PS prices in the Middle East to weaken in the coming weeks

(ICIS) -- Prices of polystyrene (PS) in the Middle East are expected to weaken in the coming weeks on the back of poor demand and weakness in values of feedstock styrene monomer (SM) and polybutadiene rubber (BR), market sources said on Monday.

Spot prices of general purpose PS (GPPS) in the region were assessed at USD 1.650-1.700/tonne CFR (cost and freight) East Mediterranean (East Med)/GCC, while high impact PS (HIPS) were at USD 1.860-1.950/tonne CFR East Med/GCC on 19 August, unchanged from the previous week, according to ICIS.

SM prices, meanwhile, were at USD 1.490-1.520/tonne CFR China on 19 August, ICIS data showed. PS trades in the Middle East remained few as buyers shun current market offers coming from Asia, deeming them too high.


Indian petrochemical tanker seized in Oman

(Arabian Oil and Gas) -- Somali pirates have seized a petrochemical tanker at Salalah, a major port in Oman, holding the 21-strong Indian crew hostage. The Indian Directorate General of Shipping has confirmed that the vessel - the Fairchem Bogey, a chemical-oil tanker - was hijacked while anchored six miles off the coast within Omani waters. Sources cited by Reuters state the tanker was being filled with methanol at the time it was hijacked.

The hijacked vessel is managed by Mumbai-based Anglo-Eastern Ship Management, the Directorate said, confirming that the pirates are in negotiations with the Omani government.

Somali pirates behind similar vessel hijackings usually operate in Indian Ocean waters, but in January, a 20,586-tonne Algerian-flagged bulk carrier was seized about 150 miles southeast of Salalah.

The ship, with 27 crew from Algeria, Ukraine and the Philippines, was heading to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, from Salalah with a cargo of clinker.


Brazil Petrobras reveals petchem capacities

(ICIS) -- Petroquimico do Rio de Janeiro (Comperj), reflecting the addition of a second refinery and the use of feedstock ethane, the company said on Friday. The company also revealed proposed capacity figures for several petrochemicals to be produced at the complex. Under the previous plans, Comperj would rely on one refinery to produce feedstock naphtha for its downstream chemicals. In addition, Comperj would use the resulting feedstock to produce 600 KTa of polyethylene terephthalate (PET).

Under the new plans, Comperj will have two refineries and a natural-gas treatment plant, which will provide the complex with feedstock ethane, Petrobras said. Petrobras made the changes so it could meet rising demand in Brazil.


Arkema and CJ Cheil-Jedang select Malaysia for their new plants

(Arkema) -- After a long and thorough study on the best place to build their plants, CJ Cheil-Jedang and Arkema have selected the site of Kerteh, in the state of Terengganu in Malaysia. Thanks to the best efforts of the Government of Malaysia, the Malaysian Biotechnology Corporation and the East Coast Economic Region Development Council, attractive conditions for the bio-methionine and thiochemicals plants have been obtained.

Kerteh located on the East Coast of Malaysia is an ideal place to build a thiochemical platform and bio-methionine plant where all the necessary infrastucture, utilities and raw materials can be easily obtained. The onsite bulk port and the nearby Kuantan and Kemaman container ports will facilitate the logistic of the products.


UK Fibrecycle developed high-performance yarns and fabrics

(PlastEurope) -- Multi-partner UK recycling project Fibrecycle has developed a generation of high-performance, low-cost co-mingled carbon fibre yarns and fabrics. The materials consist of carbon/PET, manufactured from virgin recovered carbon fibre that would otherwise have gone to landfill.

The new materials have almost 100% of the stiffness of virgin materials and are available at a lower cost than similar products currently available on the market, Fibrecycle says. They are also beneficial to the environment and retain the traceability of virgin materials. In common with other co-mingled and blended materials, the fabrics are simply placed in a mould tool under pressure and passed through a heating and cooling cycle.

The project, which aims to develop processes for recovering and recycling carbon fibre and reusing it in high value products, is nearing the end of its four-year programme and has made ⌠excellent progress against its objectives of developing low-cost, high-performance carbon fibre materials from waste streams.