Kuwait Styrene profit dives on price decline by 23% in 2015

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Kuwait Styrene Co. (Kuwait City), a joint venture between Kuwait Aromatics Co. and Dow Chemical and the only producer of styrene in Kuwait, announced a 23% decline in 2015 net profit to USD97 million, compared with the year before, said Tradearabia.

TKSC Board Chairman Hadi Abul said, "The year 2015 witnessed a number of developments, such as decreasing oil prices and instability in petrochemical markets. At the same time, TKSC realized considerable net profits due to excellent performance in several fields."

Abul added, "On behalf of TKSC Board, I would like to extend utmost gratitude to our executive management for their outstanding role in the company’s success. In addition, unwavering appreciation to EQUATE Petrochemical Company, Kuwait Paraxylene Production Company, The Kuwait Olefins Company, as well as various government and private bodies for their continuous support of TKSC."

On his part, TKSC CEO Adel Al-Munifi said, "During 2015, the company has realized a number of world class milestones. Despite having a scheduled Turnaround (TA), the actual production of our 450,000 metric tons annually (MTA) plant was increased by 10% while continuing supplies to our solid customers base throughout the world. TKSC maintained world-class operational standards and a zero injury rate. Our fixed cost was lowered by over 20% due to optimization and cost saving plans. Although SM prices in 2015 had a 30% drop, profit margins remained well preserved due to the decrease in the cost of petrochemical raw material."

Al-Munifi noted, "2016 will carry a number of challenges, but we do not expect much fluctuation in prices and the cost of logistics might be lower due to decreasing fuel prices."

As Kuwait’s first and only producer of Styrene Monomer, The Kuwait Styrene Company was established in 2004 as an international joint venture between Kuwait Aromatics Company and The Dow Chemical Company (Dow).

As MRC informed earlier, Kuwait's EQUATE Petrochemical Co is in talks with banks to refinance a USD6 bln bridge loan that it secured last year and was partly used to fund the acquisition of petrochemical company MEGlobal.

EQUATE Petrochemical Company, Kuwait’s first international joint venture in this industry, is the single operator of Greater EQUATE, which includes The Kuwait Styrene Company, Kuwait Paraxylene Production Company and The Kuwait Olefins Company under one fully integrated operational umbrella at Kuwait’s Shuaiba Industrial Area.


China launches discipline investigation into top Sinochem executive

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Cai Xiyou, president of Sinochem Group, the Chinese energy and chemicals conglomerates, has been put under investigation for serious discipline violations, China's main anti-corruption agency said on Saturday, using the usual euphemism for graft, reported Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The ruling Communist Party's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) published a one-line statement on its website on Saturday, providing no other details about Cai's suspected wrongdoing.

Cai, a 30-year oil industry veteran, was named to lead Sinochem in 2014, after a long career at China Petroleum and Chemical Corp. (Sinopec) where he was previously a Communist Party committee member, senior vice president, and Sinopec Corp.'s general consul.

In October, Cai also was named chairman and non-executive director of Hong Kong-listed China Jinmao Holdings Group Ltd. , a Sinochem Group real estate subsidiary.

Sinochem Group, formerly China's monopoly oil trader until 1993, has diversified businesses in oil refining, chemicals trading, oil and gas explorations and real estate development.

As MRC wrote before, in January 2016, Sinochem received approval from the Fujian Provincial Development and Reform Commission for a refinery expansion and petrochemicals project in Quanzhou. The USD 6.8-billion project will expand the refinery by 25 % to 300,000 b/d from the current 240,000 b/d capacity. The company will also add a 1-million-t/y ethylene cracker, an 800,000-t/y paraxylene unit, a 400,000-t/y polyethylene plant, an aromatics extraction unit with 300,000 t/y of capacity, and secondary units.

Sinochem Group engages in energy, agriculture, chemicals, real estate, and finance service businesses in China and internationally. It is involved in the exploration and production, refining and trading, warehousing and logistics, and distribution and retailing of oil and gas. The company also produces and distributes fertilizers, such as nitrogen, phosphate, potash, and other fertilizers.

Iran considers stakes in refineries in other countries

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Iran holds a stake in a refinery project in Malaysia and is considering taking stakes in projects in five other countries, the managing director of the National Iranian Oil Engineering and Construction Company (NIOEC) was quoted as saying on Monday, reported Reuters.

Hamid Sharif Razi said the NIOEC holds a 30% stake in a 250,000-bpd refinery project in Malaysia, and was planning to take a 40% stake in a 300,000-bpd refinery in Indonesia, according to the Shana news agency.

The NIOEC is also in talks with South Africa, Sierra Leone, Brazil and India, he said, adding the purpose of the projects was to guarantee Iranian crude exports and, if necessary, a source of product imports.

As MRC informed earlier, currently number of active Iranian petrochemical complexes are 53, with total production capacity of 59 million metric ton, producing range of polymers, chemicals, aromatics & liquid gas, located mainly at Iranian south region, next to Persian Gulf, called Assaluyeh and Mahshahr Special Economic Zones.

At the moment, there were 67 developments projects in the country which are under construction, adding 61 million metric ton on total production and estimated to fully run till 2018.

Iran advantage on having easy and fully access to raw materials for producing main olefins would enable this country to have competitive edge among other producers which will result on increasing export capacities in coming years.
In this regard, all Iranian Petrochemical Companies opt to expand their market.

Clariant presents new special-effect colours of masterbatches and compounds

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Clariant, a world leader in specialty chemicals, has announced availability of new special-effect colors in the MEVOPUR family of consistent and compliant masterbatches and pre-colored compounds, according to the company's press release.

Several factors combine to increase the importance of using color creatively in the healthcare market, explains Steve Duckworth, Clariant’s Global Head, Healthcare Polymer Solutions. "Diseases such as COPD and diabetes are rapidly increasing," he says, "and self-administered medication, via auto injector or inhaler is becoming the norm. At the same time, U.S. studies indicate only 28% patient-adherence to treatment programs. The cost of wasted medication and follow-on treatment is estimated in the billions of dollars and companies are looking for ways to make their devices more attractive and easier to use, creating standard ‘device platforms’ that can be customized with color and special effects."

When added to plastics, special effect pigments create a singular impression like pearlescence, sparkle or a metallic look. These materials have been used for many years to enhance the look and market appeal of personal care and consumer goods, where less regulatory documentation is required.

Now, however, Clariant has completed the testing to confirm the ingredients of these new special-effect masterbatches and compounded materials conform to medical and pharmaceutical norms. Like all products supplied under the MEVOPUR brand, they are aligned with USP parts 87 and 88 (Class VI devices) and ISO10993. Manufacturing takes place at three ISO 13485 certified and dedicated production facilities located in USA, Europe and Asia.

As MRC informed previously, in April 2015, Clariant acquired the black pigment preparations portfolio of Lanxess, located at Nagda, Madhya Pradesh. This product line of Lanxess manufactures black pigment preparations used for processing of viscose fibre, which goes in the manufacture of mainly viscose-based apparels, knitwear, towels, bed-linen, etc. With this acquisition, Clariant in India gains additional pigment preparation capacity to cater to a larger, wider customer base.

Clariant in India has local pigment production activities at its Roha (Maharashtra) and Cuddalore (Tamil Nadu) sites. In the year 2014, Clariant invested in the expansion of its Roha pigments facility, thus strengthening its commitment to India.

BASF signs specialty solvents distribution agreement with Nexeo Solutions in the US and Canada

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BASF has signed an exclusive distribution agreement with Nexeo Solutions (The Woodland, TX), a privately owned chemical distributor, for the distribution of certain specialty high-performance solvents in the United States and Canada, as per Chemweek.

BASF is a leading producer of specialty solvents, including glycol diethersolar used in inks, specialty coatings, adhesives and cleaning compounds; 1,3-dioxolane, a solvent or reagent used to dissolve polar polymers such as polyesters, epoxies and urethanes; and 1,4-dioxane, used in the manufacture of active pharmaceutical ingredients and fine chemicals.

Nexeo Solutions and BASF have existing agreements for the supply and delivery of a range of engineering and specialty grade plastics.

As MRC informed previously, since early October 2015 BASF has been offering its customers in Europe general purpose polystyrene (GPPS) from its production facility in Ludwigshafen (Germany). As well as utilizing it for its own needs - polystyrene (PS) is used for example for manufacturing Neopor and Styrodur - a sufficient quantity is now available following the expiry of contractual obligations for it to be supplied to customers.

BASF is the leading chemical company. It produces a wide range of chemicals, for example solvents, amines, resins, glues, electronic-grade chemicals, industrial gases, basic petrochemicals and inorganic chemicals. The most important customers for this segment are the pharmaceutical, construction, textile and automotive industries.