SABIC awards contracts for elastomers project

(Arabian Oil and Gas) -- Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) and affiliates of ExxonMobil Chemical have confirmed that Front-End Engineering Design (FEED) contracts have been awarded for a proposed new elastomers project at their Al-Jubail Petrochemical Company (KEMYA) joint venture petrochemical plant.

FEED contracts were awarded to Jacobs Engineering and Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding for process units and to Fluor Transworld Services for associated support facilities.

"This elastomers project will be the basis for the creation of a world-class rubber value chain in Saudi Arabia and a valuable extension of our offering of products and services to our customers in key markets," said Koos van Haasteren, SABIC executive vice president, Performance Chemicals.

The project is expected to establish a domestic supply of more than 400 KT of rubber[butyl, styrene butadiene rubber (SBR), butadiene rubber (BR) and EPDM], thermoplastic specialty polymers and carbon black to serve emerging local and international markets in Asia and the Middle East. The project also includes the establishment of a vocational training center and product application development and support center, aligned with Saudi Arabia's National Industrial Clusters Development Program to grow and diversify the manufacturing sector in Saudi Arabia.


Brazil's Wortex reentered the market for blown-film extrusion systems

(Plastics Today) -- Wortex Maquinas (Campinas, Brazil) reentered the market for blown-film extrusion systems at Brasilplast (May 9-13), launching a three-layer design for technical films. Speaking with PlasticsToday from his company's stand, Paolo De Filippis, Wortex's director, admitted the marketplace for film extrusion machinery in Brazil does not lack opposition. This point was reinforced by Wortex's neighbor at the fair, Carnevalli, a long-standing Brazil-based supplier of blown-film equipment, which ran four towers at the show.

Wortex built a new plant for the blown-film machinery, finishing the facility three months ago. It has 2000-m2 for assembly, with the complete manufacturing site covering 5500-m2.

In addition to expanding its technological portfolio in 2011, Wortex also hopes to extend its geographic reach, with plans to add manufacturing in the U.S.


Royal Dutch Shell may start up its ethylene plant in Singapore after mid-May

(Bloomberg) -- Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) reiterated that its ethylene plant at Pulau Bukom, Singapore, may only start up after the middle of this month. The ⌠earliest possible restart isn't expected before the middle of May, the company said in an e-mailed statement today. Shell shut the plant on March 18 because of technical problems, according to the notice. The company said April 11 that the facility isn't expected to start up before mid-May.

The European refiner declared force majeure on some chemical contracts from the plant because of unplanned operational issues, according to an e-mail from the company on March 21. Force majeure is a legal clause allowing companies to miss deliveries because of circumstances beyond their control.

The Singapore cracker complex has the ability to turn naphtha, liquefied petroleum gas and heavy hydrocarbons into chemicals. It has an annual capacity to produce 800 KT of ethylene, 450 KT of propylene and 230 KT of benzene, according to the company's website.


European Commission cleared acquisition of assets joint control by PetroChina and Ineos

(Plastemart) -- The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of joint control over certain assets currently wholly owned by Ineos AG of Switzerland by PetroChina Company Limited of China and Ineos AG. After examining the operation, the Commission concluded that the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or any substantial part of it.

PetroChina is a Chinese company active in the production and distribution of petroleum and petrochemical products. It is controlled by China National Petroleum Corporation ("CNCP group"). CNPC group is a Chinese State-owned company which is engaged in a broad range of petroleum and gas related activities.

Ineos manufactures petrochemicals, specialty chemicals and oil products at global level. The target assets consist of Ineos' refining business, namely two refineries in Grangemouth (Scotland) and Lavera (France) and associated assets.

The Commission's examination of the proposed transaction showed that the horizontal overlaps and the vertical relationships between the parties' activities were limited and that the transaction would not change the competitive structure of the markets for oil products under any alternative product and geographic market definition. This assessment would have remained unchanged also taking into account the market shares of the other Chinese State-owned companies active in the oil sector.


Dow to suspend dock operations at two factory sites in Louisiana

(Bloomberg) -- Dow Chemical Co., the largest U.S. chemical maker, said it will suspend dock operations at two factory sites in Louisiana tomorrow as a precaution against potential flooding from the swollen Mississippi River.

While the company doesn't expect floods at its Plaquemine and St. Charles sites, it is suspending dock work based on water-level projections, Gregory Baldwin, a Dow spokesman, said today in an e-mailed statement. It's too early to say how long the suspensions will be or whether they will affect production and sales, he said in response to questions from Bloomberg News.

The Mississippi and Ohio rivers, swollen by heavy rain and melted snow, have been inundating cities and towns, flooding cropland and disrupting shipping.

Dow has three ethylene plants, known as crackers, along the Mississippi River in Louisiana. South of Baton Rouge are Plaquemine 2, which can produce 499 KT of ethylene a year, and Plaquemine 3 which can produce 758 KT, according to Bloomberg data. West of New Orleans at the St. Charles site in Hahnville is Taft 1, which can make 610 KT of ethylene a year.