MDI capacity increases at BASF Verbund site in Antwerp, Belgium

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BASF has completed a capacity increase of its methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) production facilities at the company's Verbund site in Antwerp, Belgium, said the company on its website.

The capacity increase brings the annual production of MDI in Antwerp from 560,000 metric tons per year to 650,000 metric tons per year.

MDI is an important component for polyurethanes – an extremely versatile plastics material. It contributes to improved insulation, provides lighter materials for cars, and helps save energy in buildings.

As MRC informed earlier, the professional Western European Building Material Business sold under the Thomsit and Ceresit brands for flooring and tiling systems and waterproofing have become part of the portfolio of the PCI Group, a wholly-owned subsidiary of BASF.

BASF is the largest diversified chemical company in the world and is headquartered in Ludwigshafen, Germany. BASF produces a wide range of chemicals, for example solvents, amines, resins, glues, electronic-grade chemicals, industrial gases, basic petrochemicals and inorganic chemicals. The most important customers for this segment are the pharmaceutical, construction, textile and automotive industries. BASF generated sales of more than EUR70 billion in 2015.

Praxair signs hydrogen supply agreement with Marathon Petroleum

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Praxair, Inc. signed a long-term contract to supply hydrogen to Marathon Petroleum Corporation’s refinery in Garyville, Louisiana, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The company will use the hydrogen to support an ultra-low-sulfur diesel project planned for 2018. Marathon Petroleum is the third-largest transportation fuels refiner in the US and operates an integrated refining, marketing and transportation system in the Midwest, East, Southeast and Gulf Coast. The hydrogen will be supplied through Praxair’s extensive Southeast Louisiana pipeline network.

"Garyville is home to Marathon Petroleum’s largest refinery, the third largest by capacity in the US, and Praxair is proud to be supporting their business in the Gulf Coast," said Dan Yankowski, president of Praxair’s global hydrogen business. "This type of opportunity to further serve our customers in the region is why we expanded our presence in the lower Mississippi River corridor several years ago."

Praxair operates over 50 hydrogen production facilities and six hydrogen pipeline systems worldwide.

As MRC informed earlier, Linde AG and Praxair Inc. announced that the companies intend to combine in a merger of equals under a new holding company through an all-stock transaction.

Eni to deepen involvement in Nigerian energy sector

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Italy's Eni plans to deepen its involvement in Nigeria's energy sector, increasing oil and gas exploration and helping to restore one of the country's ailing refineries, said Reuters.

Eni Chief Executive Claudio Descalzi and Emmanuele Ibe Kachikwu, Nigeria's Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, met in Rome this week to sign several memorandum of understanding (MOU) agreements to "further strengthen" Eni's involvement in Nigeria.

Eni said it will "intensify" oil and gas exploration, including at onshore sites and help the Petroleum Ministry rehabilitate the Port Harcourt oil refinery, part of Nigeria's goal to lessen its reliance on imported oil products.

It also plans to press forward with long-standing plans to double power generation capacity at the 480 megawatt Okpai Independent Power Plant (IPP) in Delta state, which was built by Eni's local subsidiary Nigerian Agip Oil Company.

As MRC informed earlier, Eni announced that it could not reach an agreement with the US private equity firm SK Capital to sell a majority stake in ENI’s chemicals subsidiary Versalis (Milan) and has terminated the discussions.

Eni is an Italian multinational oil and gas company headquartered in Rome. It has operations in in 79 countries, and is currently Italy's largest industrial company with a market capitalization of EUR68 billion (USD 90 billion), as of August 14, 2013. The Italian government owns a 30.3% golden share in the company, 3.93% held through the state Treasury and 26.37% held through the Cassa depositi e prestiti. Another 39.40% of the shares are held by BNP Paribas.

PP imports into Belarus increased by 14.3% in January-November 2016

MOSCOW (MRC) - Imports of polypropylene (PP) into Belarus slightly exceeded 86,400 tonnes in eleven months of this year, up 14.3% year on year, compared to the same period of 2015. The greatest increase in imports occurred for propylene copolymers, according to MRC DataScope.

November PP imports to Belarus reached 9,400 tonnes against 8,200 tonnes, as local companies increased homopolymer PP purchases, while propylene copolymers remained steady. Total PP imports into the country reached 86,400 tonnes in January - November, compared with 75,600 tonnes year on year. Injection moulding propylene copolymers accounted for the main increase in imports.

Structure of PP supplies over the reported period looked as follows.

November imports of homopolymer PP into the Belarusian market increased to 6,100 tonnes, while a month earlier this figure was 5,000 tonnes. Local companies increased their purchasing of injection moulding homopolymer PP and homopolymer PP for the production of BOPP films.
Overall imports of homopolymer PP increased to 58,000 tonnes in the eleven months of 2016, compared to 56,100 tonnes a year earlier.
The key suppliers of homopolymer PP were Russian producers, with their share in the total supply more than 88%.

Imports of stat-propylene copolymer (PP-random) in November was about 3,200 tonnes against 3,100 tonnes in October. Total imports of propylene copolymers into Belarus exceeded 28,400 tonnes in January-November, compared with 19,600 tonnes year on year. The main suppliers of propylene copolymers were also producers from Russia with a share of over 83%.

PE imports into Belarus increased by 31.6% in January-November 2016

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Overall imports of polyethylene (PE) into Belarus rose in the first eleven months of 2016 by 31.6% year on year to 118,100 tonnes. with linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) and low density polyethylene (LDPE) accounting for the main increase in shipments, according to MRC's DataScope report.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics of Belarus, November 2016 PE imports to Belarus increased to 11,500 tonnes from 10,800 tonnes a month earlier. Local companies increased their foreign purchases of high-density polyethylene (HDPE). Overall PE imports reached 118,100 tonnes in January-November 2016, compared to 89,800 tonnes a year earlier. LLDPE and LDPE accounted for the main increase in supply, shipments of these PE grades grew by 36.2% and 66%, respectively.

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

November total LDPE imports increased to 2,400 tonnes from 2,200 tonnes a month earlier. Local companies have raised polyethylene purchase volumes in Azerbaijan and Europe on the back of limited supply from local producers. Overall imports of this PE grade into Belarus totalled 24,700 tonnes in the eleven months of 2016, compared to 14,800 tonnes a year earlier.

An accident at the local producer's ethylene unit and, as a result, a major fall in capacity utilisation at LDPE production in the second half of the year was the main reason for such a great increase.

November LLDPE imports were about 4,000 tonnes, compared to 5,000 tonnes a month earlier. However, overall LLDPE imports exceeded 51,600 tonnes in January - November 2016, whereas this figure was about 37,900 tonnes a year earlier.

November imports of HDPE into Belarus increased to 4,300 tonnes against 3,600 tonnes in October. Local companies increased their purchasing of film grade PE in Russia and Uzbekistan. Overall HDPE imports into the country were about 41,700 tonnes in January-November 2016, up by 6.7% year on year.