North Dakota to have new polyethylene facility at an estimated investment

MOSCOW (MRC) -- A new polyethylene (PE) manufacturing facility to be built in North Dakota, at an estimated USD4 billion, has been announced, said Plastemart.

This will be the largest private sector investment made in state history. The value-added manufacturing facility will use North Dakota's abundant supply of natural gas liquid ("NGL") sourced ethane gas coming out of the Williston Basin as a byproduct of oil production. The project will significantly reduce the amount of natural gas flared into the atmosphere, which has been a critical area of focus for State and industry leaders. The Badlands facility will convert the ethane to polyethylene, with ability to produce 1.5 mln metric tpa of polyethylene.

To bring this world-scale plant to fruition, Badlands is working with two strategic partners, Tecnicas Reunidas (TR) which is based in Madrid, Spain, as well as Vinmar Projects of Houston, Texas. TR, one of the largest petrochemicals and polymers contractors in the world, is completing a preliminary engineering analysis for Badlands. This work is scheduled for completion in 2014 and will include completion of technology evaluations and ethane to ethylene and ethylene to PE licensor selection, ethane aggregation engineering and planning and final site selection. Vinmar provides long term product off-take services in support of project finance for the development partners. Vinmar and Badlands have signed a mutually binding, 15-year product off-take Memorandum of Understanding for 100% of the PE product to be produced by the Badlands project.

As MRC wrote before, Malaysia's Petronas awarded Tecnicas Reunidas (TR) a contract for the engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning (EPCC) for a refinery package in Petronas’ refinery and petrochemicals integrated development (RAPID) project in Pengerang, Johor. The EPCC scope includes all the hydrotreating units, catalytic reforming unit, hydrogen production units, saturated gas plant, interconnection and flare for the refinery.

Dow Chemical unveils US apprenticeship program

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Dow Chemical will launch a US Apprenticeship pilot program at various Dow sites across the nation in 2015, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

This pilot program supports a major initiative of the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP), a national effort to secure US leadership in emerging technologies, create high-quality manufacturing jobs, and enhance America's global competitiveness.

Program supports Advanced Manufacturing Partnership. The launch advances the goals and national workforce development efforts of the AMP Steering Committee 2.0, a renewed, cross-sector, public-private partnership to secure US leadership in emerging technologies that will create middle class job growth in America, according to project officials.

As part of AMP 2.0, Dow, Alcoa and Siemens have formed a coalition to build regional apprenticeship models and create an instructional playbook for other US-based companies seeking to develop apprenticeship programs. In addition to sharing best practices gained from over 40 years of experience offering apprenticeship programs in Europe, Dow joined the coalition in committing to pilot key playbook concepts at company facilities in America.

Within the next five years, through its US Apprenticeship Program, Dow says it aims to develop a highly skilled technical workforce that will support business growth and advance skill development in manufacturing and engineering.

Fueled by cost advantaged energy and raw materials, Dow and other US-based manufacturers have in recent years announced plans to expand their US operations and create new jobs. A recent IHS Global Insight study estimates the creation of 630,000 new jobs in US manufacturing as a result of the US shale gas boom, with 2800 to 3500 indirect jobs also created due to natural gas and shale exploration.

As MRC wrote before, Dow Elastomers, a business unit of The Dow Chemical Company, will soon break ground on its planned world-scale NORDEL EPDM (ethylene propylene-diene terpolymer) facility in Plaquemine, La., which will utilize the company’s newest proprietary catalyst technology to enable products with high Mooney viscosity.

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. In 2012, Dow had annual sales of approximately USD57 billion. The сompany's more than 5,000 products are manufactured at 188 sites in 36 countries across the globe.

BASF to divest global textile chemicals business to Archroma

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BASF, the German chemicals giant, and Archroma have agreed on the sale of BASF’s global textile chemicals business to Archroma, a supplier of specialty chemicals to the textile, paper and emulsions industries, reported BASF on its site.

Archroma is a portfolio company of SK Capital Partners, a private investment firm with focus on the specialty materials, chemicals and healthcare sectors. It is planned to integrate the business into the Archroma Textile Chemicals Specialties business. Currently, the textile chemicals business is part of BASF’s Performance Chemicals division.

The transaction is subject to approval by the relevant antitrust authorities and the closing is expected to take place in the first quarter of 2015. The parties have agreed not to disclose financial details.

The transaction comprises the global textile chemicals business, as well as the legal entity BASF Pakistan (Private) Ltd., Karachi. This step is in line with BASF’s strategy of actively managing its portfolio and it will further sharpen the focus of the Performance Products segment on growth driven customer industries.

The textile chemicals business of BASF offers solutions to the full textile processing value chain, which includes a portfolio for pre-treatment, printing, finishing and coating. The business has a global presence with a strong focus on Asian growth markets, and is headquartered in Singapore.

As MRC wrote previously, in December 2014 BASF signed a contract to sell its Vinuran PVC modifier business to Kaneka Belgium N.V., a subsidiary of Kaneka Corporation, Japan. The transaction comprises intangible assets and inventory. It does not include a transfer of the production assets or employees in Ludwigshafen. The acrylate-based Vinuran PVC modifier business is not a core business for BASF. The transaction allows BASF to focus on growth of its acrylate-based dispersions portfolio.

Archroma is a global color and specialty chemicals company, headquartered in Reinach near Basel, Switzerland. It operates with approximately 3,000 employees over 35 countries. Through its three businesses: Textile Specialties, Paper Solutions and Emulsion Products, Archroma delivers specialized performance and color solutions to meet customer needs in their local markets.

BASF is the leading chemical company. It produces a wide range of chemicals, for example solvents, amines, resins, glues, electronic-grade chemicals, industrial gases, basic petrochemicals and inorganic chemicals. The most important customers for this segment are the pharmaceutical, construction, textile and automotive industries. BASF had sales of about EUR74 billion in 2013 and over 112,000 employees as of the end of the year.

Asahi Kasei to expand in US with second plastic compound plant

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Asahi Kasei Chemicals hold a groundbreaking ceremony on September 29, 2014, for a plant for plastic compounds in Athens, Alabama, as the second plant of its US subsidiary Asahi Kasei Plastics North America, Inc. (APNA), said Plastemart.

The ceremony was attended by Mr. Greg Canfield, Secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce and Mr. Kazuo Sunaga, Consul General of Japan in Atlanta, as well as key personnel of APNA and Asahi Kasei Chemicals.
Background. Having identified an expansion of compounding operations as a critical element in the strategic growth of its engineering plastics business, Asahi Kasei Chemicals has expanded its compounding facilities in Asia as well as in Michigan, where APNA is based. Construction of the second North American plant for compounds in Alabama will enable increased supply to meet customer needs in the Southern US, where demand growth is most notable.

As MRC informed earlier, 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. Applications for AZP are anticipated in high-performance displays and various optical components.

Outside North America, Asahi Kasei Chemicals has operating bases for plastic compounds in Japan, China, Thailand, Singapore, and Belgium. The company will continue to develop high-quality and high-performance products in accordance with market needs, while studying ways to further expand its supply infrastructure.

Imports of linear polyethylene in Russia increased by 5% in January - September 2014

MOSCOW (MRC) - Imports of linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) in Russia grew by 5% in the first nine months of this year.
A significant increase in demand for LLDPE was seen from the producers of the overall products, the key sector - films production grew only by 5%, according to MRC DataScope report.

September imports of LLDPE in the Russian market exceeded 20,000 tonnes, compared with 15,700 tonnes in August. Total LLDPE imports in the country increased to 154,800 tonnes in January - September 2014, compared to 147,100 tonnes year on year. Key customers - producers of films increased their purchases only by 5%, while the demand for polyethylene from producers of overall products grew by 19%.

Structure of LLDPE over the reported period was as follows.

September film LLDPE imports in Russia increased to 17,000 tonnes (13,800 tonnes in August) on the back of the bigger supply from the Middle Eastern producers. Total film LLDPE imports in the country were 135,400 tonnes in the first nine months of this year, compared with 129,100 tonnes year on year.

September imports of LLDPE for rotational moulding (production of overall products) in Russia were 1,400 tonnes, from 1,000 tonnes in August. Total imports of LLDPE for rotational moulding in the country were 9,800 tonnes in the first nine months of the year, up 19% year on year. Key position in this market hold two Asian producers: Lotte Chemical and SCG Chemicals.

Imports of LLDPE in the other sectors of consumption (lamination, cable extrusion, compounding, extrusion of pipes, etc.) declined to 9,600 tonnes in the first nine months of the year, compared to 9,800 tonnes in the same time a year earlier.