PP imports into Ukraine dropped by 8% from January to March 2015

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The overall imports of polypropylene (PP) into Ukraine dropped by 8% in the first three months of 2015 and totalled 21,700 tonnes. Block copolymers of propylene (PP-block) accounted for the greatest fall in demand, according to MRC DataScope report.

Last month's PP imports to Ukraine decreased to 7,800 tonnes from 8,300 tonnes in February because of weaker demand from local pipes producers. The overall imports of propylene polymers to the local market fell to 21,700 tonnes from January to March 2015 versus 23,500 tonnes a year earlier. PP-block accounted for the greatest drop in shipments because of weaker demand in the injection moulding and pipes extrusion sectors.

The supply structure by PP grades looks the following way over the stated period.
March imports of propylene homopolymer (homopolymer PP) to the Ukrainian market were 6,100 tonnes versus 6,000 tonnes in February, the injection moulding sector accounted for an increase in shipments. Imports of homopolymer PP dropped over the first three months of 2015 by 11% year on year and totaled 16,100 tonnes.

March imports of PP-block fell to 658 tonnes from 900 tonnes a month earlier. Imports of PP-block to Ukraine dropped to 2,300 tonnes over the stated period from 2,600 tonnes a year earlier. The injection moulding and pipes extrusion sectors accouted for the largest fall in demand.

Last month's imports of statistical propylene copolymers (PP-random) into Ukraine were slightly more than 800 tonnes, whereas the February figure was 1,300 tonnes, because of almost a double reduction in purchasing by local pipes producers. The overall imports of this grade of propylene copolymers was 2,700 tonnes from January to March 2015 versus 2,100 tonnes a year earlier. Demand from pipes producers increased by a third, while demand from local producers of biaxially oriented polypropylene film (BOPP) rose by 52%.

The overall imports of other propylene copolymers totalled about 600 tonnes over the said period versus 717 tonnes a year earlier.


Metso to provide control valves for Turkmengas petrochemical complex in Turkmenistan

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Turkmenistan's national oil and gas company Turkmengas has awarded a contract to Metso to provide control valves for its petrochemical plant project in the country, as per Chemical Technology.

Under the terms of the contract, Metso will supply Neles and Jamesbury-branded standard service globe valves and butterfly valves of 1/2in to 20in sizes.

The company will also provide Neles ND9000 intelligent valve controllers.

"The petrochemical complex will use natural gas from the Caspian Sea shelf and produce ethylene, high density polyethylene and polypropylene."

Korean engineering, procurement and construction company Hyundai Engineering has placed the order for the petrochemical project.

Planned to be completed in 2018, the petrochemical complex will use natural gas from the Caspian Sea shelf and produce ethylene, high density polyethylene (HDPE) and polypropylene (PP).

The ethylene and PP production units will have capacities of 400,000t per annum (tpa) and 80,000 tpa, respectively. The complex will also include a gas separation unit with an annual capacity of five billion cubic metres.

Metso globe valves director Markus Hauhia said: "We are glad that Hyundai Engineering relies on our expertise. Metso's valves are widely used in petrochemical processes; today, about 40% of world's polyolefin is flowing through our valves."

As MRC wrote before, in June 2014, Hyundai Engineering selected INEOS Technologies' Innovene S process for the petrochemical complex.
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Dow, Ford partner for cost-effective auto-grade carbon fibre

MOSCOW (MRC) --In a bid to make vehicles more lightweight, DowAksa – a 50/50 joint venture between The Dow Chemical Co. and Turkish acrylic fibres producer Aksa Akrilik Kimya Sanayii A.S – is partnering with Ford Motor Co. to research cost-effective, high-volume manufacturing of automotive-grade carbon fibre, said Canplastics.

The joint development agreement between Ford Motor Company, Ford Global Technologies and DowAksa will combine DowAksa’s feedstock capacity, carbon fibre conversion and downstream intermediates production with Ford’s expertise in design, engineering and high-volume manufacturing.

The goal is to produce cost-effective carbon fibre composite parts that are much lighter than steel but meet automotive strength requirements.

"This joint development agreement reinforces Ford’s commitment to our partnership with DowAksa, and our drive to bring carbon fibre components to the broader market," said Mike Whitens, director of Vehicle Enterprise Sciences at Ford Research & Advanced Engineering.

The agreement allows the companies to collaboratively generate new, lower-cost automotive grades of carbon fibre while maintaining compatibility with both thermoset and thermoplastic matrices. The agreement also includes a pathway for potential extension of development collaboration into a commercial manufacturing partnership.

"This agreement marks another milestone in the partnership to develop lightweighting solutions for the automotive industry," said DowAksa Chairman Heinz Haller. “Ford and DowAksa’s collaboration will accelerate delivery of advanced materials and technologies to meet and exceed expectations for high performance and fuel economy."

"Automotive manufacturers’ use of carbon fibre composites has been hindered by the absence of both high-volume manufacturing methods and affordable material formats," said DowAska Vice Chairman Mehmet Ali Berkman. "This partnership combines the individual strengths of each company to target these challenges."

As MRC informed earlier, Dow Chemical Company, through its wholly-owned subsidiary Dow Europe Holding BV, and Aksa Akrilik Kimya Sanayii A.S., a world-leading acrylic fiber company, in 2012 announced the official formation of DowAksa Advanced Composites Holdings BV (DowAksa), a joint venture (JV) to manufacture and commercialize carbon fiber and derivatives.

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 (PS), polyurethane, polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), and synthetic rubber. EBITDA was up 15% in 4Q at USD2.4 bn. Net profits were down 24% at USD734. Dow's sales in 4Q were unchanged on a year earlier at USD14.38 bn.


Celanese to reduce production capacity at its Belgium acetate tow plant

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Celanese Corporation, a global technology and specialty materials company, has proposed to employee representatives at the company's Lanaken, Belgium, facility the reduction of acetate tow production capacity at the site by 50%, according to the company's press release.

"This proposal results from ongoing changes in the global demand for acetate tow products, especially in Europe, which has been declining and further shifting to Asia and developing countries, and is not in any way a reflection on the employees," said Lou Purvis, vice president and general manager of the Consumer Specialties segment. "Going forward, given the capacity and capability of our global production assets, we are confident in our ability to reliably supply customers in the future from our facilities in Narrows, Virginia; Ocotlan, Mexico; and from the remaining capacity at the Lanaken plant."

Celanese's Lanaken site leaders will fully consult on the proposal with employee representatives and support them through this process. The company is committed to engaging in a transparent and constructive dialogue with its employee representatives; and if the company decides to implement the proposal, will work to assist employees with job search and career counselling.

Celanese's Lanaken plant is located in the Belgian province of Limburg and has a current nameplate capacity of approximately 52,000 tons per year and employs approximately 240 employees.

As MRC reported earlier, in May 2014, Celanese Corporation announced its intent to construct a EVA emulsions production unit in Southeast Asia. The unit is expected to begin production by mid-2016.

Celanese Corporation is a global technology leader in the production of differentiated chemistry solutions and specialty materials used in most major industries and consumer applications. Based in Dallas, Texas, Celanese employs approximately 7,500 employees worldwide and had 2014 net sales of USD6.8 billion.

Mexico Mexichem Q1 income falls 61% on currency, financing costs

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Mexican chemicals and plastic pipe maker Mexichem reported a sharply lower first-quarter profit, hurt by currency exchange losses and higher financing costs, said Reuters.

The company reported a first-quarter profit of USD18.97 million, down 61.5 percent compared with the first-quarter of 2014, when the company reported a profit of USD49.2 million.

Revenue for the quarter was USD1.44 billion, compared with USD1.33 billion over the same period the previous year.

In its previous quarterly report, Mexichem said it would take a cost hit of USD9 million in the first quarter of 2015 and USD4 million in the second quarter, to restructure its operations.

Mexichem shares closed up 0.23 percent at 42.71 pesos before the company reported results.

As MRC informed earlier, Mexichem, Mexican PVC and specialty chemicals maker, has announced that it completed the acquisition of Vestolit GmbH on 1 December 2014. Mexichem completed the acquisition after receiving all relevant regulatory approvals. Vestolit was acquired from funds managed by Strategic Value Partners LLC for a total purchase price of EUR219 million in cash and assumed liabilities.

Mexichem, of Tlalnepantla, an industrial municipality close to Mexico City, is Latin AmericaпїЅs largest manufacturer of PVC pipe, vinyl resins and compounds. The company has annual revenues of more than USD5 billion and has been listed on the Mexican Stock Exchange for more than 30 years.