Evonik to significantly expand its oil additives capacity in Singapore

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Evonik Industries, the German specialty chemicals company, has announced a significant expansion of its Jurong Island, Singapore oil additives plant, to be completed in early 2015, according to the company's press release.

With ongoing improvement and debottlenecking projects scheduled to be finalized during the first half of 2014, these optimizations and the planned expansion will nearly double the capacity of the oil additives plant in Singapore.

Evonik’s initiative is a response to the above-average growth in the oil additives market due to expanding mobility and increasing demand for high-performance lubricants with higher additive content in Asia.

"As a market and technology leader in high-performance additives, we’re strengthening our position in Asia. Our expansion strategy supports the growth of our customers directly from a modern, efficient local production center, with logistics that make a contribution to resource efficiency at the same time," says Dr. Thomas Haeberle, Executive Board member of Evonik with responsibility for the company’s Resource Efficiency segment.

From 2015, the plant in Singapore will be the largest of six oil additive production sites owned by Evonik.

Evonik markets its oil additives under the brand name VISCOPLEX. Designed to improve productivity and fuel efficiency, they are a key component of formulated finished lubricants used in the automotive industry and other industrial applications.

We remind that, as MRC reported earlier, in June 2013, Evonik edching a new generation of PVC plasticizers under the ELATUR product brand. With this strategic portfolio expansion, Evonik is consistently developing its range of sustainable plasticizers. Besides, recently Evonik Industries has developed and launched on the market a novel combination of bio-based high-performance polyamides and bio-based high-performance fibers.

Evonik Industries is an industrial corporation in Germany and one of the world's leading specialty chemicals companies. Company's specialty chemicals activities focus on high-growth megatrends, especially, health, nutrition, resource efficiency, and globalization, and on entering attractive future-oriented markets. In 2012 Evonik generated sales of EUR13.6 billion and an operating result (adjusted EBITDA) of EUR2.6 billion.

International companies suspend operations in Egypt

MOSCOW (MRC) -- A number of international companies are suspending operations in Egypt as three days of violent clashes make the streets unsafe in Cairo, reported Africanseer.

AB Electrolux, General Motors Co., Royal Dutch Shell PLC, Toyota Motor Corp., Suzuki Motor Corp., BASF Corp. and others shut down factories and offices and told thousands of workers to stay at home.

German chemicals giant BASF will not reopen its Egyptian operations after the weekend because of the violent political protests in the country.

"The safety of our employees has top priority. We are observing the situation carefully. All our employees are fine. The offices have been closed since yesterday," a spokeswoman for the world’s largest chemical maker said.

BASF has about 100 employees based in Egypt, with offices in Alexandria and Cairo and a plant producing construction chemicals in Sadat City.

Most of the companies will remain closed through the end of the Egyptian weekend on Saturday. Many said they would assess the situation Saturday evening to determine if it’s safe enough for workers to return Sunday.

We remind that, as MRC wrote previously, BASF is implementing its global strategy in Asia Pacific with a set of ambitious targets and a focus on sustainability. To achieve sales of EUR25 billion to customers in the region by 2020, BASF’s Asia Pacific strategy "grow smartly" outlines investments of EUR10 billion, around 9,000 new jobs, and annual savings of EUR1 billion.

BASF is the world’s leading chemical company. Its portfolio ranges from chemicals, plastics, performance products and crop protection products to oil and gas. We combine economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility. BASF had sales of EUR72.1 billion in 2012 and more than 110,000 employees as of the end of the year.

US on track for USD71 billion in new investments in natural gas projects and technology

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Abundant supplies of natural gas from shale have created significant economic opportunities for the U.S. chemical industry that could result in USD71.7 billion in new investments and more than 530,000 permanent new jobs, according to a new report from the American Chemistry Council (ACC), said Canplastics.

The report is based on a detailed examination of the 97 chemical industry projects that have been announced as of March, 2013, ACC said. It explains that the USD71.7 billion in capacity expansion will engender an additional USD66.8 billion in chemical industry output, a 9% gain above what otherwise would have been the output in 2020.

The report predicts that nearly USD30 billion of the expenditures will go towards purchasing processing-related equipment. Twenty six percent will be allocated to major process equipment and products such as pumps, pressure vessels, heat exchangers, compressors, etc. Another 8% will be spent on process instrumentation, 5% on valves and piping and 4% on electrical equipment.

The report further predicts that USD12 billion will be spent in 2014 and another USD15 billion will be invested in 2015. By 2020, the report concluded, these projects can lead to 46,000 new chemical industry jobs, another 264,000 jobs in supplier industries and 226,000 “payroll induced” jobs in communities where workers spend their wages, and can generate USD20 billion in federal, state and local tax revenue. Nearly 1.2 million additional, temporary jobs can be created between 2010 and 2020, during the capital investment phase.

"The U.S. has become a magnet for chemical industry investment, a testament to the favorable environment created by America's shale gas as well as a vote of confidence in a bright natural gas outlook for decades to come," said ACC president and CEO Cal Dooley. “The large number of foreign chemical firms investing in the U.S. is unprecedented in recent history and underscores that nowhere else in the world is the outlook as bright when it comes to natural gas.”

As MRC wrote before, favorable oil-to-gas price ratios driven by the production of natural gas from shale will drive a renewed US competitiveness that will boost exports and fuel greater domestic investment and economic growth within the business of chemistry.


60 billion PET bottles recycled in Europe in 2012

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Europe recycled the equivalent of more than 60 billion PET bottles in 2012, according to trade industry association Petcore Europe, said Canplastics.

"Despite the poor economic situation in the European region, the consumption of PET bottles is still showing clear trends of penetration into new market segments through innovative packaging and the recognised capability of PET to be recycled," Petcore Europe chairman Roberto Bertaggia said in a statement.

Petcore estimated that the overall collection rate in 2012 was more than 52% of all post-consumer PET bottles available in the region.

"With the exception of two members, all 27 EU member states managed to achieve PET recycling rates above the target of 22.5% for plastics," Bertaggia said.

PET is the largest plastic material recycled in Europe, he added.

As MRC wrote before, demand for polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles and recycled PET (RPET) continues to outpace supply. With additional RPET production capacity coming online recently and announcements of future expansions on the part of companies such as US Fibers and Perpetual Recycling Solutions, demand is likely to continue exceeding supply, which will affect pricing for RPET and PET bales.


BP taps CH2M Hill for environmental gig

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BP has tapped consulting and construction outfit CH2M Hill to support the UK supermajor's environmental efforts outside of North America under a three-year master services agreement, said Upstreamonline.

Under the latest agreement, CH2M will provide services such as remediation, environmental compliance assurance and auditing, modeling, environmental permitting, waste management, water and wastewater management, impact assessment, environmental due diligence and mergers and acquisitions support, natural resource management, social and sustainability reporting and environmental project oversight.

Denver-based CH2M said it has worked with BP for 40 years and currently provides the supermajor with environmental services in North America. It also provides engineering, construction, and operations and maintenance on the North Slope of Alaska, and other services throughout the globe. The value of the contract was not disclosed.

As MRC wrote before, BP Plc, Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) and Statoil ASA (STL) are under scrutiny by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission as the agency probes whether they manipulated oil benchmarks published by Platts. The FTC’s early-stage investigation into oil prices mirrors a review by the European Union, which raided the offices of the three companies and Platts in May.

BP is one of the world's leading international oil and gas companies, providing its customers with fuel for transportation, energy for heat and light, retail services and petrochemicals products for everyday items.