QP to cede some operations in Mesaieed to "Manateq"

MOSCOW (MRC) -- As part of its strategy to focus on its core business in the oil and gas industry, Qatar Petroleum (QP) will hand over the management and operation of some of areas within its concession in the Mesaieed Industrial City to the Economic Zones Company Qatar "Manateq", as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The hand over, which will take place as of the 1st of January 2017, includes the light industries area (east), the light industries area (west), the temporary storage area for gabbro and raw materials, the “concrete zone”, and the medium industries area.

Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, the President and CEO of Qatar Petroleum, expressed pleasure at the move saying "it comes in line with QP’s strategy to focus on its core business activity and to entrust non-core business activities to specialized companies in their respective fields of expertise."

Mr. Al-Kaabi said "there are 200 existing projects in these areas which constitute a major tributary to the industrial growth witnessed by the State of Qatar.” He added that "these projects play a big role in diversifying the economy and in transforming Qatar into a regional center for industrial activity and high value-added services as stipulated in the Qatar Vision 2030, the pillars of which guide Qatar Petroleum under the leadership of His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the Emir of the State of Qatar."

"We are confident that ‘Manateq’ is the perfect strategic choice to manage these areas by virtue of its being a specialized company in the management and development of lands for various industries and logistical investments in the country," the President and CEO of Qatar Petroleum concluded.

The light industries area (east) hosts 114 construction and light industries; while the light industries area (west) is dedicated to the heavy industry support services companies, as well as some other light industries. The third area is the temporary storage area for gabbro and raw materials such as cement and other building materials, which includes 58 companies. The fourth area is the "concrete zone", where construction industries, especially cement, are located; while the medium industries area hosts detergent, sulfur, fertilizers, organic materials, and acids products industries.

As MRC wrote before, in November 2015, QP, as part of a restructuring program, announced plans to withdraw from the joint venture Long Son petrochemical complex in Vietnam. Located in Ba Ria-Vung Tau province, the complex, with an estimated cost of USD4.5-billion, involves a 1.4-million-t/y olefins cracker to feed downstream production of 2.7-million t/y of polyethylene and polypropylene. Operations are expected to begin in 2018.

Abu Dhabi to merge sovereign funds Mubadala and IPIC

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Abu Dhabi will merge two of its most important investment funds, Mubadala Development Co. and International Petroleum Investment Co. (IPIC), responding to the impact of lower oil prices by pooling their investment power and consolidating operations, as per Reuters.

With oil prices still below half the levels they were at two years ago, all Gulf sovereign funds are having to adjust their strategies to cope with lower inflows. Mubadala did not receive any new cash from the government in 2015 for the first time in at least eight years.

The combined fund would have assets worth around USD135 billion, according to Reuters calculations based on both funds' latest financial statements.

On Wednesday, in a statement published by the state news agency, Abu Dhabi said it had formed a committee led by Deputy Prime Minister Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahayan to oversee the combination of Mubadala and IPIC.

"The merger of the two companies augments the investment advantages and economic revenue for Abu Dhabi, and creates a body capable of achieving the highest level of integration and growth in multiple sectors, including energy, technology and space industry," the agency said.

The tie-up, which was being approached as a merger of equals, should be completed by the end of 2017, a source close to the discussions told Reuters on condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the subject.

While not adopting the radical approach of neighboring Saudi Arabia, which aims to completely revamp its economy through a national transformation plan, Abu Dhabi has been slowly reforming key parts of its economic infrastructure to cope with reduced oil revenues.

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company is just one of the state-owned entities to have shed thousands of jobs in recent months, while two of its largest lenders, National Bank of Abu Dhabi and First Gulf Bank, confirmed earlier this month they were in merger talks.

"It's a sensible move at a time when there's a need for Abu Dhabi to slim the budget and consolidate organizations that are doing similar things," said one analyst who covers sovereign wealth funds, who declined to be named due to company policy.

Mubadala's role had been to make investments to help advance Abu Dhabi's economy, both domestically through ownership of firms such as satellite operator Yahsat and aerospace components manufacturer Strata, but also through stakes in global names including General Electric and Carlyle Group.

It also has a petrochemicals division and a number of investments in energy projects, including ownership of clean energy firm Masdar, which would fold neatly into IPIC's traditional energy sector remit.

IPIC owns Spanish energy firm Cepsa, Canadian petrochemical maker NOVA Chemicals and has a majority stake in Austrian plastics company Borealis.

The improved ability to raise money from international markets was also a rationale behind the tie-up, according to the source close to the discussions.

IPIC's debt levels have been regarded as an issue for some time, with rating agency Standard & Poor's saying in a June 28 note that while its business risk was satisfactory, its financial position was "highly leveraged".

IPIC is also in the midst of a row with 1MDB. The Abu Dhabi fund has asked a London court to arbitrate in a dispute with the Malaysian state fund over a debt restructuring in which IPIC is claiming about USD6.5 B.

While unlikely to impact these proceedings, the sovereign wealth fund analyst said the scandal had undermined IPIC's reputation and so a tie-up with Mubadala, which is considered one of the better-run state investment funds in the region, would be beneficial.

As MRC wrote before, in May 2015, Nova Chemicals Corporation announced the appointment of His Excellency Suhail Mohamed Faraj Al Mazrouei, Managing Director of International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) to its Board of Directors and the position of Chairman of the Board of Directors.

DSM launches ForTii MX polyamides for die-cast metal replacement

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Royal DSM, a global science-based company active in health, nutrition and materials, is once again extending its range of ForTii high performance polyphthalamides based on polyamide 4T, as per the company's press release.

Following the introduction earlier this year of the ForTii Eco family of partly bio-based grades, it is now launching the ForTii MX grades to provide a more cost-effective alternative than ever to die-casting metals.

Plastics have been gradually replacing metals in applications across consumer and industrial markets, especially automotive, for many years. But the potential for replacing die-cast metal parts still remains enormous. The market around die cast replacement is currently growing at close to 10% per year. DSM believes that the increasing availability of high performance materials like ForTii MX will ensure that high growth continues and possibly increases well into the future.ForTii MX grades, which like all ForTii types from DSM are partially aromatic, semi crystalline polymers, showing better properties than existing PPA materials in terms of mechanical strength and toughness across a broad range of temperatures. Grades are available with glass fiber reinforcement ranging from 30 to 50%.

Mr. Ponicki sees potential for ForTii MX in structurally loaded parts such as housings, covers and brackets in the automotive powertrain, air and fuel systems, chassis and suspension, as well as in industrial, pumps, valves, actuators, home appliances and fasteners.

DSM is continuing to develop new series of ForTii aimed at die-cast metal replacement. "We still have at least one ace up our sleeve," says Ralf Ponicki, Program Manager for die cast replacement. The company plans further announcements later this year.

We remind that, as MRC wrote previously, on 1 April 2016, as a result of increasing raw material prices Netherlands-based Royal DSM raised the price for its Akulon and Novamid polyamide 6 polymers and compounds. DSM increased 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.

Ikea launching products made from recycled plastics

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Swedish retailer Ikea announced that their new cabinet line will be made from recycled plastic bottles and reclaimed wood.

Ikea’s current cabinets are constructed from man-made wood planks and topped with veneer, while the new Kungsbacka line will be made from reclaimed wood planks and the veneer will be made from melted plastic bottles and painted black.

The Kungsbacka line will be available in North America starting in February 2017.

And on the heels of Kungsbacka, Ikea is also launching the Odger chair, made from 70 per cent recycled plastic and 30 per cent renewable wood.

As MRC informed earlier, Ikea has developed plastic pallets to replace the traditional wooden pallets when shipping goods across its global operations. The plastic shipping pallets, called the OptiLedge, weighs less than two pounds and are durable and 100% recyclable.An Ikea spokesperson told the OptiLedge are made from copolymer polypropylene, and feature many advantages over paper platforms.


PE imports into Kazakhstan decreased by 10% in January - May 2016

MOSCOW (MRC) - Imports of polyethylene (PE) into Kazakhstan dropped to about 41,500 tonnes in January-May 2016, down 10% compared with the same time a year earlier, according to MRC analysts.

Demand for low density polyethylene (LDPE) and high density polyethylene (HDPE) decreased significantly, according to MRC analysts. May PE imports into Kazakhstan were about 10,800 tonnes, almost at the April level. Local companies increased their purchases of HDPE, while the delivery of other types of polyethylene was reduced. Total PE imports into the country were about 41,500 tonnes in January - May 2016, compared with 46,000 tonnes in the same time a year earlier.

Structure of PE imports into the country in the reporting period was as follows.

May HDPE imports into Kazakhstan rose to 9,600 tonnes from 8,800 tonnes a month earlier. The main increase in the purchases provided local producers of pipes, which increased volumes of polyethylene procurement in Russia. Kazakhstan's HDPE imports totalled about 31,900 tonnes in the first five months of the year, down 8% year on year.

May imports of LDPE into the country decreased to 900 tonnes, compared with 1,100 tonnes in April. Further decline in imports was a result of limited export quotas from Russian producers due to the severe shortage in their own market. Total imports of LDPE into the country were about 7,600 tonnes in the first five months of the year, down 21% year on year.

Purchases of linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) by local companies in May were reduced to 351 tonnes compared to 826 tonnes a month earlier. LLDPE imports reached about 2,000 tonnes in January-May 2016 versus 1,900 tonnes a year earlier.