Turkmenistan launches railway to Afghanistan to boost exports

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Turkmenistan opened a railway link to Afghanistan on Monday, 28 November, to boost exports of fuel as the gas-rich but cash-strapped nation seeks to ease its dependence on China and Russia, reported Reuters.

The former Soviet republic mostly exports natural gas and its revenues have dwindled after Moscow, once the main buyer, halted purchases this year, leading to a shortage of foreign currency in the isolated desert nation.

The volume of gas sales to China, the current main buyer, is limited by pipeline capacity.

The Turkmen part of the 88-km link ends at the Ymamnazar customs control point where Turkmenistan has built an oil product terminal with an annual capacity of 540,000 t.

It was unclear by what percentage the rail link and the terminal could increase Turkmen fuel exports, because Ashgabat does not publish any data on physical volumes of such sales.

Turkmenistan produces about 10 MMt of oil a year, most of which it refines domestically, and oil products account for about 10% of total Turkmen exports. That share could increase as the country, unable to sell large quantities of natural gas, processes it into liquid fuels.

On the Afghan side, the link goes to the Aqina dry port in the Faryab province, but there are plans to extend it further. The Turkmen government said in a statement the railway would become part of longer link that would eventually connect landlocked Central Asia to China and Southeast Asia.

Turkmenistan is a country boasting abundant reserves of natural gas, and it has been maintaining high economic growth with the export of natural gas. The country is a promising market with strong investment potential, especially in petroleum and gas fields.

We remind that, as MRC wrote previously, in the export trades of Turkmenistan's State Commodity and Raw Materials Exchange, 10,000 tonnes of polypropylene (PP) were sold. On 4 November, Turkmenbashi Gas Processing Plant's 10,000 tonnes of PP were put up for auction in the export trades of the State Commodity and Raw Materials Exchange of Turkmenistan. The put up for action PP was aimed for shipments within 10 months at a starting price of USD830/tonne, FCA/FOB port of Turkmenbashi.

Tarkett plans to increase sales in 2017-2020

MOSCOW (MRC) -- French flooring and sports surface producer Tarkett has announced its strategic plan and financial targets for the period 2017-2020, said Plasteurope.

Financial objectives include raising net sales to EUR 3.5 bn by 2020, with approximately EUR 500m of additional sales coming from acquisitions. The groupa's net revenues in 2015 were EUR 2.7 bn.

Its strategy is supported by four pillars: delivering outstanding customer experience; leading in design, innovation and sustainability; excelling in sales and operations; and creating additional value with acquisitions.

Tarkett said it aims to become the an easiest company to interact within the flooring industrya, acting as a an multi-specialist value-adding solutions partnera and seeking to provide a a hassle-freea service to customers at multiple locations. A robust IT structure and coordinated digital platforms are being built to support its ambitions. A continued focus will be kept on developing sustainable products and solutions, and offering personalised and interactive services.

Regarding sales and operations, Tarkett will pursue its quest for excellence based on its World Class Manufacturing programme, as well as best-in-class practices in its supply chain and sales force.

The French firm has acquired 20 companies since 2008 and will continue to implement its M&A strategy around three themes: extending its product portfolio, expanding into new geographies and realising cost synergies.

CEO Michel Giannuzzi said since its IPO in 2013, the group had delivered a very resilient financial performance despite headwinds in the CIS where it has retained its leading market position. He added that Tarkett's strong cash flows will allow it to actively pursue selective external growth opportunities.

Sumitomo Chemical opens new R&D centre in Brazil

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Japan’s Sumitomo Chemical has opened its first research and development (R&D) facility in Brazil called the Latin America Research Centre (LARC), said Chemical-technology.

With opening of the centre, the company also seeks to expand its business opportunities further in Latin America. Opened with an investment of R12m (USD3m), the new centre will conduct various trials, R&D, and analysis of the company’s AgroSolution products, including crop protection products.

Sumitomo Chemical’s fully owned Brazilian subsidiary will operate LARC, which is spreading across an area of around 48ha of land accommodating an experimental field, laboratory buildings, a green house, and other facilities.

The company said that LARC will help increase development of products suitable for the local conditions and requirements.

Furthermore, the new R&D centre will enable Sumitomo Chemical to conduct field trials of crops and other products in the Southern Hemisphere.

"Sumitomo Chemical said that the Brazilian crop protection market has become the world’s largest, even surpassing the US."

In addition to developing, distributing and selling crop protection products, household and public hygiene insecticides, LARC is expected to support Sumitomo Chemical’s other businesses, such as feed additive methionine.

The crop protection sector in Latin America is estimated to represent around 25% of the global industry market. Sumitomo Chemical said that the Brazilian crop protection market has become the world’s largest, even surpassing the US.

Last month, the company announced its plan to establish a new marketing base for its polypropylene (PP) compound business in Mexico and provide manufacturing capabilities in India.

We remind that Sumitomo Chemical and Sekisui Chemical (Tokyo) said that they are combining their respective polyolefin films business under a new joint venture, which is due to start operations in July this year. The new joint venture, Sumika Sekisui Holdings, will be owned 35% each by Sumitomo and Sekisui and 30% by the private-public partnership Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (INCJ; Tokyo).

Sumitomo Chemical is a Japanese based manufacturer of a diverse range of products, including basic chemicals, petrochemicals and plastics, fine chemicals, agricultural chemicals, IT-related chemicals and pharmaceuticals.

UAE oil giant ADNOC says it will almost triple petrochemical output by 2025

MOSCOW (MRC) -- State-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (ADNOC) plans to almost triple its petrochemical production to an annual 11.4 MMt by 2025 from 4.5 MMt at present, group chief executive Sultan Al Jaber said on Monday, reported Reuters.

"To achieve this we will seamlessly integrate our petrochemical and refining business, and as supplies of gas become tighter, we will expand our feedstock beyond ethane to include naphtha," Jaber said in a speech at an energy industry conference.

Jaber did not give any details of ADNOC's expansion plan but said the company aimed to take advantage of a shift in demand from lower-growth markets in the West to high-growth markets in Asia.

He also suggested that petrochemical producers in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council should explore new ways of working together, including joint investments in projects.

"By working together, leveraging our combined strengths, aligning our interests and investing together, we can extend our reach, increase our competitive advantages and grow our market share."

ADNOC's petrochemicals are produced by Abu Dhabi Polymers Co (Borouge), which makes polyolefin, and Ruwais Fertilizer Industries (Fertil), which produces urea and ammonia fertilisers.

As MRC informed before, the UAE's Borouge scheduled to start up its 80kta cross-linked polyethylene unit at Abu Dhabi by early 2016. The XLPE unit is a part of the company's Borouge 3 complex, and all the other Borouge 3 units have been started up and running at higher rate gradually. The newly built Borouge 3 complex at Abu Dhabi saw a startup process stretching for all of 2014 and into early 2015. The total PE capacity of the complex is 1.51 million mt/yr, including a 1.08 million mt/year HDPE/LLDPE switch plant, and another 350kta LDPE unit besides the XLPE unit.

Saudi Aramco to almost triple chemicals output by 2030

MOSCOW (MRC) -- State oil company Saudi Aramco aims to almost triple its chemicals production to 34 million mtpy by 2030, a senior company executive said on Monday, reported Reuters.

"In chemicals, our equity capacity, across our global operations, is expected to grow from 12 million mtpy to 34 million over the same period," Abdulaziz al-Judaimi, the company's business line head for downstream, said in a speech at a conference in Dubai.

Over the same period Aramco's global refining capacity is set to rise to 8-10 million barrels per day (bpd) from more than 5 million bpd currently.

The company's refining capacity has grown as it has invested heavily to raise its oil production capacity to 12 million bpd.

Developing petrochemicals is part of the kingdom's Vision 2030 economic reform plan announced this year which aims to diversify the economy away from oil.

Aramco has been integrating its refineries with petrochemical infrastructure as it develops its downstream business and expands its trading of refined products.

The integration will help it to maximise value from its hydrocarbon base, diversify feedstock and chemical products, which is key to Aramco's plans to diversify its operations.

Aramco this year initiated the Middle East's first mixed-feed cracker at its Sadara Chemical Company, an 80 billion riyals petrochemical joint venture with U.S. company Dow Chemical.

It is also expanding its PetroRabigh facility, Rabigh 2, a joint venture with Japan's Sumitomo Chemical. That facility is integrated with a refinery on the Red Sea coast.

In 2014, former Aramco CEO Khalid al-Falih, who is now chairman of the company and Saudi energy minister, said Sadara and PetroRabigh would take the company's total chemicals participated production capacity to more than 15 MMtpy.

"Next year, nine out of Saudi Aramco's 15 refineries will produce chemicals, with conversion rates that can go to 20 percent of the total crude processed," Judaimi said.

The company has also set up ARLANXEO, a joint venture with Germany's Lanxess, which Judaimi said offered growth prospects.

Saudi Aramco, officially the Saudi Arabian Oil Company, is a Saudi Arabian national oil and natural gas company based in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Saudi Aramco's value has been estimated at up to USD10 trillion in the Financial Times, making it the world's most valuable company. Saudi Aramco has both the largest proven crude oil reserves, at more than 260 billion barrels, and largest daily oil production.