US propylene contracts for September began to settle flat on Wednesday

(ICIS) -- US propylene contracts for September began to settle flat on Wednesday, pointing to a likely second rollover in as many months for the monomer. The initial settlements keep polymer-grade propylene (PGP) at 78 cents/lb (USD 1,720/tonne, EUR 1,238/tonne) and chemical-grade propylene (CGP) at 76.50 cents/lb.

US producers had originally nominated rollovers and a 2 cent/lb increase for September, but market sentiment was that propylene would either settle flat or possibly drop.

US propylene contracts usually settle at the beginning of the month being negotiated.

Major US producers of PGP and CGP include Chevron Phillips Chemical, Enterprise Products, ExxonMobil, LyondellBasell, Petrologistics and Shell Chemical.


Solar shading panels using SABIC's Lexan sheet supports City of Westminster College's sustainability

(Sabic) -- New solar shading panels made from lightweight, durable Lexan Exell D polycarbonate (PC) sheet from SABIC's Innovative Plastics strategic business unit, are making a major contribution to energy efficiency and comfort at the new flagship City of Westminster College in central London. The high-performance panels filter out direct sunlight to minimize solar gain and glare on computer screens. They also admit generous amounts of natural light and are expected to significantly reduce building energy requirements, and maintenance and lifespan costs. SABIC's ongoing investment in environmentally responsible materials for the global building and construction industry is helping customers meet their sustainability goals with new eco-progressive products.


India to be the hottest market nowadays for automotive investment

(PlasticsToday) -- India appears to be the hottest market nowadays for automotive investment, with the latest company to break ground on a new assembly facility and engine plant being Ford Motor (Detroit). The USD 900 million complex will be located in the Sanand automotive cluster, where Peugeot (Paris, France) recently announced its intention to build an assembly facility.

The new Ford manufacturing facility will create 5,000 jobs, and will be able to initially produce 240,000 vehicles and 270,000 fuel-efficient engines per year. The first vehicles and engines are scheduled to come off the line in 2014.

The investment will "help us reach the goal of increasing worldwide sales by nearly 50 percent by mid-decade to 8 million vehicles per year," said Joe Hinrichs, president, Ford Asia Pacific and Africa. Last year Ford announced that it will bring eight new vehicles to India by mid-decade, the first one being the All-New Fiesta, which was launched in July.

The new engine plant represents one of several new investments that Ford has made to support its aggressive expansion plan in India and throughout the globe. Earlier this year, Ford announced an investment of USD 72 million by 2012 to expand its already operating powertrain facility in Chennai. Ford's total investment in India to date is valued at approximately USD 2 billion.


Thailand's IRPC Pcl to shut all of its plants from mid-November

(Reuters) -- Thailand's IRPC Pcl , operator of Southeast Asia's biggest integrated petrochemical complex, plans to shut all of its plants for major maintenance for 40 days from mid-November to late December, an executive said on Tuesday.

The plan, which would effectively lead to an actual shutdown of 30 days, would cut its fourth-quarter refining output to an average of 140,000 barrels per day (bpd), a senior executive for corporate planning, Atikom Terbsiri, told Reuters.

This compared with normal output of 170,000 bpd for the October-December period and down from 160,000-170,000 bpd in the third quarter.

IRPC, 37-percent owned by top Thai energy firm PTT , runs a 215,000 barrel-per-day refinery and petrochemical complex with annual capacity of about 924,000 tonnes of plastic pellets.


Another fire breaks out at Mailiao petrochemical complex

(Plastemart) -- A fire, the eight this year, broke out at a refinery on Tuesday at Formosa Plastics Group (FPG)'s Mailiao petrochemical complex, that was put out in about 20 minutes, without affecting any manufacturing equipment, inflicting no harm to any person and posing no other threats. As per the management, the blaze started when transporting alkylate. Certain amount of alkymer ended up in a ditch at the plant because of the leak. Water and chemical foams were immediately used to contain and snuff out the fire. The incident occurred when the manufacturing and processing operations at the petrochemical complex were temporarily closed for inspection and equipment maintenance. FPG executives state that alkymer is a part of gasoline, but not toxic and will not release any toxic substance after burning.