Chemanol started technical enhancement at its methanol and di methyl formamide plants in Jubail

(Arabian oil and gas) -- Methanol Chemicals Company (Chemanol) has started technical enhancement at its methanol and di methyl formamide plants in Jubail industrial city, to increase the productivity.

The company said in a statement that it expects the temporary closure of these plants for 12 days. ⌠The other plants will be operating normally, without interruption, and the financial impact will be very limited as we do have inventories that allow us to meet our engagements, the company said in the statement.

Chemanol started up its methanol plant, which provides the main feedstock for the firm's entire product range, in early October 2009. ⌠We have successfully completed several expansion projects, raising production capacity from an initial 420,000 t/y to nearly 1 million t/y, which enjoys a competitive price on a global level compared to other producers, Khalid Ibrahim Al- Rabiah, chief executive officer of Chemanol told Refining & Petrochemicals Middle East.

The company currently produces formaldehyde, para formaldehyde, formaldehyde resins (liquid and powder), hexamine and super plasticisers. Around 70% of its current production is exported to around 50 countries around the world.


ConocoPhillips board of directors choce leaders for independent energy companies

(Arabian oil and gas) -- ConocoPhillips has announced that its board of directors has chosen the leaders for the two independent energy companies that will result from the previously announced strategic repositioning of ConocoPhillips.

Ryan Lance will become the chairman and chief executive officer of ConocoPhillips, the upstream company, and Greg Garland will become the chairman and chief executive officer of the downstream company.

Jim Mulva, the current chairman and chief executive officer of ConocoPhillips will retire subsequent to completion of the separation. The repositioning is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2012.

⌠I am honored to lead the highly skilled and dedicated people at ConocoPhillips into the next chapter of its distinguished history as a pure-play exploration and production company, said Lance. ⌠ConocoPhillips will retain the size, scale and capability to pursue any project globally, with the additional benefit of greater focus. With our enhanced balance sheet and strong capabilities, we will pursue the goals of the repositioning plan, including investing in good opportunities, maintaining capital discipline, and continuing to return available cash to shareholders.


Heliodyne chose insulating Basotect parts from BASF

(BASF) -- BASF's Basotect melamine foam is in use for insulating the Gobi line of solar flat plate collectors by Heliodyne, Richmond, California, one of the oldest and largest manufacturers of solar collectors in the US. The Gobi line is Heliodyne's flagship product that has continuously been refined and optimized for over 30 years.

Heliodyne chose insulating Basotect parts, custom cut by the thermal and acoustic composite manufacturer Polymer Technologies of Newark, Delaware, over other foam materials as the insulation to line the back and the sides of their collectors. The BASF foam shows excellent insulation capabilities as well as long-term, high temperature resistance.

Because the foam is lightweight, flexible and free of fibers, it is easier to store and assemble than other insulation materials. While other materials may off-gas at higher temperatures, Basotect releases practically no substances that could fog the gas and block solar radiation. The BASF material can also be easily shaped. Polymer Technologies is able to manufacture parts that are customized to fit perfectly during assembly.


Thailand's PTT Chemical is investing $150 million in NatureWorks

(PlasticsToday) -- One of Asia's leading suppliers of polyethylene and petrochemicals, Thailand's PTT Chemical, is investing $150 million in NatureWorks, the Minnetonka, Minnesota-based supplier of the Ingeo brand of polylactic acid-based bioplastics. NatureWorks has been actively searching for a site in Asia for a new facility and now also announced that Thailand is the preferred location for its next Ingeo manufacturing facility. Steve Davies, global director for marketing and public relations at NatureWorks, told PlasticsToday that when the deal finalizes, PTT Chemical will hold a 50% stake in the company, splitting ownership with agricultural giant, Cargill.


International Monetary Fund cut its growth forecasts for Asia

(ICIS) -- The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Thursday it has cut its growth forecasts for Asia on the back of deteriorating financial conditions in the eurozone and a possible slowdown in the US. ⌠Risks for the Asia and Pacific region are decidedly tilted to the downside, the IMF said in a report, adding that an escalation of the debt crisis in the eurozone and a more severe slowdown in the US will have clear macroeconomic and financial spillovers to Asia.

The economic growth in Asia has moderated since the second quarter of 2011, mainly because of a weakening of external demand, according to the IMF.

Asia's economic growth is based on exports to Europe and the US. Any slowdown in the buying activities of the two continents results in lower exports.

Growth in Asia is forecast to average at 6.3% in 2011 and rise to 6.7% in 2012, according to the IMF. However, this is lower than the April 2011 IMF forecast of about 7% for both years.
While domestic demand remains strong, Asia has ⌠clearly not decoupled from advanced economies, the IMF said.

However, a pullback in demand from Europe and the US could help control runaway commodity prices such as oil and essential food items, said Song Seng Wun, regional research head at Malaysian stock broking firm CIMB-GK Securities.