Braskem to switch its PP plants to feedstock from shale

(Reuters) -- As the cost of crude oil and its derivatives hurts profits, Braskem is looking to switch feedstock at its U.S. polypropylene plants from shale gas.

Chief Executive Carlos Fadigas said that the Brazilian petrochemicals company is currently weighing a decision on whether to build its own plant processing propane from natural gas or form a joint venture with a guarantee to buy the project's output.

The decision should be made this year.


Cambodia snaps up Viet Nam plastics

(plasticsinfomart) -- Plastics exports to Cambodia earned USD20 million in the first quarter of this year, reported the Viet Nam Plastic Association.

In March alone, export turnover reached USD 8 million, with plastic bags accounting for about 40 per cent of the value, the association said, noting that Vietnamese companies faced few challenges when exporting this product to Cambodia due to a lack of strict regulations in the neighbouring nation.

Packaging materials accounted for another 17.6 per cent of the total export value during the period.
Exports of plastic construction materials to Cambodia were also expected to recover this year as the building industry recovered.

The association warned, however, that Vietnamese plastics weren't competitive with those from other countries, and it suggested the industry aim to improve technology and cut costs.

Cambodia is now one of the biggest markets for Vietnamese plastics, following Japan, the US, Germany and Thailand.


Saudis face growth limits over natural gas supplies

(downstreamtoday) -- A shortage of natural gas could affect future industrial growth in Saudi Arabia, according to the head of Jubail Industrial City, the world's largest petrochemical cluster.

Jubail, with a current annual production capacity of 68 million tonnes, has already embarked on an expansion that will add a further 21 million tonnes, but any further expansion will bump up against limitations in available feedstock.

"When we have finished Jubail 2, we might start with Jubail 3," said Mosleh Hamed Al Otaibi, the chief executive of the government body that oversees and develops the industrial zone. "But we haven't started with a feasibility study, because of the shortage of gas. We are really a little bit hesitant to go ahead with Jubail 3."

If it were to go ahead, construction on Jubail 3 is scheduled to begin by 2020.


Eastman to add ethylene capacity

(chemmonitor) -- Eastman Chemical Company with HQ in the USA decided to expand ethylene installed capacity at its Texas site.

The company will install a new furnace at the site for this purpose. It will be an Ultra Selective Conversion device.

Another US-based manufacturer, namely Shaw Group, was awarded a contract to procure its own technology for the furnace. It will also provide engineering services and equipment for the device.

The parties do not unveil financial data of the deal.

INEOS to sell two HDPE plants

(ineos) -- INEOS Europe confirmed that it is considering strategic options for the future of its HDPE businesses at Rosignano and Sarralbe, including a divestment to interested third parties. The decision follows a recent strategy review of INEOS O&P Europe.

Rosignano (Italy) and Sarralbe (France) have been a part of INEOS since December 2005, when the company acquired the Innovene business from BP. Since that time INEOS Olefins & Polymers Europe has significantly improved the performance such that today both sites are highly "cycle-resistant" producing a sophisticated range of differentiated polymers with top quartile SHE, reliability and cost leadership of both sites. Today, both sites are profitable and cash generative.

INEOS Olefins & Polymers Europe plans to focus on the growth of its assets that are highly integrated upstream and downstream. Rosignano and Sarralbe are not integrated with INEOS feedstocks and hence are being considered for divestment; however, both have the potential to grow further in response to the increasing demand from the market for their differentiated products.