Sumitomo Chemical entered into a collaboration with Germany's Nabaltec

(Sumitomo) -- In a move aimed at strengthening their respective alumina and aluminum trihydroxide (ATH) businesses, Sumitomo Chemical (Tokyo / Japan) has entered into a collaboration with Germany's Nabaltec (Schwandorf). In a first step, starting 1 December 2011, Nabaltec began supplying Sumitomo with its fine precipitated ATH grade for sale in East Asia.

Aluminum trihydroxide mostly is used as a flame retardant additive for polymers used in wire and cable, printed circuit board and building materials applications. Demand for the material has been rising amid new regulations curtailing the use of halogenated flame retardants, especially in Europe.

Although the Japanese group has expanded its production capacity for ATH at its plant in Ehime / Japan over the past few years, the rapid rise in demand meant Sumitomo was looking to secure additional supplies, which is where Nabaltec - one of the world's leading ATH producers with plants in Europe and the US - entered the picture. Both companies said they plan to explore additional areas of cooperation, including joint development of new advanced inorganic materials.


OPEC agreed cartel-wide production target of 30 million bpd

(Arabian oil and gas) -- On 14 December the 160th meeting of OPEC oil producing countries concluded with an agreed cartel-wide production target of 30 million barrels per day (bpd). ⌠We have an agreement to maintain the market in balance and we're going to adjust the level of production of each country to open space for Libyan production, Venezuelan Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez told reporters in Vienna. The output limit includes including Iraq, which has no national quota, and Libya.
The move marks OPEC's first output limit change since December 2008, when it was set at 24.84 million bpd, excluding Iraq. The cartel's latest figures show it is currently overshooting this amount by around 2.81 million bpd.

Brent crude, the global benchmark, fell 1.8% to USD107,06 a barrel on Tuesday after OPEC announced the deal. The agreement was clearly calculated as a show of unity between the members. However, the tough decisions - about who will cut production to make room for Libya and Iraq under the production ceiling, and how much - were left unanswered.


Kaneka to form a joint venture with Mitsui & Co for CPVC production

(IBNlive) -- Chemical manufacturer Kaneka Corp has signed an agreement with Meghmani Organics and Japan's Mitsui & Co to form a joint venture to conduct feasibility study for constructing a chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC) production facility at Dahej in Gujarat.

The JV, Trience Speciality Chemicals, is scheduled to start production in 2014 with an initial annual capacity of 20,000 mt, which is expected to be scaled up in relatively early stages of production, a Kaneka release said here today.

An initial investment of USD 120 million has been planned - of which 41 per cent will be contributed by Kaneka, 39 per cent by Meghmani and the remaining 20 per cent by Mitusi, the release said.

"Demand for CPVC has been growing globally. In the domestic market, galvanised iron pipe has been replaced by CPVC and the trend has been accelerating in recent years. To grasp such market opportunity, Kaneka has been seeking for a chance to build a CPVC plant," the release said. Ahmedabad-based Meghmani manufactures agrochemicals, pigment and other speciality chemicals and has a facility at Dahej. Under the JV pact, it will supply chlorine to Trience.

The Japan-based international trading and investment firm Mitusi will handle raw material PVC procurement and will play a key role in CPVC sales and marketing in the Indian market, it said.


Fire at Stavrolen chemical plant in southern Russia

(Dow Jones)--Russian oil company OAO Lukoil Holdings said a fire Thursday at the Stavrolen chemical plant in southern Russia injured six people and partly disrupted production.

It was unclear when the fire, that broke out around 1400 local time (1000 GMT), would be put out and to what extend it would affect production, a spokesman said.

The Stavrolen plant produced 684,000 metric tons of petrochemicals, mainly polyethylene, last year.


PP export prices to move down in the European market

(MRC) -- Low demand for polypropylene (PP) in the domestic market amid oversupply makes European producers increase exports at any cost, even by means of a serious decline in prices. The weakening of EUR against USD makes the task easier for European producers, according to ICIS-MRC Price Report.

PP prices in Europe reached the peak in May, followed by their gradual decline. The debt crisis in Europe and the subsequent decline in demand for PP forced European producers to cut back production volumes significantly.

However, by mid-December, despite a significant reduction in PP production loading, European market had demonstrated a surplus in supply.

Excess of PP in the domestic market forces European producers to increase export sales by a serious decline in prices.

By this week the European export prices of PP for CIS markets had achieved the following levels: raffia was offered on average for EUR1,000-1,030/tonne, FCA, injection molding PP-homo - on average for EUR1,030-1,080/tonne, FCA. Export quotations of copolymers of propylene seriously decreased too. Prices of block copolymers of propylene start from EUR1,100/tonne, FCA, statistical copolymer of polypropylene - on average by EUR20-40/tonne more expensive.