Solvay raises global sulfone polymer production with new Indian unit and US expansions

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Solvay is expanding its global production capacity in sulfone polymers in India and the United States to address significant demand growth from mainly the medical and water treatment industries for this high-performance thermoplastic material, as per the company's press release.

As part of Solvay's earlier announced plan to lift sulfone polymers capacity by more than 35% in the next 5 years. Solvay is constructing a new production unit, dedicated to polyethersulfone (PESU) in Panoli, India. Capacity increases are also occurring in the U.S. at Solvay's polymer and monomer units in Marietta (Ohio) and Augusta (Georgia), via investment and process optimizations.

"Solvay's expansion firms up our leading position in sulfone polymers which benefit from booming demand in fast-growing industries such as water purification and healthcare," said Augusto Di Donfrancesco, President of Solvay's Specialty Polymers Global Business Unit. "Our customers can rely on us for their long term supply worldwide from such key regions as the United States and Asia."

Construction of the new unit in Panoli is underway and production should reach full capacity mid 2019.

Solvay's sulfone polymers Radel PPSU (polyphenylsulfone), Veradel PESU (polyethersulfone) and Udel PSU (polysulfone) are applied in a range of highly competitive industries, such as aerospace, automotive, water and electronics as well as consumer and construction markets.

As MRC informed before, in late 2016, Solvay completed the sale of its 70.59% stake in Solvay Indupa to Brazilian chemical group Unipar Carbocloro, following the approval earlier this month of the Brazilian antitrust authority CADE.

Besides, in early July 2016, Solvay completed the divestment of its shareholding in Inovyn (London), bringing to an end Solvay's chlorvinyls joint venture with Ineos. Solvay received exit cash proceeds amounting to EUR335 million (USD370.7 million). The dissolution of the jv follows regulatory clearances from the relevant authorities.

Inovyn was formed on 1 July 2015 as a jv between Ineos and SolVin, a subsidiary of Solvay. Solvay and Ineos signaled their decision to end their chlorvinyls jv in March this year.

Solvay is headquartered in Brussels with about 27,000 employees spread across 58 countries. It generated pro forma net sales of EUR10.9 bn in 2016, with 90% made from activities where it ranks among the world’s top 3 players.

Reliance makes first purchase of US crude

MOSCOW (MRC) -- India’s Reliance Industries Ltd has purchased crude oil cargoes from the United States for the first time, drawn by the lower price for US oil versus global benchmarks, said Hydrocarbonprocessibg.

Reliance, the owner of the world’s biggest refining complex at Jamnagar, is joining state-run refiners Indian Oil Corp, Bharat Petroleum Corp and Hindustan Petroleum Corp in importing US crude. The purchase illustrates the vast reach of US oil exports since the government rescinded a decades-long ban at the end of 2015.

For this purchase, Reliance bought 1 MMbbl of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) Midland and a similar-sized cargo of Eagle Ford crude, both of which are expected to arrive in November, the sources said. US producer Occidental Petroleum Corp sold the WTI Midland cargo, they said.

Reliance did not respond to Reuters’ email seeking comments. There was also no reply to an emailed request for comment from Occidental sent outside of US business hours.

Opportunities for Indian refiners to import more US crude increased after the discount for West Texas Intermediate, the benchmark for US crude, to global benchmark Brent stretched to its widest since 2015 during September.

State-run Indian refiners have bought a total 7.85 MMbbl of oil from the United States so far. India’s imports of US oil follows Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Washington in June when President Donald Trump said his country looked forward to exporting more energy products to India.

On Monday, Indian Oil, the country’s top refiner, received its parcel of the US crude at the eastern port of Paradip, the company said in a statement.

Including the US as a source for crude imports for refiners will go a long way in mitigating the risk arising from geo-political disruptions, Sanjay Sudhir, the joint secretary for international cooperation at the oil ministry, said in the Indian Oil statement.

US crude oil shipments to India have the potential to boost bilateral trade by up to USD2 B, the US embassy in India said in a statement on Monday.

Sadara Chemical hikes capital through loans

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Sadara Basic Services Co., which is indirectly owned by Sadara Chemical Co. said that Sadara has increased its capital to SAR 31.69 billion from SAR 29.06 billion through loans from partners, said Argaam.

Sadara is 65 percent owned by Saudi Aramco and 35 percent by American- Dow Chemicals, according to data compiled by Argaam.

Following the capital hike, the number of shares increased to 3.169 billion shares from 2.91 billion shares, the listed company said in a bourse statement.

Sadara owners have retained their original stakes after the increase.

The capital increase does not result in any financial impact on Sadara Basic Services Co., the company added.

The parent company has also amended and restated all provisions of its articles of association in accordance with the Companies Law to reflect the capital increase.

India cuts excise duty on petrol and diesel

MOSCOW (MRC) — India on Tuesday cut excise duty on petrol and diesel by two rupees a liter to protect retail consumers from higher global crude oil prices, the government said, as per Reuters.

The new excise duty will be effective from Oct. 4, the Finance Ministry said in a message on Twitter.

The finance ministry had earlier ruled out lowering excise duties on petroleum products, citing pressure on government finances.

Buckeye Partners resumes operation at its Yabucoa oil terminal

MOSCOW (MRC) — Buckeye Partners has resumed full operations at its oil terminal and storage tanks in Puerto Rico two weeks after it closed the facility ahead of Hurricane Maria, said Reuters.

"Buckeye has safely resumed full service of its marine, truck and tank operations at the Yabucoa, Puerto Rico Terminal Facility and is available to meet the fuel needs of the island's businesses and residents," it said in a statement.

The US oil storage and transportation company operates the 4.6 MMbbl Yabucoa oil storage facility.