Eastman to acquire Sterling Chemicals for USD 100 million

(CityBizList) -- Sterling Chemicals has entered into a definitive merger agreement pursuant to which Eastman Chemical Company will acquire all of the outstanding equity of Sterling Chemicals for USD 100 million in cash, subject to certain adjustments as provided in the merger agreement. Under the terms of the transaction, the holders of Sterling Chemicals' common stock, par value USD 0.01 per share, will receive USD 2.50 per share in cash, representing a 63% premium over the most recently reported market price of USD 1.53 and a 94% premium over the 90 day volume-weighted average trading price.

John V. Genova, Sterling's President and Chief Executive Officer, stated that, "We believe that we are an excellent strategic fit for Eastman, especially given our existing plasticizer manufacturing assets. The many other quality attributes of our Texas City site has the potential of adding further future value. We look forward to working with Eastman to ensure a smooth and effective transition."


BP is eyeing a possible investment in Oman

(Arabian Oil and Gas) -- Oil & gas supermajor BP is eyeing a possible USD 15 billion investment in Oman, and plans to make a decision on whether to proceed in spring 2012. "Today we have just three wells, with plans to have 300, and this will be one of the largest projects, could be, in BP's portfolio," CEO Bob Dudley told the World National Oil Companies Congress, as reported by Reuters.

Last month, Nasser al-Jashmi, the undersecretary of the Oman oil and gas ministry said BP would start early production from the three test wells in August.

Since the Deepwater Horizon disaster BP has divested itsself of western hemisphere assets and is looking east, with massive investments in the Middle East and Caspian.


Hitachi signed a deal with Saudi Aramco to supply compressors

(Arabian Oil and Gas) -- Hitachi Ltd has signed a deal with Saudi Aramco to supply compressors to the state-owned company's oil and gas plants, the Nikkei Business Daily reports.

Under the agreement, Japanese firm Hitachi Plant Technologies Ltd will suggest compressor technology to Aramco at the planning stage of the project and the Japanese company's engineering unit will also be granted access to information necessary for maintenance, the paper said.

Saudi Aramco has similar deals with three European and U.S. compressor manufacturers, including General Electric Co and Siemens AG, the Nikkei reported.

Saudi Aramco's oil and natural gas plants use around 10 compressors, with a single order expected to bring in 10-20 billion yen (USD 125-249 million) in sales for Japan's largest industrial services firm.


Saudi Arabia aims to invest USD 100 billion in its petrochemical industry by 2015

(Arabian Oil and Gas) -- Saudi Arabia aims to invest USD 100 billion in its petrochemical industry by 2015, and to increase focus on advanced technologies associated with the industry, according to Dr Mohammed Ibrahim Al-Suwaiyel, president of the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology.

Speaking during the Saudi International Petrochemical Technologies Conference, held in Riyadh in early June, Dr Al-Suwaiyel said petrochemical technologies are among 12 strategic technologies that the Kingdom aims to develop in partnership with private sector operators in the country, as part of the Kingdom's national technology and innovation plan.

Dr Al-Suwaiyel also said that the Kingdom plans to lift petrochemical production capacity to 80 million tonnes per year from the current rate of 60 million tonnes, 62% of total GCC petrochemical production capacity.

The conference was the first of its kind in the Kingdom. It highlighted recent research, development, innovation and applications of petrochemicals technology, both in KSA and at international level.


Only 70% of Europe mercury-based chlor-alkali units to convert - Arkema

(ICIS) -- Arkema expects only 70% of European mercury-based chlor-alkali plant capacity to be converted to the membrane-cell method by 2020, Pascal Maureta, of the French-based petrochemical producer, said on Thursday. European regulations require all plants to switch to the more energy efficient membrane-cell method of production by 2020.

However, Maureta, business manager for caustic soda at Arkema, said because the European caustic soda markets are mature and the cost of conversion high, only 70% of mercury-based chlor-alkali plants will switch to the new method of production. Chlor-alkali plants produce caustic soda and chlorine as co-products.

Maureta also said European caustic soda exports were likely to remain uncompetitive in regions such as Asia because of high energy costs, freight rates and raw material costs compared with other regions.

European chlor-alkali producers say the timing of the costly conversion to membrane-cell technology could not be worse.

According to the latest Eurostat figures, March 2011 construction output fell by 4.9% in the eurozone compared with the previous year. Slovenia, Portugal and Bulgaria registered the largest reductions.