EU group unveils sustainability proposals

(ICIS) -- Members of an EU research group have unveiled new proposals for partnerships between Europe's chemicals industry and the public sector that promote sustainability, the group said on Tuesday.

Sustainable Chemistry (SusChem), a group of stakeholders in the chemicals industry founded by the European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic) and EuropaBio, unveiled the proposals at a meeting in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

The partnerships are designed to bring together both private and public actors at the EU, national and regional levels to tackle such challenges as climate change and energy security.

The first partnership proposal, ⌠resource efficiency, aims to use a demonstration plant to find ways of reducing C02 emissions by 50% and increasing the use of renewable feedstocks by 20% beyond 2020.

The second proposal, ⌠water-efficient Europe, would reduce competition between the public and private sectors for scarce water resources.

The third proposal, ⌠smart cities, would improve energy conservation and the renovation of urban housing stock, said SusChem officials.

The final proposal, ⌠raw materials for a modern society, would research new materials and methods for improving recycling to tackle the scarcity of resources.


BASF to build new dispersions plant in South Africa

(BASF) -- BASF will invest in a dispersions plant in Durban, South Africa. The new plant will produce acrylic dispersions mainly for the coatings and construction industry. The facility will benefit from local availability of raw materials and proximity to key customers who serve South Africa's and Sub Saharan Africa's fast-growing markets. Production is scheduled to begin in the second half of 2012.

South Africa is the largest market for dispersions in Sub-Saharan Africa. With its portfolio of specialties, BASF can help customers move towards more environmentally friendly technologies such as reduced Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) and products free of alkyl phenol ethoxylate (APEO). This investment reflects BASF's focus on participating in the strong growth markets in emerging Africa.


BASF increases prices for carbonyl chloride derivatives in Europe

(BASF) -- With immediate effect or as contracts allow, BASF is increasing the sales prices for carbonyl chloride derivatives (CCDs) in Europe by 10 to 20% depending on the specific product. The price increase is necessary due to the increased production costs.

The CCD portfolio of BASF comprises mainly acid chlorides and chloroformates, which are primarily used to make organic peroxides for the production of polymers. They are also important as intermediates for pharmaceuticals and agrochemicals. Further applications are cosmetics, soaps and detergents, mining chemicals, polymer additives and electroplating chemicals.


China's polyethylene import demand may weaken further in the coming months

(ICIS) -- China's polyethylene (PE) import demand may weaken further in the coming months because of high import prices that will deter buyers, industry sources said on Tuesday.

The benchmark linear low density PE (LLDPE) was on average selling at yuan (CNY) 10,800/tonne (USD 1.659/tonne) EXWH (ex-warehouse) on 13 May, CNY350/tonne or 3.1% lower from mid-April, according to data from Chemease, an ICIS service in China.

The import cost of LLDPE was at least $35/tonne (┬25/tonne) higher than current retail prices, local traders said.

The average retail price of injection grade polypropylene (PP) rose to CNY12,675/tonne EXWH on 13 May, up by CNY225/tonne or 1.8% from mid-April, but still lagged behind import costs, local traders said.

The benchmark injection grade PP is being offered from Asia at around USD 1.680/tonne CFR (cost & freight) China for June shipment, around USD133/tonne higher than current retail prices.

China imported less PE and PP in March this year as a result of the high import costs, local traders said. China imported around 230 KT of LLDPE and about 330 KT of homopolymer PP in March, which were 14% and 9% lower compared with the same month last year, according to China's customs data.


Sasol-Huntsman lifted the force majeure declaration on maleic anhydride

(ICIS) -- Sasol-Huntsman has lifted the force majeure declaration at its maleic anhydride (MA) plant in Moers, Germany, a company source said on Friday. The force majeure was enacted on 4 March 2011 because of technical problems associated with the start-up of the facility's new 45 KTa reactor. It was lifted on 30 April and the extra capacity is now online, giving a new nameplate capacity of 105 KTa.

The European MA market has been in tight supply since the fourth quarter of 2009, because of the closure of BASF's 115 KTa MA plant in Feluy, Belgium.

Despite the lifting of Sasol-Huntsman's force majeure, MA availability remains low because of limited stock levels and high demand, sources said.

Spot prices are at record levels of EUR 1.800-2.000/tonne (USD 2.571-2.857/tonne) for liquid and flake. Liquid spot prices have been at historic highs for 10 weeks, and solid spot prices for six weeks. At the time, the spot price increases were attributed to the Sasol-Huntsman force majeure.