Huntsman to pay USD 33 mln in lawsuit

(ICIS) -- Huntsman had no comment on Tuesday regarding its proposal to pay USD 33m (EUR 23m) to settle a US class-action lawsuit, which accused the company of fixing prices on isocyanates and other feedstock for polyurethane foam. In proposing the settlement, Huntsman denied the allegations made in the lawsuit, the isocyanate customers said in court documents. Instead, Huntsman chose to settle the lawsuit to avoid the expense of fighting the case in court. The court still needs to approve the settlement.

US-based Huntsman's proposed payment will represent 1.4% of its sales to the class-action customers during the time covered by the lawsuit, they said.

Netherlands-based LyondellBasell has also proposed settling the lawsuit, the customers said. However, it would pay nothing.

The lawsuit was filed in 2004, and it accused Huntsman, Bayer, BASF, Dow Chemical and LyondellBasell of fixing prices. The complaint covered propylene oxide (PO) based polyether polyols; methyl di-p-phenylene isocyanate (MDI); and toluene di-isocyanate (TDI) that were purchased from 1 January 1999 through 31 December 2004.


Shell's GTL project in Qatar to fully operate by the middle of next year

(ICIS) -- Shell is on schedule to have its huge gas-to-liquid (GTL) project in Qatar fully operational by the middle of next year, a company spokesperson said on Tuesday. The Anglo-Dutch oil major has invested about USD18bn-19bn (EUR 12-13bn) in the project.

The Pearl GTL facility, at Ras Laffan, is the world's biggest with a production capacity of 1.6 billion cubic feet of gas a day when fully operational. This will be processed to generate 120,000 bbl/day of GTL gasoil, kerosene, base oils, n-paraffins and naphtha.

The project is expected to provide the ethane feedstock for a planned cracker project of the two companies in Qatar.


Spot prices for PE, PP in the Middle East to remain weak for the rest of June

(ICIS) -- Spot prices of polymers in the Middle East will likely remain weak for the rest of June, taking the cue from China's bearish market, industry players said on Wednesday. Polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) values for June shipments are down USD 50-120/tonne (EUR 34-82/tonne) from May, according to ICIS data.

PP raffia prices tumbled for the third consecutive week after hitting a 10-month high, shedding USD120/tonne to USD 1.590-1.630/tonne DEL (delivered) GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) and USD 1.620-1.650/tonne DEL East Med (Mediterranean), market sources said.

Meanwhile, prices of various linear low density PE (LLDPE) film, high density PE (HDPE) film and low density PE (LDPE) film for June shipments fell USD 50-70/tonne over the same three-week period, they said.

In China, polymer prices were much lower, with PP raffia at USD 1.530-1.590/tonne CFR China; LLDPE film at USD 1.230-1.280/tonne CFR China; HDPE film at USD 1.330-1.350/tonne CFR China, and LDPE film at USD 1.530-1.580/tonne CFR China, on Wednesday.


Rabigh Refining and Petrochemicals to complete maintenance works

(Bloomberg) -- Rabigh Refining and Petrochemicals Co., a joint venture between state-owned Saudi Aramco and Sumitomo Chemical Co. of Japan, said maintenance works at its facilities will be completed by the middle of July. The utilities units were restarted May 31 after periodic maintenance, while the crude distillation unit will resume operations June 7, the company said in a statement to the Saudi bourse today. Units including the ethane cracker will start operating before the end of this month and the high olefins cracking unit by mid of July, it said. Polypropylene sales will decline in the first two weeks of the third quarter due to the maintenance, it said.


Dow Chemical to form a joint venture to manufacture carbon fiber and derivatives

(Dow) -- The Dow Chemical Company, through its wholly-owned subsidiary Dow Europe GmbH, and Aksa Akrilik Kimya Sanayii A.S. (Aksa) announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the intent to form a joint venture to manufacture and globally commercialize carbon fiber and derivatives.

Through this agreement, both companies will work together to explore opportunities to create fully-integrated production facilities for the manufacture and global supply of carbon fibers and derivatives. The companies will examine opportunities to develop and market a broad range of products and technical service offerings in the carbon fiber-based composites industry.

⌠This new partnership with Aksa is another example of how Dow continues to advance its innovation agenda and broaden our down-stream, integrated solutions offering, said Dow Chairman and CEO Andrew N. Liveris. ⌠Together, Aksa and Dow will apply science, world-class manufacturing capabilities and technical expertise to deliver innovative solutions that address some of the world's most pressing challenges such as increasing the energy capture of wind turbines, improving the fuel economy of automobiles, and extending the life of roads and buildings.

Very strong and lightweight, carbon-fiber based materials are used in a variety of applications in many growth industries, such as wind energy, transportation, and infrastructure, where weight savings, durability and energy efficiency are key performance factors.