Index of chemical production in Russia increased by 4.7% in January

MOSCOW (MRC) - Production of basic chemicals Russia increased by 4.7% in January 2016 compared with the same period in 2015. The growth in production was seen in all basic chemical products, the exception was only xylenes, as per Rosstat's data.

According to the Federal Service of State Statistics, January production of ethylene was 266,000 tonnes, while in Jan 2015 it was 230,000 tonnes (in December 2015 - 266,000 tonnes).

Russia's production of benzene increased to 115,000 tonnes in January compared to 106,000 tonnes in January 2015 (in December 2015, this figure amounted to 117,000 tonnes).

January output of xylenes fell to 50,400 tonnes compared to 51,200 tonnes n the same period last year (in December 2015 - 51,300 tonnes).

January production of sodium hydroxide (caustic soda) rose to 98,800 tonnes (100% of the basic substance) against 85,600 tonnes in the same month in 2015 (in December 2015 - 104,000 tonnes).

Russia's production of mineral fertilizers in January was 1.803 mln tonnes (in terms of 100% nutrients), up 8.1% from the level in January 2015. In December 2015 the total volume of mineral fertilizers production amounted to about 1.837 mln tonnes.

Sidel supplies PET line for Montgomery Waters

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Rising customer demand has prompted Montgomery Waters (Montgomery, Powys / UK) to acquire an additional PET production line from Swiss machinery provider Sidel (Hunenberg), said Pasteurope.

With the new line, Montgomery Waters will be able to produce water bottles in four formats, from 330ml to 2l, at speeds of up to 31,000 bottles per hour.

The company supplies still, sparkling, flavoured and vitamin-enriched water under its Aquaroma, Celtic Spring and Aquavit brands, and also provides a bottling operation for other manufacturers.

The line features Sidel’s latest generation equipment, including the compact blow-fill-cap Combi solution along with the roll-fed labeller SL70, which is said to give changeover times 30% faster than previous labeller generations and 40% less downtime required for maintenance. Conveying, shrink wrapping and palletisation equipment are also included.

"Increased demand from both consumers and our customers meant we needed to invest in an additional line – one that offered maximum flexibility and could be integrated with the solutions we had already installed to provide operator flexibility across our lines, reduce training needs and maintenance costs," said Paul Delves, managing director of Montgomery Waters.

Sales of bottled water continue to grow globally. According to market research firm Euromonitor International, sales increased by 28% over the period 2007-2012, and it estimates a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5% from 2014 to 2018. The growth in demand is attributed to healthier lifestyle choices and consumers seeking more natural sources of hydration.

As MRC informed earlier, Sidel (Le Havre/France) developed a PET bottle base for still drinks, which is says is stronger, lighter and cheaper to produce.

Sidel is a manufacturing company providing packaging for liquids such as water; carbonated and non-carbonated soft drinks; and sensitive beverages like milk, liquid dairy products, juices, nectars, tea, coffee and isotonics; as well as edible oil, beer and other alcoholic beverages. Sidel manufacturers and services equipment that enables other companies to package such liquids using one of three main materials: plastic (especially PET, and also HDPE and PP).


Mitsui to invest CDN25 mln in BioAmber Sarnia JV to increase stake from 3

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Mitsui & Co. Ltd. is to acquire an additional 10% stake in the BioAmber Inc Sarnia bio-based succinic acid plan, said the producer on its sitet.

Mitsui is investing an additional CDN25 mln in the joint venture to increasing its stake from 30% to 40%. Mitsui will also play a stronger role in the commercialization of bio-succinic acid produced in Sarnia, providing dedicated resources alongside BioAmber's commercial team. BioAmber will maintain a 60% controlling stake in the joint venture.

"Mitsui is continuously committed to renewable chemistry and through our increased equity stake we will be more actively involved in joint venture management and sales, leveraging our global sales platforms," said Hidebumi Kasuga, General Manager, Specialty Chemicals Division, Basic Chemicals Business Unit. "We are very happy with Sarnia's fermentation and plant operations performance to date and the JV has received quality certifications from more than 90 customers. With this progress, I am confident that Sarnia's bio-succinic acid will be penetrating the global marketplace quickly."

"Mitsui's increased commitment to the Sarnia plant is a strong endorsement of its value and potential. We have in Mitsui a financially robust, global partner that is motivated by Sarnia's progress and prospects," said Jean-Francois Huc, CEO of BioAmber. "This investment strengthens Sarnia's balance sheet as we ramp up production and sales."

As MRC informed earlier, Mitsui Chemicals and China Petroleum & Chemical have announced the startup of one of the world’s largest EPT (ethylene-propylene-dieneterpolymer) plant for a single train under their joint venture, Shanghai Sinopec Mitsui Elastomers.

Mitsui Chemicals,a Japanese chemical company, is a part of the Mitsui conglomerate. The company has a turnover of around 15 billion USD and has business interests in Japan, Europe, China, Southeast Asia and the USA. The company mainly deals in performance materials, petro and basic chemicals and functional polymeric materials.


Korean Kumho P&B to complete phenol, acetone and cumene expansion in H1 2016

MOSCOW (MRC) -- South Korea’s Kumho P&B Chemicals (KPB) is expected to complete its phenol, acetone and cumene capacity expansion in H1 2016, reported TPS with reference to a financial report released by its parent company Kumho Petrochemical.

KPB is one of the largest producers of benzene derivatives such as phenol, bisphenol-A (BPA), acetone and cumene in South Korea.

Currently, the company operates two phenol/acetone units in Yeosu that are able to produce 380,000 mt/year of phenol 450,000 mt/year of BPA, 235,000 mt/year of acetone and 430,000 mt/year of cumene.

With the ongoing capacity expansion, the company will be adding 300,000 mt/year of phenol, 470,000 mt/year of cumene and 185,000 mt/year of acetone by June 2016.

KPB is an offshore joint venture created by the joint investment of South Korea’s Kumho Petrochemical and Japan’s Nippon Steel Chemical Company in 1976.

As MRC wrote previously, CEPSA Chemical (Shanghai) commenced commercial production at a new phenol plant in China in April 2015. Located in Shanghai, China, the plant has a phenol production capacity of 250,000 mt/year.

Air Products and Unipetrol ink new contract extending long-term relationship

MOSCOW (MRC) -- World-leading industrial gas company, Air Products and Unipetrol RP (part of Unipetrol), have signed a new long-term agreement extending their successful relationship, said the company in its press release.

The contract, which will run until 2027, sees Air Products continuing to supply industrial gases from its existing air separation unit (ASU) to meet Unipetrol's needs. The contract also includes the provision of operational and maintenance services on industrial gas production equipment in Litvinov. Located on Unipetrol's manufacturing site, Air Products' ASU will also continue to supply additional liquid capacity produced to meet the industrial gas needs of its other customers across the Czech Republic and Central Europe.

Unipetrol and Air Products have been collaborating for over 20 years and this brings many commercial advantages. Both companies continually optimize processes and drive performance based on existing and future needs. This mutually beneficial approach also creates value for customers in the Czech and broader Central European market.

"Air Products produces key raw materials that meet our direct needs in the area of Chempark Zaluzi. The company is a reliable supplier for Unipetrol and allows us to focus on key production activities in the areas of refinery and petrochemicals," says Lukasz Piotrowski, executive in Charge of Production at Unipetrol RPA. "We greatly value our relationship with Unipetrol," commented Piotr Wieczorek, Air Products' vice president Central Europe. "We have been working together since 1994 and by taking a long-term view to our relationship, Air Products is able to meet their needs as an important customer, whilst also serving many others across the region; we're pleased this will continue for a long time to come. The extension of our contract demonstrates the strategic and commercial value investing in reliable, mutually beneficial business relationships can bring."

As MRC informed earlier, in August 2015, Unipetrol AS shuttered production at its Chempark Zaluzi petrochemical complex in Litvinov, Czech Republic, following an explosion and ensuing fire at the site’s 544,000-tonne/year (tpy) ethylene plant.

Unipetrol , a.s. is a group of companies operating in the petrochemical industry in the Czech Republic. In 2005 Unipetrol became a part of the PKN ORLEN Group, the largest oil processor in Central Europe. The UNIPETROL Group is oriented mostly towards oil processing, fuel distribution and petrochemical production. In all of these business areas the Unipetrol Group is among the key players both in the Czech Republic and on the Central European market. The Group ranks among the leading firms in the Czech Republic in terms of its revenues, and employs almost 4,000 people.