Borealis to buy assets to complement its existing businesses

(Plastemart) -- Borealis AG wants to buy assets to complement its existing businesses, as per Bloomberg, but currently has no deals on the table. Borealis is 64% owned by Abu Dhabi's International Petroleum Investment Co., with the rest is held by OMV AG, an Austrian refiner and oil and gas producer. Borealis would like to acquire olefin and polyolefin assets or ammonia and urea businesses.


BP to sell its entire 36.9% stake in Trinidad's Atlas methanol plant

(ICIS) -- BP wants to sell its entire 36.9% stake in Trinidad's Atlas methanol plant as part of the oil giant's ongoing asset divestment programme, the company said on Thursday. A spokesman said BP was marketing its stake in the 1.7m tonne/year plant, which is a joint venture between BP and Methanex. The spokesman did not elaborate as to possible buyers. Canadian-based Methanex is majority owner of the plant and is considered a logical buyer for BP's portion.

A research note issued by Dahlman Rose in New York said, ⌠We continue to believe that Methanex is the most likely buyer as it has 63.1% majority ownership interest and controls 100% of the distribution rights to the methanol.

The report estimated that BP's share of the Atlas plant is worth $125m-175m (┬93m-130m).
Methanex did not immediately return calls seeking comment. The US is a net importer of methanol. Plants at Trinidad's Point Lisas Industrial Estate provide more than 70% of America's imports.

BP has committed to sell up to $30bn of non-core assets to help cover the cleanup costs of the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010. The blowout left 11 workers dead and created one of the largest ever oil spills.

The British oil company has been selling assets for most of this year. Earlier this month, BP said it had sold assets in Africa for $296m to oil trading major Trafigura.


Shell to shut down its entire refinery at Pulau Bukom in Singapore

(ICIS) -- Shell is in the process of shutting down its entire 500,000 bbl/day refinery at Pulau Bukom in Singapore and may also close nearby petrochemical units in an attempt to control a fire that has been burning since Wednesday, a company official said on Thursday. The shutdown process at the refinery site has been initiated and could take two days to be completed, Martijn van Koten, vice president for Shell's manufacturing operations said.

The company's integrated complex at Bukom has a crude distillation capacity of 500,000 bbl/day. It is Shell's largest refinery in the world in terms of crude distillation capacity.

Shell's nearby ethylene cracker complex could be forced to shut as attempts are made to control the fire, van Koten said, but declined to comment on a specific timeline.

The Bukom site houses a mixed-feed cracker, with an 800,000 tonne/year ethylene capacity. The cracker has a 155,000 tonne/year butadiene (BD) extraction unit.


Milliken nucleating agent helps SEM Plastik win clear cup contract for milkshakes

(Milliken) -- Leading Turkish sheet extrusion and thermoforming company, SEM Plastik, is using a newly formulated polypropylene to fullfil an important contract for high-clarity, high-stiffness polypropylene cups for milkshakes at a global fast-food company in the country. The improved properties of the material are largely due to the incorporation of Hyperform nucleating agent HPN-600 ei into the material. Hyperform Nucleating agent HPN-600ei is a high performance nucleating agent manufactured by additives specialist Milliken & Company.

SEM Plastik's customer had been using imported milkshake cups in 16- and 32-ounce sizes, but was unhappy with the overall quality, especially clarity. Yavuz Eroglu, owner and general manager of SEM Plastik, says the customer was also looking for a lighter cup that would provide environmental as well as economic benefits. ⌠We already had contacts with Milliken, so we worked together on the project with them together with an important Turkish polymer supplier to satisfy all its requirements, he says.

The project began around the middle of 2010, and the new grade is now almost ready for full commercialisation. SEM Plastik has been using trial product quantities for several weeks, and is targeting annual production of around 6.5 million cups. It is also making the domed lids for the cups.

Eroglu says that by using the new grade, SEM Plastik has been able to cut the weight of the cups by close to ten percent with no loss of mechanical properties. Thermoforming cycle times are believed to be between eight and twelve percent lower.


Cefic downgraded its 2011 growth forecast for EU chemicals production to 2.5%

(ICIS) -- Cefic has downgraded its 2011 growth forecast for EU chemicals production to 2.5% from 4.5% because of a slowdown in the second quarter and a likely stall in the third quarter, the trade association said on Friday. Cefic originally forecast in November last year that EU chemicals output growth would be 2.5% in 2011, but it was then revised to 4.5% growth in June 2011. The forecast for EU chemicals output growth for 2012 remains unchanged at 2.5%, it added.

Cefic said that data from the last seven months of 2011 show chemicals production at 3.2% below the 2007 peak, but forecasts it will reach the pre-crisis threshold toward mid-2013. Meanwhile, EU manufacturing production growth has also been revised down to 5% in 2011 and to 2.5% in 2012.

However, EU exports are holding up well, the association said. In the first half of 2011, the EU had a net trade surplus of EUR 20.4bn (USD 27.6bn) with trading partners, EUR 3.2bn less than in the same period of 2010.