Oxiteno inaugurates alkoxylation unit in Mexico

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Oxiteno will build a new, USD113 million alkoxylation unit in Texas to meet demands within the North American market, as per Happi.

The plant should start operating in the last quarter of 2017 and will have production capacity around 170,000 tonnes/year, according to the company. In 2012, Oxiteno acquired its first industrial plant in Texas, which serves as the foundation for the new alkoxylation expansion. The expansion is part of an ongoing strategy of investing throughout the Americas, which consists of the acquisitions of industrial plants in Mexico in 2003 and 2004, the opening of Oxiteno’s first commercial office in the US in 2007, and the addition of units in Venezuela and Uruguay, in 2007 and 2012, respectively. In addition to the new plant, the company will expand the service structure with total focus on the customer.

"We will invest in the improvement of our services, expanding our commercial and technical services team, as well as the local research and development structure," explained Oxiteno CEO Joao Parolin. "We will work more aligned and in synergy with our clients, developing solutions for the local market. The logistics structure will include distribution centers around the country to ensure the service to all regions of the US. "These actions consolidate the company in an outstanding position with broad geographic coverage, allowing better customer service in Americas."

The new unit will be fully integrated to the company?s activities in North America. With this investment, Oxiteno further expands its portfolio of surfactants and specialty chemicals and its alkoxylation technology with focus on local agrochemicals, personal care, home care and I&I, paints and coatings, and oil and gas markets, according to the company.

Oxiteno is a subsidiary of Brazilian group Ultrapar. It established an industrial presence in the US with the acquisition of a closed site in Pasadena in 2012. This site now produces amphoteric surfactants, esters and agrochemical solutions. Oxiteno also acquired American Chemical in 2012 as well as a site in Uruguay. Oxiteno began its international expansion in 2003 with the acquisition of surfactants producer Canamex in Mexico. In 2007 it made 2 more small acquisitions in Mexico and now has 3 speciality units (making surfactants and esters) in Coatzacoalcos, Guadalajara and San Juan Del Rio). In 2007 the company also bought Arch Quimica Andina in Venezuela. Oxiteno has 12 industrial sites worldwide, concentrated in S America. It claims to be one of the largest producers of ethylene oxide and ethylene oxide compounds in S America and the only producer of fatty acids in the region. In 2013 it had 2 M tonnes/y capacity and made a USD1.5 bn turnover.


Shell to expand Louisiana alpha olefins complex

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Shell Chemical has made a final investment decision (FID) to increase its alpha olefins (AO) production at its chemical manufacturing site in Geismar, Louisiana, the company announced on Monday.

The expansion will make the Geismar site the largest AO producer in the world.

Shell will construct a fourth AO unit, adding 425,000 tons of annual capacity. The chemical site is used in the production of stronger and lighter polyethylene plastic for packaging and bottles, as well as engine and industrial oils and drilling fluids.

This important investment demonstrates our ongoing commitment to the growth potential in chemicals," said Graham van’t Hoff, executive vice president for Royal Dutch Shell’s global chemicals business. "With the investment in new, profitable facilities, Shell Chemicals is well placed to respond to increased global customer demand for linear alpha olefins. We have strong technology, advantaged ethylene feedstock from nearby Norco and Deer Park sites, and operational flexibility to allow us to respond to market conditions."

Construction of the new unit will begin in the first quarter of 2016. The new capacity brings the total AO production at Shell’s Geismar site to more than 1.3 MMtpy.

The Geismar site, with a strong track record of reliable and safe performance, also produces alcohols, ethoxylates, ethylene oxide and ethylene glycols.

The Shell Geismar complex is located next to the Mississippi River, about 20 miles south of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It is a stand-alone chemicals manufacturing plant, operated by Shell Chemical. In addition to Geismar, Shell produces AO at Stanlow in the UK, operated by Essar Oil on Shell’s behalf as part of an integrated oil refinery and petrochemicals site.

As MRC informed previously, in April 2015, Royal Dutch Shell completed a revamp and upgrade of its Singapore ethane cracker. The project increased production for the 800,000-tpy ethylene plant on Bukom Island by 20%. The ethylene and olefins unit is also integrated with Shell’s 500,000-bpd refinery.

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.

Chemours announces job cuts, closure of Niagra Falls plant

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Chemours announced that it will cut approximately 400 positions—about 5% of the company’s global workforce—as part of an ongoing effort to streamline organization and reduce costs, said Chemweek.

The headcount reduction is expected to be completed during 2016 and will save Chemours about USD50 million annually. The company expects to incur a USD45 million charge in the fourth quarter.

The company also completed the strategic review of its reactive metals solutions business and decided to stop production at its Niagara Falls, NY site by the end of December 2016. The Niagara Falls plant produces sodium and lithium, has approximately 200 employees and contractors at the site will be impacted. The closure is expected to improve pre-tax income and adjusted Ebitda by approximately USD20 million annually beginning in 2017. In the fourth quarter of 2015, the company will incur cash charges of approximately USD17 million for employee-related charges, contract termination, and removal costs.

Additional restructuring and other charges related to decommissioning and site redevelopment are expected to be in the range of USD10 million to USD15 million and will be incurred during the next two to three years.

"We continue to make significant progress executing against our five-point transformation plan by streamlining our portfolio and our organizational structure. The actions announced today will allow us to focus our resources on our core business segments, operate more efficiently, and strengthen our financial position," says Mark Vergnano, Chemours president and CEO.

Chemours also says it remains committed to its Belle, WV methylamines site and that it will take additional actions to improve the performance of its chemical solutions portfolio. Dow Chemical recently agreed to acquire Chemours' aniline facility in Beaumont, TX for approximately USD140 million in cash.

As MRC informed earlier, In October 2013, DuPont announced that it was planning to spin off its Performance Chemicals business into a new publicly traded company in mid-2015. The company filed its initial Form 10 with the SEC in December 2014 and announced that the new company would be called The Chemours Company. The spin-off to DuPont shareholders was completed on July 1, 2015 and Chemours stock began trading on the New York Stock Exchange on the same date. DuPont will focus on production of GMO seeds, materials for solar panels, and alternatives to fossil fuels. Chemours becomes responsible for the cleanup of 171 former DuPont sites, which DuPont says will cost between USD295 million to USD945 million.

The Chemours Company, commonly referred to as Chemours, is an American chemical company that was founded in July 2015 as a spin-off from DuPont. It has its corporate headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware, United States.

Sadara enters into agreements with JCSSC for storage & handling services at KFIP

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Sadara Chemical Co. has entered into two agreements with Jubail Chemicals Storage and Services Co. (JCSSC), a joint venture of Sabic and Vopak, for the provision of liquid product storage and handling services at the King Fahd Industrial Port (KFIP) in Jubail, Saudi Arabia, said Vopak on its site.

Under the tank storage construction agreement, Sadara will sell a 348,000 cu m tank farm to JCSSC for approximately USD470-million. The tank farm supplements a 200,000 cu m port terminal and related port facilities that are under construction and have been partly commissioned by JCSSC.

Under the terminal services agreement, JCSSC will provide Sadara with liquid product storage and handling services at KFIP for an initial term of 20 years.

The agreements lay an important foundation for Sadara's supply chain in Jubail as the company moves toward production at it USD20-billion chemical complex, currently under construction there.

Comprised of 26 world-scale manufacturing units, the Sadara chemical complex is expected to begin delivering its first products by the end of this year. Full site operations are expected by the end of 2016.

As MRC wrote previously, in June 2015, Sadara Chemical Co. signed a 20-year supply agreement with Energy Chemicals Sources Co. (ECSC), a new joint venture of Halliburton and The Industrialization & Energy Services Co. (TAQA), to supply feedstock to ECSC's planned chemical production facility to be built in Jubail, Saudi Arabia.

Sadara is building a world-scale, fully integrated chemicals complex in Jubail Industrial City 2, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The complex will be comprised of 26 manufacturing units, will possess flexible cracking capabilities and is expected to produce more than 3 million metric tons of high-value performance plastics and specialty chemical products. The first production units are expected to come on-line in the second half of 2015, with full production starting in mid-2016.

The first stage of Assam Gas Cracker project commissioned

MOSCOW (MRC) -- GAIL India has commissioned the first phase of the Assam Gas Cracker project, the first petrochemical project in the north eastern region of the country, said Chemicals-technology.

The first stage of the Assam Gas Cracker project will go on stream next month, followed by the second stage. The entire project is developed at a cost of Rs9.28bn (USD1.38bn), of which GAIL India owns a 70% stake.

The remaining amount is equally owned by Oil India, Numaligarh Refineries and the Assam Government. A joint-venture named Brahmaputra Crackers and Polymers (BCPL) was formed in 2007 to operate the Assam Gas Cracker project.

Previously, the project was scheduled to be completed in 2012. But the completion date had been postponed twice. The Rs 8,920 crore petrochemical complex, which is in the process of being commissioned, includes a cracker to produce 220,000 t/y of ethylene and 60,000 t/y of propylene, as well as a 60,000-t/y polypropylene plant.

After obtaining ethylene from the cracker plant, the LLDPE / HDPE unit of the plant will be made operational. The plant has already started producing ethylene, which will be used as feedstock for manufacturing polymers that eventually build plastics.

GAIL India chairman and managing director B C Tripathi was quoted by PTI as saying: "The cracker, polypropylene (PP) unit, gas processing unit and all utilities have been commissioned."

In order to market the products produced at the plant, GAIL and BCPL have already signed an agreement.

The plant will use natural gas and naphtha as feedstock. OIL India and ONGC will supply natural gas and NRL will supply naphtha to the plant.