Rhodia and CTBE to develop bio-based chemistry based on sugarcane

(chemicals-technology) -- Rhodia, a subsidiary of Solvay, and Brazil's National Bioethanol Science and Technology Laboratory (CTBE) have joined forces to develop chemical routes and processes to acquire molecules of a high added value from sugarcane biomass.

The research, which will be carried out at CTBE, will focus on the development of chemical blocks now used in various applications and markets that the Solvay Group operates in, to replace non-renewable sources with biomass for the production of these substances.

CTBE research head Maria Teresa Barbosa said that the technologies will be developed on a laboratorial scale for the first two years, followed by improvements at CTBE's process development pilot plant.
Barbosa further said that the project in bio-based chemistry will also comprise computational simulations at the virtual sugarcane bio-refinery (BVC).

Rhodia will offer its proficiency in the chemical sector to develop new routes to high added-value molecules.
The Banco Nacional do Desenvolvimento Economico e Social (BNDES), Brazil's state-owned development bank, will provide USD3.7mln over three years for the project.


Norway's Yara Q1 net profit rises on healthy margins

(Reuters) -- Norway's Yara, the world's largest nitrate fertiliser maker, reported first-quarter core results somewhat short of expectations on Friday and said it saw record European deliveries in March and "satisfactory" deliveries so far in April.

"As expected, northern hemisphere fertiliser demand is strengthening following a slow first half of the buying season," the company's chief executive, Joergen Ole Haslestad, said.

Adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) fell to 3.94 billion Norwegian crowns (USD 687.1 million) from 4.26 billion crowns a year earlier and behind analysts' mean forecast for 4.03 billion.

In Q1 imports of EPS to Ukraine increased by 27%

MOSCOW (MRC) -- In March, the imports of expandable polystyrene to the Ukrainian market made 1,700 tonnes. Since the beginning of 2012 the companies had imported 3.800 tonnes of EPS, which 27% up year on year, according to MRC analysts.

In January-March 2012, Ukrainian companies increased the volumes of EPS supplies. In January, the volume of EPS imports was only 700 tonnes, then in February, it increased twofold, namely, 1,435 tonnes.
The significant increase in supplies of imported EPS in February resulted from the price cuts from the Asian producers to USD 1,600/tonne FOB in late 2011, when the supplies had been contracted. In April, the price of imported Asian EPS was in the range of $1,720-1,750/tonne FOB.

Chinese EPS from Loyal still prevails in the structure of supply, which made more than 1,600 tonnes of imports, or 41.6% of total deliveries in Q1 2012.

From the beginning of 2012, Ukrainian companies significantly increased the supply of Alfapor supplies by Sibur-Khimprom (Perm) production. Imports of Russian EPS made 740 tonnes or 19.1% from total deliveries in Q1. Such preference of the Perm EPS resulted from the significant difference in the price of the material. This was ensured by international agreements, under which direct imports (from the producer) of EPS from Russia are not subject to 6.5% duty.

MRC analyst Roman Lugovskoy forecasts that the positive dynamics of EPS imports to Ukraine continues in Q2, as well as the increase of the market share of Perm EPS to 25-30%.


Coryton Refinery to be sold in May

(crsrisk) -- The future of Petroplus' UK refinery Coryton, which employs around 900 people, will be decided by the middle of May, when the current deal supplying it with crude runs out, administrator PwC said.

Work on a potential sale or restructuring of the refinery's debt is underway with a view to reaching an agreement before the deal expires in the middle of May, or the plant will close. "We'll do a deal or shut Coryton when the current arrangement finishes," Steven Pearson, partner and joint administrator of Petroplus Refining & Marketing Limited (PRML) told.

The plant received a three-month lifeline in February from a consortium of Morgan Stanley, private equity firm KKR and the co-founder of the stricken Petroplus Marcel Van Poecke. But with capital expenditure needs of around USD1 billion and upcoming maintenance costing USD150 million due in September, the economic conditions for securing a prompt deal remain challenging. "One of the big factors here is that with the price of oil being where it is at the moment, the cost of funding the working capital is so enormous in the short term, that the economics are difficult," Pearson said. "But that's true for any refiners out there."


India plastics sector to hit USD30 bln by 2015

(plasticsinfomart) -- The plastics industry in India is expected to grow from the current value of USD25 billion to USD30 billion by 2015, according to Catalyst Corporate Finance.

India currently consumes 12.5 million metric tons of plastics per year is expected to become the third largest consumer of polymers in the world after the United States (39 million tons per year) and China (37.5 million tons per year) by the end of this year.

Already one of the fastest growing markets with a growth rate of around 14 percent, the lower level of per capital consumption of 5 kilograms per capita compared to the world average of 26 kilograms per capita means the potential for growth is very high.