SABIC to convert UK naphtha cracker for imported shale ethane from US

MOSCOW (MRC) -- SABIC is modifying its Wilton cracker in the UK to enable it to use ethane feedstock imported from the US, reported Hydrocarbonprocessing with reference to the company's announcement.

The company is aiming to complete the project by 2016.

SABIC had said in 2013 that it was studying the possibility of converting the naphtha cracker. The nameplate capacity is 865,000 tpy of ethylene, 400,000 tpy of propylene and 100,000 tpy of butadiene.

SABIC did not specify the level of investment or whether it has supply deals lined up with US companies. The decision to import US ethane for a European cracker follows similar moves by INEOS in Norway and the UK and Borealis in Sweden.

"This project reflects SABIC’s strong determination to take advantage of cutting-edge technology in creating new sources of competitive feedstock and energy that will allow the company to continue to build a sustainable business and deliver on its long-term vision," said Yousef Al-Benyan, executive vice president for chemicals at SABIC.

"Our long-term focus is to have a business that stays profitable not only in the European region, but across our global markets," he added.

Work is already underway to build a cryogenic tank at SABIC's North Tees site in the UK as part of a gas import terminal.

As MRC informed previously, in February 2014, SABIC UK, an affiliate of Saudi Arabia's petrochemical major, unveiled its plans to cut costs and improve competitiveness in Europe. SABIC UK Petrochemicals, which has operations on Teesside including the olefins cracker and LDPE (low density polyethylene) plant at Wilton, said it wants to build a large storage tank at its North Tees site for new feedstocks.

Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) ranks among the world’s top petrochemical companies. The company is among the world’s market leaders in the production of polyethylene, polypropylene and other advanced thermoplastics, glycols, methanol and fertilizers.

PP production in Russia increased by 18% in January - July 2014

MOSCOW (MRC) - Production of polypropylene (PP) in Russia increased to 562,000 tonnes in the first seven months of this year, up 18% compared to the same period a year earlier. The largest increase in production showed Poliom, according to MRC ScanPlast.

Total PP production in Russia decreased to 63,200 tonnes in July, compared with 88,400 tonnes in June because of the scheduled maintenance works at Tobolsk-Polymer and Tomskneftekhim. All the Russian producers increased production volumes, except for Neftekhimia.
The structure of the production looked as follows.

Poliom (Titan Group, Omsk) was launched in February 2013 with a capacity of 180,000 tonnes/year, but this year the company has expanded its production capacity to 210,000 tonnes/year. The producer's PP production in the seven months of 2014 reached 103,000 tonnes, compared with 60,300 tonnes in the same time a year earlier.

Tobolsk-Polymer (SIBUR) started production in a test mode, with annual capacity of 500,000 tonnes in May last year. The producer's PP production was 98,200 tonnes in January - July of the current year.

Nizhnekamskneftekhim and Ufaorgsintez increased PP production by 1% and 5%, respectively, to 124,500 tonnes and 73,800 tonnes.

Tomskneftekhim increased PP production over the reported period to 76,900 tonnes, up 3% year on year.

Neftekhimia (Kapotnya) reduced PP production to 67,500 tonnes in January - July 2014, down 4% year on year.

Indorama boosted operating profit and sales in H1 2014

MOSCOW (MRC) -- First half 2014 operating profit (EBITDA) at polyester producer Indorama Ventures (IVL, Bangkok / Thailand) increased by 44% to THB 10.2 bn (EUR 237m) thanks to higher volumes and an increased proportion of high value added business, said Plasteurope.

Sales in the period increased by 12% to THB 126 bn. The company’s European business recorded a significantly higher operating profit at USD 79m in the first half of 2014, up by 71% year-on-year from H1 2013. The region accounted for 29% of the company’s revenues in the period, compared with 26% in H1 2013.

The increase in EBITDA was driven primarily by margin improvements, the company said, with earnings per tonne rising to USD 104 from USD 63 in H1 3013. These gains were boosted by earnings contributions from German affiliate, textile polyester supplier Trevira (Bobingen), PHP Fibers (Wuppertal / Germany), which was acquired in April 2014, and Artenius TurkPET, acquired from the insolvent La Seda de Barcelona in June 2014 – see of 06.06.2014. In Europe, 22% of first half 2014 EBITDA came from these three companies.

The company said that H1 2014 PET margins remained healthy because of post winter restocking and the effect of its decision to mothball its Workington / UK PET facility. Fibres and yarns margins improved with the turnaround of Trevira and the addition of PHP Fibres’ automotive and industrial yarns business. In Poland, a project to debottleneck capacity and lower cost – has been completed and will start contributing to earnings in the second half of 2014.

As MRC wrote before, Indorama Ventures Ltd., part of global PET giant Indorama Group, announced it has acquired Artenius TurkPET based in Adana, Turkey. Artenius TurkPET had been part of insolvent Spanish company La Seda de Barcelona and produces PET resin with 130,000 metric tons of capacity.

Over the full year 2014, Indorama expects to record volumes of 6.5m t in 2014, up from 5.8m t in 2013, with additional volumes resulting from the acquisitions of Artenius TurkPET and PHP Fibers.

Jinming licenses Dow PVDC technology

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Guangdong Jinming Machinery Co. Ltd. said it is poised to becoming the first Chinese machinery manufacturer to master polyvinylidene chloride (PVDC) processing technology, thanks to a licensing agreement with Dow Chemical Co, said Plasticsnews.

Under the agreement, Dow will license its early encapsulation and die channel design technologies for processing PVDC. Jinming will have rights to manufacture and market products using the licensed technology as well as to sublicense it to third parties.

Midland, Mich.-based Dow has agreed on exclusivity of the license until March 1, 2017. The agreement was signed on Aug. 5 with a five-year term. It is Dow's first licensing agreement for the technology in Asia.

Jinming will pay 14% of the fair market value of all products using Dow’s early encapsulation technology and 5 percent of the fair market value of licensed products that do not use the technology.

The licensing deal signals longer-term cooperation between the two companies, Jinming said in an Aug. 6 statement.
Jinming told investors in an Aug. 7 online session that it expects to commercialize film machinery using the PVDC early encapsulation technology in the first half of 2015. The company said the new products will bring positive impact on its financials in 2015 and beyond.

As MRC wrote before, Zhejiang Juhua plans to launch a 100,000 tonne/year polyvinylidene chloride (PVDC) plant in Zhejiang province in October 2014. The plant will include one 50,000 tonne/year PVDC resin unit and one 50,000 tonne/year PVDC latex unit.


Amcor launched new technology for rigid plastic containers

MOSCOW (MRC) -- A new technology that significantly simplifies the manufacture of rigid plastic containers has been launched by Australia’s Amcor (Hawthorn, Victoria), said Plasteurope.

"LiquiForm" uses the consumable liquid instead of compressed air to hydraulically form and fill the container, simultaneously combining both processes into one step. Described by Amcor as a breakthrough, the technology claims to cut operating costs by up to 25% as well as reduce manufacturing risk and provide greater flexibility in container design.

Managing director and CEO of Amcor, Ken MacKenzie, said: "I have been in the packaging industry for over 20 years and in my opinion "Liquiform" has the potential to be one of the most important breakthrough technologies in liquid packaging. This technology will transform the rigid plastic container manufacturing industry, providing significant benefits to all players throughout the value chain."

Amcor developed the “Liquiform” concept in 2006 and subsequently formed a joint venture which owns the patented technology. Amcor and Swiss beverage packaging provider Sidel (Hunenberg) own 50% each in the joint venture which will license "Liquiform" to machine manufacturers. Amcor estimates that the technology would be suitable for approximately 800 blow moulding and filling machines per year and the joint venture will target a significant portion of that annual demand for conversion to "Liquiform". The first full-scale operation is expected to be commercialised in two to three years.

Agreements have been signed with Sidel, Japan’s largest plastic bottle manufacturer, Yoshino Kogyosho (Tokyo/ Switzerland).

As MRC wrote before, Amcor Ltd. has entered into an agreement to buy an Indonesian flexible packaging business, Jakarta-based Bella Prima Packaging Ltd., for USD25.2 million.

Amcor Limited is an Australian-based multinational packaging company. It operates manufacturing plants in 42 countries. It is the world's largest manufacturer of plastic bottles.