Shell appoints Harry Brekelmans as Projects & Technology Director

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Royal Dutch Shell plc has announced the appointment of Harry Brekelmans as Projects & Technology Director with effect from October 1, 2014, as per the company's press release.

In his new role, Harry will become a member of the Executive Committee and will take over from Matthias Bichsel who will be leaving the company after 34 years’ distinguished service.

Harry is a Dutch national and currently Executive Vice President Operated, Upstream International. He joined Shell in 1990 and has held a variety of international management positions in Geosciences, Field Development, Operations, Internal Audit and Strategy & Planning. Harry graduated from Delft Technical University, Netherlands in 1990 with a degree in Petroleum Engineering. Harry is married with two children.

As MRC informed previously, last year, Royal Dutch Shell took a final investment decision tol increase production capacity at its Singapore petrochemical plant to meet demand for specialized materials used in the automotive and furniture industries. The upgrade will increase the plant's capacity to produce polyols -- industrial chemicals used to make high-quality foams -- by more than 100,000 metric tpy to 360,000 tpy. The project is expected to be completed in 2014.

Royal Dutch Shell plc is an Anglo-Dutch multinational oil and gas company headquartered in The Hague, Netherlands and with its registered office in London, United Kingdom. It is the biggest company in the world in terms of revenue and one of the six oil and gas "supermajors". Shell is vertically integrated and is active in every area of the oil and gas industry, including exploration and production, refining, distribution and marketing, petrochemicals, power generation and trading.

Williams Olefins restates August ethylene force majeure

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Williams Olefins, the world's only processor of oil sands upgrader offgas, is restating its ethylene force majeure allocation, reducing its August sales allocation from 25% to 0%, as per Plastemart with refrence to industry sources.

As MRC reported before, in mid-June 2013, Williams Olefins declared force majeure on ethylene supplies out of its Geismar, Louisiana, olefins complex that was impacted by an explosion and fire.

Earlier this year, the company has notified customers of the change, stating that the Geismar, Louisiana, ethylene plant would not restart until Q2-2014. The plant has been offline since an explosion in July 2013. On July 23, the company told customers it would be able to supply 25% of the ethylene allocation and there were expectations that the plant would restart in August.

One source said he was told that the restated force majeure event was due to "operational restrictions" and Williams estimated a 100% loss of production for August, which would lead to a 0% sales allocation for the month. The force majeure and the subsequent 0% allocation follows a six-to-eight week restart delay announced Wednesday in the second-quarter financial guidance update.

The Geismar, La. plant is a natural gas liquids cracker that processes olefins used in the petrochemical industry. Williams Partners produces approximately 1.3 billion pounds of ethylene and 90 million pounds of polymer grade prophylene from the plant.

Mitsui Chemicals plans repair along with two week maintenance shutdown at Chiba naphtha cracker

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Mitsui Chemicals, a Japanese chemical company, is to shut its 612,000 tpa naphtha cracker in Chiba for two weeks in October to fix an unspecified problem, as per Plastemart.

The problem does not need an immediate fix and the work will be conducted at the same time as the maintenance of some downstream units that process products from the naphtha cracker, a company spokesman said.

As MRC informed previously, last year, Mitsui Chemicals announced a further expansion of its dental material business with acquisition of 50.01% of issued and outstanding shares of DENTCA, Inc. on June 20, 2013. The dentures market is expected to continue to grow leveraged by the increase in aging of world-wide populations and rising incomes in emerging countries.

Mitsui Chemicals,a Japanese chemical company, is a part of the Mitsui conglomerate. The company has a turnover of around 15 billion USD and has business interests in Japan, Europe, China, Southeast Asia and the USA. Mitsui Chemicals’ business portfolio includes petrochemicals, basic chemicals, polyurethanes, functional polymeric materials, functional chemicals, and films and sheets.

Le Seda sale to Selenis gets final agreement

МOSCOW (MRC) -- Portugal’s Selenis has finalised the purchase of Artenius Italia, the last remaining PET production company of La Seda de Barcelona (LSB), said EuropeanPlasticsnews.

The PET subsidiary of the Imatosgil Investimentos group of Portuguese entrepreneur Matos Gil, once a major shareholder of La Seda, paid EUR1m for the assets. According to La Seda, Selenis will employ 30 staff at the Italian PET production facility and assume redundancy costs for another 75 workers.

News of the Selenis interest was first revealed back in May when it was reported to be one of two bidders for the Artenius business. The other would-be buyer for the 200,000 tpa PET business in San Giorgio di Nogaro was Ottana Polymers, a Sardinia-based partnership between Indorama Ventures and Italian businessman Paolo Clivati.

Selenis, which has other plants in Portugal and Montreal, Canada, bought the Artenius Italia assets through a subsidiary, Control PET, SGPS, SA. after winning a competitive bankruptcy sale overseen by an Italian court, confirmed the LSB insolvency administrator Jose Vicente Estrada Esteban. Proceeds of the sale previously destined to help pay off LSB liabilities, will not now contribute much to reducing the debt, according to the administrator.

Meanwhile, Spanish media reports suggest the block sale of another LSB subsidiary, the APPE packaging division is on the verge of being sold.

Elsewhere, investors in other LSB assets are reported to be planning to sink EUR10m in two Spanish plants, the Artenius Espana PET plant at El Prat de Llobregat near Barcelona and Tarragona-based feedstock chemicals unit Industrias Quimicas Asociadas (IQA).

The two operations were acquired recently by subsidiaries of the Cristian Lay group of Badajoz, Spain for more than EUR15m. The group has spent the past three months trying to cut the operating costs by renegotiating contracts with former LSB suppliers, according to national media reports.

Seda de Barcelona (LSB) is an industrial plastic packaging group operating internationally through its 14 facilities across Europe, Turkey and North Africa. It is the only European producer capable of supplying PET containers in a fully integrated way from raw material feedstock, conversion technology and design, injection and blow moulding up to the delivered finished product, by means of guaranteeing the quality of all its production processes.The PET and recycling division of LSB has four production plants in Spain, Italy, Greece and Turkey, and two recycling sites in Spain and Italy.


Clariant confirms outlook on solid Q2 results

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Speciality chemicals producer Clariant (Muttenz / Switzerland) has reported operating profit (EBITDA) of CHF 214m (EUR 176m) in the second quarter of 2014, up from CHF 211m in Q2 2013, as per the companie's report.

However, in local currencies, EBITDA increased by 9% year-on-year in the quarter. Operating margin in the period rose to 14% from 13.7% in the second quarter of 2013, thanks to higher gross margin and reduced selling, general and administrative costs, which more than compensated for a 1.5% point negative impact from exchange rate developments, the company said.

Sales in the quarter were CHF 1.53 bn, compared to CHF 1.54 bn in Q2 2013, but grew by 6% year-on-year in local currencies. Unfavourable development of the US dollar and Japanese yen, and emerging market currencies including the Brazilian real and Indian rupee, translated into the 1% reduction in sales in Swiss francs.

In the second quarter of 2014, EBITDA margin before exceptional items in the plastics and coatings business area of 14.0% was lower than the second quarter of 2013, as higher volumes could not compensate for unfavourable currency developments. Sales in the business increased 6% in local currencies and were flat in Swiss francs compared to Q2 2013.

All three businesses in the plastics and coatings area – pigments, masterbatches, and additives – contributed to growth, the company said. Pigments achieved strong sales gains in local currencies in most regions, with particularly strong demand in Asia/Pacific, Latin America, and North America. Masterbatches experienced good sales growth in local currencies, thanks to strong demand in emerging markets, while sales in mature markets decreased. Additives achieved strong sales growth in flame retardants and polymer additives, while waxes grew moderately, Clariant said, with growth in local currencies highest in North America and Europe.

As MRC wrote before, CB&I and Clariant announced that their new Ziegler-Natta (ZN) polypropylene catalyst plant in Louisville, Kentucky, is on schedule to begin production in 2015. The plant is part of a long-term strategic partnership between Clariant’s catalysts business and CB&I’s Lummus Novolen Technology business. Based at Clariant’s largest US production hub, the new facility will combine innovative catalysts jointly developed by both companies with high-capacity output.

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.