Goldman cuts earnings forecast for US chemicals

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Goldman Sachs Group cut earnings estimates at seven US chemical makers to reflect a stronger dollar and product prices that are falling with crude oil, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Goldman Sachs lowered 2015 profit estimates by 20% at Dow Chemical and LyondellBasell Industries, 19% at Westlake Chemical and 6% at Eastman Chemical, analysts led by Robert Koort said in a note.

The changes reflect the impact of falling oil prices on ethylene and related plastics. Estimates for 2016 were also reduced.

"Despite this cut, we still see downside risk to our 2015 EPS estimates if we use the current spot Brent oil price or our commodities team’s new $50 per barrel Brent oil forecast for 2015," Koort said in the note.

Goldman has cut profit estimates for Dow Chemical, the largest US chemical maker, seven times since oil peaked in June. The slide in oil prices and a rising dollar against the euro and other currencies will lead other industry analysts to revise estimates, Goldman said.

The analysts also cut 2015 estimates for intermediate chemical makers Celanese, Huntsman and Trinseo, as the benefit of lower ethylene is eventually passed through to consumers via lower prices, Goldman said.

The exceptions are paint makers which should be able to maintain prices and benefit from lower costs.

As MRC wrote before, Turkish petrochemicals company Petkim said on Friday it had agreed to sell a 30% stake in its Petlim port to Goldman Sachs for USD250 million. Talks for the sale had started in February this year. Petkim and Petlim are controlled by the Turkish branch of Azeri energy group Socar.

Showa Denko to shut down VAM plant in Japan for maintenance

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Showa Denko is in plans to shut its vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) plant for maintenance turnaround, reported Apic-online.

A Polymerupdtae source in Japan informed that the plant will be shut in March 2015. It is planned to remain off-stream for around one month.

Located at Oita in Japan, the plant has a production capacity of 175,000 mt/year.

As MRC informed before, last year, Mitsubishi Corporation (MC), a major petrochemical producer, and Showa Denko K.K. (SDK) entered into a strategic partnership in the Fullerene business.

Fullerene is a molecule composed entirely of carbon. It takes the form of a soccer ball and is one nanometer (one-millionth of a millimeter) in diameter. As the molecule is soluble in organic solvents and is an excellent electron acceptor, it is seen as a promising material in the field of electronics, particularly for such applications as n-type material for organic photovoltaic (OPV) cells.

Showa Denko K.K. is mainly engaged in the petrochemical business. The Petrochemical segment manufactures and sells olefin, organic chemicals and others. The Chemical Product segment supplies chemicals, industrial gases, special gas and functional drug for semiconductors, functional high molecular materials, among others.

Evonik launches new heat-sealing binder in the market

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Evonik's methacrylate experts have succeeded in developing a new generation of heat-sealing bead polymers, as per the company's press release.

The new product, DEGALAN VP P 34, reduces the complexity of coating formulation enormously because only a single binder is used and only one solvent is therefore necessary. The reason is that DEGALAN VP P 34 is a bead polymer that is easily soluble in ethyl acetate, a commonly used, highly volatile solvent for heat-sealing lacquer formulations.

DEGALAN VP P 34 based formulations can be applied directly on the aluminum foil so that primers or formulations with a PVC-based adhesion promoter, which are still necessary today, can now be dispensed with.

Methacrylate binders from Evonik, marketed as DEGALAN, offer unique possibilities for formulation of heat-sealing lacquers. They are used in the sealing of yoghurt containers and pharmaceutical blister packaging.

The requirements placed on packaging coatings are high because packaging substrates can vary widely. Yogurt lids, for example, consist of aluminum or plastic; these in turn must be sealed to a variety of container materials such as polypropylene (PP), polystyrene (PS) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET).

As MRC informed before, Evonik Industries is paving the way for a new technology whose applications include automotive finishes that are more scratch-resistant than ever before. The specialty chemicals company has developed an industrial-scale method for producing silane-modified binders for automotive finishes. The advantage of these silane-modified binders: silane groups increase crosslinking density, making it possible to create automotive finishes that are flexible yet harder, leading to improved scratch resistance.

Evonik, the creative industrial group from Germany, is one of the world leaders in specialty chemicals. Its activities focus on the key megatrends health, nutrition, resource efficiency and globalization. Evonik benefits specifically from its innovative prowess and integrated technology platforms. Evonik is active in over 100 countries around the world. In fiscal 2013 more than 33,500 employees generated sales of around EUR12.9 billion and an operating profit (adjusted EBITDA) of about EUR2.0 billion.

Petrobras ships first naphtha to Braskem from Abreu e Lima refinery

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Petrobras has now carried out the first petrochemical naphtha loading operation at its Abreu e Lima refinery (also known as RNEST), initiating the sales program for the product, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The first batch of petrochemical naphtha will be delivered to customer Braskem, a petrochemicals group with operations across Brazil. Of the total 56,650 m3 produced so far at RNEST, 18,063 m3 of the product was dispatched in this first load, according to company officials.

The ship FSL Singapore, moored at the Port of Suape, in Pernambuco, has been loaded with this volume, and it will now sail to Sao Sebastiao, in Sao Paulo, where the sale of the petrochemical naphtha to Braskem will be completed.

The petrochemical naphtha is produced in RNEST’s atmospheric distillation facility, pumped into storage tanks within the refinery, certified in line with the standards of the National Oil, Natural Gas and Biofuels Agency (ANP), and then pumped on board the respective ship, with logistics support from Transpetro.

Petrochemical naphtha is used to make intermediate products such as ethylene, propylene, butadiene, benzene and xylene in the Brazilian states of Bahia, Sao Paulo and Rio Grande do Sul.

These products are then transformed by Braskem itself, and also its customers, into plastics such as polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene and PET, as well as synthetic rubber, nylon yarns and various other products used in domestic industries.

As MRC wrote before, Brazilian state-run energy giant, Petroleo Brasileiro SA or Petrobras ( PBR ) has awarded two ultra-deepwater contracts to the project management, engineering and construction company, Technip ( TKPPY ). However, the value of the contracts has not been disclosed.

Headquartered in Rio de Janeiro, Petrobras is an integrated energy firm. Petrobras' activities include exploration, exploitation and production of oil from reservoir wells, shale and other rocks as well as refining, processing, trade and transport of oil and oil products, natural gas and other fluid hydrocarbons, in addition to other energy-related activities.


BP faces up to USD13.7 billion in fines in Deepwater Gulf spill case

MOSCOW (MRC) -- A federal judge ruled Thursday that BP PLC is liable for spilling just over 3 million barrels of crude into the Gulf of Mexico in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, 24% less than federal prosecutors had claimed, reported The Wall Street Journal.

The ruling means that BP faces a maximum penalty of USD13.7 billion under the US Clean Water Act, down from the USD18 billion sought by the Justice Department.

The decision by Judge Carl Barbier surprised analysts following the case, coming days before BP is set to appear in his court for a related trial on how much it should pay for each barrel spilled. That tranche of the complex case, which begins on Tuesday, will determine the total fine under the Clean Water Act.

Thursday’s decision narrows the range of penalties BP could face, which could make a settlement more feasible, said Tom Claps, a legal analyst for Susquehanna Financial Group. But the judge is "not giving the parties a lot of time to sit down" to negotiate, he added.

As MRC wrote before, BP plans to invest over USD200 million to upgrade its purified terephthalic acid (PTA) plants at Cooper River, South Carolina and Geel, Belgium. The investments will position these assets amongst the most efficient PTA manufacturing facilities in the world.

BP is one of the world's leading international oil and gas companies, providing its customers with fuel for transportation, energy for heat and light, retail services and petrochemicals products for everyday items. BP is the world's largest PTA producer with about 7,1 million tonnes of annual production.