Sika opens fourth production site in Russia

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Swiss specialty chemicals company Sika is continuing to increase its production capacity in Russia through new and expansion investments, said the producer in its press release.

In Volgograd, in southern Russia, a mortar factory and a plant to produce concrete admixtures are being opened. At the existing site in Lobnya, 30 km north of Moscow, a new production facility, which will manufacture polymers for concrete admixtures, is coming on stream.

The investments are aimed at strengthening Sika's position as a market leader in Russia for concrete admixtures.

Over the past three years Sika has increased sales considerably in its target markets in Russia, thus growing faster than the market as a whole. In order to cope with high demand and further increase its market share, Sika is investing in expanding its production capacity in Russia, where it already has three plants in St. Petersburg, Rzhev and Lobnya.

The existing plants will supply the north-west of the country and central Russia, while the plant in Volgograd will supply product technology to the construction industry in southern Russia. As a result, transport times and costs for customers will be optimized.

Paul Schuler, Sika Regional Manager EMEA: "Despite cautious forecasts for 2015, Sika is confident that there is long-term potential in Russia's infrastructure and industrial construction sectors. The new production facilities will contribute greatly to improving our cost structure in Russia, as transport costs and import duties will be eliminated. This means that Sika is very well positioned to consolidate its long-term market leadership, in particular for concrete admixtures, and to gain further market share."

As MRC informed previously, Sika AG reported that its net sales for the first quarter of 2015 declined 0.9% to 1.195 billion Swiss francs from 1.206 billion francs in the same quarter last year. However, at constant exchange rates, sales for the quarter rose by 5.1% to 1.195 billion francs. Gains in all regions contributed to this impressive performance, with North and Latin America even posting double-digit growth. It is planned to open between seven and nine factories in 2015.

Sika is a specialty chemicals company with a leading position in the development and production of systems and products for bonding, sealing, damping, reinforcing and protecting in the building sector and the motor vehicle industry. Sika has subsidiaries in 90 countries around the world and manufactures in over 160 factories. Its more than 16,000 employees generated annual sales of CHF 5.6 billion in 2014.

Indian Oil plans USD2.4-billion ethanol investment

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Indian Oil Corp., the nation’s biggest refiner, plans to spend 160 billion rupees (USD2.4 billion) to build a plant for producing synthetic ethanol as it seeks to secure supplies of the biofuel to meet mandatory blending norms, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The state-run company is studying the project to produce 1 million metric tons of ethanol annually for blending with gasoline, S. Mitra, executive director at Indian Oil, said in an interview. Indian Oil plans to seek investment approval from its board next year, after which the facility, to be located at Paradip in eastern India, will take about four years to complete, he said.

The refiner will partner with Dallas-based Celanese Corp. for the ethanol project, which will use petroleum coke as feedstock from Indian Oil’s two refineries in the region, Mitra said.

India is facing a supply shortage of the biofuel, hindering plans to achieve mandatory five percent blending, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said earlier this month. In December, the federal government allowed ethanol production from non-food feedstock including petrochemicals to improve availability.

Indian Oil and two other state-run refiners, Hindustan Petroleum Corp. and Bharat Petroleum Corp., are seeking 2.66 billion liters of ethanol in the 12 months to Nov. 30, 2016. The supply shortage is prompting Indian Oil, which would need nearly half of the projected requirement, to consider producing its own ethanol, Mitra said.

Indian Oil, which also runs the biggest network of fuel stations in the country, bought about 186 million liters of ethanol for blending through the year to March 31.

As MRC wrote before, Indian Oil Corporation's Rs 34,555-crore 15 million tonnes per annum Paradip Refinery was commissioned in phases from March 2015 onwards. Indian Oil Corporation is conducting feasibility studies to set up a petrochemical complex at Paradip in Odisha for Rs 20,000 crore. The petrochemical complex would be built in the vicinity of the company’s to-be-commissioned 15-mln tpa greenfield refinery at Paradip. The petrochemical complex would be in addition to the already announced Rs 3,150-crore polypropylene project at the same location, the foundation stone for which was laid by MOS for petroleum and natural gas.

Indian Oil Corporation Limited, or IndianOil, is an Indian state-owned oil and gas corporation with its headquarters in New Delhi, India.

China detains 23 officials in chemical blast probe

MOSCOW (MRC) -- China’s top prosecutor is holding 10 officials and port executives as well as a senior Transport Ministry official under criminal detention for alleged neglect of duty and abuse of power in the Tianjin warehouse explosions that killed at least 139 people, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing with reference to the official Xinhua News Agency's report.

Those being held include Wu Dai, head of the Tianjin Municipal Transportation Commission, and Zheng Qingyue, president of Tianjin Port (Group) Co., Xinhua said, citing the Supreme People’s Procuratorate. Wang Jinwen, a senior official with the Ministry of Transport, is being investigated for suspected abuse of power, according to the report.

Two blasts wreaked havoc on the night of Aug. 12 at the port, where about 700 tons of sodium cyanide were stored. The explosions sparked concerns about the storage of dangerous chemicals and planning regulations.

Tianjin is the world’s 10th-busiest port and has become a gateway to northern China for shipments of metal ore, coal, autos and crude oil.

As MRC reported earlier, The Binhai district is also home to the manufacturing sites of coatings producer COSCO Kansai Paint & Chemicals Co and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) maker Tianjin Dagu Chemical.

An investigation by the SPP found Wang broke the law to help Tianjin Ruihai International Logistics Co., owner of the warehouse that was the site of the blasts, pass safety evaluations and obtain approvals to handle hazardous materials, the news agency reported.

In a separate statement, the Ministry of Public Security said police had detained 12 suspects suspected of illegally storing dangerous materials.

They include Yu Xuewei, chairman of Tianjin International Ruihai Logistics Co., vice-chairman Dong Shexuan, and Zeng Fanqiang, an employee with a safety evaluation firm suspected of illegally helping Ruihai acquire safety evaluation papers, Xinhua cited the MPS as saying.

Azelis distributes Evonik silicas for life sciences in the Nordics

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Azelis has been appointed by Evonik Industries as distributor for the Aerosil and Sipernat ranges of silica products to the Food, Personal Care, and Pharma Industries in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Iceland, according to GV.

The new agreement complements already existing and successful agreements between the two companies across many industry disciplines in Europe and Asia.

We remind that, as MRC reported before, in February 2014, Azelis announces a new distribution contract with Evonik, a leading specialty chemicals manufacturer. In addition to other European countries, Azelis can now also offer products in Evonik’s Crosslinkers business line to customers in Germany, Austria and Switzerland (DACH) for coatings, inks and other applications. This co-operation represents a mandate extension of successful agreements between the two companies for these products across Europe.

Azelis Chemicals is a leading European distributor of speciality and commodity chemicals, with a comprehensive portfolio of innovative products for high-tech solutions. The company source high quality products from leading global manufacturers, supporting customers in diverse markets including chemical producers and pharmaceuticals, I&I/household and cleaning, lubricants/metal working fluids, paper, agrochemicals, textile and leather, water treatment, building, wood preservation, agriculture & horticulture, electronics and salts.

Evonik, the creative industrial group from Germany, is one of the world leaders in specialty chemicals. Its activities focus on the key megatrends health, nutrition, resource efficiency and globalization. Evonik benefits specifically from its innovative prowess and integrated technology platforms. Evonik is active in over 100 countries around the world.

Styrindo Mono Indonesia took off-stream No.1 SM plant in Indonesia for maintnenance

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Styrindo Mono Indonesia (SMI) is likely to take off-stream its No.1 styrene monomer (SM) plant for a maintenance turnaround, as per Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in Indonesia informed that the plant is expected to be taken off-streamend-this week. The plant is likely to remain shut for around one month.

Located in Merak, Indonesia, the no.1 SM plant has a production capacity of 100,000 mt/year.

As MRC reported earlier, in mid-January 2015, SMI resumed production at its SM plant No. 2 in Merak, whereas the company's SM plant No. 1 with the capacity of 100,000 tonnes per year remained off-stream because of weak demand for SM in Asia (the unit was shut in December 2014).

Styrindo Mono Indonesia (SMI) is an affiliate of one of the major petrochemical producers in Indonesia - Chandra Asri.