Shandong Dongyue to restart PVC plant in China after maintenance

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Shandong Dongyue will be restarting its polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plant following maintenance turnaround, reported Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in China informed that the plant is likely to be restarted in early March 2015. It was shut on February 6, 2015.

Located in Shandong province, China, the plant has a production capacity of 120,000 mt/year.

As MRC informed earlier, Guangzhou Tosoh shut down its PVC plant in China for maintenance turnaround on February 27, 2015. It is likely to remain off-stream for around one month. Located in Guangzhou, China, the plant has a production capacity of 250,000 mt/year.

We also remind that on 9 October 2014, Inner Mongolia Yili shut its PVC plant in China for maintenance turnaround. It remained off-stream for around one month. Located at Erdos in Inner Mongolia, the plant has a production capacity of 500,000 mt/year.

Besides, earlier last year, Formosa Plastics Corp (FPC) took off-stream its PVC plant in China for maintenance turnaround on September 9, 2014. It was planned to remain shut for around one month. Located at Ningbo in Zhejiang province of China, the plant has a production capacity of 400,000 mt/year.

AkzoNobel breaks ground on new specialty chemicals plant in China

MOSCOW (MRC) -- AkzoNobel’s Specialty Chemicals business recently broke ground on a new alkoxylation facility in Ningbo, China, bringing the company’s total investment in the strategic multi-site to more than EUR400 million, said the producer on its site.

As well as contributing to AkzoNobel’s position as one of the leading surfactant producers in China, the new facility also creates a more sustainable footprint in the region and will enable the company to better serve its customers.

Werner Fuhrmann, Executive Committee member responsible for Specialty Chemicals said: "Our investment in this new plant is further proof of our ongoing commitment to China, which is one of our most strategically important markets. The new facility also gives added momentum to our organic growth ambitions, as well as enabling us to continue expanding our manufacturing footprint in Asia."

The Ningbo multi-site covers around 50 hectares and accommodates production for chelates, ethylene amines, ethylene oxide, organic peroxides and Bermocoll cellulose derivatives. Surface Chemistry’s latest investment will increase annual capacity by nearly 18,000 tons, mainly catering for domestic demand in China.

As well as contributing to AkzoNobel’s position as one of the leading surfactant producers in China, the new facility also creates a more sustainable footprint in the region. The added alkoxylation capacity (the process of reacting a fatty amine with ethylene oxide to make ethoxylated amines) will enable the company to better serve its customers in the agrochemical, oilfield and personal care markets.

As MRC informed previously, in November 2014, AkzoNobel started operations at its state-of-the-art vehicle refinishes plant in Changzhou, China - the company's 30th manufacturing facility in the country. The new factory added around 25 million liters of capacity for Sikkens, Lesonal and Prime vehicle refinishes products and strengthens AkzoNobel’s position as one of the leading players in China's vehicle refinishes and commercial vehicle OEM markets, building on its acquisition of Changzhou Prime Automotive Ltd. in 2010.

AkzoNobel Surface Chemistry is a global leader in the manufacturing and supply of specialty surfactants, synthetic and bio-polymer additives and specialty polymers. AkzoNobel currently employs more than 7,400 people in China. Revenues in China totaled EUR1.7 billion in 2014.

BASF launches new Acrodur binder for automotive lightweight composites

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BASF, the world's largest petrochemical major, is launching a new binder - Acrodur Power 2750 X, according to the company's press release.

The product is designed for the production of natural fiber composites for automotive lightweight applications such as interior car door panels or shelves. As a low-emission alternative to formaldehyde-based reactive resins, Acrodur Power 2750 X gives natural fiber composites high mechanical stability. At the same time, the product offers thermoplastic processability and, unlike traditional thermoplastic binders based on polypropylene, it allows the use of up to 75 percent natural fibers in lightweight components.

"Due to the use of Acrodur Power 2750 X, natural fiber components are up to 40% lighter than conventional plastic products. This results in cars that consume less fuel and have fewer carbon emissions," explains Claus Dallner, Head of Marketing for Dispersions for Fiber Bonding at BASF.

The water-based binder Acrodur Power 2750 X is a health-compatible alternative to conventional formaldehyde-based reactive resins: neither during processing nor as part of the final product does it release any organic substances. This offers greater safety at work for the user, who no longer needs to invest in exhaust air treatment systems. In addition to this, the binder helps to improve the ambient air quality inside cars.

"With its novel Acrodur Power 2750 X product BASF offers the automotive and component-supplying industry an innovative, environmentally-friendly solution that preserves resources and helps reduce the weight and costs of natural fiber composites," underlines Vice President Jurgen Pfister, responsible for the dispersions business of BASF for adhesives and fiber bonding in Europe. "As a strong development partner in the value chain, equipped with a comprehensive portfolio and far-reaching technical expertise, we help customers all over the world to differentiate from their competitors."

The low-emission Acrodur binders are used to reinforce natural fiber composites before these can be processed into molded components. They are also used for the production of high quality lightweight applications in the furniture and automotive industry. Due to their 3D plasticity, the binders help create attractive design options with a natural fiber look and feel.

As MRC wrote before, at this year’s Cosmetagora exhibition, BASF presented two new personal care solutions inspired by life: the anti-aging face care concept "Beautiful Faces" and "Color Trends 2016" - a trend-driven collection of effect pigments.

BASF is the largest diversified chemical company in the world and is headquartered in Ludwigshafen, Germany. BASF 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.

Exxon Mobil Russia exposure surges as long view outweighs sanctions

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Exxon Mobil Corp. shook off the chill of sanctions and continued to snap up drilling rights in Russia last year, giving it more exploration holdings in Vladimir Putin’s backyard than in the U.S., said Bloomberg.

Taking the long view, Exxon boosted its Russian holdings to 63.7 million acres in 2014 from 11.4 million at the end of 2014, according to data from U.S. regulatory filings. That dwarfs the 14.6 million acres of rights Exxon holds in the U.S., which until last year was its largest exploration prospect.

While U.S. and European Union sanctions against Russia forced Exxon to shut down an Arctic drilling project in October, the producer is staking claims to areas that could yield tens of billions of barrels in coming decades. The bet on Russia follows a string of drilling failures elsewhere and spending cuts that will likely be addressed in Chief Executive Officer Rex Tillerson’s investor meeting Wednesday.

Sanctions to punish Russia for supporting separatists in eastern Ukraine and for the annexation of Crimea prohibit companies based in the U.S. and EU from probing Russia’s deep-sea, shale and Arctic fields. They don’t bar activities such as seismic surveying or acquiring drilling rights, opening an avenue for Exxon's bold campaign.

The producer, based in Irving, Texas, added drilling rights in the Laptev and Chukchi seas last year to holdings it already had in the Kara and Black seas under joint-venture agreements with state-controlled OAO Rosneft, the filings showed. The exploration rights have various expiration dates spanning from 2017 to 2023.

Geologists have no estimate of how much oil is trapped beneath the acreage Exxon amassed. In 2012, Russian officials said the resources were so vast that they would require new airports to be built to handle thousands of roughnecks and scores of offshore platforms to manage crude production. The Kara and Black sea assets alone will cost as much as USD350 billion to develop, Igor Sechin, the Rosneft chairman who was deputy prime minister at the time, said in April 2012.

Tillerson is scheduled to brief a gathering of investors and analysts on the company’s growth outlook at the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday. Exxon signed the agreements to acquire more acreage in May, said Patrick McGinn, a company spokesman. That was about two months after the Russian annexation of Crimea that spurred U.S. and EU leaders to escalate sanctions.

The company’s fourth-quarter output tumbled to a 15-year low, and its shares lost 8.7 percent of their value in 2014, the steepest annual decline since 2009. The U.S. oil explorer’s willingness to expand in Russia when western governments are working to isolate President Putin’s regime may indicate it expects sanctions to be short-lived, said Timothy Ash, chief economist for emerging markets at Standard Bank Plc in London.

Worldwide, Exxon’s exploration failure rate worsened last year to 39 percent from 33 percent in 2013. The company had so-called dry holes, or wells that failed to locate commercially viable amounts of oil or gas, in two-thirds of the regions in which it operates. Of the seven exploratory dry holes Exxon drilled in 2014, four were in the U.S. The company’s costs to extract a barrel of crude from the ground rose 9.3 percent last year to a global average of USD12.55.

ExxonMobil is the largest non-government owned company in the energy industry and produces about 3% of the world's oil and about 2% of the world's energy.

Crimean Titan raised prices of titanium dioxide by UAH14,500-16,000/tonne

MOSCOW (MRC) - Crimean Titan, the largest in the CIS countries producer of titanium dioxide, in February increased the price of the pigment of its own production by UAH14,500-16,000/tonne, including VAT, according to ICIS-MRC Price Report.

The reason for the price increase was the devaluation of the hryvnya. The producer adjusted its prices two times in February. Back in January, the company announced its price for large buyers at UAH28,500/tonne FCA Armiansk, including VAT, for the brand CRIMEA TiOx-220. The price offer for titanium dioxide under the brand CRIMEA TiOx-280 was at UAH29,000/tonne FCA Armiansk, including VAT.

Initially, prices were increased to UAH35,000/tonne FCA Armiansk, including VAT, for the brand CRIMEA TiOx-220.
Later in February, the company announced a new benchmark price. Because of the new wave of hryvnya devaluation, prices for Ukrainian customers increased to UAH43,000/tonne FCA Armiansk, including VAT, for the brand CRIMEA TiOx-220 and UAH45,000/tonne FCA Armiansk, including VAT, for the brand CRIMEA TiOx-280.

The new restrictions from NBU are intended to stabilise the hryvnya. Some market players in Ukraine expect that price for Crimean titanium dioxide will drop in the case of appreciation of the hryvnya, but it should not be expected prices to return to the previous level.