Sasol Chemicals fined R534m for excessive propylene and polypropylene prices

MOSCOW (MRC) -- SASOL subsidiary Sasol Chemical Industries (SCI) has been fined an administrative penalty of R534m by the Competition Tribunal for excessive pricing, said Bdlive.

The fine, for the pricing of purified propylene and polypropylene over a period of four years beginning in January 2004, could mark the end of the long-running matter. This is the first case of excessive pricing brought by the Competition Commission itself.

The first excessive pricing case was brought in 2009, when a Competition Tribunal decision over excessive pricing by steel maker ArcelorMittal was reversed by the Competition Appeal Court. In the ArcelorMittal matter, the miner settled with Harmony and Durban Roodepoort Deep, which had lodged the complaint, and the case never went back to the tribunal. The settlement — coming after the initial fine of R691.8m — was never disclosed.

In addition to penalising SCI, the tribunal also determined a method how the company should price these products in future. In its ruling, the tribunal said the prices SCI charged Safripol - its only external customer for purified propylene - was to Safripol’s detriment and inhibited its ability to effectively compete with SCI.

The Competition Commission had argued that SCI's position as a low-cost producer should have been reflected in its prices and that because of its local dominance, SCI was enjoying higher profit margins on both these products than on any of its other products, and rivals were not able to constrain SCI’s pricing.

The tribunal concluded that SCI’s exercise of market power and its excessive prices had resulted in a missed opportunity for innovation and development for the domestic manufacture of downstream plastic goods.

As MRC wrote before, Sasol Chemicals North America and INEOS Olefins & Polymers announced Monday that they have reached final investment decision to form a joint venture to build a high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plant in La Porte.

Sasol Limited is an integrated energy and chemical company based in Johannesburg, South Africa. It develops and commercialises technologies, including synthetic fuels technologies, and produces different liquid fuels, chemicals and electricity.

Lotte Chemical to implement gas-chemical complex at economic zone "Navoi"

MOSCOW (MRC) -- On 5 June 2014, a delegation of Uz-Kor Gas Chemical headed by the Chairman of the Board of the company Mr. Lee Hong Yeol visited free industrial and economic zone "Navoi" (Navoi FIEZ), said 4-traders.

The Korean delegation represented the interests of the company Lotte Chemical Corporation (Korea), one of the members of the consortium of Korean companies - co-founder of Uz-Kor Gas Chemical. The joint venture is implementing the project "Construction of Ustyurt gas-chemical complex at Surgil deposit."

During the visit, the Korean delegation was acquainted with the conditions created for foreign investors in Navoi FIEZ, as well as International intermodal logistics center "Navoi".

The Korean side expressed the interest of Lotte Chemical Corporation for cooperation in implementing joint investment projects on the territory of NavoiFIEZ.

As MRC wrote before, Hyundai Oilbank and Lotte Chemical Corp. have established Hyundai Chemical as a new venture in the oil refining and synthetic fiber materials business. The venture, owned 60 % by Hyundai and 40 % by Lotte, will invest up to 1.2-trillion won, with production targeted to begin in the second half of 2016 at Hyundai’s Daesan plant in South Chungcheong province.

Lotte Chemical Corp. is engaged in the manufacture of petrochemicals. Its products include resin products and basic petrochemicals and chemicals. The resin products provides polyethylene, polypropylene, polycarbonate and functional resin, and polyethylene terephthalate.

Momentive opens new autoglazing pilot coating facility in Germany

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Momentive Performance Materials (MPM) announced today the opening of its new automotive glazing coating facility in Leverkusen, Germany, said Businesswire.

The first of its kind, the new facility will enable original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and tiers to test Momentive’s coating materials in an industrial scale setting.

Customers will also be able to coat production-sized automobile parts in realistic climatic conditions, providing a preview of mass production. Additionally, the innovative dual technologies offering of both thermal and UV-cure capacities will provide customers the opportunity to scale up from test specimen-size to production-sized prototype testing.

"For more than 20 years, MPM’s products have been the industry standard in developing coatings for automotive plastic glazing. The opening of the new facility in Leverkusen provides customers with a state-of-the-art environment to achieve their production and technology goals," said Sam Conzone, vice president, Coatings. "It also illustrates our growing commitment to the industry as we extend our capabilities and offerings."

As MRC wrote earlier, Momentive and OAO Shchekinoazot, a large Russian industrial chemicals producer, formed a joint venture company to manufacture resins for the forest products and construction markets.

Momentive Performance Materials Inc. is a global leader in silicones and advanced materials, with a 70-year heritage of being first to market with performance applications for major industries that support and improve everyday life. Momentive Performance Materials Inc. is an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of Momentive Performance Materials Holdings LLC.

Firefighters try to extinguish a fire at a Sinopec oil refinery in Nanjing, Jiangsu province

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Firefighters try to extinguish a fire at a Sinopec oil refinery in Nanjing, Jiangsu province June 9, 2014. About 200 firefighters were dispatched to put out the blaze, which broke out on Monday when the sulphur recovery facility at the refinery of Sinopec Yangzi Petrochemical Co. caught fire and exploded, Xinhua News Agency reported.

No casualties have been reported, it said.

The fire happened at a downstream chemical plant and has been put out. The explosion was likely caused by a fire which started at the wastewater-treatment equipment and spread to the nearby crude oil tanks. Located at Nanjing in east China, Sinopec Yangzi has a crude refining capacity of 160,000 bbl/day.

As MRC wrote before, an explosion in a Sinopec Corp oil pipeline in late November 2013 killed 35 people in Qingdao in eastern China on Friday, causing a blaze that took several hours to bring under control and halting operations at a major oil port.

China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (SINOPEC) is a large scale integrated energy and chemical company with upstream, midstream and downstream operations. Sinopec is the worlds seventh biggest company by revenue.
It is one of the major petroleum companies in China. Sinopec's business includes oil and gas exploration, refining, and marketing; production and sales of petrochemicals, chemical fibers, chemical fertilizers, and other chemical products. Sinopec is China's largest manufacturer and supplier of major petrochemical products. It is the second largest producer of crude oil in China. Its refining capacity and ethylene capacity rank No.2 and No.4 globally.

Praxair opens new Tennessee air separation unit

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Praxair on Monday announced the start-up of its new 600-tpd air separation unit in Memphis, Tennessee, expanding the company’s ability to supply gaseous and liquid oxygen, nitrogen and argon to customers across the southeastern US, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Praxair operates multiple plants and pipelines throughout the region that serve numerous industrial gas customers, including Nucor Steel Memphis and the Valero Memphis refinery.

Using innovative technology, energy-efficient processes and argon recovery, the facility will serve liquid-product customers, including the region’s growing automotive industry.

"Our new investment strengthens Praxair’s position as a leading supplier of industrial gases and will support our growing business in the region," said Jeff Barnhard, East Region vice president for Praxair’s US industrial gases segment.

"The plant will further enable Praxair to serve the full spectrum of customer needs, from cylinder gases to bulk and on-site gases."

As MRC wrote before, Praxair Volgograd LLC, a subsidiary of Praxair, Inc., in 2012 launched its first large-scale air separation plant in Volgograd, an industrial region in southern Russia. This plant produces oxygen, nitrogen and compressed air for Kaustik, a division of the Nikochem Group, under a long-term contract. The highly-efficient plant has a capacity of 350 tons per day and reduces Kaustik’s electricity consumption at the site by approximately 30%. The plant also supplys merchant products to local markets such as metals, metal fabrication, glass, automotive, food, electronics and healthcare.

Praxair, Inc. is the largest industrial gases company in North and South America, and one of the largest worldwide, with 2011 sales of USD11 billion. The company produces, sells and distributes atmospheric, process and specialty gases, and high-performance surface coatings. Praxair products, services and technologies are making our planet more productive by bringing efficiency and environmental benefits to a wide variety of industries, including aerospace, chemicals, food and beverage, electronics, energy, healthcare, manufacturing, metals and others.