Westlake to launch new chlor-alkali plant

(plastemart) -- Westlake Chemical Corp is to commence construction of a new chlor-alkali plant at its vinyls manufacturing complex in Geismar, Louisiana, at an investment of US$250-300 mln. Capacity will include 250,000 electrochemical units (ECU's) annually, bringing the total estimated ECU capacity to 525,000 pa. This project, targeted for start-up in H2-2013, will utilise state of the art membrane technology and will be adjacent to the existing vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) facilities at the Geismar complex.


Polymer-Chemie expands PVC production in Russia

(EuropeanPlasticsNews) -- Germany-based Polymer-Chemie, a producer of PVC, PE and PP compounds, has expanded production of PVC compounds at its Russian LLC Tula Polymer factory.

The new production capacity at the plant, which is located in the Leninsky area of the Tula region, is said to be close to 20,000 tonnes of PVC compounds per year. Financial details of the project were not disclosed.

The company is reported to be planning a significant increase in production capacity at the plant next year, when it will also broaden the product range.

Polymer-Chemie said the bulk of future production will be sold in the Russian market and neighbouring countries.


Formosa restarts Mailiao unit

(Bloomberg) -- Formosa Petrochemical Corp., Taiwan's only publicly traded oil refiner, restarted Mailiao unit yesterday that was shut on Aug. 18 because of a steam leak.

The No. 2 residual fluid catalytic cracker is operating at 70 percent of capacity, spokesman Lin Keh-yen said by telephone in Taipei today.

The refiner has two residual fluid catalytic crackers, each capable of processing 84,000 barrels of fuel a day. The units convert heavier refined products such as residual fuel into higher-value products, including gasoline. Formosa Petrochemical, based in Mailiao, western Taiwan, has a daily capacity to process 540,000 barrels of crude oil.


Petro Rabigh slashes PP exports in September

SINGAPORE (ICIS) -- Rabigh Refining and Petrochemical Co (Petro Rabigh) has slashed export cargoes in September after the restart of its 700,000 tonne/year polypropylene (PP) plant in Rabigh, Saudi Arabia, in order to build inventory, a source familiar with the company said on Friday.

The company is in the process of ramping up operating rates at the plant and expects to achieve full output only by 6 September. Petro Rabigh would begin to export PP again in October.

The PP plant was taken off line in early August because of a shortage of feedstock propylene, on the back of an outage at the company's fluid catalytic cracker (FCC). It was restarted on 27 August. The unplanned shutdown of the PP plant had tightened the product's supply in the Middle East market, said traders. Petro Rabigh has a total installed propylene capacity of 900,000 tonnes/year.


Borealis changes Film & Fibre and Moulding Business leadership

(Borealis) -- Borealis announced the promotion of Wim Roels, previously responsible for the Moulding business as Vice President, to Senior Vice President for the Business Unit Film & Fibre, effective August 1, 2010. Thierry Chevrier, coming from BASF, has been appointed his successor as Vice President Business Unit Moulding as of September 1, 2010.

Wim Roels graduated as a chemical engineer in 1983 from KIHO Gent and started his career with Recticel in the polyurethane and phenolic foam business. He joined Borealis as a Technical Service & Development Engineer for moulding applications in 1989, followed by several positions across the company including Plant Manager in Norway, Research Centre Manager in Porvoo (Finland), General Manager for Borealis Belgium, Vice President for Polyolefin Research & Development and Vice President Innovation & Technology. Since May 1, 2008 Wim Roels has been leading Borealis' activities in moulding, driving innovation in the world of packaging and technical products.

Thierry Chevrier brings with him over 15 years of international experience in a variety of senior roles in the Plastics and Pigments industry. Most recently, Thierry was Vice President Global Asset Management & Global Restructuring Management Pigments, focusing largely on the integration and streamlining of Ciba Pigments into BASF, encompassing some 22 sites and 1,500 employees spread across the globe. Prior to this, he was located in the USA for approximately three years as Vice President Business Unit Plastics, Coatings, Inks & Specialities. His first assignment within BASF as Business Director for Pigments and Additives gave him an intensive background in the Packaging, Automotive and Construction Industries including the successful acquisition of Johnson Polymer.