Russian companies to invest in PVC processing

(MRC) -- Russian companies keep on active investing in PVC processing equipment, despite a serious slowdown of polymer consumption this year, according to MRC DataScope.

Last year was quite successful for the Russian PVC converters. Following 2010 results, demand for suspension in the domestic market increased by 33% (compared to 24% fall in 2009) and made 877 KT. This growth in consumption was mainly due to increased investment in the construction sector in Russia, as well as unsatisfied deferred demand for finished goods in the preceding year.

Besides, cold winter in 2009-2010 boosted demand for energy-saving plastic windows. By estimates, about one third of dwelling-space in Russia got energy-saving windows. In comparison, Germany took about a quarter-century to saturate the market of translucent structures. Though, it is quite difficult to rate this data for Russia at the moment.

The leap in demand for PVC finished products motivated market participants to increase investment in expanding production. Following last year results, investments in PVC processing made about USD 60 mln, that was 4% more than in 2009, although it was 2.5 times less than investments in the peak 2007 year.

Profiles have been a key sector of PVC consumption in the Russian market for several years. In 2010, PVC consumption in the sector made nearly 700 KT. Profiles gain in 2010 made 162 KT, while in 2008 it was 423 KT.

Many market players are quite optimistic about the market prospects in 2011. Some of major converters of profiles forecasted 10-15% growth in PVC consumption. These expectations formed the investment programs. Over the first 7 months, the investments in PVC processing equipment exceeded USD 74 mln.

About one third of total investments expectedly fell at extrusion equipment for profiles production. Major investors are the leaders in the PVC Russian market: Profine, Veka, Narodny Plastic, Propleks, Exprof, STL Extrusion, Vitrazh. More than USD 14 mln was invested in PVC mixing equipment. Mixing unit is a concern for many companies to increase their loading rate of extrusion equipment. The leaders of this sector are Narodny Plastic, BFK-Extrusion, Vintek Plastic, Metal-Plast, Vec, Terna Polymer. Among the investments in PVC pipes and hoses production there should be mentioned Chemkor, Electro-Delta, DKS, MPT-Plastic, etc.


Teijin Chemicals Limited launched a polyester-based resin with a special molecular structure

(PlasticsToday) -- Teijin Chemicals Limited (Tokyo) has launched a polyester-based resin with a special molecular structure that emits blue fluorescence when exposed to radiation. Calling the Scintirex product a "revolutionary low-cost radiation-fluorescent plastic", Teijin said the plastic can be used in the production of scintillators, the core material in radiation detectors, with potential application by universities, research institutes and manufacturers in a variety of applications including radiation detectors and medical equipment.

The new polyester-based model is said to be superior to conventional scintillators in terms of luminescence, refractive index, and density. Because it is a polyester resin, Scintirex also offers easier moldability.

A proprietary polyester resin developed by Teijin Chemicals in cooperation with Kyoto University Nuclear Reactor Research Institute and the National Institute of Radiological Sciences in Japan, Scintirex is likely based on a polyester polymer of naphthalene dicarboxilate and ethylene glycol, resulting in a polyethylene naphthalate (PEN).


US ethylene margins fell in the first week of September

(ICIS) -- US ethylene margins fell in the first week of September, pressured by softer spot prices and slightly higher production costs, the ICIS margin report showed on Monday. Ethylene margins were at 31.61 cents/lb (USD 697/tonne, EUR 509/tonne) for the week ended 9 September, down from 34.34 cents/lb a week earlier, using ethane as a feedstock.

The drop took margins to their lowest level since early August, the report said, attributing the decline last week to a nearly 4% drop in ethylene spot prices.

Ethylene for September traded at 60.000-62.000 cents/lb, down from 63.000-63.875 cents/lb a week earlier, pressured by adequate supply, a slowdown in derivative demand and talk of a delay in a cracker turnaround.

Talk circulated in the market last week that Dow Chemical will push back maintenance at a cracker in Louisiana, delaying a turnaround that was originally scheduled for next month and putting pressure on ethylene. Dow was expected to shut down the 610 KTa cracker in St Charles on 10 October for 30 days.


International Energy Agency revised down its global oil demand forecast for 2011

(ICIS) -- The International Energy Agency (IEA) on Tuesday revised down its global oil demand forecast for 2011 by 200,000 bbl/day to 89.3m bbl/day on reduced economic growth expectations, particularly in North America and Europe.

The IEA, a Paris-headquartered international agency that is run by members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), in its most recent oil market report also cut its demand forecast for 2012 by 400,000 bbl/day to 90.7m bbl/day.

Amid recent negative economic developments, the report has lowered its global GDP growth assumptions for 2011 and 2012 to 3.9% and 4.2%, respectively, down from 4.2% and 4.4% previously, the agency added.

The agency also attributed its decision to cut the forecast to lower-than-expected oil demand readings in the third quarter of the year in non-OECD member countries, particularly in Asia and Latin America.


Genel eyes opportunities for USD 2.2 bn cash pile

(Arabian Oil and Gas) -- Genel Energy, the company to be formed following the completion of Vallares's USD 2.1 billion reverse takeover of Turkey's GeneEnerji, will be looking to spend big on Kurdish assets, according to ex-BP CEO Tony Hayward.

Hayward - who will become CEO of Genel once the takeover is complete - told reporters in Instanbul yesterday that Kurdistan is ripe for mergers and acquisitions activity, and Genel will be looking to apply part of Vallares's USD 2.2 billion cash pile to work.

The bold approach taken by Valares - and the clear appetite for their model from investors - raises questions about whether investors prefer Kurdistan to oil projects in the South, despite the legal and economic uncertainties arising from the fractious relationship between Erbil and Baghdad.

Hayward said one third of the USD 2.2 billion cash will be spent on consolidation, one third on ⌠new focus areas and the rest on accelerating the developments of new discoveries. One focus for Genel will be to establish a second exploration and production base in the region, a startegy that may mean that Vallares's disclosed interest in Dana Gas may be continuing.