New LLDPE based polymer mofidier efficiently replaces PVC in flame retardant wire and cable

MOSCOW (MRC) -- New linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) polymer modifiers that allow halogen-free polyolefin compounds to efficiently replace PVC in flame retardant wire and cable solutions has been intoduced as POLYBOND by Addivant USA, LLC, reported Plastemart.

The replacement of PVC in wire and cable insulation and jacketing is driven by regulatory changes and consumers' increased desire for sustainable solutions. This has developed an increased demand for halogen free polyolefin compounds for use in a growing number of wire and cable markets, such as transportation, electrical and electronic, building and construction and appliance applications.

Currently, polyolefins are the most widely used polymers in the world, primarily due to their ease of processing, balance of mechanical properties versus cost and, with respect to the wire & cable market, good electrical properties. However, a major drawback with the use of polyolefins is that they are not inherently flame retardant like PVC.

Traditional formulations to make polyolefins flame retardant used halogenated flame retardants, which produce heavy smoke and give off toxic, corrosive gasses during combustion.

To meet this demand, Addivant has introduced an innovative new portfolio of linear low density polyethylene based POLYBOND polymer modifiers. When used in conjunction with halogen-free flame retardants such as aluminum tri hydroxide (ATH) or magnesium hydroxide (Mg(OH)2), these polymer modifiers increase the flame retardant characteristics of polyolefins while providing the physical properties required in end use applications.

POLYBOND 3149 is a general purpose LLDPE, while POLYBOND 3249 and POLYBOND 3349 are technologically suited to applications requiring higher elongation values with reduced gel formation during mixing.

The new LLDPE based polymer modifiers complement existing Addivant POLYBOND polypropylene and high density polyethylene polymer modifiers, as well as the wide-ranging Addivant portfolio of wire and cable products, which include antioxidants, UV stabilizers, metal deactivators and customized, non-dusting blends of various additives. Global expert level technical support and R&D facilities allow Addivant to work with their wire and cable customers to customize solutions that best meet their specific market needs.

We remind that, as MRC wrote previously, last autumn FRX Polymers and Americhem Inc. announced that they had entered into a multi-year exclusive distribution agreement covering Western Europe and Turkey for FRX’s new non-halogen flame retardant polymer known as FRX 100 retardant plastic.

Addivant, the former Antioxidant and UV Stabilizer Solutions business of Chemtura Corporation, is the world’s largest producer of liquid phosphites, specialty antioxidants and materials in non-dust forms. The company is also known for its wide portfolio of specialty additives including light stabilizers, polymer modifiers, polymerization inhibitors and intermediates. With 11 plants on five continents as well as research, manufacturing and sales facilities around the globe, Addivant maintains global headquarters in Connecticut, USA, and regional headquarters in: Al Jubail, Saudi Arabia; Basel, Switzerland and Shanghai, China.

Shell lifts Nigeria LNG force majeure

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Shell has lifted a force majeure measure on liquefied natural gas exports from Bonny Island which was in place for almost a month, said Upstreamonline.

The force majeure measure was lifted on Monday, the Anglo-Dutch supermajor's Nigerian joint venture Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) confirmed on Tuesday.

The measure was imposed at Nigeria LNG on 15 May after Shell halted its supplies to the Bonny Island facility over a reported leak.

SPDC said on Tuesday that the subsequent investigation had found the leak to have been caused by sabotage. "Some 240,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day...was deferred over the shut-in period. SPDC has now repaired the line and resumed gas production."

SPDC said at the time of the stoppage that it was stopping gas supplies to the 22 million tonne-a-year terminal because of a leak along the Eastern Gas Gathering System near Awoba in Rivers State.

Around 1.5 billion standard cubic feet of gas per day has been shut in as a result of the stoppage.

Shell said at the time it was still able to export between 100 million and 200 million standard cubic feet per day from Soku via the GTS1 line to Nigeria LNG for a limited time.

The force majeure came barely a month after the last such move halting supplies to the plant was lifted on 18 April after a hiatus of more than two months.

On 5 February, a force majeure was activated after a leak on a major gas trunkline that was later repaired.


INEOS Styrenics is to close EPS plant at its Marl facility at the end of 2013

MOSCOW (MRC) -- INEOS has today announced its intention to close production of Expandable Polystyrene (EPS) at its Marl site in Germany, at the end of Q4 2013, said the producer.

Discussions will now begin with employees and the Works Council to find alternative roles for the 65 people affected by this decision.

Expandable Polystyrene is mainly used in the insulation of buildings. As the European construction sector has suffered from adverse economic conditions, demand for EPS products has reduced.

Operating costs of the EPS plant have also been affected by the recent closure of the styrene monomer and polystyrene units at Marl. The loss of the styrene monomer and polystyrene units removed a number of operating synergies at the Marl site which left the EPS unit with an unsustainable fixed cost base and a weaker styrene monomer supply position.

The decision to close the Marl EPS plant follows a full and detailed review of the EPS business, which has highlighted the need for INEOS Styrenics to optimise its production capacity across its three remaining facilities. This will improve the cost efficiency of its business, as it continues to meet its customer needs in a highly competitive European market.

INEOS Styrenics remains committed to our EPS business. Following the closure of the Marl unit, it will continue to be one of the largest producers of EPS in Europe with 350 ktpa total capacity. From the end of the year it will supply high quality EPS products from production sites in Breda (The Netherlands), Ribecourt (France) and Wingles (France).

As MRC wrote before, Ineos formed PVC joint venture with Solvay. Two of Europe’s biggest chemical companies have agreed a joint venture that will create one of the world’s largest producers of PVC plastics by revenues. Solvay, the Franco-Belgian chemicals company, will pool its European business that creates chlorvinyls – the base materials for PVC plastics – with that of privately owned rival Ineos Group , in a move that will eventually result in the Anglo-Swiss company taking full control of the joint venture.

Phillips 66 to sell Irish oil refinery

Phillips 66 to sell Irish oil refinery

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Phillips 66 (PSX) is selling its business in Ireland, including the 71,000 barrel-a-day Whitegate refinery in Cork, the company said Tuesday, according to Upstreamonline.

Rich Johnson, a spokesman for the U.S. refiner, said in a statement that Phillips 66 has retained Deutsche Bank to market the Ireland assets, which include Ireland's sole oil refinery, its associated wholesale marketing business, and a storage terminal for crude oil and refined products in Bantry Bay.

"Phillips 66 intends to continue operating the assets as usual during the marketing process, which is expected to last for several months," Mr. Johnson said.

Most of Phillips 66's refining capacity is in the U.S. and the company has been focused on growing returns there, aided by access to the country's booming output of inexpensive crude oil from shale formations.

Earlier this year, Larry Ziemba, Phillips 66's executive vice president for refining, project development and procurement, told analysts that the company would be open to selling the Whitegate facility, saying that the refinery is "not sophisticated" and not central to the company's strategy.

At the time Mr. Ziemba also said Phillips 66 would also consider selling its stakes in refineries in Malaysia and Germany. Mr. Johnson said Tuesday that the company is not currently marketing any other assets for sale.

Phillips 66 is a holding company created through the repositioning of ConocoPhillips. The company is engaged in producing natural gas liquids and petrochemicals. Phillips 66 owns 15 refineries with a net crude oil capacity of 2.2 million barrels per day, 10,000 branded marketing outlets, and 15,000 miles (24,000 km) of pipelines. In the United States, the company operates Conoco, Phillips 66 and 76 stations.

Lukoil nets more African acreage

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Russian oil company takes large slice of single block off West Africa from private player
Russia’s Lukoil has farmed into an exploration block off West Africa after buying a significant stake from a private regional player, said Upstreamonline.

The company has taken a 65% position in Block CI-504 off Ivory Coast from Nigerian downstream outfit Taleveras Energy.

Taleveras, which is also involved in the power and construction sectors, is to retain a 25% stake with state player Petroci holding onto 10%.

Lukoil said the 399-square-kilometre block, situated in water depths of between 800 metres and 2100 metres, is located close to the producing Baobab field. It borders Block CI-205 which is already operated by the Russian.

There is a three-phase committed work programme which calls for interpretation of existing 2D and 3D seismic as well as shooting new 3D seismic. The second and third phases run for a combined five years and will see the drilling of two wildcats.

Taleveras finalised its acquisition of Block CI-504 in April last year, along with blocks 501 and 523. In partnership with ellow Nigerian energy combine Sahara Energy Fields, it agreed to collaborate with Petroci on the blocks.

Taleveras Group also acquired Nigerian deep-water licence OPL 288, awarded in 2005.

As MRC wrote before, Lukoil and an ExxonMobil-led group including Shell, Petrom and Nadra Ukrainy have reportedly bid for offshore acreage in Ukraine"s Skifska field in the Black Sea. The Skifska field purportedly has a potential yield of 3 billion to 4 billion cubic metres. As part of its energy strategy, in May Ukraine picked Shell and Chevron as partners in projects to explore and develop two potentially large shale gas fields at Yuzivska and Olesska respectively.