Total signed an agreement with CNOOC Middle East

(Arabian Oil and Gas) -- Total announced that it has signed an agreement with CNOOC Middle East (Qatar) Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of CNOOC International Limited, to acquire a 25% interest in Qatar's Block BC (pre-Khuff) exploration license. CNOOC Middle East (Qatar) Limited will continue to be the operator with a 75% interest.

Located 130 kilometers east of the Qatari coast, the offshore block covers an area of 5,649 square kilometers, with water depths ranging from 15 to 35 meters.

Commenting on Total's participation in the Block BC EPSA, His Excellency Dr. Mohammed Bin Saleh AI-Sada, Qatar's Minister of Energy and Industry said ⌠We would like to welcome our long time partner, Total, into the Block BC EPSA, and we wish them and CNOOC all success with the exploration activities, which we believe are always enhanced when quality companies such as Total and CNOOC join efforts.


Arkema launched the second additive in acrylic impact modifier family

(PlasticsToday) -- Arkems launched a new acrylic impact modifier to boost impact strength and flowability in PC/ABS and other select PC formulations, helping the alloys fend off increasing competition from compounded TPOs and PPs. Arkema's (Philadelphia, PA) Durastrength 410 is the second additive in the Durastrength acrylic impact modifier family, joining Durastrength 410, which launched several years ago, with the newest addition already commercially applied.

Connie Lo, commercial development manager for Arkema's Sustainability Additives Group, told PlasticsToday that a small amount of Durastrength 410 impact modifier incorporated into certain PC formulations eases processing and results in more durable end-use properties in injection molded or extruded parts by improving the alloy's impact and flow behavior-end results that align with the group's goals.

Additional products are in the works for Durastrength line, with a new grade to possibly launch by the end of 2011. Arkema said in launching Durastrength 410 it hoped to introduce a cost-effective impact modifier for PC/ABS applications that can tailor the melt flow in PC applications while also offering improved performance at equivalent loadings compared to the competition.


Saudi Aramco inaugurated its Ras Tanura diesel hydrotreater plant

(Arabian Oil and Gas) -- Saudi Aramco has inaugurated its Ras Tanura diesel hydrotreater plant, after 28 months of construction work, the company said in a statement. The diesel hydrotreater is the largest of its kind in Saudi Aramco and capable of processing 105.000 barrels per day of 10-parts-per-million (ppm) ultra-low-sulfur diesel.

Completed within 28 months, the plant represents a milestone in the company's efforts to produce cleaner fuels. The project was part of Saudi Aramco's Environmental Master Plan, which was launched in 2001 to identify and implement capital projects that lighten the environmental footprint of the company and the products it produces.

The hydrotreater is situated in the middle of Ras Tanura Refinery and surrounded by operating facilities that continued to operate during construction of the hydrotreater. Yanbu' and Riyadh diesel hydrotreaters produce 500 ppm low-sulfur diesel.


Lanxess to increase its prices up to 20 percent

(Lanxess) -- Specialty chemicals company Lanxess is to increase its prices worldwide for leather chemicals by up to 20% effective June 1, 2011, in response to steeply rising raw material costs. The reason for this measure is the significant price increase in the key raw materials propylene, naphthalene, phenol, isocyanates, polyols, titanium dioxide and butyl acetate.

Lanxess is one of the few suppliers worldwide to supply products needed in all stages of leather manufacture, including inorganic and synthetic tanning materials, preservatives and fatliquoring agents, dyestuffs and tanning and finishing auxiliaries.

Lanxess is a leading specialty chemicals company with sales of EUR 7.1 bln in 2010 and currently around 15,500 employees in 30 countries. The company is at present represented at 46 production sites worldwide. The core business of LANXESS is the development, manufacturing and marketing of plastics, rubber, intermediates and specialty chemicals.


BASF and INEOS signed a joint venture contract

(BASF) -- BASF SE and INEOS Industries Holdings Limited have made an important step towards the establishment of the joint venture company Styrolution. On May 27, 2011 the companies signed a joint venture contract, which regulates the formation of the joint venture company Styrolution. The establishment of the joint venture is subject to approval by the appropriate antitrust authorities.

BASF and INEOS plan to combine their global business activities in styrene monomers (SM), polystyrene (PS), acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), styrene-butadiene block copolymers (SBC) and other styrene-based copolymers (SAN, AMSAN, ASA, MABS) as well as copolymer blends into the new joint venture called Styrolution. The business with expandable polystyrene is not part of the transaction. BASF and INEOS will retain their respective businesses.

The company headquarters will be located in Frankfurt/Main, Germany. In the joint venture 50% of the shares will be owned by BASF and 50% by INEOS. BASF will receive cash consideration following the completion of the transaction.