Asahi Kasei to permanently shut cracker in Japan

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Asahi Kasei (Tokyo, Japan) is likely to shut its naphtha cracker permanently, reported Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in Japan informed that the cracker is planned to be shut permanently in April 2016.

Located in Mizushima, Japan, the cracker has an ethylene capacity of 470,000 mt/year and propylene capacity of 300,000 mt/year.

We remind that, as MRC informed previously, 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.

Besides, Asahi Kasei’s 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.

Westlake Chemical Partners closes initial public offering

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Westlake Chemical Partners LP (the "Partnership"), a Westlake company, has announced the closing of the Partnership's initial public offering of 12,937,500 common units representing limited partner interests in the Partnership (the "Common Units") at USD24.00 per common unit, as per the company's press release.

The Common Units issued at closing included 1,687,500 common units that were issued pursuant to the full exercise of the underwriters' option to purchase additional Common Units. The Common Units began trading on the New York Stock Exchange on July 30, 2014 under the symbol "WLKP."

The Common Units represent an approximate 47.8% limited partner interest in the Partnership, with Westlake Chemical Corporation and its affiliates owning the remaining approximate 52.2% limited partner interest in the Partnership, the general partner interest in the Partnership and the Partnership incentive distribution rights.

As MRC reported earlier, in early May 2014, Westlake Chemical Corporation announced that one of its wholly owned subsidiaries, Westlake Chemical Partners LP, had filed a Registration Statement on Form S-1 with the US Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") relating to its proposed initial public offering of common units representing limited partner interests.

Westlake Chemical Partners LP is a limited partnership formed to operate, acquire and develop ethylene production facilities and related assets. It is headquartered in Houston, Texas.

PTT Global Chemical delays joint venture in Indonesia

MOSCOW (MRC) -- PTT Global Chemical Plc (PTTGC) anticipates to postpone the conclusion from end-2014 of its USD4.5 bln petrochemical complex in Indonesia to early next year, after revising the investment plan, as per the company chairman, as reported by Plastemart.

PTTGC and Indonesian national energy firm Pertamina earlier planned to build a refinery at the complex in Indonesia, with a 2018 target for commercial operations. However, the plan has been changed, and now the alliance will revamp the existing Pertamina refinery and add a petrochemical plant there. Under the new plan, the refinery revamp will be done by Thai Oil Plc, also a PTT subsidiary, while the petrochemical project will be developed by PTTGC. After the revamp for higher efficiency and utilisation, the oil refinery is expected to have a capacity of 200,000 to 300,000 bpd.

As MRC reported earlier, last year, Indonesian state-owned energy company Pertamina signed an agreement to purchase petrochemical products from Thailand’s 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 (PE) and polypropylene (PP) products each month to Pertamina for sale in Indonesia.

Recently, Pertamina and PTTGC have announced that they would start joint shipments of PE to the Indonesian market from 1 July 2014. However, they postponed their shipments to Indonesia till August.

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.

RusVinyl begins trial production of PVC in Russia

MOSCOW (МRC) -- On August 3, 2014 at the Integrated Vinyls plant of RusVinyl in accordance with the start up schedule the trial batch of PVC was obtained, said the producer in its press release.

Several days earlier RusVinyl obtained the trial batch of caustic soda. Currently commissioning works at the facility are ongoing with further start-up of the object for industrial operation in the second half of the year.

On August 4, 2014 the Governor of the Nizhny Novgorod region Mr. Valery Shantsev visited RusVinyl in order to see the first ton of the Nizhny Novgorod PVC and to personally congratulate the CEO of RusVinyl LLC Mr.Guenther Nadolny with this very important event for the region.

The project is important both for the region and entire Russia, because it enables us to resolve the problem with import substitution. To my mind, after a while a cluster for processing excellent raw materials - polyvinyl chloride, that is used in 20 industrial sectors, will be formed around the new complex in Kstovo - remarked Mr.Shantsev.

Guenther Nadolny highlighted once again, that the complex testing of process equipment at production areas is being performed in accordance with the latest schedule. The plant is in pilot production stage. The quality of the first produced batch is quite high. Currently, precom activities are in progress, once they are over the enterprise will transfer to uninterruptible production mode - said Mr.Nadolny.

After the start-up RusVinyl will produce 330 kt of high-quality PVC in accordance with the most modern European technology, which ensures ecological and industrial safety of the technological process in the strict compliance with the requirements of the environment legislation of the RF, as well as with international standards in the sphere of ecology and industrial safety. The range of the PVC grades, which will be produced at the facility, are not yet available at the Russian market.

Polyvinyl chloride is inert, human safe and environmentally friendly polymer, it is used to manufacture a wide range of products, including for the construction and automotive industries, medicine, water supply and other sectors.

RusVinyl LLC is a joint venture established by OAO SIBUR Holding and SolVin (each having a 50% stake) to construct and operate a PVC production facility near Kstovo in the Nizhny Novgorod Region.


DSM reports Q2 2014 results

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Royal DSM, the Life Sciences and Materials Sciences company, reported second quarter 2014 EBITDA from continuing operations of EUR293 million compared to EUR332 million in Q2 2013, and EUR272 million in Q1 2014, said the company in its press release.

Nutrition showed improvement compared to the last two quarters. Performance Materials continued its encouraging underlying trend and delivered higher results. Polymer Intermediates was negatively impacted by lower caprolactam margins.

Commenting on the results, Feike Sijbesma, CEO/Chairman of the DSM Managing Board, said: "DSM delivered improved results versus the first quarter, despite persistent currency headwinds. Performance Materials saw continued positive momentum in a number of end-markets, whereas Polymer Intermediates has seen weaker business conditions for caprolactam".

Market conditions in Nutrition have shown some improvement with good Animal Nutrition performance in Q2, while Human Nutrition still operates in a low growth macro environment for some end-markets due to ongoing pressure on consumer spending. In this environment, the resilience of our integrated value chain is demonstrated by robust margins, highlighting the quality of our Nutrition business. In addition we are undertaking initiatives in the US to reinforce the attractiveness of our dietary supplements end-user categories.

"We continue to focus on efficiencies to protect profitability and improve cash flow in the current environment. Despite the weakness in caprolactam, we continue to anticipate to deliver improving financial results in the coming quarters."

As MRC wrote before, Royal DSM (Heerlen / The Netherlands) has signed a partnership agreement with long fibre thermoplastic (LFT) specialist Plasticomp (Winona, Minnesota / USA) to develop bio-based LFT composite materials based on DSM’s "EcoPaXX" polyamide 4.10. The lightweight materials, which include compounds reinforced with glass fiber as well as carbon fiber, will be targeted at automotive and other performance-driven markets.

Royal DSM is a global science-based company active in health, nutrition and materials. DSM delivers innovative solutions that nourish, protect and improve performance in global markets such as food and dietary supplements, personal care, feed, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, automotive, paints, electrical and electronics, life protection, alternative energy and bio-based materials.