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.

Total awards FEED contract to CB&I for USD2bn ethylene cracker project in Port Arthur, US

MOSCOW (MRC) -- French energy group Total has started front-end engineering and design (FEED) for the construction of a USD2bn steam cracker project at its Port Arthur facility in Texas, US, said Chemicals-technology.

The plant will have the capacity to produce one million tonnes of ethylene a year. For the new project, Total has awarded a contract to Woodlands-based CB&I to provide its ethylene technology and front-end engineering and design (FEED) services for the proposed new ethane cracker.

Under the deal, CB&I will also provide seven SRT cracking heaters for the second integrated steam cracker to be built at its Port Arthur complex. A final decision on the project is yet to be made.

Total Refining & Chemicals president Philippe Sauquet said: "This project is aligned with our strategy to strengthen our major integrated refining and petrochemical platforms worldwide. "In the United States, we want to capitalise on the shale gas revoulution, during which gas prices have plunged 66%. In such an environment, the advantage to investing in petrochemical activities is access to a plentiful, inexpensive feedstock and to low-cost energy for our plants."

CB&I president and chief executive officer Philip K Asherman said: "We appreciate the opportunity to work with Total, one of the world's largest integrated producers, and look forward to collaborating closely with them to develop this project through FEED and beyond. "The award of both the technology license and the FEED phase for this significant ethylene project reflects the confidence Total has in CB&I's integrated capabilities."

The new project will be completed in 2019.

The Port Arthur campus is one of Total's six major integrated platforms across the world. Total owns a refinery at the location, and the company jointly operates a petrochemical plant with BASF in the same location. Total owns a 40% stake in the petrochemical plant, while BASF owns a 60% share.

BASF and Total reinstated the current Port Arthur steam cracker in 2013, mainly to process ethane and butane produced from natural gas.

As MRC informed earlier, Total SA scaled back the expansion strategy it pursued during the past decade of high oil prices, announcing a fresh round of investment cutbacks and project delays while reducing production targets.

Total S.A. is a French multinational oil and gas company and one of the six "Supermajor" oil companies in the world with business in Europe, the United States, the Middle East and Asia. The company's petrochemical products cover two main groups: base chemicals and the consumer polymers (polyethylene, polypropylene and polystyrene) that are derived from them.

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.