BP formally sells Marathon its Texas City refinery

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Marathon Petroleum has closed its transaction with BP to purchase several assets, including the 451,000 bpd refinery located in Texas City, Texas, according to Hydrocarbonprocessing with the reference to the companies' announcement.

The refinery will be renamed and referred to in future Marathon communications as the Galveston Bay refinery.

The deal also includes a 1,040 megawatt cogeneration facility, four light product terminals located in the Southeast, retail marketing contract assignments for approximately 1,200 branded sites representing approximately 61,000 bpd of gasoline sales, three operating intrastate natural gas liquids pipelines originating at the refinery and a 50,000 bpd allocation of BP's Colonial Pipeline shipper history.

The transaction was first announced on October 8, 2012. The base purchase price is approximately USD598 million, plus inventories valued at approximately USD1.1 billion.

"This is a unique opportunity to acquire, at an attractive price, a world-scale refinery on the western Gulf Coast that is well positioned to benefit from the growing supply of North American crude oil," said Marathon Petroleum CEO Gary R. Heminger.

As MRC reported earlier, with this agreement, the total value of the divestments that BP has agreed since the beginning of 2010 is more than USD35 billion. BP expects this total to reach USD38 billion by the end of 2013. It will remain a significant retailer of fuels in the US, with 8,000 BP and ARCO-branded sites in the Midwest, Pacific Northwest and along the East Coast.

BP is one of the world"s leading international oil and gas companies, providing its customers with fuel for transportation, energy for heat and light, retail services and petrochemicals products for everyday items.

Kazanorgsintez raised contract prices of LDPE

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Kazanorgsintez announced an increase in contract prices of low-density polyethylene (LDPE) to be shipped in February for the domestic market. Other Russian producers also announced the need for a price increase of LDPE, according to ICIS-MRC Price report.

The second largest producer of low-density polyethylene in Russia Kazanorgsintez announced an increase of contract domestic prices for February. The prices for the material to be shipped in February grew by Rb300-500/tonne, excluding VAT. Other Russian producers also reported a necessity for the price increase of low-density polyethylene.

At the end of last week, Gazprom neftekhim Salavat raised its LDPE price by Rb1,000/tonne, price offers for PE 158 were voiced at the level of Rb 53,500/tonne, FCA Salavat, including VAT. In January, Angarsk polymer plant raised twice the price of polyethylene for the domestic market, citing its limited amounts of material for the domestic market.

Ufaorgsintez reported repeatedly the need for a price increase of LDPE for the domestic market.

Sumitomo Chemical to shut ageing Japanese ethylene plant

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Japan-based Sumitomo Chemical will permanently wind up the operations of an ethylene plant at its Chiba Works in Ichihara, Chiba, in or before September 2015, following a decline in domestic demand for ethylene derivatives, said Chemicals-technology.

"The move is expected help the company consolidate its domestic and global petrochemical business."
The ageing of the ethylene plant and its falling competitiveness in terms of energy efficiency, as well as maintenance and repair costs, have contributed to the closure, which is set to take place at the time of the next periodic shutdown maintenance of the Chiba Works.

The move is expected help the company consolidate its domestic and global petrochemical business, by reducing costs and increasing lines of higher value-added products.

Sumitomo is planning to secure required ethylene and other basic petrochemical feedstock, by increasing purchases from its joint venture company Keiyo Ethylene.

Commenced in January 1970, the plant at Chiba Works has an ethylene production capacity of 415,000 tonnes per annum (tpa), while Keiyo Ethylene has production capacity of 768,000 tpa (a year with no periodic shutdown maintenance).

Maruzen Petrochemical holds a 55% stake in Keiyo Ethylene, while Mitsui Chemicals and Sumitomo Chemical own 22.5% each.

Recently, Sumitomo Chemical confirmed that it is moving ahead in its joint venture with Saudi Aramco on the Rabigh Phase II Project at a total investment which is projected to reach around USD7 bln. The Rabigh II Project will produce ethylene propylene rubber (EPDM), thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO), methyl methacrylate (MMA) monomer, polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), low density polyethylene/ethylene vinyl acetate (LDPE/EVA), paraxylene/benzene, cumene and phenol/acetone, as MRC informed earlier. Incidentally, Sumitomo is the only Japanese petrochemical company to operate naphtha crackers outside Japan.

Sumitomo Chemical is a Japanese based manufacturer of a diverse range of products, including basic chemicals, petrochemicals and plastics, fine chemicals, agricultural chemicals, IT-related chemicals and pharmaceuticals.


Borealis to invest heavily into European plants

MOSCOW (MRC) -- A leading European polyethylene and polypropylene producer Borealis has announced two major investment projects in its European manufacturing plants in Stenungsund, Sweden and Porvoo, Finland, according to the company's press relese.

The investments, with a combined expenditure in excess of EUR 45 million, will strengthen Borealis’ regional supply and support capabilities, in line with its Value Creation through Innovation strategy.

The first investment concerns a C4 project in Stenungsund which will upgrade the facility’s existing raffinate-1 and raffinate-2 streams to meet required product specifications for the delivery of n-butenes. The EUR 21 million investment is scheduled for completion by March 1, 2015, and is part of a broader commitment to support customers’ raw material demand for expanding production of olefin-based products. The project contracting process commenced in December 2012.

In Porvoo, plans have been approved for the replacement of a 30 year old hot oil heater unit at the Phenol complex. The installation of the new heater, scheduled for 2015 at a cost of EUR 25 million, is a key element in improving efficiency and site integration. The new unit will reduce maintenance requirements and CO2 emissions whilst securing safe, continuous, reliable and cost-competitive operations.

"These investments indicate our on-going commitment to support our customers despite the present difficult market environment in Europe," comments Mark Garrett, Borealis Chief Executive.

We remind that, as MRC informed earlier, Borealis is increasing the capacity of its cracker in Stenungsund, Sweden, after shutting production during the Christmas holidays. The production of low-density polyethylene (LDPE) with the capacity of 350,000 tpa had to be resumed in mid-January.

Borealis is an international company in producing polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) solutions for the infrastructure, automotive and advanced packaging market sectors. Its plastics are converted by customers into products such as food packaging, medical devices, diapers, energy and communication cables, water and sanitation distribution pipes and automotive parts.a leading provider of innovative solutions in the fields of polyolefins, base chemicals and fertilizers. Borealis provides services and products to customers around the world in collaboration with Borouge, a joint venture with the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC).

Building on the unique Borstar and Borlink technologies and 50 years of experience in polyolefins, Borealis and Borouge support key industries including infrastructure, automotive and advanced packaging. The Borouge plant expansion in Abu Dhabi will be fully operational by mid-2014 with a total annual capacity of 4.5 million tonnes. After this Borealis and Borouge will have approximately 8 million tonnes of polyolefin capacity.

Dow unveils fourth quarter and 2012 financial performance

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The second half of 2012 saw significant deterioration in the markets, particularly in China, which made Dow took aggressive action to mitigate the effects of a slow-to-no-growth global environment - by deploying cost and cash flow levers and by continuing to prudently manage the company's portfolio and prioritize growth investments, stated Andrew N. Liveris, Dow’s chairman and chief executive officer in the company's press release.

Sales for the forth quarter made USD13.9 billion, down 1% versus the year-ago period.

Equity earnings were USD44 million, or USD206 million excluding the impact of certain items. This compares with USD259 million in the year-ago period. Dow Corning represented the largest driver of the decline.

The company's EBITDA made UDS125 million, or USD1.6 billion on an adjusted basis. Agricultural Sciences achieved a new fourth quarter EBITDA record.

The Company leveraged the benefit of positive U.S. shale gas dynamics, driving a 430 basis point increase in Performance Plastics adjusted EBITDA margin year over year. To further leverage this advantage, Dow also achieved the first major milestone in its U.S. Gulf Coast integration investments, as its previously idled St. Charles Operations ethylene cracker restarted in December, in line with Dow’s year-end target.

Cash flow from operations was USD1.6 billion for the quarter, bringing full-year cash flow from operations to USD4.1 billion.

Dow reported full-year 2012 sales to amount to USD56.8 billion, down 5%, or 3% on an adjusted basis. The company's sales decreased in all operating segments excluding Agricultural Sciences (up 13%) and in all geographic areas year over year, led by Western Europe.

Equity earnings were USD536 million, or USD698 million excluding certain items.

For the full year, Dow reported EBITDA of USD5.6 billion, or USD7.5 billion on an adjusted basis.

Dow maintained its focus on lowering debt, reporting a USD613 million reduction in gross debt in 2012. In addition, year-over-year interest expense declined USD72 million.

The Dow Chemical Company is an American multinational chemical corporation. Dow Chemical is a provider of plastics, chemicals, and agricultural products. It is a large producer of plastics, including polystyrene (PS), polyurethane, polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), and synthetic rubber.