylene Complex in China

Dalian—

Hengli Petrochemical Co. has chosen Axens to provide

technologies for a new crude-to-paraxylene (PX) complex at

Changxing Island, Liaoning Province, China.

The complex will include a final-conversion refinery,

with the capacity to produce 400,000 b/d of crude, and an

aromatic complex to maximize high purity PX production.

A schedule for the project was not given.

Axens noted that it will be the largest site in the world

for the production of high purity paraxylene, which will

supply purified terephthalic acid for polyethylene terephthalate

application.

Specifically, Axens will supply two parallel trains of HOil

units, using ebullated bed technology, for hydroconversion

of vacuum residue, combined with a Solvahl

deasphalting unit; two HyK hydrocracking units; two parallel

trains of hydrocracking units; a naphtha hydrotreating

unit; three Aromizing units using a continuous catalytic

regenerative reforming process; two aromatics chains,

based on Eluxyl 1.15 technology and combined with Oparis

technology for full isomerization of other C8 aromatics into

PX, and a methyl tertiary butyl ether unit.

 

Evonik Building New Production Line For Polyamide 12 Powder in Germany

Marl—Evonik

is planning to build a new production line for its Vestosint

polyamide 12 powder (PA12) in Marl, Germany, increasing

its total existing annual capacity for PA12 powders by 50%

(PCN, 7 July 2014, p 3).

The facility, expected to require an investment in the

“mid double-digit million euro range,” is scheduled to become

operational late next year. A specific capacity was

not disclosed.

“The planned investment in the PA12 powder facility

represents the next step in our growth strategy,” said Chief

Operating Officer Dr. Ralph Sven Kaufmann. “Our intention

is to solidify Evonik’s leading position as a provider of

PA12-based high performance polymers and utilize the

growth potential of new application areas.”

 

LyondellBasell Completes $184-Million Sale Of Petroken Subsidiary to Grupo Inversor

Houston—

LyondellBasell has concluded the sale of wholly-owned

subsidiary Petroken Petroquímica Ensenada to Grupo Inversor

Petroquímica (GIP) for $184-million (PCN, 24-31

Aug 2015, p 1).

Petroken is a leading polypropylene (PP) producer in

Argentina and operates a 180,000-t/y PP facility at Ensenada

in Buenos Aires province.

When the transaction was announced last August,

LyondellBasell said it would sell Petroken to a venture of

GIP and YPF, who would each own 50% of Petroken. According

to media reports, YPF backed out of the deal late

last year citing lack of financing.

 

LyondellBasell Awards Fluor FEED Work For Proposed PO/TBA Facility in Texas

Irving—

LyondellBasell has awarded Fluor a front-end engineering

and design (FEED) contract for its proposed propylene oxide

(PO) and tertiary butyl alcohol (TBA) plant at Channelview,

Texas (PCN, 8 Feb 2016, p 1).

The project, described as the “world’s largest PO/TBA

plant,” is expected to produce 1-billion lbs/yr of PO and 2-

billion lbs/yr of TBA, based on LyondellBasell’s proprietary

PO/TBA technology. FEED activities are projected to be

completed in 2016. Operations are planned to begin in

2019.

Fluor’s scope of work also includes FEED services for

an ethers unit at LyondellBasell’s Bayport Chaote site near

Pasadena, Texas, as well as associated infrastructure. The

products will be used in the production of polyols, highoctane

gasoline components and other isobutylene derivatives.

 

Midwest Fertilizer Lets EPC Contract For Indiana Nitrogen Fertilizer Plant

Mt. Vernon—

Midwest Fertilizer Co. has awarded ThyssenKrupp Industrial

Solutions a contract to provide engineering, procurement,

construction and related services for a nitrogen fertilizer

plant to be built in Posey County, Indiana (PCN, 28

July 2014, p 1).

Based on earlier reports, the project includes a 2,200-t/d

ammonia plant, based on KBR’s Purifier technology; a

2,200-t/y urea synthesis plant, 1,200-t/d urea granulation

plant, 4,300-t/d urea ammonium nitrate plant and 900-t/d

diesel exhaust fuel plant, all using Stamicarbon’s technology,

and a 1,530-t/d nitric acid unit based on Borealis/GPN

technology. The facility is expected to be fully operational

in 2020.

Fatima Fertilizer is the principal sponsor and developer

of the project, anticipated to cost in excess of $2-billion.

 

Sipchem Boosts Acetyls Complex Equity With Acquisition of Ikarus’ Holdings

Jubail—Saudi

International Petrochemical Co. (Sipchem) has completed

all governmental requirements to conclude the acquisition

of Kuwait-based Ikarus Petroleum Industries Co.’s equity

interests in the Acetyls Complex in Jubail, Saudi Arabia

(PCN, 29 June 2015, p 2).

Specifically, Sipchem has acquired Ikarus’ 11% equity

holding in Sipchem affiliate International Acetyl Co. and

its 11% holding in International Vinyl Acetate Co., also an

affiliate of Sipchem. Sipchem said the transaction amount

of $100.1-million has been “fully paid” and it now holds an

87% interest in each company. German firm Helm owns a

10% stake in each, with the remaining 3% held by the Supreme

Council of Endowments.

International Acetyl has a 460,000-t/y acetic acid and

acetic anhydride facility and International Vinyl Acetate

has a 330,000-t/y vinyl acetate plant.

 

Riaba Fertilizers Awards EPC Contract For Petchems Complex on Bioko Island

Bioko—The

Ministry of Mines, Industry and Energy of Equatorial

Guinea (MMIE) said Riaba Fertilizers Ltd. has awarded an

engineering, procurement and construction contract to a

Chinese consortium for a new petrochemicals complex at

Riaba, on Bioko Island.

The consortium, led by East China Engineering Science

and Technology Co., will build the complex, comprised of

an ammonia and urea plant with a production capacity of

1.5-million t/y. Facilities will include on and off-site infrastructure

and utilities, and a urea shipping jetty.

Worley Parsons has completed the pre-FEED (front-end

engineering and design) for the project. A ground breaking

ceremony is expected late next month, with completion

planned in 32 months.

The new facility will utilize offshore gas reserves located

to the east of Bioko. A gas supply agreement is already

in place with Block O and I operator Noble Energy

and partners Gunvor, Atlas Petroleum and Glencore.

Riaba Fertilizers was formed to develop the complex as

part of a government-led industrialization and energy diversification

plan known as the Petrochemicals Revolution.

 

LyondellBasell Chief Executive Patel Named ACC’s Newest Board Officer

Washington—The

American Chemistry Council (ACC) has named Lyondell-

Basell Chief Executive Bhavesh V. (Bob) Patel as its newest

board officer, effective 1 Jan. 2016.

Patel will serve as vice chairman of the board and chair

of the board finance, audit and membership committee for

a period of one year. He will then serve a one year term

each as chairman of the executive committee and chairman

of the board. He was elected to ACC’s board of directors in

2015 during which time he served as a member of the executive

committee.

“As CEO of LyondellBasell, Bob Patel represents one of

the world’s largest plastics, chemical and refining companies,”

said ACC President and Chief Executive Cal Dooley.

“His insight, experience and leadership will help to ensure

ACC’s continued success as we pursue affordable energy

security,” Dooley added.

“I am honored to work alongside other leaders in our

industry who are dedicated to safely and reliably delivering

the products that improve people’s lives in a real,

meaningful way,” noted Patel. “I look forward to helping

ACC shape an effective policy agenda that recognizes and

promotes the value of the chemical industry.”

 

Egypt Plans Ain Sokhna PC Complex

Cairo—Talks

are ongoing for setting up a $3.5-billion petrochemical complex

in Ain Sokhna, Egypt, reported MENA citing Ahmed

Darwish, head of the General Authority for the Suez Canal

Economic Zone (SCEZ).

Speaking during a conference on financing and investment,

he said investors will face no problems in obtaining

licenses and establishing companies because SCEZ, which

is independent in terms of decision making, has its own

taxation department and will soon have an investment

dispute resolution center.

The project is expected to be established within five

years, but no other details were given.

 

Inovyn Details New Chlor-Alkali Project Being Built at Antwerp/Lillo in Belgium

Antwerp—

Inovyn, a 50-50 chlorvinyls joint venture of Ineos and Solvay,

is building a large scale potassium hydroxide (KOH)

production facility at its Antwerp/Lillo site in Belgium.

The project includes a plant to produce 155,000 t/y of

KOH and 100,000 t/y of chlorine based on the latest membrane

technology.

Antwerp/Lillo is a “highly competitive” location the

company noted, as it has major chlorine customers, linked

directly to the site via pipeline, and is strategically positioned

for imports of potassium chloride feedstock.

Inovyn completed first round bids earlier this month for

the key engineering, procurement, construction and management

work and expects to award a contract in the first

quarter of this year.

“The procurement of additional major plant items and

the receipt of first round bids for the key engineering contract

means our project is now gathering real momentum

and we remain well on track to start KOH production at

Antwerp/Lillo late 2017,” said Jean-Michel Mesland, operations

director.

 

AkzoNobel Eyes BASF’s Coatings Unit

Amsterdam―

AkzoNobel confirmed it is in discussions with BASF regarding

a possible acquisition of BASF’s industrial coatings

business.

“The strategy of AkzoNobel of driving operational excellence

and organic growth includes the possibility to pursue

value generating, bolt-on acquisitions,” the company said,

adding that no further details will be made available at

this stage.

 

People on the Move

Asahi Kasei―Executive Officer Hideki Kobori has been

named president, effective 1 Apr. He replaces Toshio

Asano, who is stepping down to “delineate management

responsibility related to a precast concrete pile installation

issue at Asahi Kasei Construction Materials.”

Synthesis Energy Systems (SES)—DeLome Fair,

most recently senior vice president of gasification technology

and president of SES Technologies LLC, has been appointed

president and chief executive of SES, effective 15

Feb. She succeeds Robert W. Rigdon, who will serve as

vice chairman and will remain on the board as a director.

Iran’s National Petrochemical Co.—Marzieh Shahdaie,

previously director of projects, has been appointed

managing director of the company to succeed Abbas She’ri-

Moqaddam.

Total—Philippe Baptiste, previously chief research officer

at the French National Center for Scientific Research,

has become senior vice president of scientific development

at Total.

Pilot Chemical Co.—Michael Scott has been named

president. He was most recently regional president for

acrylics and general manager for peroxides at Arkema.

Scott will replace current president and chief executive

Pam Butcher, who will remain as chief executive until

Scott is fully established in his new role and will then join

the board of directors.

 

Emulsion Polymers Producer Apcotex Purchases 100% of Omnova Solutions

Maharashtra—

Apcotex Industries Ltd., one of India’s leading performance

emulsion polymers producers, said it has acquired 100% of

the equity capital in Omnova Solutions India Private Ltd.

The Rs 36 crore transaction “gives Apcotex an opportunity

to grow in new adjacencies in emulsion polymers such

as nitrile rubber, nitrile powder and nitrile/polyvinyl chloride

blends,” Apcotex explained, noting that Omnova,

which has a factory in Valia, Gujarat, is the only nitrile

rubber producer in India and only the second producer of

high styrene rubber after Apcotex.

An additional investment of around Rs 40 crore is expected

to be made in the acquired business in the short to

medium term.

“This sizeable bolt-on acquisition bolsters our optimism

about the long term value creation potential of Apcotex,”

said Abhiraj Choksey, managing director of Apcotex. “We

gain access to new product lines, new technologies and new

processes with a potential to scale up significantly. We will

continue to focus on improving market share in India, improving

capacity utilization, reducing high cost structures

and optimizing usage of capital.”

 

IFC Considering Financing up to $40-MN Of SRF’s Proposed Indian BOPET Plant

Indore—

International Finance Corp. (IFC), a World Bank member,

is considering providing financing of up to $40-million to

SRF Ltd. for a proposed biaxially oriented polyethylene

terephthalate (BOPET) film plant at Indore, Madhya

Pradesh, India.

The greenfield project, expected to require a total investment

of approximately $58-million, involves setting up

a new 30,000-t/y BOPET unit and metallization capacity of

8,000 t/y. Operations are expected to begin in 2017.

According to IFC, SRF has existing BOPET capacity in

India at a 54,000-t/y facility in Indore and a 6,000-t/y unit

in Kashipur. It also has a 28,500-t/y BOPET plant in Thailand

and a 28,500-t/y biaxially oriented polypropylene

films plant in Durban, South Africa.

SRF has a polyethylene terephthalate plant at its Indore

site, which will supply a portion of the new BOPET

plant’s feedstock requirements. The remaining feedstock

needs will be sourced locally or imported.

 

Christof Interested in Iranian PC Projects

Tehran—

High-ranking officials of Christof Group, an Austrian company

involved in plant construction and technology transfer,

among other areas, recently met with counterparts of

Iran’s National Petrochemical Co. to discuss cooperation in

energy and petrochemical projects in Iran, the Mehr News

Agency reported.

With the lifting of sanctions, “Austrian companies will

seek active roles in Iran’s petrochemical industry and we

would not imagine any restrictions whatsoever to the cooperation,”

commented Christof management member Stefan

Christof. He specifically cited the transfer of technology to

Iran.

“We have excellent links and accords with other prestigious

European companies, and Christof Group Austria

could function [as] an effective link between Iran and those

companies,” he added.

 

Lanxess & Aramco’s SynRub Venture To Be Launched in April as Arlanxeo

Cologne—

Lanxess and Saudi Aramco’s Aramco Overseas Co. subsidiary

will launch their new 50-50 synthetic rubber joint

venture on 1 Apr. 2016, under the name Arlanxeo (PCN, 18

Jan 2016, p 1).

The venture, valued at €2.75-billion. will be based in

the Netherlands and will be comprised of Lanxess’ Tire &

Specialty Rubbers and High Performance Elastomers business

unit, including 20 production facilities in nine countries

and approximately 3,700 employees. All relevant antitrust

authorities have cleared the transaction.

“Arlanxeo will be a strong company of two strong partners,”

said Matthias Zachert, chairman of the board of

management of Lanxess and future chairman of Arlanxeo’s

shareholder committee. The new name and logo combines

elements from the names and logos of both partners.

The partners will soon appoint a management team for

Arlanxeo and will have equal representation on the boards

overseeing the company. Lanxess will appoint the chief

executive and Aramco Overseas will appoint the chief financial

officer.

 

Mitsui & Co. Buying Additional 10% Stake In Bio-Succinic Acid JV with BioAmber

Sarnia—

Mitsui & Co. has decided to invest C$25-million in the biobased

succinic acid joint venture in Canada with BioAmber

for an additional 10% interest, increasing its stake to 40%.

The joint venture, BioAmber Sarnia, recently began

producing bio-succinic acid at commercial scale at its new

30,000-t/y facility in Sarnia, Ontario (PCN, 12 Oct 2015, p

3). The plant, which uses glucose as feedstock, is expected

to reach full capacity in 2017.

“We are very happy with Sarnia’s fermentation and

plant operations performance to date and the joint venture

has received quality certifications from more than 90 customers,”

noted Hidebumi Kasuga, general manager, Specialty

Chemicals Division, Basic Chemicals Business Unit

at Mitsui. “With this progress, I am confident that Sarnia’s

bio-succinic acid will be penetrating the global marketplace

quickly.”

BioAmber will maintain a 60% controlling interest in

the joint venture.

 

Indian Oil Announces Commissioning Of 15-Million-T/Y Paradip Refinery

New Delhi—

Indian Prime Minster Narendra Modi has inaugurated

Indian Oil Corp.’s (IOC) 15-million-t/y Paradip refinery in

Odisha, India (PCN, 1 Feb 2016, p 2).

IOC, anchor tenant for the Petroleum, Chemicals and

Petrochemicals Investment Region (PCPIR) in Paradip,

has said it will integrate petrochemicals production with

the refinery.

The company has already begun construction on a

700,000-t/y polypropylene plant, scheduled for completion

in late 2017, and is carrying out a detailed feasibility study

for an ethylene glycol (EG) facility. The EG plant is expected

to have 325,000 t/y of capacity and is planned to

start up by the end of 2019.

IOC also plans to build a 1.2-million-t/y paraxylene and

purified terephthalic acid facility and a petcoke gasification-

based synthetic ethanol unit in Paradip. Completion

is expected in September 2021.

 

Denka Intends to Boost Competitiveness By Streamlining Utilities at Chiba Site

Chiba—Denka

Co. Ltd., formerly Denki Kagaku Kogyo Kabushiki Kaisha,

has decided to boost the competitiveness of its Chiba, Japan,

facility by streamlining its utilities.

This move, Denka explained, is in line with the company’s

policy of promoting close cooperation among companies

throughout the Maruzen Petrochemical complex in

Chiba, including oil refineries and plants producing ethylene

and its derivatives.

Currently, Denka has two boilers at Chiba that provide

steam and electricity for its styrene monomer and styrenebased

functional resin production, as well as polymer processing

facilities. The company plans to shut down one

boiler and associated power generation system in June in

conjunction with scheduled maintenance, while the other

boiler, which is equipped with a highly efficient gas turbine

power generation system, will continue to operate.

The resulting shortfall in steam supply will be met by

Maruzen’s Chiba ethylene facilities under an agreement

between Denka and Maruzen.

Denka noted this plan will help decrease both steam

procurement cost and costs for the maintenance, upgrading

and repair of boilers, resulting in an estimated annual savings

of about ¥300-million. At the same time, Maruzen

will benefit because the Denka facilities will consume a

steady supply of steam by-product from Maruzen’s ethylene

production.

Going forward, Denka said it also plans to increase cooperation

with other companies in the Maruzen complex to

enhance the competitiveness of the complex as a whole and

decrease the site’s total carbon dioxide emissions.

 

Mitsubishi Rayon & Arzeda Collaborate To Develop Chem Production Process

Tokyo—

Mitsubishi Rayon and synthetic biology company Arzeda

have agreed to collaborate on developing an improved process

for industrial chemicals production.

Arzeda will utilize its proprietary industrial protein design

software Archytas, while Mitsubishi will contribute its

expertise in process development and industrial scale-up.

Work will take place at Arzeda’s Seattle, Wash., laboratories

and at Mitsubishi’s facilities in Japan.

Through the partnership, “Mitsubishi Rayon can meet

the growing global demand for a range of products in a sustainable

manner,” said Takayuki Iseki, general manager of

the R&D Administration Department.

 

SES’ ZZ Facility Ends Methanol Production; Update Provided on Repurposing Project

Beijing—

Synthesis Energy Systems (SES), in its second quarter fiscal

2016 results, said methanol production permanently

ceased in the first quarter at its Zao Zhuang New Gas Co.

(ZZ) joint venture facility in Zao Zhuang City, China.

SES, along with Rui Feng Enterprises Ltd. and its affiliate

Shandong Saikong Automation Equipment Co., have

partnered in a new project that includes expanding the

facility, refurbishing SES’ two existing gasification systems

and preparing them to operate at full capacity. The syngas

will be used to produce 100,000 t/y of acetic acid and about

10,000 t/y of propionic acid (PCN, 5 Oct 2015, p 2).

Last July, SES entered into a definitive Share Purchase

and Investment Agreement with Rui Feng. Under the

terms of the agreement, SES sold 59.81% of its share in ZZ

for $10-million, to be paid in four installments, with an

additional minimum equity investment from Rui Feng of

$6.6-million to fund the plant expansion and increase the

Rui Feng ownership to a capped limit of 73.53%.

“Rui Feng was not able to complete its next $4-million

payment related to the purchase of SES’ interest in ZZ,

citing the need for securing government approval, which

has slowed due to China’s temporary hold on chemical

plant permits resulting from the August 2015 Tianjin explosions,

and the need to see improvement in commodity

prices,” SES explained.

“Since there are currently no revenues being generated

from the facility, SES is evaluating alternatives including

a smaller-scale power generation option for the plant.”

In addition, SES said it is resolving open items with

Xuecheng Energy, partner in the previous coke oven gasto-

methanol project at the facility, as well as debt from a

local bank related to the previous project.

 

MSM Poly Begins Pilot AMAC Production; Lab Says Indistinguishable from Barex

Wilmington—

MSM Poly LLC, having concluded equivalence testing of

its Anobex brand acrylonitrile methyl acrylate copolymer

(AMAC), has begun production of pilot plant quantities for

testing by the three largest global users of AMAC.

Bay Materials of Fremont, Calif., has analyzed MSM’s

Anobex and concluded: “In our opinion, AMAC latex resin

and [Ineos’] Barex 210 are indistinguishable, exhibiting

similar melt flow properties, and strength and toughness

at room temperature.”

By May 2016, MSM intends to begin producing lowvolume

quantities of Anobex for initial commercial trials

with convertors and end-users. Between July and October

of this year, the company said it will scale up to full commercial

production “with the capacity to supply the existing

market by the beginning of 2017.”

In 2014, Ineos announced plans to close its only Barex

AMAC plant, located in Lima, Ohio, saying the business

had been “struggling financially for a number of years”

(PCN, 3 Nov 2014, p 1).

 

V54 N06 – 8 February 2016

LyondellBasell Concludes 3rd in Series Of U.S. Ethylene Expansion Projects

Houston—LyondellBasell

said the third in a series of planned expansions

targeted to increase the company’s U.S. ethylene capacity

by approximately 25% has been completed at Channelview,

Texas, adding 250-million lbs/yr of ethylene (PCN, 4 May

2015, p 4).

The Channelview project is in addition to an 800-

million-lb/yr increase at La Porte, Texas, an 800-millionlb/

yr expansion in Corpus Christi, Texas, and a further

550-million-lb/yr increase at Channelview.

Chief Executive Bob Patel noted that during 2015, the

company “also advanced additional value-enhancing projects

including a propylene oxide (PO) and tertiary butyl

alcohol (TBA) facility, an ethylene expansion at our Corpus

Christi plant and U.S. polyethylene (PE) capacity.”

LyondellBasell last year selected its Channelview complex

as the site for a 1-billion-lb/yr PO and 2-billion-lb/yr

TBA plant (PCN, 23-30 Nov 2015, p 1). The company has

also disclosed it was considering options for the expanded

ethylene capacity, specifically a 1-billion-lb/yr PE facility.

The company plans to complete engineering for the PO

project and finalize its PE expansion plans during 2016.

 

Markor and BASF Inaugurate Facility For the Production of BDO in China

Korla—Markor

Meiou Chemical (Xinjiang) Co., a joint venture of Markor

Chemical (51%) and BASF (49%), has inaugurated a new

butanediol facility, with 100,000 t/y of capacity, in Korla,

China (PCN, 11 Mar 2013, p 1).

In 2013, the companies also signed a joint venture

agreement for a polytetrahydrofuran plant, with 50,000 t/y

of capacity, which was scheduled to begin production in

2015.

 

Topsoe Signs Deal with Badr-e-Shargh For New Methanol Plant in Chabahar

Tehran—

Topsoe has signed a contract with Badr-e-Shargh Petrochemical

Complex to provide services for a new methanol

plant to be built in Chabahar, Iran.

Under the contract, for which a value was not disclosed,

Topsoe will provide licenses, engineering, proprietary

equipment, materials and catalyst for the project, which

will be the first plant in a new industrial zone in the area.

No other details were given.

“I have no doubt in my mind that Iran is on the doorstep

to a period of great progress,” said Per K. Bakkerud,

executive vice president of the chemical business unit and

the EMEA region at Topsoe. “The business culture, the

high level of education and of course the abundant natural

resources is more or less a guarantee for blooming business

in the petrochemical and refining industry.”

At the same time, Topsoe announced it will establish a

permanent office in Tehran and has named Jens Ole

Madsen as the managing director.

 

Westlake Proposes Acquisition of Axiall; Offer Unanimously Rejected by Board

Houston—

Westlake Chemical Corp. has submitted a proposal to Axiall

Corp. to acquire all outstanding shares of Axiall for $20

per share in the form of $11 in cash and 0.1967 shares of

Westlake stock, representing a value of $9 based on Westlake’s

closing price the last trading day before the offer.

“The combined company would be more diversified and

have a stronger financial profile than Axiall, providing it

with significant financial and operational flexibility, a

greater ability to serve its customers and improved ability

to capitalize on future investment opportunities,” noted

Albert Chao, president and chief executive of Westlake.

Axiall said its board of directors, with the assistance of

financial and legal advisors, had “reviewed, considered and

unanimously rejected” the proposal.

“We believe that Westlake’s proposal is an opportunistic

attempt to take advantage of challenging public equity

market conditions and significantly undervalues Axiall’s

assets and its long-term prospects,” commented Axiall

President and Chief Executive Timothy Mann.

 

Kraton Sells Certain TPE Assets to PolyOne; Enters Long-Term Feed Supply Agreement

Houston–

Kraton Performance Polymers has completed the sale of

certain thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) technologies and

assets to PolyOne Corp. for $72-million.

The two companies also entered into a supply agreement,

whereby Kraton will provide PolyOne certain raw

materials used in production for the acquired business.

“This transaction will enable Kraton to focus on its core

strengths around polymer design, and enable PolyOne to

focus on its leading capabilities as a provider of polymer

formulations,” said Kraton President and Chief Executive

Kevin M. Fogarty. “Ultimately, we expect the transaction

to lead to additional growth opportunities for both companies,”

he added.

 

W. R. Grace Completes Planned Separation Into Two Independent Public Companies

Columbia—

W. R. Grace & Co. said it has completed the previously announced

separation into two independent, publicly traded

companies, W.R. Grace & Co. and GCP Applied Technologies

Inc. (PCN, 18 Jan 2016, p 3).

Grace will continue to own and operate the existing

Catalysts Technologies and Materials Technologies operating

segments, excluding the Darex business.

GCP will own and operate the existing Construction

Products segment and Darex Packaging Technologies. It

has begun “regular way” trading on the New York Stock

Exchange.

The separation occurred by means of a pro rata distribution.

Grace shareholders received one share of GCP

common stock for each share of Grace common stock held

as of the close of business on 27 Jan.

 

Liveris Transitioning Away from Dow With Conclusion of DuPont Merger

Midland—Dow

Chemical Chairman and Chief Executive Andrew N. Liveris,

in discussing the company’s fourth quarter results,

disclosed his plans to leave Dow following completion of the

merger with DuPont (PCN, 14 Dec 2015, p 1).

The combined company, DowDuPont, will be spun off

into three independent, publicly traded companies that will

be focused on material science, specialty products and agriculture.

Jim Fitterling, who has been appointed president and

chief operating officer, “will play a key role in supporting

me to drive the successful completion of the merger in

unleashing the full value of the three intended subsequent

independent companies,” explained Liveris.

“We anticipate the entire process to close the merger

and set the companies up to be spun will take about a year

and a half all told,” he noted.

Liveris said he will work with Fitterling and Chief Financial

Officer Howard Ungerleider “to bring the entire

process to a successful conclusion and enable a successful

leadership handover to coordinate with my own planned

transition out of the company, which will occur when we

are set up to be spun off, but no later than the end of the

second quarter of 2017.”

 

12 Nations Ink Trans-Pacific Partnership; Elimination of Most Tariffs Anticipated

Auckland—

Twelve nations have signed the Trans-Pacific Partnership

(TPP), a trade deal that is expected to eliminate most tariffs

among the participating partners and reduce trade and

investment barriers (PCN, 25 Jan 2016, p 4).

The signing members, Australia, Brunei, Canada,

Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore,

the U.S. and Vietnam, have now ended the fiveyear

negotiation process and have two years to get the

agreement ratified domestically before the TPP becomes

legally binding.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said: “Other

countries have already signaled an interest in joining TPP.

And this could lead to even greater regional economic integration.”

The TPP “will set a new standard for trade and investment”

in the Asia-Pacific region,” which is one of the

world’s “fastest growing and most dynamic regions,” the

signing nations noted in a joint statement.

 

Axens, Private Iranian Firm Sign MoU For PC Complex & Refinery Catalysts

Tehran—Axens

and a private Iranian firm have signed a memorandum of

understanding for the purchase and production of catalysts

for petrochemical complexes and refineries, according to a

post on Iran’s National Petrochemical Co. (NPC) website.

During the years sanctions were imposed on Iran, Iranian

experts achieved the technical knowledge to produce

petrochemical catalysts and eliminate the need to import

them from European countries. Those catalysts are currently

being used at the Bandar Emam, Buali, Nouri and

Karoun petrochemical complexes, and the Isfahan refinery.

Under the new agreement, the two parties plan to cooperate

under a common brand to meet Iranian requirements,

as well as export joint production regionally.

 

Socar Confirms Award of EPC Contract To Maire Tecnimont for HDPE Facility

Baku—Socar

said it has awarded an engineering, procurement and construction

(EPC) contract to Maire Tecnimont’s Kinetics

Technology and Tecnimont subsidiaries for a new highdensity

polyethylene (HDPE) plant being built in the

Sumgayit petrochemical complex in Baku, Azerbaijian

(PCN, 25 Jan 2016, p 2).

Based on Ineos’ Innovene S technology, the HDPE unit

will have a capacity of 120,000 t/y and is part of a project

that includes a 180,000-t/y polypropylene (PP) facility.

The approximately $180-million lump sum turn-key

contract involves provision of complete engineering services,

equipment and materials supply, construction activities

up to start-up and guarantee test run.

Maire Tecnimont’s subsidiaries were awarded an EPC

contract last April for the PP unit (PCN, 13 Apr 2015, p 1).

Socar did not confirm an expected completion date for the

plants, however, earlier reports said construction had already

begun on the HDPE plant and both units would be

operational in 2018.

 

Evonik Enters into Research Partnership With Institute of Chemical Technology

Essen—

Evonik and the Institute of Chemical Technology (ICT) in

Mumbai, India, have entered into a strategic partnership

agreement for the purpose of research and development.

The agreement covers collaboration in research and development

projects in the field of chemical science; sponsor

lectures and/or presentations by representatives of Evonik

at ICT and vice versa; provision of scholarship funds for

master’s degree and PhD students, and financial support

for internships for master, bachelor and PhD students.

 

People on the Move

Dow Chemical—James R. Fitterling has been appointed

president and chief operating officer. He had been

vice chairman and chief operating officer.

W. R. Grace & Co.—Hudson La Force, most recently

senior vice president and chief financial officer, has been

named president and chief operating officer. The company

said it expects to appoint a new chief financial officer soon.

Until then, La Force will continue to serve in this capacity.

BP—Lamar McKay, currently chief executive of BP’s

upstream segment, has been named to the new position of

deputy group chief executive. He will be succeeded by Bernard

Looney, presently chief operating officer of production

in the upstream segment.

The appointments will be effective following the retirement

of Katrina Landis, executive vice president of corporate

business activities, on 1 May.

BASF Philippines—Roy T. Comagon has been appointed

managing director. He replaces Flor M. Pan, who

retired at the end of 2015.

Lukoil—Vadim Vorobyev has become vice president for

oil refining, petrochemicals and gas processing, replacing

Thomas Mueller, who has resigned. Most recently vice

president for coordination of petroleum product marketing

and distribution, Vorobyev will be succeeded by Oleg Pashayev,

who had been general director of Lukoil-Aero.

 

Bertschi Opens Singapore Chem Cluster; €12.9-MM Phase 2 Expansion Underway

Singapore—

Swiss chemical logistics company Bertschi AG has opened

a new facility in Singapore to offer its chemical logistics,

processing services and lean supply chain solutions to the

specialty chemical producers along the ‘Ethylene Oxide

corridor’ on Jurong Island.

The €29.1-million state-of-the-art Jurong Island Chemical

Cluster’s (JICC) services include dangerous goods bulk

transport and handling, dangerous goods chemicals storage,

isotank storage and handling, and blending and drumming/

repacking. The location ensures that hazardous

chemicals are kept on Jurong Island and minimizes traffic

on and off the island.

Producers may “fill their final products directly from

the production reactor into our isotanks,” said Bertschi.

“The products are then stored in isotanks at our chemical

cluster. By doing so, the producer reduces Capex for his

newly built specialty chemicals plant typically by 10-15%,

and land use by up to 50%,” the company explained.

Bertschi has already begun a phase two expansion,

which will require an investment of over €20-million and

will be completed in the second half of 2017.

 

Korea EximBank Providing Funding For Orpic’s NGL Extraction Facility

Seoul—Korea

EximBank will provide $370-million in financing for a

natural gas liquids (NGL) extraction unit being built as

part of Oman Oil Refineries and Petroleum Industries Co.’s

(Orpic) Liwa Plastics Industries Complex in Sohar, Oman,

according to Business Korea.

Being built by a consortium of GS Engineering & Construction

and Mitsui & Co., the NGL unit will have a capacity

of 670-million standard cu ft/day. Completion is

expected in about 42 months (PCN, 21-28 Dec 2015, p 4).

The $5.2-billion Liwa project, due to be commissioned in

2019, includes a steam cracker with over 800,000 t/y of

capacity, 838,000 t/y of linear low- and high-density polyethylene

capacity, 215,000 t/y of polypropylene capacity

and a 300-km NGL pipeline between Fahud and Sohar.

“As low oil prices have continued, many large projects

have been cancelled all over the world and Korean companies

have been facing difficulties to win orders,” said the

report quoting an EximBank official. GS was able to win

the order for the NGL unit “after the bank led the financial

negotiation.”

 

Covestro Announces New Company Name For Bayer MaterialScience in Shanghai

Shanghai—

Covestro, formerly Bayer MaterialScience, has renamed its

legal entity Bayer MaterialScience (China) Co. to Covestro

Polymers (China) Co., effective from 24 Dec. 2015.

“With the unveiling of the new legal entity name,

Covestro will continue to take deeper root in the Chinese

market, focusing on local innovation, research and development

to meet the demands of customers and value chain

stakeholders,” said Steffan Huber, senior Covestro representative,

Greater China.

Covestro started operating as a legally and economically

independent entity on 1 Sept. 2015 (PCN, 7 Sept

2015, p 1). It will continue as a wholly-owned subsidiary of

Bayer AG.

 

Arkema Decides Not to Exercise Option To Increase Stake in Taixing Sunke JV

Taixing—

Arkema announced it will not exercise the first call option

to increase its equity stake in its Sunke joint venture to

67% from 55%, and, as a result, will not have access to an

additional 160,000 t/y of acrylic acid capacity (PCN, 3 Aug

2015, p 1).

Sunke was formed in 2014 as a joint venture of Arkema

and Jurong Chemicals, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sunvic

Chemical. The venture owns and operates acrylic acid

and butyl acrylate production units in Taixing, China.

Under a previously signed contract between the partners,

since Arkema has decided not to raise its equity stake

and therefore will not invest in additional acrylic acid capacity,

Jurong is now entitled to dilute Arkema’s stake in

Sunke to 33%.

Arkema said its decision was based on current market

conditions for acrylics in China and that the group, as part

of its strategy to further strengthen its high performance

materials segment, could allocate part of the unused funds

to make bolt-on acquisitions.

 

Virent, Tesoro Enter Strategic Partnership To Advance Virent’s BioForming Process

Madison—

Virent and Tesoro have entered into a strategic collaboration

to accelerate the development and commercialization

of Virent’s BioForming technology to produce cost-effective,

low-carbon, drop-in, bio-based chemicals and fuels.

Tesoro will provide funding to Virent to advance the

technology, while establishing a framework to provide

broader support and involvement in Virent’s deployment

efforts longer term, Virent explained.

“This agreement with Virent furthers our plans to foster

the development of renewable feedstocks that we can

co-process at our refineries,” said Cynthia (CJ) Warner,

executive vice president of strategy and business development

at Tesoro. “Virent’s innovative technology produces

high quality products including chemicals and fuels that

are fully compatible with our existing infrastructure and

meet our customers’ demand for lower carbon fuels.”

 

DuPont Investing in Zytel PPA Capacity At European Facility for the First Time

Hamm—

DuPont Performance Materials said it is investing in its

Zytel HTN polymer for the first time in Europe with construction

of a new Zytel HTN polyphthalamide (PPA) plant

at its Uentrop facility in Hamm, Germany.

Construction has already started on the PPA plant and

production is expected to begin this summer. Planned capacity

of the unit was not given.

Last year, DuPont completed a 20% expansion of its

Zytel polyamide 66 and polyamide 6 capacity at the Uentrop

facility (PCN, 22 June 2015, p 2).

 

Sinopec Building Mid East R&D Center

Dhahran—

Sinopec recently broke ground on a new Middle East R&D

Center at Dhahran Techno Valley in Saudi Arabia.

The center will mainly be engaged in application technology

research, technology promotion and training senior

personnel. No other details were available.

 

Alberta Offering Incentives to Attract New Petrochemical Sector Spending

Calgary—The

government of Alberta, Canada, in an effort to attract investments

in new petrochemical facilities, will begin offering

C$500-million in royalty credits.

It is anticipated that the program could attract investments

of between C$3-billion and C$5-billion and support

the construction of two or three new projects that would be

based on propane or methane feedstock, explained Deron

Bilous, minister for economic development and trade.

Companies will be permitted to apply for up to C$200-

million in royalty credits for a single project. Credits will

be awarded following completion of the project and the

start of production.

 

Nippon Files Suit Against Sumitomo Seika Regarding Infringement of SAPs Patent

Osaka—

Nippon Shokubai has filed a lawsuit with the Osaka District

Court in Japan against Sumitomo Seika Chemicals,

seeking injunctions and damages for alleged infringement

of Nippon’s Japanese patent relating to superabsorbent

polymers (SAPs).

Nippon said it seeks the judicial remedies in order to

protect the highly important and valuable intellectual

properties of its Aqualic CA SAPs.

In late 2014, the company filed a similar lawsuit

against LG Chemical in Korea for Aqualic SAPs (PCN, 8

Dec 2014, p 2).

 

India Investing Rs 87 Crore in Bengaluru To Construct Polymer Development Lab

New Delhi—

The Central Institute of Plastic Engineering & Technology,

under India’s Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers, signed a

memorandum of understanding with the Karnataka government

to set up an Rs 87 crore advanced polymer design

and development research laboratory-cum-high learning

center in Bengaluru.

The proposed project will serve as a multi-functional,

one-step facility, which will conduct research and development,

product tests and evaluations and commercialization

of technology. It is expected to play a pivotal role in developing

new plastics technologies, processes and products.

The government will share half of the project cost and

provide the required land. An expected completion date

was not disclosed.

 

Gevo Enters Agreements with Porta Hnos For Several Argentine Isobutanol Plants

Englewood—

Gevo has entered into a license agreement and joint development

agreement with Porta Hnos to build several isobutanol

facilities in Argentina using corn feedstock.

The first plant, to be wholly-owned by Porta, is expected

to have a production capacity of up to 5-million gals/yr of

isobutanol. Production is anticipated to begin in 2017.

The partners are also considering construction of at

least three additional isobutanol plants for Porta’s existing

ethanol plant customers. Gevo would market any isobutanol

produced and would expect to receive all royalties

and sales and marketing fees generated by these projects.

Capacity of the plants has yet to be determined.

Gevo will provide its isobutanol technology, while Porta

will be responsible for engineering, procurement and construction

(EPC) of the plants.

“We appreciate Porta’s desire to be the first direct licensee

of Gevo’s isobutanol technology, as well as their agreement

to be our EPC partner in Argentina,” noted Gevo

Chief Executive Dr. Patrick Gruber.

 

GAIL Seeking Imports of Ethane to Feed Andhra Pradesh PC Venture with HPCL

New Delhi—

GAIL (India) is seeking to import up to 1.3-million t/y of

ethane over a 15-year period for the $5-billion petrochemical

complex it is planning as a joint venture with Hindustan

Petroleum Corp. Ltd. (HPCL) in Andhra Pradesh,

several local sources reported.

Last month, Ananth Kumar, India’s Union Minister for

Chemicals and Fertilizers, announced that GAIL and

HPCL would jointly be undertaking a greenfield petrochemical

complex and refinery project in Andhra Pradesh

(PCN, 18 Jan 2016, p 1).

HPCL currently has an 8.5-million t/y refinery in

Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, and recently completed

a feasibility study for additional refining capacity and a

complex to produce 1-million t/y of olefins and aromatics in

the Petroleum, Chemicals and Petrochemicals region being

established in Visakhapatnam.

 

CHS Buys Minority Stake in CF Nitrogen; CF’s Urea & UAN Being Shipped to CHS

Deerfield—

CHS has completed the purchase of a minority interest in

CF Industries Holdings’ CF Industries Nitrogen (CF Nitrogen)

subsidiary for $2.8-billion (PCN, 17 Aug 2015, p 2).

Also, as part of a previously announced strategic venture

between the companies, CHS has begun receiving delivery

of urea and urea ammonium nitrate (UAN) from CF

under a long-term supply agreement.

Starting 1 Feb., CHS is entitled to purchase up to 1.7-

million t/y of urea and UAN from CF Nitrogen at market

prices. This represents about 8.9% of CF’s total production

capacity once its expansion projects are completed this

year at Donaldsonville, La., and Port Neal, Iowa.

 

V54 N05 – 1 February 2016

Univation & Linde Enter Partnership To Offer PE Integration Efficiencies

Houston—Univation

Technologies and Linde Group’s Engineering Division

have entered into a cooperation agreement aimed at

providing performance and cost efficiencies for polyethylene

(PE) producers.

Under the exclusive partnership, Univation and Linde

will work toward delivering streamlined technology, capital

expense and operational expense reduction opportunities

and improved quality in early stage design to ethylene

cracker and PE projects. The two companies believe that

this will be valuable for both new construction and retrofit

projects.

“Our combination of technology and engineering, procurement

and construction (EPC) capabilities is a key

driver to deliver competitive solutions to the petrochemical

industry,” said Dr. Christian Bruch, member of Linde AG’s

executive board and responsible for the company’s engineering

business.

“We are excited to leverage the enormous potential synergies

inherent in this close collaboration with Univation

Technologies to deliver value to our existing and future

customers,” Bruch added.

The partners noted that the agreement is non-exclusive

for the EPC phase of Unipol PE process projects.

 

Supreme Petrochem Modifying PS Line To Swing Production of SMMA and PS

Mumbai—

Supreme Petrochem Ltd. has received board of directors’

approval for the modification of one of its three polystyrene

PS production lines in Amdoshi, Wangani, Maharashtra,

India, into a swing line for the production of 42,500 t/y of

styrene methyl methacrylate (SMMA) in addition to PS.

Supreme, in a notification to the Bombay Stock Exchange,

said Polysty Inc. of the U.S. will supply the technology

for the modification of the line and production of

SMMA. The line is expected to restart production by the

end of this year.

The company, which currently has 272,000 t/y of installed

PS capacity at the site, anticipates the project, including

hardware and technology, will cost about Rs 6

crore, which will be met from internal accruals.

 

Praxair Starts Up Chinese ASU for Yankuang To Produce Methanol, Downstream Chems

Beijing—

Praxair China has started up a new 3,000-t/d air separation

unit (ASU) for Yankuang Group Chemical Co. for the

production of methanol and downstream chemicals at

Yankuang’s facility in Zoucheng City, China (PCN, 2 July

2012, p 2).

Through a long-term contract, Praxair’s ASU “will efficiently

and reliably” supply on-site oxygen and nitrogen to

the Yankuang Group subsidiary and will replace the existing

units. The new plant is valued at RMB 40-billion.

 

Repsol Moves to 2nd Phase Construction On Metallocene PE Plant in Tarragona

Tarragona—

Repsol has started the second construction phase of a new

metallocene linear low-density polyethylene plant at its

Tarragona, Spain, site (PCN, 11 May 2015, p 4).

The project, for which capacity has not been disclosed,

involves shutting down the company’s high-density polyethylene

plant (HDPE) because production of both products

will share critical facilities and equipment. To avoid a continuous

HDPE stoppage during the three month project,

Repsol has split the closure into two independent month

and a half periods.

Repsol said it will complete construction work on the

second phase during the first quarter of this year and

plans to start up the new plant during the second quarter.

In 2014, Repsol entered into an agreement to license

Chevron Phillips Chemical’s proprietary technology for the

production of metallocene-based polyethylene resins in

Tarragona.

 

Alpek Gets Additional PET Supply Rights From M&G’s PTA & PET Project in Texas

Houston—

Alpek has signed an agreement with M&G to add another

100,000 t/y of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) to an earlier

sourcing agreement for supplies from M&G’s integrated

purified terephthalic acid (PTA) and PET plant being

built in Corpus Christi, Texas (PCN, 22 Apr 2013, p 1).

In 2013, Alpek and M&G signed a $350-million multiyear

sourcing agreement under which Alpek would purchase

400,000 t/y of PET from M&G. The new aggregate

supply contractual rights amount to 500,000 t/y of PET.

Last month, M&G announced it was increasing the projects

initial planned capacity of PTA to 1.3-million t/y from

1.2-million t/y and the PET capacity to 1.1-million t/y from

1-million t/y (PCN, 25 Jan 2016, p 1), The plant is expected

to open in the second half of this year.

Alpek noted that its contracted aggregate supply of

500,000 t/y of integrated PET will be made with 420,000 t/y

of PTA.

 

Karoon Petrochemical Co. Completes Second Phase with MDI Production

Tehran—Iran’s

Karoon Petrochemical Co. has completed its phase two expansion,

which includes a 40,000-t/y diphenylmethane

diisocyanate (MDI) plant, as well as the largest nitrobenzene

unit in the Middle East, according to Tasnim News.

Located at Bandar Imam in the Petrochemical Special

Economic Zone, the first phase involved a facility designed

to produce 40,000 t/y of toluene diisocyanate that was inaugurated

in 2008.

Nitrobenzene capacity was not given, but the report

said the majority of it will be used for the production of

aniline.

 

IOC Details Plans for Petchem Complex Being Built as Part of Paradip PCPIR

New Delhi—

Indian Oil Corp. (IOC) plans to invest about Rs 34,000

crore on the petrochemical complex it is building as part of

the Petroleum, Chemicals and Petrochemicals Investment

Region (PCPIR) in Paradip, Odisha, India, according to

Business Standard.

IOC, the anchor tenant for the PCPIR, will initially invest

about Rs 3,150 crore in construction of a 700,000-t/y

polypropylene plant that will be integrated with the company’s

recently completed 15-million-t/y refinery (PCN, 22-

29 Dec 2014, p 4). The facility, on which work has already

been started, will be based on LyondellBasell’s Spheripol

technology and is scheduled for completion in late 2017.

IOC is also carrying out a detailed feasibility study for a

325,000-t/y ethylene glycol plant at the complex that has

an estimated cost of Rs 3,150 crore. The study is due to be

completed by April and commissioning of the plant is expected

by the end of 2019.

In addition, the company plans a further investment of

Rs 28,000 crore to build a 1.2-million-t/y paraxylene and

purified terephthalic acid facility and a petcoke gasification-

based synthetic ethanol plant, with completion targeted

for September 2021.

 

Praxair Supplying Industrial Gases to Total For Upgraded Antwerp Refining/PC Units

Antwerp—

Praxair has signed a 15-year contract to supply oxygen and

nitrogen to Total’s refining and petrochemicals platform

currently being upgraded in Antwerp, Belgium (PCN, 27

May 2013, p 3).

Total’s €1-billion modernization project will consist of a

new refinery upgrading complex with a solvent de-asphalting

unit and a mild hydrocracking unit to convert heavy

fuel oil into desulphurized diesel and ultra low sulfur heating

oil. Start-up is scheduled for early 2016.

Also included in the project is a new plant to convert

low value refinery fuel gases into low cost feedstock for

petrochemical plants, replacing the use of naphtha. The

plant is expected to begin operating in early 2017.

Due to Total’s increase of required industrial gases at

Antwerp, Praxair will lengthen its recently built oxygen

pipeline an additional three miles to connect with Total’s

refinery (PCN, 1 July 2013, p 2).

Praxair will also expand its nitrogen pipeline on the

west bank of the river to serve new and existing petrochemical

customers. The oxygen and nitrogen pipeline

supply is scheduled to be operational in the second half of

this year.

 

Eni Completes Sale of 12.5% Saipem Stake To Fondo Strategico Italiano for €463-MM

Milan—

Eni SpA has completed the sale of a 12.5% interest in engineering

and construction subsidiary Saipem SpA to holding

company Fondo Strategico Italiano SpA (FSI) for about

€463-million (PCN, 18 Jan 2016, p 4).

Eni, which retains an approximate 30% interest in

Saipem, noted that the transfer of the stake to FSI will be

terminated if the capital increase is not settled by 31 May

2016, and if the outstanding debt of the Saipem Group to

the Eni Group in not repaid in full by 30 June 2016.

 

Ecopetrol Board Approves Proceeding With Sale of Polipropileno del Caribe

Bogota—Ecopetrol’s

board of directors, as part of the company’s divestment

plan, has approved proceeding with the sale of 100%

of its shares in Polipropileno del Caribe (Propilco).

The transaction, for which a value was not disclosed, is

subject to government approval. An expected close date was

not given.

“This decision is aligned with Ecopetrol’s new strategy

and the proceeds of the sale will be used to strengthen the

exploration and production businesses, which are the focus

of the company,” Ecopetrol noted.

Propilco was acquired by Ecopetrol in 2008 and has

380,000 t/y of polypropylene capacity at Cartagena, Colombia

(PCN, 14 Apr 2008, p 3).

 

LG Abandons Planned Kazakhstan JV For Production of Ethylene and PE

Seoul—LG Chem

has dropped plans for a joint venture to build a petrochemical

complex to produce ethylene and polyethylene

(PE) in Kazakhstan, the Economic Times reported, without

citing a reason for the decision.

In 2011, LG and state-owned Kazakhstan Petrochemical

Industries established a joint venture to build a $4-

billion complex in Atyrau, Kazakhstan, for the production

of 840,000 t/y of ethylene and 800,000 t/y of PE using ethane

extracted from “abundant” local natural gas (PCN, 5

Sept 2011, p 1).

The equally-owned joint venture had anticipated commercial

production starting in 2016; however, last year, GS

Engineering & Construction notified the Korea Stock Exchange

that it had withdrawn from a contract to build the

800,000-t/y PE plant over a disagreement on the cost of the

project’s construction (PCN, 1 June 2015, p 3).

 

People on the Move

China National Bluestar (Group) Co.—Michael

Koenig, previously a member of Bayer AG’s board of management,

has been named chief executive. He replaces

Robert Lu Xiaobao.

Covestro—Michelle Jou, most recently head of commercial

operations for Asia Pacific in the Polycarbonates

business unit, has become head of the Polycarbonates segment.

She succeeds Dr. Markus Steilemann, who is now

serving as head of the Polyurethanes segment, as well as a

member of the board of management and responsible for

Innovation.

Lanxess—Dirk Van Meirvenne has been appointed to

take charge of the Advanced Industrial Intermediates business

unit, effective 1 May. Most recently global head and

managing director of Bayer Technology Services, he replaces

Hubert Fink, who is on the board of management

and has been acting head of the Advanced Industrial Intermediates

business unit since October 2015.

Toray Plastics (America) Inc.—Greg Clements, previously

a market development manager at Kaneka Texas

Corp., has joined Toray as business manager of the Torayfan

polypropylene film division.

Chris Glowacki has been named business manager of

the Lumirror polyester film division. He had been territory

sales manager at Excelsior Technologies.

 

Air Products New ASU Fully Operational For Shaanxi’s Coal Chem Plant in Yulin

Yulin—Air

Products has brought fully on stream “one of the world’s

largest” on-site air separation units (ASU) built to supply

Shaanxi Future Energy Chemical Co.’s coal chemical plant

in Yulin, China (PCN, 19-26 Dec 2011, p 2).

The project consists of four ASU trains capable of producing

12,000 t/d of oxygen and “significant” tonnage volumes

of nitrogen and compressed air.

The trains are equipped with state-of-the-art air compressors

as well as design and technology advancements to

enhance energy efficiency and minimize operational costs

to the customer, Air Products explained.

Air Products owns and operates the unit under a longterm

contract signed with Shaanxi Future Energy in late

2011.

Shaanxi Future Energy is owned by state-backed

Yankuang Coal Group (50%), Yanzhou Coal Co. (25%) and

Shaanxi Yanchang Petroleum Group (25%).

 

Rentech Subsidiary Files Draft Statement For Possible Spin-Out of Pasadena Unit

Los Angeles—

Rentech Nitrogen Partners announced that a wholly owned

subsidiary has confidentially submitted a draft registration

statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission

relating to the proposed spin-out of its Pasadena, Texas,

facility.

The spin-out or sale of the Pasadena plant, which produces

synthetic granulated ammonium sulfate, is a condition

to completing the planned merger of Rentech Nitrogen

with CVR Partners (PCN, 17 Aug 2015, p 2). The statement

was filed to prepare for the potential spin-out in the

event Rentech is unable to complete a sale of the facility on

acceptable terms in a timely manner.

Last year, CVR entered into a definitive agreement to

acquire all outstanding shares of Rentech Nitrogen for

$533-million, creating a leader in the North American nitrogen

fertilizer business.

The merger is expected to be completed no later than 31

May 2016.

 

SMi’s Gas to Liquids Americas Conference Scheduled in Houston, 9-10 March 2016

Houston—

SMi has scheduled the 3rd annual Gas to Liquids Americas

conference for 9-10 June 2016 at Houston Marriott West

Loop by the Galleria in Houston, TX.

Attendees will benefit from understanding the commercial,

economic and financial considerations associated with

GTL technology and projects, obtain key insight into short

and long term trends in commodity prices, understand the

drivers behind GTL demand and likely commercial and

environmental applications and update their knowledge on

the latest technologies and advancements in the field.

Speakers include Siva Ariyapadi, director of Technology

Sales & Licensing Americas, Air Liquide Global E&C Solutions;

Mitch Hindman, global licensing manager at Exxon-

Mobil Catalyst & Licensing LLC; Rahul Iyer, Siluria Technologies’

Vice President of Corporate Development, and

Ron Sills, founding director of the XTL & DME Institute.

For more information on the conference, visit SMI’s

website at www.smi-online.co.uk.

 

PKN Orlen Gives ‘Go-Ahead’ to Construct PE Facility at Existing Litvinov Complex

Litvinov—

PKN Orlen, in discussing its fourth quarter 2015 financial

results, said it has given the “go-ahead” to construction of a

polyethylene (PE) facility at its Unipetrol subsidiary’s existing

complex in Litvinov, Czech Republic (PCN, 14 Sept

2015, p 1).

Technip was awarded the engineering, procurement

and construction contract this past September for the project,

which involves building a 270,000-t/y high-density PE

unit that will be “one of the most modern production facilities

of this kind in Europe,” Unipetrol earlier noted.

The new plant (PE3), estimated to cost 8.5-billion CZK,

will be based on Ineos’ Innovene S technology. It will replace

an older unit (PE1), while the 200,000-t/y PE2 unit

will remain in operation.

Construction is planned to start in the second quarter

of 2016 with operations scheduled to begin in mid-2018.

 

Ascend Decides to Sell DME Products Mainly on a Direct-to-Market Basis

Houston—Ascend

Performance Materials has decided to market its dimethyl

ester (DME) products primarily on a direct basis.

While several small distributors will still offer the DME

products, Ascend has ended its relationship with its largest

distributor and has invested in it own capability to market the

DME products.

Also, Ascend recently obtained a REACH registration

with the European Chemicals Agency for its DME. “This

registration, along with a new distribution center in Antwerp,

Belgium, . . . are evidence of Ascend’s commitment to

customers in the region,” the company noted.

Ascend has a world-scale DME facility in Pensacola,

Fla., and manufacturers seven different DME products.

 

FHR Building Texas Ethanol Terminal

Buda—Flint

Hills Resources (FHR) announced it is going ahead with

construction of its first ethanol terminal in Buda, Texas.

The state-of-the-art terminal will include a rail spur,

two storage tanks, a truck-loading rack, water storage and

an operations building. Operations are expected to begin

by December 2016.

“Buda is an efficient distribution hub to our existing

Texas fuel terminals and this centralized location will enable

us to meet the ethanol demands of our customers

throughout central and south Texas,” noted Nathan

Brubaker, FHR’s Texas marketing general manager.

FHR didn’t respond to PCN’s request for a confirmation

that construction started on schedule last month.

 

Shell, BG Shareholders Okay Merger

The Hague—

Shell and BG Group shareholders last week voted in favor

of Shell’s planned acquisition of the BG Group for $70-

billion (PCN, 21-28 Dec 2015, p 3).

Subject to the satisfaction or waiver of certain customary

closing conditions, including the sanction of scheme of

arrangement to implement the combination by the High

Court of Justice, the transaction is expected to close on 15

Feb. 2016.

 

Elevance & Partners Succeed in Scale-Up Of 2nd Generation Biorefinery Process

Woodridge—

Elevance Renewable Sciences, in collaboration with several

partners, including Versalis, has successfully completed

the scale-up of a second-generation biorefinery technology

of Elevance’s olefin metathesis technology using ethylene

and natural oil feedstocks.

“The ethenolysis process advancement represents an

important milestone for the development of a secondgeneration

metathesis technology,” stated Elevance.

The run was undertaken at Soneas’ production site in

Budapest, Hungary, using catalysts produced by XiMo AG,

and represented a scale-up of 40,000 times what had previously

been demonstrated in the laboratory.

The advancement was partially funded by and supports

a broader strategic partnership between Versalis and Elevance

that includes the joint development of Elevance’s

ethenolysis technology. This takes advantage of Versalis’

extensive skills in catalysis process development and engineering

design and Elevance’s proprietary know-how regarding

metathesis and associated engineering with the

use of vegetable oils to produce specialty chemicals.

Veralis and Elevance are also partnering to implement

a biorefinery based on Elevance’s technology of natural

oils’ metathesis with 1-butene at Versalis’ Porto Marghera

site in Italy.

“We strongly believe in the potential of metathesis

technology since it is a mild reaction that does not destroy

the molecular complexity of vegetable feedstocks,” said

Sergio Lombardini, Versalis’ director of Research & Innovation

Technology. “This is why, even in the engineering

phase for a 1-butene metathesis plant, we are looking at

ethylene as an alternative co-feedstock aiming to target an

even higher value of products portfolio.”

 

JGC Gets Contract for Gas Processing Unit To Be Built for Banagas South of Manama

Manama—

JGC Corp. has received a lump-sum turnkey contract to

build a new gas processing plant (GPP) for Bahrain National

Gas Co. (Banagas) in the Bahrain oil field south of

Manama.

The contract, valued at ¥40-billion, involves the engineering,

procurement and construction of a GPP with a

daily processing capacity of 350-million cu/ft. It is intended

to recover naphtha and liquefied petroleum gas.

Completion is scheduled in September 2018.

 

Metabolix Moving Corporate Headquarters; Will Consolidate Its Biopolymers Activities

Woburn—

Metabolix expects to relocate its corporate headquarters in

June from Cambridge, Mass., to 19 Presidential Way in

Woburn, Mass., a location that offers state-of-the-art lab

facilities and office space.

Metabolix also plans to consolidate its biopolymers

group office, which includes biopolymers sales, marketing

and administrative offices and biopolymers research and

development labs, by exiting space in Lowell, Mass., and

moving to the Woburn facility.

The new lab facilities will include a microbial fermentation

lab and an expanded biopolymers applications development

lab.

“With the new space in Woburn, we will upgrade and

expand our biopolymer application development lab to

support customer projects as we continue to ramp up our

PHA [polyhydroxyalkanoate] biopolymer market development

activities and work to transition from pilot scale to

commercial scale operations,” noted Joseph Shaulson,

president and chief executive of Metabolix.

In December 2014, the company announced plans to

significantly increase output of Mirel PHA at its contracted

pilot production facilities (PCN, 5 Jan 2015, p 3).

 

Qapco, QU Renew Research Agreement

Doha—Qatar

Petrochemical Co. (Qapco) and Qatar University (QU) have

renewed the Qapco Polymer Chair for polymer research at

QU (PCN, 11 July 2011, p 3).

Based at the university’s Centre for Advanced Materials

and chaired by Prof. Igor Krupa, the primary goal is to

pursue research on polyolefin processing and advanced

characterization. The team works closely with the Qapco

research and development group to explore the development

of novel applications related to biodegradable plastics

and polymer-based composite materials.

 

Sahara Signs 3-Year, SR 300-Million Loan

Riyadh—

Sahara Petrochemical Co., a Saudi joint stock company,

has signed a three-year, SR 300-million loan agreement

with Riyadh Bank to be used as working capital.

Sahara said its objectives are to invest in industrial

projects, particularly chemicals and petrochemicals, and to

produce propylene, polypropylene, ethylene, polyethylene

and other petrochemical and hydrocarbon-based products.

It operates a complex in Jubail, Saudi Arabia.

 

V54 N04 – 25 January 2016

Honeywell UOP’s Technology Selected For Hyundai PC Complex Expansion

Seoul—Hyundai

Chemical Co., a joint venture of Hyundai Oilbank and

Lotte Chemical Corp., has selected Honeywell UOP to provide

technology and modular equipment for an expansion

at Hyundai’s petrochemical complex in Daesan, South Korea

(PCN, 27 Jan 2014, p 4).

The project will allow the complex to convert naphtha

into 1-million t/y of mixed xylenes, which will be used at

the plant as feedstock for paraxylene, reducing the plant’s

dependence on imports and its exposure to the volatile xylenes

market, Honeywell noted. The complex is expected to

come online this year.

“Back-integrating this plant using Honeywell UOP

technology and equipment will allow Hyundai Chemical to

better manage its operations and make it a more competitive

player in the market for paraxylene,” explained Mike

Millard, vice president and general manager of Honeywell

UOP’s Process Technology and Equipment business.

In addition to licensing, Honeywell UOP will provide

basic engineering, commissioning services, training services,

proprietary equipment, catalysts and adsorbents for

the new portion of the complex.

The complex currently uses Honeywell UOP’s Parex

and Isomar processes for paraxylene production.

 

Kuwait’s PIC Acquires Equity Interest In Korea’s SK Advanced PDH Project

Ulsan—Petrochemical

Industries Co. (PIC), a wholly-owned Kuwait Petroleum

Corp. (KPC) subsidiary, is acquiring a 25% interest

in SK Advanced Co. Ltd., which recently completed a

600,000-t/y propane dehydrogenation (PDH) plant in Ulsan,

South Korea (PCN, 2 Nov 2015, p 1).

SK Advanced was established in 2014 as a joint venture

between SK Gas Co. and the Advanced Global Investment

Co. (AGIC) subsidiary of Saudi Arabia’s Advanced Petrochemical

Co. The purpose of the venture was to build the

PDH unit, on which construction had already been started

by SK. AGIC held a 35% equity interest in the project costing

about $1-billion, while SK held the remaining 65%.

Following this transaction, SK will hold a 45% stake in

the venture and AGIC will hold 30%.

Advanced Petrochemical, in a filing with Tadawul, said

its board of directors believes that the participation of a

“reputed partner like PIC confirms the viability, stability

and growth” of the PDH business. It also noted “the experience

and expertise” of PIC in the petrochemical sector

will help to develop and promote further downstream businesses

by the joint venture.

“Furthermore, this strategic partnership with KPC

through PIC will also improve the competitiveness and

stability of SK Advanced’s PDH business, as a significant

percentage of the feedstock will be supplied by KPC on a

regular long-term basis,” the Saudi company added.

Trial production of the PDH plant is expected to begin

during this year’s first quarter.

 

RIL Commissions 2nd Dahej PTA Plant Doubling Site Capacity to 2.3-MM T/Y

Mumbai—Reliance

Industries Ltd. (RIL) has commissioned its second

1.15-million-t/y purified terephthalic acid (PTA) facility in

Dahej, India, increasing the site’s PTA capacity to 2.3-

million t/y.

Last year, RIL started up a 1.15-million-t/y PTA plant

and a 650,000-t/y polyethylene terephthalate plant in Dahej

as part of its “world-scale” polyester chain plan for India

announced in 2011 (PCN, 20 Apr 2015, p 2).

The PTA facilities, which are based on Invista technology,

are designed for future expansion to 3.45-million t/y.

RIL noted that it has a total PTA capacity of 5-million

t/y, with 4.4-million t/y of that being situated in India and

the rest in Malaysia. In addition to Dahej, RIL has Indian

PTA plants in Hazira and Patalganga.

 

M&G Boosts Planned PTA/PET Capacity Of Facility Being Built in Corpus Christi

Houston—

M&G Chemicals is increasing the initial planned capacity

of purified terephthalic acid (PTA) and polyethylene

terephthalate (PET) at its facility under construction in

Corpus Christi, Texas (PCN, 20 Oct 2014, p 2).

The project, with an original planned capacity of 1.2-

million t/y of PTA and 1-million t/y of PET, will now have a

capacity of 1.3-million t/y of PTA and 1.1-million t/y of

PET. The facility is scheduled to open in the second half of

this year.

M&G noted that the PET part of the facility is on

schedule, while a couple of suppliers of “critical” equipment

to the PTA plant are indicating some delays. M&G is

working on back-up plans to ensure there will be no impact

on the start-up of the PET unit.

“We strongly believe in our Corpus Christi project,

which is the most advanced ever in this industry,” said

Chief Executive Marco Ghisolfi. “We decided to increase

our investment in order to make it more efficient. Most of

the increased capacity has already been committed to the

market. A portion of the capacity will also be used to displace

our current imports from Mexico.”

The PTA unit is based on IntegRex technology licensed

by Alpek and the PET plant on M&G’s EasyUp technology.

 

BASF-YPC Joint Venture Starts Production At Its New Nanjing Neopentylglycol Unit

Nanjing—

BASF-YPC, a 50-50 joint venture of BASF and Sinopec,

has begun production at its new 40,000-t/y neopentylglycol

(NPG) facility in Nanjing, China (PCN, 8 June 2015, p 1).

Built at a state-of-the-art Verbund site, the world-scale

NPG unit was built to respond to customers’ growing demand

for NPG, especially in the Asia-Pacific region, noted

Narayan Krishnamohan, senior vice president, BASF Intermediates

Asia Pacific.

 

Ube Switches to New Production Process For Manufacturing Its Cyclohexanone

Ube City—Ube

Industries has decided to adopt a new manufacturing process

for cyclohexanone at its Ube chemical factory in Ube

City, Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan, aiming to further expand

its nylon 6 business.

The new process produces cyclohexanone, which Ube

uses mainly to produce caprolactam, through selective hydrogenation

of phenol. It offers several advantages over

the existing manufacturing process, including a streamlined

process, downsize equipment and higher yields of

cyclohexanone from raw materials. The process also consumes

less steam and electricity.

Ube also announced, as part of efforts to improve the

profitability of its caprolactam and nylon business, it will

build a new 80,000-t/y cyclohexanone facility. Completion

is expected in November 2017.

Due to the change in manufacturing processes, 1,6 hexanediol

and 1,5 pentanediol will no longer be produced at

the factory. The company noted it will continue to supply

and market these products by importing them from its Ube

Fine Chemicals (Asia) subsidiary in Thailand.

 

Grannus Chooses Amec Foster Wheeler For New California Ammonia Project

Bakersfield—

Grannus LLC, a U.S.-based clean technology and project

development company, has awarded Amec Foster Wheeler

a contract for an integrated anhydrous ammonia plant and

electric power cogeneration facility in Kern County, Calif.

The contract, for which a value was not disclosed, includes

engineering design and definition work utilizing key

process technology and equipment suppliers, as well as

execution planning activities for the new unit.

The medium-scale plant is designed to be smaller and

sited closer to the end user, and to require a smaller overall

investment than today’s world-scale fertilizer plants,

Amec Foster Wheeler noted. Construction has already

started and operations are expected to begin in the fourth

quarter of 2017.

Grannus Chief Development Officer James Merritt Jr.

noted that the plant is an “environmentally friendly way to

make syngas-based chemical products as well as electricity,

with near zero emissions.”

 

Anellotech Makes SHR Operating Partner For TCat-8 Development, Testing Center

Silsbee—

Anellotech has selected Trecora Resources’ South Hampton

Resources (SHR) subsidiary as the operating partner and

site host for a fully-integrated development and testing

facility (TCat-8).

Earlier this month, Anellotech announced a partnership

with consumer beverage company Suntory to develop 100%

bio-based polyethylene terephthalate using Anellotech’s

Bio-TCat process (PCN, 18 Jan 2016, p 2).

The project involves construction of the TCat-8 facility

at SHR’s site in Silsbee, Texas, to verify Anellotech’s Bio-

TCat process for scale-up. Once the Bio-TCat process is

verified, Suntory plans to study the feasibility of the first

commercial-scale Bio-TCat plant to cost-competitively produce

renewable chemicals from non-food biomass.

Construction is scheduled to begin late this month with

completion and operation scheduled during 2016.

 

Azerbaijan’s Pasha Holding Investing In Socar’s Sumgayit Polymer Project

Baku—Azerbaijan-

based Pasha Holding Co. has invested approximately

$25-million in Socar’s polymer project being built at the

Sumgayit Chemical Industrial Park near Baku in Azerbaijan,

according to local news reports.

The project includes a 120,000-t/y high-density polyethylene

plant based on Ineos’ technology and a 180,000-t/y

polypropylene unit. The facilities are scheduled to be commissioned

in 2018.

Maire Tecnimont is responsible for engineering, procurement

and construction, while Fluor was selected as

project management consultant, responsible for monitoring

Maire Tecnimont.

Socar Polymer is a joint venture of State Oil Co. of

Azerbaijan, Pasha Holding, Azersun Holding and Gilan

Holding.

 

AkzoNobel Obtains Full Ownership Of Hydrogen Peroxide JV with OCI

Columbus—Akzo-

Nobel has gained full control of its North American hydrogen

peroxide (H202) joint venture EkO Peroxide, through

the acquisition of OCI Peroxygen’s outstanding shares in

the venture.

EkO Peroxide was formed in 2006 as a joint venture of

AkzoNobel’s Eka Chemicals subsidiary and OCI Enterprise’s

OCI Peroxygens subsidiary. EkO Peroxide owns

and controls a 70,000-short t/y H202 manufacturing facility

in Columbus, Miss.

“The H202 market in North America has improved significantly

in recent years, with AkzoNobel well placed to

grow the business,” noted Werner Fuhrmann, AkzoNobel’s

executive committee member responsible for specialty

chemicals.

 

Styrolution Becomes Ineos Styrolution

Rolle—Styrolution

has changed its company names to Ineos Styrolution

to make the Ineos ownership more visible, while acknowledging

Styrolution’s established identity.

In 2014, Ineos acquired BASF’s 50% interest in Styrolution,

which was founded in 2011 as an equally-owned joint

venture between Ineos and BASF (PCN, 24 Nov–1 Dec

2014, p 2).

The change in name has already become effective in

some countries, but will take some time to implement in

other countries.

 

People on the Move

Amec Foster Wheeler—Ian McHoul, chief financial

officer, has been appointed interim chief executive, effective

immediately, to succeed Samir Brikho, who is stepping

down from that role. McHoul will also chair the group’s

leadership team while the company searches for a new

chief executive.

Materia—Nitin Apte has joined the company as president

and chief executive, effective immediately, to replace

Co-Founder Dr. Michael Giardello, who has transitioned to

a new role as senior advisor of the company. Apte had

been at Sabic, where he led the High Performance Products

Division.

 

AkzoNobel & Evonik Begin Construction On New Membrane Electrolysis Facility

 

Ibbenbüren—

AkzoNobel and Evonik Industries’ 50-50 joint venture has

broken ground on a new membrane electrolysis plant to

produce chlorine and hydrogen at AkzoNobel’s existing site

in Ibbenbüren, Germany (PCN, 22 June 2015, p 1).

The facility, expected to come on stream by the fourth

quarter of 2017, will have a capacity to produce 82,000 t/y

of chlorine and approximately 130,000 t/y of potassium

hydroxide solution. Cost of the project was not disclosed.

The state-of-the-art plant “will improve the ecological

footprint of every ton of chlorine we produce in Ibbenbüren

by 25-30%,” said Werner Fuhrmann, member of AkzoNobel’s

executive committee responsible for specialty chemicals.

“This will result in less energy use and fewer CO2

emissions, while there will also be clear benefits for the

local chemical cluster.”

AkzoNobel will be responsible for commercialization of

chlorine and hydrogen at the new plant and will process

the products at the site, while Evonik will take over the

potassium hydroxide solution for commercialization and

processing at its own site in Lülsdorf, Germany.

 

Linde Gets Engineering & Supply Contract For Gazprom’s Amur Gas Processing Plant

Moscow—

Linde has been awarded an engineering and supply contract

by Gazprom and its contractor Nipigaz for Gazprom’s

Amur Gas Processing Plant (GPP) under construction in

Russia (PCN, 19 Oct 2015, p 2).

Under the contract, Linde will license its cryogenic gas

separation process. It will engineer and supply units for

ethane, natural gas liquids extraction and nitrogen rejection,

and for helium purification, liquefaction and storage.

The Amur GPP project involves a natural gas processing

facility with a capacity of about 49-billion cu m/yr of

methane, ethane, propane, butane and pentane-hexane

fraction. Included in the project is the “world’s largest”

helium production unit, capable of producing up to 60-

million cu m/yr.

The GPP is part of a project to supply gas to China via

the Power of Siberia pipeline from eastern Siberian gas

fields and will be built in five phases ending in 2024.

Additionally, Gazprom and Linde signed a strategic cooperation

agreement for carrying out existing and future

projects related to the natural gas value chain.

 

Yasref’s Yanbu Refinery Inaugurated; Aramco, Sinopec Initial New Accord

Yanbu—Saudi

Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Chinese

President Xi Jinping have jointly inaugurated Yanbu

Aramco Sinopec Refining Co.’s (Yasref) new 400,000-b/d

refinery in Yanbu, Saudi Arabia (PCN, 15 Apr 2013, p 3).

Earlier reports said the refinery will produce diesel,

gasoline, benzene, petroleum coke and pelletized sulfur,

and could in the future include paraxylene and toluene.

In conjunction with the inauguration, Yasref partners

Saudi Aramco and Sinopec signed a “Framework Agreement

for Strategic Cooperation” to, among other things,

“actively explore cooperation opportunities in key areas

including oil and gas services, refining, chemicals, crude oil

supply, sales, petroleum and petrochemical services, technology

development and promotion, and new energy.

 

James Gallogly Selected to Receive 2016 SCI Chemical Industry Medal

Philadelphia—The

Society of Chemical Industry (SCI), America Section, announced

that James L. Gallogly, retired chief executive of

LyondellBasell and a current director of DuPont, will receive

the 2016 SCI Chemical Industry Medal.

The medal honors an individual whose leadership,

commitment and contributions have been responsible for

substantial progress and performance of the chemical industry.

In addition to being an active guiding force in the

management of their company during periods of expansion,

challenging conditions, or substantial redirection, recipients

are known for service to the industry as a whole.

Gallogly became chief executive of LyondellBasell in

2009 when the company’s future was uncertain. His “accomplished

career is testament to his intuitive and nononsense

approach to leadership, and notably punctuated

by his remarkable success in rebuilding LyondellBasell

into one of the safest, most well run refining and chemical

companies in the world,” noted Michael Graff, chair of SCI

America.

The award will be presented to Gallogly during an 8

Mar. dinner in his honor at the Plaza Hotel in New York.

 

DuPont, ADM Tout Breakthrough Process For Production of FDME from Fructose

Wilmington—

DuPont Industrial Biosciences and Archer Daniels Midland

(ADM) have announced a new “breakthrough” method

to produce furan dicarboxylic methyl ester (FDME) from

fructose.

FDME, DuPont noted, is a high-purity derivative of furandicarboxylic

acid, one of 12 building blocks identified by

the U.S. Dept. of Energy that can be converted into a number

of high-value, bio-based chemicals or materials that

can be utilized in a number of applications.

“This molecule is a game-changing platform technology,”

said Simon Herriott, global business director for biomaterials

at DuPont. “It will enable cost-efficient production

of a variety of 100% renewable, high-performance

chemicals and polymers with applications across a broad

range of industries.”

One of the first polymers being developed using FDME

is polytrimethylene furandicarboxylate (PTF), a novel polyester

also made from DuPont’s proprietary Bio-PDO (1,3

propanediol). PTF “substantially” improves gas-barrier

properties in bottles and other beverage packages, compared

to other polyesters.

The firms are planning to build an integrated 60-t/y

demonstration unit in Decatur, Ill., to provide customers

with enough product quantities for research and testing.

 

Polyplastics to Expand Malaysian Unit For Engineering Plastics Compound

Kuala Lumpur—

Polyplastics Co. Ltd. has decided to expand its engineering

plastics compound facility in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Operated by wholly-owned subsidiary Polyplastics Asia

Pacific Sdn Bhd, the plant will be expanded by 9,000 t/y to

a total capacity of 35,000 t/y. Completion is scheduled at

the end of this year and commercial operation is expected

to begin in June 2017.

The new lines will produce Duracon brand polyoxymethylene

and Durafide polyphenylene sulfide compounds.

 

ACC Testifies to USITC on Importance Of Pending Trans-Pacific Partnership

Washington—

Chemical producers are poised to capitalize on the economic

opportunities made possible by increased regulatory

cooperation and the elimination of tariffs under the new

Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Greg Skelton, senior director

of regulatory and technical affairs for the American

Chemistry Council, told the U.S. International Trade

Commission.

Testifying on the role TPP can play in boosting chemical

exports, Skelton said: “For the chemical industry, and

for the broader U.S. economy, TPP has the potential to

provide a significant boost to growth and job creation,

which in turn would promote innovation and strengthen

the international competitiveness of U.S. exporters. The

growing competitive advantage of U.S.-based chemical

production and its positive impact on the competitiveness

of the broader manufacturing sector . . . makes initiatives

such as TPP even more important.”

TPP countries Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan,

Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the U.S.

and Vietnam are expected to sign the deal next month.

The implementation will mean, among other things, the

phasing out of thousands of import tariffs and other trade

barriers and the establishment of uniform rules on companies’

intellectual property.

To take full advantage of the chemical industry’s ability

to drive export growth, TPP must follow through on eliminating

trade barriers and enhancing regulatory cooperation

between the 12 nations, Skelton explained. “Although

tariffs on chemicals with TPP partners are relatively low

for certain chemistries, for other chemistries, tariffs are as

high as 25%, particularly for plastics. Removing these remaining

barriers will help to reduce the costs of production

for U.S. chemical manufacturers and expand exports,” he

concluded.

 

Iran Reduces Cost of Gas Feedstock To Encourage Foreign Investments

Tehran—Iran has

cut the cost of gas feedstock for petrochemical production

to 8 cents from 13 cents per cubic meter to attract more

foreign investment in its petrochemical industry, according

to the Tasnim News Agency.

The country hopes to attract investments of $70-billion

in petrochemical projects over the next 10 years, with the

aim of tripling production capacity, which currently stands

at 60-million t/y.

 

Sabic Says Lifting of Iranian Sanctions Poses No Threat to Its PC Operations

Riyadh—Saudi

Basic Industries Corp. (Sabic) can adapt to any new supply

of petrochemicals entering the market as a result of Iran’s

release from sanctions, reported Reuters, citing Yousef Abdullah

al-Benyan, Sabic’s acting chief executive.

Because product prices are closely linked to crude

prices, Saudi petrochemical companies have been negatively

hit by dropping oil prices. Additionally, the drop in

prices has impacted the competitive advantage Saudi producers

have held over non-oil producing countries due to

subsidized energy and feedstock, the report noted. The

pressure could be further amplified with the reintroduction

of Iranian oil to global markets.

Speaking at a news conference, Benyan said he was unclear

as to the current state of Iran’s petrochemical industry.

Generally, it takes three to five years to come to market,

start production and then ramp it up.

“A competitive environment is always healthy and this

is the way we love to play, so we have no concerns at all,”

Benyan stated.

 

India Launches Anti-Dumping Probe On SBR from EU, Korea & Thailand

New Delhi—The

Indian government’s Directorate General of Anti-Dumping

and Allied Duties (DGAD) has initiated an investigation

into alleged dumping of styrene butadiene rubber (SBR)

series 1,500 and 1,700 from the European Union, South

Korea and Thailand.

The investigation, covering the 12 month period from 1

Oct. 2014 to 30 Sept. 2015, is the result of an application

filed by Indian Synthetic Rubber and Reliance Industries,

which alleges that dumping of SBR is “materially retarding

the establishment of the domestic industry.”

Indian Synthetic Rubber, a joint venture of Indian Oil,

TSRC, Trimurti and Marubeni, started commercial production

at their 120,000-t/y SBR plant in Panipat, India, in

2014, and Reliance started up a 150,000-t/y SBR unit in

Hazira, India, early last year (PCN, 26 Jan 2015, p 1).

 

Helm AG Enters Marketing Agreement For Raffinerie’s Propylene Production

Berlin—Helm

has entered into an exclusive agreement with Raffinerie

Heide to market Raffinerie’s entire 50,000 t/y of propylene

production in Hemmingstedt, Germany, effective 1 Jan.

“This agreement together with similar arrangements

reinforces our current position and expands the number of

different sources of supply in the European propylene

business for us,” said Volker Seebeck, head of Helm’s Business

Unit Feedstocks.

 

Celanese Announces New Nylon Offering

Dallas—

Celanese Corp. will expand its engineered materials product

portfolio with the addition of nylon 6 and nylon 6,6 using

differentiated technology developed by the company.

Some grades of nylon will be available immediately and

some will be available beginning in the third quarter of

this year.

 

V54 N03 – 18 January 2016

Orion Purchases Remaining Interest In the QECC Carbon Black Business

Luxembourg—

Orion Engineered Carbons has completed the acquisition of

the remaining shares in carbon black business Qingdao

Evonik Chemical Co. (QECC) in Qingdao, China.

“The total purchase price of approximately €28-million

for 100% of the equity of QECC was well within our expectations,”

said Orion Chief Executive Jack Clem.

“We are pleased with the positioning and performance

of the business, as well as progress on integration within

the Orion group. QECC will add to our already strong

market position in Asia Pacific and will be immediately

accretive to our adjusted EBITDA,” he added.

QECC, established in 1994 as a joint venture of Evonik,

Deutsche Investitions-und Entwicklungsgesellschaft

(DEG) and Jiaozhou Finance Investment Center (JFIC),

has three lines with a total production capacity of about

75,000 t/y of carbon black.

Orion announced this past October that it had agreed to

acquire Evonik’s 52% interest and DEG’s 15% stake in

QECC and was in advanced talks regarding the transfer of

JFIC’s shares to Orion.

 

BPCL Chooses Air Liquide AA Technology For Kochi Propylene Derivatives Project

Kochi—

Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd. (BPCL) has selected Air Liquide

Global E&C Solutions to provide its acrylic acid (AA)

process for a new propylene derivatives petrochemical project

in Kochi, India, reported the Business Standard.

Specifically, Air Liquide will supply its Lurgi/Nippon

Kayaku ester grade AA technology, including basic engineering,

technical services and proprietary catalyst and

equipment for the “world-scale” unit.

In May 2015, PCN reported that the project would cost

Rs 4,588 crore and envisioned the production of AA acrylates

and oxo alcohols, with production scheduled to begin

during fiscal 2018-2019 (18 May 2015, p 2).

It was also earlier reported that the new facility would

receive polymer-grade propylene feedstock from BPCL’s

nearby refinery expansion.

 

Sabic Awards CTCI FEED Contract For Saudi Kayan EO/EG Expansion

Jubail― CTCI

Corp. has won a front-end engineering design (FEED) contract

from Sabic for an ethylene oxide (EO) and ethylene

glycol (EG) debottlenecking at Saudi Kayan’s Jubail site.

CTCI did not disclose details on the project, but PCN

last year reported that Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Petroleum

and Mineral Resources had agreed to allocate additional

ethane to Saudi Kayan, which be would used to increase

ethylene capacity by at least 93,000 t/y and EO capacity

by a minimum of 61,000 t/y (PCN, 16 Feb 2015, p 1).

This is the first project under a blanket FEED arrangement

reached between Sabic and CTCI in October

2015, CTCI noted.

 

EC OKs Planned Syn Rub Joint Venture Between Lanxess and Aramco Overseas

Brussels—

The European Commission (EC) has approved the formation

of a new, equally-owned synthetic rubber joint venture

between Lanxess and Saudi Aramco’s Aramco Overseas Co.

subsidiary (PCN, 28 Sept 2015, p 1).

The companies signed an agreement late last year for

the venture, valued at €2.75-billion, which will be comprised

of Lanxess’ Tire & Specialty Rubbers and High Performance

Elastomers business units, including 20 production

facilities in nine countries and about 3,700 employees.

Saudi Aramco will pay approximately €1.2-billion in

cash for its 50% stake, minus debt and other financial liabilities.

Also, it will provide the venture with competitive

and reliable access to strategic raw materials over the medium

term.

A Netherlands-based holding company will manage the

new joint venture. Lanxess will appoint the new chief executive

and Aramco Overseas will appoint the chief financial

officer of the venture. The transaction is expected to

close in the first half of this year.

 

Andhra Pradesh Petrochem Complex To Be Undertaken by HPCL & GAIL

Visakhapatnam—

India’s Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers Ananth

Kumar has unveiled plans for a greenfield petrochemical

complex and refinery expansion to be carried out

jointly by Hindustan Petroleum Corp. Ltd. (HPCL) and

GAIL in Andhra Pradesh, India, local sources reported.

The government has given its in-principle approval for

the project, which will require an investment of approximately

Rs 50,000 crore. “This will also bring huge downstream

investment opportunities to the state apart from

the refinery and cracker units,” Kumar said.

HPCL, which currently has an 8.5-million-t/y refinery

in Visakhapatnam, last year completed a techno-economic

feasibility study for additional refining capacity and a petrochemical

complex to be set up in the planned Petroleum,

Chemicals and Petrochemicals Region in Visakhapatnam

(PCN, 18 May 2015, p 4). The company had earlier proposed

building a 15-million-t/y refinery and a complex to

produce 1-million t/y of olefins and aromatics.

 

AspenTech Subsidiary Intends To Buy 100% of KBC Advanced Technologies

Bedford—Aspen

Technology (AspenTech) said its ATI Global Optimisation

subsidiary plans to acquire the entire issued and to be issued

share capital of KBC Advanced Technologies, in a

transaction valued at approximately $230-million.

The proposed acquisition will be implemented by means

of a scheme of arrangement and is subject to the approval

of KBC shareholders and the High Court of Justice in England

and Wales. Both companies’ board of directors

unanimously support the transaction, which is expected to

close in the first quarter of 2016.

 

Saudi Aramco Considering Share Sale And/Or Listing of Downstream Units

Dhahran—Saudi

Aramco confirmed it is studying various options to allow

broad public participation in its equity, including listing an

appropriate percentage of its shares in the capital markets

and/or listing a bundle of its downstream subsidiaries.

This proposal is consistent with the broad and progressive

direction pursued by Saudi Arabia for reforms, including

privatization in various sectors of the Saudi economy

and deregulation of markets, the company explained. Additionally,

this process will strengthen Saudi Aramco’s focus

on its long-term vision of becoming the world’s leading

energy and chemical enterprise.

Following completion of its studies, the company will

present the findings to its board of directors, which will

make its recommendations to the Saudi Aramco Supreme

Council.

 

KBR Acquires Three New Companies To Support Its Existing Capabilities

Houston—KBR

has acquired Weatherly Inc., Plinke GmbH and Chematur

Ecoplanning Oy (Ecoplanning) from Connell Chemical’s

Chematur Technologies AB for $24.5-million.

Based in North America, Weatherly provides nitric acid

and ammonium nitrate proprietary technologies and services

to the fertilizer market. It has an installed base of 80

nitric acid plants worldwide with about 30% market share

of installed plants.

Plinke, based in Germany, specializes in proprietary

technology and specialist equipment for the purification

and concentration of inorganic acids used or produced in

hydrocarbon processing facilities globally.

Ecoplanning offers proprietary evaporation and crystallization

technologies and specialist equipment for weak

acid and base solutions. It is based in Finland.

“Through these acquisitions, KBR can more fully serve

our clients’ fertilizer complex solution requirements, as

well as expanding our consulting and technical services to

improve plant performance throughout the plant’s lifecycle,”

explained KBR President and Chief Executive Stuart

Bradie.

“KBR’s ammonia and Weatherly’s fertilizer capabilities

result in a powerful combination of industry-leading technologies

and Plinke and Ecoplanning enhance the scope of

KBR’s technology solutions across expanded platforms.

KBR sees great opportunity to extend these technologies

outside North America . . . and is revamping units of the

existing customer base globally,” he added.

 

Natpet Temporarily Suspends Production Following ‘Technical Problem’ at Yanbu

Yanbu—

Alujain Corp., announced that its National Petrochemical

Industrial Co. (Natpet) subsidiary experienced a sudden

“technical problem” on 11 Jan., which was beyond the control

of its technical team, resulting in a temporary suspension

of production at its propylene and polypropylene complex

in Yanbu, Saudi Arabia.

Natpet noted that it is currently dealing with the problem

and production is expected to resume within 9 days. A

financial impact of about SR10.5-million will be reflected in

the first quarter 2016 results.

The complex has a production capacity of 400,000 t/y of

propylene and 400,000 t/y of polypropylene.

 

Anellotech, Suntory Continue Partnership To Develop 100% Bio-Based PET Bottles

New York—

Sustainable technology company Anellotech and Suntory,

one of the world’s largest consumer beverage companies,

have entered into the next phase of a strategic partnership

to develop 100% bio-based polyethylene terephthalate

(PET) for use in beverage bottles.

The alliance, which started in 2012, supports the development

of bio-aromatics including bio-paraxylene, the key

component to making 100% bio-based PET. As an integral

part in the bio-based value chain, Anellotech’s proprietary

thermal catalytic biomass conversion technology (Bio-TCat)

cost-competitively produces “drop in” green aromatics, including

paraxylene and benzene, from non-food biomass,

Anellotech explained.

With construction now complete on its new, fullyintegrated

development and testing facility (TCat-8), Anellotech

said it is ready to commence installation with

groundbreaking scheduled for late January 2016. Operations

are expected to begin this year, which will confirm

the viability and suitability of the Bio-TCat process for

scale-up, and generate data needed to design commercial

plants using the technology.

Once the TCat-8 process is verified, Suntory plans to

study the feasibility of developing the first commercialscale

Bio-TCat plant. The company currently uses 30%

plant-derived materials for some of their bottles and is

looking to produce 100% renewable PET bottles through

the partnership.

 

People on the Move

LyondellBasell―Daniel M. Coombs has been named

executive vice president of global Olefins and Polyolefins to

replace Timothy D. Roberts, who has announced his decision

to leave the company. Coombs joined LyondellBasell

last year as executive vice president of global Intermediates

and Derivatives, Technology and Procurement.

James D. Guilfoyle, currently senior vice president,

global Intermediates and Derivatives, will continue in that

position while assuming additional responsibility for the

supply chain activities.

As part of the transition, the company will further expand

its regional leadership by appointing Paul Augustowski

senior vice president of Olefins and Polyolefins in

the Americas. He has over 20 years of experience in polyolefins

in the U.S. and Europe.

TPC Group—Ed Dineen has been named chairman,

president and chief executive to replace Miguel A. Desdin,

who has been serving as interim chief executive following

the resignation this past June of Michael T. McDonnell

(PCN, 15 June 2015, p 2).

Dineen was most recently chief executive of Siluria

Technologies. He has also served as chief operating officer

of LyondellBasell North Americas, as well as president of

its Chemicals Division.

Siluria Technologies—Erik Scher, currently executive

vice president and co-founder of the company, has

been appointed interim chief executive to replace Dineen.

Siluria has retained an executive search firm to find a

permanent chief executive.

Velocys—David Pummell, previously chief executive of

Acal Energy, has joined Velocys as chief executive, effective

immediately.

 

Arabian Gulf Plastic Producers Urged To Diversify Their Product Portfolios

Dubai—Plastics

industry growth in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)

region has been impressive during the last decade, but

plastics producers attending the recent GPCA PlastiCon

conference were encouraged to diversify their product portfolio

to realize untapped potential of differentiated and

specialized higher value plastic products in the future.

“Throughout history, humans developed because stone,

iron and bronze helped them build survival kits, resulting

in eras named after these materials,” noted Tasnee Chief

Executive Mutlaq Al-Morished. “If we look at the world

this way, then we are indisputably in the Plastic Age. By

2020, world plastics consumption will reach 380-million

tons a year.”

Al-Morished told delegates the GCC plastics industry is

a “feed in” industry for many other sectors, providing the

building blocks for several companies that make products

for end users.

“Today, the GCC plastics industry is a commodities

business characterized by mass production,” he said. “The

industry is moving from commodities to the production of

durable goods like cars, TVs and refrigerators. While this

is valuable, the industry would gain more if we would move

from producing goods that are fast in design and with a

short time to market, like apparel and watches. These

goods are less sensitive to economic cycles and market dynamics

and would pave the way for Arabian Gulf producers

moving into the production of capital goods.”

GPCA Secretary General Abdulwahab Al-Sadoun noted

that the plastics industry is predicted to have a 3.2% annual

growth rate from now until 2020, and agreed that

plastic producers will need to invest in diversifying and

expanding portfolios.

“Plastics producers in the Arabian Gulf have rounded

up a successful decade of growth,” Al-Sadoun said. “With

regional companies facing diminishing returns and the

availability of cheap raw materials to our competitors, it is

no secret that we are in the midst of a challenging business

environment. For regional plastics companies, diversifying

the products portfolio . . . will result in hedging investments

into products that are not affected by ongoing market

instability,” he concluded.

 

Celanese Expanding UHMWPE Capacity; Will Increase Its Production Flexibility

Dallas—Celanese

is planning to boost production capacity for GUR

ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) to

38,000 t/y at its Bishop, Texas, facility.

The project, expected to be completed in May, will provide

the company with additional production flexibility to

introduce two new medical GUR grades. Cost of the expansion

and a current capacity were not given.

 

Solvay Divesting Polyamides Business

Brussels―Solvay

is planning to sell its polyamides business and has retained

Goldman Sachs to find a potential buyer, according

to a Reuters report.

Solvay, which has been refocusing its operations from a

base chemicals and plastics company to more specialty materials,

recently completed the acquisition of Cytec, saying

the transaction represented “a decisive milestone in Solvay’s

transformation” (PCN, 14 Dec 2015, p 2).

 

Grace Has Board Approval to Proceed With Separation into Two Companies

Columbia—W.R.

Grace & Co. announced its board of directors has approved

the previously announced plan to separate the company

into two independent, publicly traded companies (PCN, 9

Feb 2015, p 1).

Grace’s Construction Products segment and Darex

Packaging Technologies will be separated from the company’s

remaining businesses to form GCP Applied Technologies.

The separation, which is anticipated to be generally

tax-free to Grace’s U.S. shareholders, is expected to be

completed on 3 Feb. 2016.

Following the separation, Grace will own and operate

the existing Catalysts Technologies and Materials Technologies

operating segments, excluding the Darex business.

“As independent companies, we believe Grace and GCP

will benefit from enhanced strategic, operating, financial

and investment flexibility and are poised to generate significant

value for our shareholders,” said Grace Chairman

and Chief Executive Fred Festa.

The separation will occur by means of a pro rata distribution

by which Grace shareholders will receive one share

of GCP common stock for each share of Grace common

stock held as of the close of business on 27 Jan.

 

SPiCE3 Receives Funding from Cefic To Continue for Another Two Years

Brussels—The

Sectoral Platform in Chemicals for Energy Efficiency Excellence

(SPiCE3) project, which provides free resources to

European chemical chemicals, has received funding from

Cefic, the European Chemical Industry Council, allowing

the project to continue for an additional two years.

SPiCE3 was launched in April 2013 to provide accessible,

hands-on assistance to small and medium-sized enterprises

(SMEs), helping them to implement concrete measures

that can boost their energy efficiency. Some of the

resources include workshops, peer-to-peer monitoring, onsite

coaching and targeted events promoting best practice.

“As an energy intensive industry, the chemical sector

alone consumes around 12% of the EU’s total energy demand,

and one-third of EU industrial energy use,” said

Cefic. “In addition, energy can be up to 25% of the total

costs of an SME in the EU chemical sector. Increasing energy

efficiency is thus essential to preserving the industry’s

competitiveness while, at the same time, helping to meet

the EU’s climate goals.

Over 6,500 European companies have taken advantage

of the initiative so far. Visit www.spice3.eu for additional

information.

 

Cefic Appoints Mensink Director General

Brussels—

Cefic, the European Chemical Industry Council, announced

that Marco Mensink will become director general on 1 May

2016, succeeding Hubert Mandery, who is retiring.

Mensink, currently director general of the Confederation

of European Pulp and Paper Industries, will join Cefic

on 15 Mar. to ensure a smooth transition.

“We are pleased to welcome Marco Mensink on board

and are confident he will build on the success of Hubert

Mandery in establishing Cefic as the central hub for

Europe’s chemical industry and linked associations,” said

Cefic President Jean-Pierre Clamadieu.

 

 

Global Bio, LanzaTech Sign New Agreement Related to Bio-Based Isobutene Technology

Evry—

Global Bioenergies and LanzaTech have signed a new collaboration

agreement to broaden the feedstock flexibility of

Global Bioenergies’ isobutene process and the productportfolio

of LanzaTech’s carbon capture technology.

The two companies originally entered into a collaboration

agreement in 2011, with the goal to synergize their

technologies, and build microbial strains capable of converting

non-sugar feedstock into isobutene.

Based on the results of the last four years, Global Bioenergies

and LanzaTech have decided to both intensify this

cooperation and to develop an integrated process with a

broader range of feedstocks, including non-biomass-derived

sources of carbon.

LanzaTech is currently building its first commercial

plants, based on its carbon capture technology, which will

produce ethanol from waste steel mill gases (PCN, 7 Apr

2014, p 3). The facilities will be able to change production

to chemicals, if desired, through the application of LanzaTech’s

novel microorganisms.

“The expansion of our scientific biology portfolio has

shown gas fermenting microbes to have the same capabilities

as sugar fermenting organisms,” said LanzaTech Chief

Executive Jennifer Holmgren. “We are now able to produce

a variety of chemicals from a broad array of gas

feedstocks, driving both economic and environmental benefits.”

 

ChemChina Plans €925-MM Acquisition Of Machinery Producer KraussMaffei

 

Shanghai—

China National Chemical Corp. (ChemChina) announced

plans to acquire Munich, Germany-based KraussMaffei

Group, a leading global plastics and rubber processing machinery

producer, for €925-million.

ChemChina has formed a consortium with Guoxin International

Investment Corp. and AGIC Capital for the

acquisition, which ChemChina noted “is by far the largest

investment in Germany by Chinese companies.” Completion

of the deal is subject to anti-trust clearances.

KraussMaffei, “known as the Rolls-Royce in this industry,”

offers plastics and rubber processing machinery and

total solutions under three brands – KraussMaffei, Krauss-

Maffei Berstorff and Netstal. The group’s headquarters

will remain in Munich and operating and corporate responsibility

will stay in Europe. This applies in particular

to production, technology, patents and research and development,

said ChemChina.

 

 

Nigeria’s CBN Backing Dangote Project With Foreign Exchange Requirements

Lagos—The

Central Bank of Nigeria has agreed to provide the foreign

exchange requirements for importing equipment needed

for the Dangote refinery and petrochemical project in

Lekki, Nigeria (PCN, 18 May 2015, p 1).

The Dangote Group’s project involves a 650,000-b/d refinery,

2-million t/y of polypropylene capacity and 1.6-

million t/y of polyethylene capacity, all scheduled for completion

in late 2017 or early 2018.

Local reports, citing CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele,

said the project, when completed, will add about $6-billion

a year to the local economy. It will also help CBN conserve

foreign exchange because nearly 40% of the current foreign

exchange used to import petroleum products and petrochemicals

will be saved.

 

Eni Gets European Commission Approval For Sale of 12.5% Stake in Saipem to FSI

Milan—Eni

SpA has been granted European Commission (EC) clearance

to sell a 12.5% interest in engineering and construction

subsidiary Saipem SpA to holding company Fondo

Strategico Italiano SpA (FSI) for approximately €463-

million.

The EC concluded that the proposed transaction will

raise no competition concerns, given the significant number

of alternative competitors active on all markets concerned.

The sale is expected to close by 30 Apr. 2016.

 

IISRP Sets Program for Annual Meeting

Houston—

The International Institute of Synthetic Rubber Producers

(IISRP) has identified “Positioning for Growth” as the

theme for its 57th Annual General Meeting to be held 11-

14 Apr. 2016 in New Orleans, La. (PCN, 14 Dec 2015, p 3).

Wade Sheffer, executive director of General Motors

Chassis Purchasing, will deliver the keynote speech on

“Synthetic Rubber in the Supply Chain” during the

Wednesday session, and Steve Charles, vice president of

product development for Bridgestone Americas, will discuss

“Technology Trends in the Transportation/Tire Industry”

on Thursday.

The full program, which includes 10 additional speakers,

and registration, are available on IISRP’s website at

www.iisrp.com.

 

Iran’s South Pars Phases 15 & 16 On Line

Tehran—

Iran last week commissioned phases 15 and 16 of the

South Pars gas field in Asaluyeh, increasing the country’s

refined gas production to a total of about 650-million cu

m/d from 600-million cu m/d, according to Iranian press

reports.

These two phases are expected to yield 1.5-million t/y of

liquefied petroleum gas and 1-million t/y of ethane.

Kavian Petrochemical Co.’s 2-million-t/y ethylene facility

in Asaluyeh is dependent on ethane from phases 15 and

16 (PCN, 20 Apr 2015, p 4).

V54 N02 – 11 January 2016

BP Selling Decatur Complex to Indorama In Push to Refocus Global PC Business

Houston—BP

has decided to sell its Decatur, Ala., petrochemical complex

to Indorama Ventures (IVL), as part of a previously announced

effort to refocus its global petrochemicals business

for improved profitability and long-term growth (PCN, 23-

30 Nov 2015, p 1).

The complex, which has the capacity to produce 1-

million t/y of purified terephthalic acid (PTA), consists of

three PTA units, a paraxylene plant and a naphthalene

dicarboxylate unit.

Under the terms of the agreement, IVL will acquire the

Decatur complex including employees, working capital and

related infrastructure, and assume certain contracts with

suppliers and customers. The transaction, for which terms

were not given, is expected to close in early 2016.

“This agreement allows us to focus investment on our

world-class PTA production facility in Cooper River, S.C.,

and a key feedstock producer in Texas City, Texas, as well

as maintain a strong position in the important U.S. petrochemicals

industry,” said Rita Griffin, chief operating officer

of BP Global Petrochemicals.

The divestment is in line with BP’s global petrochemicals

strategy of pursuing a competitively advantaged portfolio

through world-scale, low-cost facilities that utilize its

proprietary technology.

BP noted that it has “substantially” completed its $10-

billion divestment program for the 2014 and 2015 period.

It expects $3-billion to $5-billion of divestments this year

and ongoing investments averaging around $2-billion to

$3-billion a year thereafter.

 

Petro Rabigh Confirms Phase II Delay; Contractors Failed to Meet Schedule

Rabigh—The

Rabigh Refining and Petrochemical Co. (Petro Rabigh)

joint venture of Saudi Aramco and Sumitomo Chemical has

notified the Saudi Stock Exchange that the Rabigh Phase

II project is nine months behind schedule and will be completed

in September 2016 (PCN, 23 Mar 2015, p 3).

Petro Rabigh attributed the delay “to the failure of the

key contractors of the project to meet the planned implementation

schedule.”

Phase II of Petro Rabigh’s complex in Rabigh, Saudi

Arabia, involves expansion of an existing ethane cracker

and the addition of units to produce ethylene propylene

rubber, thermoplastic polyolefins, methyl methacrylate

monomer, polymethyl methacrylate, low-density polyethylene/

ethylene vinyl acetate, paraxylene/benzene, cumene

and phenol/acetone.

The complex currently has a cracker with the capacity

to produce 1.3-million t/y of ethylene and 900,000 t/y of

propylene, and downstream units for the production of

polyethylene, polypropylene, propylene oxide, ethylene glycol

and butene-1.

Citing the delay and additional scope of the project,

Petro Rabigh noted that the total cost has increased to approximately

SAR 31-billion from SAR 30-billion.

 

Westlake Chemical Okays Expansion Of Ethylene Capacity at Calvert City

Houston—Westlake

Chemical Partners has approved plans to expand ethylene

capacity at its Westlake Chemical OpCo affiliate’s

Calvert City, Ky., plant.

The project will add 70-million lbs of stated annual ethylene

capacity during the first half of 2017. Combined

with incremental capacity increases, the expansion will

total 100-million lbs/yr of ethylene capacity.

In 2014, Westlake completed an expansion and modernization

at Calvert City, which increased ethylene production

capacity by 40%, to 630-million lbs/yr from 450-

million lbs/yr (PCN, 3 Nov 2014, p 1).

The modernization project converted the plant from

propane to ethane feedstock in order to leverage low-cost

ethane developments in the regional shale gas areas.

 

CB&I Awarded Technology Contract For Hebei Haiwei’s PP Unit in China

Jingxian—CB&I

has been awarded a contract from Hebei Haiwei Group for

the license and basic engineering design of a polypropylene

(PP) unit to be built in Jingxian, Hebei Province, China.

The 200,000-t/y PP plant will be based on CB&I’s Novolen

technology. Cost of the project and a construction

schedule were not given.

In 2012, CB&I was awarded a license and basic engineering

design contract by the company for a new propane

dehydrogenation unit to produce 500,000 t/y of propylene

using CB&I’s Catofin technology at the same site (PCN, 3

Sept 2012, p 1).

“This award builds on our relationship with Hebei Haiwei

as it follows the successful development of the Catofin

propane dehydrogenation unit,” said Daniel McCarthy,

president of CB&I’s technology operating group.

 

BCPL Completes and Commissions Much Delayed Assam Gas Cracker

Dibrugarh—The

Government of India’s Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers

announced that the Assam gas cracker project being implemented

by Brahmaputra Cracker and Polymer Ltd.

(BCPL), and initially expected to come on stream in 2012,

has been commissioned (PCN, 13 July 2015, p 1).

The cracker, located in Lepetkata, is designed to produce

200,000 t/y of ethylene and 60,000 t/y of propylene

using natural gas and naphtha feedstock. BCPL noted it is

the “first ever” petrochemical project in northeast India.

The project also includes facilities for the production of

220,000 t/y of linear low- and high-density polyethylene

and 60,000 t/y of polypropylene.

BCPL, a joint venture owned 70% by GAIL and 10%

each by Oil India Ltd., Numaligarh Refinery Ltd. and the

Government of Assam, has attributed the project’s delays

to poor weather and labor unrest, as well as technology and

design changes.

 

Dorf Ketal Chemicals India Increases Catalysts & Chemicals Market Reach

Mumbai—Dorf

Ketal Chemicals India Pvt. Ltd. has completed the acquisition

of Filtra Catalysts & Chemicals Ltd. for an undisclosed

amount.

Filtra’s adsorbents and catalyst products will be combined

with the current Dorf Ketal product offering in

downstream hydrocarbon process chemicals, increasing

Dorf Ketal’s offering to current customers in Asia Pacific,

China, Europe, and the Americas and adding existing Filtra

customers to the Dorf Ketal customer base.

“Filtra operates an R&D facility approved by the Dept.

of Scientific and Industrial Research in India,” said Dorf

Ketal Chairman and Managing Director Sudhir Menon.

“In collaboration with Dorf Ketal R&D, we envision significant

potential for new applications.”

Dorf Ketal noted that its manufacturing infrastructure

will allow for faster and more efficient capacity expansion

of Filtra’s two production sites to support sales and growth.

“Harnessing the growth potential will require scaling up

the capacity of existing Filtra manufacturing operations,”

said Subodh Menon, Dorf Ketal’s Director of Operations.

 

Invista Receives Patent for Bio Technology Developed in Collaboration with Arzeda

Wichita—

Invista was granted a patent on 29 Dec. 2015 from the U.S.

Patent and Trademark Office for bio-derived raw materials

technology developed in collaboration with Arzeda.

The patent is for engineered polypeptides and their related

crystal structure details, which are both useful for

producing bio-derived compounds such as butadiene and

isoprene, Invista explained.

“The work detailed in this patent provides innovative

solutions to potentially increase the global supply of bioderived

chemicals,” said Bill Greenfield, president of Invista’s

Intermediates business.

Arzeda co-founder and chief executive Alexandre Zanghellini

noted that the issuance of the patent is yet another

example of the power of combining Arzeda’s computational

protein design technology Archytas with experimental

screening to rapidly design synthetic enzymes.

“With Invista’s expertise in biotechnology and industrial

scale-up, we are confident this collaboration will lead

to advanced bio-processes for the production of more sustainable

industrial chemicals,” he added.

 

Kraton Completes Previously Announced Purchase of Arizona Chem for $1.37-BN

Houston—

Kraton Polymers LLC has completed the recently announced

acquisition of all of the outstanding shares of capital

stock of Arizona Chemical Holdings Corp. for $1.37-

billion (PCN, 4 Jan 2016, p 2).

“Through the combination of Kraton and Arizona

Chemical, we create a global leader in specialty materials

technology, manufacturing and geographical presence, providing

value-added products and innovations serving a diversified

range of end markets through a broad portfolio of

highly-engineered polymers and specialty chemicals,” said

Kevin M. Fogarty, president and chief executive of Kraton.

“We now turn our focus to the implementation of our integration

plan and the anticipated realization of $65-

million of identified transaction synergies,” he noted.

 

Cosmo Energy Planning to Raise Stake In Petrochemicals Producer Maruzen

Tokyo—Cosmo

Energy Holdings plans to become a majority shareholder in

Maruzen Petrochemical by boosting its approximately 40%

share in Maruzen to over 60% in terms of voting rights,

according to several local sources.

Cosmo has filed paperwork with the Japan Fair Trade

Commission in regards to the acquisition and will undergo

the required screening to change Maruzen to a group subsidiary.

The transaction is expected close by the end of this

March.

Additionally, Cosmo is in negotiations with other Maruzen

investors to acquire another 15% interest.

Both companies have plants located next to each other

in Ichihara, Chiba Prefecture, Japan. Consolidating operations

would allow both companies to increase cost competitiveness

by sharing raw materials and facilities.

 

Caroline Ciuciu Joins EPCA’s Team In Preparation for Becoming CEO

Brussels—Caroline

Ciuciu, former European Union public affairs director for

Albemarle Europe, has joined the European Petrochemical

Assn. (EPCA) to prepare to succeed Cathy Demeestere,

who will retire as chief executive on 31 Dec. 2016.

In the interim, Ciuciu will act as deputy executive officer

with project management responsibility for Supply

Chain & Logistics and Talent & Diversity Inclusion. She

will also be involved in different topics linked to the management

of EPCA.

EPCA noted that 2016 marks a milestone for the association

as it will be holding its 50th Anniversary Annual

Meeting in Budapest, Hungary, from 1-5 Oct. 2016. The

theme of this year’s meeting is “50 Years of the Petrochemical

Industry. What’s Next?”

 

People on the Move

Altivia—Brian L. Redmond has joined the company as

president of its aromatics business’ subsidiary, Altivia Petrochemicals.

He most recently served as principal of Paragon

Energy Holdings and is currently on the boards of Saguaro

Power and Deepwater Wind.

PolyOne Corp.—Joel Rathbun has been named senior

vice president, Mergers & Acquisitions. He had been serving

as general manager of the company’s Specialty Engineered

Materials business in North America.

Sinochem—Ning Gaoning has been appointed chairman

to succeed Liu Deshu, who has reached retirement

age. Gaoning had been chairman of the board of Cofco

Group.

Synthesis Energy Systems (SES)—Wade A. Taber,

most recently senior engineering manager of components

and technology innovation for General Electric, has been

appointed vice president of engineering at SES.

Enterprise Products Partners—W. Randall Fowler

has been elected president of the general partner, Enterprise

Products Holdings LLC (Enterprise GP). He has

served as a director of Enterprise GP since 2011 and as

executive vice president and chief financial officer of Enterprise

GP and its affiliated predecessors until 2015. He

is also chief administration officer and a director of Enterprise

Products Co.

 

Global Bio & Audi Extend Partnership To Broaden Use of Isobutene Process

Leuna—Global

Bioenergies and German car manufacturer Audi have

signed an extension and enhancement of a collaboration

agreement between the two companies to further broaden

the feedstock flexibility of Global Bioenergies’ isobutene

process (PCN, 14 July 2014, p 2).

The companies recently announced the delivery by

Global Bioenergies to Audi of isobutene, which was produced

at Global Bioenergies’ pilot plant in Leuna, Germany.

The isobutene was then converted to isooctane.

The initial agreement, expected to end in 2016, also encompasses

the delivery of larger batches to Audi that will

allow Audi to run comprehensive engine testing and validate

the specifications of the isooctane. Global Bioenergies

will use its Leuna demonstration plant to produce the

batches.

Under the extended collaboration agreement, the companies

will focus on making the isobutene process accessible

for non-biomass derived carbon sources such as carbon

dioxide or carbon monoxide and energy sources such as

green hydrogen produced from wind or solar energy.

The new agreement includes the payment of upfront

and milestone fees, as well as the option for Audi to acquire

shares of Global Bioenergies corresponding to less that 1%

of its capital.

 

 

Indian Government Okays Establishing 10 Plastic Parks with Partial Funding

New Delhi—

The government of India has approved setting up 10 plastic

parks to promote the domestic downstream plastic process

industry, and has further approved some funding for

the projects.

In the first phase, four parks will be established – one

each in Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Assam and Tamil Nadu.

The government’s Dept. of Chemicals and Petrochemicals

has requested state governments to submit proposals for

six additional parks under the plan.

The government has also agreed to provide grant funding

of up to 50% of the project cost, subject to a ceiling of

Rs 40 crore per project.

 

Versalis, Pirelli Conclude R&D Program; Testing of Guayule-Based Tires Begins

Milan—Eni’s

Versalis subsidiary and Pirelli have completed a two-year

research and development project on the use of guayulebased

natural rubber for the production of tires (PCN, 25

Mar-1 Apr 2013, p 3).

As a result of the project, Pirelli has started testing ultra-

high performance guayule-based tires, which demonstrated

the same performance as tires made with synthetic

polymers in a variety of extreme usage simulations, including

wet road surfaces, according to a trade publication,

quoting the company.

An agreement signed between the two companies in

2013 provided for Versalis, on an exclusivity basis, to supply

an innovative range of guayule-based natural rubber

materials, and for Pirelli to carry out testing to validate the

performance of the materials for use in tires.

“After the success of this first phase, we are now assessing

the possibility of trying out these prototype tires in

winter conditions,” said Pirelli.

 

Celanese Signs New Agreement with Linde To Ensure CO Supply to Jurong AA Unit

Singapore—

Celanese has signed a new exclusive agreement with Linde

Gas Singapore for the supply of carbon monoxide by Linde

to Celanese’s Jurong Island, Singapore, site for the production

of acetic acid.

The agreement, which came into affect on 1 Jan. 2016,

enables both parties’ sustainable future operations in Singapore,

Linde noted.

Celanese has been supplied by Linde since 2004, when

Linde acquired a gasification facility and air separation

unit there.

 

Air Liquide to Begin Operating in Colombia With New CO2 Plant & Cogeneration Unit

 

Bogota—

Air Liquide will build and operate a new facility consisting

of a carbon dioxide (CO2) production plant and cogeneration

unit at Tocancipa, Cundinamarca, Colombia.

The project, expected to cost around €40-million, is being

built as part of a contract with Coca-Cola and is scheduled

to start commercial production in late 2016.

Under the terms of the agreement, Air Liquide will

supply Coca-Cola with CO2 as well as nitrogen, compressed

air, steam, electricity and refrigerated water. Additional

CO2 produced by Air Liquide’s new facility will be

available to the surrounding market.

“Our entry into Colombia provides a major opportunity

for Air Liquide as we establish our presence in this strategic

market and further expand our presence in Latin

America,” noted Michael J. Graff, senior vice president for

the Americas.

 

Lanxess Completes Capacity Expansion For High-Tech Plastics at Gastonia Site

Gastonia—

Lanxess has started up a second production line for highperformance

plastics at its Gastonia, N.C., facility, doubling

its production capacity at the site to 40,000 t/y from

20,000 t/y (PCN, 18-25 Aug 2014, p 3).

The $15-million investment “shows our commitment to

North America, which we see as a major growth region,”

noted Hubert Fink, member of the board of management.

At the Gastonia plant, polyamide and polybutylene

terephthalate are mixed and refined with special additives

and glass fiber, according to client needs, to make Durethan

and Pocan high-performance plastic product lines.

 

Iranian Ministry Signs Deals to Study New Petrochem, Oil and Gas Projects

Tehran—The

Iranian Science, Research and Technology Ministry has

signed agreements to study several new prioritized petrochemical,

oil and gas projects in Iran, the Tasnim News

Agency reported.

The deals, valued at about $120-million, were signed

with Iran’s National Petrochemical Co., the National Iranian

Gas Co. and the National Iranian Oil Refining and

Distribution Co.

Studies, to be conducted by top Iranian universities and

research centers, will concentrate on four petrochemical

projects, five on oil refining and distribution, and three on

gas projects. No specific details were given.

 

GPCA Forecasting Steady 3.2% Growth In GCC Plastic Output to Decade End

Dubai—Plastic

production in the Arabian Gulf will grow at a steady 3.2%

till the end of the decade, spurred by a sustained roll-out of

strategic projects, according to a new study by the Gulf

Petrochemicals and Chemicals Assn. (GPCA).

“No matter the country or economic cycle, the growth of

plastic production in the GCC is a unique success story in

the Arabian Gulf countries’ continuing journey towards

economic diversification,” said GPCA Secretary General

Abdulwahab Al-Sadoun. “This is no doubt a testament to

the long-term vision of the leadership who have invested in

this sector, as well as a testament of plastics as a viable

investment opportunity.”

According to the GCC Plastics Industry Indicators 2015

report, the region’s plastic production capacity has tripled

in the last 10 years to a level of 26.2-million tons in 2015

with revenues of $32-billion. GPCA noted that during the

2005 to 2015 period, annual production has grown 11.7%,

“clustered around prominent projects in Saudi Arabia.”

GPCA believes that plastics capacity will continue to

grow over the next five years, despite the continuing challenges

of oil price volatility. Growth in Oman is expected

to be the strongest in the region, at an annual 17.7% rate,

while Saudi Arabian growth is seen rising 3.2% per year

through 2020, slightly lower than the 4.9% growth of the

last decade.

“With regional producers experiencing diminishing

revenues and cheap raw materials available to our competitors,

we are certainly in the midst of a challenging

business environment,” Al-Sadoun stated. “Due to the inherent

versatility of plastics, an export oriented commodity,

as well as strong demand from developing economies,

plastics will continue to see a respectable growth rate in

the near future. Plastics are an inherent component of

modern life, existing in diverse products such as cars, food

packaging, furniture and even clothing,” he concluded.

 

Praxair Merges Some U.S. JV Operations

Danbury—

Praxair Distribution Inc., a subsidiary of Praxair Inc., has

combined its two joint venture companies operating in the

southeastern U.S.

The transaction involved merging Praxair Distribution

LLC, located in Florida and southeast Georgia, into nexAir

LLC, a Memphis, Tennessee-based company with operations

in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi

and Tennessee. Financial terms were not disclosed.

 

Air Products Awards Contract to Technip For New Hydrogen Facility at Baytown

Baytown—Air

Products has awarded Technip a contract for technology,

engineering and procurement services for a new grassroots

hydrogen facility in Baytown, Texas.

The 3.5-million standard cubic meters per day plant

will produce hydrogen and carbon monoxide (CO) to be

supplied to customers from Air Products’ established Gulf

Coast Hydrogen and CO Pipeline Networks. Completion is

scheduled in 2018.

Technip’s proprietary high efficiency steam methane reforming

technology will be featured in the plant to produce

high purity hydrogen, CO and export steam. The unit will

also use the latest nitrogen oxide reduction technology to

reduce emissions.

 

Honeywell 100% Owner of UOP Russell After Acquiring Remaining 30% Stake

Chicago—

Honeywell has become the full owner of UOP Russell, a

global leader in modular gas processing technology and

equipment, with its acquisition of the remaining 30% interest

in the company for about $240-million (PCN, 29 Oct

2012, p 2).

In 2012, Honeywell purchased a 70% stake in the Thomas

Russell Co. to form UOP Russell, which became part

of Honeywell UOP. At the time, the parties agreed that

Honeywell had the right to acquire the remaining stake

within three years.

“Tom Russell and his company pioneered the introduction

of modular technology to quickly remove contaminants

from natural gas and recover valuable natural gas liquids,”

said John Gugel, vice president and general manager for

Honeywell UOP’s Gas Processing and Hydrogen business.

“We have continued to build on that foundation, applying

Honeywell processes and Honeywell UOP technology,

and expanding the business internationally to help meet

global demand for natural gas, which is expected to nearly

double by 2040,” he added.

 

Banking Sanctions Lifted on Exports Of Iranian Petrochemicals to Europe

Tehran—Financial

sanctions on exports of Iranian petrochemicals to Europe

were officially removed with the signing of an Escrow

Account Agreement with a Spanish bank, according to

Mehr News Agency, quoting Mehdi Sharifi Niknafas, managing

director of Iranian Petrochemical Commercial Co.

(IPCC).

IPCC’s account was activated in European banks for

the first time in five years, and “accordingly the commercial

contract between IPCC and the association of Spanish

manufacturers was finalized,” he said.

A financing agreement with Spanish banks that was

approved by manufacturers and buyers of petrochemicals

was required to obtain the necessary bank guarantees, he

explained. “Accordingly, by conducting talks with a European

bank, we managed to ink the Escrow Account Agreement

despite international restrictions.”

V54 N01 – 4 January 2016

Dow Advances Kuwaiti JV Consolidation With Sale of MEGlobal Stake to Equate

Midland—Dow Chemical, having previously announced plans to optimize

its ownership in its Kuwaiti joint ventures, said it

has completed the sale of its interest in the MEGlobal joint

venture with Petrochemical Industries Co. (PIC) to Equate

Petrochemical Co. and has received $1.5-billion in pre-tax

proceeds (PCN, 26 Oct 2015, p 1).

MEGlobal is a world leading producer and marketer of

monoethylene glycol and diethylene glycol (EG), and currently

markets over 2.5-million t/y of EG. Dow noted that

through its ownership interest in Equate, it will retain a

42.5% stake in MEGlobal.

Equate is the single operator of Greater Equate, which

includes The Kuwait Olefins Co. joint venture of Dow, PIC,

Boubyan Petrochemical Co. and Qurain Petrochemical Industries

Co.; The Kuwait Styrene Co., and Kuwait Paraxylene

Production Co.

“This is a significant step in our Kuwaiti joint venture

consolidation activities and demonstrates Dow’s drive to

review our entire joint venture portfolio with a best-owner

mindset,” said Dow Chairman and Chief Executive Andrew

N. Liveris

 

Sibur Gains Full Control Over Polief With Purchase of Government Stake

Moscow—Sibur has become 100% owner of Polief with the acquisition of

the remaining 17.5% stake from the Bashkortostan government

for about 500-million rubles.

In 2014, Sibur’s Polief subsidiary completed a polyethylene

terephthalate (PET) expansion in Blagoveshchensk,

Republic of Bashkortostan, to 210,000 t/y from 140,000 t/y,

in order to reduce the country’s reliance on imports (PCN,

28 Apr 2014, p 1).

With Sibur’s full control over Polief, it will continue investing

in the facility and in environmental, health and

safety initiatives, despite the challenging situation in the

domestic PET market, noted Pavel Lyakhovich,

managing director of Sibur’s Plastics and Organic Synthesis Division.

 

 

Indorama Enters Indian PET Business With Acquisition of 100% of MicroPet

 

Bangkok—Indorama Ventures has notified the Stock Exchange of

Thailand that it has completed the acquisition of 100% of

Micro Polypet (MicroPet), establishing a foothold in the

Indian polyethylene terephthalate (PET) market (PCN, 7

Dec 2015, p 1).

The acquisition, for which terms were not disclosed, includes

MicroPet’s Sanchit Polymers and Eternity Infrabuild

subsidiaries.

MicroPet owns and operates a 216,000-t/y PET plant in

Panipat, India. The facility, based on the Melt-to-Resin

technology of Uhde Inventa-Fischer, is integrated with Indian

Oil Corp. for the supply of feedstock.

 

Hengli Selects CB&I’s Catofin Technology For New Petrochemical Project in Dalian

Dalian—Hengli Petrochemical (Dalian) Refinery has awarded a contract

to CB&I to provide its Catofin technology for the production

of propylene and isobutylene in Dalian, China.

Under the contract, CB&I’s Catofin catalytic dehydrogenation

technology and Clariant’s tailor-made Catofin

catalyst will be used at a grassroots 300,000-t/y propane

and 600,000-t/y butane dehydrogenation unit for the joint

production of propylene and isobutylene. The unit is the

“largest single-train dehydrogenation plant in the world,”

CB&I noted.

A completion date was not given for the unit, which is

part of an integrated 20-million-t/y refining and petrochemical

complex on which Hengli recently started construction

(PCN, 14 Dec 2015, p 3).

The $11.5-billion complex, located near the company’s

6.6-million t/y purified terephthalic acid facility, includes a

4.5-million-t/y aromatics project. Construction on the complex

is expected to be completed in two and a half years.

 

Methanex Starts Up Second Methanol Unit Relocated to Geismar from Punta Arenas

Geismar—Methanex has begun producing methanol from its newly

completed 1-million t/y Geismar 2 methanol plant, which

was the second of two plants relocated to Geismar, La.,

from Punta Arenas, Chile (PCN, 2 Feb 2015, p 1).

“Our Geismar 2 plant is producing methanol roughly

three months ahead of our original schedule. We expect

the plant to ramp up to full production rates over with

coming weeks,” said Methanex President and Chief Executive

John Floren.

“With the start-up of Geismar 2, we have successfully

grown our operating capacity by approximately three million

tons over the last three years,” he added.

Methanex last year started up its 1-million-t/y Geismar

1 plant. The total combined cost for reconstruction of the

two plants was about $1.4-billion. “We believe this represents

a substantial cost savings relative to a new-build

plant, and we expect the Geismar 2 plant will create significant

cash-flow and value for our shareholders,” he said.

 

Petrobras Okays Long-Term Supply Of Naphtha Feedstock to Braskem

Rio de Janeiro— Petrobras’ executive board has approved a new long-term

agreement for the supply of naphtha to Braskem for use as

feedstock in Braskem’s petrochemical facilities (PCN, 21-

28 Dec 2015, p 3).

The contract provides for the supply of 7-million t/y of

naphtha for a five year period at a rate of 102.1% of the

price of naphtha in northwest Europe.

Additionally, the agreement allows for, from 2018 on,

the possibility of renegotiating the commercial terms depending

on pre-determined market conditions.

 

Enterprise Starts Up Final Section Of Aegis Ethane Pipeline System

Houston—Enterprise Products Partners has completed construction, commissioned

and started operation of the final 162-mile segment

of the Aegis ethane pipeline from Lake Charles, La., to the

Napoleonville, La., area (PCN, 9 Nov 2015, p 4).

The 270-mile system, originating at Mont Belvieu,

Texas, offers “price-advantaged ethane feedstock and supply

flexibility for the expanding network of petrochemical

facilities along a 500-mile corridor between Corpus Christi,

Texas, and the Mississippi River,” said A.J. Teague, chief

operating officer of Enterprise’s general partner. “These

facilities are expected to represent more than 90% of domestic

ethylene capacity within the next five years.”

 

Kraton Performance Polymers Expects To Acquire Arizona Chem in January

Houston—Kraton Performance Polymers said it expects to consummate

the planned acquisition of Arizona Chemical Co., a

producer of high-value bio-based performance products and

specialty chemicals, in early 2016 (PCN, 5 Oct 2015, p 2).

The $1.37-billion transaction will extend Kraton’s technology

and market diversification, while increasing profitability

and free cash flow.

Kraton earlier noted that Arizona’s end use market exposure

is highly complementary with its own, especially in

the adhesives, coatings, oilfield chemicals and roads and

construction markets.

 

CF & OCI Amend Original Agreement For Planned Merger of Businesses

Amsterdam—CF Industries and OCI NV have amended their original combination

agreement and have received approval by the

boards of directors of both companies for the change (PCN,

14 Dec 2015, p 3).

The transaction, valued at about $8-billion, involves the

combination of CF with OCI’s European, North American

and global distribution businesses. CF will become a subsidiary

of a new European-based holding company, which

was originally expected to be located in the UK.

Under the amended agreement, the jurisdiction of incorporation

and tax residency of the new holding company

has changed to the Netherlands. The transaction is on

schedule to close in mid-2016.

 

Braskem Identifies EPC Contractor For La Porte Polyethylene Project

La Porte—Braskem has awarded Saulsbury Industries, of Odessa, Texas, the

engineering, procurement and construction contract for a

previously announced ultra high molecular weight polyethylene

(UHMWPE) production unit to be built in La

Porte, Texas (PCN, 7 July 2014, p 2).

“This is a strategic step in continuing to move forward

with our new UHMWPE plant,” said Fernando Musa, chief

executive of Braskem America. “Having already completed

detailed engineering, we are optimistic in the future of our

technology,” he added.

The plant, for which a capacity was not disclosed, is expected

to begin production by the end of 2016 to complement

Braskem’s existing UHMWPE unit in Brazil.

 

Chambal Eyes Sale of Shipping Business To Fund Planned Ammonia/Urea Plant

Mumbai—Chambal Fertilisers and Chemicals Ltd.’s board of directors

has approved the sale of the company’s shipping business

in order to fund a new ammonia and urea facility.

In a notice to the Bombay Stock Exchange, Chambal

said that “keeping in view the long-term shipping business

outlook” and the funds required for a new ammonia-urea

project, it has received board approval for the sale or disposal

of one or more of its five shipping vessels, or to sell,

transfer or dispose of the entire shipping business, subject

to shareholder approval. The proposed transaction is dependent

on the receipt of commercially viable and acceptable

offers.

Chambal did not give any details on the ammonia and

urea project, except to say it will be established at Gadepan,

Kota, Rajasthan, India, where the company currently

has two urea facilities producing a combined total of 2-

million t/y.

 

 

Celanese Enters MoU With Push Group For Cellulose Acetate-Based Products

Dallas—Celanese Corp. has entered into a memorandum of understanding

(MoU) with Push Group to form a joint venture for the

production of cellulose acetate-based specialty products,

including high-quality plastics and films.

Under the terms of the agreement, Push Group would

contribute certain existing cellulose acetate-related assets,

while Celanese would supply certain technology along with

its cellulose acetate operational know-how and experience.

The execution of a joint venture agreement is expected

before the end of March 2016. The transaction is subject to

customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals, as

well as third party consents.

“This is an exciting opportunity for Celanese, together

with Push Group, to add a specialty cellulose plastics focus

to our leading cellulose acetate capabilities and our leading

engineered thermoplastics platform, and participate in the

development of the next generation of products manufactured

with cellulose acetate flake,” said Scott Sutton, president

of materials solutions for Celanese.

 

People on the Move

Petrobras—Luiz Nelson Guedes de Carvalho has been

elected chief executive. He has been serving as interim

chief executive since 14 Sept. 2015.

Siam Cement Group—Roongrote Rangsiyopash, currently

an executive vice president, has been appointed

president and chief executive. He replaces Kan Trakulhoon,

who is retiring.

LSB Industries―Daniel D. Greenwell has been named

president and chief executive, effective immediately. He

has been serving as interim chief executive since September

2015 when Barry H. Golsen stepped down as president

and chief executive (PCN, 7 Sept 2015, p 2).

CF Industries—Christopher D. Bohn has become senior

vice president of manufacturing to succeed Phillip P.

Koch, who will retire on 4 Mar. 2016.

Terrell D. Huch, previously senior director of financial

evaluations and analysis, succeeds Bohn as vice president

of supply chain.

 

Topsoe Touts Technology that Supports Celanese, Mitsui JV Methanol Facility

Clear Lake—Haldor Topsoe disclosed that it delivered the licensed process

technology, basic engineering, catalysts and services for

the 1.3-million-t/y methanol plant recently brought on

stream by a joint venture of Celanese Corp. and Mitsui &

Co. in Clear Lake, Texas (PCN, 19 Oct 2015, p 1).

The first Greenfield methanol plant to be built in the

U.S. in many years uses Topsoe’s two-step reforming technology,

including its state-of-the-art autothermal reforming

technology, as well as a proprietary waste heat boiler

design, Topsoe explained.

It is also equipped with Topsoe’s pollution control, including

SCR and Catox technologies to keep emissions of

NOx and volatile organic compounds in compliance with

U.S. environmental regulations.

“We see this as a landmark reference to showcase our

methanol technology in the North American market,” said

Haldor Topsoe Chief Executive Anders N. Olsen.

Celanese and Mitsui last year entered into an exclusive

arrangement to explore a joint venture for a methanol unit

at Celanese’s integrated chemical plant in Bishop, Texas,

which is expected to be similar in scope and scale to the

Clear Lake project (PCN, 20 Apr 2015, p 1).

 

SDK Boosts Ammonia Production Capacity At Its Taiwan Showa Chemicals Facility

 

Taipei—Showa Denko KK (SDK) has expanded high-purity ammonia

production capacity at its Taiwan Showa Chemicals

Manufacturing Co. subsidiary in Tainan City, Taiwan, to

3,500 t/y from 2,500 t/y.

As a result of this expansion, SDK’s total high-purity

ammonia production capacity has been increased to 7,000

t/y. SDK also has high-purity ammonia plants in Japan

and China.

 

Jacobs Engineering Selected by BASF As a New Global Engineering Partner

Pasadena—Jacobs Engineering said it has been chosen by BASF as a

global engineering partner for BASF projects around the

world.

Under a three year contract, Jacobs will provide engineering,

procurement and construction management

(EPCM) and integrated project management services.

“This selection represents a strong endorsement of our

international reach and EPCM capabilities, and we look

forward to working alongside BASF to support its continued

growth and success,” noted Gary Mandel, president of

petroleum and chemicals at Jacobs.

 

 

Nuberg Commissions Chlor-Alkali Facility Doubling Al Ghaith’s Abu Dhabi Output

Abu Dhabi―Nuberg Engineering announced the successful commissioning

of a new chlor-alkali plant in Abu Dhabi, United Arab

Emirates, that has doubled Al Ghaith Industries’ caustic

soda capacity.

Nuberg, under a $15-million engineering, procurement

and construction contract, increased Al Ghaith’s capacity

to 280 t/d from 140 t/d. Asahi Kasei Chemicals Corp. supplied

technology for the project.

 

DuPont Cutting 1,700 Delaware Jobs As Part of Savings/Restructure Plan

Wilmington—DuPont Chairman and Chief Executive Ed Breen informed

Delaware-based employees that the company will be cutting

approximately 1,700 positions locally as part of its

recently announced global cost savings and restructuring

plan for 2016 (PCN, 21-28 Dec 2015, p 4).

The plan, intended to reduce costs by $700-million compared

to 2015, is expected to impact about 10% of DuPont’s

global workforce. The Delaware-based positions will be

eliminated in the beginning of 2016.

DuPont and Dow last month announced that the companies

will combine in an all-stock merger of equals, valued

at around $130-billion (PCN, 14 Dec 2015, p 1). The

combined entity will be named DowDuPont and is planned

to be spun off into three independent publicly traded companies

following completion of the merger. The transaction

is expected to close in the second half of 2016.

 

Enterprise Increases Loading Capacity At Its Expanded LPG Export Terminal

Houston—Enterprise Products Partners has increased its loading

capacity to over 16-million bbls per month of liquefied petroleum

gas (LPG) with the completion of its LPG export

terminal expansion on the Houston Ship Channel (PCN,

23-30 Nov 2015, p 2).

“This terminal serves as the premier LPG export facility

in the U.S.,” said A.J. Teague, chief operating officer of

Enterprise’s general partner. It is expected to meet the

“growing international demand for price-advantaged, domestic

LPG.”

 

CB&I and CTCI Consortium Confirms EPC Award for Orpic Steam Cracker

Muscat—A joint venture of CB&I and CTCI Corp. announced the signing of

a contract with Oman Oil Refineries and Petroleum Industries

Co. (Orpic) to provide engineering, procurement and

construction (EPC) for the steam cracker package for Orpic’s

Liwa Plastics Industrial Complex in Sohar, Oman

(PCN, 21-28 Dec 2015, p 4).

The scope of work for the contract, valued at about

$2.8-billion, involves EPC for a grassroots 880,000-t/y ethylene

plant, a pygas unit and a methyl tertiary butyl ether

unit, as well as all related offsites and utilities.

The cracker will use CB&I’s technology, including

highly selective SRT cracking heaters, and its innovative

recovery section design. CB&I will also be responsible for

construction of cryogenic and atmospheric storage tanks

and pipe spool fabrication.

 

DSM Distributing to Entire EMEA Region

Heerlen—DSM has expanded its distribution network to include the

entire EMEA region through partnerships with Nexeo Solutions,

Resinex and Ter Plastics Polymer Group.

Beginning 1 Jan. 2016, DSM’s engineering plastics

portfolio will be available to customers throughout the

EMEA region.

“The move is intended to strengthen the position of

DSM Engineering Plastics in the wider EMEA market and

improve market share,” the company noted.

 

 

Cefic Anticipates Modest 1% Growth For European Chem Industry in ‘16

Brussels—Cefic, the European Chemical Industry Council, is forecasting

modest growth of 1% in domestic and global demand for

European chemicals during 2016, with “challenging” times

ahead in the long-term.

This forecast comes in the face of declining demand

from key industries, competition from third world countries

and economic slowdown in important export markets,

noted Cefic.

Anticipated European Union (EU) chemical production

of about 1% this year follows the similarly sluggish rate of

0.5% in 2015. “The environment for the chemical business

in 2015 proved challenging: manufacturing growth in the

EU grew only moderately, while construction growth was

slower than expected in the current low interest rate environment,”

Cefic explained.

“Only the automotive industry over-performed in 2015,

impacting demand for certain chemical products.” Going

forward, Cefic expects growth in industries such as food

and beverages, and construction will offset any downturn

in the automotive sector.

“Although we are forecasting a slight uptick compared

to the previous year, the conditions under which this modest

growth took place – such as low oil prices and a favorable

Euro/USD exchange rate – cannot be expected to last

indefinitely,” commented Cefic Director General Hubert

Mandery. He emphasized the need for EU policymakers to

support the competitiveness and innovative capacity of the

chemical industry in Europe.

 

Air Products Proceeds with Spin-Off Of Materials Technologies Business

Lehigh Valley—Air Products has filed a registration statement with the

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to move forward

with the previously announced spin-off of its Materials

Technologies business (PCN, 16 Nov 2015, p 3).

The business will be fully separated and renamed Versum

Materials. The tax-free spin-off is expected to be completed

on or before September 2016.

Guillermo Novo, currently executive vice president of

Materials Technologies, will become chief executive of Versum.

Other members of the Versum leadership team include

Pat Loughlin, who will serve as senior vice president

of Operations and Supply Chain, and George Bitto, who

will serve as chief financial officer and information technology

director.

 

Den Hartogh Acquiring InterBulk to Create Top Global Chemicals Logistics Provider

Rotterdam—Den Hartogh Holding and InterBulk Group have reached

an agreement whereby Den Hartogh will acquire the entire

issued share capital of InterBulk to form a global top three

logistics provider for the chemical industry.

The transaction consideration represents a value of

about €57-million for InterBulk’s entire issued share capital.

With net debt of approximately €72-million, the total

enterprise value amounts to approximately €129-million.

Den Hartogh, headquartered in Rotterdam, the Netherlands,

noted it is already a leader in Europe and has recently

made “remarkable strides” expanding into other

continents. “Joining forces with InterBulk, with its strong

global footprint, will enable Den Hartogh to make a stepchange

and acceleration in its international strategy, in

important growth markets such as China and the U.S.”

The combined company will have nearly 1,600 employees

and an asset base of about 25,800 liquid, gas and dry

bulk containers, 550 trucks, 400 road barrels and offices in

23 countries. The transaction is expected to be completed

during the first quarter of this year.

 

Felda Inks MoU with Newlight, Innogas To Explore Palm Oil Waste-to-Plastic

 

Kuala Lumpur–Felda Global Ventures (FGV) has signed a memorandum of

understanding (MoU) with Newlight Technologies and Innogas

Technologies for a project in Malaysia to produce

biodegradable plastics from palm oil biomass waste.

The partners will convert biogas from FGV’s palm oil

mills into thermoplastics, which will “create important

benefits by harnessing greenhouse gas as a resource while

using carbon that would otherwise become part of the air

to replace fossil fuels,” explained Newlight Chief Executive

Mark Herrema.

Newlight specializes in producing thermoplastic materials

made from air and greenhouse gases, while Innogas

focuses on consulting, process plant engineering and technology

for chemical and renewable energy.

Innogas holds the license for a state-of-the-art technology

to process ligno-cellulosic biomass such as palm oil

waste, which generates a significant amount of biogas,

compared to conventional technologies. It will transfer the

license to the joint venture for exclusive use in Malaysia.

The project is expected to begin in the second quarter of

2016. Construction of the first plant is scheduled to start

in the fourth quarter of 2016 with completion 14 months

later. Eventually the project will be expanded to 10 palm

oil mills over the next five years.

 

China Ends Methanol Anti-Dumping Duties

Beijing—China’s Ministry of Commerce (Mofcom) has decided to

terminate anti-dumping measures on imports of methanol

from Malaysia, Indonesia and New Zealand, effective 24

Dec. 2015.

Mofcom said the duties were lifted because representatives

of the domestic methanol industry did not apply for

an expiry review. The duties were imposed 28 Oct. 2010

and ranged from 9.3% to 37.5% (PCN, 8 Nov 2010, p 2).

V53 N48 – 21-28 December 2015

Axiall and Lotte Decide to Go Ahead With Lake Charles Ethylene Plant

Lake Charles—

Axiall Corp. and Lotte Chemical have decided to proceed

with construction of a new ethane-based ethylene cracker

in Lake Charles, La. (PCN, 2 Nov 2015, p 2).

The plant, expected to produce about 1-million t/y of

ethylene, will provide partial backward integration for

Axiall’s vinyls business and will supply an adjacent

700,000-t/y monoethylene glycol unit being built by Lotte.

LACC LLC, a joint venture of Axiall and Lotte, will

build the ethylene cracker. It will be located next to Axiall’s

largest chlor-alkali plant. Construction is scheduled

to begin in the second quarter of 2016 with start-up anticipated

in the beginning of 2019.

CB&I will execute the main steam cracker contract,

based on its own technology, following successful completion

of front-end engineering and design, and other earlystage

engineering works.

 

Shell Begins Commissioning Process Of Ellba SM/PO2 Production Plant

Moerdijk—Shell

has begun the process of commissioning its rebuilt styrene

monomer/propylene oxide (SM/PO)-2 plant that was damaged

in a 3 June 2014 explosion and fire at its site in Moerdijk,

the Netherlands (PCN, 2 Mar 2015, p 1).

At the time of the incident, the facility, operated by

Shell for its equally-owned Ellba joint venture with BASF,

had 550,000 t/y of SM capacity and 250,000 t/y of PO capacity.

It was reconstructed based on its original design.

Production is expected to resume between the end of 2015

and March 2016.

The Moerdijk complex includes another unit with

450,000 t/y of SM and 210,000 t/y of PO capacity, as well as

a 900,000-t/y ethylene and 500,000-t/y propylene steam

cracker, a 500,000-t/y benzene extraction unit, a 115,000-

t/y butadiene extraction unit, a 105,000-t/y butadiene hydrogenation

facility, a 640,000-t/y ethyl benzene plant, a

155,000-t/y ethylene glycol unit, a 305,000-t/y ethylene oxide

plant and a 750,000-t/y pygas hydrogenation unit.

 

Dow Moves to Commercial Production On Freeport Propane Dehydro Unit

Freeport―Dow

Chemical on Friday announced that its new world-scale

propane dehydrogenation (PDH) unit in Freeport, Texas,

has begun commercial operations (PCN, 27 July 2015, p 1).

The unit, with a capacity of 750,000 t/y, is “the largest

on demand propylene facility of its kind, and the largest

and most advanced Honeywell UOP Oleflex unit ever

built,” the company noted.

“This milestone solidifies our first-mover advantage by

bringing our investments in the U.S. Gulf Coast to fruition,”

added Dow Chairman and Chief Executive Andrew

Liveris. “This is another important step in executing

Dow’s global growth strategy, further increasing our feedstock

flexibility.”

 

Shell Joining CNOOC Expansion Project To Extend Existing CSPC Joint Venture

Huizhou—

Shell Nanhai and China National Offshore Oil Corp.

(CNOOC) have signed a Heads of Agreement, under which

Shell is expected to join an ongoing CNOOC expansion project,

thereby extending their equally-owned CNOOC and

Shell Petrochemicals Co. (CSPC) joint venture.

Subject to final agreements and regulatory approvals,

Shell will join CNOOC’s project to complete construction of

an ethylene cracker with over 1-million t/y of capacity being

built adjacent to CSPC’s existing complex in Huizhou,

Guangdong, China (PCN, 23-30 Dec 2013, p 1).

The agreement also involves ethylene derivatives units,

including a styrene monomer (SM) and propylene oxide

(PO) plant and ethylene oxide (EO) and ethylene glycol

(EG) facility, both based on Shell’s technologies.

Commercial production from the new facilities, to be

owned and operated by the existing CSPC joint venture, is

expected in about two years.

In 2010, CSPC completed a debottlenecking of its ethylene

cracker to 950,000 t/y from 850,000 t/y, as well as expansions

of the SM, PO, EO and EG units, increasing the

site’s total petrochemical production capacity to 2.7-million

t/y from 2.3-million t/y (PCN, 24 May 2010, p 1).

 

China’s Sinopec Completes Acquisition Of Minority Stake in Russia’s Sibur

Moscow—China’s

Sinopec and Russia’s Sibur on 17 Dec. announced the successful

completion of Sinopec’s acquisition of a 10% interest

in Sibur (PCN, 7 Sept 2015, p 3).

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, during a recent

meeting of the Commission on Monitoring Foreign

Investment, said the government had approved Sinopec’s

acquisition of up to a 20% stake in Sibur.

He explained the transaction involves Sinopec acquiring

a 10% interest in Sibur for about $1.34-billion, with the

option to purchase another 10% within three years.

Leonid Mikhelson, chairman of Sibur, earlier said that

having Sinopec as a shareholder would “reinforce Sibur’s

expertise to maximize the efficiency of new large-scale projects

and raise the company to a new level.”

The two companies will explore ways to broaden the

scope of their collaboration. As a next step, they are considering

the participation of Sinopec in the Amur Gas

Chemical Complex as a strategic partner with Sibur (PCN,

19 Oct 2015, p 2). The project includes a 49-billion cu m/yr

gas processing facility and the production of 2.4-million t/y

of ethylene and its derivatives.

 

Kemya JV Starts Bringing Units on Line At Jubail Specialty Elastomers Facility

Jubail—

Kemya, an equally-owned venture of Sabic and ExxonMobil

Arabian Chemical, has begun commissioning of the carbon

black and utilities units at its estimated $3.4-billion

specialty elastomers facility in Jubail, Saudi Arabia (PCN,

30 July 2012, p 2).

The project, when completed, is expected to produce

more than 400,000 t/y of rubber (butyl, styrene butadiene,

polybutadiene and ethylene propylene diene monomer),

thermoplastic specialty polymers and carbon black. Commercial

operations of the initial units are planned to begin

during the second quarter of 2016.

Included in the project is construction of the High Institute

for Elastomer Industries in Yanbu, a product application

development and support center in Riyadh, a polyolefin

thermoplastics compounds production plant, and a local

inventory management center in Jubail.

 

Ineos Wins Another 21 Shale Gas Licenses; Becomes UK’s Leading Shale Gas Player

London—

Ineos has been awarded 21 additional shale gas licenses by

the UK’s Dept. of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) as

the final part of the government’s 14th licensing round

(PCN, 24-31 Aug 2015, p 2).

The licenses were awarded in the East Midlands and

the North West. The areas include Runcorn, Hull and

Newton Aycliffe, all located close to Ineos’ manufacturing

facilities. With the licenses, Ineos now has access to 1-

million acres of potential shale gas reserves, making it the

UK’s “leading shale gas company.” The licenses are subject

to planning permissions.

“This is the start of a shale gas revolution that will

transform manufacturing in the UK,” said Ineos Chairman

Jim Ratcliffe. “Ineos has the skills to safely extract the gas

and we have already committed to both fully consult and to

share the rewards with the local communities.”

Shale gas “could help underpin the competitiveness of

Ineos’s manufacturing sites across the UK for years to

come,” the company explained. “Potentially these new

‘shale economics’ could bolster the wider UK manufacturing

sector as they have done in the U.S.”

 

SCG Chemicals Seeking New Partners For Vietnam’s Long Son PC Complex

Hanoi—Siam

Cement Group’s SCG Chemicals subsidiary is proceeding

with plans for the Long Son petrochemical complex in

Vietnam, but is seeking new partners following Qatar Petroleum

International’s recent withdrawal of its 25% interest

(PCN, 9 Nov 2015, p 2).

The $4.5-billion complex, to be built in Ba Ria-Vung

Tau province, will be comprised of a 1.4-million-t/y olefins

cracker and the downstream production of 2.7-million t/y of

polyethylene and polypropylene.

“We need to look for new partners and we are talking

with a few companies,” said SCG Chief Executive Kan

Trakulhoon, as quoted by local media. “But we are still

confident everything will go ahead as planned and SCG

will remain a major shareholder.”

SCG currently holds a 46% interest in the project, with

PetroVietnam holding 29%.

 

American Chemical Society Applauds Global Climate Change Agreement

Washington—The

American Chemical Society (ACS) is joining world leaders

and citizens in “cheering” the historic agreement on global

climate change that emerged from the 21st Conference of

Parties in Paris.

Following two weeks of talks, diplomats representing

nearly 200 nations reached an agreement that is being

cited as “ambitious, realistic and a crucial step in protecting

the Earth for future generations.”

The accord was reached after more than two decades of

United Nations negotiations that failed to engage all countries.

“For the first time, developed and developing countries

have agreed to take steps to limit and adapt to climate

change,” noted the ACS.

In addition to encouraging countries to exploit new

technologies to cut greenhouse gas emissions, the accord

also lowers the limit of temperature increase over preindustrial

levels to substantially below 2.0 Celsius.

“The Society appreciates that the delegates at the Paris

climate summit have taken the science seriously and appear

to have reached agreement on the critical elements of

an accord,” said ACS Executive Director and Chief Executive

Thomas M. Connelly Jr. “Translating that agreement

into effective solutions will demand the best efforts from

science, and in particular chemistry.”

 

People on the Move

Sasol Ltd.—Bongani Nqwababa and Stephen Russell

Cornell have both been appointed president and chief executive,

effective 1 July 2016. Together they will succeed

David Constable, who has decided not to extend his contract

beyond 30 June 2016 (PCN, 15 June 2015, p 3).

Nqwababa is currently chief financial officer and a

member of the board of directors and the group executive

committee. Cornell is currently executive vice president,

international operations, and a member of the executive

committee.

Total—Patrick Pouyanne, chief executive, has been

elected to the additional role of chairman. He succeeds

Thierry Desmarest, whose term expired on 18 Dec., in line

with the age limits specified in the group’s bylaws.

DuPont—Douglas Muzyka, senior vice president and

chief science and technology officer, will assume additional

responsibility for Engineering Technologies and the company’s

regional leadership on 1 Jan. 2016.

Marc Doyle has been named executive vice president

and will lead the Electronics & Communications, Industrial

Biosciences, Nutrition & Health, Performance Materials

and Safety & Protection business segments, effective 1

Jan. 2016.

Occidental Petroleum Corp.—Vicki A. Hollub, currently

senior executive vice president of Occidental and

president of Oxy Oil and Gas, has been appointed president

and chief operating officer. Also, as previously announced,

she will succeed Stephen I. Chazen as chief executive

(PCN, 11 May 2015, p 2).

Chazen will be nominated to the board for an additional

term, following his position as chief executive.

Exxon Mobil Corp.—Darren W. Woods has been

elected president and a member of the board of directors,

effective 1 Jan. 2016. He is a former vice president of

ExxonMobil Chemical Co.

 

CF Industries Announces Start-Up Of New Donaldsonville Urea Plant

Deerfield—CF Industries

has started up a new urea plant at the company’s

Donaldsonville, La., complex as part of a $2.1-billion expansion

project at the site (PCN, 9 Nov 2015, p 2).

The plant has been operating since 17 Nov. and has

produced over 80,000 tons of urea since start-up. It is the

first plant to be commissioned and started-up as part of

CF’s major capacity expansion projects in North America.

The expansion project at Donaldsonville involves adding

3,300 t/d of ammonia, 3,500 t/d of urea and 4,500 t/d of

urea ammonium nitrate. Once complete, the complex will

be the “largest nitrogen facility in the world,” CF noted.

CF earlier said start-up of the UAN plant is expected in

2015 and the ammonia plant in early 2016.

 

Inovyn Closing UK Chloromethanes Plant; Will Focus on Production in France, Italy

London—

Inovyn is closing its chloromethanes unit in Runcorn, UK,

as part of its new operations strategy to respond to the decline

in European demand.

Effective 1 Mar. 2016, production will be focused on the

company’s chloromethanes assets at Tavaux, France, and

Rosignano, Italy.

“Our new operations strategy will ensure we are best

positioned to focus on and meet the demand for chloromethanes

in our core markets,” said Chief Executive Chris

Tane. “It will also significantly improve our cost base and

help underpin our sustainable, competitive position as a

European chloromethanes producer.”

Inovyn noted that closure of the Runcorn plant gives it

the opportunity to exploit the resulting increased availability

of membrane chlorine capacity at the site.

 

Jindal Films Increasing BOPP Capacity With New Line at Brindisi, LaGrange

Macedon—

Jindal Films is planning to add a new biaxially oriented

polypropylene (BOPP) line at its sites in Brindisi, Italy,

and LaGrange, Ga., increasing BOPP capacity by more

than 50,000 t/y at each site.

Both lines will be installed by the fourth quarter of

2016 and further improve production flexibility.

In addition, Jindal will increase metallizing and extrusion

capabilities at the sites. A new metallizer is expected

to start up at Brindisi in the second quarter of 2016 and

will add 10,000 tons of metallization capacity. At La-

Grange, Jindal will start up a metallizer with 10,500 tons

of metallization capacity in the third quarter of next year.

 

Shell Expects Loss of About 2,800 Roles Following Combination with BG Group

The Hague—

Shell said it expects an overall potential reduction of approximately

2,800 jobs globally, following completion of its

acquisition of BG Group (PCN, 23-30 Nov 2015, p 4).

The cuts are part of a proposed operational and administrative

restructuring under consideration, and are in addition

to Shell’s previously announced plans to reduce its

headcount and contractor positions by 7,500 globally.

Shell noted that the $70-billion acquisition remains on

track for completion in early 2016.

 

Samsung, CB&I Consortium Awarded Contract for Lotte’s U.S. MEG Plant

Lake Charles―A

consortium of Samsung Engineering and CB&I has received

an order from Lotte Chemical for a new 700,000-t/y

monoethylene glycol (MEG) plant in Lake Charles, La.

(PCN, 2 Nov 2015, p 2).

Samsung, which earlier received an early works contract

for the plant, will be responsible for design and procurement,

while CB&I will handle construction of the project.

Samsung’s portion of the contract is valued at $430-

million and CB&I’s portion is $370-million.

The plant, scheduled for completion by 2018, is being

built adjacent to an ethylene cracker being built by LACC

LCC, a joint venture of Lotte and Axiall Corp. (see related

story on page 1).

 

Qenos, BOC Partner to Cut Reliance On Australian Imports of Ethylene

Altona—Qenos and

BOC have shipped the first refrigerant grade ethylene to

major liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants in Queensland

and the Northern Territory in a partnership that will significantly

reduce Australia’s reliance on ethylene imports.

As part of a 10-year multi-million dollar sourcing

agreement, ethylene, traditionally produced by Qenos as

feedstock for polyethylene, is now available for large-scale

LNG export plants and will be delivered across the country

by BOC.

Securing a domestic ethylene source through this partnership

will provide greater supply security to the multibillion

dollar Australian LNG export industry, said Colin

Isaac, BOC’s South Pacific managing director. It will also

reduce delivery time as previous ethylene supplies were

shipped from Northeast Asia.

 

PetroVietnam Opens Plant at Phu My To Provide Feed for Urea Production

Hanoi—Petro-

Vietnam Fertilizer and Chemicals Corp. announced it has

inaugurated a new $22-million urea formaldehyde condensate

(UFC85) plant at its Phu My Fertilizer complex in Ba

Ria-Vung Tau province, Vietnam.

The 15,000-t/y UFC85 facility utilizes methanol oxidation

technology with metal oxide catalysts licensed by Haldor

Topsoe. Toyo Vietnam was the main contractor for the

project.

Located next to an 800,000-t/y urea facility managed

and operated by PetroVietnam, the UFC85 unit will supply

the urea plant, as well as other local fertilizer facilities.

 

Petrobras Still in Talks with Braskem For New Naphtha Supply Agreement

São Paulo—

Petrobras announced that it is still in negotiations with

Braskem for a long-term naphtha supply agreement in

which Petrobras will supply naphtha feedstock to Braskem’s

petrochemical complexes.

Petrobras noted that naphtha supply will not be interrupted

until the final agreement is made.

The companies signed a six-month supply contract earlier

this year, which ran through 31 Aug. 2015 (PCN, 9

Mar 2015, p 2). In October, the contract was extended for

45 days to ensure supply during negotiations.

 

U.S. Chemical Renaissance Just Starting; Growth to Outpace Economy, Says ACC

Washington—

The business of chemistry in America grew 3.6% in 2015

and the U.S. “chemical industry renaissance is just getting

started,” said American Chemistry Council (ACC) Chief

Economist Kevin Swift in the group’s Year-End 2015

Chemical Industry Situation and Outlook.

“The fundamentals are strong,” he noted. “Key domestic

end-use markets expanded, consumer spending accelerated,

the job market began to firm and households enjoyed

extra savings from lower energy costs.”

ACC’s outlook forecasts a 2.9% increase in domestic

chemical production for 2016, followed by a 4.4% growth in

2017. During the second half of this decade, U.S. chemical

production is expected to expand at an annual average of

over 4%, outpacing growth of the overall U.S. economy.

Swift believes the momentum will continue as new capacity

comes online in the next several years. He cited the

announcement of more than 261 new chemical production

projects since 2010 with a total value of over $158-billion.

“The United States is still the place for chemical companies

to invest.”

The annual report offers global and domestic chemical

industry data related to production, trade, shipments, capacity

utilization, R&D and capital spending, employment

and wages. It is part of a larger subscription, which can be

ordered by visiting http://store.americanchemistry.com.

 

Dow’s Board & Third Point Designees Unanimously Back DuPont Merger

Midland—Dow

Chemical said its board of directors, including the two directors

designated by Third Point, “are unanimously and

fully supportive of the announced merger of equals with

DuPont and intended separation” (PCN, 14 Dec 2015, p 1).

Daniel Loeb, founder and chief executive of Third Point,

which holds just over a 2% interest in Dow, sent a letter to

Dow’s board the day after the deal was announced urging

that Dow Chief Executive Andrew Liveris be removed.

Loeb believes the deal was rushed to be announced before

a standstill agreement that prevented him from speaking

publicly about Dow expired, according to the Wall

Street Journal, which reviewed the letter.

Dow maintains the planned merger “is the optimal path

forward and a win for all of our shareholders. We stand by

both our and DuPont’s boards’ unanimous decisions to conduct

this transaction and are fully focused on achieving the

successful integration of both powerhouse companies.”

 

Orpic Begins Awarding EPC Contracts For Liwa Plastics Industries Complex

Muscat—Oman

Oil Refineries and Petroleum Industries Co. (Orpic) has

begun awarding engineering, procurement and construction

(EPC) contracts for its $5.2-billion Liwa Plastics Industries

Complex in Sohar, Oman (PCN, 7 Dec 2015, p 3).

A contract, valued at around $895-million, was awarded

to Tecnimont for a polyethylene (PE) plant consisting of

two swing units with a capacity of 880,000 t/y of highdensity

and linear low-density PE, as well as a polypropylene

facility with 300,000 t/y of capacity.

The PE units will be based on Univation technology,

while the PP facility will use Basell technology. The scope

of work, including commissioning, start-up and guarantee

test run, is planned for completion at the end of 2019.

Mitsui & Co. and its consortium partner GS Engineering

& Construction were awarded an approximately $700-

million contract for a natural gas liquids (NGL) extraction

unit with a capacity of 670-million standard cu/ft day.

Completion is scheduled in about 43 months.

The two other packages, which were expected to be

awarded by the end of this year, include EPC work for a

steam cracker with over 800,000-t/y of capacity and a 300-

km NGL pipeline between Fahud and Sohar.

In December, CB&I received a notice of intention of

award from Orpic to provide EPC for the ethylene unit.

The pipeline is expected to be awarded to Punj Lloyd.

 

Rosneft, Sinopec Consider Cooperation In Gas, Petroleum Chemicals Projects

Moscow—

Rosneft and Sinopec have signed a Memorandum of Understanding

regarding cooperation in gas and petroleum

chemicals projects to be developed in East Siberia.

The memorandum envisions a detailed pre-feasibility

and concept design study for a joint venture that would

include the conversion of natural gas and its liquid fractions

to ethylene and propylene with integrated downstream

production.

Rosneft said the integrated complex, to be located in

Boguchany, Krasnoyarsk, and Angarsk, Irkutsk, is expected

to process up to 10-billion cu m/yr of natural gas

and produce up to 3-million t/y of ethylene with about 6-

million t/y of derivative production.

 

DuPont Reveals Restructure/Savings Plan Designed to Lower Costs by $700-Million

Wilmington–

DuPont announced a global cost savings and restructuring

plan for 2016, which is designed to reduce costs by $700-

million compared to 2015.

The plan includes further consolidating businesses and

aligning staff functions more closely with the businesses,

globally, building on the company’s previous operational

redesign initiative.

DuPont explained that it will simplify its structure into

fewer, larger businesses with integrated functions, leading

to sustainable cost reductions, faster decision making and

closer connections to end markets. The changes will begin

being implemented immediately.

Approximately 10% of DuPont’s global workforce will be

impacted by the plan.

V53 N47 – 14 December 2015

DuPont, Dow Announce Merger of Equals; Combination Will Be Named DowDuPont And Will Be Spun Off Into 3 Companies

Midland—

DuPont and Dow Chemical Co. said their boards of directors

have approved a definitive agreement under which the

companies will combine in an all-stock merger of equals,

valued at approximately $130-billion.

The combined equally-owned company, to be named

DowDuPont, is planned to be spun off into three independent,

publicly traded companies, through tax-free spin-offs,

about 18-24 months following completion of the merger.

The businesses include Material Science, Specialty

Products and Agriculture. “Each business will have clear

focus, an appropriate capital structure, a distinct and compelling

investment thesis, scale advantages, and focused

investments in innovation,” the companies noted.

“This transaction is a game-changer for our industry

and reflects the culmination of a vision we had for more

than a decade to bring together these two powerful innovation

and material science leaders,” said Dow Chairman and

Chief Executive Andrew N. Liveris.

“Over the last decade our entire industry has experienced

tectonic shifts as an evolving world presented complex

challenges and opportunities—requiring each company

to exercise foresight, agility and focus on execution.

This transaction is a major accelerator in Dow’s ongoing

transformation, and through this we are creating significant

value and three powerful new companies,” he added.

Edward D. Breen, chairman and chief executive of Du-

Pont noted that “for DuPont, this is a definitive leap forward

on our path to higher growth and higher value. This

merger of equals will create significant near-term value

through substantial cost synergies and additional upside

from growth synergies.”

The transaction is expected to close in the second half of

2016, subject to customary closing conditions and approval

by the shareholders of both companies.

Upon completion, Liveris will become executive chairman

of the DowDuPont board of directors and Breen will

become chief executive officer of DowDuPont, with dual

headquartered in Midland, Mich., and Wilmington, Del.

 

Sinochem Gets Government Approval For Refinery Expansion, PC Project

Beijing—Sinochem

has received approval from the Fujian Provincial Development

and Reform Commission for a refinery expansion

and petrochemicals project in Quanzhou, the China

Chemical Fiber Group reported.

The $6.8-billion project will expand the refinery by 25%

to 300,000 b/d from the current 240,000 b/d capacity.

The company will also add a 1-million-t/y ethylene

cracker, an 800,000-t/y paraxylene unit, a 400,000-t/y polyethylene

plant, an aromatics extraction unit with 300,000

t/y of capacity, and secondary units.

Sinochem received clearance from the Fujian Environmental

Protection Department in October. A schedule for

the project was not given.

 

Sadara Starts Up LLDPE Plant at Jubail; The Mid East’s ‘First’ Solution PE Unit

Jubail—Sadara

Chemical Co. said it has started up a new linear lowdensity

polyethylene (LLDPE) plant ― the Middle East’s

“first” solution PE facility ― at Sadara’s $20-billion complex

in Jubail, Saudi Arabia (PCN, 29 June 2015, p 3).

The plant, based on Dow technology, is the first of the

26 world-scale manufacturing plants being built at the

complex to come on stream.

Commissioning and start-up activities are in progress

for the other units. When complete, the complex will produce

over 3-million t/y of petrochemicals and plastics.

 

Covestro Planning Tarragona Closure Of Its ‘Non-Competitive’ MDI Facility

Tarragona—

Covestro, following a detailed site analysis, said it intends

to close its “non-competitive” diphenylmethane diisocyanate

(MDI) production facility in Tarragona, Spain, by the

end of 2017.

The plant, with the capacity to produce 170,000 t/y of

MDI, “can no longer remain competitive as an MDI production

facility in Europe,” the company said. “A competitive

future supply of the site with chlorine . . . played a role in

the context of these considerations.” Approximately 120

jobs could be affected by the closure.

Covestro will retain its other assets at the site, which

comprise a polyurethane systems house, hydrochloric acid

logistics and infrastructure. They will continue to be

available to other companies at the park.

“To ensure the long-term competitiveness of MDI production

in Europe, the company intensively considered different

options before deciding to invest directly in its strategic

core products, isocyanates, and to most likely expand

production at another existing European site where there

is already a modern and reliable source of chlorine,”

Covestro explained.

 

Mitsubishi Review Leads to Decision To Combine Chem Operating Units

 

Tokyo—Mitsubishi

Chemical Holdings Corp. (MCHC), as part of an ongoing

detailed review of an organizational restructuring, has

made a decision to integrate three of its consolidated

chemical subsidiaries (PCN, 20 July 2015, p 1).

Effective 1 Apr. 2017, Mitsubishi Chemical Corp., Mitsubishi

Plastics Inc. and Mitsubishi Rayon Co. will be integrated

through a merger, with Mitsubishi Rayon as the

merging company.

MCHC said it “recognizes the need to establish an organizational

structure that can take full advantage of each

company’s resources and strengths, to address a rapidly

changing business climate and drive the expansion of their

business.”

Details of the integrated company, which will continue

to operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of MCHC, will be

determined at a later date.

 

U.S. EXIM Bank Reauthorized Until 2019; Applications Being Accepted/Processed

Washington—

The Export-Import Bank of the U.S. (EXIM Bank) announced

on 4 Dec. that President Obama has signed its

reauthorization into law, with effect until 30 Sept. 2019

(PCN, 20 July 2015, p 2).

This past July, the bank lost its authority to conduct

any new business, as Congress debated whether the

agency, founded in 1934, should exist.

“EXIM will be able to restart the work needed to meet

its mission of supporting American jobs and equipping

American businesses with the tools necessary to compete

for global sales,” said Fred Hochberg, chairman and president

of the EXIM Bank.

The bank is accepting and processing applications for

all levels of financing, however, transactions totaling over

$10-million require approval by EXIM’s Board of Directors.

 

Sibur’s Receives Financial Investment For Its ZapSibNeftekhim PC Complex

Moscow—A

consortium of investors, comprised of the Russian Direct

Investment Fund (RDIF) and Middle Eastern sovereign

wealth funds, have invested in Sibur’s $9.5-billion ZapSib-

Neftekhim integrated petrochemical complex in Tobolsk,

Tyumen Region, Russia (PCN, 22 June 2015, p 2).

ZapSibNeftekhim has completed the placement of 15-

year bonds worth $1.75-billion on behalf of Russia’s Ministry

of Finance for investing in the project, Sibur explained.

“The bonds were placed to attract financing from Russia’s

National Welfare Fund (NWF) as part of RDIF’s 10% quota

from NWF, which is allocated for the implementation of

infrastructure projects.”

In addition to funds raised through debt financing from

the NWF, up to $3.3-billion is being provided by banks,

RDIF and its co-investors. Sibur is also contributing to the

cost of the project with its own funds.

The project, described as “Sibur’s largest investment

project” and the “largest modern petrochemical facility in

Russia,” involves a steam cracker with the capacity to produce

1.5-million t/y of ethylene, 500,000 t/y of propylene

and 100,000 t/y of butane/butylene fraction, and downstream

polyethylene and polypropylene facilities with a

combined total capacity of 2-million t/y.

 

Maire Tecnimont, Sapienza University Join For High-Tech Research Project in Rome

Rome—

Maire Tecnimont and Sapienza University of Rome have

signed a strategic collaboration agreement for applied

high-tech research at Maire Tecnimont’s headquarters in

Rome, Italy.

Under the agreement, both parties will work together

for the development of research and training activities.

Projects identified as a priority include the production of

bio-polymers, the reuse of carbon dioxide as the basic raw

material for the production of chemicals and the study of

new materials for industrial applications.

Maire Tecnimont will transform its headquarters into

an applied research center, providing Sapienza with offices,

scientific equipment and laboratories for pilot plant

experiments.

The project, which will begin operations immediately,

will be funded by Maire Tecnimont.

 

Solvay Completes Cytec Acquisition And Begins Process of Integration

Brussels—Solvay

has completed the acquisition of Cytec and will immediately

begin the integration of Cytec’s businesses into Solvay

(PCN, 3 Aug 2015, p 4).

“Cytec represents a decisive milestone in Solvay’s transformation

and opens up new horizons for growth and innovation,”

said Solvay Chief Executive Jean-Pierre

Clamadieu, adding “Solvay is now a leading provider of

lightweighting materials for the aerospace industry.”

The integration plan, which will be completed by 1 Jan.

2016, includes the establishment of two global business

units. One unit will group Cytec’s aerospace materials and

industrial materials businesses to form part of the advanced

materials segment.

The second group will combine Cytec’s in-process separation,

polymer additives and formulated resins activities

with Solvay’s phosphorous-based intermediates to become

part of the advanced formulations segment.

 

Oiltanking Acquiring Stake in 2 Terminals Through Interest in Galana Mozambique

Hamburg—

Oiltanking GmbH will acquire an indirect shareholding in

two terminal projects in Mozambique, for the storage and

handling of bulk chemical and petroleum products, through

the purchase of a stake in Galana Mozambique Ltd.

The transaction involves a terminal currently under

construction in Matola and a terminal, currently in the

development stage, which is expected to be built in Beira,

along the Mozambican coast.

The Matola terminal will have an initial capacity of

51,000 cu m with land available for expansion. It has access

to a jetty with an 11-meter draft and will be equipped

with rail- and truck-loading facilities. Operations are due

to begin in the second quarter of 2016.

The terminal in Beira will facilitate imports into the

central part of Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia

and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Following completion of the acquisition, Oiltanking will

proceed with the development and construction of the Matola

terminal. After completion, it will be operated by Oiltanking

and branded as Oiltanking Mozambique. The

transaction is planned to close this month.

 

International Arbitration Court Drops All Klesch Claims Against Arkema

Paris—The International

Chamber of Commerce Court of Arbitration has

dismissed all claims made by the Klesch Group against

Arkema (PCN, 16 Sept 2013, p 2).

In 2012, Klesch purchased Arkema’s vinyl assets and

grouped them into Kem One. A year later, Klesch said it

had discovered “significant gaps” between the financial

information provided by Arkema prior to the acquisition

and the actual current financial results. Arkema maintained

that the situation was a result of Klesch’s action to

split the Kem One SAS assets and the downstream Kem

One Innovative Vinyls SAS operations.

In dismissing the claims, the Court of Arbitration has

ordered Klesch to pay Arkema €73.6-million in damages

and to reimburse Arkema the majority of the costs incurred

in the procedure.

 

CF and OCI Receive EC Green Light For Planned Business Combination

Brussels—CF Industries

and OCI NV have received European Commission

(EC) approval for the proposed combination of CF with

OCI’s European, North American and global distribution

businesses. (PCN, 9 Nov 2015, p 1).

Valued at around $8-billion, the transaction involves

OCI contributing its nitrogen production facilities in Geleen,

the Netherlands, and Weaver, Iowa, and its interest

in an ammonia and methanol complex in Beaumont, Texas.

It also includes OCI’s global distribution business in Dubai,

United Arab Emirates.

CF will become a subsidiary of a new European-based

holding company in which its shareholders will own about

a 72.3% interest and OCI will own approximately 27.7%.

It will be the “world’s largest” publicly traded nitrogen

company and will operate under the name CF.

The EC concluded that the transaction would raise no

competition concerns because the combined market shares

of the companies are moderate and several other producers

will ensure continuing competition in these markets.

The transaction, expected to close in 2016, has already

received U.S. antitrust approval.

 

LSB Producing Nitric Acid in El Dorado; NH3 Project on Track for 2nd Q 2016

El Dorado—LSB

Industries announced that its new nitric acid plant in El

Dorado, Ark., is now “fully operational” and the nitric acid

concentrator has successfully passed all performance tests

(PCN, 20 July 2015, p 3).

The 300,000-t/y nitric acid plant and 40,000-t/y concentrator

were built to replace facilities destroyed in a 2012

explosion at the El Dorado complex.

LSB also noted that its new 375,000-t/y ammonia plant

at the site is currently about 85% mechanically complete

and is on schedule for February 2016 completion and a second

quarter 2016 start of production.

Earlier this year, the company revised the cost of the

projects from an original estimate of between $495-million

and $520-million to a range of $831-million to $855-million,

which it attributed to mechanical and piping labor

cost increases.

LSB has completed a $210-million sale of securities to

be used primarily for the completion of the projects. “We

are pleased to have secured the additional financing to

complete the expansion projects,” said LSB Interim Chief

Executive Daniel Greenwell.

 

China Finalizes Duties on MMA Imports From Singapore, Thailand and Japan

Beijing—

China’s Ministry of Commerce (Mofcom) has made a final

ruling to continue imposing anti-dumping duties on imports

of methyl methacrylate (MMA) from Singapore, Thailand

and Japan (PCN, 3 Aug 2015, p 4).

Following its preliminary ruling on 24 July 2015, Mofcom

continued its investigation into the dumping and has

concluded that dumping exists from these countries, causing

substantive damage to the Chinese domestic industry.

According to Mofcom’s final decision, importers will pay

anti-dumping taxes, ranging from 6.7% to 34.6%, for a period

of five years beginning 1 Dec. 2015.

 

Hengli Group Launches Construction On Integrated Refining & PC Project

Dalian—Hengli

Group has started construction on an integrated 20-million

t/y refining and petrochemical complex that includes a 4.5-

million-t/y aromatics project in Dalian, China, the China

Daily reported.

The company plans to invest $11.5-billion in the project

and complete construction in two and a half years.

The project is located near the company’s 6.6-million-t/y

purified terephthalic acid (PTA) facility, where a third PTA

line based on Invista Technology was started up earlier

this year (PCN, 23 Mar 2015, p 1).

 

Ineos Expands Feedstock Procurement And Trading Activity Within Europe

London—Ineos

announced it is expanding its cracker feedstock procurement

and trading activity within Europe.

Until now, Ineos has outsourced the majority of its

naphtha feedstock requirements in Europe, but will now

bring this activity “in-house” to leverage its position within

these commodity markets. Ineos Europe’s Trading & Shipping

business will be responsible for this activity.

The new trading business will be headquartered in

Rolle, Switzerland, and, from next month, will also have

operations based out of Ineos’ London office.

In a related move, Ineos has concluded a long-term

agreement with Oiltanking Ghent for the storage and handling

of Ineos’ naphtha and gas condensate feedstock.

Oiltanking will dedicate about 15% of its total existing

capacity at Ghent to this partnership for the supply of

feedstock to Ineos’ two ethylene crackers in Cologne, Germany,

which have a combined capacity of 1.3-million t/y.

 

SOCMA Names Charles ‘Chuck’ Bennett As Chairman for Board of Governors

Washington—

The Society of Chemical Manufacturing and Affiliates

(SOCMA) has elected Charles “Chuck” Bennett, former

president and chief executive of Dixie Chemical, to serve as

chairman of the board of governors for a period of two

years.

Bennett has 40 years of experience in the chemical industry

and “brings great depth and breadth of knowledge

to his role as chairman,” SOCMA noted. He succeeds J.

Steel Hutchinson, president and chief executive of GFS

Chemicals, effective 1 Jan. 2016.

 

IISRP Opens AGM Online Registration

Houston—

The International Institute of Synthetic Rubber Producers

(IISRP) has launched the website for its 57th annual general

meeting (AGM) to be held 11-14 Apr. 2016 in New Orleans,

La. (PCN, 16 Nov 2015, p 3).

“The AGM website provides complete information on

the meeting agenda as well as online registration and hotel

booking,” said IISRP Managing Director and Chief Executive

Juan Ramon Salinas. “Our business program features

more than 11 speakers reflecting this year’s theme, Positioning

for Growth, having broad appeal to the business

leaders of our industry.” For further details, please visit

www.iisrp.com/agm.

 

Phillips 66 Starts Up Sweeny Fractionator; LPG Export Terminal Scheduled for 2016

Houston—

Phillips 66 has begun operations at a new 100,000-b/d

natural gas liquids (NGL) fractionator at its Sweeny complex

in Old Ocean, Texas (PCN, 17 Feb 2014, p 2).

The fractionator will supply purity ethane and liquefied

petroleum gas (LPG) to the petrochemical industry and

heating markets. It is supported by 250 miles of new pipelines

and a multi-million barrel storage cavern complex.

“We plan to add more capacity in the future to supply

our customers LPGs based on affordable North American

NGLs,” said Bob Herman, executive vice president of midstream.

Phillips’ 150,000-b/d LPG export terminal, under construction

at the company’s existing Freeport, Texas, marine

terminal, is expected to be completed in the second

half of 2016.

The terminal will have an initial export capacity of 4.4-

million barrels per month, with a ship loading rate of

36,000 barrels per hour. Once complete, it will enable

Phillips to place the LPG into global markets.

Both projects, representing a combined capital investment

of more than $3-billion, include connectivity to Mont

Belvieu, Texas.

A 100,000-b/d deethanizer unit will also be installed

near the Sweeny refinery to upgrade propane for export.

 

Fluor Acquiring Stork for $755-Million, Will Merge into Fluor’s O&M Business

Irving—Fluor

Corp. has signed an agreement to acquire 100% of global

industrial services company Stork Holding from Arle Capital

Partners for $755-million.

Stork, based in the Netherlands, provides maintenance,

modification and asset integrity services associated with

large existing facilities in the petrochemical, chemical, oil

and gas, industrial and power markets. It has operations

in Europe, the UK, the Middle East and the Americas.

Upon closing of the transaction, Fluor will begin combining

its Operations & Maintenance (O&M) business with

Stork. Arnold Steenbakker, currently chief executive of

Stork, will lead the combined group, branded Stork and

headquartered in the Netherlands. The management team

will include Stork’s existing management and Fluor’s O&M

management.

The acquisition, expected to close in the first half of

2016, is subject to regulatory approvals and consultation

procedures with Stork’s work council.

 

Green Biologics Undertakes Building Of Green n-Butanol, Acetone Facility

Little Falls—

Green Biologics Ltd. said construction is underway on its

100% renewable, bio-based n-butanol and acetone facility

in Little Falls, Minn. (PCN, 26 Jan 2015, p 2).

The company is repurposing a recently purchased 21-

million-gal/yr ethanol plant to use its advanced fermentation

process technology platform for the production of nbutanol

and acetone. Commercial production is expected to

begin during 2016.

“The commencement of this construction project marks

a significant milestone in our commitment to becoming a

world-class renewable specialty chemicals company,” said

Green Biologics Chief Executive Sean Sutcliffe.

The company noted it has gained American Chemistry

Council membership and started implementing a comprehensive

Responsible Care initiative.

 

Evergas Signs Contract with JHW E&C For 4 New Ethane, Ethylene Carriers

Shanghai—

Evergas has signed a contract with JHW Engineering &

Construction for the delivery of four Ineos Max 32,000 cu

m liquefied ethane/ethylene carriers, with the option of an

additional two carriers.

The vessels, to be built in China, will feature a dual fuel

propulsion flexibility including liquefied natural gas (LNG)

and ethane and an optimized Eco hull design, which will

significantly reduce emissions, as well as a ballast water

treatment system to protect the sea water environment.

The carriers will be delivered to Evergas from the first

quarter of 2018 onwards.

Late last year, Ineos Olefins & Polymers ordered two

additional 27,5000 cu m “dragon class” ethane vessels from

Evergas, increasing its fleet to eight (PCN, 10 Nov 2014, p

4). As of today, three of the eight carriers have been delivered

to Evergas for transporting U.S. ethane from shale

gas to Ineos’ manufacturing sites in Europe.

With delivery of the Ineos Max ships, the 27,5000 cu m

LNG carriers will be available for trade on the growing

LNG transportation market, Evergas noted.

 

Nova Chem Joins ACC’s Plastic Division; Bezaire to Serve Operating Committee

Washington—

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) announced that

Nova Chemical Corp. has joined its Plastics Division.

Chris Bezaire, senior vice president of the polyethylene

business at Nova, has been appointed to serve on the Plastics

Division’s Operating Committee.

“Nova Chemicals looks forward to working with our fellow

industry leaders to advance plastics’ important contributions

to sustainability through outstanding outreach,

policy and research,” said Bezaire.

V53 N46 – 7 December 2015

Shell Planning $717-Million Investment To Increase LAO Capacity at Geismar

Houston—Shell

Chemical has decided to invest $717-million in a fourth

linear alpha olefins (LAO) production unit at its Geismar,

La., site (PCN, 18 Feb 2013, p 1).

The new 425,000 t/y LAO unit will bring total LAO capacity

at the site to over 1.3-million t/y. Construction will

begin in the first quarter of next year and operation are

expected to begin in 2018.

“With the investment in new profitable facilities, Shell

Chemicals is well placed to respond to increased global customer

demand for LAOs,” said Graham van’t Hoff, executive

vice president for Shell’s global chemicals business.

“We have strong technology, advantaged ethylene feedstock

from nearby Norco and Deer Park sites, and operational

flexibility to allow us to respond to market conditions,”

he added.

The company earlier said the expansion would utilize

the proprietary Shell Higher Olefins Process, which has a

“proven track record” in the existing three LAO units at

the site and Shell’s Stanlow LAO plant in the UK.

 

Unipetrol Proceeding with Rebuild Of Fire Damaged Ethylene Plant

Litvinov—Unipetrol

is going ahead with reconstruction of its 544,000-t/y Zaluzi

ethylene plant in Litvinov, Czech Republic, damaged by

fire earlier this year (PCN, 28 Sept 2015, p 4).

Linde Engineering will provide engineering, procurement

and construction management for the project, while

Technip will be responsible for delivering some technological

components, including four new pyrolysis furnaces.

The ethylene plant, as well as a polypropylene facility

and two polyethylene units with a combined capacity of

595,000 t/y, were all closed following the August fire.

The ethylene plant is expected to resume operating at

65% capacity in July 2016, with full capacity “very roughly

estimated” for October 2016, Unipetrol said.

“We are doing our maximum in order to put the ethylene

unit into operation in the shortest possible term,”

noted Unipetrol Chief Executive Marek Switajewski.

 

IVL Acquiring PET Producer MicroPet; Establishes Foothold in Indian Market

Bangkok—

Indorama Ventures PCL (IVL) is planning to acquire Indian

polyethylene terephthalate (PET) manufacturer Micro

Polypet Pvt. Ltd. (MicroPet), subject to necessary legal approvals.

MicroPet, a venture of BLG Group and Action Petrochem

Pvt. Ltd., has a 216,000-t/y PET plant in Panipat,

India, based on Uhde Inventa-Fischer’s Melt-to-Resin

technology (PCN, 15 Apr 2013, p 1). The facility is integrated

with Indian Oil Corp. to receive feedstocks.

“This is a unique opportunity for us to establish a foothold

in one of the world’s fastest-growing developing

economies,” said IVL Group Chief Executive Aloke Lohia.

 

S-Oil Selects Sumitomo Technologies For PP and PO Production in Ulsan

Ulsan—S-Oil has

concluded an agreement to license Sumitomo Chemical’s

technologies for the production of polypropylene (PP) and

propylene oxide (PO) in Ulsan, Korea.

S-Oil recently decided to proceed with a residue upgrading

complex and olefin downstream complex project that

involves construction of a plant to upgrade low-value residue

oil to high-value gasoline and propylene. The propylene

will be used for the production of 405,000 t/y of PP and

300,000 t/y of PO. Completion is expected in the first half

of 2018.

Sumitomo noted that its PO technology is based on a

process that produces only PO without accompanying coproducts

by recycling cumene. This method, which was

commercialized by Sumitomo “has a distinct advantage of

achieving a high PO yield . . . as well as ensuring superior

stability in plant operation.”

 

Luxi to Use Honeywell UOP’s Technology For Methanol-to-Olefins Plant in China

Liaocheng—

Luxi Chemical Group has chosen Honeywell UOP’s Advanced

Methanol-to-Olefins (MTO) technology to convert

coal into olefins in China.

The MTO process will convert methanol derived from

gasified coal into 293,000 t/y of ethylene and propylene at

Luxi’s plant in Liaocheng, Shandong Province, China. The

technology combines the UOP/Hydro MTO process and the

Total/UOP Olefin Cracking process to “significantly increase

yields and feedstock efficiency,” Honeywell noted.

“The technology to turn methanol from coal into plastics

has been well-proven in China, which is expected to invest

more than $100-billion in coal-to-chemicals technology in

the next five years,” said Mike Millard, vice president and

general manager of UOP’s Process Technology and Equipment

business.

 

Shell Declares Force Majeure in Bukom

Singapore—

Shell has declared force majeure on base chemical products,

effective 1 Dec., due to “a technical issue with the

ethylene cracker complex” at Pulau Bukom, Singapore.

Shell recently finished its “largest-ever petrochemicals

investment,” increasing olefins and aromatics capacity on

Bukom “by more than 20%” (PCN, 19 Jan 2015, p 1). Prior

to that investment, the company said the complex had the

capacity to produce 800,000 t/y of ethylene, 450,000 t/y of

propylene, 155,000 t/y of butadiene and 230,000 t/y of benzene.

A Shell spokeswoman confirmed to PCN the cracker

now has over 1-million t/y of ethylene capacity.

Shell said its manufacturing and supply chain teams

are working to resume normal operations and supply as

soon as possible.

On 19 Oct. 2015, the company lifted a force majeure on

base chemical products caused by a 14 Oct. “operational

upset” at Pulau Bukom (PCN, 26 Oct 2015, p 4).

 

Petronas Awards Tecnimont JV Contract For Two PP Facilities at Rapid Complex

Johor—

Petronas Chemicals’ PRPC Polymers subsidiary has

awarded a joint venture of Tecnimont and China HuanQiu

Contracting & Engineering a contract to build two polypropylene

(PP) units at the Refinery and Petrochemical

Integrated Development (Rapid) complex in Malaysia.

The two new 450,000-t/y PP plants will be located inside

the Integrated Refinery and Petrochemical complex in

Penegrang, Johor, and will be based on LyondellBasell’s

Spherizone and Spheripol PP technologies (PCN, 22-29 Dec

2014, p 1).

The lump sum turn-key contract, valued at $482-

million, includes the provision of complete engineering services,

equipment and material supply, erection and construction

activities up to start-up and guarantee test run.

Completion is expected in the second quarter of 2019.

The Rapid project consists of a 300,000-b/d refinery, expected

to be operational by early 2019, and a petrochemical

complex to produce about 7.7-million t/y of products.

 

Chemours Plans Transformation Steps; Recommits to Methylamines Business

Wilmington—

The Chemours Co., formerly DuPont’s performance chemicals

business, has announced the next steps to be implemented

in its transformation plan (PCN, 6 July 2015, p 1).

As part of its ongoing efforts to streamline and simplify

its global structure and reduce costs, Chemours plans to

reduce its workforce by about 400 positions. The reduction,

which is expected to be completed during 2016, will affect

business lines and functions and is expected to save the

company approximately $50-million annually.

As part of Chemours’ portfolio optimization, the company

announced a continued commitment to the Belle, W.

Va., methylamines production site. The site will remain

part of the chemical solutions portfolio, with additional

steps to improve performance and financial contribution

expected.

The company has also completed a strategic review of

its reactive metals solutions business and made the decision

to stop production at the Niagara Falls, N.Y., plant by

the end of 2016. This step is expected to improve pre-tax

income and adjusted EBITDA by about $20-million a year

starting in 2017.

 

Borealis Taps Neste Jacobs’ Services For Upgrade of 4 Cracker Furnaces

Stenungsund—

Borealis has signed an agreement for Neste Jacobs to provide

engineering, procurement and construction management

services for the upgrade and revamp of four of Borealis’

six cracker furnaces in Stenungsund, Sweden (PCN, 6

July 2015, p 1).

The €160-million project involves upgrading the four

furnaces to the highest currently available process safety

and energy efficiency standards, and shutting down the

two older furnaces. Work is scheduled to begin this year

and be completed by 2020.

Borealis, which recently signed a 10-year agreement for

the supply of ethane from Antero Resources to the Stenungsund

cracker, last year announced that it was upgrading

its 625,000-t/y Stenungsund cracker to allow for increased

ethane cracking.

 

Celanese Sells Atmospheric Emulsions Unit; Closing VAE Emulsions Unit in Tarragona

Dallas—

Celanese has concluded the sale of it atmospheric (vinyl

and acrylic) emulsions facility in Tarragona, Spain, to local

petrochemical firm IQOXE.

The transaction, for which financial details were not

disclosed, includes a 25,000-t/y atmospheric emulsions unit

and 29 employees. Under a multi-year agreement, IQOXE

will produce certain emulsions products for which Celanese

will continue to remain the channel to market for Mowilith

and Celvolit atmospheric emulsions.

This past March, Celanese launched the sale process for

both its atmospheric and vinyl acetate ethylene (VAE)

emulsions production plants in Tarragona. The company

did not find a credible buyer for the VAE emulsions unit

and has decided to close the unit. Production at the unit

was discontinued at the end of October.

Celanese will continue to supply its VAE emulsions customers

from its European production network.

 

Hongli Terminates Coke Production; Continues Clean Technology Focus

Beijing—Hongli

Clean Energy Technologies Corp., formerly known as SinoCoking

Coal and Coke Chemical, has discontinued its

coke producing business with the termination of a coke

producing agreement with Pingdingshan Hongfengxuanmei

Coking and Chemical Co.

The company said it plans to be “more laser-focused” on

developing, manufacturing and commercializing its clean

tech energy products by leveraging its existing technologies

and infrastructure.

Hongli will use the Pressure Swing Adsorption process

to separate hydrogen from syngas. It will also employ the

Cryogenic Separation technology to separate clean energy.

The coke inventory will be used for producing the syngas.

Hongli recently said it was negotiating a definitive

agreement for the 10 year lease of a syngas production facility

in Linying County, Henan Province, China, from

Zhengzhou Coal Industry (PCN, 17 Aug 2015, p 3).

With the facility, Hongli Plans to produce an additional

100,000 cu m/hr of syngas, 12,000 cu m/hr of hydrogen,

180,000 t/y of ammonia, 100,000 t/y of methanol, 24,000 t/y

of formaldehyde, 16,000 t/y of carbon dioxide and 12,000 t/y

of ammonium bicarbonate.

 

Malaysia’s Sabah State to Develop 2nd Ammonia Project in Sipitang

Sabah—The state of

Sabah, under the 11th Malaysia Plan, expects to develop a

second ammonia plant at the Sipitang Oil & Gas Industrial

Park (SOGIP), reported the Malaysian National News

Agency, quoting Deputy Chief Minister and Industrial Development

Minister Raymond Tan Shu Kiah.

“For 2016, Sabah Oil & Gas Development Corp.’s focus

is to further boost the petrochemical industry in SOGIP

and locate several support industries or businesses, so as

to provide well-rounded services to investors,” he said.

Sabah Oil & Gas has identified five ammonia derivatives –

caprolactam, ammonium sulphate, ammonium nitrate,

ammonium chloride and diammonium phosphate.

Petronas Chemical Fertilizer Sabah is scheduled to

start up the first ammonia plant in SOGIP next year, he

noted. That project is designed to produce 2,100 t/d of

ammonia and 3,850 t/d of urea (PCN, 10 Oct 2011, p 4).

 

Samsung Gets Contracts from PETRONAS For Rapid EO/EG and LLDPE Projects

Johor—Samsung

Engineering has received two contracts from Petronas’

subsidiaries for an ethylene oxide/ethylene glycol

(EO/EG) project and a linear low-density polyethylene

plant, as part of the Rapid complex in Pengerang, Malaysia

(see related story, page 2).

The first engineering, procurement, construction and

commissioning (EPCC) contract, awarded by PRPC Glycols,

is valued at about $577-million and includes a

740,000-t/y EG facility based on Shell technology. The

scope of work includes an EO/EG tank farm, as well as a

tank truck loading rack and drumming warehouse.

Valued at approximately $305-million, the second contract

involves a 350,000-t/y LLDPE plant based on Ineos

Technology. The contract was awarded by PRPC Polymers

and includes a polymers tank farm. Both lump sum turnkey

projects are set for completion in 2019.

 

Wood Group Agrees to Acquire Infinity; Establishes Entry into U.S. PC Sector

Houston—Wood

Group is diversifying into petrochemicals with its agreement

to acquire Infinity Group, a private Texas Gulf Coast

contractor in the petrochemical, refining and gas processing

industries, for an initial consideration of $150-million.

Infinity will be integrated into the Wood Group PSN

Americas business unit, creating a brownfield service offering

to the downstream market that complements the existing

services of Wood Group PSN Australia Asia Pacific’s

chemicals, refining and liquefied natural gas sectors.

Subject to usual closing conditions, the transaction is

expected to be complete this year.

 

LyondellBasell Enters Definitive Agreement To Obtain Zylog’s PP Compounding Assets

Houston—

LyondellBasell has entered into a definitive agreement to

acquire the polypropylene (PP) compounding business of

Zylog Plastalloys.

The transaction, for which a value was not disclosed, is

expected to close in early 2016. Upon completion, LyondellBasell

will double its automotive customer base in India

and become the third largest producer of PP compounds

in the country with a capacity of 44,000 t/y.

The company recently acquired Indian PP compounds

producer SJS Plastiblends (PCN, 5 Oct 2015, p 3).

 

KBR Awarded Contract in Louisiana For G2 LNG’s Liquefaction Project

Houston—KBR has

been awarded a contract by G2 LNG LLC to provide Federal

Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) front-end engineering

design (FEED) engineering and FERC report

pre-filing services to support the development of a grassroots

liquid natural gas (LNG) facility in Cameron Parish,

in Louisiana.

The project, to be located on the Calcasieu Ship Channel,

entails a two train LNG facility with 14-million t/y of

liquefaction and export capabilities, based on Air Products

and Chemicals technology.

KBR will also provide the technical documentation required

by FERC during the pre-filing process.

 

Orpic to Soon Award EPC Contracts For All Four Liwa Plastic Packages

Muscat—Oman

Oil Refineries and Petroleum Industries Co. (Orpic) has

finalized negotiations with the preferred bidders of four

engineering, procurement and contracting (EPC) packages

for its Liwa Plastics Industries Complex in Sohar, Oman,

and anticipates signing the EPC contracts by the end of the

year (PCN, 26 Oct 2015, p 3).

The $5.2-billion complex, due to be commissioned in

2019, consists of a steam cracker with over 800,000 t/y of

capacity, 838,000 t/y of linear low- and high-density polyethylene

capacity, 215,000 t/y of polypropylene capacity, a

natural gas liquids (NGL) extraction unit, and a 300-km

NGL pipeline between Fahud and Sohar.

The EPC contracts cover the steam cracker and utilities;

plastics units; NGL extraction, and NGL pipeline.

They will awarded to a joint venture of CB&I and CTCI;

Tecnimont; a joint venture of GS Engineering and Construction

and Mitsui & Co., and Punj Lloyd, respectively.

“We are concluding discussions with export credit agencies,

commercial banks and other relevant authorities and

we expect to finalize the project funding plan by the end of

the year, enabling us to award the respective EPC contracts,”

noted Orpic Chief Executive Musab Al Mahruqi.

In a separate release, CB&I said it received a notice of

intention of award from Orpic to provide EPC for a grassroots

880,000-t/y ethylene plant, pygas unit and methyl

tertiary butyl ether unit at Liwa, as well as all related offsites

and utilities. The cracker will employ CB&I’s technology,

including highly selective SRT cracking heaters,

and its innovative recovery section design.

 

Genomatica and Braskem Producing Bio-Based Butadiene at Lab Scale

San Diego—Genomatica

and Braskem confirmed they have been successfully

producing butadiene at lab scale since June, using

their direct, bio-based process (PCN, 16 Dec 2013, p 2).

The companies signed an agreement in 2013 to jointly

develop a commercial process for the production of butadiene

from multiple renewable feedstocks.

“Our joint team has made good use of Genomatica’s integrated

bioengineering platform, including its computational

techniques and high-throughput cloning and screening,”

explained Nelson Barton, senior vice president of research

and development for Genomatica.

“Our rational approach to strain design should enable

faster, more predictable scale-up and better economics as

we advance the program,” he added.

 

Ineos Acquires DEA’s North Sea Fields

London—Ineos

has completed the purchase of all of the UK North Sea gas

fields owned by German-based DEA Group, a subsidiary of

LetterOne Group (PCN, 19 Oct 2015, p 1).

The assets include DEA’s platforms, infrastructure and

employees, which will form part of the new Ineos Breagh

and will be based in London.

The transaction includes interests in the Breagh and

Clipper South gas fields in the southern North Sea. They

are located close to Ineos’ sites in the North East and

Grangemouth, Scotland, where Ineos operates the only

refinery and petrochemicals complex directly attached to

the North Sea.

 

Fluor Touts Completion of INA Plant For BASF & Sinopec JV in Maoming

Shanghai—Fluor

Corp. announced it has completed a new 180,000-t/y worldscale

isononanol (INA) plant for BASF and Sinopec in

Maoming Hi-tech Industrial Development Zone, Maoming,

China (PCN, 27 Jan 2014, p 4).

The facility, which is a first-of-its-kind in China, will be

operated by BASF MPCC Co. Ltd., an equally-owned joint

venture of BASF and Sinopec. It will serve the growing

demand for next-generation plasticizers.

Separately, The BASF-YPC joint venture between

BASF and Sinopec has begun production at a new 40,000-

t/y neopentylglycol facility at its state-of-the-art Verbund

site in Nanjing, China (PCN, 8 June 2015, p 1).

 

Trecora Building Silsbee Reformer Unit To Support Recent D-Train Expansion

Sugar Land—

Trecora Resources plans to build a 4,000-b/d reformer unit

at its South Hampton Resources (SHR) subsidiary in Silsbee,

Texas, to support the recently completed D-Train expansion

(PCN, 28 Sept 2015, p 2).

The unit, estimated to cost $40-million, uses advanced

catalyst processes that will produce a “significantly higher

value by-product stream compared to our existing reformer,”

said Trecora President and Chief Executive Simon

Upfill-Brown. It will also offer a secure and reliable source

of hydrogen for SHR’s pentane production. Construction is

expected to be complete in the first half of 2017.

The D-Train expansion will increase C5 production at

Silsbee by about 60%, adding 4,000 b/d of feedstock capacity

by the end of 2015.

 

Engro Corp. Reaches Decision to Divest Stake in Engro Polymer and Chemicals

Karachi—

Engro Corp. has decided to offer for sale all of the 373-

million shares it holds in Engro Polymer and Chemicals

Ltd. (EPCL), as well as management control, a Pakistani

source told PCN.

Engro’s shares account for 56.19% of EPCL’s capital.

International Finance Corp. holds 14.64%, Mitsubishi

Corp. holds 10.24% and small shareholders control the remainder

of the company.

EPCL, which has reported tax losses for four of the six

years from 2009 to 2014, produces polyvinyl chloride, vinyl

chloride monomer, caustic soda and related derivatives.

 

Invista & LanzaTech Make ‘Breakthrough’ In Gas Fermentation Technology Project

Wichita—

Invista and LanzaTech announced they have made a

“breakthrough” in gas-fermentation technology for the production

of butadiene (PCN, 19 May 2014, p 3).

A metabolic “toolkit” has been developed and successfully

applied to generate novel metabolic pathways to bioderived

butadiene and key precursors, such as 1,3 and 2,3

butanediol, resulting in new direct and two-step processes.

Work is in the early stage of development with plans to

commercialize within the next several years.

Specifically, the toolkit integrates detailed knowledge

about a bacterium’s genetic configuration with the tools to

precisely customize that configuration in order to make a

particular product, together with a model to accurately

predict the performance of the bacterium.

“We are encouraged by this breakthrough,” said Bill

Greenfield, president of Invista’s Intermediates business.

“Our ongoing collaboration will continue to leverage the

strong biotechnology capabilities of both LanzaTech and

Invista.”

The partners signed a research and development agreement

last year for gas fermentation technology using carbon

dioxide and hydrogen gas for the production of industrial

chemicals.

 

Zeon Confirms Closure of UK Synrub Site

Sully—

Zeon Chemicals Europe Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of

Zeon Corp., confirmed it will end synthetic rubber production

at its Sully, UK, site (PCN, 28 Sept 2015, p 2).

The site will be closed by the end of March 2016, due to

the uncertainty in long term availability and supply of raw

materials to the site, as well as changing market conditions,

Zeon explained. Capacity of the facility was not

available.

 

BASF Adding PA, PBT in Schwarzheide

Schwarzheide–

BASF said it is expanding compounding capacities for engineering

plastics in Europe, and “presumably” from 2017

will be able to additionally produce up to 70,000 t/y of

polyamide (PA) and polybutylene (PBT) at its Schwarzheide

site in Germany.

With this project, BASF’s global compounding capacity

for PA (Ultramid) and PBT (Ultradur) will rise to more

than 700,000 t/y.

 

Pertamina Operating Cilacap RFCC Unit

Jakarta—

Indonesia’s PT Pertamina has begun operations at its new

$847-million residual fluid catalytic cracking (RFCC) unit

at the Cilacap refinery in Java, Indonesia, according to

local press reports.

The RFCC is designed to produce 140,000 t/y of propylene,

389,000 t/y of liquefied petroleum gas and 37,500 b/d

of gasoline with octane levels above RON 93 and standard

euro 3 specification (PCN, 21 Sept 2015, p 4).

V53 N45 – 23-30 November 2015

Chemours Signs Definitive Agreement To Sell Beaumont Aniline Unit to Dow

Beaumont—

The Chemours Co. has signed a definitive agreement to sell

its aniline facility in Beaumont, Texas, to Dow Chemical

for approximately $140-million in cash.

As part of the transaction, Chemours has entered into

an agreement to meet Dow’s additional aniline requirements

with supply from its Pascagoula, Miss., plant.

Chemours will continue to serve its other aniline customers

from its Pascagoula unit as well.

Capacity of the Beaumont facility and an expected completion

date for the transaction were not disclosed.

“We have moved rapidly since Chemours was created in

July to capture cost reductions and streamline our portfolio,”

said Chemours President and Chief Executive Mark

Vergnano. “We will continue to take actions to deliver

every aspect of our five-point transformation plan, and to

enable greater focus on our businesses that have the

strongest advantages and greatest market opportunities.”

Chemours was spun off from DuPont and launched as

an independent, publicly-traded corporation (PCN, 6 July

2015, p 1). It consists of the chemical solutions, fluoroproducts

and titanium technologies business of DuPont.

 

Shandong Luqing Begins Production At New Chinese Isobutylene Facility

Shandong—

Shandong Luqing Petrochemical Co. has started up a new

isobutylene production unit in Shandong Province, China

(PCN, 15 Sept 2014, p 4).

The 170,000-t/y plant is based on Honeywell UOP’s C4

Oleflex technology. UOP also provided the engineering

design, catalysts, adsorbents, equipment, staff training and

technical service for the project.

Mike Millard, vice president and general manager of

UOP’s Process Technology and Equipment business unit,

noted that “UOP’s fast-to-market solution, with key preengineered

components, enabled this project . . . to start-up

in just 20 months—about 10 to 12 months earlier than a

typical project of this size—allowing Shandong Luqing to

start producing isobutylene sooner.”

 

BASF Announces Start of Operations At New TDI Plant in Ludwigshafen

Ludwigshafen—

BASF has begun operations at a new single-train 300,000-

t/y toluene diisocyanate (TDI) complex at its site in

Ludwigshafen, Germany (PCN, 25 Feb 2013, p 1).

The project, which cost over €1-billion, included the update

and expansion of production facilities for TDI precursors.

It also included investments in the infrastructure

that supplies steam, electricity and water.

“This is the largest investment ever made at the site

and will create about 200 new jobs,” the company noted.

An 80,000-t/y TDI plant in Schwarzheide, Germany,

will gradually be taken out of operation with the start-up

of the Ludwigshafen TDI complex.

 

BP Planning to Sell Decatur PC Complex; Reorganizing Global Petchem Business

Houston—BP

has decided to put its Decatur, Ala., petrochemical complex

up for sale as part of a broader reorganization of the company’s

global petrochemicals business.

The complex, capable of producing 1-million t/y of purified

terephthalic acid (PTA), has five operating units.

Three units produce PTA, one manufactures paraxylene

and the other makes naphthalene dicarboxylate (NDC).

The site is the only commercial producer of NDC.

BP’s refocused petrochemical strategy involves pursuing

a competitively advantaged portfolio through worldscale,

low-cost facilities that utilize BP proprietary technology,

including the production of PTA, the company explained,

adding that the Decatur complex no longer fits

this strategy.

The strategy includes “significantly” improving the

“cash breakeven performance of the business, enhancing

earnings potential and making it more resilient to bottomof-

cycle conditions,” noted Tufan Erginbilgic, chief executive

of BP’s global downstream business.

BP expects to complete a sale of all or part of the facility,

including over 400 employees.

The complex is located adjacent to Indorama Ventures’

432,000-t/y AlphaPet polyethylene terephthalate (PET)

plant, which is undergoing a $190-million expansion project

to double PET capacity by the end of this year (PCN, 8

Apr 2013, p 1).

 

LyondellBasell Chooses Channelview For ‘World’s Largest’ PO, TBA Plant

Channelview—

LyondellBasell has selected its Channelview, Texas, complex

as the site for the “world’s largest” propylene oxide

(PO) and tertiary butyl alcohol (TBA) plant (PCN, 1 Sept

2014, p 1).

The project is anticipated to produce 1-billion lbs/yr of

PO and 2-billion lbs/yr of TBA, based on the company’s

proprietary PO/TBA technology. Operations are planned

to begin in 2019.

The company will soon begin front-end engineering design

work and file environmental permit applications. A

final investment decision is planned following completion

of the engineering design work.

As many as 2,500 construction jobs and about 100 permanent

positions are expected to be created.

In addition, Bayport Choate, near Pasadena, was selected

as the location for an ethers unit which will produce

oxy-fuels for high octane gasoline. A split facility design

between Channelview and Bayport will optimize the product

balances between the sites and create more synergies.

 

Shell Confirms Moerdijk Fire ‘Incident;’ Cracker Closed, Other Units Unclear

Moerdijk—Shell

Chemicals confirmed an 11 Nov. fire “incident” in the compressor

of the cracker at its Moerdijk complex in the Netherlands.

Shell said the compressor was immediately taken out of

operation and production at the 900,000-t/y ethylene and

500,000-t/y propylene cracker was halted. The company,

however, did not respond to PCN’s query on the status of

other production units at the site or an anticipated restart

date for the cracker.

Earlier this year, Shell made a decision to rebuild a

500,000-t/y styrene and 250,000-t/y propylene oxide plant

damaged in a 3 June 2014 explosion and fire at Moerdijk

(PCN, 2 Mar 2015, p 1). Production is scheduled to resume

between December 2015 and March 2016.

At the same time, Shell said it was in the process of restoring

the steam system at Moerdijk that was damaged by

contamination during a separate incident in October 2014

and resulted in the closure of all units at the site.

The Moerdijk complex also includes a 500,000-t/y benzene

extraction unit, as well as production of acetylene,

butadiene, butane, ethylene oxide, ethylene glycol and

ethylbenzene.

 

Dugas, IG Petrochem Subsidiary Form New Maleic Anhydride JV in the UAE

Abu Dhabi—

Dubai Natural Gas Co. (Dugas), a subsidiary of Emirates

National Oil Co. (Enoc) is forming a joint venture with IG

Petrochemicals’ IGPL subsidiary to focus on the production

of maleic anhydride in the United Arab Emirates, according

to several local sources.

The new venture, Enoc-IG Petrochemical, will set up

the region’s first maleic anhydride plant and will help

Dugas diversify its portfolio from methyl tertiary butyl

ether. No details on the project were available.

IG Petrochemicals will be responsible for marketing the

product in the GCC and India, with plans to later expand

to Europe and other markets.

Saif Al Falasi, group chief executive of Enoc, has been

named chairman of Enoc-IG.

 

Enterprise Signs More Long-Term Contracts To Export LPG from Its Houston Terminal

Houston—

Enterprise Products Partners LP has executed additional

long-term contracts to export about 125-million bbls of liquefied

petroleum gas (LPG) from its terminal along the

Houston Ship Channel (PCN, 6 Oct 2014, p 1).

With the volume associated with these new seven-year

agreements, Enterprise’s LPG export facility is now over

90% subscribed, in terms of estimated operating capacity,

through 2019.

“Given the surplus of domestic LPG, Enterprise’s export

terminal plays a central role in promoting continued development

of U.S. energy reserves,” said Chief Operating Officer

A.J. Teague.

The company expects to complete the final phase of an

expansion at the terminal by the end of this year, which

will increase its loading capacity to over 16-million bbls per

month of LPG. Earlier this year, Enterprise completed an

expansion at the site that increased its loading rate to 9-

million bbls per month.

 

PT Pupuk Kaltim Begins Production At New Ammonia and Urea Facility

Bontang—PT Pupuk

Kaltim has begun production at its new Kaltim-5 ammonia

and urea plant in East Kalimantan, Indonesia, according

to Antara News Agency.

Described as the “biggest fertilizer plant in Southeast

Asia,” Kaltim-5 has a production capacity of 2,500 t/d of

ammonia and 3,500 t/d of urea (PCN, 1 Aug 2011, p 4).

According to Kaltim’s site, the project cost approximately

$700-million.

 

Veresen Planning Ethane Storage Facility; Enters 20-Year Arrangement with Nova

Calgary—

Veresen Inc. has announced plans to build and operate a

new wholly-owned ethane storage facility near Burstall,

Saskatchewan, Canada, approximately 20 km north of the

Empress natural gas liquids complex.

The salt cavern facility and related infrastructure is estimated

to cost about $140-million. It will be connected via

pipeline to the company’s Alberta Ethane Gathering System

and will have the capacity to store approximately 1-

million barrels of ethane. Subject to final regulatory approvals,

the facility is expected to be in service in the second

half of 2018.

In addition, Veresen has entered into an agreement

with Nova Chemicals where Nova will use the majority of

the storage capacity under a 20-year arrangement.

Last year, the two companies entered into an agreement

to explore the joint development and ownership of a

salt cavern storage facility near Burstall (PCN, 5 May

2014, p 2).

 

Hengyi Issuing New Shares to Advance Brunei Refinery & Aromatics Project

Brunei Bay—

Hengyi Petrochemical Co. plans to issue 500-million shares

through a private placement with the expectation of raising

3.8-billion yuan for its joint venture refinery and aromatics

project in Brunei (PCN, 3 Mar 2014, p 1).

Hengyi, along with Hongkong Tianyi International

Holding and the Damai Holdings subsidiary of the Brunei

government’s Strategic Development Capital Fund, last

year entered into a joint venture refinery and aromatics

complex at Pulau Muara Besar, Brunei. The cost of the

project was not available.

In 2013, Hengyi selected several UOP technologies for

an aromatics complex in Pulau Muara Besar. They included

a 2.2-million-t/y hydrocracking unit, a 3.3-milliont/

y CCR Platforming unit to convert low-quality naphtha to

benzene, toluene and xylene, and a 1.5-million-t/y UOP

Parex unit to recover paraxylene from mixed xylenes.

 

People on the Move

Axiall Corp.—Timothy Mann Jr. has been appointed

president and chief executive and named to the board of

directors. He had been serving as interim president and

chief executive since 6 July 2015 (PCN, 13 July 2015, p 2).

Trinseo—Christopher D. Pappas, president and chief

executive, will serve as interim chief financial officer until

a replacement is found to succeed John A. Feenan, who is

leaving the company, effective 31 Dec. Feenan will continue

in an advisory role for the remainder of the year.

 

GCC Petrochem Sector Could Realize Further 10% Return on Investment

Dubai—Gulf Cooperation

Council (GCC) petrochemical producers could

achieve an additional 10% return on investment through

optimizing every aspect of their operations, according to

Thoughts for a New Age in Middle East Petrochemicals, a

new report by the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals

Assn. (GPCA) and McKinsey & Co.

“The petrochemicals industry in the Arabian Gulf region

has seen impressive growth in the last decade, largely

due to the availability of favorably priced gas, a key raw

material in the production of chemical products,” said

GPCA Secretary General Dr. Abdulwahab Al-Sadoun.

“The health of the global economy and notably the slower

demand in growth markets such as China, combined with

rising competition from non-conventional producers, means

that we are heading towards more competitive environment

in global markets. Therefore, maximizing operations

to improve shareholder returns on investment is crucial for

maintaining our competitive advantage.”

GCC petrochemical production capacity rose from 53.4-

million tons in 2004 to 136.2-million tons in 2014, representing

a cumulative 10% annual growth rate, according to

the latest figures available from the GPCA. “The GCC’s

petrochemical industry growth is second only to China in

this decade, which grew by 13% in the same period,” Al-

Sadoun added.

To maintain the pace of growth going forward, the report

suggests GCC producers should focus on several development

areas including improving functional excellence,

managing volatility and making strategic decisions supported

by micro-economics.

“This report tackles head-on the ‘new age’ – an age

where many of the old regional certainties have ceased to

apply and where the fall in oil price adds a new layer of

challenge,” noted Richard Verity, a McKinsey partner, who

co-authored the report. “We sketch the consequences of

these changes and propose ways in which Middle East producers

could react,” he explained.

 

Magnolia Awards EPC Contract to KBR For LNG Plant at Port of Lake Charles

Houston—

Magnolia LNG (MLNG) has signed an engineering, procurement

and construction (EPC) contract with KBR for a

liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility at the Port of Lake

Charles, La. (PCN, 2 Feb 2015, p 2).

KBR, in its KSJV joint venture with SK Engineering &

Construction, will be responsible for detailed EPC of four

LNG production trains, each with a design capacity of 2-

million t/y; two 160,000 cubic meter full containment LNG

storage tanks; LNG marine and ship loading facilities, and

supporting infrastructure. KBR will lead the project.

Engineering and procurement services will begin immediately,

with construction mobilization planned to start

in the first quarter of 2016. Detailed design and early construction

planning will also proceed immediately, with final

release expected next year.

The project will utilize technology involving ammonia

pre-cooling for the core liquefaction process, Optimized

Single Mixed Refrigerant, developed by MLNG’s parent

company, LNG Ltd.

Earlier this year, KBR signed a technical services

agreement with MLNG to provide cost verification and

other services associated with the delivery of the project.

 

Siluria Raises $25-MM from Natpet For Methane to Ethylene Process

San Francisco—Siluria

Technologies has received a $25-million investment

from Saudi propylene and polypropylene producer National

Petrochemical Industrial Co. (Natpet).

The investment opens commercialization opportunities

in Saudi Arabia for Siluria’s oxidative coupling of methane

(OCM) technology, “believed to be the first commercially

viable process to directly convert methane to ethylene,” the

company noted.

Siluria earlier this year started up a $15-million demonstration

plant in La Porte, Texas (PCN, 13 Apr 2015, p

4). The facility is the final-scale up of the OCM process

technology and paves the way for Siluria to deploy commercial-

scale plants in the 2017-2018 timeframe.

“The company is currently focused on commercial projects

in the refining and midstream industries, and a pipeline

of licensing projects in petrochemicals via its global

partnership with Linde,” said Jeff Wood, chief financial

officer of Siluria.

Last year, Siluria and Linde reached a collaborative

agreement to combine their technologies and expertise into

an optimized and integrated package to be licensed by

Linde for existing and new world-scale ethylene plants.

 

ChinaCoal Mengda’s PP & PE Project Delayed by Environmental Concerns

Ordos—The

start of production at ChinaCoal Mengda New Energy &

Chemical Industry Co.’s polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene

(PE) plant in Ordos, Inner Mongolia, has been delayed

until the first quarter of next year because of environmental

concerns, the China Chemical Fiber (CCF) Group

reported.

Initially scheduled to begin production in 2014, the

10.5-billion yuan methanol-based project is designed to

produce 300,000 t/y of PP and 300,000 t/y of PE (PCN, 6

Aug 2012, p 4).

CCF noted that the delay of the project will give a break

to the “already-in-surplus” PP market in China.

 

SGBio Acquires Cobalt’s Technology Assets For Bio N-Butanol & Acetone Production

São Paulo—

SGBio, a 50-50 joint venture of GranBio and Solvay’s Rhodia,

has acquired technology assets from Cobalt, a U.S.

biotechnology company and developer of technology for nbutanol,

acetone, butene and ethanol made from biomass.

The assets include the bank of microorganisms and intellectual

property related to patents, trademarks, processes,

operating procedures and know how.

“This acquisition of technology brings about a consistent

and important step towards the establishment of industrial

n-butanol and acetone production from biomass,

which is one of the company’s strategic objectives,” said

SGBio Chief Executive Marcia Cunha.

The strategy also includes improving the acquired

strains, which will be carried out by SGBio’s research and

development team. The goal is to create a platform that

allows the incorporation of a large variety of biomass

sources and the development of other products.

In 2013, SGBio said it expected to begin operations this

year at the “world’s first” biomass-based n-butanol facility

in Brazil (PCN, 19-26 Aug 2013, p 3).

 

Kuwait’s PIC Nearing Agreement On Acquiring 45% Stake in OPaL

Dubai—Kuwait’s

Petrochemical Industries Co. (PIC) expects to soon sign an

agreement to acquire a 45% interest in ONGC Petro additions

Ltd. (OPaL) and its petrochemical complex in Dahej,

India, reported the Kuwait News Agency quoting PIC

chief executive Asaad Al-Saad.

OPaL, a joint venture of ONGC, Gujarat State Petroleum

and GAIL, involves a complex to produce 1.1-million

t/y of ethylene, 340,000 t/y of propylene, 720,000 t/y of linear

low- and high-density polyethylene, 340,000 t/y of polypropylene,

95,000 t/y of butadiene and 135,000 t/y of benzene

(PCN, 29 Sept 2014, p 2). OPaL said the project is

now being commissioned and expected on stream this year.

Initially, it was envisioned that ONGC would hold a

26% stake in OPaL, GAIL 19% and Gujarat State 5%, with

the remainder going to a strategic investor or included in

an initial public offering. GAIL, citing rising project costs,

last year reduced its interest to 11.6%. Gujarat State has

also reduced its holding.

 

China Terminates Duties on Ethanolamine From U.S., Japan, Malaysia and Taiwan

Beijing—

China’s Ministry of Commerce (Mofcom) on 13 Nov. terminated

anti-dumping measures against imports of ethanolamine

from the U.S., Japan, Malaysia and Taiwan

(PCN, 22 Nov 2010, p 2).

In January, Mofcom announced that natural persons,

legal persons or relevant organizations on behalf of the

domestic industry had 60 days to apply for an expiry review.

No applications were received.

“In that light, the anti-dumping measures . . . will be

terminated,” Mofcom said.

 

Ardmore Selling Two Chemical Tankers

Hamilton—

Ardmore Shipping has agreed to sell two 17,600-dwt

chemical tankers, Ardmore Calypso and Ardmore Capella,

for a combined total of $38.5-million.

The ships were built in 2010 at Samho Shipbuilding in

South Korea. The sale is expected to be completed early

next year.

Ardmore Chief Executive Anthony Gurnee noted that

the small size of the tankers “makes them outliers in our

fleet, no longer consistent with our strategy of focusing on

vessels at or above 25,000 dwt.”

 

Air Liquide Agrees to Acquire AirGas; Strengthens Position in U.S. Market

Paris—Air Liquide

has entered into an agreement to acquire Airgas for a

total enterprise value of $13.4-billion on a fully diluted basis

and including the assumption of Airgas debt.

The transaction, which has received board of director’s

approval from both companies, is subject to Airgas shareholders’

approval, receipt of necessary antitrust and other

regulatory approvals and other customary conditions. The

two parties “wish to proceed swiftly,” Air Liquide said.

Airgas will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Air

Liquide, creating “the largest” industrial gas company in

the world.

“Combining Air Liquide and Airgas will bring together

two highly complementary businesses to deliver greater

value, service and innovation to customers in North America

and around the world,” Air Liquide explained.

“In the U.S., Airgas’ leadership in the packaged gases

business and associated products and services and Air Liquide’s

strong footprint in complementary activities will

increase the scope and competitiveness of the combined

companies’ product offering.”

 

TonenGeneral Considering Options; Denies Any Merger Announcement

Tokyo―TonenGeneral

Sekiyu confirmed it is considering various options to

increase its corporate value and strengthen the competitiveness

of the company.

The options include seeking an alliance with partners

“not only to reinforce our core petroleum and petrochemical

businesses, but also to develop other growth options,” TonenGeneral

said.

However, regarding media coverage concerning a

merger between TonenGeneral and JX Holdings, the company

stressed those reports “are not based on any announcement”

it has made.

 

Shell, BG Merger Clears Another Hurdle

The Hague—

Shell has received unconditional merger clearance from the

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission for its

planned acquisition of BG Group for approximately $70-

billion in cash and shares (PCN, 7 Sept 2015, p 4).

Together with the previously announced approvals in

Brazil and the European Union, three of the five conditions

have been satisfied. The two remaining pre-conditional

clearances are from Australia’s Foreign Investment review

board and China’s Ministry of Commerce.

The combination remains on track for completion in

early 2016, Shell noted.

V53 N44 – 16 November 2015

Celanese Boosting Capacities at Clear Lake For Acetic Acid & Vinyl Acetate Monomer

Dallas—

Celanese is expanding acetic acid and vinyl acetate monomer

(VAM) capacities through expansions at its Clear

Lake, Texas, complex.

The company will implement a series of low capital debottlenecks

in its 1.35-million-t/y acetic acid facility.

Plans are to add an additional 150,000 t/y of capacity in

stages over the next several years to reach a total nameplate

capacity of more than 1.5-million t/y of acetic acid by

2016.

Celanese has started work at the site on a 150,000-t/y

expansion of its VAM facility, raising capacity to 450,000

t/y. The debottleneck will make the plant the “largest and

most efficient VAM plant in the world,” the company noted.

Completion is scheduled for 2018.

“To have the ability to add incremental capacity as industry

growth dictates, and do it with a nominal capital

outlay, is a great tool,” said Pat Quarles, president of acetyl

chain and integrated supply chain.

 

PTTGC Selects Ineos’ Innovene S Process For HDPE Facility Near Dilles Bottom

Columbus—

PTTGC America, a subsidiary of PTT Global Chemical, has

selected Ineos’ Innovene S process for a new 700,000-t/y

high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plant to be built near

Dilles Bottom, Ohio (PCN, 2 Nov 2015, p 1).

The unit, which will consist of two lines, is part of a

planned complex that includes a 1-million-t/y grassroots

ethylene cracker, a 500,000 t/y ethylene glycol unit and a

facility to produce 100,000 t/y of ethylene oxide. A final

investment decision is expected in 2016 or 2017.

Technip was recently awarded a contract to supply its

ethylene technology and process design package for the

ethylene cracker.

 

Ineos Nitriles Restarting 4th Reactor At Green Lake Acrylonitrile Facility

Houston―Ineos

Nitriles, based on advantaged U.S. raw materials and

growing global demand, has made a decision to resume

production on the fourth reactor at its Green Lake, Texas,

acrylonitrile plant.

The action will reinstate 100,000 t/y of capacity and

bring the site’s nameplate acrylonitrile capacity to 545,000

t/y. A date for the restart was not given.

Gordon Adams, commercial director for Ineos Nitriles,

speaking at the recent IHS Conference in Singapore, said:

“The addition of significant production capacity in China

has forced worldwide acrylonitrile operating rates down to

less than 80%, the lowest level since 2008. “However, with

its feedstock advantage, scale and leading technology, the

Ineos Nitriles Green Lake facility will be able to compete in

the global market and as such we have decided to restart

our fourth reactor to support the long-term growth of our

global customer base,” he added.

 

IVL Signs Agreement to Acquire 100% Stake In Cepsa Spain’s PTA, PET & PTI Business

Madrid—

Indorama Netherlands, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Indorama

Ventures Pcl (IVL), has signed a share purchase

agreement to acquire a 100% interest in the purified

terephthalic acid (PTA), polyethylene terephthalate (PET)

and purified isophthalic acid (PIA) business of Cepsa Spain

from Cepsa Quimica.

Located in Guadarranque-San Roque, Cadiz, Spain, the

business produces 325,000 t/y of PTA, 175,000 t/y of PET

and 220,000 t/y of PIA, marking IVL’s entry into the PIA

business. The transaction, for which a value was not disclosed,

is expected to be completed within the first half of

2016, subject to usual regulatory approvals.

The PET and PTA production in Europe will complete

IVL’s reach across Europe and lead to consolidation there,

IVL noted. “This acquisition is in line with IVL’s successful

strategy of leadership, vertical integration, portfolio

expansion and geographic diversification.”

 

MOL Commissions Butadiene Facility; Begins Work on S-SBR Unit with JSR

Budapest—

MOL notified the Budapest Stock Exchange that it has

commissioned a 130,000-t/y butadiene extraction unit at its

site in Tiszaújváros, Hungary (PCN, 21 Oct 2013, p 4).

The facility, costing about $150-million, uses a closed

technology system to prevent pollution from leaking into

the atmosphere. It is expected to begin full commercial

operations in the current quarter.

In parallel, MOL said it plans to begin construction this

month on a new 60,000-t/y solution polymerized styrene

butadiene rubber (S-SBR) plant in Tiszaújváros with its

joint venture partner JSR (PCN, 10 Feb 2014, p 1).

The venture provides MOL “with the possibility to further

expand its petrochemical product portfolio along the

value chain, as a stable supply of feedstock . . . can be secured

from the adjacent butadiene extraction unit.”

Owned 49% by MOL and 51% by JSR, the venture expects

to reach mechanical completion of the S-SBR plant by

the end of 2017.

 

DSM Acrylonitrile Becoming AnQore

Sittard—DSM

Acrylonitrile will on 1 Dec. 2015 begin operating under the

name AnQore as a result of the recent establishment of the

ChemicaInvest joint venture between CVC Capital Partners

and Royal DSM (PCN, 10 Aug 2015, p 2).

The joint venture, owned 65% by CVC and 35% by DSM

and operating under CVC leadership, involves DSM’s

polymer intermediates and composite resins activities.

DSM Acrylonitrile has been producing acrylonitrile at

the Chemelot Industrial Park in Sittard-Geleen, the Netherlands,

since 1969. It currently has two production lines

with a combined capacity of 280,000 t/y.

Separately, DSM said DSM Composite Resins will operate

under the name Aliancys from January 2016.

 

Altivia Petrochemicals Has Acquired Haverhill Chemical’s Assets in Ohio

Houston—Altivia

Petrochemicals has completed the acquisition of Haverhill

Chemicals’ phenol, acetone, alpha-methylstyrene and bisphenol-

A production assets in Haverhill, Ohio (PCN, 28

Sept 2015, p 2).

Haverhill earlier this year began shutting down its facilities

and filed for protection under Chapter 11 of the

U.S. Bankruptcy Code. The plant is the third largest producer

of merchant phenol and acetone in the Americas.

Altivia said it has been preparing the facilities for startup

over the past several weeks and plans to resume operations

immediately, with product shipments expected to

begin 16 Nov.

“This has been a challenging transaction to complete,

however, the outlook for the business is strong,” noted

Altivia Chief Executive J. Michael Jusbasche. “Altivia is

entering this market at a very competitive price and at a

low point in the aromatics cycle, enabling it to compete

effectively with Gulf Coast producers,” he added. Terms of

the transaction were not disclosed.

 

Idemitsu Kosan and SSSKK Sign MoU To Integrate & Form New Company

Tokyo—Idemitsu

Kosan and Showa Shell Sekiyu KK (SSSKK) have signed a

memorandum of understanding (MoU) for a business integration

of the two companies to support Japan’s energy

security.

Under the MoU, Idemitsu and SSSKK will form a new

equally-owned company, temporarily called NewCo, that

will be headquartered at a location different then the current

headquarters of the companies.

Once a binding definitive agreement is signed and

shareholder approval of both parties is received, the new

company will be launched between October 2016 and April

2017. Those dates are subject to change should there be

delays in the merger process.

“We have agreed, in the MoU, to create an industryleading

player with an unparalleled competitive position

by combining the strengths and management resources of

the companies,” the parties said.

In July, Idemitsu signed a share purchase agreement to

acquire Royal Dutch Shell’s 33.24% interest in SSSKK for

¥169-billion (PCN, 3 Aug 2015, p 1). The transaction is

expected to be completed in the first half of 2016.

 

Nippon Shokubai Begins Construction On Its SAP and AA Project in Belgium

Antwerp—Nippon

Shokubai has broken ground for its superabsorbent

polymer (SAP) plant expansion and new acrylic acid (AA)

unit in Antwerp, Belgium (PCN, 12 Oct 2015, p 1).

The project, costing about €350-million, involves increasing

SAP production capacity to 160,000 t/y from

60,000 t/y currently and construction of a new 100,000 t/y

AA facility. Mechanical completion is expected in October

2017 with commercial operations planned for May 2018.

Once complete, Nippon Shokubai group’s global SAP

capacity will be increased to 710,000 t/y and global AA capacity

will be raised to 880,000 t/y.

Last month, Jacobs Engineering was awarded the engineering,

procurement and construction management contract

for the project.

 

ExxonMobil, Shell Secure Ethane Feed For Fife Ethylene Facility from Ineos

Mossmorran―

ExxonMobil Chemical and Shell Chemicals Europe have

reached a long-term sale and purchase agreement with

Ineos for the supply of ethane from U.S. shale gas for the

Fife Ethylene Plant (FEP) in Mossmorran, Scotland.

FEP, with 830,000 t/y of ethylene capacity, is owned

and operated by ExxonMobil. Shell, has rights to 50% of

the capacity. It is one of only four natural gas-fed steam

crackers in Europe and was the first designed to use natural

gas liquids from the North Sea as feedstock.

Starting in mid-2017, FEP will receive ethane from

Ineos’ new import terminal in Grangemouth, Scotland

(PCN, 16 Feb 2015, p 3). This new source of feedstock will

complement supplies from North Sea gas fields.

“This is a landmark agreement for everyone involved,”

noted Geir Tuft, business director at Ineos O&P UK. “We

know that ethane from U.S. shale gas has transformed

U.S. manufacturing and we are now seeing this advantage

being shared across Scotland.”

 

Enterprise Has Commitments for 90% Of Morgan’s Point Ethane Capacity

Houston—Enterprise

Products Partners LP has signed an additional longterm

contract to export ethane from its terminal under

construction at Morgan’s Point, Texas, and the terminal is

now approximately 90% contracted in terms of operating

capacity (PCN, 8 June 2015, p 4).

The new 200,000-b/d ethane export facility, located

along the Houston Ship Channel, will have the capability

to load fully refrigerated ethane at rates up to 10,000 barrels

per hour. Supply for the terminal will be sourced from

Enterprise’s natural gas liquids fractionation and storage

complex in Mont Belvieu, Texas, and transported through

a 24-inch diameter pipeline currently under construction.

The export terminal is on schedule to begin operations

in the third quarter of next year.

“This agreement is a clear indication of the continued

interest for U.S. ethane as a low cost feedstock by the

global petrochemical industry,” noted A.J. Teague, chief

operating officer of Enterprise’s general partner.

 

Takreer’s Ruwais Refinery Expansion Commissioned with New PDH Plant

Ruwais—Abu

Dhabi Oil Refining Co. (Takreer) has commissioned its

Ruwais refinery expansion project, including a propane

dehydrogenation (PDH) unit (PCN, 8 Nov 2012, p 3).

“The new refinery was designed to double Takreer’s

current capacity to enable the company to refine about

900,000 b/d of crude oil and to maximize the production of

propylene,” reported Gulf News, quoting Takreer Chief

Executive Jasem Al Sayegh.

The new PDH unit, based on UOP’s C3 Oleflex technology,

will convert propane to 500,000 t/y of propylene.

 

People on the Move

DuPont—Edward D. Breen, interim chairman and

chief executive, has become chairman and chief executive.

He was appointed interim chairman and chief executive

last month to succeed Ellen Kullman, who has retired

(PCN, 12 Oct 2015, p 2).

 

SK Terminates License Agreement to Utilize Metex Technology for New Bio-PDO Project

Ulsan—

SK Chemicals has decided to terminate a license agreement

with Metabolic Explorer (Metex) and discontinue an

industrialization project for a bio-based 1,3-propanediol

(PDO) facility planned to be built at SK’s site in Ulsan,

South Korea (PCN, 29 June 2015, p 4).

The proposed bio-PDO plant was to be based on Metex

technology, which optimizes the fermentation of renewable

feedstock crude glycerin. The two companies earlier this

year decided to further collaborate on the project to ensure

the optimal scope and evaluate the value generated by the

first investment to industrialize the bio-based PDO unit.

All exploitation rights associated with the technology

revert to Metex on termination; accordingly, following termination,

all options to commercialize its technology are

again available.

Metex said it was greatly surprised by SK’s decision,

but noted that “this temporary setback in the PDO industrialization

timetable does not undermine the company’s

development strategy for its programs as a whole.”

 

Samsung Performing Conceptual Study For Uzbekneftegaz’s New BTX Project

Tashkent—

Samsung Engineering announced the signing of a memorandum

of understanding to provide the conceptual plant

design for state-owned oil company Uzbekneftegaz’s proposed

benzene-toluene-xylene (BTX) plant in Uzbekistan.

No other details about the planned project were available

from the companies. However, the Korea Times, citing

a Samsung official, reported that Samsung will make

every effort to win the engineering, procurement and construction

contract to build the BTX facility.

 

NKNK Begins Pre-Commissioning Work For Modernized Russian LAO Facility

Nizhnekamsk—

Nizhnekamskneftekhim’s (NKNK) revamped linear alpha

olefins (LAO) plant in Nizhnekasmsk, Russia, has reached

the pre-commissioning phase (PCN, 15 June 2015, p 3).

The 37,500-t/y LAO facility, based on the Alpha-Sablin

process jointly developed by Linde Engineering and Sabic,

was modernized to meet the increasing demand for butene

and hexene at its existing polyethylene plant.

The plant was originally scheduled to begin production

by mid-2014.

 

Air Products Decides on Versum Materials As New Name for Materials Technologies

Pittsburgh—

Air Products has selected Versum Materials as the new

name for its Materials Technologies business (PCN, 21

Sept 2015, p 2).

Air Products recently received board of director’s approval

to fully separate its Materials Technologies business

via a tax-free spin-off to its shareholders. Subject to usual

regulatory approvals, the spin-off is targeted for completion

before September 2016.

Guillermo Novo, currently executive vice president of

Materials Technologies, will become chief executive of Versum

following completion of the spin-off.

 

Cabot Closing Merak Carbon Black Plant; Will Consolidate Asia Pacific Production

Merak—

Cabot has decided to close its carbon black manufacturing

operations in Merak, Indonesia, by the end of 2016 due to

the facility’s financial performance over the past few years.

“Despite efforts to be competitive, the facility has suffered

from low utilization rates,” explained the company.

“Asia is quickly becoming one regional market and this

dynamic has created the need for our facilities to be even

more cost competitive. As such, we will consolidate production

in Asia by ceasing production at our Merak facility

and using our Cilegon, Indonesia, as well as other Asian

and global carbon black production sites to meet the regional

demand.”

Cabot said it is committed to working with customers of

the Merak facility to determine the best way to meet their

needs during and after the shutdown. About 50 employees

will be affected by the closure.

The consolidation in Asia Pacific “is a critical step in

our plan to ensure that we are operating as efficiently and

effectively as possible to become more competitive in a

challenging environment, and to accelerate future growth,”

noted Sean Keohane, president of the Reinforcement Materials

segment.

 

IISRP to Honor McGraw and Wouters With General and Technical Awards

Houston—The

International Institute of Synthetic Rubber Producers

(IISRP) will present James L. McGraw with its prestigious

General Award and Dr. Guy Wouters with its Technical

Award during the institute’s 57th Annual General Meeting

in New Orleans, La., the week of 11 Apr. 2016.

McGraw has served the IISRP and synthetic rubber industry

for 40 years, both as an IISRP chair and committee

member while employed by American Synthetic Rubber

Corp. and subsequently as both IISRP deputy and managing

director and chief executive for over 17 years.

“He provided high energy and effective leadership in

protecting the worldwide synthetic rubber industry from

regulatory assaults, as well as providing leadership in

many scientific studies and symposia for the industry,”

noted the IISRP.

Wouters, who retired from ExxonMobil in 2012, spent

more than 20 years in elastomers technology. He pioneered

the development of ethylene propylene diene

monomer (EPDM) silane grafting and then focused on the

development of new EPDM rubber grades from bench scale

to commercial production, among numerous other significant

contributions to the industry. He is currently a consultant

in elastomers chemistry and technology.

 

IOC Expanding Panipat Naphtha Cracker

Panipat—

Indian Oil Corp. (IOC) is planning to increase capacity at

its Panipat, India, naphtha cracker to 1.2-million t/y from

about 850,000 t/y, Reuters reported, citing S. Mitra, executive

director of IOC’s Petrochemical Division.

The Panipat cracker project is estimated to cost approximately

$500-million. No other details were given.

Early this year, IOC received board approval to proceed

with construction of a naphtha pipeline from Jaipur to

Panipat. The pipeline will help meet the naphtha requirement

of the complex (PCN, 23 Feb 2015, p 4).

 

Shell Launches Commercial Operations At Quest CO2 Capture, Storage Project

Calgary—

Shell Canada has begun commercial operations at the

Quest carbon capture and storage (CCS) project in Alberta,

Canada, designed to capture over 1-million t/y of carbon

dioxide (CO2) and store it deep underground (PCN, 19 Oct

2009, p 2).

The project, earlier projected to cost C$1.35-billion, will

capture and store CO2 from steam methane units at the

Scotford upgrader and the Scotford upgrader expansion

near Fort Saskatchewan. The CO2 will be injected 2,300

meters below the earth’s surface underneath cap rock.

“Quest is a blueprint for future CCS projects globally,”

said Shell Chief Executive Ben van Beurden. “Together

with government and joint venture partners, we are sharing

the know-how to help make CCS technologies more

accessible and cost-effective for the energy industry and

other key sectors of the economy.”

Quest is a joint venture of Shell (60%), Chevron Canada

(20%) and Marathon Oil Sands (20%). The governments of

Albert and Canada provided C$745-million and C$120-

million toward Quest, respectively.

Fluor designed and built the project, based on its 3rd

Gen Modular Execution, “an innovative project execution

delivery that lowers costs and improves schedule predictability

for our clients,” noted Jim Brittain, president of

Fluor’s Energy & Chemicals business in the Americas.

 

BASF Expands Asia Pacific R&D Efforts With 2nd Phase of Innovation Campus

Shanghai—

BASF has “substantially” expanded its research and development

(R&D) capabilities with the inauguration of the

second phase of the BASF Innovation Campus Asia Pacific

in Pudong, Shanghai, China (PCN, 4 Aug 2014, p 3).

The €90-million expansion is focused primarily on advanced

materials and systems and includes new areas such

as formulations and chemical processes and engineering.

BASF’s Pudong site comprises R&D, production and

marketing functions, and serves as an integrated platform

to co-create innovations and applications together with the

company’s customers in the region.

In order to expand its research footprint, the headquarters

of Advanced Materials & Systems Research, as one of

three global research platforms, will be established at the

Innovation Campus, effective 1 Jan. 2016. With that move,

its president, Dr. Harald Lauke, will assume responsibility

as regional research representative for Asia Pacific, BASF.

 

Synthesis Energy and CCRI Create Global Business & Market Development Alliance

Beijing—

Synthesis Energy Systems (SES) and China Coal Research

Institute (CCRI), a subsidiary of China Coal Technology &

Engineering Group (CCTEG), have signed a global business

and market development cooperation agreement.

The alliance is intended to deliver global clean energy

technology projects, using SES’ Gasification Technology

(SGT), “that dovetail with the Chinese government’s One

Belt, One Road ‘Going Out’ strategy,” SES explained.

CCRI will provide technical expertise for CCTEG to

evaluate and prepare project opportunities for coal gasification

and related downstream technologies. SES and

CCRI have jointly designated a group of initial projects,

currently in development in several countries, to be the

first priority projects of the new alliance.

China’s One Belt, One Road development strategy targets

the New Silk Road Economic Belt. This belt of developing

economies is intended to link China with Europe

through Central and Western Asia, and the 21st Century

Maritime Silk Road, which will connect China with Southeast

Asian countries, Africa and Europe.

“SGT’s capability to economically and cleanly transform

virtually all types of global coals and coal wastes, including

the lowest grade coals, into clean syngas for affordable energy

and other valuable products in great demand, affords

emerging Silk Road economies a solution that is at once

practical, economically advantaged and eco-friendly,” said

DeLome Fair, senior vice president of SES and president of

SES Technologies.

 

Gevo Signs Binding Agreements with Praj For Licensing Gevo’s Isobutanol Process

Luverne—

Gevo and Praj Industries have entered into a license agreement

and a joint development agreement to enable the licensing

of Gevo’s isobutanol technology to non-corn based

sugar processors, including a majority of Praj’s global customer

base of ethanol plant owners (PCN, 30 Mar – 6 Apr

2015, p 2).

Specifically, Praj will invest in the development and optimization

of Gevo’s isobutanol technology for use with

non-corn feedstocks including sugar cane, beets, cassava,

rice, sorghum, wheat and some cellulosic sugars.

The development work is expected to lead to process design

packages (PDP) that will build upon the PDP that

Gevo has already developed for corn, translating it to other

feedstocks and plant configurations.

Praj will market Gevo’s isobutanol technology to Praj’s

existing customers and provide engineering, procurement

and construction services for such projects. Gevo will directly

license its technology to these end-customers.

The partners expect to license up to 250-million gallons

of isobutanol capacity over then next 10 years.

In addition, Praj will provide engineering services to optimize

Gevo’s Luverne, Minn., facility. The initial focus

will be to optimize energy and water usage at the plant,

which is expected to further lower the cost of the isobutanol

process.

V53 N43 – 9 November 2015

PCG Acquires Three Petronas’ Companies Undertaking RAPID Project in Malaysia

Pengerang—

Petronas Chemicals Group (PCG) has acquired from

Petronas Refinery and Petrochemical Corp. (PRPC) the

entire interest in three companies that are participating in

Petronas’ Refinery and Petrochemicals Integrated Development

(RAPID) project in Johor, Malaysia (PCN, 26 Oct

2015, p 2).

The transaction, valued at RM 13,000, includes the

three project companies—PRPC Glycols, PRPC Polymers

and PRPC Elastomers, plus assumption of assets and liabilities

amounting to approximately $110-million.

The companies, which will be wholly-owned subsidiaries

of PCG, are currently undertaking projects with a combined

total capacity of about 2.7-million t/y.

With RAPID’s petrochemical projects, PCG will be able

to strengthen its petrochemical base and concurrently diversify

into selective derivatives, specialties and solutions,

explained PCG President and Chief Executive Datuk

Sazali Hamzah.

 

Versalis, KBR Enter Cooperation Agreement To License EB/SM Production Technologies

Milan—

Eni’s Versalis and KBR have entered into a cooperation

agreement for KBR to license Versalis’ proprietary ethylbenzene

and styrene monomer (EB/SM) technologies.

The companies will offer competitive and flexible

EB/SM production technologies using Versalis’ zeolitebased

catalysts and expert design capabilities, said Eni.

KBR will provide engineering support to deliver the license

packages to clients.

“The technological cooperation with KBR offers the opportunity

to enhance our know-how and the value it

brings,” Versalis Chief Executive Daniele Ferrari noted.

“This is a great opportunity for KBR to expand our

chemicals technology portfolio, providing innovative technologies

that give our customers a competitive advantage

in today’s markets,” explained KBR President of Technology

and Consulting John Derbyshire.

 

Olin Mulls Temporary, Permanent Closures of Chlor-Alkali Capacity

Clayton—Joseph D.

Rupp, chairman and chief executive of Olin Corp., disclosed

that the company is evaluating idling or permanently closing

approximately 250,000 t/y to 450,000 t/y of its chloralkali

capacity.

“Olin is now the world’s largest integrated chlor-alkali,

epoxy and chlorinated organics producer,” having recently

completed the acquisition of Dow Chemical’s chlorine

products business (PCN, 12 Oct 2015, p 1). “The acquisition

has significantly diversified our product and geographic

base, which will enable us to be less cyclical,” Rupp

noted.

Regarding the closures, Olin expects to provide more

specific details in the first quarter of next year.

 

CF Industries & OCI Merger Advances With U.S. Antitrust Authorities’ Okay

Deerfield—CF

Industries and OCI NV announced that the waiting period

under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act

of 1976 has expired for the proposed combination of CF

with OCI’s European, North American and global distribution

businesses, satisfying one of the conditions of the

merger (PCN, 10 Aug 2015, p 1).

As part of the transaction, valued at about $8-billion,

OCI will contribute its nitrogen production facilities in Geleen,

the Netherlands, and Wever, Iowa, and its stake in

an ammonia and methanol complex in Beaumont, Texas,

as well as its global distribution business in Dubai, United

Arab Emirates. The sale is expected to close in 2016.

CF will become a subsidiary of a new UK-based holding

company in which its shareholders will own approximately

72.3% of the new company and OCI will own about 27.7%,

based on current share price. The new corporation will be

the “world’s largest” publicly traded nitrogen company and

will operate under the name CF and be led by existing CF

management.

In addition, the combined entity will acquire a 45% interest,

with the option to purchase the remaining interest,

in OCI’s Natgasoline project in Beaumont for about $500-

million. The project involves construction of a 1.75-milliont/

y methanol plant, which will be one of the world’s largest

methanol facilities. Completion is expected in early 2017.

 

Denka Performance Elastomer Acquires DuPont’s Chloroprene Rubber Business

La Place—

Denka Performance Elastomer, a new U.S. joint venture

owned by Denka (70%) and Mitsui & Co. (30%) and headquartered

in La Place, La., has completed the acquisition of

DuPont’s Neoprene polychloroprene business (PCN, 15 Dec

2014, p 1).

The transaction, for which a purchase price was not

given, includes DuPont’s Pontchartrain Works polychloroprene

production facility in La Place, as well as approximately

235 employees. DuPont will continue to operate its

separately owned Kevlar business at the site.

Denka has a chloroprene rubber production facility at

its Omi plant in Itoigawa, Niigata, Japan. “We are now

poised to deploy an even stronger supply structure with the

second facility in North America,” Denka noted. Capacities

of the plants were not given.

 

Axiall Closes Plaquemine Phenol Facility

Atlanta—

Axiall Corp. has completed the shutdown of its phenol operation

in Plaquemine, La., which will allow the company

to focus on its core chloro-vinyls, derivatives and specialties

businesses (PCN, 5 Oct 2015, p 1).

Axiall recently sold its Aromatics Division and cumene

manufacturing facility in Pasadena, Texas, to Ineos Americas

and at the time announced plans to conduct a “safe

wind-down” of the Plaquemine phenol plant by the end of

this year.

 

Qatar Petroleum Plans Withdrawal From Long Son Project in Vietnam

Hanoi—Qatar Petroleum

(QP), as part of a restructuring program, has announced

plans to withdraw from the joint venture Long

Son petrochemical complex in Vietnam, according to a

Vietnamese business report.

Located in Ba Ria-Vung Tau province, the complex,

with an estimated cost of $4.5-billion, involves a 1.4-

million-t/y olefins cracker to feed downstream production of

2.7-million t/y of polyethylene and polypropylene. Operations

are expected to begin in 2018.

The project is a joint venture owned 25% by QP, 46% by

Siam Cement Group and 29% by PetroVietnam.

The investors met recently to arrange for the transfer of

QP’s stake but failed to reach an agreement. Vietnam’s

trade industry is expected to ask its counterpart in Qatar

for help in resolving the problem, the report said.

QP President and Chief Executive Saad Sherida Al-

Kaabi, in a notice on the company’s website discussing

QP’s reorganization, said: “While we have no control over

markets and prices, we do have control over our cost and

expenditure. . . . We now have total company focus on core

business and are exiting any non-core business activities.”

 

Evonik Completes PeroxyChem Acquisition; Raises European H202 Pro