Octal Petrochemicals plans an expansion of over USD 200 mln

(Plastemart) -- Oman's PET producer and sheet extruder Octal Petrochemicals is planning an expansion at an outlay of over USD200 mln. Capacity will be increased at its Salalah, Oman, production plant by June 2012. Two more reactors and will be added in the expansion Octal has 880 mln lbs of PET capacity of which 770 mln lbs can be used for on-site sheet production.


GSFC to set up an integrated fertiliser and petrochemicals complex at Gujarat

(Plastemart) -- Gujarat State Fertiliser Corporation (GSFC) is setting up an integrated fertiliser and petrochemicals complex at Dahej, Gujarat, at an investment of Rs7,000 crore with an aim to consolidate its position in specialty chemicals. The detailed project report is ready and the process of land allocation and tendering is in progress. Project capacities will include: 1 mln of urea, 0.1 mtpa of caprolactum and 40,000 mtpa of melamine. Any major impact on the company's topline could be visible only after four years when the complex is ready.
⌠The advantage with GSFC is that it has an integrated complex which helps it in manufacturing caprolactum and melamine at highly cost-effective prices which helps in clocking higher margins. With yet another integrated facility coming up, GSFC's leadership in these two chemicals will be unchallenged, said Salil Garg, director at Fitch Ratings.

According to the company's presentation, GSFC currently holds 60% market share in caprolactum and 40% in melamine and experts say it enjoys virtual monopoly in these two chemicals.


In Russia PP production over 11 months grew by 10%

(MRC) -- In November, Russian producers increased their output of polypropylene (PP) to 57.5 thousand tonnes. In general, over the 11 months, overall amount of PP production in Russia grew by 10% to 626 thousand tonnes, according to MRC ScanPlast.

In November, the total volume of PP production in Russia grew by 2% compared with October and made 57.5 thousand tonnes. However, despite the total increase of production volumes, Ufaorgsyntez (Bashneft) and Neftekhimia (Sibur managed company) last month reduced their PP production volume. In November, these companies reduced the output by 21% and 19% compared with October, correspondingly.

At the end of last month there was a slight decrease of raffia production in favour of injection molding grades of PP-homo. The total volume of copolymers of propylene made 10.4 thousand tonnes, that was by 13% more compared with the October index.

In general, over January-November, Russian producers made 626 thousand tonnes of PP and its copolymers, that was by 10% more year on year.

Actually all Russian producers work with capacities utilization close to 100%, and the current production growth was mainly due to reduced period of scheduled turnarounds, particularly at Neftekhimia and Ufaorgsyntez.

According to preliminary estimates, at 2011 year end, the total PP production in Russia made about 680 thousand tonnes, against 626 thousand tonnes in 2010. The results of 2011 were shadowed by an accident at Stavrolen. There are no official statements from Lukoil about the accident, but according to Minister of Industry, Energy and Transport of the Stavropol region, Dmitry Samatov, polymer production at the petrochemical plant will be resumed in February 2012.


The Houston Ship Channel reopened to waterborne traffic

(Plastemart) -- The Houston Ship Channel reopened to waterborne traffic late Thursday, but loading activities remained suspended due to fog, as per Dow Jones. The channel, the busiest U.S. petrochemical port and a major conduit for cargo entering and leaving the Gulf of Mexico, has been intermittently opening and closing since Tuesday, when a collision between two vessels caused a partial closure. Heavy fog has also led to activities being suspended along the waterway.

Last week, a tanker and a cargo vessel collided at about 8 a.m. CST near the Texas City Dike, which is in the lower end of the channel between Galveston and Texas City. This did not result in any oil or chemicals spill. Refineries along the ship channel are Lyondell Basell's 268,000 bpd refinery, Pasadena Refining's 100,000 bpd refinery, Valero Energy Corp's 83,000 bpd refinery and Royal Dutch Shell's 327,000 bpd JV refinery.

The refineries in Texas City supplied by the ship channel are BP Plc.'s 437,080 bpd refinery, Valero's 214,000 bpd refinery and Marathon Petroleum Corp.'s 76,000 bpd refinery.


Coca-Cola entered into partnerships with leading biotechnology companies Virent

(PlastEurope) -- To fulfil its goal of replacing its entire virgin PET supply with its proprietary PlantBottle packaging by 2020, beverage giant Coca-Cola Company (Atlanta/USA) has entered into three multi-million dollar partnerships with leading biotechnology companies Virent (Madison, Wisconsin/USA), Gevo (Englewood, Colorado/USA) and Avantium (Amsterdam/The Netherlands). The agreements were signed after the global drinks producer completed an in-depth two year study of the different technologies available to produce renewable PET.

⌠While the technology to make bio-based materials in a lab has been available for years, we believe Virent, Gevo and Avantium are companies that possess technologies that have high potential for creating them on a global commercial scale within the next few years, said Coca-Cola's vice president Commercial Product Supply Rick Frazier. Under the terms of the agreements, each company is to further develop its own route to bio-based materials in line with Coca-Cola's standards and recycling requirements.

Specifically, Virent will work on its trademark BioForm PX plant-based paraxylene, which will be used by Coca-Cola to make 100% bio-based PTA, which in turn will be mixed with bio-based MEG to produce PlantBottle PET. Welcoming the agreement, Virent CEO Lee Edwards said both companies would progress development and engineering together. Virent plans to launch commercial-scale production of BioForm PX in early 2015. Once its plant is up and running, most of the PX produced there will be allocated to Coca-Cola.