07 May 2012 00:00 [Source: ICB]
US approves testing for nylon-12 replacements
A committee has approved a design verification plan and report to speed up the testing process for nylon-12 replacement materials, an automobile industry group said. "This will speed up the replacement of materials, while still ensuring that proper industry minimum requirements and testing are conducted," the Automotive Industry Action Group said. Supplies of nylon 12, also called polyamide 12 (PA 12), reached a critical level after a deadly explosion last month at an Evonik cyclododecatriene (CDT) plant in Marl, Germany.
US Sunoco swings to Q1 net income of $248m
US refiner Sunoco swung to a first-quarter net income of $248m, benefitting greatly from the idling of refineries. Net income totalled $248m (€188m) in the first quarter (Q1), up from a loss of $101m in the same period in 2011. Sunoco recorded after-tax gains of $302m from the "reduction of crude oil and refined product inventories primarily attributable to the idling of the Marcus Hook refinery" in Pennsylvania, the company said.
DuPont has no plans to make biofuels - Collins
DuPont does not intend to become a producer of biofuels, James Collins, president of DuPont Industrial Biosciences, says. Instead, the US-based diversified chemicals company will license its technology; work with licensees to help optimise their supply chain and plant operations; and supply the associated enzymes and DuPont's unique ethanologen, a yeast that digests C5 and C6 sugars.
Chemtura's Q1 up on electronics, agriculture
US specialty chemicals producer Chemtura's first-quarter (Q1) net earnings rose to $22m (€17m) from $7m in the same quarter last year on the strength of demand from downstream electronics and on sales of agricultural products. However, the company also saw weakness in antioxidants and urethanes products. Sales for the quarter totalled $708m, up by 1% from $699m in the first quarter of 2011.
EU chemicals fall by 2.4% in February - Cefic
EU chemicals production fell by 2.4% year on year in February as all sectors registered a drop except for consumer chemicals, Cefic reported. Petrochemicals production declined by 3.5% year on year in February. Chemicals production in the EU was 5.3% below the peak figure reached in 2007. "EU chemicals production was negatively affected in the first quarter by continued deterioration in the EU business climate and weak macro-economic activity," said Cefic chief economist Moncef Hadhri.
BP's Q1 petchems profits drop on margin squeeze
BP's petrochemicals operations posted an underlying replacement cost profit before interest and tax of $112m (€85m) in the first quarter of 2012, representing a 78% slump from the same period last year, the UK energy giant says. "This reflects a challenging margin environment compared with the particularly strong aromatics margins a year ago, although we have seen volumes improve from the low levels in the fourth quarter as a result of improved demand and higher availability," BP said in a statement.
CIA confident UK chems can move to low carbon
The Chemical Industries Association (CIA) says it is confident that the chemical sector succeed in a low carbon economy with the backing of members of parliament (MPs). CIA chief executive Steve Elliott met MPs and said afterwards: "I am confident we can get the right policies that help the transition to a low-carbon economy, while making sure the chemical industry can deliver a strong economic, social and environmental performance"
DSM to acquire US firm Kensey Nash for $360m
Dutch specialty chemicals firm DSM has agreed to fully acquire US-based biomedical firm Kensey Nash at $38.50 (€29.3) per share or about $360m via a cash tender offer. The offer price represents a 33% premium to Kensey Nash's closing price on 2 May. The transaction is expected to close around the end of the second quarter. Kensey Nash is mainly focused on regenerative medicine utilizing its proprietary collagen and synthetic polymer technology.
US Chemtura to close plant in Pedrengo, Italy
Chemtura plans to close its antioxidants plant at Pedrengo, near Milan, Italy, as part of a restructuring measure to lower costs, the CEO of the US-based specialty chemicals producer said. Chemtura expects to complete the plant closure by the end of the first quarter of 2013, Craig Rogerson said. It will switch production of the antioxidants made at Pedrengo to a toll manufacturer and to other Chemtura plants.
Evonik completes sale of colorants business
German specialty chemical company Evonik has completed the sale of its global colourants business to US private equity firm Arsenal Capital Partners. The transaction was closed on 30 April 2012, Evonik said. Evonik generated sales of about €130m ($171m) from its colourants business in 2011.
Thyssen wins work for AkzoNobel upgrade
German engineering firm ThyssenKrupp Uhde has won a contract for work to upgrade and expand AkzoNobel's chlor-alkali plant in Frankfurt, Germany. ThyssenKrupp Uhde said it would design and supply energy-saving membrane cells for the plant. AkzoNobel announced the €140m ($184m) conversion investment last year.
Petkim sees Q1 net loss on high naphtha costs
Turkey's Petkim suffered a Turkish lira (TL) 8m ($5m, €3m) net loss in the first quarter of the year, compared to a net profit of TL77m in the same period of 2011, as the high price of naphtha feedstock undercut profits. Sales revenue, however, rose by 28% year on year to TL1bn. Increased naphtha prices - caused by rising oil prices - were so high that petrochemical margins were negative, especially in January and February, the company said.
TVK signs ethylene deal with Yantai Wanhua
Hungarian petrochemical producer TVK has signed a deal to supply China's Yantai Wanhua Polyurethanes with 120,000 tonnes of ethylene annually for the next 10 years. The ethylene will be delivered to Hungarian isocyanates and polyvinyl chloride maker BorsodChem, which since February last year has been owned by the parent company of Yantai Wanhua Polyurethanes. The deal extends the long-standing supply relationship.
China's Jiangsu Lianhai to double ethyl acetate
China's Jiangsu Lianhai Biological Technology plans to double its ethyl acetate (etac) capacity to 200,000 tonnes/year by August, a company source says. "The construction of the new unit is currently under way, and we expect to start up the new capacity in July or August," the source said. Jiangsu Lianhai operates a 100,000 tonne/year ethyl acetate plant at Nantong in Jiangsu province and a 200,000 tonne/year tapioca-based ethanol plant at the same site.
China to launch crude futures trading
China is expected to begin trading in crude oil futures at the Shanghai Futures Exchange (SHFE) after China's National Day holiday on 1-7 October, at the earliest, sources say. An SHFE official said earlier the government has not fixed a schedule to launch the trading as it was still being studied. It is not immediately known what the benchmark crude of the contracts will be.
Shouguang Luqing to start catalytic cracker
China's Shouguang Luqing Petrochemical plans to start up a deep catalytic cracker unit at Shouguang, Shandong province, in June, a company source says. The unit can process 1.5m tonnes/year of fuel oil and it will be able to produce more than 200 tonnes of propylene each day, the source said. It currently runs a fluid catalytic cracker (FCC) unit that can produce around 36,000 tonnes/year of propylene.
Middle east & Africa
QAPCO on track to start up LDPE-3 unit by end May
Qatar Petrochemical Co (QAPCO) is on track to start up its new 300,000 tonne/year low density polyethylene (LDPE) facility, or LDPE-3, at Mesaieed in Qatar by the end of May, a source close to the company says. QAPCO had planned to start up the LDPE-3 plant in the second quarter of this year. QAPCO's two existing 200,000 tonne/year LDPE plants, which are located at the same site, are running at full capacity, the source added. Ethylene exports from Qatar are expected to be limited following the start-up.
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