TPX and Mitsui forming JV for linear alkyl benzene in Thailand

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Thai Oil on 11 July notified the Stock Exchange of Thailand that its wholly-owned Thai Paraxylene Co. (TPX) is setting up a joint venture with Mitsui & Co. to produce and distribute linear alkyl benzene (LAB) in Thailand, said Apic-online.

Formation of the new venture, named Labix Co. Ltd., is expected to be completed during July 2013. It will be owned 75% by TPX and 25% by Mitsui.

Labix plans to build a 100,000-t/y LAB plant that is due to begin commercial output in the second quarter of 2015.

Thai Oil last year announced plans to build a USD300-million, 100,000-t/y LAB facility in Chon Buri’s Si Racha district of Thailand.

As MRC wrote earlier, Mitsui Chemicals is considering investing in the US petrochemical business using cheap natural gas there as a feedstock. Low natural gas prices resulting from the US shale-gas boom are stimulating new investments iin petrochemical plants there.

Thai Paraxylene Company Limited (TPX) manufactures and distributes aromatic products such as paraxylene, which is used as a raw material in producing purified terephthalic acid (PTA). TPX was established in 1996 and is headquartered in Sriracha, Thailand. As of 10/31/2004, Thai Paraxylene Company Limited is a subsidiary of Thai Oil Public Co Ltd.

Flint Hills reports unplanned compressor shutdown at Corpus refinery

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Flint Hills Resources Corpus Christi Refinery in Texas experienced a brief, unplanned shutdown of a second stage recycle compressor at the plant's hydrocracker unit, according to a filing made public to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The incident ended after 10 minutes in the West Plant section of the refining complex.

Upon identification of this incident, FHR initiated prompt measures to assess, minimize, and correct the upset conditions," the filing said.

The current operating status of the compressor and hydrocracker unit wasn't clear. A company spokesperson wasn't immediately available and typically doesn't comment on day to day refining operations.

As MRC wrote before, US expandable polystyrene (EPS) producer Flint Hills Resources is exploring the potential sale of its 120,000 tonne/year unit in Peru, Illinois.

Flint Hills Resources is US refining, chemicals and biofuels company. Its refineries produce fuels that power much of Texas, the Midwest and the Alaska interior. The company's ethanol and biodiesel plants produce fuels that are used across the United States. Its petrochemicals are used to manufacture goods from plastics to building products to packaging materials.

Clariant signs long-term ethylene supply contract with OMV

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Clariant, a world leader in specialty chemicals, has announced that it has signed a long-term supply contract with OMV, according to the company's press release.

From 2015, the Austrian oil and gas company will supply Clariant’s site in Gendorf (Germany) with ethylene. This agreement will enable Clariant to source most of its requirements for this important basic chemical in southern Bavaria.

The Clariant plant in Gendorf is part of the Industrial & Consumer Specialties (ICS) Business Unit and, with around 700 employees, is the Business Unit’s largest production site. The specialty chemicals company produces on the site ethylene oxide, for which ethylene is a major raw material. Ethylene oxide is used to manufacture well over 500 different products on the site for use in Crop Care, Home Care, and Personal Care, and in industrial applications such as lubricants or construction chemicals.

Over the last years, the Gendorf site has been constantly expanded within the defined BU ICS global strategy. As well as increasing production capacities, particular emphasis has also been placed on expanding the product range and raising the already very high quality standard. As part of the BU ICS global quality initiative, the Gendorf site is not only ISO 9001- and ISO 14001-certified but has also recently obtained cosmetics GMP ISO 22716 certification.

We remind that, as MRC informed previously, earlier this year, DKSH, a leading Swiss producer of chemicals, and Clarian had entered into a strategic alliance by signing a distribution agreement, under which DKSH will supply Clariant's paints and coatings products to Asia, namely, India, the Philippines and Vietnam.

Clariant AG is a Swiss chemical company and a world leader in the production of specialty chemicals for the textile, printing, mining and metallurgical industries. It is engaged in processing crude oil products in pigments, plastics and paints.

Shell to spend USD115 million on pollution control

MOSCOW (MRC) --Shell Oil has agreed to spend at least USD115 million to cut harmful pollution at a Houston-area refinery, according to MTVA.

The oil giant will also pay a USD2.6 million civil penalty under the settlement announced Wednesday. Shell settled with the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Justice after it was accused of violating the federal Clean Air Act.

Shell will install a USD1 million system to monitor cancer-causing benzene levels along the fence line of its Deer Park facility. The data will be publicly available on a website.

It will also spend USD100 million on technology to reduce air pollution from flares used to burn waste gases.

The EPA says in a statement the new technologies will significantly reduce harmful air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

We remind that, as MRC wrote previously, earlier this year Shell PLC had announced it plans to sell its only oil refinery in Australia, as the local industry struggles to compete with low-cost operators in Asia.

Royal Dutch Shell plc is an Anglo-Dutch multinational oil and gas company headquartered in The Hague, Netherlands and with its registered office in London, United Kingdom. It is the biggest company in the world in terms of revenue and one of the six oil and gas "supermajors". Shell is vertically integrated and is active in every area of the oil and gas industry, including exploration and production, refining, distribution and marketing, petrochemicals, power generation and trading.

Petrobras signs USD1.5 bln financing agreement with Japanese bank

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Petrobras has signed two financing programs with the Japan Bank for International Cooperation - JBIC for the offer of two lines of credit amounting to USS 1.5 billion, reported the company on its site.

Mizuho Bank, Ltd. is the agent bank for these programs and the lines of credit will be 60% financed by JBIC and 40% by private Japanese financial institutions, which are insured by Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (NEXI).

The lines of credit are for Petrobras to purchase equipment and services from Japanese companies in Brazil and abroad, based on the memorandum of understanding signed in October 2012, when a strategic partnership between JBIC and Petrobras was established.

Petrobras and Japan Bank for International Cooperation has built up a close cooperative relationship over many years, with a number of joint operations already implemented. The two financing programs taken out represent vast funding possibilities for these entities, offering new ways of financing, and will further strengthen the relationship between the parties.

We remind that, as MRC wrote previously, Petrobras kept its five-year investment plan flat for the first time in years. The company's new investment plan is a relief to those investors who'd feared another increase. Petrobras has one of the largest investment budgets of any firm in the world at USD236.7 billion for the next five years, as it seeks to develop some of the biggest oil discoveries the world has found in decades. But its ambitions have weighed heavily on its share price in recent years, as production increases have failed to materialize and some projects have been mired by delays and cost overruns.

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.