SABIC's Innovative Plastics announced a new high-performance Lexan EXL copolymer resin

(Sabic) -- SABIC's Innovative Plastics business announced a new, high-performance Lexan EXL copolymer resin that addresses the fast-moving trend toward miniaturization of photovoltaic (PV) connectors and junction boxes. The enhanced electrical and flame-retardant performance of the new Lexan EXL resin grade enables designers to miniaturize the entire system by creating thin-wall parts, moving conductors closer together and integrating junction box systems - helping to drive down solar energy costs and increase efficiency. New Lexan EXL resin helps customers strengthen their competitive footing by contributing significantly to the benefits of PV systems and further accelerating the move to solar energy.

The PV market is one of the most dynamic global sectors, with compounded annual growth rates above 20 percent1 and significant attention as a viable and growing mainstream alternative energy source. "SABIC provides specialized materials that enable our photovoltaic customers to improve the value of solar energy as a cost-effective environmental solution,' said Andrew Kodis, solar marketing director, Innovative Plastics. 'Our focus on the photovoltaic market reflects SABIC's active support for environmental trends such as alternative energy, which depend upon technological breakthroughs to make them economically feasible."

The new Lexan EXL 9330S grade surpasses traditional materials in its electrical performance as demonstrated by a comparative tracking index (CTI) Underwriter's Laboratory (UL) standard with PLC-2 rating. Compliance with this tough standard means Lexan EXL 9330S copolymer resists arcing in the presence of moisture and salts and, therefore, can be used in parts that are placed closer together (4 mm vs. 12 mm under Class 3). The flame-retardant material also complies with the UL94 V0 standard at 0.8 mm, allowing thinner-wall parts to be designed.


Karpatneftechem successfully tested all PVC grades - Alexander Rappoport

MOSCOW (MRC) -- By now Karpatneftechem (Lukoil group, Kalush, Ukraine) had produced over 76.5 thousand tonnes of PVC. Production capacity of the enterprise makes 300,000 tonne/year of PVC, 200,000 tonne/year of caustic soda, 250,000 tonne/year of ethylene and 100,000tonne/year of polyethylene. Alexander Rappoport, Head of gas and energy operations and sales of petrochemical and gas processing products of Lukoil, said about this at his speech at The Polymers Summit-2011.

According to Rappoport, the production operates at 100% of its capacities utilization. All grades of PVC have been tested and now meet the standards of world analogues. Moreover, the residual content of VCM in PVC decreased by 3 times compared to the European brands.
At the same time, Alexander Rapppport noted that PVC production at Karpatneftechem was launched not in the most favourable period in the market, so the enterprise had to arrange production of a high quality product very quickly.

Since the shipment had started, two major problems concerning the product quality appeared. At present, the problems have been successfully solved, said the head of the gas and energy operations and sales of petrochemical and gas processing products of Lukoil.


E-Chem in talks with France's Total to establish an olefin project

(Arabian oil and gas) -- Egyptian Petrochemicals Holding (E-Chem) is in talks with France's Total to establish an olefin project in the induatrial zone located north-west the Gulf of Suez, according to local media.

We expect to sign the deal in the near future, al-Masri al-Yawm newspaper quoted an official from the Ministry of Petroleum as saying. The project would cost USD3bn, and will produce 470,000 t/y of polypropylene and other products.

The project will be executed in three years. The project will boost Egypt's production capacity of polyolefins, the source added.


Petrochemicals producers in GCC region see the need to expand further downstream

(ICIS) -- Petrochemicals producers in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region see the need to expand further downstream to manufacture more value-added products and ensure sustainable growth for the business, a high-ranking industry official said on Monday. Expansion is focused on the engineering plastics and performance chemicals, said Abdulwahab Al-Sadoun, secretary general of the Gulf Petrochemicals & Chemicals Association (GPCA), in an interview with ICIS.

"The main drivers behind the need to move downstream are to add value to the producer, to address the potential growth and to create job opportunities regionally, to take advantage of the working age demographics," Al-Sadoun said.

With majority of GCC's production derived from feedstock gas - a natural resource with strong availability and is quite cheap in the Middle East - the most developed value chains in the region are ethylene and methanol.

But with the diversification into using other feedstocks, like naphtha, the GCC producers will be able to produce higher volumes of propylene that has not been possible in gas-based production.

Using naphtha as feedstock also meant a move for GCC producers to integrate petrochemical operations with the refineries and will translate to increased output of aromatics products such as benzene, toluene and xylenes.

The GCC's demographics also indicate a strong availability of work force that can be tapped to realise the expansion and integration of the region's crude oil and petrochemical producers, he said.
GCC comprises Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and UAE. In Qatar, about 28% of the country's are about 25 years old, while in Saudi Arabia, the age group accounts for a bigger proportion of the total population at 48%, he cited. But this movement towards producing more value-added products is also going on in other regions, like Asia.


China foreign trade up 17.6% in November

(ICIS) -- China's foreign trade increased by 17.6% year on year in November to USD334.4bn (EUR250.8bn), while its trade surplus narrowed by 34.9% to USD14.5bn during the same month, China Customs said over the weekend.

On a year-on-year basis, China's exports grew by 13.8% to USD174.5bn, while its imports rose by 22.1% to USD159.9bn in November, according to the data released by China Customs. The growth in the country's exports has been slowing down for the past four consecutive months and November's growth figure is at a nine-month low.

China's crude imports in November increased by 8.5% year on year to 22.7m tonnes, the data showed.

The country's imports of acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) resins dropped by 19.7% year on year to 153,753 tonnes, while imports of polyester chips fell by 35.0% to 11,954 tonnes in November.

Its imports of natural rubber (NR) increased by 26.3% year on year to 240,000 tonnes, while imports of synthetic rubber decreased by 7.9% to 117,803 tonnes in that month.

In November, the country imported 204,000 tonnes of primary plastics, a 4.7% year-on-year decrease from the same period a year earlier.

China exported 715,731 tonnes of plastic products in November, an increase of 9.4% year on year, the data showed.