Williams Partners to explore monetizing Geismar olefins plant

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Williams Partners LP has initiated an adviser-led process to explore the monetization of its indirect ownership interest in the Geismar, Louisiana olefins plant and complex, reported Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The process may result in a sale or a long-term, fee-for-service tolling agreement.

Williams currently holds an approximate 88.5% undivided ownership interest in the Geismar olefins plant and is operator of the facility. In 2015, Williams placed in service an expansion of the facility that increased its ethylene production capacity by 300 Mtpy, for a total production of 975 Mtpy of ethylene and 57 Mtpy propylene . The plant is a predominantly ethane-fed, light-end natural gas liquids cracker. Williams has held an ownership stake in the Geismar plant since 1999.

"Given the attractive long-term outlook for U.S. ethylene crackers, we believe our Geismar plant presents an attractive investment opportunity for potential buyers, especially those seeking to quickly backward integrate into ethylene in the US Gulf Coast," Armstrong said. "In addition, we believe this asset provides an attractive value proposition for those considering the timing and cost-overrun risks of building a new ethylene facility in the US Gulf Coast in the coming years."

Armstrong added, "We believe the potential monetization of this asset would create significant value for Williams Partners and our decision to explore alternatives with respect to the Geismar olefins plant is consistent with Williams’ strategy to narrow its focus and allocate capital to its strong core, natural gas-focused business."

If the process results in a sale, Williams Partners would expect to use a portion of the proceeds to reduce debt in order to maintain investment-grade credit metrics and the balance of the proceeds would reduce planned equity issuances.

As MRC informed previously, in late March 2016, Williams announced the startup of its second offgas liquids extraction plant, a key asset in the company’s Canadian midstream and petchem complex. The new plant boosts domestic production of petchem feedstocks and significantly reduces emissions in the oil sands production process while recovering valuable natural gas liquids (NGLs) and olefins.

Williams, headquartered in Tulsa, Okla., is one of the leading energy infrastructure companies in North America. It owns controlling interests in both Williams Partners L.P. and Access Midstream Partners, L.P. through its ownership of 100% of the general partner of each partnership. Additionally, Williams owns approximately 66% and 50% of the limited partner units of Williams Partners L.P. and Access Midstream Partners, L.P., respectively. On June 15, 2014 Williams proposed the merger of Williams Partners and Access Midstream Partners. The proposed merger has been approved by boards of each partnership and was closed in early 2015.

Evonik Industries developed a new coating system based on high-performance polymers

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Evonik Industries has developed a new coating system based on high-performance polymers in conjunction with industry and university partners, as per the company's press release.

The new technology promises to provide excellent protection for offshore applications, such as steel constructions in wind turbines, where the requirements for good corrosion protection are particularly high as a result of the contact with sea water, sunlight, and mechanical stress. The new coating system will lengthen the life of the steel constructions and also reduce the amount of maintenance required.

Klaus Engel, chairman of the Executive Board of Evonik Industries, said: "Resource efficiency is one of the main challenges of the future. Cutting-edge research at universities and in companies is necessary if we are to find viable solutions for this. Evonik is making a contribution to sustainable development with innovative products. However, for us innovation is first and foremost a major driver of profitable growth."

In the medium term, the Group is aiming for products and applications developed in the past five years to account for 16 percent of sales. Solutions that increase research efficiency are expected to make up a significant share of this. Resource efficiency and climate friendliness are the basis for large numbers of energy-efficient, environmentally friendly products from Evonik. To be well equipped for the future, Evonik is continuing to invest in research and development in these areas.

In Bonn, the researchers not only reported on the state of development of the new corrosion protection system and the path leading to large-scale production. Further developments in the field of mobility were also on the agenda for greater resource efficiency with the aid of Evonik technologies. Using the silica/silane system for "green tires" it is already possible to reduce fuel consumption by up to 8 percent compared with conventional products and by up to 4 percent using innovative additives for high-performance lubricants. Evonik is developing new materials for the electronics industry to, for example, reduce the energy consumption of displays in tablets, smartphones, and televisions.

As MRC informed before, in April 2015, Evonik Industries inaugurated a new application technology center for superabsorbent polymers in Krefeld, Germany. The company invested EUR1 million. The new facility strengthens the position of Evonik as an innovative solutions provider for superabsorbent polymers.

Evonik, the creative industrial group from Germany, is one of the world leaders in specialty chemicals. Its activities focus on the key megatrends health, nutrition, resource efficiency and globalization. Evonik benefits specifically from its innovative prowess and integrated technology platforms. Evonik is active in over 100 countries around the world.

Bio-based construction polymers market to grow well until 2024

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The global biobased construction polymers market size was USD11.87 bln in 2015. Rising concern towards petrochemical products coupled with increasing adoption of renewable products is expected to propel the market for biobased construction polymers until 2024, as per Plastemart with reference to Grand View Research.

A major source of green-house gas emissions is associated with fossil fuel usage across various industrial operating facilities. Growing concern towards carbon dioxide footprint in large scale manufacturing units has urged the industry to shift towards biobased polymers.

Increasing R&D to develop eco-friendly renewable products has increased the use of bio based polymers in the construction industry. High production costs and less developed global supply value chain are expected to hinder bio based construction polymers. Global bio based product demand is not entirely capitalized to realize the economies of scale and market is less developed to compete with well-established petroleum based product.

A recent breakthrough in technology has shifted focus towards manufacturing bio based polymers from bacterial fermentation. The technology involves synthesizing monomers from renewable sources that include fatty acids, cellulose, and starch.

The favorable regulatory scenario in various countries and initiatives by regional governments in support of biopolymers are expected to have a positive impact on market growth over the forecast period.

Government regulations such as Lead Market Initiative (UK) and BioPreferred (U.S.) favor the use of bio based raw material for polymer production. Major polymer manufacturers are shifting their focus towards developing sustainable technologies and are collaborating with various individual bi based technology firms in order to manufacture bio based polymers.

Polyurethane dominated the global demand and accounted for over 26% of the total volume in 2015. The product segment is expected to grow at a CAGR of 10.2% over the next eight years. Application of biobased polyurethanes as insulation in the building and construction industry is a significant opportunity for the market particularly in the US and Europe.

Bio based epoxies market is estimated to witness moderate growth over the next few years on account of its wide range of applications in the construction industry such as in paints & coatings, adhesives, and in wood & concrete repair.

Polylactic acid (PLA) and Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) are expected to witness the fastest growth in the bio based polymer industry owing to increasing use and numerous advantages over other products. PLA is a bio-derived monomer used as a suspending agent, foam, pore-forming agent, binder and coating adhesive in the construction industry.

PHA produced from microorganism is used as a coating, viscosifier, and pore-forming agent. The other bio based polymers produced worldwide include Polytrimethylene terephthalate (PTT) and Polybutylene succinate (PBS).

Major applications include pipe and insulation. The pipe was the largest application segment and accounted for over 37% of the global demand in 2015. The construction industry has been a major consumer of plastics with their applications ranging mainly from pipe fittings & insulation.

Use of plastics compounding is also increasing in pipes and fittings segments supported by their reduced cost structures, long life span, corrosion resistance and light weight.Typical applications where bio based construction polymers are used include window and door profiles, pipes and guttering, cement, flooring, glazing, sealants and adhesives, insulation, building panels and roofing.

The growing trend of using bio based polymer in profiles used in bridge engineering for all composite structures is anticipated to propel the market growth over the forecast period. Profile application is expected to witness the fastest growth at a CAGR of 10.6% over the next eight years. Other construction applications include bridge bearings, FRP bridge section, glazing sealant, concrete molds, concrete jointing, cladding panel, and floorings anchor fixings.

The major demand is expected from emerging markets of Asia Pacific and South America. Countries such as China, India and Brazil are anticipated to witness high growth owing to increasing infrastructure activities and favorable bio
based product political framework.

Moderate growth is expected from matured markets such as North America and Europe. Countries such as U.S. and U.K. are expected to lose their market share to Asia Pacific countries owing to less infrastructural activities taking place in these regions.

Major companies include SK Chemicals, BASF SE, Evonik Industries, Mitsubishi Gas Chemical, Nature Works LLC, Bio-On, Toyobo, DuPont de Nemours, Teijin Plastics and PolyOne. Other players include Tate & Lyle, Hiusan Biosciences, Kaneka TEPHA, Synbra and Metabolix.

As MRC informed before, the bio-based polyethylene (PE) market is estimated to grow to USD751.9 mln by 2019 at a CAGR 12.3%, as per MicroMarket Monitor.

Global liquid crystal polymer market to reach USD1.23 bln by 2020

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Global LCP demand was 46.1 kilo tons in 2013 and is expected to reach 81.7 kilo tons by 2020, growing at a CAGR of 8.6% from 2014 to 2020, as per Plastemart with reference to Hexa Reports.

Global liquid crystal polymers (LCP) market is expected to reach USD 1.23 billion by 2020. Shift in trend towards miniaturization of electrical components such as surface mount device and connectors is expected to drive global LCP market.

Growing demand for lightweight, high performance materials from automotive industry in order to improve fuel efficiency is also expected to have a positive influence on the market growth. Lower welding strength and warpage associated with LCP is expected to remain a key challenge for market participants.

Electrical & electronics emerged as the leading application segment and accounted for 81.5% of total market volume in 2013. Growing engineering resins demand for manufacturing ultra-thin electrical components is expected to remain a key driving factor for this segment.

LCP is favored over other engineering resins such as polyphenylene sulfide (PPS), nylon 46 and polyphthalamide (PPA) which has further propelled market growth. Electrical & electronics is also expected to witness the highest growth rate of 8.9% over the forecast period. LCP demand from automotive industry is expected to grow at an estimated CAGR of 7.3% from 2014 to 2020. Shift in trend towards adoption of lightweight, high performance materials from automotive industry particularly in the U.S. and Europe is expected to drive this segment.

As MRC wrote before, LCP's market is projected to register a CAGR of 6% between 2015 and 2020 to reach USD1.2 bln by 2020, as per ReportLinker. LCPs are chemically aromatic co-polyesters. But they differ from the engineering plastics PET and PBT most notably in their molecular structure. They are known for their high temperature resistance, excellent mechanical properties, good solvent resistance and low water absorption compared to other heat-resistant polymers. They have good electrical insulation properties, low flammability and a low coefficient of thermal expansion.

Daelim to take off-stream HDPE plant in South Korea for maintenance

MOSCOW (MRC) -- South Korea-based Daelim Industrial is likely to shut its high density polyethylene (HDPE) plant for a maintenance turnaround, as per Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in South Korea informed that the plant is planned to be shut in November 2016 and it is likely to remain off-stream for around 15-20 days. The exact date of the shutdown could not be confirmed.

Located in Yeosu, South Korea, the plant has a production capacity of 270,000 mt/year.

As MRC informed previously, South Korea-based Daelim's petrochemical business division is planning to invest KRW74bn (USD67m) to expand its highly reactive polybutene plant located at Yeosu National Industrial Complex. The investment will help the company expand annual output of its existing Yeosu plant from 65,000t to 100,000t by November 2016. Following expansion, the company will be able to produce 185,000t of polybutene per year, including the polybutene plant's annual production output of 85,000t of general-purpose polybutene.

Daelim Industrial was established in 1939, and its E&C (Engineering & Construction) and Petrochemical Groups are the main lead of the Daelim Business Conglomerate (Chaebol). The fields covered by Daelim Industrial as one of the top EPC Company in Asia to the Middle East include gas, petroleum refining, chemical and petrochemical, power and energy plants, building and housing, civil works, and industrial facilities. Daelim Group has 17 subsidiary companies under its umbrella which includes Daelim Industrial (Construction Division), Daelim Industrial (Petrochemical Division), etc.