Spot prices of isocyanates in the Middle East and Africa have fallen this week

(ICIS) -- The spot prices of isocyanates in the Middle East and Africa, which include the prices of polymeric methyl di-p-phenylene isocyanate (PMDI) and toluene di-isocyanate (TDI), have fallen this week in line with the weaker China and European markets, industry sources said on Thursday.
The prices are expected to decline further in the Middle East in the next few weeks, but those in the African market are expected to stabilise because of upcoming seasonal downstream demand, the sources added.

The spot prices of PMDI and TDI in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region are lower by USD 50-60/tonne (EUR 37-44/tonne) or 2.4-2.5% to an average of USD 1,990/tonne CFR (cost & freight) and USD 2,390/tonne respectively, after being stable for the past three weeks, according to ICIS data.

Poor market fundamentals in the leading Chinese and European markets have led producers from these regions to seek outlets in the Middle East and Africa to relieve their high inventory levels, regional players said.


ABB signed a new framework agreement with Shell

(Arabian oil and gas) -- ABB has signed an Enterprise Framework Agreement (EFA) with Shell to supply low- and medium-voltage motors and related services. The agreement is for a period of five years. With its recent acquisition of Baldor, ABB now offers a complete range of high-efficiency motors that fulfill either NEMA or IEC standards. This scope, together with ABB's offer of related motor services and frequency converters, helped ABB secure this contract.

⌠This agreement shows that ABB's commitment to provide the full scope of high-efficiency motors and related services creates value for a global company like Shell that is focused on safety, reliability, and energy efficiency, says Ulrich Spiesshofer, head of ABB's Discrete Automation and Motion division. ⌠ABB is driving new standards that improve performance and reduce the impact on the environment.

The global agreement covers the sales, distribution, and support of electrical motors for electrical rotating equipment.


PE producers in Europe to lose hope of achieving higher prices in September

(ICIS) -- Polyethylene (PE) producers in Europe are beginning to lose hope of achieving higher prices in September, as demand remains lacklustre, but they do expect to be able to roll prices over by the end of the month, market sources said on Wednesday.

⌠The outlook for the months to come is not rosy, said one major producer, who also hinted that production cutbacks would have to be implemented if the European market was not to become oversupplied.

The level of demand most concerns producers this month. September started very slowly and continues to be cautious, but volumes are picking up for some.

August buying was strong, and several PE buyers built up their inventory levels. In June PE producers had been predicting an upturn in ethylene prices, prompting buyers to buy more than they needed in July and August.


Russian state will not interfere in TNK-BP conflict

(RIA Novosti) -- Russian-British joint venture TNK-BP will invest USD 45 billion in oil extraction and USD 4 billion in oil refining in the next 10 years, TNK-BP Executive Vice-President Stan Miroshnik said on Thursday. "The implementation of our strategy in oil extraction will require a USD 45-billion investment over the next ten years. In oil refining, which is our second priority, we'll invest USD 2.5 billion in raising its quality and USD 1.5 billion in marketing," Miroshnik told a congress of TNK-BP contractors.

TNK-BP will implement measures to maintain oil output in West Siberia but the company's new strategy for the next ten yeas will focus on international projects to yield from 40 to 90 mln barrels of oil a year in its oil output, he said.

Gas production will also be a top priority for TNK-BP in the next ten years and the company plans to build up gas extraction to 35 billion cubic meters in the next ten years, he said.

TNK-BP plans to increase oil and gas production on the Yamal Peninsula in the Russian Arctic in the next ten years while production in West Siberia will gradually decline, Miroshnik said.


US expandable polystyrene prices rose this week

(ICIS) -- US expandable polystyrene (EPS) prices rose this week as September price increases found partial acceptance, market sources said on Tuesday. US EPS prices were assessed by ICIS at 91-98 cents/lb ($2,006-2,161/tonne, ┬1,484-1,599/tonne) DEL (delivered) for block and package material, up 3 cents/lb from August prices.

Producers in the US had sought as much as 5 cents/lb, with BASF and NOVA seeking 5 cents/lb for modified or block EPS, which contains a flame retardant, and a 3 cent/lb increase for non-modified, or package EPS, effective 1 September.

Other producers, including Flint Hills Resources and Styrochem, announced a 5 cent/lb increase across the board, regardless of grade.

Initially, several producers had sought the increases on 15 August, but pushed the price hike back to 1 September to meet competitive situations. The price hike was related to the August contract price for feedstock benzene, which was up by 44 cents/gal from July.