Enterprise, Enbridge speed up Seaway oil pipeline reversal in US

(hydrocarbonprocessing) -- The Seaway pipeline reversal designed to help ease the glut in Cushing, Okla., will begin delivering crude oil to Gulf Coast refineries earlier than expected, a spokesman for the project said. The reversal had been expected to start up by June 1, but now could begin around May 17.

The Seaway pipeline reversal designed to help ease the glut in Cushing, Okla., will begin delivering crude oil to Gulf Coast refineries earlier than expected, a spokesman for the project said.

"It is running ahead of schedule, and we expect delivery of crude oil to begin during the later part of May," said Rick Rainey, a spokesman for Enterprise Products of Houston. The reversal had been expected to start up by June 1.

The Seaway reversal has been highly anticipated by the oil industry because the lack of transportation between the middle US and the Gulf Coast has caused a supply glut and dropping prices for North American oil as production surges from Canada and North Dakota.

The bottleneck is partially responsible for US benchmark oil prices trading about USD15/bbl below international prices. Seaway is joint project between Enterprise Products and Enbridge of Calgary that will move as much as 150,000 bpd this year from the main US oil storage hub of Cushing to refineries on the Gulf coast, and will be expanded to 400,000 bpd early next year.

It is competing with a rival project by TransCanada that could move about 700,000 bpd by mid-2013.


CB&I works on ethylene steam cracker in Louisiana

(process-worldwide) -- US petrochemical specialists CB&I will work on the capacity expansion of an ethylene steam cracker plant in Lousiana. The USD300 million contract covers engineering and technology licenses.

Baton Rouge, Louisiana/USA - CB&I will provide engineering works for a capacity expansion of an ethylene facility in Geismar, Louisiana. The USD300 million contract between the engineering firm and plant operator Williams Olefins includes the licence and basic engineering for the ethylene technology, the supply of the cracking furnaces, and the detailed engineering, procurement and construction of the expansion project.

After the expansion, the facility's capacity shall be increased to a total of 1.95 billion pounds per year (from 1.35 billion pounds per year today).

Williams Olefins president and CEO Philip K. Asherman said, "The petrochemicals market is re-emerging in the US due to the abundance of lower cost ethane feedstock, directly attributable to increased shale gas production."

Ethylene, produced via steam cracking, is used as a primary building block by chemical industries to produce various products such as plastics, fibres and rubbers. Apart form the ethylene unit, Williams Olefins has a light-end natural-gas-liquids (NGL) cracker with current capacity of 37,000 barrels per day of ethane and 3,000 barrels per day of propane at the site.


Bayer MaterialScience buys Arkema's PC sheet business

(canplastics) -- Polymers and high-performance plastic maker Bayer MaterialScience (BMS) is buying the polycarbonate sheet business of Arkema Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of the French firm Arkema Group.

The terms of the deal are not being disclosed. According to BMS, the transaction includes the acquisition of Arkema's Tuffak brand, which is used in such markets as aerospace, transportation and heavy equipment.

"The addition of the well-known Tuffak business will further strengthen our quality leadershipposition in the growing North American polycarbonate sheet market," said Thomas Karl Kastner, global head of BMS' sheet business.

"We plan to quickly integrate the Arkema, Inc. sheet business into our portfolio in order to provide our customers with an enhanced portfolio of industry leading polycarbonate sheet products. This acquisition will support our strategic initiative to establish polycarbonate sheet as the product of choice in the security glazing, mass transportation and signage markets."

The purchase doesn't include any facilities. Instead, all of the equipment used to make the product lines will be moved to one of BMS' sheet facilities.

Headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pa., BMS is part of the global Bayer MaterialScience business with approximately 14,800 employees at 30 production sites around the world. The company's 2011 sales in North America were USD2.9 billion.


Octal Petrochemicals to invest USD1 bln by end-2014 in capacity expansion

(omantribune) -- Octal Petrochemicals Company is planning to invest USD1 billion by the end of 2014 to expand the capacity, said George Freiji, development manager at Octal Petrochemicals Company.

The company, whose plant is located at Salalah Free Zone, looks to become the fourth largest producer of polyethylene sheets and resin in the world with a capacity of 950,000 tonnes by next May. Currently, the company is the largest PET sheets and resin producer in the Middle East.

The company, which had invested USD600 million to set up the small plant in the first and second phase of expansions, contributes 1.1 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) of the Sultanate.

Further, the company's production accounts of 10 per cent of the Sultanate's non-oil exports, added Freiji.

The company's project, a joint Gulf and Oman venture which started with a production capacity of 30,000 tonnes of PET resin that used to manufacture plastic packages, is one of the mega projects for the production PET sheets and resin in the world, he said.


Additional Asian PP and PE shows up in Europe and Southeast Asia

(polyestertime) -- Additional cargoes of Asian PP and PE are showing up in Europe and Southeast Asia these days as
disappointing demand from China continues to push traders to divert material to other markets while some Chinese traders also report that they are looking for re-export opportunities.

A trader based in Taiwan reported that they diverted some of their allocations of Thai LDPE film to Southeast Asia this month as they did not feel confident in their ability to conclude satisfactory sales in the Chinese market. "We have managed to conclude some deals in Vietnam but are struggling to conclude deals in Indonesia," the trader commented.

A China based trader stated that they are looking to re-export some Thai LLDPE film to Southeast Asia. "The Chinese market is well supplied for now and we have heard that some other traders are enjoying good margins re-exporting material to Southeast Asia. We are hopeful that we will be able to conclude some deals in the Southeast Asian market, although we are still working on forming connections with Southeast Asian players for now," the trader stated.

A converter in Indonesia reported that they received an offer for Saudi Arabian LLDPE film on a reexport basis from China. "We are in no rush to purchase for now as we have enough material in stock to cover our needs until the middle of May. We plan to observe the market for a while longer before making any additional purchases," the buyer commented. A trader based in Vietnam said that they received an offer for Saudi Arabian LLDPE film from a bonded warehouse in Hong Kong.