WR Grace licenses process technology to Canada Kuwait Petrochemical

MOSCOW (MRC) -- W. R. Grace & Co., a supplier of polyolefin catalyst technology and polypropylene (PP) process technology, has contracted to license its UNIPOL PP Process Technology to Canada Kuwait Petrochemical Corporation (CKPC), a 50/50 JV between Pembina Pipeline Corporation of Canada and Petrochemical Industries Company K.S.C. of Kuwait, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The new installation will be part of CKPC's proposed integrated propane dehydrogenation/PP facility located in Sturgeon County, Alberta. If built, the PP line would be the world's largest single train, capable of producing 550,000 mtpy of PP, including homopolymer, random copolymer, and impact copolymer thermoplastic resins.

This is Grace's 16th new UNIPOL PP technology license since 2012 and its second in Canada. Grace's all gas-phase UNIPOL PP Process Technology provides the advanced and broad range of homopolymers, random copolymers, and impact copolymers in the industry.

As MRC informed earlier, in July 2016, BASF closed the previously announced transaction to divest its global Polyolefin Catalysts business to W. R. Grace & Co. Earlier, W.R. Grace acquired Dow's Unipol PP process licensing and related catalyst business for USD510 million in 2013.

SK Innovation sees favorable refining margins in H2

MOSCOW (MRC) -- SK Innovation Co Ltd, the owner of South Korea's top refiner, said on Thursday that it expects solid demand to keep refining margins healthy in the second half of this year, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Buoyed by strong demand for oil products, refining margins in Asia are hovering near five-month-highs, sitting at USD7.43 per barrel on Thursday, Reuters data showed.

"We expect refining margins to remain favorable on the back of solid demand," the owner of SK Energy said in an earnings statement.

A day earlier, S-Oil, the country's third-largest refiner, also said refining margins were expected to remain stable in the second half, boosted by demand growth from China and India.

SK Energy said diesel demand was expected to improve, driven by demand from emerging countries and a global economic recovery.

"The main drivers will be growing diesel demand from China and India," said Lee Yun-hi, head of corporate planning office at SK Energy.

Lee said gasoline margins are expected to increase gradually or remain flat in the third quarter from the previous quarter, backed by refinery maintenance plans in Mexico and demand from Africa and South America.

Fuel oil is also likely to stay strong amid falling supply from Russia and lower levels of heavy crude oil as major crude exporters such as Saudi Arabia have cut supplies of heavy crude to comply with OPEC-led production cuts, he said.

SK Innovation said crude distillation units (CDU) at its refineries in Ulsan and Incheon operated at 81% of capacity on average in the second quarter, down from 91% in the previous quarter due to its planned maintenance.

SK Energy has no large-scale maintenance plans in the third quarter and beyond, but has some small-scale maintenance plans which will not affect the refiner's run rates, Lee said.

For the April-June period, operating profits fell 62% to USD378.4 MM over the same period a year ago due to a drop in crude oil prices and maintenance, according to the company statement.

As MRC wrote before, in early February 2017, South Korea's SK Innovation said it would acquire Dow Chemical Co's ethylene acrylic acid (EAA) business for USD370 million, a move that will expand its range of high value-added chemical products.

China unveils plans to expand, upgrade oil and gas pipelines

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and National Energy Administration (NEA) have unveiled plans to expand and upgrade China’s oil and gas pipeline network over the next decade, according to Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The network should reach a total length of 169,000 km by 2020, they said in a joint statement. This would comprise 32,000 km of pipelines for crude oil, 33,000 km for refined oil and 104,000 km for natural gas. China currently has 112,000 km of oil and gas pipelines.

And by 2025, the network should reach a total length of 240,000 km, of which natural gas pipelines will comprise 123,000 km, according to the new goal.

The target envisages all Chinese cities with a population of at least 1 MM people being connected by a pipeline for refined fuel by that date, while those with more than 500,000 residents will have access to gas pipelines.

The project will support Beijing’s target of increasing gas’ share of China’s energy mix to 10% by the end of 2020, from around 6.5% currently. The move could also support the share prices of Chinese gas distributors, which have already surged around 30% on average so far this year.

As MRC informed before, in mid-March 2017, China Petroleum and Chemical Corp (Sinopec) started operating a major crude oil pipeline that connects eastern Jiangsu province with refineries in south China. The pipeline, which spans 560 kilometers, runs at an annual capacity of 20 MMt.

APS Elastomers launches new TPU for pneumatic tubing

MOSCOW (MRC) -- According to APS Elastomers, top-rated pneumatic hoses and brake tubes can be easily produced using its new thermoplastic polyurethane Zythane 7045D, which is said to add abrasion/tear/cut/puncture resistance, high burst pressure, high elasticity and coil retention, long-term flexibility, oil/fuel/microbial resistance, low-temperature flexibility and hydrolytic stability, as per GV.

Additionally, the material is said to provide puncture and abrasion resistance, along with an impressively high burst-pressure rating, yet it also ensures a high degree of flexibility for kink resistance and ease of coiling. Zythane 7045D is a polyether-based TPU specifically formulated for extrusion applications with ease of processing and free of gels. It exhibits very good abrasion resistance and toughness and has good hydrolytic stability, oil, fuel and solvent resistance, says the company. It is supplied uncoloured in pellet form.

In addition to pneumatic tubing, Zythane 7045D applications include FDA applications; cable sheathing, spiral tubing, film, irrigation hoses, conveyor hoses, fire hoses, hydraulic hoses, cable jacketing, flat flex cables, automotive sensor cables.

Polyether-based grades of Zythane TPUs offer improved microbial resistance, enhanced resistance to weak acids/bases and moisture/humidity, and low service temperatures.The robust characteristics of Zythane TPUs make it the superior choice for use in hose and tube applications, says APS Elastomers.

As MRC wrote before, in June 2016, APS Elastomers, a leader in the polyurethane casting industry specialising in suspension and drive train components for automotive, light truck and off-road industries, developed several proprietary thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) formulations with the proper mix of softness, strength, and durability needed for rigorous off-road applications; supplying polycaprolactone-based thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) grades with good processability and compression set at elevated temperatures.

APS Elastomers provides engineering service, technical support, and TPE materials (TPEs, TPVs, TPUs and other soft elastomers) for consumer and industrial applications. Company offerings have grown to include Maxelast TPEs, Viprene TPVs, Huntsman Polyurethanes' Irogran and Avalon TPUs, Zythane TPUs, TPE alloys, compounding series, and custom and standard soft elastomer formulations.

Chevron Phillips chemicals selects Audubon for main contractor framework agreement

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Audubon Engineering Solutions, a global provider of engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) services for the oil & gas, petrochemical, refining, and pipeline markets, announced that it has signed a teaming agreement with Chevron Phillips Chemical to provide capital-engineering services for their Gulf Coast Facilities, reported Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Previously, Audubon Engineering Solutions provided project execution and engineering support services to Chevron Phillips Chemical at multiple facilities ranging from small maintenance projects to major capital projects. Audubon Engineering Solutions’, La Porte and Houston, TX offices have led and directed the work effort.

By leveraging advanced facilities knowledge, along with extensive industrial services and multi-site arrangement capabilities, Audubon Engineering Solutions provides maintenance, modification, in-plant staffing, and asset integrity solutions to more than 100 sites throughout North America.

As MRC informed earlier, in late March 2016, Chevron Phillips Chemical reached a final investment decision to expand the low-viscosity polyalphaolefins (PAO) capacity at its Cedar Bayou plant in Baytown, Texas, by 10,000 tpy, or about 20%.

Chevron Phillips Chemical, headquartered in The Woodlands, Texas (north of Houston), US,l is one of the world’s top producers of olefins and polyolefins and a leading supplier of aromatics, alpha olefins, styrenics, specialty chemicals, piping, and proprietary plastics. Chevron and Phillips 66 each own 50% of Chevron Phillips Chemical.