Celanese to begin ethanol production in China by mid-2013

(Celanese) -- Celanese Corporation, a global technology and specialty materials company, will accelerate its original schedule and now expects to begin industrial ethanol production in China earlier than previously announced. In addition to the company's previously announced plans for one, and possibly two, greenfield units, the company plans to modify and enhance its existing integrated acetyl facility at the Nanjing Chemical Industrial Park with its TCX advanced technology.

The modifications would add approximately 200 KT of ethanol production capacity by mid-2013, pending approvals, and would accelerate the project six to twelve months from its previous plan. The new ethanol production would increase the overall profitability of the site by enhancing the mix of products manufactured with the current capacity of certain critical raw materials available at the site.

Total investment for the project is expected to be a fraction of the required capital for a greenfield facility. Celanese's TCX advanced technology combines its proprietary and industry-leading acetyl platform with advanced manufacturing technology to produce ethanol from hydrocarbon-sourced feedstocks.

The company also announced it has broken ground on the previously announced technology development unit for ethanol production at its facility in Clear Lake, Texas, which is now expected to be operational by mid-2012. The company also intends to construct a new research and development facility at the Clear Lake site to continue the advancement of its acetyl and TCX≥ technologies. Collectively, the new technology development unit and research and development facility are expected to create 50 additional technical jobs at the Clear Lake site.


In May, PP output in Russia grew by 11%

MOSCOW (MRC) -- In May, Russian producers increased polypropylene (PP) output to 62 KT. Over the five months overall PP production exceeded 286 KT, according to MRC ScanPlast.

In May, all Russian producers increased utilization of PP capacities which allowed to reach record 62.1 KT which was 11% more compared to April. Over the five months, overall output of PP in Russia exceeded 286 KT which was 7% more compared to the same period last year.

In May, Russian producers increased production of all types of PP. Raffia output made nearly 23 KT. Overall production of impact copolymers exceeded 10 KT.


Chinese companies to cut PP production

(ICIS) -- Sinopec is planning to cut its polypropylene (PP) output in June, traders said.Yanshan Petrochemicals plans to shut down its 440 KTa plant in the first half of August for about 30 days of maintenance. Dushanzi Petrochemicals is to turnaround 690 KTa of its PP capacity in the second half of July for about two months.

In addition, the production of household appliances such as air-conditioners and refrigerators will go into its traditional peak season in September, increasing the demand for PP feedstock, these sources added.


PP prices in China to fall further through July

(ICIS) -- Prices of polypropylene (PP) in China are expected to fall further through July, on the back of faltering demand from downstream markets as the government continues to tighten its credit lending polices, market participants said on Wednesday.

The authorities have tightened lending and raised interest rates in a bid to stem accelerating inflation, which hit a 34-month high of 5.5% in May, according to official figures announced on Tuesday.

The central bank on Tuesday also raised the reserve requirement ratio for banks by 50 basis points from June 20.

Downstream manufacturers are facing difficulties in obtaining loans because of the measures, resulting in lower purchasing ability and demand for feedstocks such as PP.

Prices of raffia yarn and injection-grade homopolymer PP were at USD 1.500-1.530/tonne (EUR 1.035-1.056/tonne) CFR China this week, 7.4% or USD 100-140/tonne lower than first-half May levels at USD 1.600-1.670/tonne CFR China.

For block copolymer PP, discussions fell to USD 1.500-1.550/tonne CFR China this week, a sharp dive of USD 120-130/tonne or an average of 7.5%, from USD 1.620-1.680/tonne CFR China three weeks ago, according to data from Chemease, an ICIS service in China.


BASF to declare FM on polybutylene terephthalate

(ICIS) -- BASF has declared force majeure on polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) and reduced output volumes because of limited availability of feedstock butanediol (BDO), the chemicals major said on Wednesday.

Europe's largest PBT producer declared force majeure on PBT base polymer and compounds, both marketed under the BASF trade name Ultradur, on 7 June. However, it is still producing material.

BASF's Ludwigshafen facility is not currently producing BDO because of a lack of raw material acetylene. Production of the feedstock was disrupted following a fire in a precursor plant at the facility on 30 May. The company declared force majeure on BDO on 31 May.

PBT production at the 100 KTa facility in Schwarzheide, Germany, will be increased once BDO stock is more readily available, the source said. In the meantime, its customers are on allocation.