Arkema concludes sale of stake at Oxochimie to INEOS

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Arkema has completed the sale to INEOS of its 50% stake in Oxochimie, their oxo alcohols manufacturing joint venture, and of the associated business, said the producer on its site.

The impact of this divestment on the group’s annual sales will represent some EUR40 million. With this operation, Arkema continues to implement its divestment program.

As MRC reported before, in late January 2017, Arkema announced a project for the sale to INEOS of its 50% stake in Oxochimie. Arkema produced oxo alcohols on the Lavera site (France) in a 50/50 manufacturing joint venture with INEOS. These products were used in part for the production of the group’s acrylic esters in Europe.

We also remind that on 2 February 2015, Arkema finalized the acquisition of Bostik, the world's No. 3 in adhesives. With this acquisition, the group reached a new milestone in its development, and confirmed its ambition to become a world leader in specialty chemicals and advanced materials. Bostik's growth prospects and the complementarities identified between the two groups will sustain the success of this high value creating project.

Arkema is a leading European supplier of chlorochemicals and PVC. Kynar and Kynar Flex are registered trademarks of Arkema Inc.

BASF appoints new head of Global Business Unit Surface Treatment

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Dr. Martin Jung, Senior Vice President, has been appointed head of the global business unit Surface Treatment of BASF’s Coatings division which comprises the Chemetall business acquired from Albemarle in December 2016, as per the company's press release.

Effective March 1, he succeeds Joris Merckx, who led the Chemetall business since 2007. Jung has overseen the integration of Chemetall into the BASF Group.

Before assuming his current role, Martin Jung headed the Automotive OEM Coatings Solutions Europe business unit of BASF’s Coatings division. He studied chemistry and mathematics at the University of Heidelberg, Germany, and in Clermont-Ferrand, France. Jung received his PhD in Polymer Chemistry from the Eindhoven University of Technology, Netherlands. He joined BASF in 2000 and held different management positions within the group in Germany and overseas, including Senior Vice President of Global Research Structural Materials and Vice President of Marketing Amines Europe.

As MRC reported before, within the next five years, BASF SE (Ludwigshafen, Germany) plans to invest globally more than EUR200 million in its plastic additives business, approximately half of which in Asia, focusing on capacity expansions and operational excellence. Plastic additives improve product properties such as scratch resistance or light stability, and optimize plastics manufacturing processes. As the leading global supplier of plastic additives with manufacturing assets in all regions, BASF is a major partner to the plastics industry.

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 about EUR58 billion in 2016.

Russian PVC increased by Rb2,000/tonne in March

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Negotiations over March prices of Russian polyvinyl chloride (PVC) began in the mid last week.
Producers have continued to gradually increase prices in the domestic market, although some companies still managed to maintain February prices, according to ICIS-MRC Price Report.

Negotiations over March contract prices of Russian suspension polyvinyl chloride (SPVC) began last Wednesday, but specific deals were done only in the early this week. Producers have firmly insisted on the price rise from the beginning of the year, and expectedly announced an increase of roubles (Rb) 500-2,000/tonne for March delivery.
Converters still do not have available imports, as key producer from China have also actively increased export PVC prices since the beginning of the year. Several converters managed to roll over prices from February, but these deals had been agreed together with February deliveries.

Despite a significant strengthening of the rouble against the dollar, the Russian companies have continued to export big volumes since November. It was large exports, which helped producers to optimise stock inventories in spite of low demand for PVC from the domestic market. Almost complete absence of imports also significantly helped to balance domestic market.

Although some companies have resumed PVC purchase in China since January, purchasing volumes were insignificant and did not affect the market. Besides Chinese producers also have been increasing prices in line with global trend.

Some converters have reported that the Chinese PVC was almost equal in price of March Russian PVC. However, significant volumes of imports are not likely to arrive in the nearest future. Demand for finished PVC products is low, and few people are building additional stocks.

Deals for February shipments of Russian PVC were done in quite a wide range of Rb63,000-66,000/tonne, including VAT and delivery. The price range of Rb63,000-64,000/tonne was typical for deals from 1,000 tonnes. Deals for March delivery were agreed in the range of Rb64,000-68,000/tonne CPT Moscow, including VAT for deals up to 1,000 tonnes.

A more significant increase in prices was seen in the segment of resin with K70. Deals for March shipments have been agreed in the range of Rb65,500 - 69,000/tonne, including VAT and delivery.

Turkmenbashi GPP sold 10,000 tonnes of PP at Stock Exchange of Turkmenistan

MOSCOW (MRC) -- In the export trades of Turkmenistan's State Commodity and Raw Materials Exchange, 10,000 tonnes of polypropylene (PP) were sold, according to ICIS-MRC Price report.

On 27 February, Turkmenbashi Gas Processing Plant's 10,000 tonnes of PP were put up for auction in the export trades of the State Commodity and Raw Materials Exchange of Turkmenistan. The put up for action PP was aimed for shipment within 7 months at a starting price of USD835/tonne, FCA/FOB port of Turkmenbashi.

Demand for PP in the stock exchange was quite strong in the first days of the trades. But actual deals started to be registered only on 28 February, and 10,000 tonnes of PP were contracted in the trades at USD956/tonne FCA/FOB port of Turkmenbashi.

Sinopec to spend USD29 B upgrading four refining bases

MOSCOW (MRC) -- China's Sinopec group, parent of Sinopec Corp, will invest USD29.05 billion to upgrade four refining bases between 2016 and 2020 to produce higher-quality fuels, said Reuters.

Sinopec's upgrades come as China, the world's second-biggest oil consumer, is embracing more stringent fuel standards in its battle against pollution and suffering an overall glut in refining capacity.

After the upgrades, the total refining capacity of the four refining sites will reach 130 MMtpy, or 2.6 MMbpd, while ethylene capacity will reach 9 MMtpy, Sinopec said.

The sites are in the cities of Shanghai, Nanjing and Zhenhai on the east coast and Maoming-Zhanjiang in southern Guangdong province. After the expansions, the bases will make up 45% of Sinopec's total refining capacity and 65% of its ethylene capacity.

"It's a strategic move that fits the global industrial trend for clustered and scaled growth and helps transform China's petrochemical products to medium and high quality," the company chairman Wang Yupu was cited as saying in the statement.

Between the four bases, Sinopec will be able to optimize the product structure and reduce logistics cost. Sinopec, Asia's largest refiner, started construction in December of a greenfield oil refinery and petrochemical complex in Zhanjiang that includes a 200,000 bpd refinery and an 800,000 tpy ethylene complex.

The refinery will mainly produce gasoline and diesel that meets the "national six" specificiations, up from the previous Euro V guidelines that cap sulfur content at 10 parts per million (ppm), said Sinopec in the statement.

The new plant will be geared toward producing gasoline and aviation fuel at the expense of diesel, the firm said. After the upgrades, Sinopec estimates the four sites will generate revenue of 800 billion yuan by 2020, based on USD54 a barrel crude oil prices.