Dow selects Foster Wheeler for Louisiana ethane cracker upgrading project

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Foster Wheeler has announced that a subsidiary of its global engineering and construction (E&C) group was awarded a contract by Dow Chemical to provide services for the LA-3 crack more ethane (CME) project at Dow’s Plaquemine petrochemical complex in Louisiana, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The services include detailed engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCm) work.

The objective of the project is to improve the plant's ethane flexibility to take advantage of low-cost feedstock. The scope will include brownfield additions and retrofit modifications to the plant.

The project is part of Dow’s comprehensive US Gulf Coast investment strategy.

The contract value was not disclosed. The initial release of work will be included in the company’s second quarter 2013 bookings, while the main release is expected to be recorded in the third quarter of 2013.

We remind that, as MRC wrote 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.

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.

INEOS awarded KBR engineering contract for HDPE plants

MOSCOW (MRC) -- KBR has been awarded a front-end engineering and design (FEED) contract by INEOS Olefins & Polymers for one of the largest grassroots high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plants to be built in the Americas, according to the KBR's press release.

The facility will produce 470,000 tpy of bimodal HDPE using Innovene S process technology.

KBR’s work on this facility will support efforts that take advantage of the projected resurgence of US ethylene production capacity resulting from abundant shale energy resources in North America.

The facility is expected to be located in the US Gulf coast area.

KBR’s scope of work includes the FEED for the inside and outside battery limit facilities, development of an appropriation grade cost estimate, and order of long lead equipment for the project.

Services will be provided out of KBR’s Houston world headquarters and its high-value engineering center in Monterrey, Mexico. Full sanction for the project is anticipated in the first half of 2014.

A steady state of operation for this facility is targeted for the fourth quarter of 2015.

"This is an important and strategic win for KBR and will allow us the opportunity to demonstrate our unparalleled expertise in the downstream market,” said David Zelinski, president of KBR's downstream business. “KBR is pleased to continue our successful partnership with INEOS and support their commitment to the HDPE market."

We remind that, as MRC reported earlier, INEOS Olefins & Polymers USA and Sasol has announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the intent to form a joint venture to manufacture high-density polyethylene (HDPE). The envisioned facility would produce 470,000 tonnes per annum of bimodal HDPE using Innovene S process technology licensed from INEOS Technologies. The intention is to produce a limited number of grades allowing high grade efficiencies.

INEOS is a global manufacturer of petrochemicals, speciality chemicals and oil products. It comprises 15 businesses each with a major chemical company heritage. Its production network spans 51 manufacturing facilities in 11 countries throughout the world.

Petronas to delay USD19 bln petrochemicals project to 2018

MOSCOW (MRC) - State oil firm Petronas will start up its USD19 billion petrochemicals complex in Malaysia in 2018, the company told Reuters on Tuesday, signalling a further delay in the country's largest-ever infrastructure project, said Reuters.

A delay to the project in southern Johor state could deal a potential blow to the economy of the Southeast Asian nation as well as local oil and gas services firms hoping for work on the massive complex.

A source familiar with Petronas' business strategy told Reuters the project had been complicated by a need to secure water supplies as well as cater for proposed international partners.

Petronas had already put back the project from late 2016 to early 2017 in June and revised the final investment decision (FID) to the first quarter next year, citing state government problems in relocating villages and graves from the 2,000 hectare-site, five times the size of New York Central Park.

"As a result of the revised FID date, the RAPID refinery is scheduled to be ready for start-up in Q4 2017 and the remaining plants within the complex is scheduled to be commissioned in 2018," Petronas said in a statement to Reuters on Tuesday.

This is at least six months later than market expectations after local media had cited Petronas CEO Shamsul Azhar Abbas in June as saying the start date for phase one of the RAPID project had been pushed back to early 2017.

Petronas, Malaysia's only Fortune 500 company, has signed heads of agreements with Italy's Versalis SpA, Japan's Itochu and Bangkok-listed PTT Global Chemical to build speciality chemical plants.

Germany's Evonik also stepped in to the project after rival BASF - the world's top chemicals group - pulled out after differences in business strategy.

Petronas, short for Petroliam Nasional Berhad, is a Malaysian oil and gas company wholly owned by the Government of Malaysia. The Group is engaged in a wide spectrum of petroleum activities, including upstream exploration and production of oil and gas to downstream oil refining; marketing and distribution of petroleum products; trading; gas processing and liquefaction; gas transmission pipeline network operations; marketing of liquefied natural gas; petrochemical manufacturing and marketing; shipping; automotive engineering; and property investment.

Evonik is operating a pilot plant for bio-based amino lauric acid

MOSCOW (MRC) -- In early 2013, Evonik Industries began operating a pilot plant for amino lauric acid (ALS) in Slovenska Lupca, Slovakia. The effort represents Evonik’s next step forward in the production of sustainable high-performance plastics, said the producer.

The biobased amino-lauric acid is an alternative to petroleum-based laurin lactam (LL). ALS replaces the monomer LL in the manufacture of sustainable high-performance plastics and yields an identical compound polyamide 12 (PA 12). The pilot plant is the result of intensive research and advances the process development effort to an industrial scale.

Development of the process was funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The biotechnological process relies on renewable resources and is unique the world over. Palm oil, which Evonik has already been using as a base for various other chemical products, is the starting material. Over the long run, the entirely new process has the potential to complement the butadiene-based production of PA12.

With a second conventional, petroleum-based polyamide 12 plant in Singapore in the planning stage, Evonik is in a strong position to be a global market and technology leader in PA12 production technology. "In the long term, this new, alternative raw material makes us less dependent on limited fossil resources and provides our back-integrated production a second pillar to stand on," says Gregor Hetzke, head of Evonik Performance Polymers Business Unit.

Whether in automobiles, sports, crude oil production or photovoltaics, Evonik produces a complete range of polyamide products with customized properties that have been continuously adapted for more than 40 years in close cooperation with its customers to meet the requirements of innovative, premium applications.

As MRC wrote earlier, the international rating agency Moody's has upgraded the credit rating of the German speciality chemicals group Evonik Industries AG from Baa3 with a positive outlook to Baa2 with a positive outlook.

Evonik, the creative industrial group from Germany, is one of the world leaders in specialty chemicals. Its activities focus on the key megatrends health, nutrition, resource efficiency and globalization. Evonik benefits specifically from its innovative prowess and integrated technology platforms. Evonik is active in over 100 countries around the world. In fiscal 2012, the company generated sales of around EUR13.6 billion and an operating profit (adjusted EBITDA) of about EUR2.6 billion.

Sidel developed a new PET bottle base for still drinks

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Beverage packaging equipment supplier Sidel (Le Havre/France) has developed a PET bottle base for still drinks, which is says is stronger, lighter and cheaper to produce, said Plasteurope.

The 'StarLite' base, which is particularly suited to water and juices, uses two proprietary PET designs: the 'Edge Beam', a groove structure that improves stiffness, and the 'Smart Disc' that reinforces the base to prevent deformation.

Sidel says the base can be retrofitted into existing bottle designs and shapes and into production lines using its 'StarLite' mould bases. All of Sidel’s blowing platforms and output speeds can use the new design, including its 'Matrix' system for liquid packaging, and regular, ultra clean, and aseptic filling solutions.

Tests carried out by Sidel’s packaging experts demonstrated a 30% increase in top-load dent resistance on pallets and up to a 55% enhancement in side-load resistance. The bottle also lasted up to 25 days without deformation in temperatures of 50°, and saw up to a 50% drop in base rollout under frozen conditions. Increased lightweighting possibilities, aided by the base’s compatibility with nitrogen drop technology, and lower blowing pressure also led to significant cost savings.

Vincent Le Guen, Sidel’s vice president for packaging & tooling, notes: “The new base enables you to both reduce package weight and blowing pressure, and actually increase base resistance to deformation."

As MRC wrote before, Olympos Dairy turned to Sidel to design and install a new bottling line at its facility in Brasov. The installation of the Ultra Clean production line has enabled the company to create a niche within the Romanian food market: Extended Shelf Life milk. The product has a 45-day shelf life; a 50% improvement on the existing product.

Sidel is a manufacturing company providing packaging for liquids such as water; carbonated and non-carbonated soft drinks; and sensitive beverages like milk, liquid dairy products, juices, nectars, tea, coffee and isotonics; as well as edible oil, beer and other alcoholic beverages. Sidel manufacturers and services equipment that enables other companies to package such liquids using one of three main materials: plastic (especially PET, and also HDPE and PP).