Lotte Chemical to expand its Malaysia naphtha cracking centre

MOSCOW (MRC) -- South Korea's Lotte Chemical Corp has announced that the petrochemical firm will expand its naphtha cracking centre in Malaysia at a cost of 300 billion Korean won (USD257 million), reported Reuters.

With the mechanical completion of the expansion scheduled in the second-half of 2017, Lotte Chemical Titan (M) Sdn. Bhd. will have ethylene production capacity of 812,000 tonnes per year (tpy), up 92,000 tpy from the current size, the company said in a quarterly earnings statement.

In early 2013, a major South Korean pertochemical and polymer producer, Honam Petrochemical, and one of the largest South Korean PET and PTA producer, KP Chemical, decided to merge into a new company with a new name Lotte Chemical Corporation. The newly formed company believes that this move will strengthen its position both in domestic and international markets and is in a line with Lotte Chemical's strategy to become a leading global company.

The Lotte Group currently has a presence in Indonesia via its subsidiary, Honam Petrochemicals, which acquired Malaysia’s polyolefin major Titan Chemicals in July 2010. Included in the acquisition was Titan’s Indonesian subsidiary - PT Titan Petrokimia Nusantara (TPN), which has a polyethylene (PE) production capacity of 450,000 tonnes/year.

ONGC's talks to sell stake in Dahej petrochemical plant to Kuwait PIC remain inconclusive

MOSCOW (MRC) -- State-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp today said the talks to sell stake in long-delayed mega petrochemical plant at Dahej in Gujarat to Kuwait's Petrochemical Industries Company (PIC) remain inconclusive, as per The Economic Times.

PIC, a subsidiary of state-run Kuwait Petroleum Corp (KPC), was in talks to buy at least 26 per cent stake in ONGC Petro-additions Ltd, the firm that is building the Rs 27,122 crore project.

"Discussion had been held with PIC, Kuwait for equity participation in OPaL project up to APril 2015. However, no recent developments on this front have taken place for the last two months and the discussion remain inconclusive as of date," ONGC said in a regulatory filing.

ONGC had in 2006 set up ONGC Petro-additions Ltd (OPaL) for building a mega petrochemical complex at Dahej in Gujarat. The plant was originally planned to come on stream by end 2012 but delays have led to two revisions in completion dates.

Officials said the plant was mechanically completed by April 2015 and one of the units commissioned in June. Other units will be sequentially commissioned and the entire plant would start operations by fourth quarter of 2015 calendar year.

The 1.1 million tonnes plant was in 2006 estimated to cost Rs 12,440 crore. But since then the project cost has been revised thrice - first to 15,870 crore in end 2008, then to Rs 19,535 crore in June 2010 and to Rs 21,396 crore in August 2012. The project cost has undergone further cost-escalation and completion cost is now estimated at Rs 27,122 crore.

As MRC wrote previously, in July 2015, ONGC subsidiary Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals (MRPL) approved a proposal to merge ONGC Mangalore Petrochemicals (OMPL) with itself. This step is expected to consolidate the petrochemical business of state-owned upstream major Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), leading to the rationalization of costs across petrochemical product stream and giving MRPL access to a wider range of products and flexibility to optimize its gross refinery margin (GRM). ONGC holds almost 72% in MRPL. In OMPL, ONGC holds 49% stake while 51% is held by MRPL.

OMPL is a green field petrochemical project at the Mangaluru Special Economic Zone, adjacent to MRPL’s own 15 mln mtpa refining and petrochemical complex. It comprises an aromatic complex for production of Paraxylene and Benzene. The complex is designed to produce 0.9 mln mtpa of Paraxylene and 0.3 mln mtpa of Benzene.

Foster Wheeler awarded contract for Malaysian petrochemical complex & refinery

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Amec Foster Wheeler has been awarded a consultancy contract by SKS Corp., together with Petromin Corp., Ocenia Pte and another Asian partner, for a proposed new petrochemical complex and refinery in Kedah State, Malaysia, according to GV.

Under the contract, Amec Foster Wheeler will undertake a detailed feasibility study to define the configuration of the complex, develop the infrastructure requirements, establish a implementation plan and provide a cost estimate to help optimize the complex and establish a clear plan to proceed with the project. No other details were given.

The proposed project supports SKS' aim to boost investment in the Malaysian economy and develop the region as a world class supplier of petrochemical and refinery products to South East Asia, Amec Foster Wheeler noted.

We remind that, as MRC informed previously, in 2013, Foster Wheeler announced that a subsidiary of its global engineering and construction (E&C) group had been awarded a contract by Dow Chemical to provide services for the LA-3 crack more ethane (CME) project at Dow’s Plaquemine petrochemical complex in Louisiana. The services included detailed engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCm) work. The objective of the project is to improve the plant's ethane flexibility to take advantage of low-cost feedstock. The scope included brownfield additions and retrofit modifications to the plant. The project is part of Dow’s comprehensive US Gulf Coast investment strategy.

Lubrizol expands Solsperse hyperdispersant capacity in the US

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The Lubrizol Corporation has announced the launch of a new hyperdispersant reactor at its Avon Lake, Ohio facility, as per the company's press release.

The unit will be used for the manufacture of Solsperse(TM) hyperdispersants. Through excellent dispersion stability, Solsperse hyperdispersants enable premium levels of appearance and performance while driving improvements to manufacturing efficiency and quality in the production of a wide ranges of paints, coatings, colorants and inks. The launch follows recent expansion of hyperdispersant capacity in Europe. Taken together, the recent actions in the U.S. and Europe will significantly increase Lubrizol's ability to produce Solsperse hyperdispersants to meet growing demand worldwide.

Commenting on the new US-based capacity, Tom Keir, director of product management, states, "Our investment in this new manufacturing unit underlines our commitment to bringing high-value dispersant chemistry to the global market. The improved efficiency and operational flexibility offered by this added capacity, coupled with our recent expansion in Europe, will enable us to provide our customers with a diversity of options to meet their needs."

The addition of the new reactor required additional operator resources as well, growing the number of employees at the Avon Lake facility by 5%.

As MRC informed before, in early 2015, Lubrizol Corporation completed the acquisition in the United States and Canada of Weatherford International’s global oilfield chemicals business, known as Engineered Chemistry and its United States drilling fluids business, known as Integrity Industries. EcoQuimica is now part of Lubrizol Advanced Materials, reporting into Lubrizol's Performance Coatings business. This transaction includes all intellectual property, trademarks and customer lists of EcoQuimica.

The Lubrizol Corporation, a Berkshire Hathaway company, is an innovative specialty chemical company that apart from its production develops and supplies technologies to customers in the global transportation, industrial and consumer markets. Lubrizol is providing innovative solutions for its customers high-performance application needs and remains committed to ongoing investment in its CPVC capabilities that support future growth. With headquarters in Wickliffe, Ohio, Lubrizol owns and operates manufacturing facilities in 17 countries, as well as sales and technical offices around the world. Founded in 1928, Lubrizol has approximately 8,000 employees worldwide. Revenues for 2014 were USD7 billion.

Thailand plans to produce bioplastics from rice in stockpiles

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The Industry Ministry is considering using 10,000 tonnes of rice in the government’s stockpiles to produce environmentally friendly bioplastic products following an initiative of Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, according to GV with reference to Industry Minister Chakramon Phasukavanich.

He said he had raised the Prime Minister’s initiative for discussion with entrepreneurs in plastic industries and the Federation of Thai Industries, and the latter showed their support to the idea. As a result, the Plastics Institute of Thailand has been ordered to work out details for the initial plan before it is proposed to the Prime Minister.

The Commerce Ministry plans to buy 10,000 tonnes of stockpiled rice at a reasonable price for the production of bioplastic products on a trial basis. Such products will use rice in 20-25% of their raw materials. Target products include anything that are not food containers such as carry bags, waste bags, traffic cones, and plant pots.

If the project is realized, a symbol will be designed to bring recognition to buyers that the products are made from "Environmentally-Friendly Bioplastics". Quality and price of new products should be standard as their usage is for a replacement of purely plastic-made products.

The minister said the government would ask convenience stores and supermarkets to use more bioplastic products. If receiving good response from them, the government may develop biodegradable products from other plants, such as cassava, husk, and sugarcane.

As MRC wrote previously, the global bio-plastics market accounted for USD1.9 bln in 2014, and is expected to reach USD43.8 bln by 2020. The global bio-plastics market accounted for 0.1% to the global plastics market in 2014. Factors driving the growth of the global bio-plastics market include growing beverage packaging industry, rigid government policies about adopting bio-based materials, and rising consumer acceptance for bio-plastics. By material type, the market is segmented as bio-PET, bio-PE, bio-PA, bio-degradable polyesters, PLA & PLA blends, starch blends, PHA and others.