BASF, Genomatica expand global BDO licensing from renewable feedstock

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BASF and Genomatica have expanded the scope of their license agreement for the production of 1,4-butanediol (BDO) based on renewable feedstock (renewable BDO) using Genomatica's patented process, the companies announced.

The parties added certain countries in Southeast Asia to their initial agreement, which focused on North America. The license agreement allows BASF to build a world-scale production facility that will use the Genomatica process to manufacture renewable BDO. BASF has secured rights to allow production of up to 75,000 tpy, the company said.

Under the terms of the agreement, Genomatica will continue to advance its patented GENO BDO process technology for the production of renewable BDO. The process, which includes a single-step fermentation, can be based on dextrose or sucrose as renewable feedstock. The companies agreed not to disclose financial details of the license contract.

BASF has produced commercial volumes of renewable BDO, offering it to customers for testing and commercial use. The quality of this BDO is comparable to petrochemical-based BDO, the company says. BASF also expanded its portfolio by producing and offering polytetrahydrofuran (PolyTHF(R)) made from renewable BDO.

BDO and its derivatives are used for producing plastics, solvents, electronic chemicals and elastic fibers for the packaging, automotive, textile, and sports and leisure industries, among others. BASF currently produces BDO and BDO equivalents at its sites in Ludwigshafen, Germany; Geismar, Louisiana; Chiba, Japan; Kuantan, Malaysia; and Caojing, China.

BASF announced it would increase its global capacities for BDO to 650,000 metric tons and for PolyTHF to 350,000 metric tons by the end of 2015, and beginning of 2016, respectively.

As MRC informed earlier, BASF has begun its first production of diphenylmethane diisocyanate (MDI) at its wholly-owned site in Chongqing, China. Production will be ramped up gradually in line with market demand.

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.

Shell to spend USD80 mln to clean environmental contamination at Horsehead site

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Shell plans to build a petrochemical complex at the former Horsehead Corp. site in Monaca, Beaver County, which until 2014 housed the largest zinc smelter in the country, said Streamnews.

Shell Chemical Co. is preparing the site for a multibillion dollar petrochemical complex, should the company decide to go through with plans to build it. Shell will spend around USD80 million dealing with the environmental contamination it inherited in buying the 300-acre site. The plan is to raise the ground level by about six feet and cap the metal-laden soil with pavement, roads and buildings has been approved by the state Department of Environmental Protection.

Remediation of the site will take years to complete. Shell intends to lay down at least several feet of soil to prevent rainwater from getting into the contaminated soil.

The site had been used for more than 80 years by a variety of industrial developments, including the St. Joseph Lead Co. zinc smelter and subsequent Horsehead zinc plant.

As MRC informed earlier, Shell announced that it has more than doubled the production of high-purity ethylene oxide (HPEO) and ethoxylates at its site on Jurong Island, Singapore. The company has successfully started up a new purification unit with a capacity of 140,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) of HPEO.

Royal Dutch Shell plc is an Anglo-Dutch multinational oil and gas company headquartered in The Hague, Netherlands and with its registered office in London, United Kingdom. It is the biggest company in the world in terms of revenue and one of the six oil and gas "supermajors". Shell is vertically integrated and is active in every area of the oil and gas industry, including exploration and production, refining, distribution and marketing, petrochemicals, power generation and trading.

Altivia inks MoU to acquire Haverhill Chemicals assets for Phenol, Acetone.

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Altivia Petrochemicals has signed a definitive agreement to acquire all of Haverhill Chemicals' assets for their Phenol, Acetone, Alpha-Methylstyrene (AMS) and BisPhenol-A (BPA) businesses, said the producer at its press release.

The facilities are located on the banks of the Ohio River in Haverhill, Ohio, formerly operated by Sunoco. Haverhill Chemicals filed for relief under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code on September 19. Closing of this transaction, which is subject to approval by the Bankruptcy Court, is expected in October.

The chemicals produced at the Haverhill facilities are intermediates utilized in the production of phenolic resins, epoxies, polycarbonates, paints and coatings, pharmaceuticals, acrylics, and heat resistant polymers.

According to ALTIVIA, entering this business will provide the company opportunities to participate in commodity products controlled by global players. The business' location provides a geographical advantage to the supply chain of its robust customer base.

As MRC informed earlier, Axiall has signed a definitive agreement to sell its La Porte, Texas, chemical manufacturing facility to Altivia Chemicals. Financial terms of the agreement, which is subject to customary closing processes, were not announced.

Headquartered in Houston, Texas, privately held ALTIVIA was founded in 1986 and today is the largest merchant producer of Phosgene derivative intermediates in the Americas. ALTIVIA is also a producer of iron-based salts serving municipal and industrial customers with a broad range of chemical solutions, including products formulated for specific water treatment applications. ALTIVIA sold its water treatment commodity chemicals business to Brenntag A.G. in December 2012 and in April 2015 acquired the Specialty Phosgene Derivatives business' assets from Axiall Corporation. The transaction included Axiall's chemical production facilities located in La Porte, Texas. The plant is the largest North American production facility of merchant phosgene derivatives, including chloroformates and acid chlorides, serving pharmaceutical, organic peroxide and agricultural markets.

Lotte Chemical Titan Seeks USD2b Loan

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Lotte Chemical Titan, a manufacturer and distributor of polyethylene, is planning to secure USD2 billion worth of syndicated loans from local and foreign banks to fund its integrated polyethylene factory, said Jakartaglobe.

The factory will allow upstream and downstream production of polyethylene and provide Lotte Chemical Titan with an internal provider of ethylene, a compound needed to produce polyethylene.

The company's supply of ethylene currently comes from its holding company, Lotte Chemical Titan International, in Malaysia. It also still procures 2,000 to 4,000 tons of ethylene each month from petrochemical products supplier Chandra Asri Petrochemical.

Lotte Chemical plans to set aside between USD3 billion to USD4 billion for the factory, whose construction is expected to finish in three years in the Krakatau Steel industrial area in Cilegon, West Java. The company has bought 50 hectares of land for the factory and is currently negotiating to buy around 40-50 hectares more in the same area.

"We haven’t had any deal with the banks but we also have other options like issuing bonds. Although the investment value is large, we are optimistic about making a profit as we don't have to buy ethylene anymore," Lotte Chemical president director Peter Yoon said.

As MRC informed earlier, Lotte Titan restarted the 200,000 tpa No.3 linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) line at its Cilegon plant in west Java, Indonesia. The LLDPE line was restarted on 18 September after being shut around 10 days earlier because of a lump accumulation. A first attempt at bringing the line back on stream failed, delaying the restart by around five days. The line now is operating at about a 95% run rate.

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.

Indorama to renovate and restart US ethane cracker

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Indorama Ventures Public Co. Ltd. will spend USD175 million to renovate and restart an ethane cracker making plastic feedstocks ethylene and propylene in Louisiana, said Plasticsnews.

Restarting the dormant cracker in Carlyss, La., will create 125 direct jobs and almost 500 indirect ones, officials with Louisiana Economic Development said in a Sept. 23 news release. The project also is expected to create 600 temporary construction jobs.

Once restarted, the cracker will have annual production capacity of 815 million pounds of ethylene and almost 70 million pounds of propylene. Bangkok-based Indorama has acquired both the cracker and about 250 surrounding acres of land.

"This acquisition will make us well-placed to receive cost-advantaged ethane and propane feedstock…(and) will make us the first Thai company to take advantage of the shale gas revolution in the United States…ahead of the greenfield crackers being constructed,"CEO Aloke Lohia said in the release.

Commercial startup of the cracker is expected before the end of 2017. Louisiana will provide Indorama with an incentives package that includes a USD1.5 million performance-based grant to offset infrastructure costs.

As MRC informed earlier, Indorama Ventures Public Company Limited (IVL) informed that its subsidiary Indorama Petrochem Limited, Thailand has signed a definitive share purchase agreement with Bangkok Cable Company, Limited, a major shareholder, to acquire 94.91 percent equity stake in polyethylene terephthalate (PET) polymers maker Bangkok Polyester Public Company Limited (BPC), Thailand.

Indorama ranks as one of North America’s largest PET makers. The firm currently is building a new PET plant with 1.2 billion pounds of annual capacity in Decatur, Ala. Globally, Indorama employs 14,000 and has annual sales of USD7.5 billion, making a range of plastics, fibers and specialty chemicals.

Indorama Ventures is a leading producer in the polyester value chain in Thailand with strong global network and manufacturing across Asia, Europe and North America. Its products serve major players in diversified end use markets, including food, beverages, personal and home care, health care, automotives, textile, and industrial. The company’s main products are PTA, PET and polyester fibre, which are distributed across the world.