Fire at Bulgaria's Lukoil Neftochim Refinery Extinguished, No Victims, Injured

MOSCOW (MRC) -- A fire caused by a spark erupted in the xylenes department of Bulgaria's Burgas-based Lukoil Neftochim refinery around 11 am on Tuesday, said Novinite.

A spark ignited low-octane gasoline during repair works at the refinery, according to Boycho Georgiev, head of the Regional Environment and Water Inspectorate in Burgas, as cited by the Bgnes news agency.

The flames were extinguished within a few minutes using three specialized firefighting vehicles.

Nobody was killed or injured in the fire.

There have been no reports about air pollution caused by the accident but the final results of the tests are yet to be published.

As MRC wrote before, Lukoil has taken a 65% position in Block CI-504 off Ivory Coast from Nigerian downstream outfit Taleveras Energy. 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.

Lukoil Neftochim Burgas, based in Burgas, Bulgaria, is the largest oil refinery in Southeastern Europe and the largest industrial enterprise in Bulgaria. Owned by Russian oil giant Lukoil, the refinery has the biggest contribution among the privately owned enterprises to the country's GDP and to the state budget revenues. Lukoil Neftochim Burgas is the leading producer and supplier of liquid fuels, petrochemicals and polymers for Bulgaria and the region and one of the leading companies in its field in Europe.

Lanxess develops new polyester material grade based on PET

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Lanxess, German specialty chemicals company, has developed a new polyester material grade based on polyethylene terephthalate (PET), reported the company on its site.

The new material grade - Pocan TP 555-001 - is excellently suited to manufacturing housings, sockets and other components for light-emitting diodes (LED). What makes the product unique is its excellent light reflection, which hardly declines at all over time, and its high heat stability. Besides, it is reinforced with glass fibers and contains special additives.

"This high-tech material represents a new, growing material family that is our response to the global trend in LED light sources. It is designed as an economical alternative to specialty polyamides, materials frequently used to make components such as LED housings thanks to their high melting point," explains Dr. Matthias Bienmuller, head of Pocan Product Development at Lanxess.

Pocan TP 555-001 displays outstanding heat stability for a polyester in its material class. With its high melting point of roughly 260 °C, the material can withstand the temperatures prevailing during vapor phase soldering with lead-free solder. This is one of the methods used in LED manufacturing to solder electronic components.

LEDs are the light source of the future. Their energy consumption is significantly lower than that of incandescent and discharge lamps, and their service life longer. Growing potential for their use exists, for instance, in electronic display backlighting, building lighting and streetlamps. They likewise will continue to become established in automotive lighting.

We remind that, as MRC wrote previously, Lanxess' largest production line for the Keltan-branded EPDM synthetic rubber in Sittard, Geleen, The Netherlands, has been successfully converted to the company’s innovative ACE technology. The German pioneer in synthetic rubbers development has invested roughly EUR12 million to convert the production line from conventional Ziegler-Natta chemistry to its innovative ACE-process. The new line - EPT 3 - has a capacity of 95,000 metric tons per year. This is more than half of the total capacity at that plant. It is currently the world’s largest metallocene ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) plant with an annual capacity of 180,000 metric tons.

Lanxess is a leading specialty chemicals company with sales of EUR9.1 billion in 2012 and roughly 17,400 employees in 31 countries. The company is currently represented at 50 production sites worldwide. The core business of Lanxess is the development, manufacturing and marketing of plastics, rubber, intermediates and specialty chemicals. Lanxess' first-quarter sales were down by 12% year-on-year to EUR2.1 billion, mainly due to lower volumes and fallen selling prices.

Dow cross-link PE insulation helps Nexans to develop new enhanced product

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Nexans, a worldwide leading expert in the cable industry, has introduced its newest product ENERGEX EXTRA powered by DOW ENDURANCE HFDC-4202 tree-retardant cross-linked polyethylene (PE) insulation, as per Dow's press release.

Comprehensive laboratory and pilot plant testing by Dow, in addition to full Insulated Cable Engineers Association (ICEA) qualification tests, verify DOW ENDURANCE HFDC-4202 insulation provides superior performance compared to previously available insulation systems.

The advantages of ENERGEX EXTRA using DOW ENDURANCE HFDC-4202 include: improved resistance to water tree growth; higher retained dielectric strength after ICEA 360 day Accelerated Water Treeing Test (AWTT); and reduced cost of ownership through longer cable life.

"Our customers demand reliability, consistency and cost optimization in their medium voltage cables. Nexans conversion to DOW ENDURANCE HFDC-4202 will further improve the performance of our medium voltage cables and exceed industry standards for long service life and reliability," says Rick Vascotto, Vice-President Sales and Marketing, North America Energy Infrastructures.

Nexans has received certification to Canadian Standards Association (CSA) Standard C68.5 (primary shielded and concentric neutral cable for distribution utilities), and is eligible to apply the CSA mark on products manufactured with DOW ENDURANCE HFDC-4202 insulation.

"Nexans is the first manufacturer in North America to make a full conversion to DOW ENDURANCE HFDC-4202 insulation for their ENERGEX EXTRA cables, and we are excited about the launch of this new product," said Kim Ann Mink, Ph.D., Business President, Dow Elastomers, Electrical & Telecommunications. "Our collaboration underscores the commitment each of us has made to continually innovate through our Dow Inside alliance to bring enhanced reliability for power distribution solutions."

We remind that, as MRC informed previously, in March 2013, Dow Chemical signed a long-term ethylene off-take agreement with a new Japanese joint venture that will allow the chemical producer to enhance its performance plastics franchise. The joint venture is being formed between Japanese companies Idemitsu Kosan and Mitsui & Co. to construct and operate a Linear Alpha Olefins unit on the U.S. Gulf Coast.

With energy at the basis of its development, Nexans, worldwide expert in the cable industry, offers an extensive range of cables and cabling solutions. The Group is a global player in the energy transmission and distribution, industry and building markets. Nexans addresses a wide series of market segments: from energy and telecom networks to energy resources (wind turbines, photovoltaic, oil and gas or mining) to transportation (shipbuilding, aerospace, automotive and automation, railways, etc.).

Dow Electrical & Telecommunications, a business unit of The Dow Chemical Company, is a leading global provider of products, technology, solutions and knowledge that sets standards for reliability, longevity, efficiency, ease of installation and protection that the power and telecommunications industries can count on in the transmission, distribution and consumption of power, voice and data.

The Dow Chemical Company is an American multinational chemical corporation headquartered in Midland, Michigan, United States. Dow is a large producer of plastics, including polystyrene (PS), polyurethane, polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), and synthetic rubber. In 2012, Dow had annual sales of approximately USD57 billion. The company's more than 5,000 products are manufactured at 188 sites in 36 countries across the globe.

SIBUR continues unification of PP grading codes

MOSCOW (MRC) -- As part of its efforts to unify polypropylene grading codes, SIBUR has introduced a new component that will indicate each product’s production plant of origin, reported SIBUR on its site.

For example, in the grading code PP H030GP/1, PP indicates the polymer type (PP – polypropylene) and H, its class (H – homopolymer); the digits show the target melt flow rate (MFR) times ten, the GP letters after the digits designate the product’s use or processing methods (in this case, GP stands for general purpose), and digit 1 indicates the production plant – Tomskneftekhim.

For polypropylene grading codes produced by NPP Neftekhimiya, a joint venture of Gazprom Neft Moscow Refinery and SIBUR Holding, the digit 2 is used.

NPP Neftekhimiya has been using the new coding standard since March 2013 and Tomskneftekhim switched over to the universal grading codes in 2011. Once commissioned, the new Tobolsk-Polymer facility will also use this coding standard.

The new codes are more informative as they indicate the polymer’s type, use and MFR, making it easier for consumers to choose the grade they need while giving them a better understanding of the company’s grade range. In addition, the code’s new component will instantly indicate which production facility the product comes from.

We remind that, as MRC informed previously, in May 2013, SIBUR began integrated equipment testing at the propylene storage facility and trial production of the first polypropylene line at the company’s Tobolsk-Polymer complex. This follows testing of the first production line at the extrusion plant and the polypropylene packaging and dispatch plant. Over the course of the next few months SIBUR will continue commissioning operations across all production facilities and expects to begin production at the complex by the end of 2013, once all approvals have been granted.

SIBUR is a uniquely positioned vertically integrated gas processing and petrochemicals company. SIBUR owns and operates Russia’s largest gas processing business in terms of associated petroleum gas processing volumes, and is a leader in the Russian petrochemicals industry. As well as thermoplastic elastomers for the road construction sector, SIBUR also produces polymer-modified geosynthetics. Use of these materials extend the time between repairs and equalise the loading intensity and prevent ruts and potholes. These materials also serve a variety of purposes such as reinforcement, separation, filtration, drainage, protection, and water proofing of pavement layers.

Gazprom neftekhim Salavat shuts down PE production

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Gazprom neftekhim Salavat, one of the leading Russian petrochemical producers, will shut down its main units, including polyethylene (PE) plant, for maintenance, said MRC analysts.

Yesterday, on 16 July, Gazprom neftekhim Salavat began a gradual shutdown of its main facilities for a turnaround. The high density polyethylene (HDPE) and low density polyethylene (LDPE) plants with the capacity of 45,000 and 120,000 tonnes per year, respectively, will stop their production today-tomorrow. The maintenance works will last 30 days.

The outage at Salavat PE plants is the first one in a series of scheduled shutdowns for maintenance at Russian plants. Tomorrow, on 18 July, Tomskneftekhim (part of SIBUR) will stop its LDPE production for a scheduled maintenance till 9 August. The annual LDPE production capacity of Tomsk plant is 240,000 tonnes.

Angarsk polymer plant will stop its LDPE production for a planned maintenance by the end of the month. The maintenance works will last 50 days. The resumption of production is scheduled for the second decade of August. The Angarsk plymer plant's annual LDPE capacity is 76,000 tonnes.