QAPCO to launch LDPE-3 in the first quarter of 2012

(Plastemart) -- QAPCO's new low density polyethylene (LDPE-3) plant will have its commercial launch in the first quarter of 2012. To be located at Mesaieed, the new plant will have a capacity to produce 300 KTa LDPE. With this, Qapco will become one of the major low-density polyethylene producers in the world. Qapco's two existing lines - LDPE 1 & 2 have production capacity of over 400 KTa.


Saudi Aramco to double refining capacity

(Arabian Oil and Gas) -- Saudi Aramco is expected to increase its domestic and global refining capacity by 50% to more than 6 million barrels per day, according to Khalid Al-Falih, CEO of Saudi Aramco. Speaking at the Korean Chamber of Commerce in Seoul, Al-Falih said that this growth will be achieved through two new refineries under construction in Saudi Arabia.

He said that four grassroots refineries were under consideration with one being in Jaizan on the southwest coast of the Kingdom and three other joint venture refining projects in China, Vietnam and Indonesia respectively.

He also said that in five years, Saudi Aramco's natural gas capacity will exceed 15 billion standard cubic feet per day, adding that his company is spending a total capital budget of USD 125 billion on local and international projects.


BASF to acquire ultrafiltration specialist inge watertechnologies AG

(BASF) -- BASF has signed an agreement with the investor group of Germany-based inge watertechnologies AG to acquire the company and its ultrafiltration membrane business.

Inge watertechnologies AG is a global leading provider of ultrafiltration technology, a membrane process used in the treatment of drinking water, process water, wastewater and sea water. It is headquartered in the town of Greifenberg near Munich in Germany and employs about 85 staff. With a global reach, the company's range of products include highly-efficient ultrafiltration modules and cost-effective rack designs which are the core components of water treatment plants.

⌠This transaction is an important step in strengthening BASF's technology and innovation driven business and is in line with our focus on addressing major global challenges. The deal will further improve BASF's position in the water treatment industry, which is an attractive and fast-growing market and helps to improve quality of life everywhere, said Dr. John Feldmann, member of the Board of Executive Directors of BASF and responsible for the Performance Products segment.

The investor group and BASF have agreed not to disclose financial details of the deal. The transaction, which is subject to approval by competent merger control authorities, is expected to close within the third quarter of 2011.


Canada's Alberta confident of its petrochemistry's prospects, despite the US shale gas boom

(ICIS) -- The government of Canada's Alberta province remains confident of its petrochemicals industry's prospects, despite the US shale gas boom which has triggered a wave of new chemical plants across the border. ⌠We still expect the Alberta Advantage' to continue, said Tim Markle, a spokesman for the province's energy ministry, Alberta Energy.

Alberta also has the pipeline and transportation infrastructure, which make it a hub for natural gas and natural gas liquids (NGLs) - including the potential for gas from the neighbouring British Columbia province and for gas from Canada's MacKenzie Valley and Alaska, he said. Meanwhile, the provincial government is ⌠cautiously optimistic about opportunities from shale gas in western Canada.

Alberta's ethane extraction plants are running at only about 75% of capacity on average, partly because of the continuing growth of supply of low-cost shale gas in the US In addition, the Alberta Sedimentary Basin has become mature, Markle said. Maturation means natural gas is more difficult and costly to remove from the ground. In order to boost the province's ethane production, the government launched the Incremental Ethane Extraction Policy (IEEP) in 2007.

The programme recently was extended to ethane from olefins-rich off-gases generated in the upgrading of oil sands and bitumen in Alberta. The programme's goal is to bring an additional 65.000-80.000 bbl/day of ethane.


Shanghai exports disrupted by strikes

(ICIS) -- Angry protests by container-truck drivers in Shanghai have disrupted operations at the world's busiest container port and may lead to a delay in exports, industry sources said on Monday. Since 20 April, hundreds of truck drivers have been striking at major ports in Shanghai, seeking higher freight rates to offset their costs after China raised fuel prices for a second time this year, Hong Kong's South China Morning Post reported.

A shipping source at Ningbo in Zhejiang said, ⌠Two of my containers are still left in Yangzhou, and I could not get them transported to Shanghai. Even if they were transported to Shanghai, they still cannot be loaded. I can understand drivers' strikes as the rising fuel prices and other charges squeezed their earnings.

Reports on the incident were quickly removed from news websites and online forums and state media was informed not to report on the protests. Beijing is concerned that public unrest could result from anger over rising prices, particularly after inflationary woes helped to spark popular uprisings in the Middle East.

Shanghai is actively taking measures to respond to the strike, Xinhua reported early on Saturday in English, citing an unidentified Shanghai government spokesman.