Venezuela's proven reserves of crude oil surpassed those of Saudi Arabia in 2010

(Arabian Oil and Gas) -- Venezuela's proven reserves of crude oil surpassed those of Saudi Arabia in 2010, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said in its annual statistical bulletin, according to a Dow Jones Newswires report.

However, there are concerns over whether much of the sticky, extra-heavy crude proven in Venezuela will be economically viable, even at current high prices.

The bulletin also stated that Iran's oil-refining capacity increased 18 percent last year, the biggest gain among OPEC members, according to a report by the 12-member group. This dovetails with Tehran's ambition to be more self-sufficient on petroleum following the implementation of UN sanctions.


DSM successfully acquired 51% stake in AGI Corporation

(DSM) -- Royal DSM N.V., the global Life Sciences and Materials Sciences company, today announces that it has successfully acquired a 51% stake in AGI Corporation of Taiwan (AGI) through a subscription for newly to be issued shares combined with a public tender offer for about ┬ 41 million in total. The acquisition was announced in December 2010 and is consistent with DSM's strategic focus on high growth economies, sustainability, innovation and partnerships.

AGI offers a broad range of environmentally friendly UV (ultraviolet) curable resins and other products. These products are used in coatings and inks for wood, flooring, plastic and graphic arts applications.


US polyvinyl chloride export prices appeared to have reached a bottom

(ICIS) -- US polyvinyl chloride (PVC) export prices appeared to have reached a bottom after a decline since late May, sources said on Monday. However, buying interest has not yet returned from China, and US participants held mixed views on when Asian demand would return.

PVC export prices are at USD 980-1.010/tonne (EUR 696-717/tonne) FOB (free on board) USG (US Gulf), as assessed by ICIS.

Discussions clustered around USD 1.000-1.010/tonne FOB USG, although some prices were heard at levels under USD 1.000/tonne. One source said those parcels were destined for Egypt and locations in South America.

Meanwhile, US PVC participants are waiting for the August offer from Formosa Plastics Corporation (FPC), Asian market, as the offer is typically considered a key benchmark for PVC trade.
Early indications are leaning toward stable or firm pricing in Asia, which would influence direction of the US market, sources said.


BD spot prices in Asia may have peaked at an all-time high

(ICIS)--Butadiene (BD) spot prices in Asia may have peaked at an all-time high of USD 4.300/tonne (EUR 3.053/tonne) as downstream synthetic rubber makers vow to resist a further increase in raw material values, industry sources said on Tuesday.

BD surged to USD 4.250-4.300/tonne CFR (cost & freight) NE (northeast) Asia on 15 July, the highest on record since ICIS started tracking its prices in 1990.

Prices have more than doubled since the start of the year because of extremely tight regional supply and an open arbitrage opportunity to sell to the US, market sources said.

Some suppliers plan to hike offers to USD 4.500/tonne FOB (free on board) Korea, to which Asian buyers are expected to pose a strong resistance by significantly cutting down on consumption.
Some of the producers in downstream synthetic rubber and acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) sectors in South Korea, Taiwan, China and Indonesia are planning to cut operating rates or shut down their plants for maintenance.


European styrene values have risen by almost USD 100

(ICIS) -- Despite the onset of a slump in demand due to the traditional summer holiday slowdown, European styrene values have risen by almost USD 100/tonne (EUR 71/tonne) in July as firming aromatics numbers in Asia and the US and upcoming turnarounds prompted an upturn in pricing, sources said on Tuesday.

Despite a predicted drop in July barge contracts on the back of lower feedstock costs, spot values have steadily gained as the month has progressed.

The midpoint of July deals during the first week of the month was USD 1.355/tonne, according to ICIS data. Bids and offers for July were at USD 1.440-1.450/tonne FOB (free on board) Rotterdam on Tuesday morning, with August at a USD 20/tonne contango.

One European trader said that the upwards movement on styrene was largely coming from higher benzene prices.