Haldia Petrochemicals started talks on de-notifying as an oil compan

(Plastemart) -- Haldia Petrochemicals, a joint venture of The Chattterjee Group (TCG) and West Bengal government, has started talks with the state government on de-notifying HPL as an oil company, which has resulted in an annual loss of Rs 300 crore since 2006. The company is also lobbying with the Union government for zero duty on naphtha imports, while also waiting for the Supreme Court (SC) verdict on the ownership issue, as per Financial Express.

HPL Managing Director Partha S Bhattacharyya said HPL under the West Bengal incentive scheme of 1996 was supposed to get tax exemption accumulating up to R6.000 crore or for a period of 12 years, whichever was earlier. But the government in 2006 withdrew the sales tax exemption on motor spirit (MS) issuing a sales tax notification, that HPL was treated as an oil company since it was producing MS oil, which was a petroleum product and not petrochemical product. But HPL did not sell MS oil to the open market and supplied it only to oil companies, which were sales tax negative. Therefore, an additional burden of Rs 300 crore came on it. The Centre in 2008 imposed 5% duty on naphtha imports, while continuing with the 5% duty on the exports of naphtha products. This brought down the duty differentiation to zero ultimately squeezing HPL's margins.


SABIC signed a technology agreement with Montefibre

(SABIC) -- Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) signed a technology agreement with Montefibre S.p.A (Montefibre) granting SABIC and its affiliates an extensive international licence on carbon fiber technology developed by Montefibre. SABIC will first use the technology for a new carbon fiber plant to be built in Saudi Arabia. This plant demonstrates how SABIC continues to add innovative new specialty products to its offering. It will enable SABIC to serve the growing demand for carbon fiber and composites in such fast-growing markets as alternative energy, transportation and infrastructure.

SABIC and Montefibre also signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the companies to study the feasibility of a new carbon fiber production plant in Spain to be integrated into Montefibre's existing acrylic fiber production site≈and thus allowing SABIC to accelerate product development and material qualification activities with customers and end-users.

Once complete, the carbon fiber project is expected to establish a domestic supply of more than 3.000 metric tons of industrial grade carbon fiber to serve emerging local markets in the Middle East as well as international markets.


Demand for styrene faces little risk from its designation as a possible carcinogen

(ICIS) -- Demand for styrene faces little risk from its new designation in the US as a possible carcinogen, an analyst said on Wednesday. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) listed styrene as a so-called anticipated carcinogen in its 12th Report on Carcinogens (RoC). The chemical industry vowed to challenge the new designation.

Regardless, the new designation will likely have muted effect, according to a research note by Laurence Alexander, an analyst at Jefferies & Co.

Already, many North American customers have replaced polystyrene (PS) with other plastics - because of pricing, properties and environmental concerns, he said. For the most part, customers who could switch plastics have already done so, Alexander said.

Still, styrene-based products are still used in the food industry - particularly as insulation, he said. Alexander singled out Omnova Solutions and LyondellBasell as the companies facing risk from the new styrene designation.

Omnova, though, produces styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) that is used as carpet backing and paper coatings - far removed from food services. Moreover, SBR does not have any substitutes that perform as well, he said. As such, Omnova will unlikely see any significant drop in demand.

LyondellBasell also faces little risk - even though it produces 21% of North America's styrene, Alexander said. LyondellBasell produces styrene as a byproduct of its much more lucrative propylene oxide (PO), Alexander said. As such, PO dynamics typically overshadow those for styrene.


Lotte PPTA to triple its purified terephthalic acid nameplate capacity

(ICIS) -- Lotte Pakistan PTA (Lotte PPTA) plans to triple its purified terephthalic acid (PTA) nameplate capacity to 1.5m tonnes/year by late 2014 to meet the growing domestic and regional demand, a company executive said on Thursday. The company has a 500 KTa plant located at Port Qasim, 50 km (31 miles) outside the industrial port city of Karachi.

⌠The cost of expansion will be between USD 450m (EUR 320m) to USD 500m, said Asif Saad, CEO of Lotte PPTA, the only PTA manufacturer in the country. ⌠If it goes according to plan, it [the new capacity] should start up by the end of 2014, Saad told ICIS in an email from Karachi.

Lotte, the South Korean conglomerate, acquired the majority share holding in Pakistan PTA Limited (PPTA) in September 2009. The name of the company was subsequently changed to Lotte Pakistan PTA, according to company's website.

According to the website, Lotte PPTA has made the single largest foreign direct investment to date of USD 490m in Pakistan's petrochemical industry.

The PTA output from the company's existing 500 KTa plant is sold in the domestic market. However, a small quantity is exported every year, mainly to the Middle East and India and occasionally to China, Saad said.


Dow to participate in the Skolkovo project

(Dow) -- The Skolkovo Foundation and The Dow Chemical Company through its wholly owned subsidiary Dow Europe GmbH have signed a letter of intent to define steps for Dow's participation in the Skolkovo project, which aims to become a science and technology complex in Russia for the development and commercialization of innovative technologies. The document was signed at the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum by Viktor Vekselberg, President of the Skolkovo Foundation, and Kostas Katsoglou, President of Dow in the Eastern Europe Growth Region.

Both parties acknowledged that Dow's efforts will be focusing on energy and infrastructure, aligned with and supporting the Skolkovo energy efficiency program.

⌠This agreement is of particular significance for the Skolkovo Foundation for a number of reasons. As a global leader in the chemical industry and a science-driven company, Dow will be an important partner in supporting and driving forward the Skolkovo energy efficiency program, commented Viktor Vekselberg, President of the Skolkovo Foundation.

"Dow constantly seeks opportunities to partner with academic institutions, public laboratories, top customers, value chain partners, as this combination is the most powerful to timely deliver innovation. The Skolkovo project is poised to provide an attractive environment for the above and we are confident this will benefit both - the Russian economy and competitiveness as well as Dow, commented Ernesto Occhiello, R&D Director, Dow Europe.