Styrolution strengthens its position in styrenic specialties in Europe, the Middle East and Africa

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Styrolution has announced measures to better serve customers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), according to the company's press release.

New initiatives include the optimization of Styrolution's production network in Germany and the opening of a regional specialties logistics center. These measures enable Styrolution to offer customers greater flexibility, long-term and secure supply, and lot-to-lot consistency. They also extend Styrolution's regional reach and further strengthen its leading market position in the region's key focus industries, such as automotive, healthcare and diagnostics, and building and construction.

Thus, Styrolution is optimizing its specialty production platform in EMEA to better serve customers, provide secure sourcing alternatives and spur further growth in styrenic copolymer sales in EMEA. Styrolution will now offer Novodur grades from its production sites in Cologne, Ludwigshafen and Schwarzeide, while Luran S grades are now available from both Ludwigshafen and Schwarzheide.

Additionally, the company will expand compounding capacity in Schwarzheide to enable insourcing of specialty ABS and Novodur GF previously produced by external partners. The Schwarzheide site will become an increasingly important hub for Styrolution in EMEA with the production of compounded specialty styrenic products, such as Novodur GF, Terblend N and S, Zylar, and anti-static polystyrene.

Styrolution plans to complete the majority of this project by the end of 2013.

Styrolution has also opened a new, state-of-the art logistics center for its AMSAN and SAN specialties plants in Ludwigshafen, Germany.

Another step in fulfilling Styrolution's strategy is a launch the company's ‘Triple Shift' growth strategy aimed at strengthening its leading position in styrenics globally in August 2013. The strategy calls for an expansion of Styrolution's global footprint in emerging markets; focusing on higher growth industries; and expanding its market position in styrenic specialties and ABS standard.

As MRC informed previously, in line with this strategey the company announced its two initiatives in October 2013: a planned joint venture with Braskem to produce ABS standard and ABS specialties in South America, and new AMSAN specialty production at Styrolution's plant in Altamira, Mexico.

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.

Pechora LNG 'seeking state tie-up'

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Pechora LNG is reported to be pursuing a tie-up with a state partner in an apparent effort to revive the stalled Russian project following a Kremlin move to liberalise liquefied natural gas exports, said Upstreamonline.

The venture, owned by Moscow-based Alltech, is currently in talks with state-controlled Rosneft and Gazprom, its chief executive Maxim Barsky was quoted as saying by Russian daily Kommersant.

Recent legislative amendments passed by the Russian parliament will allow Rosneft and state-owned Zarubezhneft, as well as privately-owned Novatek, to carry out LNG exports from 1 January to break the current export monopoly of Gazprom, though the latter will still have exclusive control of pipeline gas supplies.

The law allows companies to ship LNG if they hold licences to build an LNG plant or send gas to a liquefaction plant. State-controlled companies may also ship gas by tanker if they produce LNG from offshore fields or from production sharing agreements.

Pechora LNG was expected to produce 2.6 million tonnes per year of LNG from two fields in Timan-Pechora province in the autonomous Nenets region of northern Russia. While the project is relatively cheap and simple to develop, it has been on hold for years as its proponents have been unable to gain government clearance for exports and it still remains outside the revised legislative framework.

A source close to Rosneft told Reuters the company is not interested in Pechora LNG as the project is not presently allowed to ship LNG under the law. Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said recently that Moscow might open up LNG exports further in the future but would base any decision on market conditions.

Industry analysts have earlier suggested Gazprom may be interested in acquiring Pechora LNG as it could potentially serve gas fields being developed on the Yamal peninsula by building a pipeline extension to the project from the Bovanenkovo-Ukhta trunkline. Neither Gazprom nor Rosneft would comment to Reuters on the reported discussions.

As MRC wrote before, Russian oil giant Rosneft is to pump nearly USD3 billion into developing a trio of oilfields in East Siberia. The Moscow-based behemoth is to spend 92 billion rubles (USD2.79 billion) on the three fields by 2015. The field developments are set to feed into the East Siberia-Pacific Ocean (ESPO) pipeline feeding Asian markets.

Ineos plans GBP300 million investment as per Grangemouth Survival Plan

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The 'Survival Plan' for Grangemouth is necessary to secure GBP300 million investment and the long term future of the site, reported the company in its latest statement.

This will help to provide skilled jobs for many years to come.

Since the announcement of the 'Survival Plan' on 29 September the company has been very clear with its employees and the media about the need for change at the site and introduced a plan for the future.

As part of this plan Ineos said that three old plants had reached the end of their useful life and will be closed: benzene unit at some point next year with the G4 naphtha cracker and butadiene plant later in 2015.

As these old, end of life plants close, it is expected that the expansion of modern efficient plant at the site, made possible by new investment, will generate new long term opportunities.

The new GBP300 million investment into the Grangemouth petrochemicals site secures over 1400 skilled, well paid roles for many years to come. There is no reduction in salaries proposed; operators continue to earn twice the national average in Scotland and have a first class defined contribution pension scheme.

Ineos is currently recruiting employees and expanding its apprenticeship scheme at the Grangemouth site.

As MRC informed previously, Ineos has invested GBP1 billion in the Grangemouth site since 2006, but over the last three years the whole site has been losing around GBP150 million annually and that is forecast to continue. The feedstock gas from the North Sea is declining. Though this is a modern asset, it continues to run at 50% because of the lack of feedstocks. Lack of alternative feedstock to supplement the North Sea supply will result in the petrochemical side of the business not continuing beyond 2017. Thus, the company is looking to source shale gas from the USA to solve this problem and get the cracker operating at 100%.

INEOS Group Limited is a privately owned multinational chemicals company consisting of 15 standalone business units, headquartered in Rolle, Switzerland and with its registered office in Lyndhurst, United Kingdom. It is the fourth largest chemicals company in the world measured by revenues (after BASF, Dow Chemical and LyondellBasell) and the largest privately owned company in the United Kingdom.

CB&I wins FEED work from Gazprom to develop new Russian refinery

MOSCOW (MRC) -- CB&I was awarded a contract by Russia's JSC Gazprom Neft for front-end engineering and design (FEED) services for a new oil refining complex at Gazprom Neft's refinery in Omsk, Western Siberia, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The existing refinery is currently the largest operating refinery in Russia. CB&I's project scope includes FEED development for multiple new process units, including a 2 million tpy hydrocracker unit licensed by Chevron Lummus Global (CLG), as well as hydrogen, sulfur and other associated units.

"CB&I has been selected for this significant project following the successful delivery of a similar hydrocracker complex earlier this year for Gazprom Neft in Pancevo, Serbia," said Philip K. Asherman, CB&I's CEO.

"CB&I appreciates Gazprom Neft's confidence in our ability to deliver results and is fully committed to meeting our client's expectations on this important project," he added.

As MRC wrote before, Gazprom Neft, the St. Petersburg-headquartered Russian oil and gas company, and Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) have signed a framework agreement setting out the terms of Gazprom Neft’s acquisition of a 49% interest in Binh Son Refining and Petrochemical Co. The two companies are currently in negotiations on financial terms of the acquisition. PetroVietnam has announced plans to reduce its 100% shareholding in the subsidiary to help finance a modernization and expansion project.

Ukraine agrees with Slovakia on piping natural gas from Europe

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Ukraine agreed with neighbor Slovakia on conditions for supplying natural gas from the European Union through Slovak pipelines to reduce dependence on Russia, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The two sides agreed on conditions for flows of gas from west to east and will sign a memorandum as soon as Ukraine is ready, Vahram Chuguryan, a spokesman for Slovak pipeline company Eustream, said by phone. Ukraine may sign the deal this week, Kyiv Post online said, citing Energy Minister Eduard Stavytskyi.

Importing gas from the EU through Slovakia would provide an alternative to Russian supplies at a time when Ukraine has been rocked by protests led by pro-EU opposition to President Viktor Yanukovych. The president backed off European integration deals under pressure from Russia. In the biggest protests since the 2004 Orange Revolution, hundreds of thousands gathered yesterday in Kiev, where a statue of Vladimir Lenin was toppled.

"We have reached an agreement in principle," Chuguryan said. "Now it’s up to the Ukrainian side to set the date."

Talks with the European Commission are complete, he said. The boards of Eustream and Ukrtransgaz, transport unit of Ukraine’s state gas company Naftogaz, must sign the accord.

As MRC wrote before, Wang Jing, the Chinese billionaire behind a USD40 billion plan to cut a canal through Nicaragua, wants to invest USD10 billion in a deepwater port in Ukraine. The project’s first phase, estimated at USD3 billion, includes building a new deepwater port, reconstructing Sevastopol port and developing an economic zone that will house technology-focused companies, the company said in a statement.MRC