INEOS builds biggest in Europe shale gas tank at Grangemouth

MOSCOW (MRC) -- INEOS – which owns and operates the Grangemouth petrochem refinery – has commissioned eight large-volume Dragon class ships to transport liquefied shale gas ethane from the US to Europe, said Scottishenergynews.

And the company – which owns a number of licences to explore for shale oil / gas in the Central Belt – has now put roof in place that covers Europe’s biggest ethane storage tank at Grangemouth.

The huge tank is 56 metres in diameter and 44 metres high – that gives it a displacement volume of 108,372 cubic metres – large enough for 560 double decker buses to fit inside.

The investment in the Grangemouth tank and infrastructure is part of the company’s GDP450 million rescue package to equip the site to import ethane gas from the US. The project will transform Grangemouth overnight and will allow its manufacturing assets to once more compete globally, providing raw materials for thousands of manufacturing businesses across the UK and Europe.

John McNally, Chief Executive, INEOS O&P UK, said: "We know that US ethane has transformed US manufacturing and now Scottish industry will benefit as well". Bringing US ethane to Europe is a huge undertaking involving INEOS experts from across the globe. To raise the roof of this huge tank means that yet another milestone for the project has been reached.

"It is still early days on this project as we now set to work on the internal structure of the tank and the surrounding infrastructure. We are on schedule for the first US ethane to arrive in Grangemouth during the second half of 2016."

The building of Europe’s largest ethane storage tank is part of INEOS’ USD1 billion global project to bring US shale gas to Europe as supplies dwindle from the North Sea.

INEOS Group Limited is a privately owned multinational chemicals company consisting of 15 standalone business units, headquartered in Rolle, Switzerland and with its registered office in Lyndhurst, United Kingdom. It is the fourth largest chemicals company in the world measured by revenues (after BASF, Dow Chemical and LyondellBasell) and the largest privately owned company in the United Kingdom.


Iran develops technology to produce petrochemical catalysts

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Iran has developed its own technology to produce catalysts that are used by isomerisation units of oil refineries and petrochemical complexes, said Chemicals-technology.

The country has so far depended on the US for catalysts that are used to produce Euro-5 and Euro-6 gasoline.
With the latest development, the country claims to break the monopoly of the US in the segment, and makes Iran the second country in the world to produce catalysts.

Supplying Petrochemical Industries Parts, Equipments and Chemical Engineering (SPEC) managing director Jalil Sobhani was quoted by Iranian media as saying: "Iran has achieved the technology needed to produce such catalysts, thus becoming the second country in the world in this regard."

"In recent years, Iran has significantly expanded its presence in petrochemical segment with plans to become a major producer in the Middle East."

Iranian scientists have already created around 25 precious metals-containing catalysts for use by refinery and petrochemical industries. SPEC said it is preparing to produce Euro-5 and Euro-6 gasoline catalysts, and is ready to accept orders. Iran-based Exir Novin Farayand Asia and SPEC have partnered to commission a production line to produce oil industry catalysts, reported Tasnim.

In recent years, Iran has significantly expanded its presence in petrochemical segment with plans to become a major producer in the Middle East. The country is estimated to host third-largest oil reserves and largest natural gas reserves in the world.

As MRC informed previously, it has been more than 50 years that Iran started producing petrochemical products and Iran National Petrochemical Company (NPC) is celebrating its anniversary this year. Iran, as one of the main energy hubs in the world, with huge oil and gas reserves, is one of the leading producers of petrochemical products in the world.


BASF inaugurates new research building in Ludwigshafen

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BASF inaugurated a new research building in Ludwigshafen after two years of construction, said the company in its press release.

The building in the south of the Ludwigshafen site accommodates around 200 employees of the research division Advanced Materials & Systems Research who have so far worked in different buildings in Ludwigshafen. The laboratories and offices in the seven-storey building account for a total surface area of approximately 11,000 square meters, the construction costs amount to around EUR50 million.

"For the long-term success of BASF it is important to strengthen the global presence of our research and development activities, especially in Asia Pacific and the Americas. Ludwigshafen, however, remains the largest site of our R&D Verbund. This is underlined by the investment in the new building, which is a clear commitment to the Ludwigshafen research site," said Dr. Martin Brudermuller, Vice Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors and Chief Technology Officer of BASF SE.

The new building is located between further research facilities, in which employees of the same research division work. The new building is connected with two neighbouring buildings via a ground level corridor and a bridge.

In the Advanced Materials & Systems Research division, BASF develops new structural materials, dispersions, functional materials as well as organic and inorganic additives for a wide range of customer industries including automotive, construction, packaging, paints, detergents and cleaning products, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, water and the wind industry.

As MRC said before, in April 2015, BASF developed new ingredients and innovative concepts for the personal care market. Driving forward the development of the brand Care CreationsTM, the company is taking a more and more science based approach to explore consumer needs: the focus is on a validated typology system with which users can define different consumer personalities.

BASF is the leading chemical company. It 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.


Amcor continues acquisition strategy in India

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Australian packaging giant Amcor Ltd. has continued its global expansion, buying Packaging India Pvt. Ltd. (PIPL) from Essel Propack Ltd. for USD26.4 million, said Plasticsnews.

Essel, based in Mumbai, India, is a publicly listed specialty packaging company. An Amcor statement said PIPL has three plants in India and produces flexible packaging mainly for food and personal care markets. It said the business has multinational and Indian customers and generates annual sales of about USD40 million.

PIPL was established in 1990 and has blown film extrusion, printing, laminating, slitting and pouch-making facilities at plants in Pondicherry, Sitarganj and Cuddalore.

The Pondicherry plant, 93 miles south of Chennai, opened in 1990, and Sitarganj, 155 miles northeast of New Delhi, opened in 2007. Both manufacture food packaging. The Cuddalore plant, near Pondicherry, manufactures gravure printing cylinders and rollers. It opened in 2008.

Amcor already has four flexible packaging plants in India. Amcor’s statement said the PIPL acquisition expands Amcor’s footprint into southern India, "increases the local talent pool, and adds to existing blown film and cylinder-making capabilities."

Essel Propack Vice Chairman and Managing Director Ashok Goel said in a statement divesting PIPL is "in line with our strategic decision to intensify focus on the core tube packaging business globally, including India."

He said there is significant growth in demand for laminated tubes.

In March, Amcor bought South African-based Nampak Holdings Ltd.’s Nampak Flexibles division for USD22 million. In December, it bought Zhongshan Tian Cai Packaging Co. Ltd., which has one plant in Zhongshan, in China’s Guangdong province, and annual sales of USD45.2 million.

Melbourne-based Amcor manufactures rigid and flexible plastic packaging products for the food, beverage, healthcare, home and personal care, and tobacco industries. It has annual sales of USD9.5 billion and employs 27,200 across 180 sites in 43 countries.

Amcor Limited is an Australian-based multinational packaging company. It operates manufacturing plants in 42 countries. It is the world's largest manufacturer of plastic bottles.

Hanwha Chemical to shut LDPE/EVA plants in Sout Korea for maintenance

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Hanwha Chemical is in plans to shut two low density polyethylene/ethylene vinyl acetate (LDPE/EVA) swing plant for maintenance turnaround, as per Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in South Korea informed that while one plant is planned to be shut in September 2015, the other is likely to be shut in October 2015. Both are planned to remain off-stream for around 5-10 days.

Located at Ulsan and Yeosu in South Korea, the plants have a combined production capacity of 427,000 mt/year.

As MRC informed previously, in November 2014, South Korea's Samsung Group said it was selling stakes in four chemical and defence firms for 1.9 trillion won (USD1.72 billion) to Hanwha Group, the latest move in the massive task of restructuring the country's largest conglomerate.

Hanwha Group, South Korea's 10th-largest conglomerate, said separately the acquisitions would boost its petrochemicals and defence-related businesses, and add around 12 trillion won in sales based on 2013 figures.