PKN Orlen, Siemens to take part in an EU energy research project

MOSCOW (MRC) -- PKN Orlen is going to implement a project funded under the Horizon 2020 EU framework program. The funding will enable the Company to take part in a project aimed at field testing solutions within existing high-efficiency cogeneration infrastructure, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Project partners will include the University of Genoa, NV Mayekawa Europe, Limmat Scientific, Clauger, Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Europe, KTH Royal Institute of Technology of Stockholm, IREN, D’Appolonia, SIEMENS Industry Software SAS, Novener, Aristotele University, Alfa Laval Lund, and Ansaldo Energia. In line with the project schedule, at its next stage the partner companies are to sign an agreement and then commence the implementation.

"Participation in the project will enable PKN ORLEN to further enhance its R&D capabilities in partnership with Europe’s leaders in the area, and to improve its access to new knowledge and state-of-the-art technologies. At the same time, we are cementing PKN Orlen’s reputation in Europe as an innovation-driven company," said Piotr Chelminski, Member of the PKN Orlen Management Board for Development and Power Generation.

The project will be concerned with determining a potential increase in the CCGT operating flexibility through installation of high-temperature heat pumps. Seeking to fully harness the flexibility and expand the operating range of CCGTs, the project will involve test implementation of an innovative concept to integrate a high-efficiency heat pump with advanced controls serving as smart planning tools.

As a consortium member, PKN Orlen will have certain tasks, including contribution to an analysis of the impact of a high-efficiency heat pump as installed in a CCGT unit owned by the Company.

Horizon 2020 is the European Union’s largest ever research and innovation funding program, aimed at establishing a consistent funding system that would span the entire innovation cycle, from a scientific concept, to research, to launch of new solutions, products or technologies. Its 2014–2020 budget is close to EUR 80 B.

Petronas, Saudi Aramco explore petchem expansion in Malaysia

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Malaysian state-owned oil company Petronas and its partner Saudi Aramco are studying projects to build more petrochemical plants to make full use of raw materials from their JV in Malaysia, said Reuters.

Aramco signed a deal in late February to take a USD7-B investment, in the RAPID (Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development) JV with Petronas in Pengerang, southern Malaysia.

Projects being studied include specialty chemicals and synthetic rubber, company officials said at an industry conference on Monday.

"We're looking at what else we can do at RAPID," said Md Arif Mahmood, executive vice president and CEO of downstream operations at Petronas.

"There will be specialty (chemicals) using the C4s (technology)," he added, referring to petrochemicals produced from naphtha crackers.

The cracker could produce about 600 Mt of butadiene, Abdulaziz Al Judaimi, senior vice president of downstream at Saudi Aramco, told reporters.

The butadiene could be used to produce either elastomers, or synthetic rubber, he said.

Syngenta shareholders accept ChemChina USD43 billion takeover offer

MOSCOW (MRC) -- China National Chemical Corp., known as ChemChina, said shareholders of Swiss agribusiness giant Syngenta AG accepted its takeover offer worth about USD43 billion, paving the way for the completion of China's largest-ever foreign acquisition, as per FOXBusiness.

In a press release Friday, ChemChina said based on preliminary numbers, 80.7% of shares were tendered in favor of the acquisition, higher than the minimum acceptance rate of 67% needed for the deal to go through.

ChemChina said the first payment settlement is scheduled for May 18, at which time Syngenta says ChemChina will take over control of the company.

ChemChina said it is moving to delist Syngenta's shares in Switzerland and the U.S. "as soon as permitted by law and applicable regulations."

As MRC informed before, in mid-April 2017, ChemChina and Syngenta announced that they had received approval from the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China for the proposed acquisition of Syngenta by ChemChina - at USD43 billion, it's the largest foreign acquisition by a Chinese company. A bit earlier, the U.S. and European Union competition authorities gave conditional approval of the deal.

ChemChina produces special chemical materials, basic chemicals, oil refining, agricultural chemistry, rubber products, and chemical equipment.

Borealis Q1 net income up 22.7% y/y to USD336 million

МОSCOW (MRC) -- Borealis’ net profit increased 22.7% year-on-year (y/y) to EUR313 million (USD336 million as on 31 March 2017) in the first quarter ended 31 March 2017, according to a company press release.

The strong result was driven by continuing high margins in the polyolefins business and by an improved contribution from Borouge. The contribution from Base Chemicals was lower compared to the first quarter of 2016, as a result of a more difficult fertilizer market environment.

Net debt increased by EUR 619 million in the first quarter, largely due to the payment of a EUR 750 million dividend to Borealis' shareholders. Despite the increase in net debt, Borealis' financial position remains strong, with a gearing of 21% at the end of the first quarter 2017.

"Borealis continues to benefit from the strong polyolefins industry margin supporting the polyolefins business profit contribution", comments Mark Garrett, Borealis Chief Executive. "The Borouge result in the first quarter was firm but was impacted by the limited availability of feedstock. All in all our excellent financial performance has also allowed us to return cash to our shareholders, via a EUR 750 million dividend, probably a record in Austrian industrial history."

"In the second quarter, Borealis expects another solid result. The fertilizer market conditions are improving and we expect the polyolefins business and Borouge to continue to perform well. The main challenge going forward this year will be the successful execution of a record number of planned turnarounds, involving multiple locations."

Borealis is a leading provider of innovative solutions in the fields of polyolefins, base chemicals and fertilizers. With its Head Office in Vienna, Austria, the company currently has around 6,600 employees and operates in over 120 countries. Borealis generated EUR 7.2 billion in sales revenue and a net profit of EUR 1,107 million in 2016.


Indian top refiner in early talks with Aramco for downstream project

MOSCOW (MRC) -- India's top refiner said it is in initial talks with Saudi Aramco on downstream investments, including a mega project on its west coast, that could help the OPEC member lock-in customers amid an oil supply glut, said Reuters.

Oil producers are targetting growing demand in Asia to boost market share after rising US shale oil output has displaced some of their supplies.

India, the world's third biggest oil consumer, plans to build a 1.2-MMbpd refinery to petrochemical project in the country's west coast to feed its growing fuel demand.

The International Energy Agency estimates India's refining capacity, the fourth biggest in the world, would lag local fuel demand going forward, requiring investment in more plants. "They are interested in projects and we have just started (talks)...It's very, very preliminary discussions." B. Ashok, chairman of Indian Oil Corp told reporters when asked if his firm is in talks with Aramco on the west coast project.

Saudi Arabia's Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih earlier said that Aramco continues to explore a variety of promising collaboration opportunities across the ASEAN region and elsewhere in Asia, with India being a prime target.

Saudi Aramco is beefing up its overseas portfolio by investing in refineries in major markets to secure an outlet for its crude oil ahead of its initial public offering next year. IOC plans to invest about USD30 B in five years with the bulk of that meant for fuel upgradation projects and petrochemicals, Ashok told reporters on the sidelines of the Asian Oil and Gas conference.

India plans a nation-wide use of Euro VI compliant fuels from April 2020. IOC and its partners are expected to make a final investment decision on the west coast project in end-2018 to early 2019. The project, which includes a 3 MMtpy ethylene unit, would then take five years to complete, he said.

IOC aims to complete a 5 MMtpy liquefied natural gas terminal at Ennore in the east coast in the third quarter of 2018, Ashok said. Indian refiners are raising the share of spot crude in their overall crude intake to benefit from changing market dynamics and quickly capture cheap distress and arbitrage barrels.

Ashok said this year IOC will buy 68% of its oil needs from term suppliers, down from 80% earlier.