SABIC opens new India technology hub

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Saudi Arabia-based SABIC on Friday opened its new USD100 million technology center in Bengaluru, India, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The technology center will house 300 scientists, whose roles are to carry out research into new platforms for next-generation materials across industry sectors such as construction, clean energy, electronics, medical devices and transportation.

"Other initatives include designing greener building materials to reduce environmental footprints and developing eco-friendly products in response to global megatrends and needs," the company said in a statement.

SABIC has 17 technology and innovations centers around the globe, with the India location the newest.

"Saudi Arabia and India have a long history of deep relationships," said Prince Saud bin Abdullah bin Thenayan Al-Saud, chairman of SABIC.

"We believe in the future of India - a rapidly developing nation where partnership and inclusive development is a priority," he added. "India is an important market for us in Asia, which is why our investment here is significant."

As MRC reported previously, this Autumn, the polymershapes division of Sabic (Riyadh/Saudi Arabia) opened a new US branch in Austin, Texas, to give local customers better access to its plastics and associated products.

Sabic is ranked among the world's largest petrochemicals manufacturers. It is the largest public company in Saudi Arabia. The comany manufactures chemicals and intermediates, industrial polymers, fertilizers and metals. It is currently the second largest global ethylene glycol producer, the third largest polyethylene manufacturer, the fourth largest polyolefins manufacturer and the fourth largest polypropylene manufacturer. Among its products are propylene, paraxylene, styrene, vinyl chloride monomer.

Kuraray to Acquire DuPont Glass Laminating Solutions/Vinyls

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Kuraray and DuPont, the biggest US chemical maker by market value, have signed a definitive agreement for DuPont to sell Glass Laminating Solutions/Vinyls (GLS/Vinyls), a part of DuPont Packaging & Industrial Polymers, to Kuraray for USD543 million, plus the value of the inventories, according to DuPont's press release.

The sale is expected to close during the first half of 2014 pending customary regulatory approvals.

GLS/Vinyls is a leading supplier of polyvinyl butyral and ionomer sheets for safety glass, and vinyl acetate monomer and polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) products used in a variety of architectural, automotive and industrial applications. GLS/Vinyls delivered full-year 2012 net sales of more than USD500 million. It has six manufacturing sites in the US, Europe and Asia that serve more than 350 customers worldwide.

Keiji Murakami, president of Kuraray’s Vinyl Acetate Company said, "Kuraray was one of the first to successfully industrialize and globally market PVA. As a pioneer of Vinyl Acetate related business, Kuraray has a global presence in the business area of PVA resin, PVB resin and film, PVA film that is used for LCD and detergent unit packing, EVOH (ethylene vinyl alcohol) resin (trademarked as EVAL) used for food packaging and gasoline tanks, and PVA fiber (vinylon) that is used for a substitute of asbestos and a reinforcing material of cement.

"We will benefit from DuPont’s talented global GLS/Vinyls team and their technology, R&D, manufacturing and sales network that has supported it over the years. I am convinced these areas of expertise will allow us to continue to expand our Vinyl Acetate business going forward, said Murakami.

"GLS/Vinyls will have a good home with Kuraray. That company’s focus on PVA as a central part of its core Vinyl Acetate business, its strong global market position and its capacity to invest in GLS/Vinyls all make this a good fit," said William J. Harvey, president, DuPont Packaging & Industrial Polymers.

As MRC reported this summer, the company is considering a spinoff or sale of its performance chemicals unit, which makes titanium dioxide pigment and Teflon coatings, to focus on less cyclical products and boost shareholder returns.

DuPont is an American chemical company that was founded in July 1802. It is the world's ninth largest chemical company based on revenue in 2012. DuPont developed many polymers such as Vespel, neoprene, nylon, Corian, Teflon, Mylar, Kevlar, Zemdrain, M5 fiber, Nomex, Tyvek, Sorona and Lycra. DuPont developed Freon (chlorofluorocarbons) for the refrigerant industry, and later more environmentally friendly refrigerants. It developed synthetic pigments and paints including ChromaFlair.

Oriental Energy to start up new PP plant next year

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Oriental Energy is in plans to start a new polypropylene (PP) plant, reported Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in China informed that the plant is likely to be started in mid 2014.

Located in Zhangjiagang, China, the plant will have a production capacity of 400,000 mt/year.

As MRC informed previously, Zhenhai Refining & Chemical Co (ZRCC) is in plans to shut a polypropylene (PP) plant for maintenance turnaround in May 2014. The duration of the shutdown could not be ascertained. Located in Ningbo, Zhejiang province in China, the plant has a production capacity of 250,000 mt/year.

Another Chinese petrochemical producer - Shaoxing Sanyuan Petrochemical shut its PP plant for maintenance turnaround on November 20, 2013. It is likely to remain off-stream for around one month. Located in Shaoxing, Zhejiang province, the plant has a production capacity of 200,000 mt/year.

Pemex nets Spanish yard stake

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Pemex has firmed up a deal to acquire a majority stake in a shipyard in Spainish north-western Galicia region, said Upstreamonline.

The state-run oil giant has taken a 51% slice in Barreras shipyard, confirming reports earlier this year that the deal was imminent. Mexico City-headquartered Pemex said the deal was aimed at reviving the Spanish shipbuilding industry as well as servicing the Mexican oil industry.

Spanish daily El Pais reported before the summer that Pemex was considering signing a letter of intent to take the 51% stake in Barreras. Pemex said last September its PMI unit had signed two contracts for flotels, one to be built at the Hijos de J Barreras shipyard in Vigo and state-owned yard Navantia in north-western Spain. The reported value at the time was USD392 million.

The company added last year that it also planned to contract 14 tugs, seven to be built in Galicia and seven in Mexican yards. The plans are part of a broader programme of at least USD800 million for the company to revamp its fleet.

On 15 April, Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto and Galician government president Alberto Nunez Feijoo met to "strengthen a strategic alliance" between the two entities with an eye to investment of up to USD240 million in the state oil company's fleet, according to Galicia.

The arrangement could help lead to the contracting of new vessels, Conde said at the time.

Founded in 1892, the Barreras shipyard is mainly concerned with the construction of offshore vessels, ferries and roll on-roll off vessels.

As MRC wrote before, Pemex Petroquimica and Mexichem entered into a joint venture, which will enable greater competitiveness of the domestic petrochemical industry in the global market through the integration of a new company, which will create value to the chlorine-vinyl Chain. The joint venture includes a cash investment and assets contribution up to the amount of USD518 million, of which PEMEX will participate with USD228 million in assets while Mexichem will contribute with both, USD90 million in assets and USD200 million in cash in order to modernize the Pajaritos complex.

Pemex, Mexican Petroleum, is a Mexican state-owned petroleum company. Pemex has a total asset worth of USD415.75 billion, and is the world's second largest non-publicly listed company by total market value, and Latin America's second largest enterprise by annual revenue as of 2009. Company produces such polymers, as polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), polystyrene (PS).

Duma 'nod' for LNG export shift

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The upper house of Russian parliament, the State Duma, approved on Wednesday legislative amendments to allow rivals of state-run Gazprom to export seaborne liquefied natural gas, said Upstreamonline.

The measure, which has still to be rubber-stamped by President Vladimir Putin, effectively ends Gazprom’s monopoly on LNG shipments, though the gas giant will still have exclusive rights to pipeline exports that are mainly to Europe.

The Kremlin is looking to open the door to other LNG exporters such as Russia’s second-largest gas producer Novatek and state-owned oil company Rosneft, which is seeking to expand its position in the gas market, as Gazprom has been slow to develop its own projects.

The amended law restricts Rosneft's LNG exports to those produced from offshore deposits. Russia aims to double its current global LNG market share of 4.5% by 2020 but is facing increasing competition from major suppliers in Qatar and Australia, as well as emerging players Tanzania and Mozambique that have recently made big offshore gas discoveries.

"The decision to increase the line-up of exporters of natural gas in the form of LNG must secure an increase in Russia's share of the gas market," according to an upper house document cited by Reuters.

Lawmakers had earlier said the law would come into force next year, three years before the first new LNG plant is launched.

Novatek is building the plant, due on stream in 2017, as part of the Yamal LNG project in West Siberia where it is partnered by Total and China National Petroleum Corporation.

Rosneft, which is Russia’s leading oil producer, aims to raise its gas output to 100 billion cubic metres by 2020 with plans to build a liquefied natural gas plant jointly with ExxonMobil on Sakhalin island in Russia's far east.

The Pacific island already hosts the country’s only LNG plant, which is operated by Gazprom in partnership with Anglo-Dutch supermajor Shell.

Meanwhile, Novatek this week signed a memorandum of understanding with Italy’s Eni to jointly participate in future offshore projects in the Mediterranean Sea.