Gulf petchem production hits new high

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Despite challenges, the petrochemical and chemical production in the Gulf region surged to more than 140 million metric tonnes (MT) during 2013, reported TradeArabia with reference to an industry expert.

"The global sales revenue of petrochemicals and chemicals was over USD4.1 trillion, of which more than two per cent belonged to Gulf countries," stated Mohammad Husain, the president and CEO of Equate Petrochemical Company, Kuwait’s first international petrochemical joint-venture.

Husain said the challenges were mainly feedstock shortage, market instability, infrastructure insufficiency and port congestions, in addition to lack of qualified human resources.

"Overcoming these challenges, through sustainability-based innovation and integration, is an utmost priority for GPCA which groups over 200 companies from around the world," he added.

Husain, who is also a GPCA board member, said: "While in 2013, the Gulf had a 7% of the global petrochemical and chemical production, its total production capacity is expected to top 225 million metric tons in the next years."

Husain said that Equate’s total production capacities, from plants owned and operated by it, exceed 5 million MT, including ethylene, polyethylene, polypropylene, ethylene glycol, heavy aromatics, benzene, styrene monomer and paraxylene.

As MRC informed before, EQUATE Petrochemical Company said that Gulf petrochemical investments will exceed USD 250 billion by 2015.

Euate is an international joint venture between Petrochemical Industries Company (PIC), The Dow Chemical Company (Dow), Boubyan Petrochemical Company (BPC) and Qurain Petrochemical Industries Company (QPIC). Equate is the single operator of a fully integrated world-scale manufacturing facility producing over 5 million tons annually of high-quality petrochemical products, such as polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), styrene monomer, ethylene glycol and palaxylene, which are marketed throughout the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Europe.

Chevron Phillips Chemical completes Sweeny ethylene expansion

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Chevron Phillips Chemical has announced completion of an ethylene expansion at its Sweeny complex in Old Ocean, Texas, reported Hydrocarbonprocessing.

With the addition of a tenth furnace to ethylene unit 33 at the Sweeny complex, the expansion is expected to increase annual production by 200 million pounds.

Construction on the expansion began in 2013.

"This represents the next increment of expansion to our ethylene business," said Dave Smith, olefins and natural gas liquids vice president for Chevron Phillips Chemical.

"We're building toward the startup of the US Gulf Coast petrochemicals project in 2017 and supporting incremental growth of our olefins derivative businesses," he added.

Chevron Phillips Chemical's US Gulf Coast project ncludes the construction of an ethane cracker at the company's Cedar Bayou plant in Baytown, Texas, and two polyethylene units in Old Ocean, Texas, near the Sweeny complex.

The Sweeny complex is one of the world's largest single-site ethylene facilities and is now capable of producing roughly 12 million lb/day of ethylene, or 4.3 billion lb/year.

As MRC informed previously, in July 2014, Chevron Phillips Chemical received approval from its board of directors and obtained an environmental permit from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to expand normal alpha olefins (NAO) production capacity at its Cedar Bayou plant in Baytown, Texas. This investment will provide an additional 100,000 tpy of capacity. Construction completion is anticipated in July, 2015.

Chevron Phillips Chemica, headquartered in The Woodlands, Texas (north of Houston), US, is one of the world’s top producers of olefins and polyolefins and a leading supplier of aromatics, alpha olefins, styrenics, specialty chemicals, piping, and proprietary plastics. Chevron and Phillips 66 each own 50% of Chevron Phillips Chemical.

Olin to partially close Quebec chemical plant

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Olin Corp. announced Friday that it will permanently close part of its Becancour, Quebec, chemical plant that had already been shut down since June, said the company in its press-release.

The Clayton-based maker of chemicals and ammunition, which also owns 9 chemical plants in the U.S., said the move would reduce the Canadian plant's chlor alkali capacity by 185,000 tons.

As a result of the closure, Olin said it will take an additional USD10 milllion in pretax restructuring charges, due to asset write-offs, employee costs and contract terminations, in the fourth quarter of 2014.

Those charges were not included in Olin's fourth-quarter guidance issued on Oct. 23, when it said earnings would be in a range of 20 cents to 25 cents a share, according to the company.

As of the end of 2013, Olin was the fourth largest chlor alkali producer, measured by production capacity, in North America, according to the company.

As MRC wrote before, Olin Corp. reported a 63% decline in profit for the third quarter 2014 from last year, reflecting lower sales at all three of its segment. Sales for the quarter declined 11% to USD593.6 million from USD670.7 million last year.

Olin Corporation manufactures chemicals and ammunition products. The Company manufactures and sells chlorine, caustic soda, sodium hydrosulfite, hydrochloric acid, hydrogen, sodium chlorate, bleach products, and potassium hydroxide. Olin also manufactures products that include sporting ammunition, reloading components, small caliber military ammunition and industrial cartridges.

Grand Pacific Petrochemical Corp to shut SM plant in Taiwan for maintenance

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Grand Pacific Petrochemical Corp (GPPC) is likely to shut its styrene monomer (SM) plant for maintenance turnaround, as per Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in Taiwan informed that the plant is likely to be shut in November 2015. It is likely to remain off-stream for around one month.

Located in Taiwan, the plant has a production capacity of 130,000 mt/year.

Earlier, in April 2014, GPPC shut down its SM plant in Taiwan for maintenance turnaround in late April. It remained off-stream for around one month. Located in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, the plant has a production capacity of 250,000 mt/year.

Besides, Styrindo Mono Indonesia (SMI) shut its No.1 SM plant in Indonesia for maintenance turnaround in H2 November 2014. The plant will be shut for around one month. Located in Merak, Indonesia, the plant has a production capacity of 100,000 mt/year.

Dow names new Corporate Vice President of Human Resources

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The Dow Chemical Company has announced that Johanna Soderstrom has been named corporate vice president of Human Resources and Corporate Aviation. Soderstrom succeeds Gregory Freiwald, who has announced his retirement from Dow after 35 years with the company, as per Dow's press release.

In this executive-level role, Soderstrom has leadership responsibility for Dow's global Human Resources strategy and operations, including oversight for Dow's Corporate Aviation team. Soderstrom's proven leadership and accomplishments position her well to drive Dow's HR strategy - enabling the company to maintain a competitive advantage by providing best-in-class people processes, programs and services for Dow's diverse, global workforce.

Soderstrom joined Dow in 1999 in Helsinki, Finland as the HR manager for the Nordic region. In 2000, she moved to Stade, Germany to serve as HR Workforce Planning Implementation leader and in 2003, was appointed Compensation & Benefits leader for Southern Europe, Middle East, Africa and India in Horgen, Switzerland.

In 2005, Soderstrom assumed the role of HR Business Partner for Dow’s Hydrocarbons & Energy business. After leaving Dow in 2006 to lead global Compensation & Benefits for Huhtamaki in Finland, Soderstrom rejoined Dow the next year as HR Geographic leader for Germany, and in 2009 assumed additional responsibility as HR director for Dow Europe, Middle East & Africa. In 2010, Soderstrom was appointed Global HR director for Dow’s Performance Materials Division in Midland, Mich., and was named vice president of Dow’s HR Center of Expertise in September 2012.

As MRC informed before, in September 2014, The Dow Chemical Company announced that Jack Broodo, president of Dow Chemical Canada ULC and director of feedstocks for the company’s North and Latin America regions has been named vice president of Investor Relations for the company.

The Dow Chemical Company is an American multinational chemical corporation. As of 2007, it is the second-largest chemical manufacturer in the world by revenue (after BASF) and as of February 2009, the third-largest chemical company in the world by market capitalization (after BASF and DuPont). Dow is a large producer of plastics, including polystyrene, polyurethane, polyethylene, polypropylene, and synthetic rubber. In 2013, Dow had annual sales of more than USD57 billion and employed approximately 53,000 people worldwide. The company's more than 6,000 products are manufactured at 201 sites in 36 countries across the globe.