Chemtura expands distribution relationship with Azelis Americas

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Chemtura has announced that Azelis Americas (formerly Koda Distribution Group) will be the sole distributor for its pre-polymer urethanes, curatives, and polyester polyols product lines in North America, reported GV.

The agreement will be effective from 26 July 2016, in addition to the current urethanes surface coatings portfolio. At the same date, Chemtura will be discontinuing its relationship with AdipreneDirect in North America.

Azelis Americas with headquarters in Stamford, CT, USA, is part of the Azelis Group, which is based in Luxembourg.

As MRC reported earlier, in April 2016, Chemtura Corporation announced the expansion of the Low Free (LF) MDI polyurethane elastomers production capacity at its Latina, Italy, facility. The expansion, due for completion by the end of 2016, will complement the company’s existing LF MDI production capability in Gastonia, NC, USA, and ensure a flexible, reliable supply to its customers. Chemtura is increasing production of Adiprene LF MDI prepolymers to ensure a flexible and reliable supply to customers.

Chemtura, with 2015 sales of USD 1.7 billion, is a global manufacturer and marketer of speciality chemicals headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with its other principal executive office in Middlebury, Connecticut. The company focuses on specialty chemicals for various industrial sectors, and these are transportation (including automotive), energy, and electronics.

India caps refiners dollar buying for Iran dues to shield rupee

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The Reserve Bank of India has capped weekly dollar purchases by oil refiners to pay off their debts to Iran in order to avoid pressure on the rupee, three sources said on Monday, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

India is one of the biggest buyers of Iranian crude and built up a payments backlog when Iran was under Western sanctions, with its refiners owing about USD6.5 B to Iran.

They have cleared USD770 MM in Euros through Turkey's Halkbank to National Iranian Oil Co (NIOC). State-run Union Bank of India facilitated the payments.

The refiners had been holding back 55% of payments to Iran after a channel through Halkbank was closed in 2013, although payment of some of those funds was allowed after an initial temporary deal to lift the sanctions.

Last week, on the basis of an RBI advisory, India's oil ministry wrote to refiners saying the remaining dues can be settled in three months from May 30 and told companies to ensure demand for foreign exchange is limited to USD500 MM per week, the sources told Reuters.

"RBI wants to stagger payments to Iran to pre-empt any undue volatility in the domestic forex market," said one source.

The rupee touched a near three-month low of 67.77 to the dollar last week, partly due to dollar purchases to settle a portion of the Iranian oil dues the week before.

India's oil ministry has asked state refiner Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd. (MRPL) to coordinate with other firms to ensure that weekly payments do not exceed USD500 million.

We remind that, as MRC informed earlier, in August 2015, MRPL initiated its downward integration by amalgamation with ONGC Mangalore Petrochemicals Limited (OMPL). Last year, OMPL had commissioned a state-of-the-art aromatic complex with 914,000 tpa capacity of paraxylene and 283,000 tpa capacity benzene adjacent to the refinery. The amalgamation will ensure optimal utilization of resources which will lead to improvement in overall working culture and environment.

Westlake Chemical Q1 2016 profit beats street mark, revenues miss

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Westlake Chemical, a manufacturer of basic chemicals, has reported a net profit for Q1 2016 that topped the Street consensus, while revenues fell short, as per Sonoran Weekly Review.

Net income for the quarter was USD123.1 million, or USD0.94 per share, down from USD146.3 million, or USD1.10 per share in Q1 2015. Capital IQ provided a Street estimate of USD0.93 earnings per share. Net sales were USD975.2 million, down from USD1.1 billion reported for the same period last year and lower than the USD1.02 billion Street estimate.

The stock is down 3.35% or USD1.68 after the news, hitting USD48.51 per share. About 719,926 shares traded hands. Westlake Chemical Corporation has declined 5.25% since September 25, 2015 and is downtrending. It has underperformed by 13.02% the S&P500.

As MRC wrote previously, in 2014, Technip was awarded a contract by Westlake Chemical to provide detailed engineering and procurement services to expand the recovery section of Westlake’s Petro 1 ethylene plant at its complex in Sulphur, Louisiana.

Besides, in January 2016, Westlake Chemical approved plans to expand ethylene capacity at its facility in Calvert City, Kentucky. This expansion will add 70 million lb/year of stated ethylene capacity to the Calvert City facility during the first half of 2017.

Westlake Chemical Corporation is a U.S. manufacturer and supplier of petrochemicals and polymers, headquartered in Houston, Texas. The range of company's products includes ethylene, polyethylene, styrene, propylene, caustics, polyvinyl chloride and plastic products. Westlake is one of the major ethylene producers in the US and its Calvert City operation is a large integrated PVC site.

Covestro joins global initiative for energy efficiency

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Covestro has announced that it wants to halve its energy use per tonne of manufactured products by 2030 relative to a baseline of 2005, and has joined the recently launched campaign "Energy Productivity 100" (EP100), reported GV.

The campaign is part of The Climate Group, an NGO with members including pioneers from the worlds of business, politics and society who are working together to lower emissions on the planet. The companies taking part in the EP100 are committed to demonstrating their roles as leaders in energy efficiency, to boost their energy productivity - in other words to increase economic output from the energy they use - and thus pave the way forward to a future of clean energy supplies. Covestro says it is one of the first companies to join the EP100 initiative and hopes to be seen by other businesses as a role model.

"The chemical and plastics industry contributes to resource conservation and energy efficiency with its products and solutions, but it also requires a lot of energy," said Richard Northcote, Chief Sustainability Officer at Covestro. "And that is why we can - and want to - do our part toward fulfilling the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. To reduce your own energy use by half - or to double your energy productivity - may seem impossible to some companies today. But initiatives like EP100 motivate us, and hopefully many others, to apply intelligent solutions and indeed make possible what is now considered impossible."

According to Covestro, sustainability is a core element of its business strategy. The company is working continuously on processes and solutions for reducing its energy use and CO2 emissions. Covestro recently announced its intention to halve its specific CO2 emissions by 2025 relative to a baseline of 2005. The company practically reached the previous target - a reduction of 40 % relative to 2005 - in 2015 already. And as far as increasing energy efficiency, Covestro had set the target of 30 % by 2020 and achieved it in 2015.

As MRC informed before, in May 2016, Covestro has announced that it has developed a new technology for manufacturing wind turbine rotor blades: The rotor blades are fabricated in a special process from a polyurethane resin and a glass fibre fabric. The company announced that it has now received the important DNV GL certification for the resin.

Covestro is a spinout formed in the fall of 2015 from Bayer; it was formerly Bayer's USD12.3 billion materials science division. Covestro shares were first offered on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange in October 2015. The main industries served are automotive manufacturing and supply, electrical engineering and electronics, construction and home products, and sports and leisure. And their products are coatings and adhesives, polyurethanes that are used in thermal insulation, adhesives, electrical housings, and as a component of footwear and mattresses, and polycarbonates such as Covestro's Makrolon, which are highly impact-resistant plastics.

Iran acquires knowledge to produce PET

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Iran has acquired the technical know-how to produce polyethylene terephthalate (PET), according to the head researcher at the Malek Ashtar University of Technology Mohammad Reza Sovizi as quoted by the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), reported GV.

"We have been able to indigenize the production of the petrochemical catalyst and Iran is the first country in the region to acquire self-sufficiency in the production of this chemical item which used to be imported," said the assistant professor of analytical chemistry.

"This has saved Iran USD 22 million (annually)," he added.

"Petrochemical industries are among strategic, and parent industries and Iran in recent years has achieved great development in this sphere," the university professor said.

"With regard to the abundant raw materials found in Iran, our country has a great potential for generating income and promoting sustainable employment by relying on the petrochemical industries," Sovizi said.

We remind that, as MRC informed previously, in March 2016, The National Petrochemical Company (NPC) of Iran and France-based Total signed an memorandum of understanding (MoU) to build a petrochemical complex in Iran. Total sealed the cooperation agreement with NPC to build a petrochemical complex after signing a separate deal to buy 160,000 bpd of Iranian crude oil. The complex will include a world-scale steam cracker unit in the coastal area. It will be based on a combination of feedstocks comprised of ethane, naphtha and LPG, as well as other available feed.