Formosa to shut its naphtha cracker No.3 in Taiwan

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Formosa, the largest supplier of plastics in Taiwan, is in plans to shut its No 3 naphtha cracker for maintenance turnaround, reported Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in Taiwan informed that the plant is likely to be shut on August 15, 2014. It is likely to remain off-stream for around 45 days.

Located in Mailiao, Taiwan, the plant has an ethylene capacity of 1.2 million mt/year, propylene capacity of 600,000 mt/year and butadiene capacity of 180,000 mt/year.

As wrote before, in November 2013, Formosa Plastics was seeking United States permits for a USD2 billion expansion of its Texas operations as cheaper natural gas prices make US production more competitive. The company asked federal and state environmental regulators to approve plans for an ethane cracker unit and downstream derivatives. The investment is bigger than was previously planned by Formosa Plastics as of February 2012, when it said it would spend USD1.7 billion to build two factories and a polyethylene plastics plant in Texas.

Formosa Petrochemical is involved primarily in the business of refining crude oil, selling refined petroleum products and producing and selling olefins (including ethylene, propylene, butadiene and BTX) from its naphtha cracking operations. Formosa Petrochemical is also the largest olefins producer in Taiwan and its olefins products are mostly sold to companies within the Formosa Group. Among the company's chemical products are paraxylene (PX), phenyl ethylene, acetone and pure terephthalic acid (PTA). The company's plastic products include acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) resins, polystyrene (PS), polypropylene (PP) and panlite (PC).

Bayer PC used for lightweight, durable luggage collection

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Bayer MaterialScience has partnered with U.S.-based travel goods manufacturer Andiamo Luggage LLC to create a special plastic for suitcases that is scratch resistant and particularly lightweight, said Plasticsnews.

The new Bayer plastic will form the Pantera Collection from Andiamo Luggage. The extruded Makrolon brand polycarbonate can be shaped virtually at will and colored in a number of shades says Bayer, which helps the material to create fashionable suitcases.

Bayer says the plastic’s scratch resistance means that suitcases will still look good even after many trips and states that the material even exceeds previous polycarbonate grades. The suitcases are expected to launch in August with Andiamo Luggage offering a 10-year warranty on items from the collection.

As MRC wrote before, Bayer MaterialScience, a Bayer Group company, said that it has decided to close its site in Darmstadt, Germany, as part of the worldwide consolidation of its business with sheets made of the high-performance plastic polycarbonate. The closure in Darmstadt affects 90 employees. The European customers will be supplied in the future by the plants in Nera Montoro, Italy, and Tielt, Belgium.

Headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pa., BMS is part of the global Bayer MaterialScience business with approximately 14,800 employees at 30 production sites around the world. The company’s 2011 sales in North America were USD2.9 billion.

With 2013 sales of EUR 11.2 billion, Bayer MaterialScience is among the world’s largest polymer companies. Business activities are focused on the manufacture of high-tech polymer materials and the development of innovative solutions for products used in many areas of daily life. The main segments served are the automotive, electrical and electronics, construction and the sports and leisure industries. At the end of 2013, Bayer MaterialScience had 30 production sites and employed approximately 14,300 people around the globe. Bayer MaterialScience is a Bayer Group company.

PP imports ro Belarus rose by 2% from January to May 2014

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Polypropylene (PP) imports into Belarus increased by 2% over the first five months of 2014 on the back of stronger demand for propylene copolymers, as per MRC DataScope report.

May PP imports to Belarus rose to 8,800 tonnes (6,600 tonnes in April) because of a seasonal increase in demand for finished products. The overall PP importsto the local market from January to May 2014 totalled 33,400 tonnes versus 32,700 tonnes a year earlier. Demand for propylene copolymers grew significantly, while demand for propylene homopolymers (homopolymer PP), on the contrary, decreased.

The structure of PP imports looks the following way over the stated period.

May imports of homopolymer PP to the local market rose to 6,000 tonnes from 4,000 tonnes in April. The overall imports of propylene homopolymers into Belarus fell over the first five months of the year to 22,600 tonnes from 24,500 tonnes a year earlier. Demand for PP for the production of BOPP-films accounted for the greates decline.

Russian producers with the share of 67% over the said period are the key suppliers of homopolymer PP to the Belarusian market. Producers from Poland and Germany with the share of 10% and 8%, respectively, are the second and third largest suppliers of propylene homopolymers.

May imports of propylene copolymers to Belarus rose to 2,800 tonnes (2,600 tonnes in April). The overall imports of propylene copolymers to the local market grew from January to May 2014 to 10,800 tonnes versus 8,300 tonnes a year earlier. Producers from Germany and the Czech Republic with the share of 60% and 13%, respectively, are the key suppliers.

Clariant goes the extra mile for home care with the Hostagel line of rheology modifiers

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Clariant, a world leader in specialty chemicals, has introduced powerful opportunities to enhance the look, feel and pour of home care products, with new viscosity boosters Hostagel CL for chlorine bleach gel formulations and Hostagel LT for hard-to-thicken detergent formulations added to its Hostagel range, as per the company's press release.

Product aesthetics and performance are key to consumer success in the laundry detergent, dishwashing and consumer and industrial cleaning product segments. Clariant’s Hostagel rheology modifiers offer customers an effective way of introducing the desired degree of viscosity under a broad range of conditions to enhance product delivery, appearance and performance.

New Hostagel CL is an almost colorless, clear liquid that meets the needs of more affordable chlorine gel formulations. Suitable for cold processes, it also offers great cost-to-benefit performance. It is one of the best options available that can thicken from 2-5% of sodium hypochlorite while keeping viscosity high and appearance clear at lower cost than formulations containing amineoxide. The product is being launched to customers in Europe, North-America and Asia.

New Hostagel LT was developed for increasing the viscosity of those systems where traditional thickeners are not enough. For example, for combinations of surfactants that do not respond to sodium chloride or other viscosifiers. It is easy and convenient to handle, does not require melting, and can be used in many different applications. Hostagel LT is available in Latin America, North-America and Asia.

Hostagel CL and Hostagel LT are part of a line of six products that together cover customers’ rheology needs across the board - for every application and pH value.

As MRC wrote before, CB&I and Clariant have recently announced that their new Ziegler-Natta (ZN) polypropylene catalyst plant in Louisville, Kentucky, is on schedule to begin production in 2015.

Clariant AG is a Swiss chemical company and a world leader in the production of specialty chemicals for the textile, printing, mining and metallurgical industries. It is engaged in processing crude oil products in pigments, plastics and paints.

BASF opens new automotive coatings plant in China

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BASF Shanghai Coatings Co., Ltd. has inaugurated its new automotive coatings plant at the Shanghai Chemical Industry Park in Shanghai, China, as per the company's press release.

The expansion of its automotive coatings production capacity with an investment of around EUR50 million further strengthens BASF’s presence in China and its position as a leading coatings supplier to the automotive industry.

"BASF is the leading chemical partner for the automotive industry. This investment further signifies our commitment to our automotive customers and to supporting the dynamic growth of China’s automotive market," said Dr. Andreas Kreimeyer, Member of the Board of Executive Directors of BASF SE and Research Executive Director.

The new automotive coatings plant is located adjacent to another new BASF resin and electrocoat plant which will start operation in the second half of 2015. The close proximity of these two plants with access to facilities of BASF Caojing site and the Shanghai Chemical Industry Park will allow greater synergies and operational efficiency.

BASF Shanghai Coatings Co., Ltd. is a joint venture between BASF Group and Shanghai Huayi Fine Chemical Co., Ltd., with more than 17 years of successful partnership.

BASF’s Coatings division develops, produces and markets innovative automotive coatings, automotive refinishes and industrial coatings as well as decorative paints. The company operate sites in Europe, North America and South America as well as Asia Pacific. In 2013, the Coatings division achieved global sales of EUR2.9 billion.

As MRC reported earlier, the designers at BASF’s Coatings division have recently published their automotive color trends for 2014/2015. With their collection entitled "Under the Radar", new color ranges are appearing on the trend radar. The development of special effects is setting new accents and opening up unusual color ranges. BASF’s designers are predicting that this will make automotive colors more complex and more individual in the future.

BASF is the world’s leading chemical company. Its portfolio ranges from chemicals, plastics, performance products and crop protection products to oil and gas. BASF had sales of about EUR74 billion in 2013 and over 112,000 employees as of the end of the year.