Nippon Shokubai operates MEG plant in Japan at lesser rates

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Nippon Shokubai is operating a monoethylene glycol (MEG) plant at curtailed capacity levels, reported Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in Japan informed that the plant is presently running at 75% of production capacity.

Located at Chitori in Japan, the MEG plant has a production capacity of 165,000 mt/year.

As MRC wrote previously, this summer, Nippon Shokubai received a new "lift of restrictions," allowing the company to resume production at a second acrylic acid unit at its Himeji complex in Japan. Two separate explosions at its Himeji site last September forced the company to stop production of acrylic acid and superabsorbent polymers and resulted in the suspension of most operations at Himeji.

Nippon Shokubai produces one fifth of the global volume of superabsorbent polymers and it is one of the world's biggest makers of acrylic acid, the main ingredient of a resin called SAP, which is used in diapers

Evonik is expanding its global isophorone and isophorone diamine capacities

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Evonik Industries, the German specialty chemicals company, is significantly expanding its global isophorone (IP) and isophorone diamine (IPD) capacities by funding an investment of more than EUR100 million in Shanghai, China, as per the company's press release.

The new production plants will be completed in the first quarter of 2014 and will increase the total capacities of IP and IPD significantly.

"We're investing in China, because we are committed to the growth region Asia. As a world leader in isophorone-based products, we will continue to further consolidate and expand our position in this chemistry," says Dr. Ulrich Kusthardt, President of Evonik’s Coating & Additives Business Unit.

With the Group’s expansion strategy it aims to support the growth ambitions of key customers in Asia and around the world. Proximity to consumers in this growing market will translate into improved local service, shorter lead times, and faster responses to changes in demand.

As MRC informed previously, this summer, Evonik Industries launched its Composites Project House, based primarily in Marl, with a branch in Darmstadt, to develop new materials and system solutions for the lightweight construction sector. This is Evonik’s tenth project house. Among the topics addressed will be automotive and aviation applications and applications in the domain of renewable energies.

Evonik, the industrial group from Germany, is one of the world leaders in specialty chemicals. Profitable growth and a sustained increase in the value of the company form the heart of Evonik’s corporate strategy. Its activities focus on the key megatrends health, nutrition, resource efficiency and globalization. Evonik is active in over 100 countries around the world. The group is a global market leader in isophorone chemistry with production facilities in Herne, Marl (Germany), Mobile, Alabama (USA) and Antwerp (Belgium). Its products are known worldwide under the brand names of VESTAMIN, VESTANAT, VESTAGON and VESTASOL.

Emulsion polymer market to grow by 5.7% till 2019

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Emulsion polymer market was worth USD28.24 bln and is expected to reach USD 41.63 bln by 2019, growing at a CAGR of 5.7% from 2012 to 2018, reported Plastemart with reference to Transparency Market Research.

Emulsion polymerization is used for the manufacturing of several important polymers. Key raw materials used in the manufacturing of emulsion polymer are styrene, butyl acrylate, surfactants and initiators.

The rebound in paints and coatings industry in North America and Europe, as well as rapid economic growth in Asia Pacific is expected to remain the major driving force for the emulsion polymer market.

Volatile raw material prices are expected to be a key challenge for market participants. Acrylics and styrene-butadiene latex were the most dominant product segments, accounting for over 65% of the total emulsion polymer demand in 2012.

Emulsion polymer is mainly employed in paints and coatings, adhesives, paper and paperboard coatings and other applications. Paints and coatings industry dominated the global market followed by paper and paperboard coatings market. Paints and coatings industry is expected to be the key growth market for emulsion polymer over the next five years.

Asia Pacific accounted for 38.2% of the total emulsion polymer market in 2012, followed by Europe and North America. Asia Pacific is also expected to be the fastest growing regional market in terms of both emulsion polymer consumption and production.

Europe is the other major region where emulsion polymer consumption was very strong and is expected to grow in demand with a CAGR of about 4.1% in terms of revenue from 2013 and 2019. BASF SE, Celanese, Dow Chemical, Styron, Synthomer, Wacker Chemie, and Clariant International are some of the major players in the emulsion polymer industry.

We remind that, as MRC wrote earlier, BASF has just announced its plans to build a new production plant for emulsion polymers at its integrated "Verbund" site in Freeport, Texas. The new plant will allow BASF to better serve the coatings, construction, adhesives, and paper industries by expanding the network of manufacturing locations and improve the backward integration of raw materials used in production.

Borealis posts improved Q3 net profit in a market that remains soft

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Borealis, a leading provider of innovative solutions in the fields of polyolefins, base chemicals and fertilizers, recorded a net profit of EUR 131 million for the third quarter of 2013 compared to EUR 129 million in the same quarter in 2012, reported the company.

The improvement in net profit in the third quarter versus the second quarter of 2013 was driven by continued good results in Base Chemicals and an improved result for Polyolefins despite a continuing soft market. The fertilizer business delivered a lower result in the third quarter due to operational challenges and some weakening of the market environment. Borouge continued its good performance and delivered a strong result. Net debt decreased in Q3 2013 with Borealis’ financial position remaining strong reflected in a gearing (net debt/equity) of 47% at the end of the quarter.

Borouge continued to perform well during the quarter, with the expansion of its plant in Abu Dhabi gaining momentum as preparations begin for a start-up in 2014. In line with its commitment to advancing sustainability in the petrochemicals industry, Borouge achieved Responsible Care 14001 certification for its entire global operations, being the first company in the Gulf to do so.

"We are pleased with our results during the third quarter, although we were held back because of some plant operability issues in the ammonia area," states Mark Garrett, Borealis Chief Executive. "We will continue our work to optimise our European Polyolefin business and assets in order to improve our profitability and grow in these volatile markets. We will take the necessary decisions now, always in line with our values, to be fit for the future. At the same time, we will continue to optimise and expand our fertilizer business, in order to create a more diversified business portfolio whilst also supporting the further growth and development of Borouge."

As MRC informed previously, earlier this year, Borealis and Borouge, the world's leading providers of innovative, value-creating solutions for the wire and cable industry, announced the dedicated roll-out of the technology platform Borlink in Russia. Key innovations of Borlink include a tailor-made high pressure (HP) process for the production of high purity low density polyethylene (LDPE) base polymers with superior electrical properties and the introduction of a closed or controlled loop (from monomer to final packaging) which avoids contaminants and ensures homogenous and high-quality, clean compounds.

Borealis is a leading provider of innovative solutions in the fields of polyolefins, base chemicals and fertilizers. Borealis is headquartered in Vienna, Austria, and operates in over 120 countries with around 5,300 employees worldwide, generating EUR7.5 billion in sales revenue in 2012.

BP unveiled new technologies for the production of acetic acid and ethylene

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BP has unveiled two new technologies for the production of key petrochemical feedstocks, said Plastemart.

SaaBre, is a new route for the production of acetic acid from syngas and Hummingbird directly converts ethanol to ethylene through dehydration. Both SaaBre and Hummingbird were developed over a number of years at BP’s advanced laboratories at the Hull Research and Technology Centre, alongside its acetic acid manufacturing site, Europe’s largest, at Saltend, Hull in the UK. BP says is actively exploring options for commercializing both technologies.

SaaBre’s breakthrough is a process for the conversion of synthesis gascarbon monoxide (CO) and hydrogen derived from hydrocarbons such as natural gas directly to acetic acid in a proprietary, integrated three-step process that avoids the need to purify CO or purchase methanol. BP says SaaBre is expected to deliver a significant reduction in variable manufacturing costs, and lead to capital efficiencies, compared to the carbonylation of methanol route, which has been the leading technology for several decades.

Acetic acid is a versatile intermediate chemical, used in a variety of products, such as paints, adhesives and solvents, as well as in the production of purified terephthalic acid (PTA), used extensively in polyester manufacture. "SaaBre is the most significant development for acetic acid production in 40 years and adds to our portfolio of leading technologies," said Nick Elmslie, CEO of BP’s global petrochemicals business.

Hummingbird is a newly-developed proprietary process by which ethanol is dehydrated to produce ethylene, a fundamental building block for the plastics and other petrochemical industries. The new technology is lower cost and simpler compared to existing ethanol to ethylene technologies.

As MRC wrote before, BP PLC is seeking to sell its US. wind energy business as part of efforts to refocus on oil and gas and position the company for growth in the future. BP has built one of the largest wind businesses in the USA. As such, any subsequent divestment will be the subject to attractive offers being received, according to BP's statement.

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.