Logistical problems are threatening US chemical plants

(ICIS) -- Logistical problems are threatening US chemical plants along the swollen Mississippi river as water levels continue to rise, sources said on Thursday. Already, the river along Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is at 43.1 feet (13.1m), placing it in a major flood stage, according to the National Weather Service. During such a stage, shipping and industrial activities will be "significantly affected", the National Weather Service said. Unprotected low-lying areas will be flooded.

So far, the US Coast Guard has not increased the safety restrictions imposed on Monday, which required ships to contact a traffic control centre at Baton Rouge.

The river is expected to crest at Baton Rouge on 22 May at 47.5 feet, breaking the record set in 1927, the weather service said.

To relieve pressure on the river, the US Army Corps of Engineers opened the Bonnet Carre Spillway.

The Mississippi flooding has already created delays in the hydrochloric acid (HCl) and caustic soda markets. A barge source said the disruptions along the river were anticipated to last until mid-June.


Petronas to build refinery, petrochemicals complex

(ICIS) -- Malaysian state oil and gas firm Petronas will build an integrated refinery and petrochemicals complex in the country's southern state of Johor, the company said on Friday. According to a Petronas statement, investment costs for the project have been estimated at around USD 20bn (EUR 14m), with the complex expected to be commissioned by the end of 2016.

The country's prime minister, Najib Tun Razak, on Friday outlined details of a feasibility study for the development of the refinery and petrochemical integrated development project (Rapid) in southern Johor.

The project will include a 300.000 bbl/day crude oil refinery for the production of petroleum products, such as gasoline, jet fuel, diesel and fuel oil, the company said in the statement.

The complex will also house a naphtha cracker with a combined annual production capacity of around 3m tonnes of ethylene, propylene, C4 and C5 olefins, it said.

A petrochemicals and polymer facility is also planned for the production of propylene and ethylene oxide derivatives, phenol and bisphenol A (BPA), differentiated polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene (PE), as well as surfactants and additives for lubricants, the statement said.


European producers reduce prices for polypropylene

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Despite growing contract price for propylene in Europe this month, European producers reduced export prices for polypropylene (PP), according to ICIS-MRC price report.

May contract price for propylene in Europe grew by EUR 35/mt compared to April. Nevertheless, some European producers reduced export prices for polypropylene in May. On average, reduction of export quotations compared to April made EUR 10-20/mt. Some European producers reduced price offer for propylene to EUR 1.280 - 1.330/mt, FCA, for raffia, and EUR 1.330 - 1.370/mt, FCA, for IM polypropylene.

Copolymers of propylene fell less insignificantly, on average, by EUR 10/mt, but not all European producers reduced export prices.

Export prices for impact copolymers of propylene in May were reduced to EUR 1.370 - 1.450/mt, FCA.

Middle East and Asian producers have left their prices on April level.


SIBUR reaches agreement on sale of Novokuibyshevsk Petrochemical Company

(SIBUR) -- SIBUR has officially reached an agreement on the sale of CJSC ⌠Novokuibyshevsk Petrochemical Company to investors, which represent the controlling group of the company ⌠Samaraorgsintez.

The latter company did not fit in the industrial structure of SIBUR due to the remoteness of the distant location of the company's raw materials in West Siberia.

Despite the sale of this asset, SIBUR will continue to cooperate with enterprises in regards to a number of products according to market conditions within the scope of the company's ongoing business activities.


Saudi Ma'aden and Sahara Petrochemical Company to create a caustic soda and EDC plant

(US-SABC.org) -- The Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Ma'aden) and Sahara Petrochemical Company (Sahara), which is 90 % owned by Zamil Group Holding, have established a new joint venture that will create a caustic soda and ethylene dichloride (EDC) plant. The USD 750 mln (SR2.81 billion) project, located within Sahara's complex in Jubail Industrial City, will produce 250 KTa of caustic soda and 300 KTa of EDC.

The two companies also agreed to use the procured caustic soda in the production of alumina for Ma'aden's refinery in Ras Azzour. The joint venture arrangement follows the announcement by both companies last year that they received the approval of the Saudi Industrial Development Fund to provide USD 240 mln (SR900 million) in project financing.