Reliance selects LyondellBasell Lupotech T LDPE technology

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Reliance Industries has chosen the LyondellBasell Lupotech T process technology for its low density polyethylene (LDPE) plant to be constructed at the company's refinery in Jamnagar, India, according to LyondellBasell's press release.

According to Bob Patel, Senior Vice President of Olefins and Polyolefins, Europe, Asia, International and Technology at LyondellBasell, this is the company's 23rd Lupotech T license granted over the past 10 years with nearly 11 million tonnes of licensed capacity to date.

Among the Lupotech T process technology main features are low manufacturing and investment costs with capacities of up to 450 KTA, a superior product portfolio, fast start up and grade changes, and a high on-stream factor. Due to these features, LyondellBasell technology is the first-class choice for the world scale production of LDPE and ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) copolymers.

We remind that in the first half of December two companies selected LyondellBeasell's technologies, as MRC reported earlier. Thus, the largest coal company in the world, China Shenhua Coal to Liquid and Chemical Co. selected the LyondellBasell Lupotech T process technology for a 270 KT per year low density polyethylene (LDPE) plant to be built in Xinjiang, China. Besides, Petronas chose the Spheripol technology from LyondellBasell for two 300 KTA polypropylene (PP) units to be located in Pengerang, Malaysia.

LyondellBasell is one of the world’s largest plastics, chemical and refining companies. LyondellBasell products and technologies are used to make items that improve the quality of life for people around the world including packaging, electronics, automotive parts, home furnishings, construction materials and biofuels.

Wacker expands its presence in China

MOSCOW (MRC) -- In a move to expand its technology leadership in high-quality silicone and polymer products for the Chinese market, Wacker Chemie AG officially opened its new 10,000-sq-meter headquarters for the Greater China region (Mainland China and Taiwan) in Shanghai on 14 December, as per the company's press release.

The new Shanghai Centre, equiped with the latest facilities for WACKER's experts to adapt silicone and polymer products to the specific requirements of their Chinese customers, is aimed for marketing, sales and administrative functions along with numerous laboratories for R&D and applications technology.

CEO Staudigl stressed the strategic importance of China as a growth market for Wacker. Last year, Wacker's sales in China and Taiwan amounted to EUR1.03 billion, which is around one-fifth of the Group total.

Over the recent years Wacker has greatly expanded its activities in the region, having operated its own subsidiary in Greater China for 20 years. The company's investments in China to date amount to about EUR400 million, while WACKER is planning to invest over EUR600 million in the next four years.

The company has eight sales offices in the most important economic regions of China, as well as two technical centers and four production sites. Its Zhangjiagang and Nanjing sites produce silicones, dispersions and dispersible polymer powders. The plants there are the largest of their kind in China.

Wacker is currently doubling its dispersions production capacity in Nanjing to 120,000 metric tpa in order to meet increasing demand from customers. The company is also building a new polyvinyl acetate (PVAc) plant there with an annual production capacity of 20,000 tonnes. Both plants are scheduled to come on stream next year.

Besides, as MRC informed earlier, Wacker and DKSH Business Unit Performance Materials had entered into a strategic partnership, under which Wacker would distribute fermenter cysteine and bioengineered cyclodextrins through DKSH under the exclusive distribution agreement to South East Asia, Greater China and parts of the India subcontinent. Moreover, the company is building a new plant with an annual capacity of 40,000 metric tonnes at its site in Ulsan, South Korea. The new facility is aimed to produce vinyl acetate-ethylene copolymer (EVA) dispersions for applications in the paints and coatings, construction, nonwoven, paper and carpet industries.

Saudi Aramco, Total to double investment at Jubail site

(Reuters) - Saudi Aramco SDABO.UL said its oil refinery joint venture with France's Total (TOTF.PA) will double capital investment to 7.12 billion riyals (USD1.90 billion) at Jubail, the largest industrial city in the region.

Saudi Aramco Total Refinery and Petrochemicals Company (SATORP) will increase spend at the site from 3.56 billion riyals in the first-quarter of 2013, according to a statement on the Saudi bourse website.

State-owned Aramco holds a 62.5 percent stake in the project, with Total holding the remaining 37.5 percent stake. The capital increase will be on a pro-rata basis, the statement said.

In 2010, the joint-venture firm said it had raised USD8.5 billion towards the USD12.8 billion project and issued in 2011 3.75 billion riyals Islamic bonds to help pay for it.

The refinery, whose construction is close to completion is part of Saudi Arabia's drive to boost crude refining capacity and would process heavy crude from Aramco's giant 900,000 barrels per day Manifa oilfield.

As MRC wrote earlier, Aramco and Total have already started testing their new refinery at Jubail, raising the prospect of full operation of the USD14 bln facility ahead of a scheduled start-up in Q3-2013.

Saudi Aramco Total Refinery and Petrochemicals Company (SATORP) has fired up the boilers at the plant, and hopes to bring the first of two crude distillation units (CDU) online before year-end.

The refinery would produce around 190,000 bpd of diesel, around 90,000 bpd of gasoline and 50,000 bpd of kerosene as well as petrochemicals.


Boeing and BMW Group collaborate on carbon fibre recycling

(reinforcedplastics) -- Aircraft maker Boeing and automotive company BMW have signed a collaboration agreement to participate in joint research on carbon fibre recycling. The companies will also share knowledge about carbon fibre materials and manufacturing.

Boeing and BMW are both using of carbon fibre composite in their products. Boeing's 787 Dreamliner is made up of 50% carbon composite material and BMW will introduce two vehicles with passenger compartments made of carbon composite in 2013 (the BMW i3 and i8).

Recycling composite material at point of use and the end of product life is critical to both companies.

"This collaboration agreement is a very important step forward in developing the use and end use of carbon fiber materials," says Larry Schneider, Commercial Airplanes vice president of Product Development, who represented Boeing at the signing of the agreement in Seattle, Washington.

BMW opened a plant in Moses Lake, Washington, in 2011 that will provide carbon fibre for the 2013 i3 and i8 models. Both new models will be assembled in Leipzig, Germany.

As part of the collaboration agreement, Boeing and the BMW Group will also share carbon fibre manufacturing process simulations and ideas for manufacturing automation.

Carbon fiber, alternatively graphite fiber, carbon graphite or CF, is a material consisting of fibers about 5–10 mm in diameter and composed mostly of carbon atoms.

The properties of carbon fibers, such as high stiffness, high tensile strength, low weight, high chemical resistance, high temperature tolerance and low thermal expansion, make them very popular in aerospace, civil engineering, military, and motorsports, along with other competition sports. However, they are relatively expensive when compared to similar fibers, such as glass fibers or plastic fibers.


Akzo Nobel sells North American paints unit to PPG

(Wall Street Journal) -- U.S. Deco, as the Akzo Nobel unit is known, was hit hard by the slump in the US construction and housing market, struggling to compete with bigger US rivals, such as PPG and Cleveland-based Sherwin-Williams. Akzo Nobel originally acquired the business as part of its 2008 acquisition of UK chemicals group ICI.

Akzo Nobel, the Dutch paints and coatings supplier struggling with tough trading conditions in Europe, on Friday said it would sell its North American paints business to US rival PPG Industries for USD1.05 billion.

Akzo Nobel, which is shedding the paints unit after four years of losses and restructuring, said it would use the USD875 million disposal proceeds to reduce debt and invest in higher-growth markets.

The company wrote down the value of its paints assets by EUR2.48 billion euros (USD3.25 billion) in October.

U.S. Deco, as the Akzo Nobel unit is known, has been hit hard by the slump in the US construction and housing market, struggling to compete with bigger US rivals, such as PPG and Cleveland, Oh.-based Sherwin-Williams Co.

Akzo Nobel originally acquired the business as part of its 2008 acquisition of UK chemicals company ICI. U.S. Deco had revenue of USD1.5 billion in 2011, about 7% of Akzo Nobel's total.

The transaction with PPG is expected to close in the first quarter of 2013.

As MRC wrote earlier, in early December AkzoNobel signed an expanded joint venture agreement with the Yusuf Bin Ahmed Kanoo group of companies as a part of its growth ambitions for the Middle East.

Akzo Nobel N.V., trading as AkzoNobel, is a Dutch multinational, active in the fields of decorative paints, performance coatings and specialty chemicals. Headquartered in Amsterdam, the company has activities in more than 80 countries, and employs approximately 55,000 people.