PETRONAS and BASF move ahead with expansion of partnership in Malaysia

(basf) -- PETRONAS and BASF have taken the next steps in the development of the previously announced ┬1 billion investment that will expand their partnership in Malaysia, involving projects at their existing venture in Kuantan and at a new site within PETRONAS' proposed Refinery & Petrochemical Integrated Development (RAPID) complex in Pengerang, Johor.

These projects are to be implemented between 2015 and 2018.

The two partners today entered into a "Heads of Agreement" (HOA) for the development of the new project in Pengerang, signed by Dr. Martin Brudermueller, Vice Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors, BASF SE, and Datuk Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin, Executive Vice President of Downstream Business, PETRONAS.

Under the terms of the HOA, the partners have agreed to form a new entity (BASF 60%; PETRONAS 40%) to jointly own, develop, construct and operate production facilities for isononanol, highly reactive polyisobutylene, non-ionic surfactants, methanesulfonic acid, and plants for precursor materials. These world-scale facilities will become an integral part of PETRONAS' RAPID project.

The chemicals to be produced at the new facilities will directly contribute to the sustainable development of the Asia Pacific region, especially in ASEAN. For example, nonionic surfactants are used in almost all cleaning applications, particularly in environmentally friendly laundry detergents as well as in technical processes, including as ingredients for auxiliaries in the textile and leather industry.


Sinopec prospects Brazil oilfield with 5,000-barrel daily output

(peopledaily) -- China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec), one of China's oil giants, announced Monday that the group has prospected an oilfield in Brazil with a daily output of 5,000 barrels of oil and 810,000 cubic meters of natural gas.

The well site called Pao de Acucar lies in the BM-C-33 oilfield zone in Campos Basin, Brazil. The well was drilled from Aug. 8, 2011, to Jan. 10, 2012, and subsequent testing finished on Feb. 18, 2012.

The prospecting work was operated by Sinopec and Repsol, a Spanish oil giant.

Petchem price trends in Asia

(yarnsandfibers) -- Asian paraxylene market spiked day on day Friday driven by a surge in ICE Brent crude futures as it rose USD2.35 a barrel day on day. Further reports of maintenance shutdown also influenced the market. Japan\'s top refiner JX Nippon Oil & Energy Corp plans to shut its 400,000 ton a year paraxylene unit at Chita plant in west Japan in May-June for scheduled maintenance.

With sentiment for PTA relatively passable and MEG market stalemated and tossed between strong PTA futures and weak demand from downstream, the polyester chips markets in Asia appeared mixed this week. Prices variation greatly depended on sellers or volumes.

Asian monoethylene glycol prices were driven by some spot demand amid firmer futures on the Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange. In China, tanks were still fully covered implying overall supply will be relatively abundant in future. Sharp rises in ethylene prices, production issues and sustained offtake from the PET market helped pull European monoethylene glycol prices higher this week.

Ethylene prices rebounded on the last day of the week in Asian markets after two flat days of trade, propelled by tightening of supplies and higher crude and naphtha prices. In Europe, ethylene spot prices touched new highs, bolstered by rallying naphtha prices and various production issues in the European cracker system.


Lanxess to build new neodymium polybutadiene rubber plant in Singapore

(chemicals-technology) -- Lanxess will build a new neodymium polybutadiene rubber (Nd-PBR) plant at Jurong Island Chemical Park, Singapore.

The USD200m plant is expected to produce 140,000 metric tonnes per annum (tpa) of Nd-PBR, which will be used in the treads and sidewalls of green tires. Nd-PBR will also be used for the modification of plastics in the manufacture of high-impact polystyrene (HIPS) for injection molding applications.

The plant, which is scheduled to start operations in the first half of 2015, will use Butadiene as the raw material.
As part of the construction, Lanxess has signed long-term agreements with Petrochemical Corporation of Singapore (PCS) and TP Utilities, a wholly-owned unit of Tuas Power, for supplying the required raw material for the construction of the facility.

PCS managing director Akira Yonemura said: "We are also very pleased to announce our decision to go ahead with our new butadiene plant, which is made possible through the close collaboration with LANXESS.
"This new investment will further strengthen PCS's competitive position and we look forward to working with LANXESS for the successful completion and start-up of both our new plants."
PCS is constructing a new butadiene extraction unit and associated infrastructure necessary to provide the raw material.

TP Utilities director and Tuas Power president and chief executive officer Lim Kong Puay said: "We thank LANXESS for continuing to show strong confidence in our services by selecting TP Utilities again as a key supplier to its latest milestone project. We will be supplying steam to LANXESS' new Nd-PBR plant, when it begins operation, for a contract period of ten years, with an option to extend the service."


Asahi Kasei Chemicals to construct new acetonitrile plant in South Korea

(chemicals-technology) -- Asahi Kasei Chemicals will build a new acetonitrile plant at the site of Tong Suh Petrochemical's Ulsan plant grounds in South Korea.

The new plant, with a production capacity of 11,000 tons per year, is expected to come onstream in January 2014.
The proposed acetonitrile plant will use crude acetonitrile byproduct from other acrylonitrile plants in Korea.
The facility, along with the company's Japanese acetonitrile plant, will help Asahi Kasei Chemicals to meet the growing demand for acetonitrile.

Produced by refining the crude acetonitrile obtained as a by-product of acrylonitrile, acetonitrile is used to manufacture pharmaceuticals and agrichemicals. Asahi Kasei Chemicals operates an acetonitrile plant in Kawasaki, Kanagawa, Japan, which has a production capacity of 14,000 tons per year.

The company is currently building a new acrylonitrile plant in Ulsan with start up slated for January 2013.
Headquartered in Tokyo, Asahi Kasei has plants in Japan, China, Singapore, Thailand, the US and Germany.