BASF postpones decision on natural gas-based propylene investment in Freeport, Texas

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Considering the current volatility of raw material prices and the prevailing economic environment, BASF has postponed its final investment decision regarding the construction of a methane-to-propylene complex at its Freeport, Texas, site, said the producer on its site.

"On-purpose production of propylene based on favorable U.S. shale gas is interesting for BASF. We will regularly review the development of raw material prices and the relevant market conditions to determine the right point in time to commence such a major investment," said Wayne T. Smith, member of the Board of Executive Directors of BASF SE.

As MRC reported earlier, in March 2015, BASF made progress in its plans to build a world-scale methane-to-propylene complex on the US Gulf Coast by selecting Freeport, Texas, as the potential site, where it will use Air Liquide's proprietary Lurgi MegaMethanol and methanol-to-propylene (MTP) technologies. BASF also contracted Air Liquide to provide basic engineering services for this gas-to-propylene complex.

The plant is planned to have a production capacity of approximately 475,000 tpy of propylene. This project would be BASF's largest single-plant investment to date and is subject to final approval in 2016 by the BASF executive board.

The Freeport site was founded in 1958 as the first BASF manufacturing facility outside of Europe. With more than 800 full-time employees, the Freeport site is one of two BASF Verbund sites in North America and uses propylene in its manufacturing processes.

BASF is the leading chemical company. It 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.

AESSEAL wins five-year service agreement with Total Lindsey Oil Refinery

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Total Lindsey Oil Refinery Ltd. has awarded AESSEAL a five-year managed reliability contract for their mechanical seals at Lindsey Oil Refinery, reported Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The contract, which was negotiated over a two-year period, will include the supply and repair of the mechanicals seals used on over 600 rotating equipment assets.

Working closely with the Total rotating equipment and operations teams, AESSEAL is tasked with improving reliability and reducing total cost of ownership by extending the meantime between failures on the assets.

Total is the world’s fourth-largest independent oil and gas company, with operations in 130 countries and more than 100,000 employees. The Lindsey Oil Refinery is situated in Killingholme, North Lincolnshire, UK and is one of the six UK oil refineries.

As MRC informed before, Total's proposed new ethane cracker near its refinery in Port Arthur, Texas, is being designed to have a capacity of 1 million tpy, the company said in a permit application to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), in April 2015. Construction on the cracker could start in June 2016, the company said, with operations starting three years later. The project would include seven ethane-cracking heaters.

Total S.A. is a French multinational oil and gas company and one of the six "Supermajor" oil companies in the world with business in Europe, the United States, the Middle East and Asia. The company's petrochemical products cover two main groups: base chemicals and the consumer polymers (polyethylene, polypropylene and polystyrene) that are derived from them.

Shenhua Ningxia brought on-stream No 1 PP line in China

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Shenhua Ningxia Coal Industry has restarted its No. 1 polyproplyene (PP) line following a maintenance turnaround, as per Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in China informed that the No. 1 line resumed production early this week. The line was taken off-stream on May 15, 2016. The other three PP lines are likely to be restarted before June 15, 2016.

Located at Ningxia province of China, the PP plant comprises of four lines have a combined production capacity of 1 mln mt/year.

As MRC informed previously, in early June 2016, Sinopec Yangzi Petrochemical took off-stream its PP plant for a brief maintenance. It is likely to remain off-line for period of around 1 week. Located in Jiangsu province, China, the plant has a production capacity of 200,000 mt/year.

Shenhua Ningxia Coal Industry Group Co., Ltd. engages in coal mining and washing, coal deep processing, coal chemical industry, electric power, real estate, and other businesses.

AkzoNobel to produce marine and protective coatings in Russia

MOSCOW (MRC) -- AkzoNobel said on 9 June that it is adding marine and protective coatings capacity at its existing performance coatings site at Lipetsk, south of Moscow, said Chemweek.

The new capacity is expected to be operational in the third quarter of this year. It will enable AkzoNobel to supply protective coatings for the regional oil and gas, mining, power and infrastructure markets, as well as marine coatings for ship building, maintenance and repair. The investment represents a further expansion for the multi-business site at Lipetsk.

As MRC informed earlier, AkzoNobel said it is in discussions with BASF to acquire BASF’s industrial coatings business. BASF confirmed that it is in discussions with AkzoNobel on the potential sale, but also declined to give further information. BASF is relatively small in industrial coatings.

Akzo Nobel N.V., trading as AkzoNobel, is a Dutch multinational, active in the fields of decorative paints, performance coatings and specialty chemicals. Headquartered in Amsterdam, the company has activities in more than 80 countries, and employs approximately 55,000 people.

BASF speeding up and focusing research activities

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The innovation-driven world of chemical and technology companies is characterized by a constant process of change, as per the company's press release.

To maintain its successful track record in this environment, BASF is further speeding up and focusing its research and development activities, said Dr. Martin Brudermuller, Vice Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors and Chief Technology Officer of BASF, at the Research Press Conference held today in Ludwigshafen. Even though BASF’s research is already very successful with an output of about €10 billion sales from innovative products, the company needs to adapt its established approaches to changing conditions, said Brudermuller.

"Our R&D success factors are creativity, efficiency and integration. Fostering creativity and creating the conditions necessary to achieve it are among the company’s most important tasks," he added. Creative and efficient work is also supported by integration, Brudermuller explained. "To do this, we need to intelligently combine the competencies of our global Research and Development Verbund while also taking advantage of our external networks." Every R&D employee needs to demonstrate focus and discipline combined with flexibility and openness. "We gain speed by constantly challenging ourselves to flexibly react to changes and to tackle the right topics in a focused way," Brudermuller said.

Innovations based on chemistry require market-oriented research and development that focuses strongly on the needs of customers. In 2015, BASF’s research pipeline encompassed around 3,000 projects and spending on research and development rose to EUR1,953 million (2014: EUR1,884 million). The operating divisions were responsible for 79 percent of these R&D expenditures. The remaining 21 percent was allocated to cross-divisional corporate research focusing on long-term topics of strategic importance to the BASF Group. In order to bring promising ideas to market even faster, BASF regularly assesses its research projects using a multistep process and focuses its topics accordingly.

The foundation of BASF’s innovation strength is its global team of highly qualified employees from various disciplines: In 2015, around 10,000 employees were working in Research and Development worldwide. The central research areas Process Research & Chemical Engineering, Advanced Materials & Systems Research and Bioscience Research serve as BASF’s three global research platforms, headquartered in the company’s main regions – Europe, Asia Pacific and North America. Together with the development units of the divisions, they form the core of BASF’s Know-How Verbund. With around 4,900 employees working in Research and Development, Ludwigshafen (including Limburgerhof) remains the largest site in BASF’s Research Verbund. This was reinforced by the investment in a new research building which creates modern workspaces and ideal cooperation conditions for around 200 employees in the platform Advanced Materials & Systems Research.

As MRC wrote before, in April 2016, BASF celebrated the inauguration of its new PU flooring facilities for the production of Ucrete in Bukit Raja, Klang/Malaysia. It is the first manufacturing hub in Asia Pacific to produce all components of Ucrete.

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.