Chang Chun to shut acetic acid plant in Taiwan for turnaround

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Chang Chun Petrochemical is in plans to take its acetic acid plant off-stream for a maintenance turnaround, reported Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate in Taiwan informed that the plant is planned to be taken off-line in May 2017. The exact duration of the planned maintenance could not be ascertained.

Located in Mailiao, Taiwan, the plant has a production capacity of 300,000 mt/year.

The company also operates another acetic acid plant at the same site with a production capacity of 460,000 mt/year.

As MRC informed before, in May 2015, Chang Chun Chemical, a subsidiary of Chang Chun Plastics Co., started up the second plant of bishphenol A in Jiangsu (China) with the capacity of 135,000 tonnes per year.

Chang Chun Petrochemical Co., Ltd. was started in 1964. It currently owns land in Mao-Li and DaFa, total about 114 acres. There are more than 800 employees working in this company. Its major products include polyvinyl alcohol, glacial acetic acid, butyl acetate, formalin, hexamine, hydrogen peroxide, ultra-purity electronic grade hydrogen peroxide, epoxidized soya bean oil, copper foil, antioxidants, melamine... etc. Products are supplied to chemical, textile, coating, resin, semi-conductor, pharmaceutical, electronic, paper, and plastic industries.

Lotte Chemical Titan to take off-stream LDPE unit in Malaysia for turnaround

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Lotte Chemical Titan is plans to shut its Low density polyethylene (LDPE) unit for a maintenance turnaround, as per Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in Malaysia informed that the company will be taking its unit off-stream in December 2016. The unit is likely to shut in early-December and expected to remian off-line until end-December 2016.

Located at Pasir Gudang, Malaysia, the LDPE unit has a production capacity of 230,000 mt/year.

As MRC informed previously, Lotte Chemical Titan is studying the possibility of building a USD4 billion upstream plant to reduce imports of raw materials. Around 40% of the total investment needed for the new plant would be taken from the company’s internal cash, while the rest would be from bank loans. Lotte Chemical, which currently has a production capacity of 450,000 tons of polyethylene per year, expects the upstream plant to boost production capacity to 1 million tons by creating ethylene.

Lotte Chemical Titan produces Malaysia's most comprehensive portfolio of olefins and polyolefins which contribute to the enhancement of everyday life. Lotte Chemical Titan's production site in Malaysia consists of eleven process facilities, two co-generation plants and three tank farms. They are located on 2 sites in Pasir Gudang and Tanjung Langsat in the state of Johor. In 2006, Lotte Chemical Titan acquired PT Lotte Chemical Titan Nusantara, Indonesia’s first and largest polyethylene plant in the country. This acquisition boosted the polyolefins capacity by approximately 50%, thus making the company one of the largest producers in South East Asia. Lotte Chemical Titan was acquired by Lotte Chemical Corp., forming part of the Lotte conglomerate of Korea, in 2010. The company thus became one of Lotte Chemical Corp.’s largest overseas subsidiaries.

SDK decides to cease production and sale of bionolle biodegradable polyester resin

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Showa Denko (SDK) will terminate the production of Bionolle biodegradable polyester resin by the end of December 2016 and will discontinue sale of the product by the end of December 2017, as per Apic-online.

SDK noted that it is "difficult for the company to continue production and sale of biodegradable plastic, since there has been no sign of improvement in the harsh market environment for biodegradable plastics business because of the delay in permeation of environmental regulations on plastic shopping bags and a fall in market prices of biodegradable plastics."

The company, as part of its medium-term business plan, will continue to focus on accelerating the expansion of its functional chemicals business.

As MRC reported previously, in August 2016, Showa Denko K.K., JX Nippon Oil & Energy Corp. (JX), and LyondellBasell Group reached final agreement concerning the sale and purchase of LyondellBasell’s shares in SunAllomer Ltd. (SunAllomer), a joint venture (JV) company among the three parties for the development, production and sale of polypropylene (PP) and PP-based advanced material.

Showa Denko K.K. is mainly engaged in the petrochemical business. The Petrochemical segment manufactures and sells olefin, organic chemicals and others. The Chemical Product segment supplies chemicals, industrial gases, special gas and functional drug for semiconductors, functional high molecular materials, among others.

TotalErg pump network sale hangs on refinery deal

MOSCOW (MRC) -- France's Total and Italy's Erg are looking to sell a stake in their Italian refinery business Sarpom to facilitate an auction of one of the country's biggest service station networks, sources said, reported Reuters.

The two companies jointly control TotalErg which operates close to 2,600 service stations in Italy with a market share of around 11% and also owns a quarter of Sarpom.

The sale of TotalErg, led by HSBC and Rothschild, is expected to begin by the end of the year, the sources said, noting that stripping out non-core assets such as refineries and lubricants would make the deal more attractive for prospective bidders.

Erg declined to comment while a spokesman for Total referred to previous comments by CEO Patrick Pouyanne who said in September the group continued to divest positions in Marketing & Services across Europe where its market share is too low.

TotalErg, 51% owned by Italian green company Erg, is valued at up to USD888 MM and has drawn interest from private equity and industry players, with some hoping to buy a retail business free of refineries, lubricants and other non-core assets.

TotalErg has a 25% stake in the northern Italian refinery Sarpom which is controlled by ExxonMobil's Esso unit with a 75% stake. There was no indication of how much the partners would want for their stake.

Sarpom is proving to be a stumbling block in clinching a deal for the pump network since prospective bidders would not have control, sources said.

Should a carve out of Sarpom fail, the asset would be wrapped back into the main deal, one of the sources said.

Italy's service station landscape is over-crowded, with around 21,000 points across the country, twice the number in France and almost three times that in Britain.

A change of ownership for TotalErg may lead to restructuring of the business with some possible closures and job cuts.

It comes at a time when the government of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is at risk of losing support ahead of a referendum on constitutional reform that could cost him his position.

Italian privately-owned refiner API has shown interest in the deal and may team up with a private equity outfit to make a competitive offer, sources said.

If successful, a deal with API would create Italy's biggest petrol station player, leapfrogging Eni and Kuwait Petroleum International which last year bought a network of 830 Italian pump stations from Royal Dutch Shell.

US buyout fund Carlyle is also expected to enter the race for the Rome-based business attracted by its turnaround potential and has held talks with API to evaluate a joint offer, the sources said.

Any restructuring is expected to get the nod from Rome which is trying to push through legislation to cut the number of stations to bring them into line with demand, two sources said.

We remind that, as MRC informed previously, in December 2014, Total, Europe’s third-largest oil company, permanently shut its high density polyethylene (HDPE) line owing to weak margins which had arisen on account of cheap imports in the region. Located at Antwerp in Belgium, the line had a production capacity of 70,000 mt/year.

Total S.A. is a French multinational oil and gas company and one of the six "Supermajor" oil companies in the world with business in Europe, the United States, the Middle East and Asia. The company's petrochemical products cover two main groups: base chemicals and the consumer polymers (polyethylene, polypropylene and polystyrene) that are derived from them.

Formosa plans refinery maintenance in 2017

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Taiwan's Formosa Petrochemical Corp. has planned maintenance at its 540 Mbpd Mailiao refinery next March, September and November, a company spokesman said, reported Reuters.

Formosa is one of the largest oil products exporters in Asia, so any major supply cuts from the refiner would likely support margins.

The refiner is planning to shut a 180 Mbpd crude distillation unit (CDU) and two residue desulfurizer units (RDS) with a capacity of 80 Mbpd each at some stage during the maintenance periods, said spokesman KY Lin.

It is also planning to close a delayed coker unit and a vacuum distillation unit during the maintenance, he added.

The exact duration and timeline of each closure will be firmed up later this month, he said.

There will be more units in maintenance in 2017 than in typical years, he added.

"Next year, we will have more shutdowns than this year. Normally we have to shut down one CDU and two RDS and sometimes one residual fluid catalytic cracker, but next year we will shut down the delayed coker and vacuum unit also," he said.

Meanwhile, the company has offered diesel and jet fuel for 2017 term contracts, tender documents showed on Friday.

As MRC informed before, in the second half of September 2016, Formosa Chemicals & Fibre Corp (FCFC, part of Formosa Petrochemical) restarted its polypropylene (PP) units following a maintenance turnaround. The units were taken off-line in mid-August 2016 for planned maintenance. Located in Ningbo, China, the plant comprising two units have a production capacity of 280,000 mt/year and 170,000 mt/year.

Besides, Formosa Plastics Corporation, U.S.A., also part of Formosa Petrochemical, will build a new, state-of- the-art PP production line at its Point Comfort, Texas site. This will be the first new PP production to be built in the US in many years. It continues the company’s longstanding commitments to its customers, its employees and the communities in which it operates.

Formosa Petrochemical is involved primarily in the business of refining crude oil, selling refined petroleum products and producing and selling olefins (including ethylene, propylene, butadiene and BTX) from its naphtha cracking operations. Formosa Petrochemical is also the largest olefins producer in Taiwan and its olefins products are mostly sold to companies within the Formosa Group. Among the company's chemical products are paraxylene (PX), phenyl ethylene, acetone and pure terephthalic acid (PTA). The company's plastic products include acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) resins, polystyrene (PS), polypropylene (PP) and panlite (PC).