Borealis launches new packaging solution

(plastech) -- Borealis, a leading provider of chemical and innovative plastics solutions, brings clear advantages in sustainability and fresh-look aesthetics to the rigid packaging market with the launch of its new superior flow random copolymer polypropylene (PP) RJ901MO.

The next generation advance for thin wall packaging and houseware applications, such as storage boxes, CD and DVD cases, delivers an overall step-change in performance, less energy consumption and a reduced carbon footprint plus strong visual appeal. The grade is manufactured using Borealis' proprietary Borstar technology.

RJ901MO's high melt flow rate (MFR) of 110 in combination with nucleation enables lower processing temperatures. For packaging converters, this creates the potential for higher productivity through optimised cycle times and energy savings. Compared to MFR 70 materials, it is possible to obtain a 20╟C reduction in melt temperatures resulting in a 20% cycle time reduction.

DSM to increase prices for PA6 and PA66 compounds

(plasticker) -- To offset escalating material costs, DSM Engineering Plastics is to increase prices on a global basis for its Akulon PA6 and PA66 compounds.

Effective 1 April 2012, DSM will increase prices by EUR200/t in Europe and Asia Pacific Regions. Effective March 19 DSM will increase prices by USD0.10/lb in North America.

While DSM Engineering Plastics continues to pursue and implement cost savings initiatives targeted at absorbing the impact of the raw material escalations, this additional increase is declared to be necessary to ensure DSM Engineering Plastics' sustainable long-term growth.


Valero contract worker dies after flash fire at Memphis refinery

(hydrocarbonprocessing) -- Nicolas Cuevas, one of three contract workers injured in a flash fire last week at Valero Energy Corp.'s oil refinery in Memphis, Tenn., died Saturday afternoon, a Valero spokesman said. The men were working at the flare platform as part of the crude unit turnaround that got under way March 2.

Nicolas Cuevas, one of three contract workers injured in a flash fire last week at Valero Energy Corp.'s oil refinery in Memphis, Tenn., died Saturday afternoon, Valero spokesman Bill Day said.

The March 6 fire at a flare platform also injured Cuevas' brother, Daniel, and a third contractor working for JVIC. All three were transported to the Regional Medical Center.

The men were working at the flare platform as part of the crude unit turnaround that got under way March 2. That work is expected to conclude on or about April 6.

"We have learned that Mr. Nicholas Cuevas passed away today (Saturday) at the Regional Medical Center. Valero extends its thoughts and prayers to the Cuevas family and the JVIC organization. We continue to pray for the full recovery of the other injured contractors," Day said.

Valero and JVIC, in full cooperation with governmental authorities, are investigating the cause of the incident.

The Memphis refinery is able to process up to 195,000 bpd of crude oil.

Oil producers start to worry about rising prices

(hydrocarbonprocessing) -- As they prepare to meet with consumers at an energy summit in Kuwait, some of the world's top oil producers voiced concern that rising oil prices may backfire by jeopardizing a global economic recovery. The UK's Brent contract has risen by 17% since the start of the year amid tensions with Iran.

Saudi pipeline had been blown up pushed Brent prices to their highest level in about four years, leading to concerns they could return to levels not reached since 2008, when a record high of USD147/bbl was blamed for worsening a global recession.

Asked if an increase in oil prices to 2008 could endanger a global economic recovery, Angola's de Vasconcelos, whose country is the second largest crude-producer in Africa, said "I think so." A current price of USD125 a barrel for the Brent is already "a little bit high," he said.

Even Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil exporter, is "slightly worried about recent oil price hikes as it's not based on market fundamentals". Indeed, while buoyant oil prices are boosting revenue for oil producers, they are also starting to realize further spikes could sharply hit demand for their crude and ultimately push prices into a downward spiral. Though producers have yet to hit the panic button, there are fears prices may be getting closer to the danger zone.

In its monthly report last week, OPEC said US oil consumption data for December showed the worst contraction observed since July 2009 and preliminary data for January and February 2012 has displayed similar drops.

For now, the decline in the west has been offset by Chinese purchases on international oil markets. But the Asian nation has been filling up its crude oil and products storage in January. That means it could draw into its stockpiles and cuts its imports if its finds global oil too pricey.


Chevron says oil, gas output to jump 20% by 2017

(chevron) -- Chevron said Tuesday its oil and gas production will inch up this year but it expects output to jump 20% in five years as massive liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects in Australia commence operations. Chevron officials noted that annual production could vary depending on oil prices.

During the company's annual meeting with analysts in New York, Chevron executives said production will rise 0.26% to 2.68 million bpd of oil equivalent this year, and to 3.3 million bpd of oil equivalent by the end of 2017.

Those estimates are up from 2.67 million bpd of oil equivalent it produced in 2011. The 2017 projection is based on an oil price average of USD79/bbl, the company said.

Chevron, based in San Ramon, Calif. and the second largest US oil company by market value after ExxonMobil, said annual production could vary depending on oil prices. The company has in place several share production sharing contracts with foreign governments that give more production to national oil companies - and less to international oil companies - when oil prices rise.

Light, sweet crude oil for April delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange was 30 cents lower, at USD106.04/bbl, in a range of USD105.85 to USD107.13/bbl. Chevron's future growth will be driven by a handful of large oil and gas projects worldwide. The liquefied-natural-gas Gorgon project in Australia is on track to start production in 2014 and still expected to cost USD37 billion, the company said.

Construction of development wells is expected to start this year.