Russian producers introduced new grades of import-substituting HDPE

MOSCOW (MRC) - Russian producers have become more actively fighting the imports of polyethylene (PE), having expanded their own capacities in the market. Stavrolen and Nizhnekamskneftehim presented in May new grades of high-density polyethylene (HDPE), according to MRC analysts.

Stavrolen (group Lukoil) last month began production of a new film-grade PE 6FE 68. The new film HDPE is an enhanced analogue of PE 4FE 69; hexene is used as a copolymer in the production process, which allows the film to be thinner with improved physical and mechanical properties. In June Stavrolen almost completely stopped the production of PE 4FE 69 in favour of new grade.

Nizhnekamskneftekhim in May has produced about 2,000 tonnes of new injection moulding HDPE grade PE 6054 P for PET bottle caps. This HDPE grade Russian producers have not produced before and had to import it.

New grades of HDPE will reduce the volume of imports into Russia. Over five months of this year imports of film and injection moulding HDPE for PET packaging to Russia totalled about 23,000 tonnes and 10,000 tonnes respectively.

Pemex monopoly to end this year

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto expressed confidence Tuesday that Congress will end the state oil monopoly this year, opening the way for companies such as ExxonMobil and Shell to tap the nation’s reserves, said Upstreamonline.

In the model envisioned by Pena Nieto, state-owned Petroleos Mexicanos would develop some fields, while others are tapped by foreign and private companies.

Seven decades after his party seized fields from the predecessors to Exxon and Shell, Pena Nieto is preparing for the return of international oil companies to arrest eight years of decline in crude output.

An opening would probably be broad, from offshore drilling to shale fields similar to those that have revived the US petroleum industry, Pena Nieto said.

“It’s obvious that Pemex doesn’t have the financial capacity to be in every single front of energy generation,” the 46-year-old president said in an interview with the news wire yesterday, before traveling to Northern Ireland for meetings with Group of Eight leaders.

"Shale is one of the areas where there’s room for private companies, but not the only one.”

Pena Nieto said his administration will send the energy bill to congress by September, when regular sessions resume, along with a tax proposal.

Mexico is seeking to attract capital for deep-water and shale deposits found in the past decade as reserves dwindle in Cantarell, the 1976 oil discovery that ranked among the world’s largest.

As MRC wrote before, Mexico's state-owned oil Pemex has signed a noncommercial agreement with Exxon Mobil to share technical and scientific information of mutual interest. Pemex said in a press release that the five-year agreement renews the two oil companies' relations in matters of cooperation.

Arkema announces a worldwide expansion of its bis-peroxide capacity

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Arkema is announcing a 15% debottlenecking of its bis-peroxide capacity in both its Spinetta (Italy) and Franklin (Virginia) factories, said Wall Street Journal.

This new capacity will allow Arkema to respond immediately to strong demand in the synthetic rubber crosslinking industry, in particular in Asia, and to support recent developments in fast-growing markets.

This increase capacity, already effective, is the first stage of a multi-step plan which intends to grow the global bis-peroxide capacity by 30% by end 2014.

With its two brands Luperox(R) and Vulcup(R) , Arkema is the world leader in the production of bis-peroxide (Bis-Isopropylbenzene-Peroxide), an organic peroxide largely used in the crosslinking of rubber in various sectors such as wire & cable, automotive and footwear. The bis-peroxide market is expected to grow by some 6%/year in the 3 main regions of Asia, Americas and Europe.

Arkema has recently developed the Luperox(R) FreeO grade which provides an alternative to current crosslinking technologies used extensively today in the foamed EVA industry, as it has the advantage of producing no strong smelling and persistent VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), a characteristic which has become a major expectation especially for footwear manufacturers.

As MRC wrote before, a Swiss investment group is suing specialist chemicals maker Arkema for 310 million euros (USD403 million), in a dispute over its purchase of the French company's loss-making vinyl division last year. Klesch Group, led by American investor Gary Klesch, said it had discovered significant gaps in the information presented by Arkema's management before it completed the acquisition in July of Kem One SAS, whose products are used in items ranging from pipes and packaging to paper.

A global chemical company and France's leading chemicals producer, Arkema is building the future of the chemical industry every day. Deploying a responsible, innovation-based approach, we produce state-of-the-art specialty chemicals that provide customers with practical solutions to such challenges as climate change, access to drinking water, the future of energy, fossil fuel preservation and the need for lighter materials. With operations in more than 40 countries, some 14,000 employees and 10 research centers, Arkema generates annual revenue of EUR6.5 billion, and holds leadership positions in all its markets with a portfolio of internationally recognized brands.

Invista inks exclusive agreement with PCC for purchase and market of nylon 6,6

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Through the company’s global effort to increase the availability of nylon 6,6 engineering polymers, Invista, a world leader in nylon intermediates, polymers and fibers, signed an exclusive, long-term agreement with Petrochemical Conversion Company Ltd. (PCC) to purchase and market nylon 6,6 engineering resin for export from PCC’s new world-scale nylon 6,6 plant in Al-Jubail, Saudi Arabia, according to Plastemart.

The new facility is expected to start up in late 2013 or early 2014. It will produce up to 50,000 metric tpa of nylon 6,6 polymer through a continuous polymerization process. Other than PCC sales in Saudi Arabia, the product will be sold and marketed under Invista’s TORZEN engineering polymers brand.

"As the automotive, electrical and other industries continue to discover the benefits of nylon 6,6 engineering polymers, we expect demand will continue to grow," said Kurt Burmeister, executive vice president, INVISTA Engineering Polymers.

"Compounders and consumers all over the world - including China, India, Indonesia, Thailand and Turkey - rely on high quality nylon 6,6 polymers to produce innovative end products. This deal with PCC will help provide compounders the necessary polymer to keep their businesses growing and thriving."

As MRC reported earlier, in May 2013, INVISTA signed a Land Reservation Agreement with the Shanghai Chemical Industry Park Development Company for a nylon 6,6 polymer site at the Shanghai Chemical Industry Park (SCIP).The agreement is for additional land adjacent to INVISTA’s planned hexamethylene diamine (HMD) and adiponitrile (ADN) plants and marks Invista’s next step as it continues to make progress on plans for an integrated nylon 6,6 polymer facility in China.

We remind that last summer Invista Performance Technologies acquired from La Seda de Barcelona SA intellectual property relating to its leading purified terephthalic acid (PTA), polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and related process technologies, including the full rights to exclusively license the technologies in the region comprising Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Invista is one of the world's largest integrated producers of polymers and fibers, primarily for nylon, spandex and polyester applications.

Technip inks Petrobras pipes deal

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Petrobras has handed France’s Technip the contract to build flexible pipes for a key pre-salt field in the Santos basin, said Upstreamonline.

The engineering giant will construct and deliver up to 250 kilometres of pipes for use on the Iracema Sul field, formerly known as Cernambi Sul.

The flexible pipes will link up to the Cidade de Mangaratiba floating production, storage and offloading unit. The field lies in water depths of up to 250 metres. Technip’s operating center in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil will perform the engineering and project management.

As MRC wrote before, Argentina orders shutdown of local Petrobras' refinery. The facility, located in Argentina's Buenos Aires province was closed as of 6 am on Friday for an indefinite period of time as its effluents discharge certificates are said to be overdue since 2003, while the environmental permits have expired four years ago.

Petroleo Brasileiro S.A. or Petrobras is a semi-public Brazilian multinational energy corporation headquartered in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It is the largest company in the Southern Hemisphere by market capitalization and the largest in Latin America measured by 2011 revenues.