BP agrees to sell Alabama petrochemicals plant to Indorama Ventures Public

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BP PLC is selling its petrochemical complex in Decatur, Alabama, to Indorama Ventures Public Co. Ltd. (IVL.TH), for an undisclosed sum, as part BP's plan to restructure its global petrochemicals business, said the producer on its site.

The divestment is in line with BP’s global petrochemicals strategy of pursuing a competitively advantaged portfolio through world-scale, low-cost facilities that utilize BP proprietary technology, including the production of purified terephthalic acid, or PTA, a key raw material in the production of polyester.

"This agreement allows us to focus investment on our world-class PTA [purified terephthalic acid] production facility in Cooper River, South Carolina, and a key PTA feedstock producer in Texas City, Texas, as well as to maintain a strong position in the important U.S. petrochemicals industry," Rita Griffin, chief operating officer of BP Global Petrochemicals, said.

Under the terms of the agreement, Indorama Ventures will purchase the Decatur complex including working capital and related infrastructure and assume certain contracts with suppliers and customers. The parties anticipate the deal closing to occur in early 2016 when employees will transfer to the new owner.

The Decatur complex makes chemicals essential for the production of thousands of items, from plastic water bottles to flat-screen televisions. Located on 1,000 acres in Northern Alabama, the complex can produce one million tons per year of PTA, as well as paraxylene (PX), a raw material for PTA production. The site also is the world’s only commercial manufacturer of naphthalene dicarboxylate (NDC), a specialty chemical used in new-generation polyesters and resins used to make LCD flat-panel displays, ultra-thin data storage tape and other products.

BP has substantially completed its USD10 billion divestment program for the 2014 and 2015 period. The company expects USD3-5 billion of divestments in 2016 and ongoing divestments averaging around USD2-3 billion a year thereafter.

As MRC said earlier, in the late December, Indorama Ventures (Bangkok) announced acquisition of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) manufacturer Micro Polypet (MicroPet; New Delhi).

BP is a leading producer of oil and gas and produces enough energy annually to light nearly the entire country for a year. Employing about 17,000 people across the country, BP supports more than 170,000 additional jobs through all of its business activities.

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.


LUXI selects Honeywell technology to produce ethylene and propylene from

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The LUXI Chemical Group Co., Ltd. selected Honeywell process technology and automation controls to convert coal to key plastic building blocks, said Chemicals-technology.

With the help of Honeywell's UOP's Advanced Methanol-to-Olefins (MTO) process, LUXI will produce 293,000t of ethylene and propylene per year, by converting methanol derived from gasified coal. The production will be done at LUXI's Liaocheng facility, and Honeywell Process Solutions' (HPS) automation and control technologies will manage the entire operations at the plant.

"Eight companies in China have chosen UOP's Advanced MTO technology, representing a total capacity of nearly 3.2 million metric tonnes per year." While operating the plant, HPS expects to operate through its proprietary UOP operating models, which include the Experion Process Knowledge System (PKS) and Safety Manager.

UOP process technology and equipment business vice-president and general manager Mike Millard said: "The technology to turn methanol from coal into plastics has been well-proven in China, which is expected to invest more than USD100 billion in coal-to-chemicals technology in the next five years.

"Eight companies in China have chosen UOP's Advanced MTO technology, representing a total capacity of nearly 3.2 million metric tonnes per year." It is estimated that the demand for ethylene and propylene is growing at a rate of 4% to 5% per year throughout the globe.

These petrochemical products are produced from crude oil, but producers located in areas where crude oil is not plentiful can produce such products from natural gas or coal for making plastic.

Honeywell Process Solutions greater China vice-president Aldous Wong said: "Combining UOP process technology with HPS automation and controls will help LUXI maximise its return on investment for the entire project lifecycle, from startup to reaching and maintaining peak performance. "As competition continues to grow, it is critical that facilities maximise production while lowering total cost of ownership."

As MRC informed earlier, Honeywell has acquired Sigma-Aldrich’s laboratory research chemicals business. According to Honeywell, this acquisition will broaden its offerings for high-purity solutions for drug discovery, medical diagnostic testing and other laboratory applications.


Westlake Chemical to expand ethylene production at Kentucky complex

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Westlake Chemical has approved plans to expand ethylene capacity at its facility in Calvert City, Kentucky, said the company on its site.

This expansion will add 70 million lb/year of stated ethylene capacity to the Calvert City facility during the first half of 2017.

"We are pleased about the ethylene expansion at the Calvert City, Kentucky facility," said Albert Chao, president and CEO of Westlake. "This expansion, which combined with incremental capacity increases will total 100 million [lb] of annual capacity, is in addition to the 250 million [lb] ethylene expansion at the Petro 1 facility in Lake Charles, Louisiana, which is expected to begin in the second quarter of 2016.

The additional production of ethylene at both facilities will be sold under the terms of a long-term, fixed-margin ethylene sales agreement.

"We believe the incremental earnings from these expansions will allow us to continue to grow our distributions at a low double-digit rate," the CEO said.

As MRC informed earlier, Westlake Chemical Corp., the US plastics maker controlled by the billionaire Chao family, has separated its ethylene assets into a tax-advantaged venture in which it plans to sell shares to the public. The master-limited partnership (MLP) includes three US ethylene plants and a 200-mile (322-km) ethylene pipeline. Ethylene, the most common petrochemical, is used to make products from plastic bottles to autoparts and pipe.

Westlake Chemical Corporation is a manufacturer and supplier of petrochemicals, polymers and building products with headquarters in Houston, Texas. The company's range of products includes: ethylene, polyethylene, styrene, propylene, caustic, VCM, PVC resin and PVC building products including pipe and specialty components, windows and fence.

CB&I selected as contractor for Changxing Island Petrochemical Project

MOSCOW (MRC) -- CB&I is the latest international engineering contractor to join a USD74 billion refinery and petrochemicals complex construction project that recently got underway on northern China’s largest island, Changxing Island, near the city of Dalian, said Breakbulk.

CB&I said its patented technology would be used for the "engineering design of a grassroots propane and butane dehydrogenation unit” for the Hengli Petrochemical Refinery Co. Ltd. complex on Changxing. The unit will be “the largest single-train dehydrogenation plant in the world," CB&I said.

The unit will be included in a 10 sq km complex that Hengli says will take 2.5 years to build. Plans call for building several petrochemical production facilities and a ship terminal.

Other international contractors hired by Hengli include BP, Honeywell UOP, Chevron and Degremont. The refinery portion of the project got a green light from the government of Liaoning Province in September.

As MRC informed earlier, China-based Hengli Petrochemical (Dalian) Refinery has awarded a contract to CB&I to use its Catofin catalytic dehydrogenation technology for a grassroots propane and butane dehydrogenation unit to be constructed in Dalian of Liaoning Province.

CB&I is the most complete energy infrastructure focused company in the world. With 125 years of experience and the expertise of approximately 54,000 employees, CB&I provides reliable solutions while maintaining a relentless focus on safety and an uncompromising standard of quality.

CB&I to provide license and basic engineering design for 200,000 tpa PP unit in China

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Chicago Bridge & Iron is to provide the license and basic engineering design of a polypropylene unit, which will be built in Jingxian, Hebei Province, China, said the producer on its site.

The unit will leverage Chicago Bridge & Iron’s Novolen technology, and will generate 200,000 metric tons of polypropylene annually. The contract builds on the recent successful collaboration between the two companies in the development of the CATOFIN propane dehydrogenation unit. The license and engineering design of the propane dehydrogenation unit had been done by Chicago Bridge & Iron at the same location, using its CATOFIN technology.
December was an outstanding month for the company in terms of contract wins, bringing with it several notable multi-million awards.

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

CB&I is the most complete energy infrastructure focused company in the world. With 125 years of experience and the expertise of approximately 54,000 employees, CB&I provides reliable solutions while maintaining a relentless focus on safety and an uncompromising standard of quality.