Dow announces successful start-up of new propylene oxide plant in Thailand

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The Dow Chemical Company has announced that the SCG-Dow Group, a joint venture between Dow and Siam Cement Group, has finalized the start-up of its new propylene oxide (PO) facility in Thailand by successfully completing its full capacity performance test, as per Ein News.

Dow reached a key milestone in October 2011 when the plant achieved stable production levels in preparation for the full capacity run scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2011. The new facility met that target on time by successfully completing the full capacity run on November 22, 2011 - only two months after starting raw material feeds to this new plant. Additionally, the plant exceeded expectations for all quality and yield performance parameters.

The world-scale plant, located within the Asia Industrial Estates (AIE) site near Map Ta Phut, Thailand, has a name plate capacity of 390,000 tonnes per annum of PO via the innovative hydrogen peroxide to propylene oxide (HPPO) technology.

"Dow's investment in this new facility strategically enhances its existing position as the global capacity leader in PO and better positions its derivative businesses such as Polyurethanes and Propylene Glycol," said Steven English, global vice president, Dow Polyurethanes. "As a global strategic source point, Dow can better serve customers of these life-enhancing industries in Asia and beyond."

As MRC informed earlier, last year, Dow Chemical signed a long-term ethylene off-take agreement with a new Japanese joint venture that will allow the chemical producer to enhance its performance plastics franchise. The joint venture was formed between Japanese companies Idemitsu Kosan and Mitsui & Co. to construct and operate a Linear Alpha Olefins unit on the US Gulf Coast.

The Dow Chemical Company is an American multinational chemical corporation headquartered in Midland, Michigan, United States. Dow is a large producer of plastics, including polystyrene (PS), polyurethane, polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP) and synthetic rubber. Besides, Dow is the world's largest producer of propylene oxide (PO), propylene glycol (PG), and polyether polyols, and is a leading producer of quality aromatic isocyanates, such as MDI and TDI. Dow's polyurethane products enhance a broad range of applications including construction, automotive, furniture, bedding, appliance, decorative molding, athletic equipment and more.

Swiss Sika posts record sales in 2013

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Bolstered by a late winter, Sika AG's sales picked up momentum in the 4th quarter of 2013. Total sales grew 9.4% in local currencies in the 2013 financial year, according to producer's press-release.

Adjusted for exchange rates, sales were 6.5% higher at CHF 5.14 billion. This positive development is largely due to organic growth. The rapid integration of acquisitions also helped to drive growth momentum.

5.9% of the overall sales increase reported in the 2013 financial year was attributable to organic growth, to which all regions contributed. Acquisition-related sales growth came to 3.5%. The strong Swiss franc produced a negative currency effect of 2.9%. This resulted in 6.5% sales growth in Swiss francs. In light of the demanding conditions prevailing in numerous markets, the results achieved bear testimony to the strength and robustness of Sika's growth strategy.

The region EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) reported 8.5% growth for 2013. This positive trend was driven primarily by organic growth in Eastern Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the UK, as well as by acquisitions.

The accelerated build-up of business in the emerging markets produced sales growth of 17.2% in local currencies and 11.8% in Swiss francs. The proportion of sales generated by the emerging markets increased to 38% (previous year:37%).

Through investments in emerging markets, the launch of new products, and the acquired companies, Sika is poised to continue its growth strategy in the current year 2014. That being said, the significant currency movements witnessed in the past few months and the process of integrating the newly acquired companies present a challenge in terms of sales growth and costs items.

As MRC wrote before, AkzoNobel N.V., a paints and coatings company and a maker of specialty chemicals sold its Building Adhesives business for 260 million euros to Swiss-based Sika AG in 2013.


Advanced Petrochemical mulls new projects locally and overseas

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The rise in earnings of Advanced Petrochemical Co. (APC) was mainly driven by the increase in production, as product prices rose 5% in the fourth quarter compared to the third quarter and sales grew 8%, reported Ein News with reference to CEO Abdullah Al Qarie's interview with Alarabiya TV.

He added that his company is studying new investment opportunities in Saudi Arabia, in addition to overseas markets of the US and Canada. Asked whether the company may borrow through issuing Sukuk, the top official asserted that the company's credit ability is very strong.

APC had posted a 38% rise in Q4-13 net earnings to above SAR 161 million, beating estimates of SAR 153.5 million.

As MRC wrote previously, in 2012, Advanced Petrochemical Company (Advanced) and Aramco Total Refining and Petrochemical Company (Satorp) signed on a sales agreeent for the supply of 50,000 tonnes per year of propylene from Satorp Refinery to be built in Jubail Industrial City (2) to Advanced. Under this agreement, Satorp will provide Advanced with 50,000 tonnes of propylene annually for an initial period of three years and it will be renewed on an annual basis. And it is expected to commence supply starting from January 1, 2014 and Satorp will supply propylene by a pipeline from Jubail (2) to Jubail (1).

PTT Global to invest USD4.5 billion during 2014-2018

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Thailand's largest petrochemical maker, PTT Global Chemical Pcl plans to invest USD4.5 billion from 2014 to 2018, mostly on foreign expansion, reported Ein News with reference to the company's chief executive's statement.

The amount is unchanged from previous estimates. The company will use its revenues for about USD2.5 billion while the rest will come from bank loans or bond issues, Bowon Vongsinudom, president and CEO of PTT Global, told reporters.

"We recently raised USD1 billion via a bond issue and whether we will sell more bonds or seek loan will depend on our study on large foreign investments," Bowon said.

PTT Global, 49% owned by top energy firm PTT Pcl, is considering the possibility of overseas investments especially in Indonesia, China, Malaysia and Vietnam, he said.

As MRC informed previously, the Thai firm has already joined Indonesian state oil and gas firm Pertamina to build a petrochemical complex in Indonesia with estimated cost of USD5 billion.

Besides, earlier, last summer, Pertamina signed an agreement to purchase petrochemical products from PTT Global Chemical. The agreement serves as a pre-marketing strategy for Pertamina and PTT’s joint Indonesian petrochemical business. Under the agreement, PTT will deliver at least 5,000 tonnes of polyethylene and polypropylene products each month to Pertamina for sale in Indonesia.

PTT Global Chemical is a leading player in the petrochemical industry and owns several petrochemical facilities with a combined capacity of 8.45 million tonnes a year.

Sasol inaugurates plant to boost polyethylene production

MOSCOW (Markey Report) -- Sasol Limited’s Chief Executive Officer, David Constable, and the South African Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies, has inaugurated Sasol’s new ethylene purification unit, known as the Ethylene Purification Unit 5 (EPU5), in Sasolburg, according to the company's press release.

Located at the Sasol Polymers Plant in Sasolburg, the R1.9 billion ethylene purification unit aims to address the growing demand for polyethylene material. The plant will also ensure better utilisation of Sasol’s existing downstream polyethylene facilities.

In delivering his opening remarks at the official opening, David Constable said, "Through the installation of the new ethylene splitter, considerable production capacity has been freed up to produce more ethylene. In so doing, our investment in EPU5, together with a new compressor unit in Secunda, will provide the South African plastics manufacturing industry with an additional 47 000 tons of polyethylene annually."

EPU5 is already in operation phase. Half of the additional 47 000 tons of polyethylene will be reached within the next six months, while the plant is expected to reach full capacity by 2017.

"The South African plastics industry is a significant contributor to the national economy. Local demand for polyethylene polymers continues to grow at a rate of 4 to 5% annually. With a rise in new plant capacities and the need to be globally competitive, we recognised the necessity to expand both polymer and ethylene production," said Marinus Sieberhagen, Managing Director, Sasol Polymers.

As MRC informed previously, in April 2013, Sasol selected the UNIPOL polyethylene process of Univation Technologies and the tubular process technology from ExxonMobil Chemical for the new linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) and low-density polyethylene (LDPE) plants in North America, respectively.

Sasol Limited is an integrated energy and chemical company that began in Sasolburg, South Africa in 1950. It develops and commercialises technologies and builds and operates world-scale facilities to produce a range of product streams including liquid fuels, chemicals.