LyondellBasell & Sasol Sign Agreement To Form Integrated PE Joint Venture
LyondellBasell and Sasol have entered into a definitive
agreement to form a 50-50 integrated polyethylene (PE)
joint venture, which will operate under the name Louisiana
Integrated PolyEthylene JV LLC.
Through the new joint venture, LyondellBasell will acquire
a 50% stake in Sasol’s 1.5-million t/y ethane cracker,
its 900,000-t/y low and linear-low density PE plants and
associated infrastructure on the U.S. Gulf Coast for a total
consideration of $2-billion.
LyondellBasell will operate the U.S. Base Chemicals
assets on behalf of the venture. Both partners will provide
pro-rate shares of ethane feedstocks and will offtake prorate
shares of cracker and PE products at cost.
Sasol’s Lake Charles Research and Development complex,
Lake Charles East Plant ethane cracker and U.S.
Performance Chemicals Business assets in Lake Charles
are not included in the joint venture.
The agreement includes customary rights for each party
regarding the potential future sale of its ownership interest.
Subject to customary regulatory approvals and approval
by Sasol shareholders, the transaction is expected to
close by the end of 2020.
“This transaction represents a significant step for Sasol
in achieving its financial and strategic objectives by reducing
net debt and rapidly shifting the company’s portfolio
towards specialty chemicals,” the companies noted.
AOC Materials Concludes Purchase Of Ashland’s MA Business, Facility
Ashland Global Holdings has closed the sale of its maleic
anhydride (MA) business and manufacturing facility to
AOC Materials for $100-million (PCN, 3 Aug 2020, p 1).
The business has a manufacturing plant in Neal, W.
Va., and was previously excluded from Ashland’s sale to
Ineos Enterprises of its composites business and butanediol
manufacturing plant in Marl, Germany.
“This sale furthers Ashland’s strategic focus on specialty
ingredients and improved margins,” said Ashland
Chairman and Chief Executive Guillermo Novo.
Polyplex Planning to Add Second Line For BOPET Film at Site in Decatur
Thailand announced it plans to expand its U.S. operations
with an additional thin biaxially oriented polyethylene
terephthalate (BOPET) film line at its site in Decatur, Ala.
The $103-million project will involve installing a
50,000-t/y BOPET film line adjacent to the existing film
line and debottlenecking its resin plant to increase capacity
to 86,000 t/y from 58,000 t/y currently.
Construction is scheduled to begin in the first half of
2021 with production expected to begin in about 24 months
Shell Expects to Cut Up to 9,000 Jobs by ’22 As Part of ‘Major’ Restructuring Process
Shell, as part of its goal to be net-zero in all its operations
by 2050, has announced a “major” restructuring process
that will affect its refineries, chemical sites, onshore and
offshore production facilities, and will result in a reduction
of between 7,000 and 9,000 jobs by the end of 2022.
The upstream business will be run to ensure a “strong”
cash flow. The company will continue to invest, but it will
not be about the quantity of oil or gas, it will be about how
much it adds to the bottom line. Upstream will be “critical”
to Shell, as it will provide the financial strength to invest
further in lower-carbon projects, Shell noted.
Refining will also be refocused. Shell will retain only
what is strategically essential to the company and integrate
those refineries with its chemicals business, which it
plans to grow. It will keep sites in key locations that have
the flexibility to adapt.
“It is also worth noting that, if we want to be a large
player in biofuels, a lot of the biofuel capability will be
built within our refining infrastructure,” said Ben van
Beurden, chief executive of Shell.
“We will end up with fewer than 10 refineries, compared
to 55 around 15 years ago, but they will be set up to
serve the changing needs of society.”
The company also plans to expand its integrated gas
business as the market grows.
IQ Receives Approval from Shareholders To Acquire Remaining QAFCO Interest
Industries Qatar (IQ), at a virtual Extraordinary General
Assembly, received shareholders’ approval for the proposed
purchase of the remaining 25% stake in Qatar Fertilizer
Co. (QAFCO) from Qatar Petroleum (QP) for $1-billion,
according to a local news report.
The acquisition, which would make IQ sole owner, is
subject to regulatory and customary approvals. An expected
completion date was not available (PCN, 31 Aug
2020, p 2).
Also, as part of the same transaction, the board of directors
recently approved QAFCO’s purchase of QP’s 40%
interest in Qatar Melamine Co. (QMC), effective 1 July
In addition, QAFCO has entered into a new gas sale
and purchase agreement with QP from 1 Aug. 2020 until
31 Dec. 2035, that covers all of QAFCO’s gas requirements
for trains one through six and the facilities of QMC.
QAFCO, based in Mesaieed, Qatar, produces about 3.8-
million t/y of ammonia and around 5.7-million to 5.8-
million t/y of urea.
“The 25% ownership in QAFCO will return back to
Qatar Petroleum at the end of the term [31 Dec. 2035] for a
nil consideration,” said the report quoting Mohammed Jaber
Al Sulaiti, manager of the Privatized Companies Affairs
Dept. at QP.
Dow Shutting Down Several Facilities As Part of Its Restructuring Program
recently announced it is implementing a restructuring program
to reduce its global workforce costs by about 6% and
to rationalize certain manufacturing assets.
Dow will shut down certain amines and solvents plants
in the U.S. and Europe, as well as select small-scale downstream
polyurethanes manufacturing units.
It will also close mainly small-scale coatings reactors,
and will rationalize its upstream asset footprint in Europe,
the U.S. and Canada by adjusting the supply of siloxane
and silicon metal.
These actions are expected to result in total annualized
EBITDA savings of more than $300-million by the end of
Separately, Dow said it would complete the sale of its
rail infrastructure assets at six North American sites to
Watco on 30 Sept. 2020 (PCN, 13 July 2020, p 3).
The transaction, valued at over $310-million, includes
rail infrastructure assets and related equipment at Dow’s
sites in Plaquemine and St. Charles, La; Freeport and
Seadrift, Texas, and Ft. Saskatchewan and Prentiss in Alberta,
TPPI Increasing Aromatics Capacity At Its Tuban Complex in Indonesia
Pacific Petrochemical Indotama (TPPI), a subsidiary of
Pertamina, is expanding production capacity for paraxylene
and benzene at its complex in Tuban, East Java, Indonesia,
according to Argus Media.
The project, part of a planned $180-million renovation
and maintenance program, will increase paraxylene capacity
from 600,000 t/y currently to 780,000 t/y and will boost
benzene capacity to 490,000 t/y from 360,000 t/y. TPPI will
also expand an upstream platforming unit at the site, increasing
reforming capacity to 55,000 b/d.
Existing equipment at the site has reached the end of
its lifespan and will be replaced with more efficient equipment,
which will result in the additional production capacity,
the report said. Production is expected to begin in
Hexion Agrees to Sell 3 of Its Businesses To Black Diamond and Investindustrial
Hexion has signed a definitive agreement with Black Diamond
and Investindustrial, in which Hexion will sell its
Phenolic Specialty Resins, Hexamine and European-based
Forest Products Resins businesses to the two firms for
The transaction involves 11 manufacturing plants
worldwide and around 900 employees. Subject to regulatory
approvals and other customary closing conditions, including
consultation with the Works Council, the sale is
expected to be finalized in the first quarter of next year.
“We continue to strategically manage our portfolio providing
us the ability to further strengthen our balance
sheet and maintain a strong business going forward,” said
Hexion Chairman, President and Chief Operating Officer
“As we proceed, we will leverage our differentiated
technology and global manufacturing footprint to serve the
diversified customers of our remaining businesses.”
TechnipFMC Wins Shell Contract to Install New Ethylene Furnaces at Moerdijk Site
Shell has awarded a contract to TechnipFMC to install
eight new ethylene furnaces at Shell’s Moerdijk complex in
the Netherlands (PCN, 7 Sept 2020, p 4).
Under the contract, valued at between $75-million and
$250-million, TechnipFMC will be responsible for the engineering,
procurement and module fabrication for proprietary
equipment and related services for the furnaces.
Based on TechnipFMC’s innovative multi-lane radiant
coil design, the energy-efficient furnaces will replace 16
older units without reducing capacity at the site. Completion
is scheduled for 2025.
“We continue to invest in innovation, even in difficult
economic times,” said Shell Moerdijk General Manager
“This investment . . . contributes to the reduction of
carbon emissions from our manufacture of chemicals and
to Shell’s ambition of becoming a net-zero emissions energy
business by 2050 or sooner. We aim to achieve our ambition
in step with society.”
The upgrade is expected to reduce Shell Moerdijk’s carbon
dioxide emissions by about 10% a year.
Cargill and Virent Partner to Evaluate Process to Produce Biofuels, Biochems
Cargill and Virent announced that they are working together
to study the use of Cargill’s corn dextrose as a feedstock
to Virent’s BioForming technology for the production
of “drop-in” low-carbon biofuels and biochemicals.
The technology uses sugars found in plants as feedstock
to produce renewable gasoline and jet fuel, as well as lower
carbon biochemicals, including bio-paraxylene.
“We are working to scale up the BioForming process
and are very pleased to announce our work with Cargill to
study the availability of corn dextrose as feedstock,” said
Virent President Dave Kettner.
Once the study is complete, Virent will use the findings
to evaluate options for scale-up and the development of a
first commercial plant utilizing the BioForming process.
“The long-term objective is to use commercially available
feedstocks today as a bridge to next-generation lignocellulosic
feedstocks in the future,” the parties noted.
People on the Move
Toray Plastics (America) Inc.—Christopher Roy has
been has been named executive vice president and will
oversee the company’s Torayfan and Lumirror Divisions.
In addition, his role in providing support to Toray Films
Europe will be expanded. He was most recently senior vice
president and general manager of the Torayfan Division.
Matt Brown, general manager of the Lumirror Division,
has taken on the additional role of vice president of that
Chris Nothnagle has been appointed senior director of
sales and marketing of the Lumirror Division. He has
been senior director of corporate marketing since 2017.
Sibur—Pavel Lyakhovich, previously head of the Plastics,
Elastomers and Organic Synthesis Division, has been
name head of the Basic Polymers Division. He will be succeeded
by Alexander Petrov, who was the former managing
director for economics and finance.
JJC, SVAP, Shenzhen Qianhai Gatsway End Jiangsu Jurong Petrochem Deal
Chemical Holdings’ Jiangsu Jurong Chemical (JJC) subsidiary,
SunVic Asia Pacific Investments Holdings (SVAP)
and Shenzhen Qianhai Gatsway Petrochemical have terminated
a framework agreement, in which Shenzhen Qianhai
would acquire a 100% equity interest in Jiangsu Jurong
Petrochemicals (JJP) from JJC and SVAP (PCN, 5
Sept 2016, p 3).
The agreement was terminated due to financial constraints
of Shenzhen Qianhai, and because of an explosion
last year in the chemical zone where JJP’s plants are located
in Yancheng City, China, which led to a government
shutdown of the chemical zone.
The transaction, which had an aggregate cash consideration
value of RMB 388-million, was to include a methyl
tertiary butyl ether facility and a jetty at JJC’s site in
JJC holds a 69% interest in JJP, while SVAP, an associated
company of SunVic Chemical Holdings, holds a 31%
With the continued shutdown of the chemical zone, the
management team of JJC doesn’t expect to be able to dispose
of JJP in the foreseeable future.
ABB Awarded Contract by MOL to Improve Asset Integrity Across Downstream Assets
ABB said it has won a contract from MOL to transform
Asset Integrity Management (AIM) across four of MOL’s
key chemical and refinery sites in Hungary, Slovakia and
Croatia, in a move to drive production efficiency, improve
safety and reduce risk.
As part of the three-year project, ABB and Metegrity
Visions will integrate a common digital platform at the
Danube, Slovnaft, MOL petrochemicals plants and INA
chemical unit. The new solution will provide advanced risk
analysis of assets with a key aim of reducing unplanned
outages and lowering maintenance costs, ABB noted.
With the new AIM procedures, processes and systems,
ABB estimates that MOL will increase availability and
reduce turnaround duration leading to savings and production
improvements of around €10-million a year across
MOL’s downstream assets.
“The adoption of AIM will increase efficiency and transparency,
identifying the critical assets and focusing inspection
and remediation of risk with respect to safety and production,”
said Zied Ouertani, global technology manager
for Chemicals & Refining at ABB Energy Industries.
“This will enable MOL to base asset integrity investment
decisions on the equipment’s current condition, and
to make the switch from reactive to proactive maintenance.”
BASF Concludes Divestment to Lone Star Of Its Construction Chemicals Business
BASF has finalized the sale of its Construction Chemicals
business to an affiliate of global private equity firm Lone
Star for €3.17-billion (PCN, 3 Aug 2020, p 2).
The business, which has approximately 7,500 employees
and operates production sites and sales offices in more
than 60 countries, now forms the newly founded MBCC
Group, headquartered in Mannheim, Germany.
LyondellBasell Reports ‘Ambitious’ Targets, Focuses on Three Transformational Areas
LyondellBasell has released its annual Sustainability Report,
in which it sets “ambitious” goals for the next decade
and focuses on three transformational areas, including
plastic waste, climate change, and thriving societies.
Specifically, the company aims to produce and market
2-million t/y of recycled and renewable-based polymers;
increase its investment in the recovery and recycling of
plastic; accelerate solutions to end plastic waste, and reduce
carbon dioxide emissions by 15% per ton of product
produced relative to 2015 levels by 2030.
It also plans to join the American Chemistry Council
and Plastics Europe industry peers to ensure 100% of plastic
packaging is reused, recycled or recovered by 2040.
In addition, LyondellBasell plans to advance diversity,
inclusion and equity in the workplace.
“LyondellBasell has been on a multi-year journey to advance
the circular economy and we have made strides in
mechanical and advanced recycling, as well as producing
renewable-based products,” said Jim Seward, senior vice
president, research and development, technology and sustainability.
“Our goals underscore what we see possible in the next
decade, and our sustainability ambitions require us to
adapt our business models. When viewed through the lens
of technology and innovation, our track record demonstrates
our capacity to advance new collaborations and
partnerships for the benefit of society.”
Mitsubishi Chemical America Completes Gelest Intermediate Holdings Purchase
Mitsubishi Chemical America, the U.S. subsidiary of Mitsubishi
Chemical Corp. (MCC), has concluded the acquisition
of all issued and outstanding shares of Gelest Inc.
from New Mountain Capital (PCN, 4 May 2020, p 4).
Headquartered in Morrisville, Penn., Gelest is a manufacturer
and supplier of specialty monomers, silicones, organosilanes
and metal-organics. Value of the transaction
was not disclosed.
“New Mountain Capital has been a terrific partner and
helped us to significantly grow the company over the past
three years,” said Gelest Chief Executive Ken Gayer. “We
now look forward to joining MCC where their capabilities
and breadth will allow Gelest to create even more value for
customers and opportunities for employees.”
Topsoe Changes Organization to Accelerate Development of Carbon-Neutral Processes
Haldor Topsoe is establishing a new organization to support
its vision to be recognized as a global leader in carbon
emission reduction technologies by 2024.
“We have designed an organization with a clear focus
on accelerating the development of carbon-neutral technologies,
and it will be funded by continued delivery of
Topsoe’s globally leading solutions for energy-efficient production
of conventional fuels and chemicals,” said Topsoe
Chief Executive Roeland Baan.
The new organization, which will be effective 1 Nov.
2020, will result in approximately 200 job cuts. Many employees
will have new responsibilities as departments and
business areas are refocused.
Itochu, Borealis and Borouge to Jointly Study Uptake of Renewable PP in Japanese Market
Itochu, Borealis and Borouge announced their intent to
jointly evaluate how to enable uptake of renewable polypropylene
(PP) in Japan.
“The developments of climate change are attracting attention
in Japan and overseas, and countermeasures are
urgently required,” the partners noted. “Under these circumstances,
Japan has formulated a basic plan to introduce
approximately 2-million tons of renewable plastic
products by 2030.”
This past March, Borealis began producing certified renewable
PP at its facilities in Kallo and Beringen, Belgium,
using Neste’s renewable propane as feedstock (PCN,
16 Mar 2020, p 1).
Itochu will move ahead with an expansion of the global
renewable plastics business, particularly in Japan and in
Asia. It plans to commercially launch Japan’s “first” food
containers, packaging materials and other products made
of renewable PP by the end of 2020.
“Itochu will actively use its group networks in Japan
and overseas to create a new business model in the domain
of renewable plastics and to accelerate actions towards
achieving a society for sustainable global development,”
the parties noted.
Toyota Tsusho Forms New Recycling Company To Turn Used PET Bottles into Raw Material
Toyota Tsusho Corp., along with Utsumi Recycle Systems,
Chuo Warehouse and other firms, have established a company
in Japan that will sort, shred and wash used polyethylene
terephthalate (PET) bottles and recycle them into
raw material for new PET bottles.
The new company, Toyotsu PET Recycling Systems, is
expected to start operations in 2022. It is owned 65% by
Toyota Tsusho, 15% by Utsumi Recycle Systems, 12.5% by
Chuo Warehouse, and 7.5% by other partners.
“PET bottles disposed in Japan amount to 650,000 t/y,
with most exported overseas or recycled in Japan,” said
Toyota Tsusho. “However, due to import restrictions imposed
recently by China and Southeast Asian countries,
retention of used PET bottle [s] in Japan is expected to increase.
“With the announcement of PET bottle recycling policies
by Japanese beverage manufacturers, the creation of a
sustainable used PET bottle recycling system in Japan has
become an important issue.”
DSM Reaches Deal with Covestro to Divest Resins & Functional Materials Businesses
Royal DSM said it has agreed to sell its Resins & Functional
Materials and associated businesses to Covestro AG
for an equity value of €1.6-billion.
The sale involves all of DSM’s Resins & Functional Materials
businesses, including DSM Niaga, DSM Additive
Manufacturing and the coatings activities of DSM Advanced
Solar. Completion is expected in the first half of
2021, subject to customary conditions and approvals.
“This sale builds on our approach of actively managing
our businesses, as DSM continues to evolve as a purposeled,
science-based company operating in the fields of nutrition,
health and sustainable living,” said Geraldine Matchett
and Dimitri de Vreeze, co-chief executives of DSM.
“The deal delivers strong value to DSM and is strategically
attractive for all parties.”
Agilyx Joins AmSty, Ineos and Trinseo To Explore Recycling Options for PS
has decided to partner with AmSty, Ineos Styrolution and
Trinseo as technology partner to explore and optimize advanced
recycling technologies for polystyrene (PS), such as
depolymerization (PCN, 21 Sept 2020, p 2).
The parties, which have signed a non-disclosure agreement,
will develop and identify the best design and supply
chain approach to produce new high-value recycled products
from PS waste.
“We hope to signal to the industry, in particular to
companies along the value chain in a circular economy,
that we are very serious about circularity for polystyrene,”
said Dr. Randy Pogue, president and chief executive of
“Since 2018, AmSty and Agilyx have already worked
together in our joint facility in Tigard, Ore., using Agilyx’s
breakthrough pyrolysis technology. We are delighted to
see Agilyx join our program and couldn’t imagine a better
Affiliate of SK Capital Finalizes Purchase Of Baker Hughes’ Specialty Polymers
Funds advised by SK Capital Partners has concluded the
acquisition of the specialty polymers business of Baker
Hughes for an undisclosed amount (PCN, 3 Aug 2020, p 2).
The business, which has been renamed NuCera Solutions,
produces specialty low molecular weight olefin polymers,
including a range of differentiated functional polymers
and premium, high melting point polyethylene waxes.
It has manufacturing operations in Barnsdall, Okla.
Steve McKeown, most recently president and chief executive
of Galata Chemicals, has been appointed chief executive