Styrolution to begin construction for new AMSAN plant in Mexico

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Styrolution announced plans to begin construction on a production line for alpha methyl styrene acrylonitrile (AMSAN) at its site in Altamira, Mexico, said The Wall Street Journal.

Styrolution uses AMSAN in its Luran S acrylonitrile styrene acrylate (ASA) and high-heat Novodur acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) products. The new production line will enable Styrolution to expand its product offering and increase supply reliability in the region. It will also position the company for further growth throughout the Americas as well as in key industries, such as automotive and construction. Production is set to start in the second quarter of 2014.

Products which include AMSAN are known for their exceptional heat resistant characteristics and excellent aesthetics. These qualities make Styrolution’s AMSAN-based products, such as Luran S 778T, Novodur HH 106 & 112, and Luran HH 120, ideal for use in the automotive industry where applications demand premium appearance and performance at elevated temperatures. Another unique characteristic of AMSAN is its compatibility with other polymers, like PVC. The addition of AMSAN to PVC as a heat resistance modifier is especially important in the building and construction market for producers of siding, decking and fencing.

Currently, AMSAN is currently imported by Styrolution to the region from its plant in Ludwigshafen, Germany. The new AMSAN line complements Styrolution’s production capacity in Europe, offering customers reliable local sourcing in the Americas. With this, Styrolution will then be the only producer of AMSAN in Europe and the Americas. Local production of AMSAN will allow Styrolution to offer new products in the Americas region, such as powdered versions of Luran HH 120 which offers easy blending with PVC and PVC compounds.

Styrolution’s intention to start AMSAN production in Altamira aligns with the company’s business strategy, which calls for a shift to lend greater focus on measures that will expand its footprint in three key areas: styrenic specialties, emerging markets and higher-growth industries. The new plans for Altamira follow on the heels of an announcement by Styrolution and Braskem in early October 2013 where the two companies stated their intent to explore a joint venture to produce ABS and styrene acrylonitrile (SAN) copolymers in Brazil for the South American region.

The Styrolution Group GmbH is a global provider of styrenics , headquartered in Frankfurt am Main. The company is a joint venture between BASF (50%) and INEOS (50%), were merged into the main styrene operations of the two partners. Its main focus is on the production of monomer, polystyrene, styrenic specialties, and ABS. The company offers styrene plastics for a variety of everyday products from different industries , such as automotive, electronics, construction, household, leisure, packaging, medicine and health.

ExxonMobil profits take tumble

MOSCOW (MRC) -- ExxonMobil saw its third-quarter earnings tumble by 18% on weaker refinery margins as it boosted capital expenditure, said Upstreamonline.

The US supermajor reported net income of USD7.87 billion, versus USD9.57 billion a year earlier, as total revenue fell 2% year on year to USD112.34 billion while capital and exploration expenditure increased 15% to USD10.5 billion in line with spending plans.

However, the per-share earnings figure of USD1.79 was still higher than analysts' estimate of USD1.77 in a Reuters poll.

Revenue was hit by increased refining capacity in the industry that cut margins, despite boosting earnings from its upstream business by USD740 million to USD6.7 billion on increased production and higher realisations for liquids and gas output.

The company’s downstream earnings were down by a hefty USD2.6 billion on the previous year to USD592 million, mainly due to weaker refinery margins that accounted for a drop of USD2.4 billion.

However, oil and natural gas output rose 1.5%from a year earlier to 4 million barrels oil equivalent per day, marking the first year-on-year production increase since the second quarter of 2011.

"Production of oil and natural gas increased from a year earlier as new projects were brought online and maintenance-related downtime decreased," said chief executive Rex Tillerson.

Energy analyst Brian Youngsberg of US firm Edward Jones told Reuters: "It does show that they are hopefully making some progress stemming the decline that they've shown the last couple of years."

Output was boosted by start-up of oil and gas production from the Kipper Tuna Turrum project in Australia, as well as accelerated output from Nigeria and Canada.

The company is meanwhile looking to boost exploitation of Canada’s oil sands with the acquisition of ConocoPhillips’ stake in the Clyden lease south of Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Tillerson said ExxonMobil would "maintain a long-term perspective on our business with a relentless focus on operational excellence and disciplined investing", having generated cash flow from operations and asset sales of USD13.6 billion in the latest quarter.

As MRC wrote before, Exxon Mobil Corp. reported flaring at its refinery in Joliet, Ill. The 238,600 barrel-a-day refinery released nitrogen dioxide, nitrogen oxide and hydrogen sulfide into the air after an "over pressuring" incident in an undisclosed unit. The release lasted about 30 minutes, and the unit was shut down and the valves were reset, according to the filing.

ExxonMobil is the largest non-government owned company in the energy industry and produces about 3 percent of the world's oil and about 2% of the world's energy.

Shenhua Ningxia shuts its PP plant in China

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Shenhua Ningxia Coal Industry Group has shut its polypropylene (PP) plant for a maintainence turnaround, reported Apic-online.

Located at Yinchuan city, Ningxia in China, the PP plant has a production capacity of 500,000 mt/year.

The source added, "the plant was taken off-stream on October 27, 2013. The palnt is expected to remain shut for around 10 days."

As MRC wrote earlier, on 18 September 2013, another Chinese petrochemical producer Xuzhou Haitian Petrochemical restarted its PP plant. It was shut on August 26, 2013 owing to shortage of propylene feedstock. Located in Jiangsu province, China the plant has a production capacity of 200,000 mt/year.

Besides, Luoyang Petrochemical restarted its PP plant on September 20, 2013. It was shut on August 19, 2013. Located in Henan province, China, the plant has a production capacity of 140,000 mt/year.

Major LyondellBasell expansion projects on target

MOSCOW (MRC) -- LyondellBasell is working to cash in on the US shale gas advantage by working "cheaper and faster" than competitors, opting in most cases to focus on expansions and debottlenecking projects over building new facilities, said Plastemart.

The chemical-maker is on target to complete a major project every six months over the next 30 months, said CEO Jim Gallogly during its third-quarter earnings call. He highlighted progress on the restart of a methanol facility, a polyethylene debottleneck project and ethylene expansions at facilities in La Porte, Channelview and Corpus Christi, Texas.

LyondellBasell's 780,000 tpa methanol plant in Channelview is on schedule for Q4-2013 completion, with the unit to be fully operational in the second quarter. The company is on target to complete a 220 mln lb/year polyethylene debottlenecking project during Q1-2014, an 800 million lbs/year ethylene expansion in La Porte in Q2-2014.

All equipment for the ethylene expansion was set to be on site by end-2013, with construction set to be completed early next year. The 250 mln lb/year Channelview ethylene expansion is on schedule for a startup in the Q1-2015.

Furnaces have been ordered and foundations have been poured, and the project should be mechanically complete by end-2014. The Corpus Christi expansion is still in the permitting phase, with construction slated to begin once permits are received. Projected start-up is set for end-2015.Gallogly also mentioned the Corpus Christi TexStar NGL project remains on target for start-up this quarter. While not a LyondellBasell project, Gallogly said it will allow the company to benefit from increased supply flexibility of NGLs to its Corpus Christi site.

As MRC wrote before, LyondellBasell has permanently shuttered one of its HDPE production lines at its German site in Wesseling – a step it said it would achieve in Q3. The line, which had a capacity of 100,000 t/y, was the smallest and least efficient at the production site.

LyondellBasell Industries NV is a manufacturing company. The Company produces chemicals, fuels, and polymers used for packaging, clean fuels, durable textiles, medical applications, construction materials, and automotive parts. LyondellBasell Industries operates globally and is headquartered in the Netherlands. LyondellBasell is also a leading licensor of polypropylene and polyethylene technologies. The more than 250 polyolefin process licenses granted by LyondellBasell are twice that of any other polyolefin technology licensor.

Lotte Chemical intends to shut down its cracker for maintenance in South Korea

MOSCOW (MRC) -- South Korea-based company Lotte Chemical is likely to take off-stream a cracker for maintenance turnaround, as per Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in South Korea informed that the unit is likely to be shut in April 2014. It is likely to remain off-stream for around four days.

Located in Yeosu, South Korea, the cracker has an ethylene capacity of 1 million mt/year and propylene capacity of 480,000 mt/year.

As MRC informed previously, Lotte Group's plan to build an integrated petrochemical plant is still hampered by land problems. Honam Petrochemical Corp., the core company of Lotte Group's chemical division, is planning to build a polyethylene and polypropylene plant worth USD5 billion in Cilegon, Banten. The plant's construction requires a land of 100 hectares and is expected to be completed in three to four years.

Besides, South Korean conglomerate Lotte Group is considering new petrochemical ventures in southeast Asia, including an investment in Indonesia that may top USD5bn (EUR3.6bn).

The Lotte Group currently has a presence in Indonesia via its subsidiary, Honam Petrochemicals, which acquired Malaysia’s polyolefin major Titan Chemicals in July 2010. Included in the acquisition was Titan’s Indonesian subsidiary - PT Titan Petrokimia Nusantara (TPN), which has a polyethylene (PE) production capacity of 450,000 tonnes/year.