Braskem to start talks with US authorities over corruption accusations

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Braskem SA, Latin America's largest petrochemical company will start talks with US authorities over accusations of corruption linked to a massive graft investigation in Brazil, reported Reuters.

In its quarterly results statement, the company said talks with the US Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will clarify additional allegations of illegalities raised in the investigation of third parties.

Braskem's two main stakeholders, state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA and Odebrecht, are engulfed in a giant bribery scheme that has led to the arrest of Odebrecht's CEO and other top engineering executives.

Braskem has been the target of a shareholder lawsuit filed in mid-2015 in the US over the alleged release of false statements to shareholders.

"At this moment the company has no way of measuring the impact that an eventual confirmation of those allegations could have," Braskem Chief Executive Officer Fernando Musa told reporters in a briefing.

Musa said Thursday he expects demand in Brazil this year to drop between 5.5% and 6%, less than its previous forecast for a fall of 7%.

The giant "Operation Carwash" investigation has unveiled a multi-billion dollar corruption scheme that involved executives of the country's top construction companies and senior politicians.

We remind that, as MRC informed previously, in late March 2016, Braskem Idesa, the 75-25 joint venture between Braskem and Grupo Idesa, started injecting ethane at their Etileno XXI cracker project at Coatzacoalcos, Mexico. By the end of March, the company had the cracker running at 60% capacity with the first polyethylene (PE) line up and running. Once the complex is fully operational, high and lowdensity polyethylene (plastic) production will amount to more than 1 million metric tons annually and allow Mexico to substitute 70 percent of its imports of those materials. The complex will have the capacity to process 66,000 barrels per day of ethane, a feedstock for ethylene production that the complex will purchase from Mexican stateowned oil company Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, and which previously had gone to waste.

Braskem is Brazilian main producer of polyethylene and polypropylene. In addition with ongoing plants located in both petrochemical complexes, in April 2008 Braskem opened a 300,000 metric ton polypropylene plant in the city of Paulinia (Sao Paulo).

Polystyrene market in Europe estimated to be worth USD5518 mln by 2019 at CAGR of 4,2%

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Polystyrene (PS) market in Europe is projected to reach USD5518.8 miln by 2019 from USD4494.2 mln in 2014, at a CAGR of 4.2% between 2014 and 2019, as per Plastemart with reference to Micro Market Monitor.

The European PS market, along with its end products, has witnessed a linear growth in recent years and this growth is estimated to increase in coming years. Polystyrene is one of the basic organic chemical raw materials widely used in packaging, electronics, construction, and appliances industries. High quality, high efficiency, and environment friendliness are some of the features that drive the demand for polystyrene. The upcoming safety regulations and the innovative techniques for its use will be the key influencing factors for the Europe polystyrene market.

The polystyrene market is growing owing to the increasing GDP industrialization. The demand of PS is influenced by government regulations. It is preferred by several industries as it is a relatively inexpensive and lightweight material. As many different grades of polystyrene are available in the market; the key players are increasingly focusing on offering the best implementation and aftersales services in order to gain a competitive advantage.

Based on applications, the PS market is segmented into packaging, electronics, appliances, construction, and other applications. Packaging holds the maximum share of the polystyrene market. It was valued at USD1691.7 mln in 2014, and is projected to reach to USD2060.7 mln by 2019, at a CAGR of 4%. The electronics and appliances segments are growing at 5% and 4.7% respectively.

As MRC reported earlier, the global PS market is projected to reach USD28.2 bln by 2019, at a CAGR of 5.1% between 2014 and 2019, in terms of value, as per MarketsandMarkets. The market for polystyrene is estimated to grow on account of the rapid expansion of the plastics and rubber manufacturing industries, especially in Europe and the increasing rates of industrialization and globalization. The flourishing packaging and electronics application in emerging economies is expected to act as a budding opportunity for the PS market.

Wison Engineering awarded EPC contract by Connel Chemical for methanol-to-olefins plant

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Wison Engineering, one of China’s leading chemical engineering, procurement and construction management (EPC) service and technology providers, has been awarded an EPC contract for a 300000 tpa methanol-to-olefins (MTO) unit that will constitute the first phase of Connel Chemical Industry Ltd.’s 600000 tpa MTO plant, reported Plastemart.

The two parties also signed a licensing and process design package (PDP) contract for Wison’s proprietary olefin separation technology, the tenth licensing of this technology.

The project will utilize an integrated solution that leverages UOP’s MTO+OCP (Olefin Cracking Process) technology and Wison’s high recovery olefin separation technology.

Wison Engineering will be responsible for the engineering, design, procurement and construction of the MTO reaction and concentration unit, the olefin separation unit, the olefin cracking unit and additional auxiliaries. The project is scheduled to be delivered in October, 2017.

Wison Engineering’s olefin separation technology has passed scientific and technological appraisal conducted by the China Petroleum and Chemical Industry Federation (CPCIF), meeting advanced international standards. Product recovery for ethylene and propylene products has also reached the top standard worldwide.

We remind that, as MRC informed before, in July 2015, China’s Better Clean Energy licensed the advanced MTO process of Honeywell's UOP to convert methanol into high-value petrochemicals, helping meet growing global demand for plastics and other key materials. This award is UOP’s fifth licensing win for its MTO process and comes after the successful start up of its first commercial-scale MTO facility for China’s Wison Clean Energy in September 2013. That unit has produced more than 360 million lb of ethylene and propylene since it went into production, meeting all of its performance criteria, including yield quality and quantity.

MRPL plans to increase sales of PP in the Indian market

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd (MRPL), which is planning to expand market for polypropylene (PP), is targeting to sell around 0.44 mln tons (mt) of PP a year, as per Plastermart with reference to The Hindu.

The 28th annual report of MRPL for 2015-16 said that the company has successfully penetrated the polypropylene market in a short span of nine months with a sales volume of 0.139 mt and sales value of Rs1,039 crore. The company is in the process of expanding its market reach in order to sell 0.44 mt of polypropylene a year.

To leverage the highly profitable polypropylene and to position MRPL as a niche player, comprehensive pricing of various grades of polypropylene has been put in place along with customer enrolment activity. Del Credere Agents cum Consignment Stockist has been appointed to partner MRPL in addressing major demand clusters in the south and west of India. The aromatics complex of OMPL, which produces paraxylene and benzene in Mangalore Special Economic Zone, started its operations from October 1, 2014. OMPL’s aromatic complex has the capacity to produce 0.914 mln tpa of paraxylene and 0.283 mln tpa of benzene.

As MRC wrote before, in August 2015, MRPL initiated its downward integration by amalgamation with ONGC Mangalore Petrochemicals Limited (OMPL).

Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Limited (MRPL), is an oil refinery at Mangalore and is a subsidiary of ONGC, set up in 1993. The refinery is located at Katipalla, north from centre of Mangalore city. The refinery was established after displacing five villages of Bala, Kalavar, Kuthetoor, Katipalla, and Adyapadi.

Idemitsu and Showa Shell chiefs met to confirm merger plan

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The heads of Japanese oil refiners Idemitsu Kosan Co. and Showa Shell Sekiyu met last Thursday to re-confirm the companies' intention to merge despite opposition from Idemitsu's founding family, an Idemitsu spokesman said, reported Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The Nikkei business daily reported Friday that Idemitsu was considering acquiring a smaller stake in Showa Shell than planned to counter efforts by its founding family to block a merger of the two oil refiners.

The Idemitsu spokesman said it was not true that a decision had been made on any specific plan, and that a variety of options were under consideration for the planned merger.

As MRC informed earlier, last week, the founding family of Japan's Idemitsu Kosan Co. bought a stake in Showa Shell Sekiyu KK, in a bid to block Idemitsu management's billion-dollar plan to take over the rival oil refiner, the family's lawyer said Wednesday. The family said differing corporate cultures preclude any synergy from a merger. In its latest effort to dissuade management, the family bought 0.1% of Showa Shell.

Earlier this year, in April, Japanese refiner Idemitsu Kosan Co. and smaller rival Showa Shell Sekiyu announced that they would merge on April 1 next year. Japan's No.2 and No.5 refiners by revenue agreed last November in a deal worth approximately USD4 B to create the nation's second-biggest refiner sometime between October 2016 and April 2017.

Royal Dutch Shell plc is an Anglo-Dutch multinational oil and gas company headquartered in The Hague, Netherlands and with its registered office in London, United Kingdom. It is the biggest company in the world in terms of revenue and one of the six oil and gas "supermajors". Shell is vertically integrated and is active in every area of the oil and gas industry, including exploration and production, refining, distribution and marketing, petrochemicals, power generation and trading.

Idemitsu Kosan is a Japanese petroleum company. It owns and operates oil platforms, refineries and produces and sells petroleum, oils and petrochemical products. The company runs two petrochemical plants in Chiba and Tokuyama. The two naphtha crackers can produce up to 997,000 tonnes of ethylene per year.