Polyplastics jv partner enters Japanese market

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The unofficial battle between Celanese (Dallas, Texas / USA) and Daicel (Osaka / Japan) over their Polyplastics (Tokyo / Japan) joint venture has entered another round, said Plasteurope.

While Polyplastics is steadily increasing its foothold in Europe, Celanese is getting ready to offer PPS grades for automotive construction in Japan – Polyplastics’ home turf.

"We see tremendous growth potential for these materials in the Japanese market," said Hajime Suzuki, who heads Celanese’s business in Japan. The US group will initially offer two families – "ICE" PPS (Improved Crystallization Evolution) for use at temperatures of up to 240° C, as well as the plasticiser-free "Flex" PPS.

Since its founding, Polyplastics had served only the Asian markets, while Celanese catered to the rest of the world – a regional division that was part of the jv partners’ agreement. Since 2012, however, the two companies are increasingly come into competition with each other, even if the financial shareholding arrangement has remained the same.

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.

Celanese presents advancements in pharmaceutical controlled release

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Celanese Corporation, a global technology and specialty materials company, has presented its industry-leading innovation in pharmaceutical, controlled release ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) copolymers, as per the company's press release.

"Our pharmaceutical EVA, VitalDose, is a proven, controlled-release excipient that has been clinically approved in drug delivery systems for many years," said Jose Reyes, strategic marketing manager. "New dosage forms, such as the foamed excipient, are changing the way new therapies and biologics could be delivered to the body and are offering new dimensions for immunogenic mitigation possibilities through the material's customizable release profile capabilities."

"Celanese collaborates with many early-stage investigators conducting the essential research into the improvement of human health using devices, drug products and systems that address chronic needs in metabolic disease, cancer, addiction, infection, women's health, and combination therapies, among others," said Don Loveday, strategic marketing manager.

As MRC wrote previously, in April 2015, Celanese and Mitsui & Co. entered into an exclusive arrangement to explore a joint venture for a planned methanol unit at Celanese' integrated chemical plant in Bishop, Texas. Celanese had already filed for air permits with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for the unit, which is expected to have 1.3-million t/y of methanol capacity. A schedule for the project was not given. A final decision to build the plant will depend on several factors, including prevailing methanol market conditions as well as cost of construction.

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.

Singapore emerges as the largest importer of Korean petrochemical products

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Singapore, which overtook China last year as the largest importer of Korean petrochemical products, maintained its position even in the first half of this year, as per GV.

Singapore’s emergence as the largest importer of Korean-made petrochemical products, however, is driven mainly by the decrease in demand from China which greatly expanded its own petrochemical production capacity.

According to the Korea National Oil Corp. and the Korean Petroleum Association, Korea shipped 228.19 million barrels of petrochemical products to 56 countries in the first half of this year.

China was the largest importer of Korean petrochemical products for four straight years starting from 2010 to 2013 but was overtaken by Singapore in 2014 when China imported 70.14 million barrels and Singapore 96.89 million barrels.

As MRC wrote 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.

BASF Korea ups use of eco-friendly chemicals

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Global chemicals company BASF is seeking to lead the way in increasing the use of less environmentally hazardous materials to manufacture chemical products in South Korea, as per GV.

BASF Korea said that it had become the first in the industry to use a new chemical compound with a superior environmental profile to produce its flagship insulating polystyrene foam Neopor.

The German firm now produces Neopor using a newly-developed polymeric flame retardant, instead of hexabromocyclododecane or HBCD, a more toxic flame retardant typically used to produce polystyrene-based insulating foams and textiles.

"BASF is very happy to be able to contribute to the sustainable growth of Korea’s construction sector by developing and expanding the use of more environmentally friendly chemicals," said Giorgio Greening, senior vice president of BASF’s global business unit for polystyrene foams.

BASF has also doubled its Neopor production in Korea, as part of its efforts to expand the use of more eco-friendly insulating materials in the country, according to Greening.

HBCD has been listed as a "persistent organic pollutant" by the United Nations Environment Program and any products using HBCD are set to be banned globally in the near future.

Therefore, BASF has been working to replace HBCD with its self-developed PolyFR globally, which the company says has been shown to be "non-toxic and hold foam properties that are equal to materials containing HBCD."

Meanwhile, the German chemicals producer has already halted the use of HBCD in Europe, where it made a complete switch to PolyFR in January.

As MRC reported before, BASF, SK Chemicals (Seoul) and Solvay are in discussions, which may lead to the construciton of a hydrogen peroxide-to-propylene oxide (HPPO) project at Ulsan. SKC, a chemical unit under SK Group, has sought to use BASF's production license to build a propylene oxide facility with a 400,000-ton capacity in Ulsan, 414 kilometers southeast of Seoul. If an agreement is reached by year-end, the two firms will start investing in the project early next year to complete it by 2018, SKC said. Propylene oxide is a key raw material used for a wide range of industrial and commercial products.

BASF is the largest diversified chemical company in the world and is headquartered in Ludwigshafen, Germany. BASF 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. BASF had sales of over EUR74 billion in 2014 and over 113,000 employees as of the end of the year.

Saudi Aramco says Amin Nasser appointed as CEO

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Saudi Aramco's Supreme Council has named Amin Nasser as chief executive officer of the state oil company of the world's largest exporter, Aramco said on Thursday, reported Reuters.

Nasser has been acting president and chief executive officer of Saudi Aramco since April, when his predecessor Khalid al-Falih was appointed Aramco's chairman and also health minister of the world's top oil exporter.

The post of Saudi Aramco chairman had previously been held by Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi, himself a former chief executive of the company. Naimi remains in the ministerial position he has occupied for 20 years.

A statement by Saudi Aramco said the appointment was made after the company's Supreme Council, which was created in April this year, held its first meeting in Jeddah. The council is chaired by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Nasser has been serving as senior vice-president for upstream operations at Aramco since 2008, according to his biography posted on Aramco's website. Nasser joined Aramco in 1982 after earning a degree in petroleum engineering.

The state giant's statement on Thursday did not say who will replace Nasser as senior vice president of upstream.

As MRC wrote before, Saudi Aramco Products Trading Co., the fuel marketing unit of Saudi Arabia’s state oil producer, started selling products of an affiliated petrochemicals maker. Aramco Trading will sell products including polypropylene and polyethylene made by Rabigh Refining & Petrochemicals Co.

Saudi Aramco, officially the Saudi Arabian Oil Company, is a Saudi Arabian national oil and natural gas company based in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Saudi Aramco's value has been estimated at up to USD10 trillion in the Financial Times, making it the world's most valuable company. Saudi Aramco has both the largest proven crude oil reserves, at more than 260 billion barrels, and largest daily oil production.