Borealis divests joint-ownership share in Le Havre urea production plant

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Borealis, a leading provider of innovative solutions in the fields of polyolefins, base chemicals and fertilizers, has announced that its French subsidiary Borealis Chimie divests its joint-ownership share in the Le Havre urea production plant and related ammonia storage facility at Gonfreville l'Orcher, France, as per the company's press release.

Following the divestment, the plant and related storage facility will be fully owned by Yara France, who already owns the remaining share and operates these facilities. Through the 2013 acquisition of GPN SA, subsequently renamed Borealis Chimie SAS, Borealis also assumed the 52.15% joint-ownership share in the Le Havre urea plant, which has an annual production capacity of 320,000 tonnes, and a 37.5% stake in the related ammonia storage facility.

Borealis management has now taken the decision to divest its joint-ownership share in order to concentrate on its 100%-owned industrial sites and, in the case of existing partnerships, to give precedence to less restrictive legal forms. The divestment also includes the supply of urea by Yara to Borealis during a transition period in order to ensure continuity in product delivery. The divestment will not have an impact on Borealis employees.

"The strategic decision to conclude this transaction with Yara allows us to concentrate on our wholly-owned fertilizer production locations in France," explains Gerald Papst, Borealis Vice President Business Unit Fertilizer.

Borealis is the largest producer of nitrogen fertilizers in France and employs approximately 940 people. Borealis in France operates three production sites in Grand-Quevilly, Grandpuits and Ottmarsheim, as well as a storage site at La Rochelle. A turnaround currently in progress at Borealis Grand-Quevilly will improve the efficiency and reliability of the site and involves an investment of EUR 60 million in the renewal and maintenance of equipment.

As MRC informed previously, Borealis got the first drops of ethylene flowing in late May from a plant expansion in the emirate costing more than USD4 billion. The expansion project began in 2009. Annual capacity at Borouge, about 155 miles (250 kilometers) from the city of Abu Dhabi, will more than double to 4.5 million tons from 2 million tons of ethylene and the derivative polyethylene and polypropylene plastics used in car parts and packaging.

Yara delivers solutions for sustainable agriculture and the environment. Founded in Norway in 1905, Yara has a worldwide presence with sales to 150 countries.

Borealis is a leading provider of innovative solutions in the fields of polyolefins, base chemicals and fertilizers. The only polyethylene (PE) producer in Sweden, Borealis’ Stenungsund facilities include a PE plant, a cracker for ethylene and propylene production, and an innovation center focused on research and development for infrastructure markets.

Blast at Petronas plant kills one

MOSCOW (MRC) -- A man working at a gas processing facility operated by an affiliate of Petronas was killed late on Thursday following an explosion, said Upstreamonline.

Petronas Gas Berhad (PGB) confirmed that the employee "succumbed to his injury while doing repair work" at near Gas Processing Plant 4 in Kertih, Terengganu.

"PGB is extending all necessary assistance to the family members of the victim," the company said, adding that it is working with authorities to establish the cause of the accident.

Local media said the contractor was a welder and that three others were injured in the blast. The four were working to fix a gas leak, the New Straits Times reported.

In 2012, an explosion at Gas Processing Plant 3 in Kertih killed one and injured several others.

Petronas said its group of companies "adhere at all times to stringent safety measures in line with international standards at all of its operations".

As MRC wrote before, Petronas Chemicals Group (PCG) has restarted a polyethylene (PE) plant. A source in Malaysia informed that the plant restarted on June 16, 2014. The plant was shut for a maintenance turnaround. Located in Kerteh, Malaysia, the plant has a production capacity of 240,000 mt/year.

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.

Xinjiang Zhongtai to shut two PVC plant for maintenance in China

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Xinjiang Zhongtai Chemical is likely to shut down two polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plants for maintenance turnaround, as per Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in China informed that the plants are planned to be shut in July 2014. The duration of the shutdown could not be ascertained.

Located in Xinjiang, China, the plants have a combined production capacity of 800,000 mt/year.

As MRC wrote before, Xinjiang Zhongtai and Xinjiang Tianye are the main PVC suppliers to Kazakhstan. Besides, the Chinese company is the traditional supplier of acetylene PVC to the Russian market.

We remind that, in 2012, Xinjiang Zhongtai began a trial run of the third plant for suspension PVC production with the capacity of 900,000 tonnes per year in Fukang (China). The launch of the third unit of Xinjiang Zhongtai will allow to increase the total production capacity of acetylene PVC up to 1,600 thous. tonnes and, thus, become a major producer in Northern China and surpass the company Xinjiang Tianye, the total annual capacity of which makes 1,300 thous. tonnes.

Reliance Industries Ltd to strengthen plastics business with new integrated

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The CMD of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) informed the shareholders at the company's 40th AGM that RIL plans to invest Rs 1.8 lakh crore (USD30 billion) across businesses- petrochemicals, refining, retail and telecom - in this current three years’ investment cycle, said Plastemart.

Stressing that petrochemicals business will benefit from the highest allocation of capital among its three energy businesses, Ambani said that will strengthen its plastics business by building a new integrated cracker capacity, which would rank among the most competitive being built anywhere in the world this decade. Through feedstock integration and operating efficiencies, Reliance Industries aims to compete effectively with new capacities in both North America and the Middle East.

"We will also add to the aromatics chain by upgrading refinery light-ends into new paraxylene facility and alongside commission downstream PTA and polyester capacity. We are also building a new business in rubbers capitalising on feedstock integration and rapidly growing domestic markets," Ambani added.

The investment in petrochemical business will be targeted at adding value to the refinery streams and feedstock and will be focussed on the growth potential of the Indian market.

As MRC wrote before, Reliance Industries Ltd. (RIL) said it has successfully commissioned its 395,000-t/y polyester filament yarn plant in Silvassa, India, the first in a series of planned petrochemical expansion projects announced earlier.

Reliance Industries is one of the world's largest producers of polymers which include polypropylene, polyethylene and polyvinyl chloride.

Asahi Kasei to construct new plant for prodution of new transparent polymer for optical applications

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Asahi Kasei Chemicals has developed AZP as a new optical polymer featuring zero birefringence achieved through novel molecular design. Manufacturing facilities for AZP will be constructed at the company’s Chiba Plant (Sodegaura, Chiba, Japan), with start-up scheduled for early next year, reported the company on its site.

Applications for AZP are anticipated in high-performance displays and various optical components.

As information technology continues to advance, TVs, PCs, smartphones, and in-car navigation systems increasingly require displays that provide higher definition, more efficient utilization of light, and lower power consumption. Developed by Asahi Kasei Chemicals, AZP meets these emerging market needs as the world’s first plastic material featuring zero birefringence, achieved through novel molecular design.

As conventional polymers for displays have birefringence characteristics, some of the light passing through is refracted or leaked, resulting in diminished contrast and lower clarity. Because it has no birefringence, AZP enables clearer images and more efficient utilization of light. With its light weight and easy processability, AZP is the ideal substitute for glass in display screens.

Asahi Kasei Chemicals will continue to develop new applications for AZP and provide high-quality and high-performance products, while studying further expansions of production capacity in accordance with market needs.

As MRC wrote previously, Asahi Kasei’s (Tokyo, Japan) Fibers division will expand production capacity for polypropylene spunbond nonwovens in Thailand at its subsidiary Asahi Kasei Spunbond (Thailand) Co. AKST will add a new production line of 20,000 metric tons per year capacity which, combined with its existing production line, will double its capacity for spunbond nonwovens to 40,000 m.t/yr. The investment for the capacity expansion is approximately USD5 billion, with a scheduled startup of November 2015.