China oil demand softened in June

(Arabian Oil and Gas) -- China's implied oil demand rose 1.1 percent in June from a year earlier, the slowest growth in oil demand in more than two years, according to a Reuters report. Oil plants in the country are undergoing heavy maintenance amid poor refining margins and Beijing's tightening monetary policy cut into oil use.

But analysts said real oil use may not be as bearish as the figures show, as oil firms may have been drawing on oil inventories, which were not reported by the government, to ease the pain of negative refining margins.

If Beijing continues its persistent battle against inflation, oil demand in the world's second-largest consumer could grow slower than the pace of 5 to 7% forecast early in the year. Concerns remain in Beijing about over inflated asset prices and the sttep rise in the costs of raw materials and foodstuffs.

Implied demand, crude oil throughput plus net imports of refined oil products, averaged 8.97 million barrels per day (bpd) last month, down 3.2 percent from May, and slipped below the 9 million bpd mark for the first time in 8 months, according to Reuters calculations based on preliminary official data.


Trelleborg to develop a new range of diver-friendly piggyback clamp

(PlasticsToday) -- Plastics processor Trelleborg worked with offshore construction company McDermott to develop a new range of diver-friendly piggyback clamp designed to improve safety during installation of underwater pipelines. Molded from marine-grade polypropylene, the piggyback saddle can fit carrier pipelines from 20" - 42" and line sizes from 1.25" to 3.5". The one-size-fits-all design of the clamp can streamline purchasing, enabling zero-waste bulk ordering.

Business unit Trelleborg Offshore developed the clamp at the request of McDermott. The new PP system includes the use of edge-treated banding and a new fastening system which eliminates sharp edges, reducing the risk of cuts to a diver. The design also negates the need to pass the band around the carrier pipe to secure the piggyback line, which reduces handling and improves installation efficiency while also reducing costs and increasing diver safety.


Royal Dutch Shell and Dow Chemical lost a court appeal

(Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell and Dow Chemical lost a court appeal on Wednesday against a fine levied by EU regulators five years ago for taking part in a cartel, but the court cut a fine imposed on Italy's Eni. The General Court, Europe's second-highest, also annulled penalties levied against Czech petrochemicals group Unipetrol and Polish company Trade-Stomil.

"With regard to Unipetrol, its subsidiary Kaucuk and Trade-Stomil, the Court considers that the evidence admitted by the Commission is not sufficient for a finding that those companies participated in unlawful agreements," the court found.

For Eni and its Polimeri Europa subsidiary, the court cut the joint fine to EUR 181.50 mln from 272.25 mln, saying a change in corporate structure and control had undermined the European Commission's argument that the companies had repeated an infringement.

But the Court upheld the EUR 160.88 mln fine on the Royal Dutch Shell group. And while it annulled part of the Commission's ruling against Dow, it did not reduce the fine of EUR 64.58 mln.

The European Commission had levied a total fine of EUR 519 mln against the five companies in 2006 for fixing prices and sharing customers for certain types of synthetic rubber used to make tyres, shoe soles and golf balls between 1996 to 2002.


Coca-Cola inaugurates Valpre plant

(Plastemart) -- Coca-Cola South Africa has announced the opening of its new Valpre plant and the introduction of PlantBottle packaging to Africa. The new state-of-the-art facility will fill Valpre Spring Water in Heidelberg, southeast of Johannesburg. Selected for its close proximity to markets and distribution sites in the Guateng Region and a similar source water profile as Valpre's, the new plant will help Coca-Cola South Africa meet the needs of the increasing demand for bottled water in the country.

The new Valpre plant is undergoing Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification -- an internationally recognized program that is the accepted benchmark for design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings. The design of facility maximizes recycled materials and makes optimal use of water and solar energy. It has a "zero to landfill" target.

The Company launched Coca-Cola's innovative PlantBottle packaging. This packaging has revolutionized the beverage industry as the first-ever recyclable PET plastic beverage bottle made from up to 30% plant that is 100% recyclable. This is the 10th market to launch the bottle in the world and the first in Africa. PlantBottle packaging has a lighter footprint on the environment due to its reduced dependence on nonrenewables such as petroleum.


In Russia HDPE production grew to 450 KT over six months

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Over the six months, Russian producers made about 450 KT of HDPE which was 8% more compared to the same period last year, according to MRC analysts. In June, Russian producers HDPE increased output to 79.35 KT.

This year Russian producers work almost at 100% capacities utilization, excluding Gazprom neftehim Salavat. Also there are no technical problems that could affect production parameters.

Despite positive production parameters this year, low demand for HDPE is observed in the domestic market. By mid-year considerable stocks of polyethylene had accumulated in stores of producers as well as trade companies.

Nevertheless, Russian producers don't hurry to increase exports, instead, they reduce it. Over the six months, HDPE exports form Russia reached 38 KT while last year this parameter made about 70 KT.

A serious period for the Russian market of HDPE will be September-October. For these two months shutdowns are planned by all PE producers. The first to suspend HDPE capacities for 30 days from September 7, will be Kazanorgsyntez. In early October, Stavrolen production complex will be suspended for 45 days. Also in early October, but only for 10 days Nizhnekamskneftehim will stop PE production. And in mid-October for three weeks Gazprom neftehim Salavat will suspend production.

MRC analysts don't exclude that planned shutdowns of Russian HDPE producers will result in deficit of some grades.