IRPC shuts naphtha cracker for maintenance

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Integrated Refinery and Petrochemical Complex (IRPC), a PTT Plc subsidiary, has taken its cracker off-stream for a maintenance turnaround, as per Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in Thailand informed that the company has shut the cracker on February 3, 2017. The cracker is planned to remain off-line for a period of around 6 weeks.

Located at Map Ta Phut in Thailand, the cracker has an ethylene capacity of 360,000 mt/year and propylene capacity of 312,000 mt/year.

As MRC informed before, on 5 September, 2016, IRPC shut its olefins conversion unit (OCU) for a minor repair work. The unit remained off-line for around 15 days. Located in Rayong province of Thailand, the OCU has a propylene production capacity of 120,000 mt/year.

PTT Global Chemical is a leading player in the petrochemical industry and owns several petrochemical facilities with a combined capacity of 8.45 million tonnes a year.

Evonik establishes digital subsidiary

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Evonik is setting itself up for the digital future with its own new subsidiary, Evonik Digital GmbH, which includes a team of about 20 experts, as per the company's press release.

Under the Evonik umbrella, the company is developing new digital business models and building up digital expertise. Christian Kullmann, Deputy Chairman of the Executive Board and responsible for the digitalization strategy, states: "Digitalization offers more than new technologies. It also creates new opportunities for collaboration and production, and gives rise to new business models and marketing options. Evonik is taking a pioneering role in the chemical industry here."

In the newly created position of Chief Digital Officer (CDO), Henrik Hahn will now coordinate digitalization activities for the Group. This way a central contact point for technical dialog and strategic aspects as well as Group-wide digital innovations is established. Hahn is also Chairman of the Management Board of Evonik Digital GmbH.

The team of experts at Evonik Digital GmbH will also work fast, flexibly, and with a high degree of freedom, on the implementation of novel ideas. The specialists will develop digital concepts and solutions, test them, and get them off the ground within the Group. Collaboration with renowned technology companies and promising startups will play a crucial role here.

Digitalization is now giving rise to change globally, and not only in business with direct customers and consumers: For some time now, there have been profound changes across production and supply networks. Evonik therefore expects that this digitalization initiative cutting across organizational units will also strengthen its own competitiveness and continue to distinguish it clearly from other companies. "We recognized early on the opportunities that digital business models could offer, and we’re very systematically organizing the necessary changes in the company," said Kullmann.

The new subsidiary is located in the center of Essen and started operating early this year. The experts combine broad international experience, an extensive network of contacts, and expertise in social and media studies - in addition to chemistry, engineering and business management.

"Evonik wants to comprehensively support its customers' success - specifically through new products and services," says Henrik Hahn. "This clear customer focus is absolutely essential for the digitalization team. This will then also involve working jointly with the business lines to identify digital business ideas throughout the entire Group and providing strong support in their implementation."

The team is planning to present its first concrete results during this year. The current pilot projects include platform approaches for e-commerce and the topic of do-it-yourself sensor technology. This should provide an improved understanding of the needs of customers early on, for example in product development.

As MRC informed earlier, Evonik is expanding its production facilities in Birmingham (Alabama, USA) and Darmstadt (Germany). This will create additional capacity for the production of biodegradable polymers marketed globally under the brand names RESOMER and RESOMER SELECT. These poly-lactic-glycolic-acid (PLGA) copolymers are primarily used to manufacture bioresorbable medical devices and controlled-release formulations for parenteral drug delivery.

Evonik, the creative industrial group from Germany, is one of the world leaders in specialty chemicals. Its activities focus on the key megatrends health, nutrition, resource efficiency and globalization. Evonik benefits specifically from its innovative prowess and integrated technology platforms. Evonik is active in over 100 countries around the world.

Crude cargo lawsuit drags BP's oil trading division into the red

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BP's oil trading business, one of the biggest in the sector, reported a rare loss in the fourth quarter after it lost a USD70 million lawsuit over an oil cargo delivered to a Moroccan refinery, said Reuters.

BP's Chief Financial Officer Brian Gilvary said due to flat trading positions ahead of a crucial OPEC meeting at the end of November, and the lawsuit, the company's oil trading division made a "small loss" in the fourth quarter.

"There was a natural inclination to flatten up all of the books and there was also an adverse court ruling against us which is a USD70 million hit," he told analysts on Tuesday.

The British energy company sold a cargo of Russian Urals crude to Moroccan refiner Samir in August 2014 which was not paid for and National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) took on 95% of that debt.

But London's High Court ruled in November that BP did not have the right to pass on the debt and ordered BP to pay USD68.9 million plus interest to NBAD.

Gilvary said if BP had not been ordered to make the payment, its oil trading business would have made a profit in the period.

Across the year, BP's overall energy trading business was profitable, Gilvary said, adding that its gas trading desk had a "good result" in the fourth quarter.

As MRC informed before, BP reported fourth-quarter earnings that missed analyst estimates after higher oil prices failed to fully compensate for lower income from refining.

BP is a leading producer of oil and gas and produces enough energy annually to light nearly the entire country for a year. Employing about 17,000 people across the country, BP supports more than 170,000 additional jobs through all of its business activities.

Evonik increases prices for polyamide 12-based products

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The High Perfomance Polymers Business Line within the Resource Efficiency Segment of Evonik Industries, Essen (Germany), is increasing the prices of its polyamide 12-based products by around 6%, to the extent permissable under existing agreements, said the company on its site.

The price increase is necessary due to rising costs.

The products affected by the price increase are VESTAMID L and VESTAMID NRG (PA12), VESTAMID D (PA612), VESTAMID E (PA12 elastomers), as well as products in the VESTAMID Care range and also the polyamide 12 powder VESTOSINT.

Evonik, the creative industrial group from Germany, is one of the world leaders in specialty chemicals, operating in the Nutrition & Care, Resource Efficiency and Performance Materials segments. The company benefits from its innovative prowess and integrated technology platforms.

The Resource Efficiency segment is led by Evonik Resource Efficiency GmbH and supplies high performance materials for environmentally friendly as well as energy-efficient systems to the automotive, paints & coatings, adhesives, construction, and many other industries.

As MRC informed earlier, Evonik segment Performance Materials increases the price for VISIOMER MMA (methyl methacrylate) and VISIOMER GMAA (methacrylic acid) in Europe effective February 1, 2017.

Evonik, the creative industrial group from Germany, is one of the world leaders in specialty chemicals. Its activities focus on the key megatrends health, nutrition, resource efficiency and globalization. Evonik benefits specifically from its innovative prowess and integrated technology platforms. Evonik is active in over 100 countries around the world.

Shell plans to split Motiva JV with Saudi Aramco

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Shell Oil Co, the US unit of Royal Dutch Shell Plc, said on Monday it expects to divide the refineries and other assets of the Motiva Enterprises joint venture with co-owner Saudi Aramco in the second quarter of 2017, said Reuters.

"We are pleased with the progress we have made to date, and anticipate completion of the transaction in Q2 2017," Shell spokesman Ray Fisher said in an email. "The April 1 date is a target that the internal project teams are working toward."

Neither Motiva nor Saudi Aramco representatives were immediately available on Monday to discuss Shell's statement. Rumors have swirled through US refined products markets that the split would be delayed until the fall.

Shell and Saudi Aramco said in March 2016 they would divide up the 20-year-old JV, which operates three refineries, including the United States' largest, on the Gulf Coast.

Originally, the two companies targeted October 2016 for the split of assets, including pipelines and terminals as well as the refineries.

The major sticking point, sources told Reuters, was Shell's demand for a USD2 billion payment as part of the breakup.

Under the plan for the division of assets, Saudi Aramco will retain the Motiva name and the 603,000-bpd Port Arthur, Texas, refinery, the nation's largest.

Aramco would also take over 26 distribution terminals and have exclusive license to use the Shell brand for gasoline and diesel sales in Texas, the majority of the Mississippi River Valley, and the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic markets.

Shell is slated to become sole owner of two Louisiana refineries with a combined capacity of 472,700 bpd and Shell-branded gasoline stations in Florida, Louisiana and the US Northeast.

As MRC informed earlier, Shell’s 2016 fourth-quarter earnings on a current cost of supplies (CCS) basis were at USD1 billion compared with USD1.8 billion in the same quarter of 2015.

Royal Dutch Shell plc is an Anglo-Dutch multinational oil and gas company headquartered in The Hague, Netherlands and with its registered office in London, United Kingdom. It is the biggest company in the world in terms of revenue and one of the six oil and gas "supermajors". Shell is vertically integrated and is active in every area of the oil and gas industry, including exploration and production, refining, distribution and marketing, petrochemicals, power generation and trading.