Arkema to set up PEKK polymer production plant in US

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Arkema, which recently doubled the capacity of its Kepstan PEKK (polyether ketone ketone) product line in France, has confirmed that its future investment at its Mobile site (Alabama, USA) in a world-scale PEKK plant, which is expected to come on stream in the second half of 2018, as per Business Standard.

These investments will serve the growing needs of the carbon fibre reinforced composites and additive manufacturing (3D printing) markets, confirming Arkema’s continued commitment to develop lightweight materials, one of their six innovation platforms.

"Arkema would like to thank its customers, partners and end-users who have made these investments possible by becoming early Kepstan PEKK adopters in their respective markets," said the company in a press release.

PEKK is the latest addition to the PAEK (polyaryl ether ketone) family which significantly increases the number of applications suitable for these very high performance polymers by offering a wider range of processing techniques and thermo-mechanical properties.

As MRC reported earlier, in 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 confirms its ambition to become a world leader in specialty chemicals and advanced materials.

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

Global demand for smart polymers to cross USD2,948 mln by 2021

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The global smart polymers market was valued at USD881.66 mln in 2015 and is expected to reach USD2,948.81 mln by 2021, growing at a CAGR of 22.29%, during the forecast period of 2016-2021, as per Orbis Research.

Smart polymers are high-performance polymers that change their properties according to even a slight change in the environment that they are acting in. Such materials can be sensitive to factors such as temperature, humidity, pH, the wavelength or intensity of light or an electrical or magnetic field. They can respond in various ways, like altering color or transparency, becoming conductive or permeable to water or changing shape (shape memory polymers).

By Type, the market is segmented into:
• Physical Stimuli-Responsive (Thermo-Responsive Polymers, Photo-Responsive Polymers, Shape Memory Polymers, and Electroactive & Magnetically-Responsive Polymers)
• Chemical Stimuli-Responsive (Ph-Responsive Polymers), Biological Stimuli-Responsive (Enzymes-Responsive Polymers),
• Self-Healing Polymers, and Others.

Interest in smart polymers is steadily gaining momentum, especially in the fields of controlled and self-regulated drug delivery. Smart polymers are becoming progressively relevant in the field of protein and peptide delivery, as researchers are learning ways to take advantage of their interesting properties and control them. Each type of delivery system has a specific advantage, in particular, to the sustained protein delivery. Certain important properties that affect the drug release and mechanical strength of the polymeric delivery system include hydrophobic/hydrophilic balance, polymer chain length, molecular weight, polymer structure, and architecture, among others. Biodegradability and biocompatibility are the two most important characteristics of polymers that have to be considered for their in vivo application.

The market is driven by factors such as rising application of shape memory polymer in the automotive industry and growing usage of smart polymers as substitutes for traditional polymers in various applications. However, this market faces certain drawbacks, such as premium pricing of the technology that is used to manufacture smart polymers and a dearth of usage in the emerging economies. The aforementioned factors act as a roadblock to the growth of the market. Furthermore, the consistently increasing applications of smart polymers are expected to offer numerous opportunities to the growth of global smart polymers market
Increasing usage of smart polymers in automotive, healthcare, packaging, radioactive waste, molecular gates & switches, glucose sensing, and other applications are expected to offer numerous opportunities for the growth of global smart polymers market.

OMV agrees to sell Turkish unit Petrol Ofisi to Vitol for USD1.45 bln

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Austrian energy group OMV said it agreed to sell its Turkish fuel supply and distribution unit Petrol Ofisi to Vitol Investment Partnership, managed by the Swiss-based commodities firm Vitol, for 1.37 billion euros (USD1.45 billion), said Downstreamtoday.

Saudi Aramco and the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) had also placed bids for Petrol Ofisi, sources familiar with the matter said. OMV counted the Turkish petrol station chain as one of its non-core assets it is shedding to generate cash.

Based on the purchase price, OMV will record an impairment of 186 million euros in its fourth-quarter financial accounts, in addition to the 148 million euros recorded as of end-December when it reclassified the unit as held for sale, OMV said late on Friday.

The deal, which is subject to regulatory approval, is expected to close in the third quarter at the latest, at which point a negative foreign exchange rate effect of around 1.1 billion euros will hit OMV's net profit, the company said.

"This stems from the negative development of the Turkish Lira against the Euro since the acquisition of OMV Petrol Ofisi A.S in 2010. This does not affect OMV Group equity since corresponding currency exchange translation effects were directly charged to OMV group equity in prior periods."

Turkey has some of the highest fuel prices in Europe but taxes and other regulations leave little margin for profit for the 70 different retailers.

In 2016, Petrol Ofisi was market leader with a 23 percent share, selling 10.68 million tonnes of fuel, OMV and Vitol said in statements. In 2015, it generated sales of around 10 billion euros, OMV has said.

Petrol Ofisi operates around 1,700 petrol stations. It also has one mineral oil factory, 11 fuel and three liquid petroleum gas (LPG) terminals and more than 1.17 million cubic meters of storage capacity, according to its website.

Synthetic thermoplastic Polyurethane films market to register CAGR of over 5% upto 2023

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The Global synthetic (Thermoplastic polyurethane) TPU films market size was estimated at over 47,000 tons in 2015 and is likely to register CAGR of more than 5% up to 2023, as per Global Market Insights.

TPU film market revenue is likely to be valued at more than USD750 mln by 2023. Growth in per-capita middle class consumer income coupled with government initiatives to bring in FDI particularly in India and China is likely to drive regional demand.

Aerospace applications are likely to witness high gains, at an estimated CAGR of over 6.5% up to 2023. Automotive applications accounted for more than 24% of total demand in 2013.

Asia Pacific was the dominant region and accounted for over 34% of the total demand in 2013. China & India TPU films market were the leading consumers in Asia Pacific together accounting for over 60% of the total demand in 2015. Europe and North America are likely to witness moderate gains and they accounted for over 19% and 27% respectively in 2015. Japanese TPU films market was estimated at more than 3.5 kilo tons in 2015.

Increasing awareness of light weight material demand in automobile applications in order to increase fuel efficiency and reduce carbon emissions is likely to drive TPU films market growth. They are used in automobile component manufacturing which helps in reducing the weight of the vehicle (by almost 40%). Also, they are used for substituting rubber components in vehicles.

Increasing application scope in solar & wind power installation systems is likely to drive Thermoplastic polyurethane films market. These films offer surface protection for windmill blades and solar panels. Growth in aviation sector coupled with continuous technological advancements is likely to drive demand.

Also, stringent environmental regulations against use of hazardous raw materials are likely to pose challenge to industry participants. Companies are investing to develop the bio-based TPU films market which are likely to offset volatile pricing derived from crude oil and would also help in reducing carbon footprints. Growth in per-capita middle class consumer income coupled with government initiatives to bring in FDI particularly in countries such as India and China is likely to drive regional demand. Growth of automobile industry in countries such as Thailand and Indonesia is also anticipated to drive regional growth. North America is likely to witness moderate growth owing to post recession recovery in construction & automobile industries coupled with increase in consumer spending capacity.

Global TPU films market share is fragmented with top four companies catering to over 40% of the total demand in 2013. Presence of large number of domestic manufactures & suppliers mainly in China is responsible for high fragmented market.

Reliance Industries to shut cracker, PE and PP plants for maintenance

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) is expected to shut its cracker, PE and PP plants located at Hazira, as per Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source informed that the cracker and both PE and PP plants are likely to be shut on March 23, 2017 for a maintenance turnaround. Both the plants are expected to remain off-stream for around 25 days.

Located at Hazira near Surat in Gujarat, the cracker has a production capacity of 1.1 mmt/year and the downstream PP plant has a production capacity of 600,000 mt/year. The PE plant has a capacity of 450,000 mt/year.

As MRC informed before, in February 2016, RIL was awarded a contract worth Rs. 100 crore to Petron Engineering Construction Ltd for its linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) plant in Gujarat. The LLDPE plant is part of RIL's J-3 project in Jamnagar in the western Indian state of Gujarat. The J-3 project boasts of a petroleum refinery and allied petrochemical plants for the production of plastics and fibre intermediates.

Reliance Industries is one of the world's largest producers of polymers. Thus, the company produces among others polypropylene, polyethylene and polyvinyl chloride.