AkzoNobel share repurchase

MOSCOW (MRC) -- AkzoNobel has repurchased 340,000 of its own ordinary shares in the period from February 13, 2017 up to and including February 17, 2017, at an average price of EUR63.21 per share, said the producer on its site.

The consideration of the repurchase was EUR21.36 million.

This is part of a repurchase program announced on December 12, 2016. The total number of shares repurchased under this program to date is 1.30 million ordinary shares for a total consideration of EUR80.86 million.

The purpose of the program is to neutralize the dilutive effect of stock dividends paid in 2016.

Rosneft-led consortium plans to complete Essar acquisition next month

MOSCOW (MRC) -- A consortium led by Russian oil major Rosneft plans to finally complete its USD12.9 billion acquisition of India's Essar Oil next month, two Russian sources close to the deal told Reuters.

Acquiring the refiner will give state-owned oil Rosneft access to India, one of the world's fastest-growing energy markets. The deal was announced to fanfare in October but has still not closed.

The sources said the delay was due to the complexity of Essar's structure and financing, not to any issues relating to the buyers, who will buy 98% of Essar. Rosneft is under Western sanctions due to Moscow's role in the Ukraine crisis.

The deal, announced during a visit to India by Russian President Vladimir Putin, is now set to be completed on March 15, the two sources said. Rosneft will acquire a 49% share in Essar and another 49% will be shared between commodities trader Trafigura and Russian private investment group United Capital Partners (UCP).

The deal was structured to avoid the risk of Western sanctions, the chief executive of Russian bank VTB, which is involved in financing the deal, told Reuters last year.

Essar Oil operates a 400,000-bpd refinery in Vadinar on India's west coast and sells fuels through its 2,470 filling stations across the country.

Trafigura has said that VTB would co-fund Trafigura and UCP's 49% stake. Rosneft has said it may use its own funds, external financing or both to pay for its share.

One of the sources close to the deal said discussions about the management team at Essar were holding up completion of the deal, but did not elaborate.

The second source said that Essar's Indian creditor banks, who include State Bank of India (SBI), must approve a change of control at the company. The deal was also complicated by Essar's ongoing debt restructuring program, the source said.

"The process of receiving lender approvals, including SBI, for the transaction is underway. Sanctions provisions do not apply to the transaction," Essar said in emailed comments to Reuters.

A senior SBI official said the bank was on course to approve the deal, and did not see U.S. sanctions getting in the way, but did not give a timeframe.

VTB earlier agreed to provide Essar with up to USD3.9 billion for debt reconstruction.

In response to Reuters queries, Rosneft said it expected to close the deal in the first quarter of 2017. Trafigura gave the same timeframe, and said it was also replying on behalf of UCP.

Bharat Petroleum mulls naphtha cracker in Bina

MOSCOW (MRC) -- State-run Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd (BPCL) plans to set up a petrochemicals unit at its Bina refinery in Madhya Pradesh as part of its Rs25,000 crore expansion plan for the refinery, as per Plastemart.

The petrochemical unit, which will include a 1.5 mln tpa naphtha cracker, is expected to cost Rs6,000-7,000 crore.

"The investments could be made through a special purpose vehicle or issue of warrants. We are continuously evaluating the model to be followed here," said one of the two officials cited above on condition of anonymity.

Bharat Oman Refineries Ltd, a joint venture of BPCL and Oman Oil Co., runs the Bina refinery. While BPCL holds 49% in the venture, Oman Oil owns 26%. Financial institutions own the remaining 25%. BPCL did not respond to an emailed questionnaire sent on 25 January seeking comments.

BPCL is also expanding refining capacity at its Kochi refinery from to 15.5 mtpa from 9.5 mtpa for an investment of Rs16,000 crore. It will also build a Rs 5,000 crore petrochemical plant in Kochi.

When completed, it will facilitate production of 500,000 tonnes per annum of propylene, which is in addition to fuels like cooking gas, diesel, kerosene, jet fuel, coke and bitumen. The expansion would be complete by March.

Last April, the government approved BPCL’s investment of Rs3,000 crore in Bharat Oman Refineries for the first phase of expansion.

As MRC informed before, in January 2016, (BPCL) has selected Air Liquide Global E&C Solutions, the engineering and construction unit of French firm Air Liquide group, for supplying Lurgi/Nippon Kayaku ester grade acrylic acid technology for BPCL’s propylene derivatives petrochemical project (PDPP) located in Kochi, Kerala.

Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) is an Indian state-controlled oil and gas company headquartered in Mumbai, India. Bharat Petroleum owns refineries at Mumbai, Maharashtra and Kochi, Kerala (Kochi Refineries) with a capacity of 12 and 9.5 million metric tonnes per year.

SMC brought on-stream methanol plant in Oman

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Salalah Methanol Co (SMC) has restarted its methanol plant following an unplanned outage, as per Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in Oman informed that the company has resumed operations at the plant over the weekend. The plant was shut on February 13, 2016 owing to technical issues.

Located in Salalah, Oman, the plant has a production capacity of 1.3 million mt/year.

We remind that, as MRC wrote earlier, the 1.3 million mt/year Celanese/Mitsui methanol plant in Clear Lake, Texas, which is the largest methanol production plant in the US, was shut from November 12 to 29, 2016, to allow for repairs to a secondary reformer.

PTTGC plans FID in Q2 2017 for proposed ethane cracker in Ohio

MOSCOW (MRC) -- PTT Global Chemical (PTTGC) expects to conclude a final investment decision (FID) on its proposed ethane cracker and petrochemical complex in Belmont, Ohio, in the second half of 2017, reported Apic-online.

The multi-billion dollar world-scale complex will use shale gas from the Marcellus basin and will be designed to produce 1-million t/y of ethylene, 700,000 t/y of high-density polyethylene (HDPE), 500,000 t/y of ethylene glycol and 100,000 t/y of ethylene oxide.

PTTGC, which earlier said it would make a FID by 2016 or 2017, said it needs more time to decide on the design and economic feasibility of the project, according to media reports.

The company earlier awarded Technip a contract to supply its ethylene technology and the process design package of the cracker, and selected Ineos' Innovene S process for the HDPE plant.

As MRC informed previously, in July 2015, PTTGC is establishing PTTGC America Corp. and PTTGC America LLC, both based in the US, to move forward plans for building a complex in Ohio to take advantage of low-cost ethane from shale gas. PTTGC announced plans for a joint venture with Marubeni Corp., and possibly a third partner, to build a world-scale ethane cracker in Belmont County, Ohio.

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.