Toyobo agrees to partner with Avantium to produce bio-based PET-like resin

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Toyobo and Avantium have entered into an agreement in which Toyobo will manufacture polyethylene furanoate (PEF), a 100% bio-based resin with qualities similar to polyethylene terephthalate (PET), using Avantium's YXY technology, as per Apic-online.

Avantium's proprietary YXY technology produces fu-randicarboxylic acid (FDCA), the building block for PEF. FDCA, produced from bio-based carbohydrates and ethylene glycol, is polymerized to produce PEF. FDCA has a structure similar to purified terephthalic acid, the companies noted.

The partners are jointly optimizing polymerization processes in Toyobo's existing polymerization lines at Iwakuni, Japan, to produce PEF at commercial scale.

Toyobo, in collaboration with Mitsui & Co., plans to market PEF as a new material that surpasses PET in terms of barrier performance. Mitsui will sell PEF resin and films. Sample products will be available from 2017.

As MRC informed previously, in October 2016, Avantium and BASF signed a letter of intent to establish a joint venture for the production and marketing of FDCA, as well as the marketing of PEF. The companies said they intend to license Avantium's YXY technology for industrial scale applications.

Farnell Packaging sells label-making business

MOSCOW (MRC) -- After more than five decades, Dartmouth, N.S.-based Farnell Packaging is selling its label-making division and all its label equipment to Access Labels, headquartered in Amherst, N.S., and said to be the largest label printing company in Atlantic Canada, said Canplastics.

The purchase will increase the capacity at the Access Labels facility by between 20 to 30 per cent. Farnell’s largest business segment is in manufacturing plastic bags, shrink wrap, and polyethylene packaging. Despite producing labels for more than 50 years, its label-making segment hadn’t seen any growth and employed only two full-time employees.

"In choosing to partner with Access Labels for this transition, we believe that we are consolidating our label business with the most reputable and responsive competitor in the region," said Farnell CFO Bill Morash. "We have every confidence that Access Labels will do their very best to professionally service and supply all pressure-sensitive label needs in the months and years ahead."

The terms of the deal have not been disclosed. The transition will be completed by the end of October. There will be no job losses at Farnell, the company said in a statement, as the workers who were employed in the label-making division will move into other divisions of the company.

Access Labels was founded in 1993, and specializes in printing labels, as well as selling and servicing equipment including label dispensers, applicators, and thermal printers.

As MRC reported earlier, the hot melt adhesives market is expected to be valued at USD5.4 bln in 2015 and expand at a CAGR of 5.2% from 2015 to 2025, accounting for USD 8.9 bln by 2025.

Celanese begins production in Singapore at Jurong Island EVA emulsions unit

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Continuing the company's strategy to add production facilities close to growing demand, Celanese Corporation, a global technology and specialty materials company, has begun production in its newest vinyl acetate ethylene (EVA) production unit, said the producer in its press release.

The unit is located at the Celanese manufacturing facility on Jurong Island, Singapore, and will support the growing demand for ecologically friendly materials in the Southeast Asia region including Australia, India and New Zealand.

The Singapore location's proximity to raw material suppliers offers excellent transportation logistics and gives Celanese the opportunity to increase production capacity to supply more high-demand, high-quality EVA emulsions products in Singapore as well as across Asia, an area focusing on low-emission products and production.

"Southeast Asia and India are leading the world's construction demand - especially for infrastructure projects - which drives the region's heavy demand for important materials such as EVA," said Mark Oberle, Celanese senior vice president and head of Asia operations. "Over the last two decades, Celanese has focused on developing our EVA expertise and a reliable foundation in Singapore so Celanese can be the first-choice, long-term partner for manufacturers across Asia."

Celanese EVA technology produces clean, ecologically friendly, water-based emulsions that the building, construction and paper industries worldwide use to meet quality, marketing and economic goals. Manufacturers use EVA to produce environmentally friendly products including paints, architectural coatings, carpet backings and adhesives for woodworking and paper packaging as well as apparel and textile finishing. One of the highest-demand products is Celanese's EcoVAE, an emulsion that can be formulated into low-odor and low-to-near-zero VOC (volatile organic compounds) interior paints and coatings. EcoVAE addresses formulation and regulatory concerns and appeals to environmentally conscious consumers.

The new unit adds a third facility to the company's EVA investment in Asia and the fourth production unit within this Singapore plant. The first Celanese EVA unit began production at the company's Nanjing, China integrated chemical complex, and the second unit started producing EVA emulsions at the same Singapore complex. Celanese announced the groundbreaking of this new Singapore EVA unit in April 2015.

As MRC informed previously, in September 2016, Celanese Corporation increased list and off-list selling prices for Ateva ethylene-vinyl-acetate (EVA) polymers for North and South America. Thus, prices of the company's EVA polymers rose by USD0.03/lg (USD0.67/kg or USD67/tonne) for the regions stated above.

Celanese Corporation is a global technology leader in the production of differentiated chemistry solutions and specialty materials used in most major industries and consumer applications. Based in Dallas, Celanese employs approximately 7,000 employees worldwide and had 2015 net sales of USD5.7 billion.

Rosneft to sell 96 MMt crude oil to Petrovietnam

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Russia's Rosneft has signed a contract to supply 96 MMt of crude oil to PV Oil, an affiliate of state oil and gas PetroVietnam, starting next year, PetroVietnam said on Friday, reported Reuters.

The contract, signed on the sidelines of an international economic forum in Russia's St Petersburg, will last between 2017 and 2040, the state oil group said in a statement.

The volume to be supplied by the Russian firm is equivalent to nearly six years of Vietnam's crude oil production, which totalled 16.7 MMt in 2015, based on Vietnam's government data.

PV Oil supplies crude to several refineries in Vietnam.

As MRC informed previously, in September 2014, Rosneft's head Igor Sechin met with the chairman of Vietnam Oil & Gas Group to discuss cooperation in refining as the Russian oil producer looks at adding fields off the Asian country’s southern coast. Sechin and Nguyen Xuan Son, the chairman at Vietnam Oil & Gas, met in Moscow and talked about possible joint exploration, output and refining projects.

Rosneft has been building ties with Asia since its 2006 initial public offering, signing a USD270 billion, 25-year supply agreement with China in 2013. The Kremlin-controlled company, which gained Vietnamese natural gas producers with the purchase of TNK-BP in 2013, is seeking to reduce dependence on western markets as Russia’s ties with the US and the Europe Union sour over the conflict in Ukraine.

"PetroVietnam is a strategic partner for Rosneft," Sechin said in the statement then.

Rosneft and PetroVietnam also discussed supplying Russian oil to PetroVietnam’s Dung Quat refinery and potential cooperation on modernizing the plant.

Rosneft became Russia's largest publicly traded oil company in March 2013 after the USD55 billion takeover of TNK-BP, which was Russia’s third-largest oil producer at the time.

BASF introduces portable FCC catalyst addition system in Europe

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BASF has introduced a new patented portable fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) catalyst addition system for refinery catalysts, reported Hydrocarbonprocessing.

This new system allows refineries to conduct catalyst and co-catalyst trials, while minimizing the potential risks of changing to a new catalyst. The system is easy to use, requires only a small plot space, and does not require any special preparations to deliver reliable and precise additions. The truck with the portable loader arrives at the refiner, is put in position, raised upright, connected to the refiner unit, and is loaded with catalyst. All additions are controlled from the local control panel and no civil work of any kind is required.

"Normally, it is a big effort for refineries to do catalyst trials. Changing to a catalyst is a big opportunity, but can also be a risk. Our new system will allow our customers to capture economic advantages from catalyst trials, while minimizing the potential risks of changing to a new catalyst," said Udo Huenger, responsible for BASF’s refinery catalysts business in Europe.

"The BASF portable FCC catalyst addition system allows refiners to increase product yield and operational flexibility using new catalyst technologies. A new catalyst can be trialed and performance validated in the customers’ FCC unit, while maintaining storage of the existing catalyst in the fresh catalyst hopper. Additionally, it can also be used to enable inspection, repair, or replacement of fixed FCC addition systems," added Stefano Riva, responsible for BASF’s refining catalyst technical service delivery in Europe. Currently, the portable FCC catalyst addition system is offered exclusively in Region Europe.

The new offer is an additional service to the complete range of innovative FCC catalysts, co-catalysts and additives BASF offers to meet refiners’ environmental and performance requirements. BASF has developed the portable FCC catalyst system in cooperation with Nol-Tec Europe, a leading company in designing and producing of pneumatic conveying systems for bulk material handling.

As MRC informed before, in late April 2016, BASF signed an agreement to sell its global Polyolefin Catalysts business to W.R. Grace & Co.. Currently, the Polyolefin Catalysts business is part of BASF’s Catalysts division. BASF and Grace intend to complete the transaction in the third quarter of 2016.

BASF is the world’s leading chemical company. Its portfolio ranges from chemicals, plastics, performance products and crop protection products to oil and gas. BASF generated sales of more than EUR70 billion in 2015.