Lake Charles steam cracker JV with Lotte on schedule for 2019 start up

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Westlake Chemical's ethane-based steam cracker project with South Korea's Lotte Chemical in Louisiana remains on target for a late 2018 completion, with start up expected in the first half of 2019, Westlake said Tuesday during an earnings call, reported Apic-online.

The 1 million mt/year steam cracker being built in Lake Charles, Louisiana, remains on schedule, according to Westlake, which holds a minority share in the project, with an option to increase its stake down the line. Construction began in mid-2016.

The steam cracker was originally a joint venture between Lotte and Axiall Corp., which was acquired by Westlake in 2016.

Ethylene produced at the facility would be used for Westlake's vinyls production.

In addition, Lotte plans to build and operate a new 700,000 mt/year monoethylene glycol (MEG) manufacturing plant adjacent to the cracker, with most of the MEG slated for export, the company has previously said.

As MRC wrote before, in mid-July 2016, US petrochemical producer Westlake Chemical restarted its Petro-1 steam cracker in Lake Charles, Louisiana. The startup talk was on the tail end of an 80-day planned outage that started on April 19. The turnaround also included a capacity expansion of 113,000 mtpa. The company operates two steam crackers at the site - Petro-1, with current ethylene capacity of 567,000 m tpa, and Petro-2, with 886,000 m tpa.

Westlake Chemical Corporation is an international manufacturer and supplier of petrochemicals, polymers and building products with headquarters in Houston, Texas. The company's range of products includes: ethylene, polyethylene, styrene, propylene, chlor-alkali and derivative products, PVC suspension and specialty resins, PVC Compounds, and PVC building products including siding, pipe, fittings and specialty components, windows, fence, deck and film.

Established in 1976, Lotte Chemical has been solidifyng its position by localizing cutting-edge petrochemical technologies. Among the high-quality products produced by Lotte Chemical through its efficient processes are ethylene, HDPE, LDPE, LLDPE, PP, functional resin, EG, SM, PIA, PET, etc. Lotte Chemical’s products are being distributed to 152 countries around the world. With the acquisition of Pakistan’s PTA in 2009, Artenius in the UK in 2010 and Titan Chemical Corp., Lotte Chemical is now able to efficiently supply excellent products to an increasing number of countries. The company is further accelerating its efforts to strengthen its global competitiveness by establishing overseas branches in Hong Kong, Russia, and USA, along with the sales corporation in China for active sales activities both in domestic and abroad.

BASF appoints new head for performance chemicals

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BASF, the world's petrochemical major, has named new head of Performance Chemicals, as per the copany's press release.

Anup Kothari, currently Senior Vice President, Performance Chemicals North America, will become President of BASF’s Performance Chemicals division, effective April 1, 2017.

He succeeds Dr. Christian Fischer, who has decided to leave the company.

As MRC informed before, in January 2017, the professional Western European Building Material Business sold under the Thomsit and Ceresit brands for flooring and tiling systems and waterproofing became part of the portfolio of the PCI Group, a wholly-owned subsidiary of BASF. The management team welcomed the new colleagues to the German facilities in Dusseldorf and Unna as well as the plant in Oosterhout, the Netherlands.

The transaction includes Henkel’s flooring technology business under the brand name of Thomsit in Western Europe as well as the global rights to the Thomsit brand. Also included in the transaction is the business of Henkel with flooring and tiling systems as well as waterproofing products in Western Europe, which is operated under the licensed brand of Ceresit.

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.

Pemex inks hydrogen refinery JV with Air Liquide

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Mexico's Pemex will partner with France's Air Liquide SA to operate an existing hydrogen plant and build a second one at its Tula refinery, said Reuters, citing the Mexican state-owned oil company.

The 20-year joint venture partnership marks the first time Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex as it is better known, has inked a deal to cede some operations of its aging domestic refineries.

The move follows Mexico's 2013 energy market reform which opened the country's state-run energy sector to private producers, allowing Pemex to enter joint-venture partnerships.

Pemex did not immediately respond to a request for additional information.

The Miguel Hidalgo refinery outside the city of Tula in central Hidalgo state is Pemex's second largest with a crude oil processing capacity of 315,000 bpd.

Pemex executives have said they are evaluating potentially larger joint ventures aimed at seeking partners who could improve the efficiency of its refineries.

As MRC informed earlier, Pemex is investing almost USD5.5bn in upgrading its refineries, increasing pipeline capacity and modernising a fertiliser plant.

Pemex, Mexican Petroleum, is a Mexican state-owned petroleum company. Pemex has a total asset worth of USD415.75 billion, and is the world's second largest non-publicly listed company by total market value, and Latin America's second largest enterprise by annual revenue as of 2009. Company produces such polymers, as polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), polystyrene (PS).


Wacker expands production capacity for dispersions at its Burghausen site

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Wacker Chemie AG is expanding its existing production plants for polymeric binders in Germany, reported the company on its site.

The Munich-based chemical group is currently building another dispersion reactor with an annual capacity of 60,000 metric tons at its Burghausen site. Some EUR25 million have been earmarked for the production and local-infrastructure expansion. The plant is scheduled for completion before the end of the year.

Hoisting the premix tank into the production building. At Wacker’s main site in Burghausen, the company manufactures dispersions and dispersible polymer powders, which find use as binders in sectors such as construction, coatings and adhesives. With the new 60,000-metric-ton dispersion reactor, Wacker is strengthening its position as a market and technology leader in this field.

Wacker’s dispersions are commonly used to formulate low-odor and low-emission indoor paints, but can also be found in plasters, adhesives, carpet applications or technical textiles. Moreover, they are the key raw material for the production of dispersible polymer powders for construction applications.

"The enlargement of our dispersion production in Burghausen is part of our strategy to achieve further profitable growth through expansions at existing production plants," said Rudolf Staudigl, president & CEO of Wacker Chemie AG, explaining the investment measure. "The additional capacity will strengthen our market position as one of the world’s leading manufacturers of dispersions and dispersible polymer powders, and will help us meet our customers’ continuously increasing demand over the long term," emphasized the Group CEO.

As MRC wrote previously, in 2013, Wacker Chemie AG officially launched its new production plant for ethylene-vinyl-acetate copolymer (EVA) dispersions at its Ulsan site in South Korea. The additional 40,000 tonnes from the second reactor line increases the site's EVA-dispersion capacity to a total of 90,000 tonnes per year. The production capacity of the site has, thus, almost doubled, making the plant complex one of the biggest of its kind in South Korea.

Wacker Chemie AG is a worldwide operating company in the chemical business, founded 1914. The company is controlled by the Wacker-family holding more than 50 percent of the shares. The corporation is operating more than 25 production sites in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. The product range includes silicone rubbers, polymer products like ethylene vinyl acetate redispersible polymer powder, chemical materials, polysilicon and wafers for semiconductor industry.

ARLANXEO increases March prices for its Baypren products globally

MOSCOW (MRC) -- ARLANXEO, Lanxess and Saudi Aramco's joint venture, raises its prices for Chloroprene rubber and Chloroprene adhesive grades (CR) globally, as per the company's press release.

In Europe, Middle East, Africa, Latin America and Asia the price adjustment per metric ton for CR is up to EUR700 and will be effective no later than March 1, 2017.

In North America ARLANXEO USA LLC is going to increase prices from March 22, 2017 up to USD770 per metric ton for CR products.

The measure is the result of the overall market- and cost developments of the past months.

ARLANXEO distributes CR under the brand name Baypren. CR products are used in applications like cable sheathings, hoses, belts and air springs as well as adhesives.

As MRC wrote previously, ARLANXEO raised its February prices for ethylene propylene diene rubber grades (EPDM) as follows:

- in Europe, Middle East and Africa effective as of February 1st, 2017 up to EUR125 per metric ton;
- in Latin America effective as of February 13th, 2017 up to USD150 per metric ton;
- in China effective as of February 15th, 2017 up to USD150 per metric ton.

The measure was also the result of the overall market- and cost developments of the past months.

ARLANXEO was established in April 2016 as a joint venture of Lanxess - a world-leading specialty chemicals company based in Cologne, Germany - and Saudi Aramco - a major global energy and chemicals enterprise headquartered in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. The two partners each hold a 50-percent interest in the joint venture. The business operations of ARLANXEO are assigned to the High Performance Elastomers and Tire & Specialty Rubbers business units.