Pemex announces USD5.5bn investment

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Mexican state oil company Pemex is investing almost USD5.5bn in upgrading its refineries, increasing pipeline capacity and modernising a fertiliser plant, said CEO Emilio Lozoya Austin.

He says that the investments will help Pemex to become a competitive leader in the oil and gas industry, as well as boosting growth in Mexico through investment in infrastructure. The investments come hot on the heels of the Mexican government’s decision in August to open up the country’s oil and gas sector to private companies for the first time.

Pemex has signed five contracts as part of a USD2.8bn project to upgrade five refineries in Madero, Minatitlan, Salamanca, Salina Cruz and Tula. The upgrades will reduce the sulphur content of the diesel they produce by 97%, producing ultra low sulphur diesel that meets international standards. By 2015, 60% of all Pemex diesel will be ultra-low sulphur, and by 2017, 100% of it will be. Lozoya says that this will lower Mexico’s greenhouse gas emissions by 12,000 t/y.

ICA Fluor Daniel has been awarded the contract for the Madero refinery, with Tecnicas Reunidas, Samsung, and Foster Wheeler contracted for the Minatitlan, Salamanca, and Salina Cruz upgrades respectively. ACS, Dragados and Cobra will jointly carry out the work on the Tula refinery.

Pemex is also investing USD2.5bn on building the second phase of the Los Ramones natural gas pipeline, which will eventually carry gas from US shale fields into the centre of Mexico. The second phase will increase the pipeline capacity by 40% and run for 741 km across the states of Nuevo Leon, Tamaulipas, San Luis Potosi, Queretaro and Guanajuato.

Finally, USD200m will be spent on modernising the Agro Nitrogenados fertiliser plant in Coatzacoalcos, which it bought in December last year. Contracted to Cobra, the first phase of the revamp to install the first urea train is expected to take 15 months. The second train will follow five months later. The total output of the plant will be around 1m t/y of urea.

Pemex, Mexican Petroleum, is a Mexican state-owned petroleum company. Pemex has a total asset worth of USD415.75 billion, and is the world"s second largest non-publicly listed company by total market value, and Latin America"s second largest enterprise by annual revenue as of 2009. Company produces such polymers, as polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene.

PP exports from Russia surged by 85% from January to August 2014

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Russian producers increased polypropylene (PP) exports by 85% over the first eight months of 2014 to 119,300 tonnes. PP production capacities doubled in 2013 due to a start-up of two new plants, which helped to increase exports, according to MRC DataScope report.

Russian producers were forced to reduce their export PP sales in July and August because of a succession of scheduled outages for maintenance. PP shipments to foreign markets dropped in these months to 10,100 tonnes and 5,700 tonnes, respectively. The overall PP exports from Russia rose from January to August 2014 to 119,300 tonnes from 64,600 tonnes a year earlier. Such a major rise in export sales was possible because of the last year's launch of two new plants in Omsk and Tobolsk with the total capacity of 710,000 tonnes.

Ppropylene homopolymer (homopolymer PP) accounted for the bulk of exports. Russia became a net exporter (exports exceed imports) of this PP grade. Exports of homopolymer PP rose to 115,800 tonnes over the stated period from 63,400 tonnes a year earlier.

Russia is a net importer (imports exceed exports) of propylene copolymers (block copolymers of propylene, statistical copolymers of propylene). The overall exports of propylene copolymer totalled about 3,500 tonnes from January to August 2014.

BASF, Cargill and Novozymes advance with biobased acrylic acid manufacture

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BASF, the world petrochemical major, Cargill and Novozymes have announced the achievement of another milestone in their joint development of technologies to produce acrylic acid from renewable raw materials, as per BASF's press release.

The team has demonstrated the successful conversion of 3-hydroxypropionic acid (3-HP), to glacial acrylic acid and superabsorbent polymers. Moreover they have selected the process for further scale-up.

In August 2012, BASF, Cargill and Novozymes announced their joint agreement to develop a process for the conversion of renewable raw materials into bio-based acrylic acid. In July 2013, the partners successfully demonstrated the production of 3-hydroxypropionic acid (3-HP), one possible precursor to acrylic acid, at pilot scale.

BASF initially plans to use the bio-based acrylic acid to manufacture superabsorbent polymers. Currently, acrylic acid is produced by the oxidation of propylene derived mainly from the refining of crude oil.

"After just 18 months we have selected the preferred process to convert 3-HP into glacial acrylic acid. Now we are working full force on the set-up of a small integrated pilot plant until the end of this year," said Teressa Szelest, Senior Vice President Global Hygiene Business at BASF.

Together with the pilot plant for 3-HP, operated by Cargill and supported by Novozymes, this will further support BASF’s plans for fast market entry of superabsorbent polymers derived from bio-based acrylic acid.

Superabsorbent polymers and other products derived from bio-based acrylic acid will be an innovative offer to the market and will meet consumer and industry demand for consumer goods based on renewable raw materials and sustainable supply chains.

As MRC wrote before, BASF is going to expand its leading position in the production of superabsorbent polymers for the global hygiene industry with a new technology, which the company introduced in April 2014. This innovation delivers superabsorbent polymers with unique properties and breakthrough performance that will provide significant additional value to the customers.

Superabsorbent polymers have high absorption capacity and deliver other key functionality - making them excellent to use in a variety of applications concerning the basic needs in our life such as baby diapers, adult incontinence and feminine hygiene products.

BASF is the world’s largest producer of acrylic acid, a high-volume chemical that feeds into a broad range of products, including superabsorbent polymers that can soak up large amounts of liquid, used primarily for diapers and other hygiene products.

Dow named for 14th time to Dow Jones Sustainability World Index

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The Dow Jones Sustainability World Index announced its rating of The Dow Chemical Company as one of the top performers in the global chemical industry – marking the 14th time Dow has received this recognition since the launch of the index and tying for the longest-standing representation in the chemical category since the list’s inception, reported the company on its site.

With only 11 chemical companies named to the World Index in 2014, Dow is proud to be recognized for sustainability performance in the top 10% of the chemical industry. With a score of 100 in the Environmental Policy Management System category, Dow also leads the Materials Industry Group for the third year in a row.

"At Dow, sustainability is not just an initiative; it is central to how we do business," said Neil Hawkins, corporate vice president, EH&S and Sustainability. "Sustainability and innovation are woven throughout everything we do - from our own operations, to the role our products play in building a more sustainable society. Today, we are proud to be named once again to the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index, an honor reserved for only those who humbly yet relentlessly pursue improvements in the ‘triple bottom line’ - recording gains for the environment and society while consistently delivering business results."

As MRC informed earlier, Dow Chemical began construction on June 30 of its previously-announced world-scale ethylene production facility in Freeport, Texas. This represents a prominent milestone in the company delivering on its strategy to invest in a performance-based portfolio of technology-enabled businesses. The significant investment in Dow’s Texas operations remains on track and on-plan for start-up in the first half of 2017, and will employ up to 2,000 workers during construction.

The Dow Chemical Company is an American multinational chemical corporation headquartered in Midland, Michigan, United States. Dow is a large producer of plastics, including polystyrene, polyurethane, polyethylene, polypropylene, and synthetic rubber. The company's more than 5,000 products are manufactured at 188 sites in 36 countries across the globe.

Polyone collaborates with WaterStep to increase access to clean water

MOSCOW (MRC) -- PolyOne Corporation, a premier global provider of specialized polymer materials, services and solutions, has announced that its recent work with WaterStep, a non-profit water purification agency, has enabled the organization to assist a greater number of disaster victims and those in need around the globe, reported the company in its press release.

With a presence in more than 30 countries, WaterStep delivers water treatment, health and hygiene training and disaster relief by providing people around the world access to safe, clean water.

PolyOne's collaboration with the WaterStep team improved product design and performance for WaterStep's M-100 water purification system. Specifically, PolyOne's high impact Geon formulation increased durability of the system to facilitate air-drop deliveries into remote areas in distress or recovering from natural disasters. It also meets NSF potable water, UV and chemical resistance requirements.

"It was extremely gratifying for PolyOne to collaborate with WaterStep and its ongoing mission of providing access to clean water to those in need," said Michael A. Garratt, president, Performance Products and Solutions, PolyOne Corporation. "We are proud that our material and design support are contributing to WaterStep's important relief work and global outreach."

As MRC informed earlier, in February 2014, PolyOne Corporation announced the addition of new capabilities to its OnColor HC Plus portfolio. These expanded offerings add medical-grade LDPE, nylon, PEBA, PS and PVC to the globally available palette of specialty healthcare colorants, and are pre-certified to meet or exceed biocompatibility requirements for ISO 10993 and/or USP Class VI protocols.

PolyOne Corporation, with 2013 revenues of USD3.8 billion, is a global provider of specialized polymer materials, services, and solutions. PolyOne is a provider of specialized polymer materials, services and solutions with operations in specialty polymer formulations, color and additive systems, polymer distribution and specialty vinyl resins.