Ma'aden and Sahara Petrochemicals awarded Daelim EPC for caustic soda and EDC plant

(Arabian Oil and Gas) -- Saudi Arabian Mining Company ⌠Ma'aden and Sahara Petrochemicals have awarded South Korean contractor Daelim the engineering, procurement and construction contract (EPC) for the construction of a caustic soda and ethylene dichloride (EDC) plant, within the Sahara complex in Jubail Industrial City, the company said in a statement published on Tadawul. The project execution will take 34 months. Work commenced on the initial engineering and construction works in March 2010.

The USD 750m project will produce 250 KTa of caustic soda and 300 KTa of ethylene dichloride. The project will be owned on 50/50 basis between the two partners.


Petronas plans to build a USD 20 bln oil refinery and petrochemical complex

(C&EN) -- Malaysian state-owned oil refiner Petronas plans to build a USD 20 billion oil refinery and petrochemical complex in the state of Johor. And Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC) is going ahead with a polycarbonate investment in China and a large rubber project on its home base in Saudi Arabia.

Petronas says its refinery will have a processing capacity of 300.000 barrels per day. Its petrochemical complex will crack naphtha to annually produce 3 million metric tons of ethylene, propylene, and other olefins. A Petronas spokesman tells C&EN that the project, to be commissioned in 2016, is still in the early stages and that more details will come later.


Barge traffic on the Mississippi river is halted by flooding

(ICIS) -- Flooding on the Mississippi river has begun to halt barge traffic significantly and back up chemical supplies, with some deliveries to Houston already delayed by two months, shipping brokers and other sources said on Friday. Several chemical plants and refineries are on the lower Mississippi river in Louisiana. Houston is the petrochemical hub of the US.

Brokers said shipments were being delayed or cancelled in some cases because of the surging river. One broker said customers in Houston who get monthly barge loads from the Mississippi river have had to delay May and June cargoes to July or August.

The shutdown of freight terminals and ports and partial closures along the river has made the shipment and distribution of goods difficult and, in some cases, impossible.

The rising water is also putting pressure on chemical producers. Georgia Gulf put its phenol and acetone customers on allocation Friday because it cannot move feedstock cumene to a plant in Plaquemine, Louisiana.


Iran plans to raise its petrochemical capacity by 2015

(ICIS) -- Iran plans to raise its petrochemical capacity to 100m tonnes/year by 2015, a source at state-owned oil and petrochemical major National Petrochemical Co (NPC) said late on Sunday. The source was speaking on the sidelines of the two-day Iran Petrochemical Forum which ended on 22 May. ⌠Around 70m tonnes of this total capacity will be NPC's contribution. The rest will be accounted for by private companies in Iran, the source said.

The products being looked at are methanol, ethylene, urea, polymers and aromatics (see table below). The current installed capacity is around 51m tonnes/year, he added.

In 2011 alone, NPC is looking at petrochemical projects totalling 8m tonnes/year, he said. But some industry sources said they think NPC may not be able to achieve its expansion target on time because of the difficulties in obtaining the technology and financing.


Arkema to lift its declaration of force majeure on polyvinyl chloride supplies

(ICIS) -- Arkema is on schedule to lift its declaration of force majeure on polyvinyl chloride (PVC) supplies from its unit at Lavera, France, while LVM will shut down one PVC line at its unit in Beek, the Netherlands, at the end of June, company sources said on Friday.

Arkema plans to resume production at its oxychlorination and vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) unit in Lavera, France, by the end of May, a company source said. If there are no problems, the company should be in a position to lift its declaration of force majeure on PVC supplies from Lavera at the end of May or early June, the source added.

LVM, part of the Belgium-based Tessenderlo Group, plans to carry out maintenance at its 225 KTa unit in Beek, the Netherlands, which has four lines, a company source said. One of the lines will be shut down for one week at the end of June, which is unlikely to have any significant impact, the source added.

The source said there is no exact date yet for the start of the shutdown, during which time all contractual obligations will be met. Buyers and sellers said it is quite likely that LVM's maintenance could be carried out ⌠unnoticed.