ENI terminates talks with SK Capital to sell Versalis

MOSCOW (MRC) -- ENI (Rome), Italy’s major energy group, announced that it could not reach an agreement with the US private equity firm SK Capital to sell a majority stake in ENI’s chemicals subsidiary Versalis (Milan) and has terminated the discussions, said Chemweek.

ENI cites certain issues, including the future governance of Versalis, that have led to the result. ENI put a majority stake in Versalis up for sale several months ago but said that a potential buyer must observe several conditions.

As MRC informed earlier, ENI earlier this year announced that it is in talks with a potential buyer of a majority stake in its Versalis chemicals business part of the Italian oil company's plans to slim down and focus on oil and gas exploration. Two trade union leaders said an Eni board meeting was expected to give the go ahead to exclusive talks with U.S. investment firm SK Capital.

ENI is an Italian multinational oil and gas company headquartered in Rome. It has operations in in 79 countries, and is currently Italy's largest industrial company with a market capitalization of EUR68 billion (USD 90 billion), as of August 14, 2013. The Italian government owns a 30.3% golden share in the company, 3.93% held through the state Treasury and 26.37% held through the Cassa depositi e prestiti. Another 39.40% of the shares are held by BNP Paribas.

Gazprombank to deliver nitrogen unit for SOCAR Polymer company

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Cryogenmash company, included in Gazprombank Group, will develop and deliver a nitrogen unit for the construction project of SOCAR Polymer company’s plants for the production of polypropylene and high density polyethylene, Gazprombank said June 17.

The corresponding agreement was signed by Rovnag Abdullayev, president of the Azerbaijani State Oil Company (SOCAR) and Andrey Akimov, chairman of board of Gazprombank as part of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

The unit will meet SOCAR Polymer’s needs for high-purity nitrogen gas during the project implementation. "Signing of this agreement is an example of strategic partnership and cooperation between Gazprombank Group and SOCAR Group," Abdullayev said.

According to the message, the unit is based on the most advanced technical and engineering solutions in the industry, which are reducing the capital costs and ensuring more cost-effective modes of operation compared to the equipment of the leading foreign companies.

SOCAR Polymer project is implemented in the Sumgayit Chemical Industrial Park. The polypropylene production plant will be commissioned in the first quarter of 2018, and the polyethylene plant – in the third quarter of 2018. At the initial stage, the plants will produce 120,000 tons of polyethylene and 180,000 tons of polypropylene and the total capacity may reach 570,000 tons by 2021.

Thirty percent of the plant’s output will be sent to domestic market, while 70 percent – for export to Turkey, Europe and CIS countries, according to project estimates.

As MRC MRC informed earlier, SOCAR signed an agreement with Russiaп Gazprombank on providing a loan facility for construction of SOCAR Polymer polypropylene and high-density polyethylene plants in Azerbaijan. The investment committee of Gazprombank has approved a USD489 loan facility for SOCAR Polymer with 10-year term.

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.

BASF, Aspen sign aerogels supply agreement

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Aspen Aerogels has reached agreement to supply its Spaceloft A2 aerogel insulation product to BASF, for incorporation into BASF’s aerogel enhanced wall system for the building materials market, said the producer.

The companies have also entered into a joint development agreement covering collaboration on the development and commercialization of new products. BASF will fund a USD22-million non-interest bearing advance to support construction of Aspen’s new manufacturing plant in Statesboro, GA. BASF will serve a base load customer for the capacity expansion.

"BASF has played an important role in our development as a company and this next phase of our relationship will support us technically, commercially and financially and will accelerate our diversification into the building materials market," said Don Young, President and CEO of Aspen. "As our track record in the energy infrastructure and subsea markets has demonstrated, our preferred model is to partner with industry leaders to benefit from their technical, commercial, and financial resources. BASF is a world class company dedicated to promoting energy efficiency by delivering next generation products to the global marketplace. For these reasons, BASF is a perfect partner for Aspen Aerogels."

The origin of the partnership dates to 2010 when BASF Venture Capital made an equity investment in Aspen and the two companies began to explore technology development and commercialization opportunities within the building materials market. This work led to the development of Aspen's Spaceloft A2 insulation product.

As MRC informed earlier, Albemarle and BASF announced that they have signed a definitive agreement under which BASF will acquire Albemarle’s Chemetall surface treatment business for about USD3.2 billion in cash.

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.


Braskem Idesa inaugurates Ethylene XXI complex, targeting Mexican market

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Braskem Idesa, the 75-25 joint venture of Braskem and Idesa (Mexico City), have inaugurated the Ethylene XXI complex at Nanchital, part of the Coatzacoalcos petrochemical hub in the southern Mexican state of Veracruz, said Chemweek.

The USD5.2-billion dollar project took some five years to complete. The 1.05-million m.t./year cracker is already feeding the complex’s two high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plants, which have capacities of 400,000 m.t./year and 350,000 m.t./year, each unit based on Ineos technology. The third PE unit has capacity for 300,000 m.t./year of low-density polyethylene (LDPE), using LyondellBasell technology, and is in the process of ramping up.

"The HDPE plants were started up in April, with the LDPE started up in June, and while they are not currently running at 100% they have been tested and they can run at 100% and over," Grupo Idesa CEO Jose Luis Uriegas.

The jv expects its 2016 PE production to be about 50-60% of the the total capacity.

A 20-year agreement with Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) covers feedstock supplies to the complex’s ethane cracker via a 130-kilometer pipeline. The long-term supply agreement gives priority to, and guarantees the complex access to the feedstock it requires to produce ethylene and polyethylene (PE). The site has about 3,500 m.t. of ethane storage capacity.

About USD6 million has been invested in the complex’s logistics platform. The domestic market can be served by train or truck to small and medium-size clients. Exports to the United States can take several routes: To the West Coast by train via Nuevo Laredo or Piedras Negras, and to destinations on the East Coast by boat. The presence of standardized train tracks throughout North America make rail a convenient transport method, and product can be delivered to clients throughout North America, Braskem Idesa says. Meanwhile, exports to the rest of the world can be shipped out via the Port of Veracruz in containers. Access to the Pacific export routes can be made via the Port of Salinas Cruz.

Braskem S.A. produces petrochemicals and generates electricity. The Company produces ethylene, propylene, benzene, toluene, xylenes, butadiene, butene, isoprene, dicyclopentediene, MTBE, caprolactam, ammonium sulfate, cyclohexene, polyethylene theraphtalat, polyethylene, and polyvinyl chloride (PVC).


Clariant opens pigment preparations plant in Mexico

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Clariant, a world leader in specialty chemicals, inaugurated its new production plant for water-based pigment preparations in Mexico. The new plant located in Santa Clara doubles Clariant’s Mexico annual production capacity for water-based pigment preparations and enhances its ability to serve customers across North and Latin America.

Pigment preparations are aqueous dispersions based on pigments. Compared to powder pigments, pigment preparations offer faster and more cost-efficient production, and better dispersibility. In addition, they provide more flexibility through the possibility of tailor-made solutions.

The capacity increase for water-based pigment preparations will enable Clariant to improve its support for the regions’ current and emerging market segments including decorative coatings, non-impact and flexo printing, industrial coatings, and specialties like home care, personal care and stationery.

Clariant began production at the new Santa Clara plant for water-based pigment preparations in Q2 2016. To complement this capacity increase, Clariant is also scheduled to start-up a new plant for solvent-based pigment preparations at the same site in Q4 2016. This will produce high milling demand products for the USA specialties market.

Michael Grosskopf, Head of Business Unit Pigments, comments: "The new production plant in Santa Clara further improves access to growth markets in North, Central and South America. The new lines for water-based and solvent-based pigment preparations represent an important next step to extend the value we can create for our customers based on our strong formulation and dispersing know-how for many applications, our globally active technical service and vast production network. The strategic location in Mexico allows us to better tailor our offering to specific customer and application needs."

As MRC informed earlier, Gevo Inc. entered into an agreement with Clariant Corp., one of the world’s leading specialty chemical companies, to develop catalysts to enable Gevo’s ETO technology.

Clariant is a global leader in pigment preparations, with worldwide production and technical service and support. Its broad range of products covers the whole color index.