This week in brief

01 October 2012 10:35  [Source: ICB]

AMERICAS

EVONIK PLANS TO BUILD NEW MMA PLANT IN THE US
Germany-based Evonik plans to build a new 120,000 tonne/year methyl methacrylate (MMA) plant at its Mobile site in Alabama, the US. The new plant - with an investment in the "three-digit million euro range" - is expected to come on stream in mid-2015. "As Evonik's largest North American site, Mobile offers the advantages of a strong infrastructure and optimal availability of all raw materials and power," said Gregor Hetzke, head of Evonik's performance polymers unit.

US TO BE METHANOL SELF-SUFFICIENT IN FIVE YEARS
The US will not need to import methanol from Trinidad and South America in five years, said a stock analyst with Raymond James in Vancouver. The roughly 5m tonnes annual imported will be satisfied with the completion of four new methanol plants. Orascom Construction Industries started on its unit in July. LyondellBasell, Methanex and Celanese plan to put units in Texas and Louisiana within the next two years.

OXID BEGINS CARRYING POLYESTER POLYOLS
US-based polyols producer Oxid now carries aromatic polyester polyols made from bio-based feedstock, the company said. Produced from soy or corn oil or non-food sources like castor oils, the bio-based content can be applied in flexible and rigid polyurethane. There are also no issues with odour and colouring.

DELTA'S JET FUEL REFINERY IN TRAINER GOES ONLINE
Delta Airlines began producing jet fuel at its Trainer refinery in Pennsylvania, the company said. Delta bought the 185,000 bbl/day refinery after ConocoPhillips shut it down last September. The airline did not reveal how much jet fuel will be produced.

CHEVRON PHILLIPS TO START CRACKER IN 2017
Chevron Phillips Chemical will start up its US Gulf Coast cracker and ethylene derivatives in 2017, a senior executive said. The cracker will use low-cost ethane from shale gas. No other details were provided. The company made the announcement of the world-scale project in March 2012.

INVISTA NORTH CAROLINA TO STOP MAKING DMT IN 2013
INVISTA will cease production of dimethyl terephthalate (DMT) at its Wilmington, North Carolina facility when customer contracts expire at the end of 2013, the company said. This will not affect DMT production in Gersthofen, German. The facility will not close down as INVISTA continues producing Terate HT polyols at that location.

LYONDELLBASELL TO TURN AROUND VAM UNIT
LynondellBasell will shut down its vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) plant in La Porte, Texas in October for planned maintenance, sources said. LyondellBasell did not comment, but sources said the 380,000 tonne/year unit will have a turnaround next month.

EUROPE

POLAND'S ORLEN SCRAPS PLAN TO SELL ANWIL
Poland-based petrochemicals group PKN Orlen has scrapped its plan to sell major polyvinyl chloride (PVC) producer Anwil. Earlier this year, Orlen launched an internal review of its divestment strategy for Anwil after not receiving any substantial offers for the firm following the rejection of an offer from Polish group Zaklady Azotowe Pulawy in June 2010.

HUNGARY'S MOL TO INVEST $137M IN BUTADIENE PLANT
Oil, gas and petrochemicals group MOL is to invest forint (Ft) 30bn ($137.2m, €106.1m) in a planned butadiene (BD) plant as part of a Ft300bn three-year investment programme in its home market of Hungary. The plant is to be located in Tiszaujvaros, the base of the company's petrochemical subsidiary TVK, and is to be completed "within the next three years".

RUSSIA'S LUKOIL RESTARTS STAVROLEN UNITS
Russia's Lukoil on 25 September restarted the ethylene and propylene units at its Stavrolen petrochemical plant, which were shut down after a fire in December last year. A company source said the high-density polyethylene (HDPE) units were expected to restart in coming days.

POLAND SEEKS CHINESE BUYER FOR ZACHEM
Poland's treasury ministry is actively searching for a Chinese investor that may buy Zachem, the loss-making toluene di-isocyanate (TDI) subsidiary of the state-controlled Ciech chemical group. The possibility of a Chinese purchase of the company will be discussed with a trade delegation from China that is scheduled to visit Poland.

BASF INVESTS IN FUNGICIDES EXPANSION IN GERMANY, US
German chemicals major BASF is investing more than €200m ($260m) to expand its fungicide capacities in Germany and the US. The investment will support major expansions at its facilities at Schwarzheide and Ludwigshafen in Germany, as well as at Sparks, Georgia in the US.

ARSENAL CAPITAL PARTNERS ACQUIRES IGM RESINS
US-based private equity firm Arsenal Capital Partners has acquired Netherlands-headquartered IGM Resins, a provider of intermediates to the global UV radiation cure coatings, inks and adhesives industry. Arsenal aims to tap into the "highly attractive UV cure end markets."

ASIA

TAIWAN'S NAN YA PLASTICS SHUTS MAILIAO MEG PLANT
Taiwan's Nan Ya Plastics shut its 720,000 tonne/year No 4 monoethylene glycol (MEG) plant at Mailiao in Yunlin County on 26 September following a fire, a company source said. The blaze was extinguished an hour later. The No 4 MEG unit was scheduled for a 40-day turnaround at the end of the year, in compliance with a government directive on safety checks at plants in Mailiao, following the fires at the petrochemical complex last year.

WACKER BUILDS NEW VAE PLANT IN S KOREA
Wacker Chemie is building a new 40,000 tonne/year vinyl acetate ethylene (VAE) copolymer dispersions plant at Ulsan in South Korea, the German specialty chemicals maker said. The company will invest €10m ($8m) on the plant that will almost double Wacker Chemie's VAE dispersion capacity at Ulsan. The project follows the company's 60,000 tonne/year expansion project at its production site in Nanjing, China that is expected to come on-stream by mid-2013.

FUJIAN SANMING CHEMICALS TO SHUT MELAMINE UNIT
China's Fujian Sanming Chemical Complex plans to shut its 16,000 tonne/year melamine plant at Fujian in southern China in early October for a 24-day turnaround, a company source said. The producer plans to shut the melamine plant from 4 October to 28 October for annual maintenance, the source said. Fujian Sanming Chemical Complex's spot inventory will be limited throughout October.

INDIA'S RELIANCE SHUTS DAHEJ PVC UNIT
India's Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) shut its 240,000 tonne/year polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plant in Dahej, Gujarat, on 25 September for a scheduled maintenance turnaround, a market source said. The PVC facility will be shut for two weeks. Besides Dahej, RIL operates two other PVC units at Hazira and Vadodara. The 360,000 tonne/year unit at Hazira and the 60,000 tonne/year facility at Vadodara will continue to operate normally, the source added.

TAIWAN'S FPCC PLANS OP RATE CUT TO BELOW 90%
Taiwan's Formosa Petrochemical Corp is planning to cut operating rates at its Mailiao crackers to below 90% in early October because of poor market conditions in the downstream polyethylene (PE) sector, a company official said. The 1.03m tonne/year No 2 cracker was restarted on 14 September as scheduled following its routine maintenance and it is currently running at full capacity.

TAIWAN'S FPC TO SHUT ACRYLIC ACID UNIT
Taiwan's Formosa Plastics Corp is planning to shut its 30,000 tonne/year crude acrylic acid (CAA) No 2 line at Kaohsiung in early October for maintenance, a company source said. The unit will be shut for about 40 days for maintenance and a catalyst change, the source added. CAA is one of the feedstocks used to produce glacial acrylic acid (GAA) and acrylate esters.

CPCHEM: WORLD PE DEMAND TO GROW 5-6%
Global polyethylene (PE) demand is expected to grow at an average annual pace of 5-6%, largely driven by economic growth in developing countries, a senior executive of Chevron Phillips Chemical (CP Chem) said. "We see a bright future in Asia," CP Chem Asia president and managing director Jim Becker said at a one-day industry seminar in Nepal. PE demand from China, which is the largest PE consumer in the world, is likely to grow at an average of 7-8%, Becker added.


By: Will Beacham
+44 20 8652 3214



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