PetroFina to acquire interest in Fina Antwerp Olefins

(chemicals-technology) -- PetroFina, a 100% affiliate of Total Petrochemicals, has signed an agreement with ExxonMobil Petroleum & Chemical to transfer 35% shareholder interest in Fina Antwerp Olefins to Total.

On the completion of the transaction, Total will become the sole shareholder in Fina Antwerp Olefins.
The transaction is subject to the European competition authority approval.
Fina Antwerp Olefins, in which Total currently has a 65% interest, was set up in Antwerp in 1951, and manufactures base chemicals products, including ethylene, propylene and benzene.

Total's businesses include base petrochemicals from steam crackers and certain refinery processing plants such as olefins, C4 fractions and aromatics, as well as the commodity polymers derived from them.

The company engages in upstream and downstream operations in the petroleum industry. Its products are used in consumer and industrial markets, including packaging, construction and the automotive industry.


November and December PTA in Europe could drop by ┬107/tonne

(ICIS) -- November and December purified terephthalic acid (PTA) prices could drop by EUR107/tonne (USD139/tonne), following upstream paraxylene (PX) decreases, sources said on Friday.

The November price has been brought down by EUR50/tonne to EUR935-957/tonne FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe), tracing the EUR70/tonne drop in PX values.

December PTA is likely to see a reduction of EUR47/tonne, pending confirmation of traditional calculations being used.
⌠Around EUR900/tonne is about right [for December], one downstream polyethylene terephthalate (PET) producer said.

Artlant PTA's 700,000 tonne/year PTA plant in Sines, Portugal, will have saleable product between the end of January and early February 2012, a company source confirmed. The plant is in production mode, and feedstock is on site.


PX, OX supply expected to tighten in Asia in 2012

(ICIS) -- Players in the paraxylene (PX) and orthoxylene (OX) markets in Asia are bracing themselves for tight suppy in 2012 amid the bleak economic outlook, as the eurozone continues to struggle with its debt crisis, sources said.

A deluge of new purified terephthalic acid (PTA) plants in China is likely to tip the market in favour of sellers, players said. PTA facilities with a combined capacity of over 9m tonnes/year are expected to commence commercial operations in 2012, while 1.45m tonnes/year of fresh PX capacities is expected within the same period.

For every tonne of PTA produced, 0.67 tonnes of PX is needed.
The PX supply shortage is expected to spill over into the OX market, as regional makers are likely to tilt production yields in favour of PX. OX is typically a by-product during the PX extraction process and can be re-isomerised to maximise PX yields.

⌠The market is tight and will continue to be tight [in] 2012, said a China-based phthalic anhydride (PA) maker. PA is the downstream product of OX and is used mainly in the plasticiser sector.

Term PX shipments for 2012 for delivery into east China were heard concluded at premiums of USD9/tonne (EUR6.93/tonne) to 50% Asian Contract Price (ACP): 50% spot CFR (cost& freight) quotes, while contracts for delivery into southwest China were heard concluded at premiums of USD15/tonne to published quotes over the past three weeks.

Most of these contracts were concluded at parity to published quotes in 2011.

In addition, PTA makers have already reduced their plants' operating rates at the end of November to December because of squeezed PX-PTA margins.
⌠If there is no demand for PTA, then there is no reason why we should be operating our plants, said a southeast Asia-based PTA maker.


Baker Hughes scoops USD640m Zubair drilling deal

(Arabian oil and gas) -- Baker Hughes will drill 60 wells in three years, according to a government source. Baker Hughes has been awarded a three-year contract valued at USD640 million to drill 60 wells in Iraq's 4 billion barrel Zubair oilfield, Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said today, according to a Reuters report. Baker Hughes already manages and operates drilling and workover rigs at Zubair.

Eni, Occidental and KOGAS have the USD20 billion, 20-year technical services contract to develop production at Zubair, which is slated to produce 1.2 million barrels per day. The corsortium will receive USD2 for every barrel lifted once production targets are met. Eni operates the Zubair field under the contract, which was signed in 2010.

Baker Hughes already has a major drilling program underway at West Qurna 2, after winning a 23-well contract from the operator Lukoil in August this year.