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.

Global PC market to reach USD18.50 bln by 2020 at CAGR of 5.8%

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The global demand for polycarbonate (PC) was valued at USD13.50 bln in 2014, and is expected to reach USD18.50 bln in 2020, growing at a CAGR of 5.8% between 2015 and 2020, as per FLH with reference to Zion Research.

The PC market is primarily driven by growing demand from automotive industry across the globe. Increasing demand from food and beverage packaging and the medical packaging application is expected to boost the growth of the polycarbonate market during the years to come. However, environmental issue related with this polymer is major challenges that may hinder the growth of the market.

The PC market has been segmented based on application into automotive, electronics, construction, optical media, packaging industry and others. In 2014, the electronics was the dominant application segment in terms of total revenue generated and it accounted around 25% shares of the market. Heavy consumption of polycarbonate in the automotive industry is expected to be a major factor driving the market growth worldwide. Polycarbonate helps to reduce the weight of vehicle which increases the fuel efficiency and reduces impact on environment.

Asia-Pacific was the largest regional market for polycarbonate and accounted for over 65% share of the total demand in 2014. Growth in use of polycarbonate in various applications is also expected to boost demand for polycarbonate in the years to come. Europe was the second largest market for PC in 2014. This was majorly due to high demand for light weight and high strength material for the automotive and electronics application.

Some of the key player in the polycarbonate market includes Bayer Material Science AG, Mitsubishi Engineering-Plastics Corporation, Trinseo (Styron), and Teijin Limited, SABIC Innovative Plastics, Chi Mei Corporation, Centroplast Engineering Plastics GmbH, Royal DSM, Aashi Kasei Chemical Corporation, Idemistu Kosan Co., Ltd and amongst others.

However, environmental issue related with this polymer is major challenges that may hinder the growth of the market.

We remind that, as MRC informed earlier, in October 2015, Idemitsu Kosan Co. Ltd. announced that it would consolidate the production of polycarbonate resin, TARFLON, into Formosa Chemicals & Fibre Corporation (FCFC), a core firm of Taiwan's Formosa Group to which the company has granted a license to use the relevant technology. The company decided to cease operation of PC production facility at its Chiba Plant (Ichihara City, Chiba) in December 2015 and consolidate the production carried out by the plant into FCFC. Granted a license by the company, FCFC has been engaged in production of polycarbonates since 2002.

PPG opens new coatings centre at Oak Creek plant in US

MOSCOW (MRC) -- US-based PPG Industries has opened a new liquid coatings application development centre at its plant in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, said Chemicals-technology.

The new USD3m centre includes advanced equipment that helps simulate industrial coatings customers' manufacturing environments to ensure PPG coatings will be properly and consistently applied during their production processes. It houses several curing ovens, robotic paint applicators and spray booths with temperature and humidity controls to mimic a wide range of liquid coatings application conditions.

According to the company, these capabilities will further improve the product launch process and application validation capabilities of its industrial coatings business. PPG industrial coatings liquid application manager Steve Wirtz said: "It's important to our customers to have liquid coatings products that work well in specific climates and environments. "We can simulate those conditions in our climate-controlled coating rooms to ensure that PPG products will perform as desired."

"If they're applying liquid coatings in the searing heat of summer with high humidity, or in cold-weather environments, we can simulate those conditions in our climate-controlled coating rooms to ensure that PPG products will perform as desired.

"The abilities to mimic actual production conditions and to test coatings applications on large and complex shapes and parts will enable our technical experts to work more closely with customers during development, offering new opportunities for identifying and addressing potential problems and for coatings application training."

PPG is focused on providing a comprehensive array of powder, electrocoat, pretreatment and liquid products for metal finishing to manufacturers in several industries.

PPG industrial coatings Americas vice president Kevin Braun said: "At PPG, we understand the challenges and demands our customers face every day, and we collaborate to help solve them.

"Investing in this new facility shows PPG's commitment to developing innovative coatings along with our customers and enhances our ability to work with them on next-generation liquid coatings formulations."

As MRC informed earlier, PPG Industries agreed to acquire US-based IVC Industrial Coatings for an undisclosed amount. Established in 1870 as Indianapolis Varnish, IVC Industrial produces specialty powder and liquid coatings for various products, including metal office furniture, material handling and storage products, automotive parts, motorcycles, industrial containers and small appliances. The company operates five manufacturing facilitates in the US, one plant in Guangdong, China, and a small development lab in Manchester, England. It has a workforce of over 300.

PPG Industries, Inc. (PPG) is a global supplier of protective and decorative coatings. Performance Coatings, Industrial Coatings and Architectural Coatings- EMEA segments supply protective and decorative finishes for customers in a range of end use markets, including industrial equipment, appliances and packaging; factory-finished aluminum extrusions and steel and aluminum. Founded in 1883, PPG has global headquarters in Pittsburgh and operates in nearly 70 countries around the world.


APS Elastomers developed TPE formulations for suspension and drive train components

MOSCOW (MRC) -- APS Elastomers, a leader in the polyurethane casting industry specialising in suspension and drive train components for automotive, light truck and off-road industries, has developed several proprietary thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) formulations with the proper mix of softness, strength, and durability needed for rigorous off-road applications; supplying polycaprolactone-based thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) grades with good processability and compression set at elevated temperatures, reported GV.

The Zythane 3000 series of polycaprolactone-based TPUs was developed for rigorous off-road applications.

With a hardness range of 80 Shore A - 64 Shore D, the Zythane 3000 polycaprolactone series of TPEs was formulated for each specific application. "Our ability to custom compound enables us to meet or exceed our customer’s expectations" said Stephane Morin, owner of APS Elastomers.

In addition to suspension and drive train components, the Zythane 3000 series has been expanded to meet diverse demands of vigorous and high temperature industrial applications such as heavy-duty engineering equipment and hydraulic systems where working conditions range from -40 C to 130 C. High wear resistance against oils, grease, water and extreme temperatures make them ideal for high performance injection moulding of seals, gaskets, wheels and rollers, says APS Elastomers. Available in pellet form, the polycaprolactone range has been broadened to include high flow and soft grades.

APS Elastomers provides engineering service, technical support, and TPE materials (TPEs, TPVs, TPUs and other soft elastomers) for consumer and industrial applications. Company offerings have grown to include Maxelast TPEs, Viprene TPVs, Huntsman Polyurethanes' Irogran and Avalon TPUs, Zythane TPUs, TPE alloys, compounding series, and custom and standard soft elastomer formulations.

We remind that, as MRC reported earlier, Asahi Kasei Chemicals will increase annual production capacity for hydrogenated styrenic thermoplastic elastomer (SEBS) by 30% at its Kawasaki Works in Kanagawa, Japan, with start-up scheduled for June 2016.

Kuraray opened new plant in Texas

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Kuraray America, Inc., among the global leaders in specialty chemical, fiber and resin production, has inaugurated its new, USD300 mln, green-field KURARAY POVAL plant in Pasadena, Texas, reported Omnexus.

The opening of this plant further distinguishes Kuraray Co., Ltd. as one of the largest producers of polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH) in the world.

The new KURARAY POVAL plant will produce 40,000 metric tons of PVOH annually.

"With the opening of our new KURARAY POVAL plant today, we are providing additional, needed supply to our customers around the world," said George Avdey, President and CEO of Kuraray America, Inc. "Thanks to the hard work and dedication to safety of our Kuraray employees in opening this plant, we can offer product from around the world, further enhancing our global resources and supply."

Production of PVOH has already started at the new plant.

As MRC wrote before, in October 2015, Kuraray announced that it would expand production facilities at its plant at Saijo, Japan, for optical-use Poval film, which serves as a base film for polarized film, an essential component of LCDs. Poval is the brand name for Kuraray’s polyvinyl alcohol products. Production capacity for optical-use Poval film at Saijo will increase by 20 million sq meters/year. The expanded facilities will become operational in the beginning of 2017, Kuraray says. The company produces optical-use Poval film also at Kurashiki, Japan. Kuraray will expand its annual production capacity of optical-use poval film from the current 212 million m2 to 232 million m2.

Kuraray produces specialty chemicals, fibres and other materials, including functional resins and films, synthetic isoprene chemical products, synthetic leather, vinylon fibre and polyester fibre.