Board of Directors of Total elects Patrick Pouyanne as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

MOSCOW (MRC) -- At its meeting on December 16, 2015, Total’s Board of Directors elected Patrick Pouyanne, Chief Executive Officer of Total since October 22, 2014 and director since May 29, 2015, Chairman of the Board of Directors, said the producer on its site.

As announced on October 22, 2014, Mr. Pouyanne therefore becomes Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Total, following the Board’s decision to recombine the two roles.

He succeeds Thierry Desmarest, whose term as Chairman of the Board of Directors expires on December 18, 2015, in line with the age limits specified in the Group’s bylaws. Thierry Desmarest, Honorary Chairman, will remain as a director until the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting on May 24, 2016.

In addition, upon the recommendation of the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, the Board of Directors has decided to create the position of Lead Independent Director. The Lead Independent Director will in particular oversee the efficient running of the company’s governance structure, will chair the Governance and Ethics Committee and will be a key contact for shareholders on issues related to the Board of Directors’ responsibilities.

Patricia Barbizet, an independent director since 2008, has been appointed by the Board of Directors as Lead Independent Director. In this capacity, she will chair the Governance and Ethics Committee. She will also be a member of the Compensation Committee.

As MRC wrote previously, in late 2014, Total, Europe’s third-largest oil company, permanently shut its high density polyethylene (HDPE) line in Belgium. The plant was shut permanently owing to weak margins which have arisen on account of cheap imports in the region. Located at Antwerp in Belgium, the line had a production capacity of 70,000 mt/year.

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 build biofuels demonstration plant in India

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Shell India Markets (SIMPL) will proceed with the installation of a 5 tpd IH2 technology demonstration plant on the site of SIMPL’s new technology center in Bangalore, India, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The Shell unit SIMPL will build, operate and own the demonstration-scale IH2 plant. IH 2 technology is a continuous catalytic thermo-chemical process which converts a broad range of forestry/agricultural residues and municipal wastes directly into renewable hydrocarbon transportation fuels and/or blend stocks.

The IH2 technology was developed by the US-based Gas Technology Institute in 2009 and is being further developed in collaboration with CRI Catalyst Co. (CRI), Shell’s catalyst business. CRI will supply the proprietary catalysts for the unit.

The basic engineering package for the plant will be provided by Zeton of Ontario, Canada.

As the IH2 technology converts a wide range of residual biomass, the facility in Bangalore will be designed to allow for variation in feedstock. Highly relevant commercial feedstocks, such as residual woody biomass and select agricultural and municipal residues, will be within the intended feed scope. Regardless of the feedstock, the IH2 hydrocarbons produced span the gasoline, jet and diesel range.

Hydrocarbons produced from the IH2 technology using lignocellulosic biomass feed meet the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) specifications for road transport fuels, positioned for the US market as an E10 gasoline fully renewable product and as a 100% fully renewable on-road diesel.

Testing of the neat kerosene (R100) cut indicates that the material meet specifications for global jet fuel specifications for Jet A-1/JP8 for those properties tested to date. Ongoing research indicates a high probability to achieve European Union (EN) specification fuels, the company says.

As MRC informed earlier, Shell Chemicals has asked the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) for permission to expand ethylene production capacity at its Deer Park, TX, facility.

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.

INEOS wins 21 new shale gas licenses in final part of UK Government 14th Licensing Round

MOSCOW (MRC) -- INEOS was awarded 21 new shale gas licences as the final part of the UK Government’s 14th licensing round. The company, which is now one of the UK’s biggest shale gas players, was awarded 700,000 acres on top of its existing 300,000 acres, said the company on its site.

As part of the Department of Energy and Climate Change announcement, the company was awarded licenses in the East Midlands and the North West. Areas include Runcorn, close to INEOS' giant manufacturing facility in the town, and additional licenses in North Yorkshire, close to INEOS’ plants in Hull and Newton Aycliffe.

All licenses awarded by DECC are subject to planning permissions and as part of this INEOS has committed to full consultation with all local communities before proceeding with any shale gas development. The company has also committed to share 6% of revenues with homeowners, landowners & communities close to its shale gas wells.

Jim Ratcliffe, INEOS Chairman, says, "We are delighted with today’s announcement. The UK government has demonstrated it is determined to move forward with this exciting new industry. This is the start of a shale gas revolution that will transform manufacturing in the UK. INEOS has the skills to safely extract the gas and we have already committed to both fully consult and to share the rewards with the local communities. "

INEOS believes that its knowledge and experience in running complex petrochemical facilities, coupled with its world class sub-surface expertise makes it the right company to extract UK shale gas.

Unlike many of its rivals INEOS can use shale gas as both a feedstock and a power source. This means shale gas could help underpin the competiveness of INEOS’s manufacturing sites across the UK for years to come. Potentially these new "shale economics" could bolster the wider UK manufacturing sector as they have done in the US.

Jim Ratcliffe, INEOS Chairman, adds "At INEOS, we believe shale gas could revolutionise UK manufacturing and we have the resources to make it happen, the skills to extract the gas safely and the vision to realise that communities must share in the rewards for it to be successfully developed."

As MRC wrote before, Ineos will invest around GBR 640m (USD1 billion) in shale gas exploration in the United Kingdom. The company plans to use the gas as a raw material for its chemicals plants, including Grangemouth in Stirlingshire. Grangemouth is currently running at a loss, but Ineos believes shale gas will transform the economics of the plant.

INEOS Group Limited is a privately owned multinational chemicals company consisting of 15 standalone business units, headquartered in Rolle, Switzerland and with its registered office in Lyndhurst, United Kingdom. It is the fourth largest chemicals company in the world measured by revenues (after BASF, Dow Chemical and LyondellBasell) and the largest privately owned company in the United Kingdom.

AkzoNobel starts up packaging inks facility in China

MOSCOW (MRC) -- AkzoNobel has started operations at a new facility for packaging inks at its site in Songjiang, China, said the company on its site.

The plant – located at the company’s biggest site for packaging coatings in the world – will produce inks used in beverage and can packaging.

"This new facility will establish AkzoNobel as a local supplier of inks in China and strengthen our position in the local packaging market," said Chen Bin, director of AkzoNobel’s Metal Coatings business in Asia. "It also means that we now have local production of the complete external coatings system."

"We are very pleased to have started local production of inks at Songjiang. It will help us to better serve customers in what is one of our most important markets," added AB Ghosh, managing director of AkzoNobel’s Metal Coatings business. AkzoNobel’s technology for two-piece retort can systems is the leading external system used by Chinese beverage and can packaging suppliers.

Last year, AkzoNobel doubled the capacity of the Songjiang site, which now employs close to 300 people and also houses the company’s largest research and development center in China.

Earlier this month, the company unveiled a new USD10m research, development and innovation (RD&I) center at Strongsville in the US state of Ohio. The facility, with full testing and analytical capabilities, is expected to help promote the firm's performance coatings businesses, including coil, extrusion and packaging coatings.

AkzoNobel had recently announced that it is investing around USD3.4m in the expansion of its RD&I capabilities in Houston, Texas.

AkzoNobel Surface Chemistry is a global leader in the manufacturing and supply of specialty surfactants, synthetic and bio-polymer additives and specialty polymers. AkzoNobel currently employs more than 7,400 people in China. Revenues in China totaled EUR1.7 billion in 2014.

Sinopec, Taiwan firm start building China petchem complex

MOSCOW (MRC) -- China's state-run energy giant Sinopec and a Taiwanese firm started construction this week on a petrochemical plant in Fujian province, said Reuters.

Taiwanese firm Dynamic Ever Investments Ltd has partnered with Fujian Petrochemical Company Limited (FPCL), which is 50-percent owned by Sinopec Corp, to build the facility, the China Petrochemical News said.

The plant, located on the Gulei peninsula in Zhangzhou, Fujian province, will process up to 1 million tonnes of ethylene when completed, the paper said.

The site will includes 16 chemical units and a dock and is expected to be partially completed by 2018, the paper said. Sinopec did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Contact information for Dynamic Ever Investments - a joint venture of seven Taiwanese companies - was not immediately available.

Ethylene, a key building block for synthetic rubber, plastics and chemical fibre, can be processed from refined oil products such as naphtha and liquefied petroleum gas.

In October, MRC reported that Sinopec was in advanced talks on taking a controlling stake Taiwanese-owned petrochemical firm Dragon Aromatics, which operates one of the country's biggest chemical plants, also located on the Gulei peninsula.

The paraxylene (PX) refiner suffered two major fires in less than two years at the USD3 billion plant.

Also nearby in the same province, Sinopec operates a 240,000 barrels-per-day oil refinery and a 1 million tonne-per-year ethylene complex.

Dragon Aromatics, owned by Xianglu Group, a Taiwanese petrochemical group, is one of the largest independently-run PX producers in China.

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.