Saudi Aramco enters Baltic market with key crude oil supply contract to PKN Orlen

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Saudi Aramco and PKN Orlen, the Polish crude oil refining company, has held a signing ceremony of a contract agreement for Saudi Aramco to supply PKN Orlen with 50,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil starting May 1, 2016 with provisions for automatic annual renewal, said the producer on its site on 1 June.

The contract, formally agreed in May, marks PKN Orlen’s first long-term contract with a producer from the Middle East region and comes after Saudi Aramco supplied six spot trial cargoes to PKN Orlen’s refineries in Poland, Lithuania and Czech Republic, reaffirming Saudi Aramco’s continued role as the world’s leading and most reliable supplier of energy.

The signing ceremony at Saudi Aramco’s headquarters was presided by Amin H. Nasser, President and CEO of Saudi Aramco, and Abdulrahman F. Wuhaib, Senior Vice President, Downstream, Saudi Aramco, and by Wojciech Jasinski, President and CEO of PKN Orlen.

Amin Nasser, President and CEO, of Saudi Aramco, said: "This agreement marks a strong first-step for Saudi Aramco’s entry into the Baltic market, adding value in the key markets of Poland, Lithuania, and the Czech Republic where PKN Orlen operates refineries. We continue to explore opportunities to strengthen our position as the supplier of choice in all global markets and we are confident that we are uniquely positioned to add real value to our customers’ businesses and in the growth of the economies they serve."

He added: "The agreement also firmly underlines Saudi Aramco’s ability to meet customers’ needs by leveraging our unparalleled supply infrastructure. We are always ready, willing and able to meet any additional call on demand from new and existing customers around the world."

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.

Wojciech Jasinski, President and CEO, PKN Orlen said: "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 centered 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."

PKN Orlen is one of the largest crude oil refiners in Poland and operates the second largest complex for terephthalic acid production in Europe. In addition to its six refineries, PKN Orlen operates the region’s largest network of service stations located in Poland, Lithuania and the Czech Republic. It currently (2015) ranks 353, with a revenue of over USD33.8 billion.

Solvay completes purchase of Eastman stake in Primester

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Solvay has completed the purchase of Eastman Chemical Company's share in their former US joint venture Primester, as per EuroInvestor.

As the sole owner of the cellulose acetate flake plant, Solvay has secured the most economical long term supply for its own tow businesses while adapting capacity to demand.

Eastman will provide the long-term supply of basic utilities and raw materials to the Kingsport, Tennessee-based plant.

As MRC wrote previously, in the second half of May 2016, Solvay and Eastman Chemical Company signed a definitive agreement to end their cellulose acetate production joint venture Primester with Solvay acquiring Eastman’s 50% stake in the US-based plant and becoming its sole owner.

Besides, in early May 2016, Solvay signed a definitive agreement with Brazilian chemical group Unipar Carbocloro to sell its 70.59% stake in Solvay Indupa.

"Solvay’s divestment of Indupa follows our announced early exit of our European PVC joint venture as Solvay is transforming into a specialty chemicals group," said then Vincent De Cuyper, member of Solvay’s Executive Committee. "In acquiring Solvay Indupa, Unipar will strengthen its strategic position in the caustic soda and chlorine value chain extending its chemical footprint in PVC and allowing for the further development of Indupa."

Solvay S.A. is a Belgian chemical company founded in 1863, with its head office in Neder-Over-Heembeek, Brussels, Belgium. The company has diversified into two major sectors of activity: chemicals and plastics. Solvay supplies over 1500 products across 35 brands of high-performance polymers - fluoropolymers, fluoroelastomers, fluorinated fluids, semi-aromatic polyamides, sulfone polymers, aromatic ultra polymers, high-barrier polymers and cross-linked high-performance compounds.

Trinseo named new Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Trinseo has named Barry Niziolek as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of the company, effective June 13. He also will join the Executive Leadership Team, said the producer on its site.

Niziolek was most recently Vice President and Controller at DuPont, where he had extensive experience in finance leadership, governance and compliance, board interactions, mergers and acquisitions, risk management, capital structure, corporate planning, new business development, and investor relations. During his 34 years at DuPont, he held a wide range of Finance roles, including as CFO for the titanium and coatings businesses, as well as CFO for the crop protection business. He also served as finance director for DuPont’s Mexico operations, where he was based in Mexico City. Other DuPont assignments included Investor Relations, Information Systems, Business Analysis and Accounting. He began his career at KPMG as a senior auditor.

"We are extremely pleased to name a CFO of the caliber of Barry Niziolek, who brings to Trinseo more than 30 years of broad finance leadership experience," said Chris Pappas, President and CEO of Trinseo. "His depth of experience in the chemical industry and in the context of a large publicly traded company, as well as his track record in leading global organizations, will be valuable as Trinseo continues to drive for sustained financial performance and continued development as an independent publicly traded company."

As MRC reported earlier, Trinseo and its affiliate companies in Europe have announced price increases for all polystyrene (PS), ABS and SAN grades in May 2016. Thus, the May contract and spot prices for the products listed below will increase as follows:

- STYRON general purpose polystyrene grades (GPPS), STYRON and STYRON A-TECH high impact polystyrene grades (HIPS) - by EUR25 per metric ton;
- MAGNUM ABS resins - by EUR35 per metric ton;
- TYRIL SAN resins - by EUR20 per metric ton.

Trinseo is a global materials company and manufacturer of plastics, latex and rubber. TrinseoпїЅs 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. Formerly known as Styron, Trinseo completed its renaming process in 1Q 2015. Trinseo had approximately USD4.0 billion in revenue in 2015, with 18 manufacturing sites around the world, and more than 2,200 employees.

SOCAR interested in buying OMV Turkish subsidiary

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Azerbaijan state energy company SOCAR is interested in buying Austrian oil group OMV's Turkish subsidiary, a SOCAR official said on Wednesday, reported Hydrocarbonprocessing.

OMV said in February that it was putting Turkish fuel products distribution and lubricants company OMV Petrol Ofisi AS up for sale as part of its strategy to dispose of non-core assets.

"SOCAR has an interest in this deal. We are waiting for the company to submit information on these assets," Zaur Gakhramanov, the head of SOCAR Turkey Enerji, said.

OMV Petrol Ofisi had been expected to release information on the sale in June, but had postponed it until September, he said.

Chinese and Japanese companies have also expressed interest in buying OMV Petrol Ofisi.

As MRC wrote previously, in October 2015, State Oil Co. of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) subsidiary Azerikimya Production Union (PU) entered two units into operation at its ethylene and polyethylene (PE) plant in Sumgait, north of Baku. The company commissioned a 87,600-tonne/year (tpy) unit for the desulfurization of liquefied gas and a 120,000-tpy installation for the hydrogenation of butylene-butadiene fractions.

SOCAR, which is keen on expanding operations in the retail oil products market abroad, is involved in exploring oil and gas fields, producing, processing, and transporting oil, gas, and gas condensate, marketing petroleum and petrochemical products in the domestic and international markets, and supplying natural gas to industry and the public in Azerbaijan.

DSM polyamide tapping into drinking water-contact applications

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Royal DSM, a global science-based company active in health, nutrition and materials, is taking its EcoPaXX polyamide into an important new market - drinking water contact application, said the producer in its press release.

Use of this material offers a high-performance, lead-free option for applications such as faucet mixing valves.

The water management market is looking for high-performance polymers that are able to withstand the stringent requirements of hot-water contact, while still meeting all major drinking water approval schemes.

Legislation also has been driving replacement of metals in applications that involve direct contact with drinking water. Brass and other metals traditionally have been used for such applications as faucets, water-meter and boiler components. Lead contamination in drinking water is a major concern worldwide, leading to more stringent regulation on lead limits in drinking water. This has driven the industry to look for alternatives, and engineering plastics such as EcoPaXX offer a completely lead-free solution, and fully comply with those regulations.

Leading industry players already are successfully using EcoPaXX Q-DWX10, a 50% glass-fiber-reinforced polyamide 410, for faucet mixing valves because of its outstanding performance. This material enables the design of faucet mixing valves with lower risk of part failure and water leakage, a key focus for the industry.

Externally validated by international lifecycle assessment experts, EcoPaXX base polymer is carbon-neutral from cradle to gate. Compared to polyphthalamide (PPA) resins with similar function, EcoPaXX compounds offer a 30% lower carbon footprint. Additionally, the material shows excellent flow and processability, resulting in high weld-line strength, and can be processed like any other standard polyamide material.

Having recognized this trend, DSM is further extending its portfolio of specialty materials suitable for addressing the full spectrum of drinking water contact uses. The company already offers EcoPaXX and ForTii - inherently hydrolysis-resistant grades that are based on polyamides 410 and 4T, respectively. It also recently added Xytron PPS compounds, which are ideal when very high dimensional stability is needed.

"With the successful commercialization of EcoPaXX polyamide 410 in faucet mixing valves, DSM has proven its ability to offer solutions for highly critical drinking water contact applications," says Caroline Mitterlehner, business responsible for the water management segment at DSM. "DSM is already active in many high-heat and water-contact applications in other industries, such as cooling-systems in automotive. We are now successfully translating this competence of resistance to hydrolytic environments into the drinking water contact market, where temperatures are lower, but required lifetimes are typically much longer."

As MRC reported before, in April 2016, as a result of increasing raw material prices Netherlands-based Royal DSM increased the price for its Akulon and Novamid polyamide 6 polymers and compounds. DSM raised its prices in Europe by EUR120/tonne for polyamide polymer and by EUR85/tonne for polyamide compounds.

Royal DSM is a global science-based company active in health, nutrition and materials. DSM delivers innovative solutions that nourish, protect and improve performance in global markets such as food and dietary supplements, personal care, feed, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, automotive, paints, electrical and electronics, life protection, alternative energy and bio-based materials.