Reliance Industries completes sale of 76% stake in African firm to Total

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Reliance Industries has completed the sale of its Mauritius-incorporated arm Gulf Africa Petroleum Corporation (GAPCO) which trades and markets fuel in the African markets to French energy major Total Marketing & Services, marking its exit from the international fuel retail business, reported The Economic Times.

In May 2016, the billionaire Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries' subsidiary, Reliance Exploration & Production DMCC, had signed an agreement to sell its entire 76% stake in GAPCO to TOTAL. The company has now concluded the transaction after obtaining requisite regulatory approvals and consents, RILBSE 3.93 % said in a statement on Wednesday.

"Since the acquisition of 76% equity interest in GAPCO by REPDMCC in 2007, GAPCO has significantly grown and is one of leading petroleum marketing company in East Africa owning retail outlets as well as onshore and offshore terminals," RIL said in the statement.

GAPCO is a holding company with operating subsidiaries in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda which are primarily engaged in petroleum product import, and trading, storage, distribution, marketing, supply and transportation of oil products in East Africa. The transaction also involved minority shareholder who sold their entire respective holdings in GAPCO for cash, the company said.

The company did not disclose the deal consideration. The acquisition would help Total, the fourth largest distributor of lubricants, to consolidate its presence in Africa where it is a leading distributor of petroleum products and increase its market share to over 20% from around 175 in 2015.

Reliance Industries, like other private sector energy company Essar Oil, has started expanding its fuel retail business after the government deregulated diesel prices in in October 2014.

As MRC informed previously, RIL has delayed the start-up of its new monoethylene glycol (MEG) plant until Q2 2017. The company scheduled to commence operations at the plant in Q2 2017. As per the earlier plans, the plant was to be started in December 2016. Located at Jamnagar, Gujarat in India, the plant has a production capacity of 750,000 mt/year.

Reliance Industries is one of the world's largest producers of polymers. The company is engaged in a wide range of activities, ranging from oil and gas production to production of polyester and polymer goods, including the production of polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and textiles.

FRX Polymers achieves ISO 9001:2015 certification

MOSCOW (MRC) -- FRX Polymers, Inc., a producer of polymeric halogen-free flame retardants, has earned ISO 9001:2015 certification from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), effective from 6 February 2017, as per GV.

ISO 9001:2015 is the international standard that specifies requirements for a company-wide quality management system (QMS).

FRX Polymers was audited by IQNet and Vincotte N.V., third-party ISO 9001:2015 accreditation teams, and was shown to possess and employ company-wide controls and operating procedures for the purpose of maintaining consistent delivery of high-quality halogen-free flame retardant products and services. The scope of the certification, which covers FRX Polymers' activities at its Antwerp, Belgium, and Chelmsford, MA, USA, plants, includes research and development, production, sales, warehousing, invoicing, and logistics of non-halogenated flame retardant polymers based on phosphorus and support in the use thereof.

Nofia phosphonates, FRX Polymers' polymeric and reactive oligomeric halogen-free flame retardant solutions are produced at its full-scale commercial plant in Antwerp, Belgium. The products are manufactured using sustainable green chemistry principles such as a solvent-free production process, no waste by-products, and near 100 % atom efficiency, says the company.

Founded in 2007, FRX Polymers operates a pilot plant at its headquarters in Chelmsford and a full-scale commercial plant in Antwerp, Belgium.

As MRC wrote before, in 2014, Evonik Industries has led a USD12million Series C financing round in FRX Polymers Inc., Chelmsford (USA). Its corporate venture capital fund, Evonik Venture Capital GmbH, invested USD2.5 million in the round. FRX is the manufacturer and marketer of a new, environmentally friendly family of inherently flame retardant plastics and oligomers, trade named Nofia. The closing coincided with the opening of FRX’s first industrial scale flame retardant polymer plant in Antwerp, Belgium.

Nofia products are a family of halogen-free, phosphorus-containing oligomers and polymers that are inherently flame retardant and display unique physical properties. FRX’s products have applications in consumer electronic, building and construction, and transportation markets.

FRX Polymers, Inc. was founded in 2007 following over five years of intensive research and development in the field of inherently flame retardant plastics. The company operates two pilot plants in Chelmsford MA, a polymer pilot plant in Switzerland and a full scale plant in Antwerp Belgium.

BASF inaugurates Innovation Campus Asia Pacific in India

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BASF has recently inaugurated its new Innovation Campus Asia Pacific, located in Mumbai, India. With a total expected investment of up to EUR 50 million, the projects marks BASF’s largest R+D investment in South Asia, as per GV.

All global research operations at the innovation campus will be housed under BASF Chemicals India Private Limited, a 100 % subsidiary of BASF.

The innovation campus will expand the company’s existing R+D activities in India to include global and regional research on a wide range of speciality chemicals. Topics will cover personal and home care, process development, organic synthesis, crop protection and many more. Amongst others, the approximately 20,000 m2 campus houses scientific and technical laboratories, offices, and an auditorium.

The innovation campus significantly expands BASF’s research capacities in India, which were established in 2005 and expanded in 2014 to cover agricultural research, organic synthesis, molecular modelling and advanced process research. The innovation campus includes laboratories for chemical synthesis, application and process development, as well as analytics. It brings all new and existing research and development activities by BASF in Mumbai under one roof. Combined with the broad range of current development activities, Innovation Campus Asia Pacific (Mumbai) will enable global know-how exchange and foster collaboration with customers, industrial and academic partners. The campus can accommodate up to 300 scientists and will bring together top scientists from India and other parts of the world.

"We see the demand for innovative solutions in many industries in India, including automotive as well as food and nutrition. Moreover, India is now home to a wide range of high caliber scientists and excellent domestic research capabilities," said Sanjeev Gandhi, Member of the Board of Executive Directors, BASF SE, responsible for Asia Pacific. BASF has expanded its presence in India during the past several years, both in terms of local manufacturing as well as in providing tailored solutions for the challenges of mobility, housing, environmental protection and hygiene. Through its local subsidiaries, namely BASF India Limited, BASF Chemicals India Private Limited and BASF Catalysts India Private Limited, the group has invested actively in India to realise these opportunities, with approximately EUR 300 million investment over the past four years in manufacturing and R&D.

One of BASF’s three central technology platforms, Advanced Materials & Systems Research, has been headquartered at the Innovation Campus Asia Pacific (Shanghai) since January 2016, headed by Dr. Harald Lauke, President of the technology platform and Regional Research Representative for Asia Pacific. The other two technology platforms, Chemical Engineering & Process Research and Bioscience Research, are respectively headquartered in Europe and North America. Innovation Campus Asia Pacific (Mumbai) will house research activities from all these platforms. Through its local subsidiary, BASF India Limited, the group has also been operating an Agricultural Research Station in Pune since 2015, and an R&D Center in Mangalore since 2014, focusing on offering technical and product development support to local and global automotive coatings customers. These R+D facilities form a strong network to drive and support both regional and global innovation projects.

At the end of 2016, BASF in India had 2,356 employees at ten production sites and ten offices, as well as two R+D centres, located in Mumbai and Mangalore. In 2016, BASF registered sales of approximately EUR 1.1 billion to customers in India.

As MRC wrote before, in early March 2017, BASF Catalysts India Private Limited inaugurated its new mobile emissions catalysts manufacturing site. The site includes a new 47,000-square-meter production plant, which replaces an existing BASF plant in Chennai and is the culmination of a three-year expansion project, which has doubled the company’s catalyst manufacturing capacity in India.

BASF is the world’s leading chemical company. Its portfolio ranges from chemicals, plastics, performance products and crop protection products to oil and gas. BASF generated sales of about EUR58 billion in 2016.

Zhongtian Hechuang brought on-stream LLDPE plant in China

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Zhongtian Hechuang Energy has restarted its linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) plant last week, as per Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in China informed that the company has resumed operations at the plant on March 24, 2017. The plant was shut for maintenance in mid-March 2017.

Located in Inner Mongolia, the plant has a capacity of 300,000 mt/year.

As MRC informed previously, another major petrochemical producer in China - Sinopec Maoming Petrochemical - shut its LLDPE plant for a maintenance turnaround early this week. The exact duration of the planned turnaround could not be ascertained. Located at Guangdong in China, the plant has a production capacity of 220,000 mt/year.

Zhongtian Hechuang Energy is a joint venture between Sinopec (38.75%), China Coal Group (38.75%), Shenergy Group Co., Ltd. (12.5%), and Inner Mongolia Manshi Coal Group (10%).

Yanchang Petroleum large-scale CCUS facility enters construction in China

MOSCOW (MRC) -- China’s first large-scale carbon capture storage and utilization (CCUS) facility enters construction. The facility's final investment decision represents a series of "firsts" for China and Yanchang Petroleum, one of China's largest oil and gas companies and the facility's owner, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

This is the first large-scale CCUS facility to enter construction in China and Asia, and the first large-scale coal-to-chemicals carbon capture and storage facility.

Located near Xi'an, Yanchang CCUS will capture more than 400,000 tpy of CO2 from two coal to gasification (syngas) plants. It will reinject captured CO2 into previously developed oil fields to release oil from existing formations in a process known as Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR).

"Four years ago, this was an industrial plant venting CO2 into the atmosphere. Today, just four years later, it is a standard-bearer for clean technology,” said Alex Zapantis, Asia Pacific General Manager, Global CCS Institute. “This facility is expected to capture between 6 MMt and 8 MMt of CO2 over the course of its life. This is a massive credit to Yanchang Petroleum and the Shaanxi Province which has created a small piece of history in a city renowned for its rich history -- the famed Terracotta Army. We look forward to seeing Yanchang Petroleum and others like it continue to advance the climate change agenda across China and show the world how practical, cost effective and climate-relevant CCS is."

Currently, there are 16 large-scale CCS facilities in operation around the world with a further five coming onstream within the next 12-18 months.