Dow Chemical to separate chlorine, epoxy assets ahead of possible sale

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Dow Chemical, the largest US chemical maker by sales, plans to separate chlorine-related assets including its epoxy business as the company focuses on higher-margin activities, said Upstreamonline.

The chlorine assets account for as much as USD5 billion of annual revenue and include plants at 11 sites employing almost 2,000 people, Midland, Michigan-based Dow said Monday in a statement.

Dow said it hired financial advisers to look at options for the assets including sales, joint ventures and spinoffs. It expects to complete transactions for the assets in the next year or two.

The move “represents a continuation of the shift of our company toward downstream high-margin products and technologies that customers value, and generate consistently higher returns than cyclical commodity products,” CEO Andrew N. Liveris said in the statement.

Like competing US chemical producers DuPont and Ashland, Dow is selling or considering the sale of business lines as it attempts to unlock growth. Dow said in October that WR Grace & Co. agreed to buy its polypropylene licensing and catalyst unit for USD500 million.

In October, Dow forecast USD3 billion to USD4 billion from asset sales in the following 18 to 24 months. The company had said previously that these assets may be sold.

Dow also said Monday that it plans to shut down about 800,000 tons of chlorine and caustic equivalent capacity in Freeport, Texas.

As MRC wrote before, Grace has completed the acquisition of the assets of the Polypropylene Licensing and Catalysts business of The Dow Chemical Company for a cash purchase price of USD500 mln. The acquisition includes UNIPOL Polypropylene Process Technology and makes Grace the second largest polypropylene licensor in the world based on installed capacity, advancing Grace's leadership in the broader polyolefin sector.

The Dow Chemical Company is an American multinational chemical corporation. As of 2007, it is the second-largest chemical manufacturer in the world by revenue (after BASF) and as of February 2009, the third-largest chemical company in the world by market capitalization (after BASF and DuPont). Dow is a large producer of plastics, including polystyrene, polyurethane, polyethylene, polypropylene, and synthetic rubber.MRC

Malaysia seeks USD43bn from Petronas

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Malaysia’s national oil company Petronas is required by 2020 to deliver USD43 billion of gross income to the state, reported Upstreamonline with reference to a company executive's statement.

The target may be achievable given that last year alone the company’s revenues were USD95 billion.

Vice president for exploration and production Dato' Wee Yiaw Hin, Malaysia's representative at the Ascope conference in Vietnam, told delegates at the chief executive summit that revenues were "very robust" and Petronas expects this to continue in 2013 and increase going forward.

Petronas generates much of its income from overseas assets, but there has also been success on the domestic front - Malaysia last year accounted for 72% of the oil and gas discoveries in the region.

As MRC informed before, in November, 2013, Petronas Chemicals agreed to sell its Vietnam polyvinyl chloride (PVC) assets to Asahi Glass and Mitsubishi as part of ongoing efforts to refocus its business on higher value products. The sale of its 93% interest in Phu My Plastics and Chemicals, which has a production capacity of 100,000 t/y of PVC, is expected to be completed in Q2 next year. Last year, the company had announced that it would close its vinyl business and has already ceased operations at its vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) and PVC plants in Kertih, Malaysia.

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.

CB&I awarded USD1 billion EPC contract for U.S. ethylene plant

MOSCOW (MRC) -- CB&I has been awarded a contract valued at approximately USD1 bln by Ingleside Ethylene LLC, a joint venture between Occidental Chemical Corporation (OxyChem), a subsidiary of Occidental Petroleum Corporation, and Mexichem, S.A.B. de C.V. (Mexichem) for the engineering, procurement and construction of an ethane cracker and associated utilities and offsites to be located at OxyChem's complex in Ingleside, Texas, said Plastemart.

The cracker will have the capacity to produce approximately 1.2 bln lbs pa of ethylene. Feedstock for the cracker is anticipated to be ethane derived from domestic shale gas. As previously announced, CB&I provided the technology license and basic engineering for the ethylene technology, five SRT (short residence time) cracking heaters and the front end engineering and design (FEED) services.

"The award of this important ethylene project in the U.S. reflects the quality of work CB&I has provided to OxyChem and MexiChem to date," said Philip K. Asherman, CB&I's President and Chief Executive Officer. "It shows the clients' confidence in our ability to provide a complete range of services from proven licensed process technology, fabrication and FEED services to engineered products, all the way through to EPC."

As MRC wrote before, Four CB&I technologies were selected by China's CNOOC Oil & Petrochemicals Co. the second expansion phase of their refinery and petrochemical complex at Huizhou in Guangdong Province. CB&I’s scope of work includes the license and process engineering design of the Lummus olefins conversion technology (OCT) for the production of 250,000 tpy of propylene and the CDHDS+ hydrodesulfurization technology for the processing of 2.4 million tpy of FCC gasoline to produce 10 ppm ultra-low sulfur gasoline.


LOTOS and Grupa Azoty in PLN 12bn joint Polish petrochemical project

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Grupa LOTOS S.A. and Grupa Azoty S.A. signed an agreement on the future formation of a special purpose vehicle to conduct a comprehensive feasibility study on the construction of a new petrochemical complex, in the vicinity of both LOTOS and Grupa Azoty's existing installations, said LOTOS in its press release.

The project’s value is estimated at approximately PLN 12bn, making it the largest investment in the Polish industrial sector in recent years. The complex will help reduce Poland's chemical trade deficit, and will create between 5,000 and 7,000 jobs during the construction stage, and approximately 2,000 new jobs following commencement of its commercial operation.

Under the agreement, Grupa LOTOS and Grupa Azoty will use a special purpose vehicle to run the project, with project costs (preparation of the feasibility study and financing of the SPV's operations) shared equally between both parties.

Upon completion of the feasibility study, an investment decision is expected to be made, in 2014. If the project is given the green light and the financing structure agreed, construction of the complex will occur throughout 2016-2018, with operations commencing in 2019.

As an investment project, the planned petrochemical complex is on a level with the construction of a new refinery. Related capital expenditure will be twice the amount spent by Grupa LOTOS in 2007-2011 on their 10+ Programme.
It will also help improve Poland's trade balance, increase its export opportunities for high-margin chemical products, and provide the domestic industrial sector with access to state-of-the-art technologies from around the world.

As MRC wrote before, Grupa LOTOS S.A. has selected Axens to provide the technology license for a new Coker Naphtha Hydrotreater at its Gdansk refinery. This contract is part of the Gdansk refinery development and modernization program based on heavy residue coking technology.

Grupa LOTOS is one of the largest companies in Poland. It is an oil company operating both in Poland and abroad, whose business consists in the extraction and processing of crude oil, as well as wholesale and retail sale of high-quality petroleum products. Apart from Grupa LOTOS, which manages the refinery in Gdansk, the LOTOS Group currently comprises 15 other companies operating under the LOTOS name. One of them is based in Lithuania and another one in Norway.

YNCC plans scheduled maintenance at No. 3 naphtha cracker in Yeocheon in 2014

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Yeochun NCC Co. plans to halt its No. 3 naphtha cracker in Yeocheon, South Korea, for scheduled maintenance in 2014, as per Plastemart.

The unit, which can make 465,000 metric tons a year of ethylene. Before that MRC informed, that YNCC was likely to shut its No.3 aromatics plant for a maintenance turnaround in the end of October till the beginning of November, 2013.

The plant is located in Yeochun, South Korea, and has an annual capacity to produce 120,000 mt of benzene, 60,000 mt of toluene, and 40,000 mt of solvent-grade MX.

YNCC was born of the integration between the naphtha cracking centres of Daelim and Hanwha Chemical in 1999. Yeochun NCC Company Ltd. produces basic feedstock materials for petrochemical products in its naphtha cracking center. The Company's products include olefin, ethylene, propylene, butadiene, benzene, toluene, and xylene for the domestic Korean and overseas markets.