Polymer demand in China and Vietnam hit by slower economic growth

(polyestertime) -- Players in both China and Vietnam report that polymer demand in their respective countries has
been slowed by weakness in the construction sector and slower than expected economic growth rates. Both traders and converters complained that their sales have dropped significantly when compared with the same period in the past year as a result of the disappointingly sluggish economic environment.

According to local media reports, investment in China's property market is slowing down while sales of new houses are declining as reduced economic growth and government efforts to constrain inflation in the country's property sector have reined in construction activity.

Chinese builders broke ground on 294.27 million square meters of new housing space in the first quarter of 2012, a decrease of 5.2% when compared with the same period of last year. 152.39 million square meters of housing space was sold during the first quarter, a drop of 13.6% year over year.

Meanwhile, sources in the real estate industry estimated that the Chinese housing market contained enough unsold housing space to meet demand for the next four and half months.


Argentina seeks joint energy ventures with Brazil

(hydrocarbonprocessing) -- Argentina is seeking joint energy ventures with Brazil after the international community condemned Argentina for plans to nationalize oil group YPF, the country's biggest oil and gas producer.

Julio de Vido, the planning minister who is in temporary charge of YPF, traveled to Brazil for talks with Edision Lobao, Brazil's energy minister, and Maria das Gracas Silva Foster, Petrobras chief.

Last week, Argentine President Cristina Kirchner sponsored legislation to seize a 51% stake in the YPF from Spain's Repsol YPF. "The challenge that this new YPF and Petrobras have is to work together, in joint businesses and joint finances," de Vido said, according to the FT.

Brazil's state-run energy giant Petrobras,said Friday it will continue to invest about USD500 million a year in Argentina even as Argentina moves to expropriate a major oil and gas company from private investors.


Braskem picks GE compressor technology in Mexico ethylene, PE venture

(hydrocarbonprocessing) -- The Veracruz ethylene and polyethylene (PE) complex in Mexico, a joint venture between Brazil's Braskem and Mexico's Grupo Idesa, will use hyper compressor and booster compressor technologies from GE. The GE technologies will be key elements of the low-density polyethylene (LPDE) plant.

The Veracruz ethylene and polyethylene (PE) complex in Mexico, a joint venture between Brazil's Braskem and Mexico's Grupo Idesa, will use hyper compressor and booster compressor technologies from GE, project officials said on Monday. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

The GE technologies are key elements of the low-density polyethylene (LPDE) plant, officials said. The compressors feature innovative technologies that use less electricity, reduce operating costs and require less maintenance, making the local plant more competitive with imported plastics, GE said.

GE's LDPE compressors feature a scalable design that enables upgrade and capacity additions with little effect on day-to-day operations and that requires very few adjustments, the company said.

SABIC eager to invest in Poland

(Reuters) - Saudi Basic Industries Corp , the world's biggest petrochemical firm, has expressed interest in buying Polish chemical companies and co-operating with PKN Orlen, Poland's prime minister was quoted as saying on Monday.

Donald Tusk was visiting Saudi Arabia with the chief executive of PKN Orlen, Poland's top refining and petrochemical firm, and officials and businessmen.

"It is very likely that apart from SABIC's active participation in a potential privatisation of Polish firms, a mutual enterprise on quite a large scale in the petrochemical sector between Orlen and SABIC will be possible," Tusk was quoted as saying by the Polish press agency PAP. (Reporting by Maciej Onoszko; Editing by Dan Lalor).

Orlen require partners in recovering petrochemical feedstock ethane from shale gas, and in rolling out an investment in the polyethylene terephthalate (PET) sector to further capitalise on its 600,000 tonne/year purified terephthalic acid (PTA) plant launched last year.


Arkema and CEA to set up two new joint laboratories

(Arkema) -- Arkema and CEA are to extend their existing collaboration in photovoltaics to the field of micro-electronics and organic electronics by setting up two joint research laboratories. These public-private mixed laboratories will enable the development of new ultra high performance materials and their integration within manufacturing processes in growth areas of the electronics sector in France.

Both laboratories will pool Arkema's expertise in the design and production of high performance polymers with the competences of CEA researchers in the design and processes involved in the development of electronic components.

As part of its collaboration with Leti, Arkema will draw on its expertise in polymer nanostructuring to produce new materials designed to optimize the performances of silicon components and significantly reduce their manufacturing costs in next generation integrated circuits.

As part of its collaboration with Liten, Arkema, which markets a group of leading technical polymers (fluorinated, piezoelectric, nanostructured thermoplastic polymers), will be able to meet the technological challenges of the large-area printed electronics sector (flexible screens, intelligent packaging and textiles, photovoltaic panels), such as lifetime of the systems, cost of manufacture, and integration of several functions onto a single support.