(Reuters) -- Chemical maker LyondellBasell Industries NV's quarterly revenue missed Wall Street's expectations and its profit was drained by high supply costs in Europe and Asia.
The mixed results -- profit narrowly beat expectations -- highlight the growing advantage North America has in the production of ethylene. LyondellBasell's European chemical plants use pricey crude oil-derived naphtha to produce chemicals, a process that is much more expensive than in the United States, where cheap natural gas can be used to make the same products.
"U.S. ethylene manufacturers are in a great competitive position relative to other producers," Chief Executive Jim Gallogly said in a statement. Despite the high costs in Europe, the company should see "positive momentum" for the rest of the year
In January, LyondellBasell mothballed its Berre, France, refinery, which employs 370 workers, due to poor European margins. The company said it would try to attract a potential buyer within two years. The closure dented profit at the company's refining and oxyfuels unit, which makes gasoline and other products.
(Plastemart) -- China's petrochemical industry expanded at much slower pace in the first quarter amid the economic slowdown, according to data released by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) as per X inhua.
Petrochemical industrial production rose 16% annually to reach 2.4567 trillion yuan (USD 391.3 billion) in the first quarter, decelerating further from 22.1% in Q4-2011, according to NDRC. From January to March, the petrochemical sector processed 114.91 mln tons of crude oil, up 3.1% year-on-year, while refined oil products added 5.5% annually to reach 69.15 mln tons, according to NDRC. Investment of the petrochemical sector, however, kept rapid growth during the first quarter, with the combined investment amounting to 202.4 billion yuan, up 33.5 percent year-on-year.
(Plastemart) -- Chandra Asri Petrochemical (CAP), Indonesia's largest petrochemical firm in which Siam Cement Group (SCG) holds a 30% stake, is expected to finalise in H2-2012, an investment plan for both de-bottlenecking and a downstream petrochemical project that would require an estimated USD800 mln investment.
CAP's board of directors is considering whether or not the company should invest both in de-bottle-necking and downstream petrochemical production at the same time. The global petrochemical industry outlook will be taken into account before the decision is made. CAP has a naphtha cracker with a capacity of 550,000 tpa. It has two polyethylene (PE) plants, three polypropylene (PP) plants, and two styrene monomer (SM) plants. The annual production capacities of PE, PP and SM are 340,000 tons, 480,000 tons, and 320,000 tons, respectively. Investment of USD800 mln in CAP would be lower than the investment required for a new petrochemical plant, which could be as high as USD1.4 bln.
(hydrocarbonprocessing) -- Energy Transfer Partners agreed to acquire independent refiner Sunoco in a USD5.3 billion deal that would greatly expand the reach of Energy Transfer's pipeline system but could also saddle the company with aging refineries.
Sunoco has been trying to sell itself since late 2011 after posting losses for much of the past two years because of high oil prices and decreasing fuel demand.
Finding a buyer for the company and its aging refineries was considered a long-shot despite Sunoco's profitable logistics and retail businesses.
Energy Transfer will gain 7,900 miles of crude oil and refined fuel pipelines from Sunoco Logistics Partners master limited partnership and give it a toe-hold in the Marcellus and Utica shale regions, increasingly productive sources of oil and natural gas.
Energy Transfer will also gain Sunoco's relatively successful chain of 4,900 gasoline stations that it could sell at a later date.