Technip wins contract for Saudi Kayan cracker furnace

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Technip (Paris, France) was awarded a contract by CTCI Corp. (Taiwan) to provide basic engineering and proprietary equipment for a grassroots ethylene cracking furnace at the Saudi Kayan Petrochemical Co.’s petrochemical complex in Jubail, Saudi Arabia, said Chemengonline.

The furnace design will be based on Technip’s proprietary USC furnace technology. Technip was awarded this project for its best proposal and because of its high-capacity, high availability, gas-cracking applications, says the company.

Technip’s operating center in Milton Keynes, U.K., will execute the project, which is scheduled for completion in 2017.

As MRC informed earlier, Technip announced an all-stock merger with U.S. rival FMC Technologies to create an oil services group with combined revenue of USD20 billion.

Technip has a market value of about USD6.2 billion, compared with USD6.5 billion for FMC Technologies. Technip has annual revenue of USD13.5 billion, more than double that of FMC Technologies.


France uses strategic oil reserves to counter refinery blockade

MOSCOW (MRC) -- France has started using its strategic oil reserves for the first time since 2010 to counter union blockades of its refineries, the French oil industry federation said, reported Reuters.

Unions protesting against a planned labor reform are picketing refineries around the country. Coupled with some panic buying, the disruption has led to fuel shortages in large parts of France, including Paris, over the past week.

France has strategic oil reserves worth several months of consumption on which it can draw in emergencies. They were last used when unions blocked refineries for several weeks in protest against pension reforms in 2010.

Experts say French strategic oil reserves do not physically rise or fall, but that operators allocate volumes blocked in strike-hit refineries to strategic reserve obligations, freeing up other volumes in accessible locations.

Union Francaise des Industries Petrolieres (UFIP) President Francis Duseux told RMC radio that the industry had been using the strategic reserves for two days. A spokeswoman confirmed that "a small quantity" had been used.

"Every day we use the equivalent of about one day of consumption. At worst, if the situation remains very tense, we can do this for three months," Duseux said.

He added that even if all refineries were stopped, France's pipeline system would still allow the industry to operate.

Industry experts confirmed that the reserves - set up following the 1973-1974 oil crisis and stored in some 85 sites around the country - account on average for about three months of consumption, or longer during the summer months when there is no fuel consumption for heating.

They are composed of 44% of crude oil and 66% of refined products.

As MRC wrote earlier, Naphtachimie declared a force majeure on ethylene production from its plants in Lavera, France owing to an ongoing nationwide strike against proposed labour reforms by the French government. Located at Lavera in France, the cracker has a Ethylene production capacity of 775,000 mt/year.

Besides, Total SA said that it had shut down its Gonfreville and Feyzin refineries on 18 May and was in the process of halting operations at two others and was reducing output at a fifth refinery.

Kuraray to increase ethylene vinyl alcohol copolymer capacity at Pasadena

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Kuraray Co. (Tokyo, Japan) plans to increase the production capacity of ethylene vinyl alcohol copolymer, EVAL within its subsidiary, Kuraray America, Inc. (Houston), said Chemical Engineering.

The Kuraray EVAL plant located in Pasadena, Texas will increase their capacity by 11,000 ton/yr with planned operations to commence in the summer of 2018.

Currently, Kuraray’s EVAL product line provides the world’s widest range of EVOH resins and films. With global demand forecasted to increase at an annual rate of six to seven percent, this boost in capacity at the Pasadena EVAL plant will further solidify Kuraray as a leader in the production of EVOH resin and barrier materials.

"In addition to expanding EVAL production within the U.S., this announcement also represents a USD75-million investment towards the Bayport community," says Robert Armstrong, plant manager at Kuraray America, Inc. “With the recent opening of the Kuraray Poval plant and the consideration of enhancing current VAM production, Kuraray continues to further their commitment to southeast Texas."

Due to its superior gas barrier properties, EVAL applications include food packaging as well as agricultural and industrial applications, says the company. Kuraray is currently developing new applications of EVAL including industrial applications such as soil pollution prevention liners and agricultural applications including impermeable fumigation films.

As mRC informed earlier,in 2015, Kuraray acquired Australia's Plantic Technologies. With this, Kuraray expands into bio-based barrier materials, which meet the increasing global demand of bio-based food packaging materials.

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

Clariant Healthcare Packaging launches new range of Aroma-Can canisters

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Clariant, a world leader in specialty chemicals, and its Healthcare Packaging unit, is introducing a new and improved family of Aroma-Can canisters to enhance nutritional products by adding a pleasant scent to product packaging, said the producer on its site.

Modeled after Clariant’s desiccant canisters for pharmaceutical and nutraceutical packaging, Aroma-Can canisters employ aroma technology that can give consumers a positive sensory experience when they open product packaging. The technology embeds food-grade flavors, such as vanilla, orange and lemon, directly into a plastic canister, which can be inserted easily into a container.

"Smell can enhance or detract from the experience of using a product or the decision to make a repeat purchase," explains Robert Crossno, Head of Sales - Americas, Clariant Healthcare Packaging. "Products such as fish oil tablets and herbal supplements often emit odors that are unpleasant or unappealing to end users. A favorable scent within the product packaging can mask unpleasant odors or help enhance odorless products, such as vitamins."

Although the new Aroma-Can bears the same overall dimensions of standard desiccant canisters, its new and innovative one-piece design reduces further process and assembly and contains more surface area, which improve the canister’s aroma profile. Because of their dimensional uniformity with desiccant canisters, Aroma-Can canisters can be automatically inserted into packaging at rates up to 300/minute using standard desiccant canister insertion equipment.

As MRC wrote previously, in 2014, CB&I and Clariant announced that their new Ziegler-Natta (ZN) polypropylene catalyst plant in Louisville, Kentucky, was on schedule to begin production in 2015. The plant is part of a long-term strategic partnership between Clariant’s catalysts business and CB&I’s Lummus Novolen Technology business. Based at Clariant’s largest US production hub, the new facility will combine innovative catalysts jointly developed by both companies with high-capacity output.

Clariant AG is a Swiss chemical company and a world leader in the production of specialty chemicals for the textile, printing, mining and metallurgical industries. It is engaged in processing crude oil products in pigments, plastics and paints.

AkzoNobel opens its largest technology center in China

MOSCOW (MRC) -- AkzoNobel inaugurated its new EUR6.5 million technology center in Songjiang, Shanghai. The company's largest research facility in China, it will support product innovation and the development of next-generation paints, coatings and specialty chemicals, said the producer on its site.

Equipped with a full array of state-of-the-art material analysis and performance testing facilities, the center currently employs 150 scientists, which is expected to rise to 200 by 2020. The majority of the products supported by the new facility will be waterborne and powder-based, in line with the company's ambitions to develop more eco-premium solutions.

AkzoNobel invested a total of EUR347 million in research and development during 2015, with a strong focus on sustainability. The company is also looking to increase its revenue from downstream eco-premium solutions to 20 percent of revenue by 2020. In China, it has already reached 30 percent.

"A key strength of our new technology center is that it is focused on all the company's paints and coatings activities," added Roger Jakeman, RD&I Director of AkzoNobel Decorative Paints. "This offers major advantages in terms of synergies, efficiency benefits and creating additional value for customers."

Commenting on the inauguration of the new facility – an expansion of an existing AkzoNobel research center in Songjiang – Dr. Lin Liangqi, President of AkzoNobel China and Managing Director of the company's Decorative Paints business in China and North Asia, added: "China accounts for between ten and 15 percent of global RD&I investment annually. With Asia, and especially China, upgrading its manufacturing industry protocols, innovative solutions with strong sustainability features will be key to future success. The new center will therefore play a vital role in supporting manufacturing, as well as future markets, such as solar and wind power."

Deputy Executive of Songjiang District, Wanli Long, also welcomed the opening of the new facility: "We are glad that AkzoNobel is locating such an important research facility in Songjiang," she said. "The new center is an enhancement of our innovation capability."

As MRC informed earlier, in 2014, AkzoNobel completed the expansion of its Industrial Coatings site in Songjiang near Shanghai in China, doubling annual production capacity and creating the company’s biggest plant for packaging coatings in the world.

AkzoNobel employs over 7,500 people in China (including 500 in RD&I), while revenue in China totaled €1.8 billion in 2015. The company operates more than 30 production sites across the country, with RD&I resources allocated to 26 of them to support local customers.