Kemira to expand sodium chlorate production capacity in Joutseno, Finland

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Kemira, a Finland based chemical company, is planning to build a new sodium chlorate production line and cell-room at its facility located at Joutseno, said Chemicals-technology.

As part of its growth strategy, the company plans to invest around EUR50m to EUR60m in the proposed expansion. Following the approval of certain regulatory requirements, construction of the planned facility is expected to begin by June this year, and the company's own technology will be used to increase the Joutseno site's existing capacity.

"The consumption of bleaching chemicals is increasing due to the recent pulp mill expansions and the announced greenfield projects in the Nordics." Expected to be operational by the last quarter of the next year, the new facility will provide employment to around 200 persons indirectly during construction.

Sodium chlorate is the raw material for chlorine dioxide (ClO2), which is made on-site at the pulp mills and is used as the primary bleaching agent for kraft pulp.

Kemira pulp and paper segment president Kim Poulsen said: "The consumption of bleaching chemicals is increasing due to the recent pulp mill expansions and the announced greenfield projects in the Nordics. "We want to invest in our sodium chlorate capacity to ensure our ability to effectively serve our customers. "This investment supports our strategy to grow faster than the market and to strengthen Kemira's position as the leading chemical supplier for the pulp and paper industry."

Currently, the company's Joutseno site is employing 67 people, and produces several chemicals for the pulp and paper industry. In 2014, the company made an investment at its plant located in Oulu, Finland to expand its presence in the tough bleaching chemical market.

The company currently has various bleaching chemical production units in Europe, inlcuding Aetsa, Joutseno and Oulu in Finland; Helsingborg in Sweden; and Europoort in the Netherlands.

As MRC informed earlier, Kemira has acquired certain assets of Polymer Services, LLC, a privately owned company, headquartered in Plainville, Kansas.

Kemira is a chemical industry group that consists of three main segments. Kemira is headquartered in Helsinki, Finland. Kemira became the world's biggest provider of the pulp and paper chemicals after its acquisition of the pulp and paper chemical operations of Lanxess.

Shin-Etsu to conduct maintenance at PVC plant in Japan

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Shin-Etsu is in plans to shut its polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plant for a maintenance turnaround, reported Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in Japan informed that the plant is scheduled to be taken off-stream in May 2016. It is likely to remain off-stream for around four weeks.

Located in Kashima, Japan, the plant has a production capacity of 550,000 mt/year.

We remind that, as MRC informed before, in 2015, Shintech Inc. added almost 700 million pounds of PVC capacity as part of a USD500 million expansion of its plants in Louisiana. Shintech's parent firm - Shin-Etsu Chemical Co. Ltd. of Tokyo - said in a June 19 news release that the firm will addd 660 million pounds of PVC capacity in Louisiana by 2015. Houston-based Shintech makes PVC in Plaquemine and Addis, La. The project also includes 660 million pounds of new capacity for PVC feedstock vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) and 440 million pounds of new capacity for caustic soda.

Shin-Etsu is the world and US' largest PVC producer.

INEOS prepares mothballed UK ethane cracker for US shale feedstocks

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The second manufacturing unit at Grangemouth’s KG ethylene plant is brought back to life eight years after being mothballed, said Hydrocarbonprocessing, citing INEOS's officials.

INEOS says it recently completed successful operational trials as it prepares to receive shale gas ethane from the US as petrochemical feedstock. "We are now in great shape to receive shale gas from the US and to finally run the Grangemouth plant at full rate," said Gordon Milne, operations director at INEOS Grangemouth. "When US shale gas finally arrives here in the autumn, this plant will move into the premier league of European petrochemical plants. Bringing the site back into profitability is the best way to secure our future here in Scotland."

Specifically, INEOS confirmed that it has completed successful operational trials on the second manufacturing unit (Train 2) of its gas cracker at Grangemouth, eight years after being mothballed. Train 2 has undergone rigorous recommissioning trials to prepare for the arrival of US shale gas ethane, the company said. The first deliveries of US shale gas are expected to arrive by ship at Grangemouth in the fall of this year.

In 2008, the KG ethylene cracker was unable to operate at full capacity, and INEOS was left with no option but to close the second manufacturing unit. The US ethane will be used as a supplementary feed for the KG ethylene plant at a time when North Sea supplies are dwindling. It will also allow the plant to run at increased rates.

The INEOS investment should bring US shale gas economics to Europe, the company says. The project includes contracts to acquire gas from the Marcellus Shale in Western Pennsylvania; connection to the new, 300-mile Mariner East pipeline to bring the gas to the Marcus Hook deep water terminal near Philadelphia; the design and commissioning of eight Dragon-class ships that will create a virtual pipeline across the Atlantic; and the construction of a new import terminal, including the biggest shale gas storage tank in Europe at Grangemouth.

The new import terminal at Grangemouth will also benefit the Fife ethylene plant in Mossmorran, Scotland, after it was announced that the owners of the plant had agreed a long-term sale and purchase agreement to secure ethane from mid-2017.

Access to this new source of feedstock will help complement supplies from North Sea natural gas fields, the company says. The agreement should also ensure the competitiveness of an additional major manufacturing facility in Scotland and help secure skilled jobs over the long-haul.

As MRC informed earlier, a few day later INEOS confirmed that its vessel, the INEOS Intrepid, has arrived at the INEOS petrochemicals plant at Rafnes in Norway, carrying 27.500m3 of US shale gas ethane.

INEOS Group Limited is a privately owned multinational chemicals company consisting of 15 standalone business units, headquartered in Rolle, Switzerland and with its registered office in Lyndhurst, United Kingdom. It is the fourth largest chemicals company in the world measured by revenues (after BASF, Dow Chemical and LyondellBasell) and the largest privately owned company in the United Kingdom.

US investigates Brazil’s Odebrecht, Braskem over naphtha contracts

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The US Department of Justice is investigating possible corruption in contracts among Brazilian petrochemical company Braskem, engineering conglomerate Odebrecht and the country's state-run oil company Petrobras, said Reuters.

Local daily Valor Economico said the Justice Department was focusing its investigation on whether the companies violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in naphtha supply contracts since 2009 between Petrobras and Braskem, which has Odebrecht as a controlling shareholder. Braskem has been the target of a shareholder suit filed in mid-2015 in the United States over the alleged release of false statements to shareholders.

Braskem on Tuesday said that its lawyers abroad were sharing information with the DOJ and the Securities and Exchange Commission about an internal investigation it opened last year. Odebrecht said it had not been notified by the DOJ and would therefore not comment. The Department of Justice and SEC had no comment.

In morning trade on the Sao Paulo stock change, Braskem fell 1.6%. Braskem trades as an American Depository Receipt on the New York Stock Exchange, where the stock fell 2.1%. Braskem, Latin America's largest petrochemical company, has long relied on Petrobras to supply it with naphtha, the main feedstock that it uses for producing plastics and other petrochemicals.

Petrobras and Odebrecht are at the center of a wide reaching corruption investigation in Brazil that has jailed dozens of engineering company executives, former Petrobras directors as well as politicians and political party officials.

As MRC informed earlier, Braskem Idesa, the 75-25 joint venture between Braskem and Grupo Idesa, started injecting ethane at their Etileno XXI cracker project at Coatzacoalcos, Mexico.

Braskem is Brazilian main producer of polyethylene and polypropylene. In addition with ongoing plants located in both petrochemical complexes, in April 2008 Braskem opened a 300,000 metric ton polypropylene plant in the city of Paulinia (Sao Paulo).


Trinseo commences tender offer to repurchase ordinary shares

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Trinseo, a global materials solutions provider and manufacturer of plastics, latex binders and synthetic rubber today announced that it has commenced a tender offer to repurchase up to 1,165,000 of its ordinary shares at a price of USD35.63 per share, said the company.

The tender offer will expire at 5:00 p.m., New York City Time on April 25, 2016, unless extended. Trinseo will fund the tender offer with existing cash on the Company’s balance sheet. Trinseo is conducting this tender offer in order to satisfy certain requirements of Luxembourg law following the repurchase by the Company of 1,600,000 ordinary shares as part of the secondary offering of the company’s ordinary shares that was completed on March 24, 2016.

Shareholders will receive the purchase price in cash, subject to applicable withholding and without interest. If the total number of shares tendered exceeds 1,165,000 shares, Trinseo will purchase shares on a pro rata basis (subject to the “odd lot” priority) from all shareholders who tendered shares.

Trinseo’s board of directors has authorized the tender offer.

As MRC informed earlier, Styron, the global materials company and manufacturer of plastics, latex and rubber, announced it has changed its name to Trinseo, effective February 1, 2015.

Trinseo is a leading global materials company and manufacturer of plastics, latex and rubber, dedicated to collaborating with customers to deliver innovative and sustainable solutions. Trinseo’s technology is used by customers in industries such as home appliances, automotive, building & construction, carpet, consumer electronics, consumer goods, electrical & lighting, medical, packaging, paper & paperboard, rubber goods and tires. Trinseo had approximately USD4.0 billion in revenue in 2015, with 18 manufacturing sites around the world, and more than 2,200 employees.