Iraq sets up oil shipping, trading joint venture

MOSCOW (MRC) -- OPEC member Iraq has formed a JV with a shipping company owned by Arab states to transfer, store and trade crude and oil products, according to official documents and industry sources, reported Reuters.

Middle East oil producers are venturing into buying and selling oil to boost their incomes as a sharp drop in crude prices since mid-2014 has forced the industry to become more efficient and commercially focused.

The venture, Al-Iraqia Shipping Services and Oil Trading (AISSOT), will handle a "plethora of activities ranging from trading of petroleum products, ship chartering, oil terminals, various marine services, and bunkering", according to a company statement sent to Reuters.

AISSOT is owned by state firm Iraqi Oil Tankers Co (IOTC) and Arab Maritime Petroleum Transport Co (AMPTC), a pan-Arab company in which Arab oil producers such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait hold a share.

IOTC owns a stake of 22.5% in AISSOT, according to a copy of the signed 20-yr contract seen by Reuters.

"Formation of AISSOT is based on Iraqi Oil Ministry vision to further strengthen activities of two major entities i.e. AMPTC and IOTC in the field of shipping, marine services, and oil trading," the company said in a statement.

"It is also one of Iraqi Oil Ministry’s initiatives to develop national oil companies to international levels."

AISSOT, which will soon start bunkering operations at ports in southern Iraq, is the second oil venture set up recently by the country.

State oil marketer SOMO and Russia's Litasco formed a joint trading company in Dubai to market crude and may expand into oil products and petrochemicals, industry sources said.

"The new venture will have exclusive rights for transportation of crude and refined products. It will develop other projects include trading starting with fuel oil and products and can eventually get into crude oil allocations," said an industry source familiar with the company's operations.

AISSOT will be based in Dubai with plans to open offices in Singapore and other hubs. It has around 25 employees now and intends to go up to 50 in Dubai by the year-end, the source said.

The company is in discussions to build a terminal storage facility in Iraq over the next few years that would handle crude and oil products, the source added.

According to AISSOT, the company "is in a position to invest in and gradually acquire a significant fleet to transport the majority of Iraqi crude oil to end users at competitive rates."

The company will also start a marine academy to train Iraqis, with the aim of eventually having up to 85% Iraqi nationals working on its ships.

AISSOT's co-owner AMPTC was established in 1973 by member countries of the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries. Saudi Arabia's government is the biggest shareholder in AMPTC with a 15.595% stake, while Iraq has 13.657%, according to the company's website. Kuwait has 15.484%, the UAE 14.175% and Qatar 14.776%, along with other countries such as Libya, Algeria, Bahrain and Egypt.

As MRC wrote before, in early May 2017, Iraq's oil ministry said it had started loading a tanker with 2 MMbbl of crude oil bound for Egypt, marking the first shipment under a bilateral agreement.

Kraiburg TPE presents new TPE series with adhesion to EPDM

MOSCOW (MRC) -- A new material development has been announced by Germain thermoplastics elastomer manufacturer Kraiburg TPE - a new TPE series with outstanding adhesion to EPDM, according to GV.

The new grades are part of the Thermolast K family and are said to combine excellent adhesion to EPDM with high UV resistance and very good weatherability, in addition to good flow properties. The new material series is ideal for automotive exterior applications. Kraiburg TPE mentioned pilot projects which include window seals consisting of EPDM profiles with moulded TPE corner joints.

CEO of Kraiburg TPE Franz Hinterecker said: "Our trade fair exhibit will demonstrate more than just our expertise in the development and production of extremely high-quality compounds. We take on the challenges of our customers and make them our own, in order to offer a unique service bundle with comprehensive material competence, solid knowledge of the market and intensive, personal customer orientation worldwide. We look forward to consolidating and expanding our network of close customer relationships in Friedrichshafen."

Another new development that already attracted attention at this year’s Chinaplas is a new TPE for use in consumer electronics. For this field of application the company developed materials with soft velvety surfaces and very good adhesion to polar thermoplastics, as well as outstanding mechanical properties.

As MRC informed previously, in March 2015, for automotive exterior applications with wide flow paths and exceptionally challenging weathering requirements, Kraiburg TPE (Waldkraiburg/Germany) developed a new class of compounds within the Thermolast K family: High-flow compounds.

Kraiburg Rubber (Suzhou) Co. Ltd. was established in 2005 and is part of the Waldkraiburg-based German company Kraiburg Holding GmbH & Co. KG. The company produces a wide range of standard rubber compounds (based on NR, EPDM, CR, AEM, SBR, FKM, etc.) for automotive, building and construction applications, and other industrial markets as well as highly customised products for all kinds of industries at its Suzhou site. The compounds are produced on highly automated and fully process-controlled mixing lines, based on state-of-the-art technology. The company has 130 employees.

Gazprom neftekhim Salavat resumes PE production

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Gazprom neftekhim Salavat has begun a gradual resumption of polyethylene (PE) production, according to ICIS-MRC's Price report, citing the plant's representatives.

The producer's clients said Gazprom neftekhim Salavat had resumed its high density polyethylene (HDPE) production by Monday, 28 August, the first shipments of material to the market are expected on Wednesday-Thursday. Besides, the plant's low density polyethylene (LDPE) production will be restarted during the week.

The outage was scheduled, but it took more time than planned. The shutdown for maintenance at PE units started on 1 July and was to be over by early August. But because of the problems at the ethylene unit, the outage at LDPE and HDPE production capacities lasted almost two months. The plant's LDPE and HDPE production capacities are 45,000 and 120,000 tonnes per year, respectively.

OAO "Gazprom neftekhim Salavat" (formerly OAO "Salavatnefteorgsintez") is one of the leading petrochemical companies in Russia, carrying out a full cycle of processing hydrocarbon material. The list of products manufactured by the plant includes more than 140 items, including 76 grades of the main products: gasoline, diesel fuel, kerosene, fuel oil, toluene, solvent, liquefied gases, benzene, styrene, ethylbenzene, butyl alcohols, phthalic anhydride and plasticizers, polyethylene, polystyrenes, silica gels and zeolite catalysts, corrosion inhibitors, elemental sulfur, ammonia and urea, glycols and amines, a wide range of household products made of plastics, surfactants and much more.

Celanese raised August VAM prices in Asia

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Celanese Corporation, a global technology and specialty materials company, has increased list and off-list selling prices for Vinyl Acetate Monomer (VAM), as per the company's press release.

The price increases below was effective as of 14 August 2017, or as contracts otherwise allow, and are incremental to any previously announced price increases:

- for China - by RMB200/tonne;
- for Asia outside China - USD50/tonne.

As MRC informed before, Celanese Corporation last raised its list and off-list VAM prices in Asian region on 12 July 2017 or as contracts otherwise allowed, as follows:

- CNY200/tonne - for China;
- USD50/tonne - for Asia outside China.

Celanese Corporation is a global technology leader in the production of differentiated chemistry solutions and specialty materials used in most major industries and consumer applications.Based in Dallas, Celanese employs approximately 7,300 employees worldwide and had 2016 net sales of USD5.4 billion.

LyondellBasell Board authorizes quarterly dividend

MOSCOW (MRC) -- LyondellBasell, one of the world's largest plastics, chemicals and refining companies, has announced that its Supervisory Board has authorized the company's Management Board to declare a dividend of USD0.90 per share, as per the company's press release.

The dividend will be paid September 13, 2017 to shareholders of record September 6, 2017 with an ex-dividend date of September 1, 2017.

As MRC reported earlier, in August 2016, LyondellBasell made the final investment decision to build a high density polyethylene (HDPE) plant on the US Gulf Coast. The plant will have an annual capacity of 1.1 billion pounds (500,000 metric tons) and will be the first commercial plant to employ LyondellBasell's new proprietary Hyperzone PE technology. The start-up of the new plant is scheduled for 2019.

LyondellBasell is one of the world's largest plastics, chemical and refining companies. The company manufactures products at 57 sites in 18 countries. LyondellBasell products and technologies are used to make items that improve the quality of life for people around the world including packaging, electronics, automotive parts, home furnishings, construction materials and biofuels.