PKN ORLEN signs first long-term contract with Saudi Aramco

MOSCOW (MRC) -- PKN ORLEN has signed a contract with Saudi Aramco for the supply of ca. 200 thousand tonnes of crude oil monthly to its refineries, said the producer on its site.

The contract will be effective from May 1st to December 31st 2016, with an option of automatic renewal for successive years. The oil will be processed by all PKN ORLEN's refineries in Poland, the Czech Republic and Lithuania.

"This is the first direct long-term contract with a supplier from the Gulf region in the history of our company. It shows the direction of our thinking on strategic diversification of crude supply sources, which is centred on partnering with tested oil producers from different geographical regions and on securing optimum supply terms. We have repeatedly announced our intention to use market opportunities to secure an optimal supply structure and good financial terms, and we are delivering on this objective," said Wojciech Jasinski, PKN ORLEN's CEO and President of the Management Board.

PKN ORLEN seeks to ensure stable supplies of the feedstock for its refineries, and is therefore consistently pursuing its supply diversification policy. Since the beginning of 2016, the сompany has already received six spot deliveries from Saudi Aramco. But at the same time, considering the rising opportunities on the global crude oil markets, PKN ORLEN does not rule out the possibility of sourcing oil from different directions.

As MRC wrote previously, in early November 2015, Poland’s top refiner PKN Orlen took delivery of its first crude from Saudi Arabia, a shipment that marked the start of new trade relationship undermining the traditional dominance of Russian supplies.

Saudi Aramco is an integrated oil and chemicals company, a global leader in hydrocarbon production, refining processes and distribution, as well as one of the largest global oil exporters. It manages proven reserves of crude oil and condensate estimated at 261.1bn barrels, and produces 9.54 million bbl daily. Headquartered in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, the company employs over 61,000 staff in 77 countries.

PKN Orlen is a major Polish oil refiner and petrol retailer. The company is a significant European publicly traded firm with major operations in Poland, Czech Republic, Germany, and the Baltic States. It currently (2015) ranks 353, with a revenue of over USD33.8 billion.
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The global automobile industry is expected to grow rapidly

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Economic recovery in the US and Europe has increased the demand for automotive products. The recovery has also increased employment, increased per capita income, and accessible credit facilities, increasing the buying power of consumers, as per Plastemart.

This demand will compel automotive manufacturers to increase their production levels by either installing new capacities or expanding the existing ones. The global automobiles market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5%-6% during the forecast period. Bio-based propylene glycol is used for different applications in the automobile industry such as sheet molding compounds and antifreeze agent.

APAC is the strongest growing market for bio-based propylene glycol. The rapid increase in industrialization and developments in infrastructure in China, India, and South Korea are the primary drivers for bio-based propylene glycol in this region. The construction market in China is expected to rise to USD 2.49 trillion by 2019, growing at a CAGR of 12.14% during 2016-2020. Unsaturated polyester resins made from propylene glycol are widely used for construction. Therefore, the growth in construction market will translate into the demand for bio-based propylene glycol over the forecast period.

Propylene glycol is produced from propylene oxide and is widely used in the manufacture of plastics, food products, electronics, and pharmaceuticals. However, growing environmental concerns such as the use of perishable resources (petroleum) and hazardous petrochemical process pollutants released during the production and use of propylene glycol have compelled vendors to develop advanced bio-based processing technologies.

Although propylene glycol is recognized safe, the acceptable intake is only 25 mg per kg of body weight (according to WHO). Bio-based propylene glycol is eco-friendly and complies with stringent government regulations regarding emission. ADM, a US-based company, has been manufacturing bio-based propylene glycol in its Illinois, US plant since 2011. It has a plant capacity of 100 kilotons per year. The company also manufactures industrial-grade bio-based propylene glycol using refined glycerin as feedstock. In addition, the company has developed an innovative technology for the production of bio-based propylene glycol using sorbitol. Realizing the potential of this market, many new entrants are anticipated to flock to this market in the next four years.

We remind that, as MRC wrote before, Growing demand from automotive and electronics is expected to boost growth in the global plastics market, as per Transparency Market Research.
MRC

BASF sells closed sterols manufacturing plant in Pasadena to Trecora Resources

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Germany-based chemical firm BASF's US subsidiary has sold its former sterols manufacturing facility in Pasadena, Texas, to Trecora Chemical (TC), a provider of high-purity specialty hydrocarbons and waxes, said Chemicals-technology.

Financial details of the transaction have not been disclosed by both the parties. BASF noted that its 6.5-acre plant is located adjacent to the 22-acre Trecora Chemical facility and will be integrated with TC.

The company closed the Pasadena plant in late last year and increased the extracted capacity of sterols production at its site in Boussens, France. The facility includes production equipment that is similar to TC's, plus equipment that strengthens its capabilities and potential markets.

"The sale of the Pasadena facility to Trecora Resources will bring new vitality to the plant and community."
The plant also includes substantial storage capacity, several rail and truck loading sites and utility tie-ins to TC. As the deal is now complete, Trecora will rehire some of the BASF operating personnel thereby filling open positions at TC.

Trecora Resources chief executive officer Simon Upfill-Brown said: "This plant expands and diversifies our revenue sources, positions TC to address new markets and allows manufacturing flexibility that will contribute to significant operating efficiencies, enhancing the value of the combined facilities."

TREC owns and operates a facility located in southeast Texas, which specialises in high-purity hydrocarbons and other petrochemical manufacturing. The company also owns and operates a manufacturer of specialty polyethylene waxes and provider of custom processing services located in the heart of the Petrochemical complex in Pasadena, Texas.

BASF Nutrition & Health North America head Mark Wright said: "Sterols continue to be an important product range in our portfolio for human nutrition. "The sale of the Pasadena facility to Trecora Resources will bring new vitality to the plant and community."

Separately, BASF has opened its new production plant for concrete admixtures in the northern province of B Giang, Vietnam. It is designed to allow the company to better meet the increasing demands for high-quality construction chemicals products in Vietnam.

As MRC informed earlier, BASF has opened a world-scale bioacrylamide (BioACM) production facility at its Bradford, UK, site. The new production plant at Bradford adds to BASF’s bioacrylamide capacity worldwide, however BASF has not disclosed new or existing capacity figures. BASF operates a polyacrylamides production hub at Bradford. Polyacrylamides are used as water-soluble flocculation aids in industrial and municipal wastewater treatment, enhanced oil recovery, mineral processing, and paper making.

BASF is the largest diversified chemical company in the world and is headquartered in Ludwigshafen, Germany. BASF 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. BASF generated sales of more than EUR70 billion in 2015.
MRC

Asahi Kasei launches recycled spandex in Japan

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Asahi Kasei Corp. announced that its Fibers & Textiles SBU has developed Roica EF as the world’s first recycled elastic polyurethane filament (spandex) product, as well as an environmentally friendly spandex product featuring low oil content, as per GV.

Roica EF was launched in Japan on 1 May 2016.

Led by the Roica brand, spandex is one of the main businesses of the Fibers & Textiles SBU of Asahi Kasei. Featuring supple stretch and recovery, Roica provides advanced functionality in applications such as innerwear, legwear, sportswear, and diapers. The global Roica supply network includes manufacturing plants in Japan, Taiwan, China, Thailand, and Germany.

According to the company, spandex, which can stretch five to eight times its original length, was previously considered unsuitable for recycling because of difficulty in controlling the decomposition temperature. However, Asahi Kasei’s proprietary technology made the recycling of spandex possible for the first time in the world. Roica EF, made by recycling waste fibre generated in the manufacturing process, is the world’s only spandex certified under the Global Recycle Standard (GRS), says the manufacturer.

In July 2015, German subsidiary Asahi Kasei Spandex Europe GmbH (AKSE) began supplying Roica EF made from 50% recycled material to well-known European apparel manufacturers that are at the forefront of adoption of environmental materials.

Asahi Kasei has also received GRS certification for Roica EF made from over 50 % recycled material at the Roica plant in its Moriyama Works in Shiga, Japan. AKSE has also developed Dorlastan V550 as an environmentally friendly spandex product featuring low oil content of 1-3 % compared to the conventional 5-6 %. This reduces the environmental burden of the manufacturing process in many ways, including by significantly reducing the amount of water used for scouring, the amount of scouring agent used, and the amount of electricity used. Dorlastan V550 has been sold in Europe since July 2015.

As MRC reported earlier, on 12 February 2016, Japan’s Asahi Kasei Chemicals shut its cracker in Mizushima permanently. The cracker in Mizushima had an ethylene capacity of 504,000 mt/year and a propylene capacity of 300,000 mt/year. Feedstock ethylene for its 390,000 mt/year of styrene monomer (SM) plant now comes from a new 750,000 mt/year steamcracker which is a joint venture between Asahi Kasei and Mitsubishi Chemical. The new unified cracker started up on 1 April.

Asahi Kasei Corporation is a global Japanese chemical company. Its main products are chemicals and materials science.
MRC

BASF opens pilot plant for high temperature superconductors, plans larger unit

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Deutsche Nanoschicht, a wholly owned subsidiary of BASF New Business GmbH, is on Tuesday opening its new pilot plant for the manufacture of high temperature superconductors, said the producer on its site.

The facility, located at Rheinbach, Germany is based on an in-house developed chemical manufacturing process and has a fifty times higher capacity than the company’s laboratory plant used to date. The pilot plant is an important step on the way to market launch of the superconductors, the company says. BASF New Business provides customers with samples of the wire manufactured in the new plant to produce prototypes for innovative, high-efficiency applications in power grids. Primary examples are current limiters and cables for direct and alternating current.

As MRC informed earlier, BASF opened a world-scale bioacrylamide (BioACM) production facility at its Bradford, UK. The new production plant at Bradford adds to BASF’s bioacrylamide capacity worldwide, however BASF has not disclosed new or existing capacity figures.

BASF is the largest diversified chemical company in the world and is headquartered in Ludwigshafen, Germany. BASF 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. BASF generated sales of more than EUR70 billion in 2015.

MRC