CIS buyers expect Asian PET prices to be cut further

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The converters of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) in the CIS countries expect a further decline in export prices of Chinese bottle grade granulate in July, according to ICIS-MRC Price Report.

Last week converters of bottle grade PET in the CIS countries reported a decrease in the purchasing prices by USD15-20/tonne.

PET prices in Asia were cut on the back of a sluggish buying activity, as well as falling prices of paraxylene. PET prices in the Ukrainian port were at USD1,410-1,445/tonne CIF Odessa, excluding VAT.

Import prices of Chinese bottled grade PET for the Russian market ranged USD1,391-1,416 per tonne CFR East, excluding VAT.

Some converters stopped buying and are waiting for future price development on the back of uncertain price trends.

Major market players expect that in July the export prices of Chinese bottle PET granulate can fall to USD1,300-1,320/tonne FOB China. Some market sources are more pessimistic in their outlook and expect PET prices in late July to be cut significantly below USD1,300/tonne FOB China.

Export prices of Chinese PET for CIS customers last week were voiced at USD1,360-1,390/tonne FOB China.

One of the largest PET converters in Ukraine said that he had received an offer from the producer at USD1,350/tonne FOB China.


Total increases stake in Novatek to 16%

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Total has increased its stake in Novatek to 16%, Novatek said in a statement.

Total took a 12% stake in Novatek in 2011, saying it would increase its share up to 19.4% in three years. Novatek's main shareholders are its Chief Executive, Leonid Mikhelson, and oil trader Gennady Timchenko.

As MRC wrote before, Total also holds a 20% stake in Novatek's Arctic LNG project, Yamal LNG. Novatek signed a deal to sell a 20% share in that project to CNPC.

Also last month, Novatek commissioned France’s Technip to carry out an eight-month open book exercise to come up with a cost estimate and plans to execute the project, so as to make a final investment decision.

The Yamal facility will have an annual production capacity of 16.5 million tonnes and will be based on the resources of the South Tambey gas condensate field located on Russia’s Yamal Peninsula.

South Tambey’s proven and probable reserves are estimated at about 1.3 trillion cubic metres of gas.

In 2011, the Novatek and Total joint venture contracted CB &I Lummus of the US to conduct preliminary front end engineering and design work.

Qatar Petroleum to use a mix of ethane, NGLs as feedstock for two upcoming petrochemical projects

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Qatar will use a mix feed of ethane and natural gas liquids as feedstock for two upcoming petrochemical projects, according to Plastemart.

The NGLs will come from the second phase of Ras Laffan refinery 2 (LR2), a USD1.5 bln project that will consist of a 146,000 b/d processing capacity condensate refinery.

The first project is a 80:20 venture between Qatar Petroleum and Royal Dutch Shell. The USD6.4 bln project includes a world-scale steam cracker to be built at Qatar's Ras Laffan industrial city and a 1.5 million m tpa monoethylene glycol plant and 300,000 m tpa linear alpha olefins.

The other project is a 80:20 venture between QP and Qatari oil major Qapco. The USD5.5 bln petrochemicals complex will produce 1.4 mln tpa of ethylene and other products, 850,000 m tpa of high density polyethylene, 430,000 m tpa of linear low-density polyethylene, 760,000 m tpa of polypropylene and 83,000 m tpa of butadiene.

We remind that, as MRC informed previously, Qatar Petrochemical Company (QAPCO), has signed a license agreement with Union Carbide Chemicals & Plastics Technology LLC, a wholly owned Subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Company, for UNIPOL polypropylene process technology. The 540,00 tonnes per year polypropylene (PP) production facility will be located in Ras Laffan, Qatar, and will produce homopolymers, random copolymers and impact copolymers from a mixed feed cracker. The QP/QAPCO facility will be the first polypropylene plant in Qatar. UNIPOL PP Process Technology positions polypropylene manufacturers to meet and exceed increasing demand for high quality polypropylene.

Lanxess and Genomatica announces first production of bio-based PBT in a world-scale plant in Germany

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Lanxess has run a production campaign of bio-based PBT in LANXESS’ world-scale production plant using 20 metric tons of bio-based BDO made with Genomatica’s commercially-proven process, reported Lanxess on its site.

This BDO fully complied with the demanding LANXESS specifications for petro-based BDO allowing a direct feed of 100% bio-based BDO into the continuous production process.

The properties and the quality of the resulting bio-based PBT are fully equivalent to conventional petro-based PBT with regard to all tested parameters. The world-scale PBT plant, with a capacity of 80,000 tonnes per year, is located in Hamm-Uentrop, Germany, and operated as a joint venture in which Lanxess has a share of 50%.

Genomatica’s BDO process technology converts sugars - a renewable feedstock - into the major chemical BDO in a patented, ’direct’ fermentation process.

"We were excited to validate the bio-based BDO made with Genomatica’s process as a one-to-one replacement for petro-based BDO for the production of our PBT," said Hartwig Meier, Head of Global Product and Application Development of the High Performance Materials Business Unit of LANXESS. "This is a strong signal to the market and a tremendous step forward in our future plans to offer our high-tech plastic Pocan in a bio-based version, too. Due to its unchanged properties Pocan compounds based on bio-based PBT can directly be used in established application fields such as automotive or electro & electronics area. This fits very well with our strategy of ‘Green Mobility’."

We remind that, as MRC wrote previously, Lanxess is strengthening its product portfolio for biocides to serve the megatrend urbanization. Thus, in early April, the German specialty chemicals group acquired Singapore-based PCTS Specialty Chemicals Pte. Ltd. for an undisclosed amount. Through the acquisition, Lanxess is now one of the leading suppliers of biocides for paints and coatings in the rapidly-growing Asia-Pacific region.

Genomatica is a widely-recognized technology leader for the chemical industry. It delivers new manufacturing processes that enable its licensee partners to produce the world’s most widely-used chemicals a ‘better way’, from renewable feedstocks, with better economics and greater sustainability than petroleum-based processes.
Genomatica’s first process, for BDO, is now commercial. Genomatica is also developing processes for other high-volume chemicals, including butadiene.

Lanxess is a leading specialty chemicals company with sales of EUR 8.8 billion in 2011 and currently around 16,900 employees in 31 countries. The company is currently represented at 48 production sites worldwide. The core business of Lanxess is the development, manufacturing and marketing of plastics, rubber, intermediates and specialty chemicals. The company posted lower earnings in the first quarter of 2013 as expected due to a weak market environment, particularly in the tire and automotive industries. First-quarter sales were down by 12% year-on-year to EUR 2.1 billion, mainly due to lower volumes and fallen selling prices.

Teknor Apex develops clear rigid PVC compound to resist UV in outdoor tubing applications

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Teknor Apex Company has introduced a new rigid vinyl compound with a specially developed UV-blocking formulation, which provides clarity for photobioreactor and other outdoor tubing, along with high gloss and toughness for weatherable profile applications, as per Plastemart.

Apex RE 9118A is a transparent compound with less than 15% haze. The UV-blocking formulation substantially reduces the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation on the PVC while permitting passage of wavelengths that are essential in processes like algae farming for biofuel and other applications. The tensile, flexural, and impact properties of the compound are comparable to those of standard general-purpose rigid vinyl.

The new material is the only one available from a diversified PVC compounder that combines good clarity and high resistance to UV, said Michael J. Renzi, business development manager for the Vinyl Division of Teknor Apex.

"By virtue of its lower cost, lighter weight, and greater resistance to breakage, rigid vinyl provides a superior cost-performance alternative to the glass piping used in ‘green energy’ applications, as well as to high-cost engineered thermoplastics such as polycarbonate," said Mr. Renzi. "Our PVC compound withstands continued exposure to sunlight while allowing passage of energy needed for bioprocessing and enabling technicians to monitor the status of their systems."

As MRC reported earlier, in March 2013, Teknor Apex presented three new thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) wire and cable compounds that combine the rubber-like durability and flexibility valued by hospital and clinical professionals and the high degree of purity required for meeting stringent medical standards.

Teknor Apex is one of the world's leading custom compounders headquartered in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, USA. The company produces PA compounds in the UK, the U.S.A., and Singapore. Teknor Apex is one of the world's leaders of specialty PVC compounds which are used in a wide range of applications from wire and cable to automotive, medical, consumer and industrial products. The company also produces thermoplastic elastomers, nylon, bioplastics, chemicals, specialty compounds.