Qapco close to finalizing ethane expansion project

MOCOW (MRC) -- Industries Qatar (IQ) subsidiary Qatar Petrochemicals Company (Qapco) is close to finalizing an ethane-based expansion project, according to GV with reference to the company's top official.

"This is in the process of being finalized at some stage in near future," IQ chairman Saad Sherida al-Kaabi told the general assembly of shareholders, which met on 23 Feb 2016.

Addressing a question on the prospects of petrochemicals, al-Kaabi, who is also the president and chief executive of Qatar Petroleum (QP), said IQ is looking at expansion for ethane-based petrochemicals mostly, such as Qapco for instance. "We are studying the possibility of expanding. But it has to be beneficial for QP and the shareholders of IQ before we can embark on such a project," al-Kaabi said. "QP is the biggest shareholder in IQ."

In January 2015, QP had said it would conduct feasibility studies to see how it could utilize the "available" ethane feedstock after the decision not to go ahead with the multibillion Al-Karaana Petrochemicals Project.

The studies will be carried out by QP in cooperation with Qapco, Qatar Chemical Company and Ras Laffan Olefins Company, with the aim of further developing the petrochemical plants under IQ and Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding Company.

We remind that, as MRC informed previously, in 2013, Qapco signed a license agreement with Union Carbide Chemicals & Plastics Technology LLC, a wholly owned Subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Company, for UNIPOL polypropylene (PP) process technology. Then the company said that the 540 KTA PP production facility will be located in Ras Laffan, Qatar, and will produce homopolymers, random copolymers and impact copolymers from a mixed feed cracker.

PET supply tightens in Russian spot market on strong demand

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Supply of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) has tightened in the spot market of Russia on the back of strong demand in the beginning of the season, and shutdown of productions, as per ICIS-MRC Price Report.

Demand in the Russian PET market this week has increased significantly, said traders of PET chips. Both buyers and trader reported a shortage of free spot volumes. Producers of PET in Russia and buyers said that the reason for PET shortage was the termination of the supply of Belarusian feedstock from Mogilevkhimvolokno in March. The company shut PET production because of failure, the exact time of the resumption was not disclosed, noted market players.

SIBUR sold PET last week. The company limited spot volumes for domestic market. The largest volumes for spot market were located in the warehouse in Blagoveshchensk (Polief). SIBUR-PET, based in Tver, practically did not ship PET to the spot market.

Senege stopped selling PET to the spot market back in the first half of March. Smaller shipments were carried out until mid-March.

A source from Alco-Naphtha, based in Kaliningrad, also reported shortage of spot volumes in the domestic market and high demand from buyers.

Orpic to resume production at PP plant next month

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Oman Oil Refineries and Petroleum Industries (Orpic) is in plans to restart its polypropylene (PP) plant in Sohar, reported Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in Oman informed that the plant is expected to resume production on April 23, 2016. The plant was shut for a maintenance turnaround on February 23, 2016.

Located at Sohar in Oman, the plant has a production capacity of 340,000 mt/year.

As MRC informed previously, in May 2014, Orpic said it had awarded two contracts for construction of a USD3.6 billion plastics production complex, the Liwa Plastics Project. The plant will be built in Oman's northern industrial city of Sohar, next to Orpic's oil refinery and petrochemical plants. The Liwa Plastics Project is due to be completed in 2018, doubling Orpic's profitability by allowing it to extract more value from Omani crude oil and natural gas, the company said.

The project will boost Orpic's annual production of polypropylene and polyethylene to 1.4 million tonnes, increasing Oman's exports, while additional production of 1 million tonnes of plastics will help to develop downstream industries within the country, ORPIC added.

ORPIC (Oman Oil Refineries and Petroleum Industries Company) is one of the leading companies in Oman and has two refineries in that country, in Sohar and Muscat. ORPIC is owned by the Government of the Sultanate of Oman and Oman Oil Company SAOC, the trading company created by the Government of the Sultanate of Oman for managing investments in the energy sector.

Lotte changes company name after takeover

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Lotte Group said that it changed the name of a chemical unit that it took over from Samsung Group, the latest in its steps to wrap up the 3-trillion won (USD 2.41 billion) merger, as per GV.

Retail and chemicals giant Lotte Group took over Samsung Fine Chemicals Co., Samsung BP Chemicals Co. and Samsung SDI Co.'s chemical unit, as part of an effort to further strengthen its chemicals business.

Samsung Fine Chemicals was renamed Lotte Fine Chemicals Co., according to the group. The deal came around a year after Samsung sold four of its defence and chemical units to Hanwha Group in 2014 through a deal estimated at 1.9 trillion won.

Samsung, the country's top conglomerate, has been making efforts to reorganize and streamline its business structure, especially after the family-controlled conglomerate's de facto head Lee Kun-hee has remained bedridden since May 2014. The group has been making various efforts to pave the way for the management inheritance to his only son Jae-yong.

As MRC informed previously, in October 2015, Samsung Group agreed to sell its chemical assets to Lotte Group for about 3 trillion won (USD2.5 billion). Following the spin-off, Samsung SDI, the battery and chemical arm of South Korea's top conglomerate Samsung Group, will focus on its electric vehicles and battery businesses.

Besides, in 2014, Samsung also sold four of its defense and chemical units to the Hanwha Group, a deal estimated at around 1.9 trillion won.In March 2015, South Korea's Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) gave conditional approval to Hanwha's proposed acquisition of Samsung General Chemicals.

Synthomer acquires Hexion PAC business in US for USD226m

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Synthomer has acquired the Hexion Performance Adhesives & Coatings (Hexion PAC) business of US-based Hexion in a transaction valued at USD226m, said Chemicals-technology.

Following the acquisition, Synthomer will get access to new product technologies and markets. Hexion PAC is complementary to the company's existing business, both geographically as well as in the markets in which it operates.

The acquisition will enable Synthomer to venture into the speciality coatings market. Integration of the Hexion PAC business will offer around USD12m of annualised synergies to the company by the end of 2018.

Synthomer CEO Calum MacLean said: "The acquisition of Hexion PAC represents a further step forward in our strategy to continue to grow and develop the business. "This acquisition strengthens our platform for continued growth in the global dispersions and additives market, and in particular expands our presence in the US and Asia.

"Hexion PAC has a good performance track record and shares our commitment to innovation and emphasis on strong customer relationships."

The acquisition, which is planned to be funded by Synthomer from its existing cash resources and using additional credit facilities, is subject to the receipt of regulatory approvals and is slated for completion in the second quarter of 2016.

Hexion PAC develops, manufactures and markets a range of dispersions, additives, powder coatings and speciality monomers. Separately, Synthomer has agreed to sell its South African dispersions business to colours and coatings manufacturer Ferro for GBP13m.

The sale is expected to be completed in the second quarter of this year, after securing regulatory approvals.

As MRC informed earlier, AkzoNobel announced the EUR5 million divestment of its 50% share in non-consolidated joint venture Eka Synthomer Oy, to Synthomer.

Synthomer also offers various binders based around acrylics, styrene-butadiene and vinyl acetate chemistries, for use in various applications, including weather-resistant wood coatings, crack-bridging facade paints for cool roofing applications and plaster, as well as binders for PSA tapes, labels and technical textiles.