KINFRA receives in-principle approval to set up petrochemical park at Kochi

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Kerala Industrial Infrastructure Development Corp. (KINFRA), a statutory body of the government of Kerala, has received in-principle approval from the state to set up a petrochemical park at Kochi in India's Kerala State, reported Apic-online with reference to the Times of India.

The project, estimated to cost Rs 1864 crore, is expected to be built on land procured from the FACT complex at Ambalamugal.

Now that the project has received approval from the state, "the next step will be to procure 600-acre land from FACT for the project," said the report quoting KINFRA Managing Director Dr. M. Beena. "That decision is pending for the Union Cabinet approval," Dr. Beena added.

Petrochemicals currently account for approximately 30% of India's USD120-billion chemical industry, which is likely to grow 11% in the coming years and reach USD250-billion by 2020.

PCN last year reported that Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd. (BPCL) received Environment Ministry approval to expand BPCL's refinery in Kochi to produce niche petrochemicals that were predominately being imported.

The project involves the production of acrylic acid acrylates and oxo alcohols, with production scheduled to begin during fiscal 2018-2019. The facility is expected to receive polymer-grade propylene feedstock from BPCL's nearby refinery, which is currently being expanded to 15.5-million t/y from 9.5-million t/y.

The petrochemical park assumes significance in view of the proposed expansion of BPCL, proximity to the port and the availability of natural gas infrastructure, the report noted.

We remind that, in January 2016, BPCL selected Air Liquide Global E&C Solutions, the engineering and construction unit of French firm Air Liquide group, for supplying Lurgi/Nippon Kayaku ester grade acrylic acid technology for BPCL’s propylene derivatives petrochemical project (PDPP) located in Kochi.

Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) is an Indian state-controlled oil and gas company headquartered in Mumbai, India. Bharat Petroleum owns refineries at Mumbai, Maharashtra and Kochi, Kerala (Kochi Refineries) with a capacity of 12 and 9.5 million metric tonnes per year.

PP imports into Kazakhstan increased by 11% in January-September 2016

MOSCOW (MRC) - Imports of polypropylene (PP) into Kazakhstan increased to about 17,300 tonnes in first nine months of this year, up 11% compared to the same period of 2015. At the same time, exports from Kazakhstan decreased over the reported period, according to MRC analysts.

September imports into the country rose to 2,300 tonnes against 1,900 tonnes a month earlier on an increased purchases from pressure pipe producers for the second consecutive month. In general, January - September PP imports in Kazakhstan exceeded 17,300 tonnes against 15,600 tonnes year on year. Kazakh export sales of polypropylene, on the contrary, decreased by 28%.

Structure of PP imports over the reported period was as follows.
Imports of homopolymer PP grew to 10,200 tonnes in the first nine months of 2016, compared to 7,100 a year earlier. Imports of propylene copolymers increased by more than one and half times in the first nine months of the year (to 7,200 tonnes against 4,500 tonnes in the same period of 2015).

Stronger demand for PP from the local market helped Neftekhim Ltd to reduce exports in the current year. The producer exported 13,800 tonnes in the first nine months of the year compared with 19,200 tonnes year on year.


PE imports to Kazakhstan down 12% during the first nine months of 2016

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Imports of polyethylene (PE) into Kazakhstan decreased in the first nine months of 2016 by 12% year on year, totalling 70,300 tonnes. High density polyethylene (HDPE) accounted for the greatest decline in demand, reported MRC analysts.

September 2016 PE imports to Kazakhstan dropped to 7,100 tonnes from 9,700 tonnes a month earlier. Local companies, particularly, pipes producers reduced their purchasing of HDPE. Overall imports totalled 70,300 tonnes in January-September 2016, compared to 79,600 tonnes a year earlier. Demand for HDPE and low density polyethylene (LDPE) subsided, whereas the need in linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE), on the contrary, increased.

The structure of PE imports by grades looked the following way over the stated period.

September HDPE imports to Kazakhstan fell to 5,700 tonnes from 8,200 tonnes a month earlier. Local pipes producers accounted for the main decrease in supply, they reduced PE purchasing in Russia and Uzbekistan. Thus, overall HDPE imports exceeded 53,700 tonnes in the first nine months of 2016, down by 14% year on year.

Local companies raised their purchasing of LDPE in September to 1,000 tonnes from 900 tonnes, local companies increased their purchasing from Russian producers. Overall LDPE imports to Kazakhstan were 12,800 tonnes in January-September 2016, down by 7% year on year.

Puchasing of LLDPE by local companies fell to 438 tonnes in September, compared to 555 tonnes a month earlier. Imports of LLDPE were 3,800 tonnes in January-September 2016 versus 3,100 tonnes a year earlier.


Clariant to invest CHF 10 mln in expansion of color & additive masterbatches

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Clariant plans to invest approximately CHF 10 mln - a global initiative to expand its ability to produce color and additive masterbatches and compounds using engineering polymers and high-temperature plastics like PEEK (polyether ether ketone) is progressing on schedule, reported Plastemart.

Jeff Saeger, who heads the expansion program for Clariant, reports two extrusion lines at the Masterbatches plant in Ahrensburg, Germany, have been refurbished and can now run at temperatures up to 450 C. Another new line will be installed and running by the end of Q1 2017.

In Shanghai, two new co-rotating extruders are now up and running in Shanghai and a smaller high-temperature unit has been started up in Singapore. Saeger says equipment for processing fluoropolymers has been installed in Lewiston, Maine, U.S.A, and new lines for specialty high-temperature compounds are now running in Holden, Massachusetts. A new black masterbatch line, for engineering polymers is schedule start-up in Holden in Q3 2017.

In addition, the Shanghai plant is being expanded to include not only additional compounding space, but also a new testing and quality-control laboratory. The Asian region already is served by a state-of-the-art lab in Singapore, but Clariant plans to add new physical, chemical and weathering test equipment there as well in the first half of 2017.

The new investments are expected to be especially beneficial to manufacturers of electrical products and appliances, since many of these devices and the components in them contain engineering plastics that need to meet flammability-resistance standards promulgated by Underwriters Laboratories (UL). Clariant has obtained UL94 masterbatch listing for more than 200 commercial grades.

As MRC informed before, in February 2106, Clariant Masterbatches Saudi Arabia, a joint venture (JV) between Clariant and Rowad National Plastic Company, started construction of a new masterbatch production unit in Yanbu, Saudi Arabia. Being built on a 38,000 sq. m area, the new unit will be located in Yanbu Industrial Zone 2 and is scheduled to be commissioned by early next year. The new facility, which will be the second manufacturing site of the company in Saudi Arabia, the other being situated in Riyadh, will manufacture white masterbatches.

Clariant AG is a Swiss chemical company and a world leader in the production of specialty chemicals for the textile, printing, mining and metallurgical industries. It is engaged in processing crude oil products in pigments, plastics and paints.

EU deepens scrutiny of ChemChina-Syngenta deal

МОSCOW (MRC) -- Extended reviews stretch timelines for ag megadeals The European Commission announced that it has opened an in-depth antitrust probe into ChemChina's USD43-billion acquisition of Syngenta, the latest indication of potential regulatory resistance to consolidation underway in beleaguered agricultural markets, said Chemweek.

"This deal would lead to the combination of a leading crop protection company with one of its main generic competitors. Therefore we need to carefully assess whether the proposed merger would lead to higher prices or a reduced choice for farmers," Margrethe Vestager, head of EU's competition regulations, says in a press release. The transaction would also take place in an industry that is already relatively concentrated, the statement adds.

Syngenta is one of the main global seeds and crop protection companies. ChemChina controls Adama, the largest supplier of generic crop protection products in Europe.

The escalation to a Phase II review gives the Vestager's office 90 working days—as late as March 2017—to make a ruling. The two companies had originally aimed to close the deal by year-end, but Syngenta conceded on Tuesday that closure could be pushed back until the first quarter of 2017. "In a context of industry consolidation, regulators in the EU and elsewhere have recently requested a large amount of additional information, and we now expect the regulatory process to extend into the first quarter of 2017,” said Syngenta CEO Erik Fyrwald. "ChemChina and Syngenta remain fully committed to the transaction and are confident of its closure."

Syngenta and ChemChina confirmed the review, adding that they "intend to continue constructive discussions with the EU authorities in order to conclude the review as early as possible."

The Commission says its Phase I investigation turned up several preliminary concerns, among them partially overlapping portfolios of crop protection products, including herbicides, insecticides, fungicides and plant growth regulators. Both Syngenta and ChemChina have high combined market share and their products may directly compete. In addition, Adama may be an important generic competitor of Syngenta in many of these markets, the Commission says.

The Commission adds that it is cooperating closely with other competition authorities, "notably with the Federal Trade Commission in the US and the antitrust authorities of Brazil and Canada. The opening of an in-depth inquiry does not prejudge the final result of the investigation, the Commission adds.

The pending merger of Dow Chemical and DuPont, a deal driven in part by the downturn in agriculture markets, is also subject to a Phase II review by the Commission. That review began in August, with a provisional deadline of 6 February for a ruling. Bayer, meanwhile, says it has initiated the process of obtaining the necessary approvals for the USD66-billion acquisition of Monsanto from regulators in the United States and European Union. Bayer has reiterated its expectation that the deal will be completed by the end of 2017.

ChemChina produces special chemical materials, basic chemicals, oil refining, agricultural chemistry, rubber products, and chemical equipment.