Reliance Industries shuts its PP plant in Gujarat for maintenance

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) has shut down its polypropylene (PP) plant for maintenance, reported Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source informed that the plant was shut recently for a maintenance turnaround. The plant is likely to remain shut for around 25 days.

Located at Hazira near Surat in Gujarat, the PP plant has a production capacity of 600,000 mt/year.

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.

Seeking higher revenues, Saudi sets out stall for light crude

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Despite OPEC's oil output curbs, Saudi Arabia has been offering its customers more light crudes while cutting heavy grades, a trend that could increase as the kingdom wants to maximize revenue and needs more heavy oil to power its own refineries, said Reuters.

This trend, if sustained, will impact refining margins particularly in Asia, and narrow the spread between light and heavy crude globally, industry sources and analysts said. That would be bad news for sophisticated refiners, which value heavy grades because the lower cost of such oil results in higher margins, and good news for older, simpler plants that generally need light, sweet crude.

Saudi Arabia cut the April prices of light crude it sells to Asia for the first time in three months in an effort to shore up demand. The spread between Arab Light and Heavy was at USD2.45 a barrel, the narrowest since September.

Before the OPEC output pact, in mid-November 2016, Brent futures for delivery in June 2017 were trading at a premium of around USD4 per barrel over Oman futures. That has since narrowed to around USD1.25.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia and a number of other producers pledged to cut output by about 1.8 MMbpd from Jan. 1, the first curb in eight years, to boost prices and erode a glut. OPEC is discussing whether to extend the pact beyond June.

Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, accounts for some 40% of the pledged OPEC curbs and has reduced output by more than 500,000 bpd to slightly below 10 MMbpd, with cuts concentrated mainly in medium and heavy grades.

Those cuts, and increasing output of US shale oil, have increased the price of Middle Eastern heavy crudes for Asian delivery, making it economical for traders to ship crude from Russia, the Atlantic Basin and the United States to Asia.

Most of the heavier Saudi grades comes from offshore fields -- mainly Safaniya, Manifa and Zuluf, which makes production costly compared to other Middle Eastern producers such as Iran and Iraq, industry sources said. "You have to meet local demand first, and domestic refineries in Saudi Arabia need the heavy grades," one industry source said.

"To sell the heavy grades at a competitive price against other producers, you would be producing at higher cost but selling at low profit."

Saudi Arabia produces a range of crudes ranging from Arab Extra Light to Arab Heavy. It has nine refineries with processing capacity of about 2.9 MMbpd, of which just above 1 MMbpd of refining power runs on medium and heavy grades.

"Strategically, if they have to cut back a little they would prefer to cut back the expensive offshore production and sustain the lighter crudes," said Sadad al-Husseini, an energy consultant and former senior executive at state oil giant Saudi Aramco.

Light, sweet crudes are more valuable to refiners because they are easier to process, while heavier and sour grades often trade at a discount.

Clariant unveils ground-breaking additives at European Coatings Show 2017

MOSCOW (MRC) – Clariant, a world leader in specialty chemicals, will present several new products developed by its Additives Business Unit at the European Coatings Show 2017, taking place in Nuremberg, Germany, on April 4-6, said the company on its website.

Exhibiting on Booth 7-123, Clariant will unveil fire protection ingredients for intumescent coatings, an additive to improve properties of electrostatic powder coatings, a synergistic UV absorber/light stabilizer for solvent- and water-based coatings, and a new family of waxes based on renewable resources.

Exolit AP 435 is a ground-breaking new halogen-free flame retardant that prolongs the shelf-life of water-based intumescent coatings without affecting fire protection properties. Coatings containing Exolit AP 435 have a low and stable viscosity, even in cold environments and after long storage, offering customers increased flexibility on the construction site. This fine-particle ammonium polyphosphate has the same high quality and performance level as Clariant’s well-known Exolit AP 422.

Exolit 855 (TP) fire protection ingredient for transparent intumescent coatings on wood is a completely clear, almost colorless solution, enabling it to be used even on light-colored woods. It is suitable for application on surfaces subject to very strict regulations – in public buildings for example. As a liquid partial phosphoric acid ester, it can be used in combination with acid curing resins for coating solid and engineered woods (e.g. chipboards, medium density fiber boards (MDF), oriented strand boards (OSB), plywood and veneered wood).

AddWorks IBC 251 is a "tribo enhancing" additive for electrostatic powder coatings, providing an all-in-one solution for cost-effective formulations. It features a high electrostatic charge loading capability, together with protection against heat and light. AddWorks IBC 251 is suitable for a broad range of resins, including polyesters and polyester/expoxy binders, among others. It is non-staining, so discoloration is reduced under gas-fading conditions in open-flame baking processes.

Hostavin1 TB-03 is a synergistic combination of a high performance UV absorber and a hindered amine light stabilizer (HALS). It meets the most demanding requirements for high performance coatings. Hostavin TB-03 is mainly characterized by its broad compatibilities in both solvent-borne and water-borne coatings (all-in-one solutions). It is recommended for all kinds of highly durable clear and pigmented coatings and for numerous applications, including automotive clear coats, plastic coatings, coil coatings, and high-end wood coatings.

Licocare RBW is a new family of hard waxes based on renewable feedstocks. Their diverse properties make them suitable for a wide range of applications including coatings and inks, polish and care, agricultural coatings and plastics processing. They show excellent matting, slip and scratch resistance properties in coating applications, and excellent rub resistance in printing inks. Licocare RBW 102 TP and Licocare RBW 106 TP are medium to high polarity wax types; Licocare RBW 300 TP is a partially saponified wax.

As MRC informed earlier, Clariant announced that it has been awarded a contract by Dongguan Grand Resource Science & Technology Co. Ltd. to develop a new propane dehydrogenation unit in cooperation with CB&I.

Clariant AG is a Swiss chemical company and a world leader in the production of specialty chemicals for the textile, printing, mining and metallurgical industries. It is engaged in processing crude oil products in pigments, plastics and paints. Clariant India has local masterbatch production activities at Rania, Kalol and Nandesari (Gujarat) and Vashere (Maharashtra) sites in India.


BASF partners with Israel Landa Labs

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BASF and Landa Labs announced their strategic long-term partnership today at the European Coatings Show (ECS) in Nuremberg, Germany. Under this exclusive agreement, BASF will employ Landa’s revolutionary nano-pigment technology in a new portfolio of easy dispersible ultra-high transparency pigments marketed under the Colors & Effects brand, said the company on its website.

This groundbreaking development will offer unprecedented color depth while significantly simplifying the production of automotive coatings.

"We are very excited to partner with Landa in this cutting-edge venture," said Alexander Haunschild, senior vice president, pigments, BASF. "We see the remarkable impact that Benny Landa and his company are having in the printing industry and are proud to bring this amazing technology to our customers in the automotive coatings market. This long-term collaboration demonstrates our commitment to differentiate our customers’ business by bringing new technology to demanding markets."

The Landa nano-pigment technology – originally developed for the printing industry – allows BASF to introduce a new generation of Colors & Effects pigments with the highest quality consistency for the final automotive coating. The smaller size and narrower particle distribution leads to a thinner, higher chroma coating.

"We are proud to establish this global partnership with BASF and its Colors & Effects team," said Benny Landa, chairman of the Landa Group. "By combining our technologies and expertise, we can provide fantastic new products to the automotive coatings market. This synergistic alliance has the potential to disrupt the market."

"This is an industry first," said Stefan Suetterlin, vice president of global business management, pigments, BASF. "For decades, our customers have been looking for an advancement like this in the industry. Using this technology will allow us to create new products for automotive coatings and we are excited to announce this today at the European Coatings Show."

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.

Transneft could raise oil exports to Belarus from April

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Russia's Transneft has the technical capacity to pump 24 MMt of oil to Belarus this year and could start pumping additional volumes from April, an official at the oil pipeline monopoly told Reuters .

Russia agreed to restore oil supplies to Belarus to 24 MMt after Minsk said it would pay off debt owed to Russian natural gas exporter Gazprom.

Transneft could pump extra oil if it receives requests from oil companies, Igor Demin said. While most companies have already planned April exports and booked vessels for the shipments, Demin said some still had resources that they could export to Belarus this month.

To do so, Russia's Energy Ministry must issue additional allocations for exports to Belarus above the current quota. Transneft also must receive a message from Belarusian refineries that they are able to process 20 MMt of crude oil in the April-December period, Demin said.

Russian companies have an allocation to export 4 MMt of crude oil to Belarus in April-June. Russia earlier cut first-quarter oil supply plans to 4 MMt from a planned 4.5 MM due to a dispute over natural gas.

Some traders say increasing exports to Belarus would help Transneft overcome possible shortages of export capacity at Russian ports.