ExxonMobil reports Beaumont propylene unit fire

MOSCOW (MRC) -- An overnight fire at the ExxonMobil Chemical plant in Beaumont, Texas, was extinguished by about 5:45 a.m. on Monday morning, according to local news sources, reported Hydrocarbonprodcessing.

The fire in a propylene unit forced the company to shut down the entire chemical plant, according to sources at Beaumont's CBS television affiliate KFDM. The cause of the fire has not yet been disclosed.

Workers had been fighting the fire since about midnight Monday.

Exxon spokesman Lee Dula said in a statement that there were no injuries and that all workers have been accounted for.

"What we know at this time is that there was a vapor release around 12 a.m. from a propylene line and that is what combusted," said Dula.

The plant employees about 425 workers and 500 contractors.

"Ongoing air monitoring continues to indicate no impact to the community at this time," Dula said in a statement. "All our personnel should report for their scheduled shift and check in with their supervisors. Our response is ongoing. Safety is our core value and we are responding in the safest and most orderly manner possible."

As MRC informed before, in late February 2015, large fire explosion’ rocks ExxonMobil’s Torrance Refinery in California. Workers evacuated an ExxonMobil refinery in Torrance, Calif., after an explosion, which occurred near a fluid catalytic cracking unit, according to the United Steelworkers union that represents operators at the plant.

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.

Dow Chemical to merge part of chlor-alkali ops with Olin

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Dow Chemical Co will separate a portion of its century-old chlorine business and sell it to Olin Corp in a tax-efficient deal worth USD5 billion as part of efforts to shed low-margin assets, said the company in its press release.

The deal will make smaller rival Olin the world's largest producer of chlor-alkali, which is used to make chlorine and caustic soda. These chemicals are used in a variety of industries such as healthcare, textiles and automotive.

Shares of Dow Chemical, which will designate three directors to Olin's board, rose 3.3 percent to USD47.96 at mid-afternoon. Olin's shares jumped as much as 25 percent to USD33.91, a near 17-year high, valuing the company at about USD2.60 billion.

Dow, which had been pressured by activist investor Dan Loeb to break itself up, first announced plans to sell a bulk of its chlorine operations in 2013. The company averted a proxy fight with Loeb last November by agreeing to add four independent directors to its board.

Dow has turned its focus to more profitable businesses such as packaging, electronics and agriculture. Chief Executive Andrew Liveris said there could be more deals over the next 12 months as the company simplifies its joint ventures.

"JV conversations are ongoing right now and we are seeking the right strategic answers," he said. As part of the Olin deal, Dow will sell its U.S. Gulf Coast chlor-alkali and vinyl, global chlorinated organics and epoxy assets.

Dow will get USD2 billion in cash and cash equivalents and about USD2.2 billion in Olin shares in a Reverse Morris Trust deal, a transaction that allows a parent company to sell its unit in a tax-efficient manner.

Olin will assume USD800 million of pension and liabilities under the deal. The transaction will give Dow shareholders control of the combined company.

The deal, likely to close by 2015 end, will create a company with revenue of about USD7 billion and EBITDA of USD1 billion. The combined business will be better positioned as the chlor-alkali market in North America improves, Olin Chief Executive Joseph Rupp said on a conference call.

As MRC informed before, Dow Chemical Company signed a long-term agreement with a new wind farm, currently under development in South Texas by a subsidiary of Bordas Wind Energy, LLC, a joint venture between MAP and Enerverse, LLC.

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.

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.

PS production in Russia grew by 3% in January-February 2015

MOSCOW (MRC) - Production of general purpose polystyrene (GPPS) and high impact polystyrene (HIPS) in Russia increased to 61,700 tonnes in January-February 2015, up 3%compared with the same time a year earlier, according to MRC ScanPlast.

February production of GPPS and HIPS in Russia was about 30,000 tonnes, down almost 6% year on year. The capacity utilisation at Russian plants practically did not change. The decline in production in February is traditionally resulted from a shorter calendar month.

Traders said that the demand in the spot market of GPPS exceeded the demand for HIPS in the first two months of the year. At the same time there was a strong buying activity for XPS.

Some traders experienced a shortage of GPPS from Gazprom neftekhim Salavat. Nizhnekamskneftekhim is the largest producer of general purpose polystyrene and high impact polystyrene in Russia.

The second largest producer of GPPS in the country is Penoplex. General purpose polystyrene Styrovit brand (produced by Penoplex in St Petersburg) goes completely for the processing needs of the company.

Saudi Kayan olefins plant resumes production

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Saudi Kayan Petrochemical Company has restarted production at its olefins plant following a near two-month shutdown for maintenance work, the company said on Sunday, reported TradeArabia.

Saudi Kayan said on February 1 it would shut several units at its petrochemicals complex in Jubail for about five weeks, while on March 12 it revealed it had extended maintenance work at its olefins plant after a fault was discovered.

This plant resumed operations on Thursday, the company said in a Sunday bourse filing.

Olefins are a form of hydrocarbons, two of which include ethylene and propylene.

As MRC wrote before, Saudi Arabia’s Oil Ministry allocated an additional 10m cbf/d (2.8m cbm) of ethane to Saudi Kayan Petrochemical Co (Al Jubail / Saudi Arabia) to enable an expansion of capacity at its Al Jubail complex. The company plans to widen its ethylene production by at least 93,000 t/y and its ethylene oxide capacity by 61,000 t/y from the second quarter of 2017.

Manufacturing a wide range of petrochemicals, the Riyadh-based company’s products include ethylene, propylene and derivatives. Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) formed Saudi Kayan Petrochemicals Company in 2007 to produce chemicals for export at the Jubail Industrial City on the Kingdom’s east coast. SABIC owns 35% of the company. A private shareholder, Al Kayan Petrochemical Company, holds a further 20%. The remaining 45% is held by Saudi shareholders following an initial public offering last year.

Chandra Asri seeks new incentives for cilegon polybutadiene project

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Jakarta-listed PT Chandra Asri Petrochemical (CAP), the country’s largest petrochemical producer, has filed a request with the Indonesian government seeking additional tax incentives for a polybutadiene (BR) plant under construction in Cilegon, Indonesia, The Jakarta Post reported.

CAP's Petrokimia Butadiene Indonesia (PBI) subsidiary and Michelin in 2013 formed Synthetic Rubber Indonesia as a joint venture to build a USD435-million BR facility in Cilegon.

The plant will produce BR using a neodymium catalyst and solution styrene butadiene rubber, with feedstock supplied by PBI. Production is scheduled to begin in 2017.

The government's current incentives involve an income tax reduction over a period of five to 10 years for projects with a minimum investment of USD76.7-million in high-priority industries, one of which is petrochemicals. The project has already received a five-year tax holiday.

Revised tax holiday and tax allowance regulations, as well as additional incentives, are currently under review by the government. The review is expected to be completed before July.

As MRC informed earlier, in 2013, German petrochemical company Ferrostaal Industrial Projects GmbH and Chandra Asri agreed to work on studies for the development of a petrochemical plant. Under an agreement, Ferrostaal and Chandra Asri will develop a methanol-based olefin production complex in Teluk Bintuni in West Papua, with a total investment amounting to USD1.89 billion. The complex is expected to produce up to 400,000 tonnes of polypropylene and 175,000 tonnes of ethylene annually.