PepsiCo to launch 100% plant-based PET bottle in 2012

(greenerpackage) -- PepsiCo has announced that it has developed what it says is the world's first PET plastic bottle made entirely from plant-based, fully renewable resources, enabling the company to manufacture a beverage container with a significantly reduced carbon footprint.

PepsiCo's "green" bottle is 100% recyclable and is made from bio-based raw materials, including switchgrass, pine bark, and corn husks. In the future, the company expects to broaden the renewable sources used to create the bottle to include orange peels, potato peels, oat hulls, and other agricultural byproducts from its foods business.

Combining biological and chemical processes, PepsiCo has identified methods to create a molecular structure that is identical to petroleum-based PET, which results in a bottle that the company says looks, feels, and protects its product identically to existing PET beverage containers.

PepsiCo will pilot production of the new bottle in 2012. Upon successful completion of the pilot, the company intends to move directly to full-scale commercialization.

Sinopec to acquire parent's overseas assets

(infoseekchina) -- China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., better known as Sinopec, said it intends to acquire the overseas oil and gas assets of its parent, China Petrochemical Corp., or Sinopec Group, in a move that will increase its hydrocarbon-reserve base and help it become a fully integrated oil major.

The plan, which comes at a time of rapid foreign expansion under the direction of the Sinopec family's new head, Fu Chengyu, may pave the way for further restructuring, which some analysts say would be positive for the company's investment returns in the long run.

The planned move also mirrors efforts by Petrochina Co. to take similar steps with its parent, China National Petroleum Corp.

Hong Kong- and Shanghai-listed Sinopec, Asia's largest oil refiner, said late Wednesday it intends to be the sole platform within the Sinopec family for international exploration and production of oil and gas, refining, chemicals output and the sale of petroleum products, which it said would happen at an "appropriate time." Sinopec didn't provide a potential price for the acquisition.

Sinopec Group, which holds a 76.38% stake in its unit, plans to sell its minor remaining chemicals business within five years, it said. Its overseas upstream oil and gas assets could be worth USD20 billion, Credit Suisse estimated in October.

China eyes tech breakthrough before shale gas leap

(Reuters) -- China wants to identify the right technology to unlock its potentially large shale gas resource in the next few years, aiming for a leap in shale production by 2020, two years after it embarked on a search of the unconventional fuel.

Top energy agency, the National Energy Administration (NEA) officially unveiled on Friday a target to produce 6.5 billion cubic metres (bcm) of shale gas by 2015, or roughly 6 percent of China's current total gas production.

But it intends to dramatically boost output to 60-100 bcm in 2020, a level some experts say is over-ambitious as it faces techonological, environmental and regulatory roadblocks.

"The U.S. technologies may not be fully applicable in China's shale gas formation, they need to be revamped," Zhang Yuqing, NEA's head of Oil and Gas Department, said.

"The main task in the 12th five-year period is to lay a good foundation, especially some key technologies in shale gas exploration and development." China started the shale push in late 2009, inspired by a shale boom in the United States. Its state energy firms have since then entered multi-billion-dollar shale deals in the United States with Chesapeake Energy and Devon Energy Corp.

At home companies have drilled several dozens of wells and brought in firms such as Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron Corp and Hess Corp for joint studies. But China has yet to start commercial shale production, though it is widely believed to hold the world's largest shale resource.

The Ministry of Land and Resources revealed early this month China may hold 25.08 trillion cubic metres (tcm) of potentially recoverable shale gas resources. That compared to a U.S. Energy Informationa Agency's forecast in March 2011 at some 36 tcm.

Magna to build car seat cover factory in Serbia

(canplastics) -- Magna Seating, a unit of Canada-based auto parts maker Magna International, will build a car seat cover factory in northern Serbia, the country's investment promotion agency said.

The 34,400-square-foot plant will employ 132 people initially but this will increase to 444 by 2015, Aleksandar Miloradovic, spokesman for Serbia Investment and Export Promotion Agency, told the international media.

Plant construction, to begin in the second quarter of 2012, is estimated to cost USD3.75 million.

The plant will be located in Odzaci, 140km northwest of Belgrade, where local authorities will provide a 6.6 acre plot as part of efforts to attract foreign direct investments, Miloradovic said.

Magna International is headquartered in Aurora, Ont.

Nova reports profit jump in 2011

(canplastics) -- Canadian-based chemical and resin supplier Nova Chemicals Corporation had a good year in 2011, reporting a profit rise of 22 per cent in the fourth quarter.

"We generated a profit of USD77 million compared to a profit of USD63 million in the fourth quarter of 2010," the Calgary-based company said in a press release. "For the full year 2011, we generated a profit of USD615 million compared to a profit of USD263 million for the full year 2010."

The company's Performance Styrenics segment reported an operating profit from continuing operations of USD1 million in each of the fourth quarters of 2011 and 2010, the company continued. For the full year 2011, the segment generated an operating profit from continuing operations of USD7 million compared to an operating profit from continuing operations of USD3 million for the full year 2010.

As the only sour note, Nova reported a decline in operating profit in its olefins unit, from USD210 million in Q4 2010 to USD190 million in Q4 2011. "The quarter-over-quarter decline was due to an increase in margin in our olefins segments that was more than offset by a decline in margins in our polyethylene segment," Nova said. For the full year though, the business unit generated operating profit of USD1.13 billion compared to operating profit of USD786 million in 2010. "The year-over-year improvement was primarily due to higher margins in our olefins segments,"Nova said.