TDI sellers from South Korea and Europe locked in price war in Nigeria

(ICIS) -- South Korean and European sellers of toluene di-isocyanates (TDI) are currently locked in a tough price competition in Nigeria, given sluggish demand at their traditional main markets, industry sources said on Wednesday. Nigerian TDI importers have retreated to the sidelines, expecting further declines in prices, they said.

Prices were discussed at USD 2,280-2,450/tonne (EUR 1,664-1,789/tonne) CFR (cost and freight) Lagos this week, down USD 100-170/tonne from two weeks ago, market sources said.

Nigeria is the largest TDI market in Africa, where Europe sells material at competitive prices because of geographical proximity.

TDI is used in the production of flexible polyurethane foam, which has applications in upholstered furniture and car seats, among others.

Downstream foamers in Nigeria are currently not in a hurry to restock TDI supply given recent heavy rains in the country, said a key local trader.


US chems contend with gloomy house market

(ICIS) -- Tuesday's statistics on US housing starts show that the industry is still struggling to recover after peaking five years ago, a trend that will continue to affect chemicals that rely on this key end market.

Housing starts in the US fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 571,000 units in August, down by 5% from the revised July estimate of 601,000, according to the US Department of Commerce.

August's figure was by far among the worst that the department has ever reported in more than half a century of statistics, where monthly starts typically exceeded an annual rate of 1m. Moreover, August is well below the peak of 2.27m reached in January 2006.

New housing is a key end market for the chemical industry, driving demand for polyvinyl chloride (PVC); nylon for carpet, flexible and rigid polyurethane foams, paints and coatings, titanium dioxide (TiO2) pigment, adhesives and sealants; and expandable polystyrene (EPS) for insulation.

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) estimates that each new home built represents some USD 15,000 (EUR 10,950) worth of chemicals and derivatives used in the structure or in the production of component materials.


Petrofac and CPECC establish a new joint venture

(Arabian oil and gas) -- Petrofac, the international oil & gas facilities service provider, and China Petroleum Engineering & Construction Corporation (CPECC), the engineering and construction subsidiary of China National Petroleum Company, have established a new strategic joint venture, China Petroleum Petrofac Engineering Services (CPPES). Based in Sharjah, UAE, the joint venture will provide project management and engineering services for selected oil & gas projects, focusing on projects for Chinese oil & gas companies.

Petrofac and CPECC have a long-standing relationship and track record of cooperation, most recently being jointly awarded an inspection, maintenance and repair contract for the Rumaila oil field in Southern Iraq. The strengthened relationship was recognised at an official ceremony that took place at CPECC's offices in Beijing on 19 September.

The joint venture which is 51% owned by CPECC and 49% owned by Petrofac, following formal signing and exchanging of contracts, will be established under the leadership of personnel from both companies.


GE Oil & Gas along with Technip to supply compressors for the Shell Prelude FLNG project

(Arabian oil and gas) -- GE Oil & Gas has entered into an agreement with Technip to supply two steam turbine-driven compressors for the Shell Prelude Floating Liquefied Natural Gas (FLNG) project. The facility, which is to be based offshore Australia, will be the largest floating offshore facility in the world. Technip and Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) formed a consortium (TSC) which Shell has tasked to engineer, procure, construct and install the Prelude FLNG facility.

The GE compression trains will be vital elements of the liquefaction process, which cools natural gas to a liquid state. In addition to the supply of the steam turbines and compressors, the scope of GE's agreement with Technip France includes start up and two years of training, operation and spare parts.

Shell's FLNG facility will be moored at the Prelude gas field, about 200 kilometers off Western Australia's Kimberly Coast. Offshore fields such as Prelude may hold significant quantities of natural gas, but many are at great distances from land or the nearest pipeline. Tapping into these ⌠stranded gas resources has been nearly impossible until now. The Shell FLNG facility addresses this industry challenge.


By 2015 Saudi Arabia's ethylene and propylene capacities will rise to 16.52mn tpa and 6.55mn tpa

(Zawya) -- By 2015, BMI forecasts ethylene and propylene capacities will rise to 16.52mn tpa and 6.55mn tpa respectively, with Saudi Kayan's commercial operation in 2011 set to contribute most to the increase, according to BMI's latest Saudi Arabia Petrochemicals Report. Compared with 2010, total PE capacity will rise 20% to 8.86mn tpa, PP will rise 11% and PS, PET and
PVC capacities will remain unchanged. Ethylene capacity in 2015 is forecasted to be more than double that of 2008 levels, with Jubail and Yanbu the focus of petrochemicals developments.

Technical problems at Sahara Petrochemicals' Al-Waha plant and at Petro Rabigh have adversely
affected PP output. The temporary closures did not affect supplies, which were maintained through
inventories, although BMI expected a negative impact on profitability at the respective plants. On the
upside, NatPet resumed operations at its Yanbu-based 400,000tpa PP complex after completing a
scheduled maintenance 11 days before the 60-day turnaround was due to be completed. The scheduled maintenance aimed to increase the operational rate of the complex, which was started in August 2010 but experienced two shutdowns in H111 due to technical problems and power outages, causing losses of more than US$11mn.