CB&I wins EPC contract for LACC ethane cracker project

MOSCOW (MRC) -- CB&I has been awarded a contract valued in excess of USD1.3 billion by LACC, LLC, a JV between Axiall Corporation and Lotte Chemical Corporation, said the company on its site.

CB&I will provide engineering, procurement, fabrication and construction for the LACC Ethane Cracker Project in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

The cracker will have the capacity to produce approximately one million metric tons of ethylene annually.

As previously announced, the ethylene plant will employ CB&I's latest, proven ethylene technology, including highly selective SRT cracking heaters and its innovative recovery section design, featuring low pressure separation and mixed refrigeration to minimize investment costs. CB&I's scope of work also includes the supply of spheres and fabricated pipe spools.

"CB&I is pleased to have been selected as the primary EPC contractor for this significant U.S. Gulf Coast ethylene project," said Philip K. Asherman, CB&I's President and CEO. "We have worked closely with Axiall Corporation and Lotte Chemical to develop this project from concept through technology and now EPC, and we look forward to helping them build on their global ethylene capabilities in the North American market."

As MRC informed earlier, Axiall Corporation and South Korean Lotte Chemical Corporation finalised a joint venture (JV) agreement to construct an ethane cracker. The final investment decision remains subject to approval by both companies’ boards of directors. The companies have formed LACC LLC to design, build and operate an ethane cracker in Louisiana that would produce approximately one million metric tons of ethylene annually once it commenced operation.

Axiall Corporation is a leading integrated chemicals and building products company. Headquartered in Atlanta, Axiall has manufacturing facilities located throughout North America and in Asia to provide industry-leading materials and services to customers.

Lotte Chemical is a member of the Lotte Group in Korea, which has been listed on the Korean Stock Exchange since 1991. Lotte Chemical is a leading manufacturer of petrochemical products, such as ethylene, propylene, butadiene, polyethylene, polypropylene, ethylene oxide/glycol, compound resin, polyethylene terephthalate, polycarbonate, methyl methacrylate, ethylene oxide derivatives, benzene, toluene, mixed xylene, purified terephthalic acid and purified isophthalic acid among others. Lotte Chemical, headquartered in Seoul, South Korea, has manufacturing facilities located throughout South Korea, China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan, UK and the USA.


Natpet developed new enhanced PP impact copolymer grade

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Saudi Arabia's National Petrochemical Industrial Company (Natpet) has presented an enhanced polypropylene (PP) impact copolymer grade, Teldene B20ML for injection molding applications, as per Polymerupdate.

B20ML is upgraded by replacing NaBz with Milliken's nucleating agent Hyperform HPN-20E, which offers better shrinkage control and improved stiffness without affecting impact performance.

As said, it now provides better stiffness/impact balance in both machine direction (MD) and transverse direction (TD) orientation. The superior isotropic shrinkage control facilitates a dimensional stability to eliminate warpage.

Together with the improved thermal properties achieved with Hyperform HPN-20E, the new grade also provides downgauging advantage for converters.

The improved B20ML grade is suitable for new market segments, such as large pails and automotive compounding, in addition to conventional food and non-food packaging.

Neaz Ahmed, Assistant Manager Product Application, NATPET, commented, "With the improvements made to Teldene B20ML, we are pleased to offer a more effective and sustainable PP reactor grade to the market, with great potential to add value in new application segments. Customer feedback since we made the switch to Hyperform HPN-20E confirms better quality of finished products and less wastage during production of large pails."

As MRC informed earlier, in mid-December 2015, Natpet shuts its PP plant on account of a mechanical issues. The plant is expected to remain shut for a period of around one week. Located at Yanbu in Saudi Arabia, the plant has a production capacity of 400,000 mt/year.

Eni in talks with potential buyer for Versalis

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Eni is in talks with a potential buyer of a majority stake in its Versalis chemicals business part of the Italian oil company's plans to slim down and focus on oil and gas exploration, reported Reuters.

Two trade union leaders said on Thursday an Eni board meeting was expected to give the go ahead to exclusive talks with U.S. investment firm SK Capital.

Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi, talking to reporters on the sidelines of a meeting, said talks were under way with a bidder for Versalis but also said they could be extended to other possible buyers.

"We have in the past spoken to more than one party, at the moment we're speaking to one." The CEO said nothing had been decided yet.

The state-controlled energy group has pledged to sell EUR8 billion (USD8.7 bln) of assets over the next four years to help fund growth and support shareholder returns.

"We need to find funds to help develop the business," Descalzi said.

Eni said in October it was looking for a partner to help it run Versalis, which one Milan analyst said had an enterprise value of around EUR1.5 billion. Descalzi said a series of guarantees and pre-conditions put in place made a sale more difficult. These included keeping Versalis whole for five years, not cutting the workforce for three, and keeping the company in Italy. Eni has spent time and money turning around Versalis by refocusing the business on speciality and green products and promoting its international development.

As MRC wrote before, Eni will invest EUR125 million in its Versalis plant in Mantua to under the Group 2014-2017 four-year strategic plan.

Eni is an Italian multinational oil and gas company headquartered in Rome. It has operations in in 79 countries, and is currently Italy's largest industrial company with a market capitalization of EUR68 billion (USD 90 billion), as of August 14, 2013. The Italian government owns a 30.3% golden share in the company, 3.93% held through the state Treasury and 26.37% held through the Cassa depositi e prestiti. Another 39.40% of the shares are held by BNP Paribas.

Anellotech completed the construction of a renewable aromatics plant

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Anellotech, IFPEN and Axens said they have completed construction on a fully-integrated development and testing plant, “TCat-8”, for the production of bio-based paraxylene, benzene, toluene, ortho-xylene and meta-xylene (BTX), from non-food sources, said the company on its site.

Anellotech is now ready to commence installation onsite. Operational in 2016, this 82 foot- high unit will confirm the viability and suitability of the Bio-TCat process for scale-up.

With the news, Anellotech, IFP Energies nouvelles, and Axens said they are expanding their partnership and accelerating the development and commercialization of bio-based BTX molecule production.

As part of a multi-year R&D collaboration with Anellotech, IFPEN will be integral in the commissioning and operation of TCat-8, leading to commercialization and exclusive licensing of Bio-TCat technology by Axens. In addition to extensive activities at its R&D center in Solaize, France, IFPEN will dedicate three, full-time senior engineers and technical experts at Anellotech’s U.S. location for two years to support the efforts, beginning in 2016. Anellotech’s highly collaborative program leverages IFPEN’s extensive and comprehensive process development experience, and its specific expertise in catalytic reactor modeling, catalyst regenerator design and aromatics processing.

As MRC informed earlier, the global bio-polyethylene terephthalate (PET) market was valued at USD457.9 mln in 2014, and is projected to reach USD1317.5 mln by 2019, at a CAGR 23.5% from 2014 to 2019. The use of bio-based bottles offers better value in terms of functionality, quality, and performance. Therefore, bio-based bottles are primarily used in varied applications, such as beverage packaging and medicine packaging among others.

Anellotech is a green innovation and technology company developing an efficient and eco-friendly process for producing bio-based BTX from non-food biomass. We use proprietary breakthrough technology to produce these sustainable chemical building blocks as an alternative to their identical counterparts derived from fossil sources. By using biomass as a source feedstock for aromatic chemicals, Anellotech is helping broaden the world’s access to renewable chemical and energy sources, while lowering these chemicals’ lifecycle carbon footprint to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

PetroRabigh delays restart of HDPE plant in Saudi Arabia

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Rabigh Refining and Petrochemical Co (PetroRabigh) has postponed the restart of a High density polyethylene (HDPE) plant, as per Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in Saudi Arabia informed that the restart has been delayed till end-December 2015. As per earlier plans, it was scheduled to restart in the second week of December 2015. The reason behind the delay could not be ascertained. The plant was taken off-stream for maintenance in early-October 2015.

Located in Rabigh, Saudi Arabia, the plant has a production capacity of 300,000 mt/year.

As MRC reported earlier, PetroRabighshut its linear density polyethylene (LLDPE) plant for maintenance turnaround in early October 2015. It was expected to remain off-stream for around 45 days. But in December, the company postponed the resumption of the plant's operations until late December 2015 - early January 2016. Located in Rabigh, Saudi Arabia, the plant has a production capacity of 600,000 mt/year.

PetroRabigh, a joint venture between Saudi Aramco and Japan's Sumitomo Chemical, has an annual output capacity of 18 million tonnes of refined products and 2.4 million tonnes of petrochemicals. Thus, the complex currently has a cracker to produce 1.3-million t/y of ethylene and 900,000 t/y of propylene, as well as downstream production of polyethylene, polypropylene, propylene oxide, ethylene glycol and butene-1.