CNOOC Luxembourg to acquire oil sands developer OPTI Canada

(Platts) -- China's offshore oil and gas producer CNOOC Ltd said Wednesday that its subsidiary CNOOC Luxembourg has entered an agreement to acquire oil sands developer OPTI Canada for approximately USD 2.1 bln. The transaction is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of this year, subject to government and regulatory approvals, CNOOC said in a statement.

OPTI owns a 35% stake in the Long Lake oil sands project, while operator Nexen holds the balance. The Long Lake project includes a steam assisted gravity drainage operation and an upgrader.

According to CNOOC, the SAGD Operation is expected to have throughput rates of approximately 72,000 b/d of bitumen at full production and the upgrader is expected to produce approximately 58,500 b/d of sweet crude at full capacity.


BASF to significantly expand its presence in the Middle East region

(BASF) -- BASF will significantly expand its presence in the Middle East region by building a state-of-the-art plant for customer specific antioxidant blends (CSB) in Bahrain. CSBs are key additives for the production of polymers for the plastics industry, especially for the Middle East region. Construction of the new facility will start in September 2011. It will become one of the world's largest CSB plants with an annual capacity of about 16.000 metric tons. The new plant will be operational already by end of 2012.

This is a major investment of BASF in the plastic additives business following its acquisition of Ciba in 2009 and manifests BASF's strong commitment to this industry. Hans W. Reiners, President of BASF's Performance Chemicals division, explained this strategic move: ⌠We are very happy to establish a state-of-the-art CSB production site close to our customers in this fast growing region. This is backed by our powerful production network of antioxidants in Asia, Europe and the Americas making us worldwide one of the leading partners to the plastic processing industry with a product portfolio unmatched in terms of broadness and quality. BASF is very much committed to further strengthen its plastic additives business ranging from antioxidants and lightstabilizers to pigments.

This new plant will come in addition to the existing manufacturing agreement for CSBs with Astra Polymer in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, making BASF the largest CSB supplier in this region. This facility will be well positioned to serve the fast growing polymer market in the Middle East with special focus on key customers in the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), one of the fastest growing regions for the production of polyolefin resins worldwide.


PVC prices in China are unlikely to slide further

(ICIS) -- Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) prices in China are unlikely to slide further in the near term in light of firming feedstock prices and a likely pick up in demand with the onset of the production season through September, market sources said on Wednesday.

Spot prices of PVC reached their peak at USD1.220-1.250/tonne (EUR 866-888/tonne) CFR (cost & freight) CMP (China Main Port) in May and were last assessed at USD 1.070-1.090/tonne CFR CMP on 15 July 2011, according to ICIS data. Prices in the spot market have plunged to the current level amid sluggish demand in China, market sources said.

Power restrictions in several regions in east China have dampened demand as a number of downstream factories have reduced their operation rates, with some smaller plants even shutting their operations, market sources said. As a result, some market participants do not expect to see a significant improvement in demand until September.

In addition, a deluge of competitively priced US cargoes into the country has placed further downwards pressure on prices, according to market sources.


Europe July MLLDPE contracts down on growing availability

(ICIS) -- Growing availability in the European metallocene linear low density polyethylene (MLLDPE) market has weighed heavily on July's contract prices, forcing values to dip by EUR 50-60/tonne (USD 70-85/tonne), market participants said on Wednesday.

Import pressure and a growing disparity between spot and contract values left producers with little choice but to offer reductions at a minimum of EUR 50/tonne, according to several sources.
This left July C8 blown film grade MLLDPE contract prices at EUR 1.500-1.550/tonne FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe) on a gross basis, according to ICIS. Many market players felt the reductions could be on a higher level by the end of the month, with at least one buyer saying that it was looking to achieve the full upstream ethylene decrease of EUR 95/tonne, or even a three-digit reduction.

Exports into Europe are also available at levels of EUR 1.330/tonne FCA (free carrier), according to several traders, with C8 blown film grade MLLDPE offered to consumers at around EUR 1.400/tonne FD on a net spot basis.


Sibur to construct new production facilities for thermoplastic elastomers

(SIBUR) -- At the site of the company Voronezhsintezkauchuk, work has begun on the construction of a new complex for the production of modern road materials ≈ butadiene-styrene thermoplastic elastomers (TPE). The designed capacity of the new complex will be 50 thousand tonnes per annum. Voronezhsintezkauchuk is the only Russia-based TPE manufacturer with an output volume of 35 KTa, which is substantially lower than the actual level of demand on the domestic market. Planned investments in construction will amount to more than 3.8 billion rubles.