Thai PTT to begin commercial production at new metallocene LLDPE plant Q1 2018

MOSCOW (MRC) -- PTT is on track to start commercial operations at its new 400,000 mt/year metallocene C6 linear low density polyethylene plant at Map Ta Phut, Thailand, in the first quarter of 2018, a company source said Tuesday, as per Apic-online.

PTT will start up the plant by the end of this year, the source said.

"We currently switch the normal C4 LLDPE units to metallocene-based C6 LLDPE production, and are facing a few quality issues, hence our decision to build a dedicated metallocene plant," the source explained.

PTT currently has a total capacity of 800,000 mt/year of high density polyethylene (HDPE), 300,000 mt/year of low density polyethylene and 400,000 mt/year of LLDPE at the same site.

As MRC wrote before, PTTGC restarted LLDPE plant on 3 April, 2016, following a maintenance turnaround. The plant was shut for maintenance in early-March 2016. Located at Map Ta Phut in Thailand, the LLDPE plant has a production capacity of 400,000 mt/year.

PTT Global Chemical is a leading player in the petrochemical industry and owns several petrochemical facilities with a combined capacity of 8.45 million tonnes a year.

Nord Stream 2 AG and European energy companies sign financing agreements

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The Nord Stream 2 project, being pursued by Gazprom, has taken another important step towards its implementation, responding to the need of the European Union for additional gas imports and thereby improving security of supplies to Europe, reported BASF on its site.

Nord Stream 2 AG signed financing agreements for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project with ENGIE, OMV, Shell, Uniper and Wintershall.

These five European energy companies have committed to provide long-term financing for 50 % of the total cost of the project, which is currently estimated to be EUR9.5 billion. Each European company will fund up to EUR950 million. Gazprom is and will remain the sole shareholder of the project company, Nord Stream 2 AG.

The financial commitment by the European companies underscores the Nord Stream 2 project’s strategic importance for the European gas market, contributing to competitiveness as well as medium and long-term energy security especially against the background of expected declining European production.

The 1,220-kilometer Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, with a total capacity of 55 billion cubic meters a year, will provide a direct link between reliable Russian gas reserves and European gas consumers from the coast of Russia via the Baltic Sea to Greifswald, Germany. Construction work will begin in 2018 and will be completed by the end of 2019.

Nord Stream 2 is a planned pipeline through the Baltic Sea, which will transport natural gas over 1,200 km from the world’s largest gas reserves in Russia via the most efficient route to consumers in Europe. Nord Stream 2 will largely follow the route and design of the successful Nord Stream pipeline. With Europe’s domestic gas production projected to halve in the next 20 years, Nord Stream 2’s twin pipeline system will help Europe to meet its future gas import needs, with the capacity to transport 55 billion cubic metres of gas per year, enough to supply 26 million European households. This secure supply of natural gas with its low CO2 emissions will also contribute to Europe’s objective to have a more climate-friendly energy mix with gas substituting for coal in power generation and providing back-up for intermittent renewable sources of energy such as wind and solar power.

As MRC informed before, BASF and Gazprom completed the swap of assets with equivalent value effective at the end of September 30, 2015, financially retroactive to April 1, 2013. With the swap, BASF is further expanding its production of oil and gas and has exited the gas trading and storage business.

Lubrizol selects Jacobs for engineering, procurement and construction services

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. has been selected by Lubrizol to provide engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services for Lubrizol’s new Polyisobutylene (PIB) unit in Deer Park, Texas, said the company on its website.

Executives from both companies, including Eric Schnur, Lubrizol Chairman, President and CEO, and Steve Demetriou, Jacobs Chairman and CEO, as well as dignitaries from the city, county and school board attended the ground breaking ceremony in March.

The project is part of Lubrizol’s plan to upgrade and enhance the company’s global capabilities. The new unit is expected to be fully operational in the first half of 2019.

"Jacobs is honored to partner and support Lubrizol’s goal of renewing its infrastructure," said Jacobs Petroleum and Chemicals President Gary Mandel. "Jacobs will leverage its global chemical industry knowledge to engineer, procure and construct Lubrizol’s Deer Park plant. This project enables us to further demonstrate our proven EPC project delivery skills and expand our strong position in the Gulf Coast."

Jacobs is one of the world’s largest and most diverse providers of full-spectrum technical, professional and construction services for industrial, commercial and government organizations globally. The company employs over 54,000 people and operates in more than 25 countries around the world.

Covestro raises prices for elastomer products

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Effective May 1st, 2017, Covestro will raise the selling prices for its Desmodur and Baytec elastomer systems, which include prepolymers, polyols and curatives, by up to 9%, said the producer on its site.

The magnitude varies depending upon the product line.

The price increase will be applied globally as contracts allow.

Customers will be contacted by Covestro Elastomers’ Sales Representatives to address the price increase for their specific products.

As MRC wrote before, Covestro is moving forward with a repurposing of its production operations in Brunsbuttel, Germany. In July 2016, the Board of Management officially approved an expansion of production capacity for the foam component MDI (feedstock for polyurethane) at the site. An existing, idled plant for the precursor TDI will be converted for production of MDI. The plans call for roughly doubling production capacity at the site to a total of approximately 400,000 metric tpa of MDI. Commissioning of the new plant complex is scheduled for late 2018.

With 2016 sales of EUR 11.9 billion, Covestro (formerly Bayer MaterialScience) is an independent subgroup within Bayer. It was created as part of the restructuring of Bayer AG from the former business group Bayer Polymers, with certain of its activities being spun off to Lanxess AG. Covestro manufactures and develops materials such as coatings, adhesives and sealants, polycarbonates (CDs, DVDs), polyurethanes (automotive seating, insulation for refrigerating appliances) etc. Covestro has 30 production sites around the globe and employs approximately 15,600 people (full-time equivalents) as of the end of 2016.

Valero Energy quarterly profit slumps 38.4 pct

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Valero Energy Corp, the largest U.S. oil refiner, reported a 38.4 percent fall in quarterly profit, hurt by weak margins in its core refining business, said Reuters.

The company said on Tuesday that its net income attributable to shareholders fell to USD305 million, or 68 cents per share, in the first quarter ended March 31, from USD495 million, or USD1.05 per share, a year earlier.

Operating revenue rose 38.6 percent to USD21.77 billion.

As MRC informed earlier, Valero Energy Partners’ (the Partnership) board of directors of its general partner has approved the Partnership’s acquisition of the Meraux and Three Rivers Terminal Services Business from a subsidiary of Valero Energy Corp. (Valero) for total consideration of approximately USD325 M.

Valero Energy Corporation is a Fortune 500 international manufacturer and a marketer of transportation fuels, other petrochemical products, and power. It is based in San Antonio, Texas, United States. The company owns and operates 16 refineries throughout the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and the Caribbean with a combined throughput capacity of approximately 3 million barrels (480,000 m3) per day, 10 ethanol plants with a combined production capacity of 1.2 billion US gallons (4,500,000 m3) per year, and a 50 megawatt wind farm.