Japanese Mitsui to sell part of Marcellus assets stake for $207 million

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Japanese trading house Mitsui & Co (8031.T) said last week it had agreed to sell a part of its stake in the Marcellus shale gas project in the United States to Alta Resources Development for USD207 million, as per Reuters.

The move comes as part of Mitsui's efforts to improve its energy and mineral resources portfolio and the deal will help it focus its future investments into more productive areas where it will retain its interests, Mitsui said in a statement.

The stake it plans to sell accounts for about 20 percent of its total interest in the Marcellus shale gas project by output, the company said. Mitsui now has a stake equal to a daily gas production of about 300 million cubic feet.

As MRC wrote before, in October 2015, Mitsui & Co. announced that Fairway Methanol LLC, a 50-50 joint venture between Mitsui and US-based chemicals company Celanese, had commenced production of methanol at its planned annual production capacity of 1.3 million tons. Mitsui says it is utilizing its shale gas business in the US as the starting point for expanding the scope of its downstream activities in the gas value chain, including chemicals and infrastructure.

Mitsui Chemicals is a leading manufacturer and supplier of value added specialty chemicals, plastics and materials for the automotive, healthcare, packaging, agricultural, building, and semiconductor and electronics markets. Mitsui Chemicals is a Japanese Chemicals company, a part of the Mitsui conglomerate. The company has a turnover of around 15 billion USD and has business interests in Japan, Europe, China, Southeast Asia and the USA. The company mainly deals in performance materials, petro and basic chemicals and functional polymeric materials.

Sadara Chemical increases capital by 15%

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Sadara Basic Services Co.’s parent company Sadara Chemical (Sadara) has increased its capital by 15.5 percent to SAR 27.94 billion, Sadara Basic said in a statement to the Saudi bourse, said Argaam.

There increase will not have financial impact on Sadara Basic Services, which is 100 percent owned by Sadara Chemical.

"The increase represents a contribution of shareholders’ loans, and was undertaken to counteract losses resulting from an increase in the operational activities of Sadara," the company said in the statement.

The shareholders of Sadara have maintained their original ownership percentage, with Excellent Performance Chemicals Company still at 65 percent and Dow Saudi Arabia Holding at 35 percent.

As MRC informed earlier, Sadara Basic Services, fully owned by Sadara Chemical Co , said it would start on Wednesday planned maintenance of a mixed-feed cracker at its parent company's petrochemical complex in Jubail.

Sadara Chemical is a USD20 billion petrochemical joint venture between national oil giant Saudi Aramco and Dow Chemical .

Cefic reacts to EU Commission proposed antidumping methodology

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Cefic, the EU chemical industry association, welcomes the proposal by the European Commission on a new methodology to tackle dumped or subsidised imports into the EU, reported GV.

As both an importer and exporter of chemicals, Cefic favours the balanced approach of the Commission’s proposal which will ensure effective defence against unfair trade without becoming harmfully protectionist.

The Commission’s new proposal will help tackle the underlying causes of unfair trade practices by third countries, particularly in regards of discriminatory access to raw materials which are used as feedstock in the chemical industry. This can take the form of export restrictions or export taxes on raw materials.

Said Cefic Director General, Marco Mensink: “The new EU trade defence rules are a step forward in tackling discriminatory raw materials practices used by third countries to favour their domestic industry. Where such practices lead to dumping it should be possible to introduce higher anti-dumping duties”.

We remind that, as MRC wrote before, The European Commission (EU) has begun anti-dumping investigations on purified terephthalic acid (PTA) imports from Korea. Upon receiving complaints by the PTA industry within the EU on 20 June, the commission set out to look into the matter from 3 August. EU companies claimed that they were damaged by Korean-originated terephthalic acid imports sold at prices below cost. The time period for the investigation is for one year between 1 July 2015 and 30 June 2016 and the item under examination is the terephthalic acid with purity over 99.5 percent.

The world's PTA market is suffering from a supply glut due to a rapid rise in the capacity in countries like China. Major Korean PTA suppliers such as Hanhwa General Chemical and Lotte Chemical have, to little avail, tried to diversify their sales channels after Chinese rivals increased their output.

Veresen midstream announces USD195 Million in new capital projects

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Veresen Inc. announced that it has sanctioned USD195 million in new capital projects at its Veresen Midstream subsidiary, said Energeticcity.

The South Central Liquids Hub project has been sanctioned to allow the company’s existing gathering system in the area to handle development anticipated over the next several years. The project is expected to be in service by the end of the second quarter of 2017.

The Tower Liquids Hub has also been sanctioned to provide a lower overall cost and more commercially flexible solution for the handling and storage of natural gas liquids that are produced at the Sunrise, Tower and Saturn Phase II processing facilities. The Tower Liquids Hub is expected to be in service in the third quarter of 2017.

"With the sanction of this additional capital, Veresen now has over USD1.4 billion of projects under construction," said Don Althoff, President and CEO of Veresen. "We expect these capital projects to deliver incremental per share growth as Veresen remains fully funded without the need to access capital markets. As Veresen Midstream’s capital projects come into service, the significant increase in cash flow will reduce Veresen’s leverage and bolster our financial flexibility to fund new growth opportunities generated from our strong footprint in the heart of the Montney play."

Both the South Central Liquids Hub and the Tower Liquids Hub are governed by the Dawson Midstream Service Agreement, which is in place for the next 28 years.


Muntajat and Total sign marketing agency agreement

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Muntajat (Qatar Chemical and Petrochemical Marketing and Distribution Company Q.J.S.C.) has signed its first international agency marketing agreement with Total, as per ZAWYA.

Total produces a range of polymers including polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), and polystyrene (PS). With Polymers business unit offices based in Brussels, Belgium, Total also operates a research center in Feluy, Belgium, to pool catalyst expertise and develop new products.

The agreement was signed by Muntajat’s Chief Executive Officer, Abdulrahman Ali Al-Abdulla and Total’s Senior Vice President of the Polymers business unit, Xavier Bontemps. Starting from the 1st of January 2017, Muntajat will market a range of specialty polymers in the Middle East. These products include 9 different grades of Metallocene PE and 12 grades of PS.

Speaking on the significance of this new agreement, Muntajat’s CEO, Al Abdulla said: "This agreement represents a key achievement for Muntajat and acts as a stepping stone for our future growth strategy. By introducing new products to our portfolio we are able to enrich our offerings and give our customers in the region the added value that they need. With this new collaboration with Total, we are able to strengthen our position in the global industry and move closer to our vision of becoming the world leader in the marketing and distribution of downstream products."

Under the new agreement, Muntajat will act as the marketing agent for PE and PS in Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, United Arabic Emirates, Qatar and Jordan. Muntajat will also be the agent for PE in Egypt. The company plans to market its products through its network of international offices spread in the region.

Commenting on the agreement, Total’s Senior Vice President of the Polymers business unit Xavier Bontemps said: "Total is very selective when choosing an agent as we are always seeking partners who mirror our commitment to excellence in service and best practices. We believe that Muntajat is the partner of choice for us and I am certain that they will help us increase our polymer reach in the region."

This new agreement comes in alignment with Muntajat’s expansion and growth strategy as the company marks 4 years since its establishment. Founded in 2012, Muntajat has created a track record of achievements. From seamlessly transitioning the marketing activities of 12 producing companies to establishing a global marketing network and a network of storage facilities that services customers in more than 120 countries, Muntajat is committed to become a leader in the industry. The company is now focused on enriching its portfolio and expanding its reach to tap into new markets.

As MRC informed previously, in March 2016, The National Petrochemical Company (NPC) of Iran and France-based Total signed an memorandum of understanding (MoU) to build a petrochemical complex in Iran. The complex will include a world-scale steam cracker unit in the coastal area. It will be based on a combination of feedstocks comprised of ethane, naphtha and LPG, as well as other available feed. In addition to steam cracker unit, the complex will include relevant downstream units for supplying its products to domestic and international markets, according to various news reports.

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.

Established in 2012, Qatar Chemical and Petrochemical Marketing and Distribution Company (Muntajat) Q.J.S.C. holds exclusive rights to purchase, market, distribute and sell Qatar’s production of chemical and petrochemical products on the global market. Qatar exports 11 million tonnes per year of chemical, polymers and fertilisers, which are sold to customers in more than 120 countries.