Dutch AkzoNobel opens research facility in USA Ohio

MOSCOW (MRC) -- AkzoNobel has opened a new research, development and innovation (RD&I) center in Strongsville, Ohio, in the United States, said the producer on its site.

The EUR9.42 million facility will support several of the company's Performance Coatings businesses, including coil, extrusion and packaging coatings.

Featuring full testing, scale-up and analytical capabilities, it will house more than 120 staff, including 65 highly trained scientists and technicians. Commenting on the opening, AB Ghosh, Managing Director of AkzoNobel's Metal Coatings business, said: "By expanding our facility in Strongsville, we are providing a central, state-of-the-art technical resource for our businesses in North America, creating the critical mass for effective RD&I to more efficiently support our customers. The facility will also enable us to focus on further improving the performance and sustainability of our products."

As MRC informed earlier, in June, AkzoNobel announced a EUR3mln expansion at its coatings research centre in Houston.

Akzo Nobel N.V., trading as AkzoNobel, is a Dutch multinational, active in the fields of decorative paints, performance coatings and specialty chemicals. Headquartered in Amsterdam, the company has activities in more than 80 countries, and employs approximately 55,000 people.

The global petrochemical market expected to reach USD758.3 bln by 2022

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The global petrochemical market is expected to reach USD758.3 bln by 2022, reported Plastemart with reference to a new report by Grand View Research, Inc.

Growth of key end-use industries such as construction and transportation particularly in BRIC nations is expected to remain a key driving factor for global petrochemical market. Abundant raw material availability in the Middle East is also expected to have a positive impact on the market growth. Shale gas boom in North America and rapid E&P activities in China is further anticipated to drive the global market. Volatile crude oil and naphtha prices on account of political instability in OPEC and supply demand gap are expected to remain a key challenge for market participants. Ethylene was the leading product segment and accounted for 28.4% of total market volume in 2014.

Growing polyethylene demand particularly from packaging industry is expected to drive this segment over the forecast period. Propylene accounted for over 15% of the total market volume in 2014. Methanol is expected to witness highest growth of 8.1% from 2015 to 2022. Growth of methanol to olefins (MTO) industry is expected to drive methanol demand over the forecast period. Further key findings from the report suggest: global petrochemical market size was 490.5 million tons in 2014 and is expected to grow at an estimated CAGR of 5.1% from 2015 to 2022.

China emerged as the leading consumer and accounted for 26.7% of global consumption in 2014. Growing demand for various plastic products such as polyethylene, polypropylene, polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and engineering plastics from domestic automotive, packaging and construction industry is expected to drive the regional market over the forecast period. China is also expected to witness the highest growth of 6.2% from 2015 to 2022.

Other Asian countries such as India, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam are also expected to witness significant gains in their market sizes on account of rapid industrialization and government support to increase FDI inflow.
The global petrochemical market share is dominated by multinational corporations which are integrated along the value chain. Key players with global presence include Chevron Corporation, BASF, The Dow Chemical Company and ExxonMobil.

As MRC wrote before, the global petrochemicals market was valued at USD472.06 bln in 2011 and is expected to reach USD791.05 bln by 2018, growing at a CAGR of 6.7% from 2012 to 2018, as per Transparency Market Research.

INEOS completes acquisition of DEA UK North Sea gas fields

MOSCOW (MRC) -- INEOS completed the purchase of the North Sea natural gas assets of DEA Deutsche Erdoel AG, which is owned by L1 Energy, said the producer on its site.

The platforms, infrastructure and the highly skilled team that runs them will form part of the new INEOS Breagh business division that will be based in London.

Geir Tuft, CEO of INEOS Breagh says, We are pleased to have completed the deal to acquire this strong portfolio of natural gas assets and bring on board a highly successful and experienced North Sea industry team."

The transaction includes interests in the Breagh and Clipper South gas fields in the Southern North Sea. The annual production from the fields acquired in this deal account for 8% of the UK’s annual gas production, enough gas to warm 1 in 10 British homes.

INEOS has recently announced its intention to become the leading UK player in onshore gas development and, as part of the company's growing interest in energy production, is now evaluating additional opportunities offshore.

As part of the company’s ongoing strategic business planning, INEOS AG has set up a new oil and gas subsidiary and is working with a number of top class North Sea oil and gas professionals. This group will continue to review potential opportunities in the North Sea to assess their suitability in the development of the business.

Sinopec expands global reach with St. Croix terminal lease

MOSCOW (MRC) -- China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., known as Sinopec, agreed to be the anchor customer at an oil terminal in the U.S. Virgin Islands to be refurbished by an affiliate of ArcLight Capital Partners LLC and Freepoint Commodities LLC, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Sinopec will lease 10 MMbbl of the terminal’s initial 13 MMbbl capacity, according to Dan Hecht, general counsel for Freepoint. The affiliate, Limetree Bay Holdings LLC, was named the winning bidder on Monday by a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge for the former Hovensa oil refinery in St. Croix. The terminal is located at a shuttered refinery, formerly owned by Hess Corp. and Petroleos Venezuela SA that was once the largest in the world.

Space to store oil has become increasingly scarce as the U.S. shale boom and production from Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries has increased global supplies of oil and refined products such as gasoline and diesel to about 3 Bbbl -- a record, according to the International Energy Agency.

The former refinery covers 330 acres on an island in the Caribbean Sea about 500 miles north of Venezuela and 1,500 miles south of New York. Limetree, which is 80% owned by ArcLight and 20% by Freepoint, agreed to pay up to USD370 million for the facility. Of that, USD235 million will go to the Virgin Islands government and USD135 million to the bankruptcy estate.

The agreement still needs final approval from the Virgin Islands legislature. Once approved, Limetree will be able to bring about 2 MMbbl of storage online quickly, with another 11 MMbbl following in the ensuing months, Hecht said.

Sinopec agreed to a binding 10-year contract to take 75% of that, or about 10 MMbbl initially, Hecht said. Freepoint will lease another 2 MMbbl of capacity for fuel-oil storage, and the remaining 1 MMbbl will be marketed to other customers.

After the first phase is online, Limetree plans to expand storage capacity up to as much as 30 MMbbl at the facility, Hecht said. The company has agreed to invest at least USD125 million in facility enhancements, including the construction of a new dock to accommodate the largest crude tankers in the world.

As MRC informed earlier, BASF and China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (SINOPEC) today inaugurated their world-scale isononanol (INA) plant in Maoming Hi-tech Industrial Development Zone, Maoming, China. The plant will be run by BASF MPCC Company Limited (BMC), which is a 50-50 joint venture between BASF and SINOPEC. It has an annual capacity of 180,000 metric tons. This is the first INA plant in China and will serve the growing demand for next-generation plasticizers.

Limetree would purchase the refining equipment as well, and will evaluate restarting some or all of it after getting the terminal running. The eastern part of the refinery, with about 360,000 bpd of crude processing capacity, has the highest potential for being restarted, according to the presentation.

Sinopec Corp. is one of the largest integrated energy and chemical companies in China. Its principal operations include the exploration and production, pipeline transportation and sale of petroleum and natural gas; the sale, storage and transportation of petroleum products, petrochemical products, coal chemical products, synthetic fibre, fertiliser and other chemical products; the import and export, including an import and export agency business, of petroleum, natural gas, petroleum products, petrochemical and chemical products, and other commodities and technologies; and research, development and application of technologies and information.

Asian Paints awards Jacobs Engineering EPCM contract for new paints plant

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Jacobs Engineering Group Inc - the US-headquartered company that provides industrial maintenance, fabrication, construction and maintenance management technology to mainly process industries – has received an engineering, procurement, construction management (EPCM) contract from Asian Paints Limited (APL) to provide engineering services for a greenfield paint plant in India, as per company's press-release.

Though Jacobs had not mentioned the location of the greenfield project, the contract could be for the proposed paint manufacturing facility in Mysuru (Karnataka), plans for which was announced by Asian Paints in September this year. The company will invest approximately Rs 2,300 crores, in a phased manner, in the new plant, which will meet the demand in the Southern and Eastern parts of the country.

As per the EPCM contract, Jacobs will provide detailed engineering and construction supervision services for the plant. The contract duration is 37 months. When complete, the new paint plant is expected to produce 300,000 kiloliters per annum of decorative paints. The plant is a key component of Asian Paints’ expansion programme in India.

Gary Mandel, petroleum and chemicals president, Jacobs, commented, "We are delighted to expand our relationship with APL as it continues to invest in this region. I am confident our global experience in the chemical industry combined with our strong local knowledge can contribute significant value to this strategically important facility."

As MRC informed earlier, Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. was selected by ExxonMobil to perform engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) services for its Crude Flexibility Engineering and Construction Project at the ExxonMobil Refinery in Beaumont, Texas.

Asian Paints is India’s largest and Asia’s third largest paints company, with 26 manufacturing plants in operation in India and around the world.

Jacobs is one of the world’s largest and most diverse providers of technical professional and construction services.