Materia and Evonik reach agreement on catalyst license

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Materia, Inc., a supplier of high performance catalysts and advanced polymers, has entered into a license agreement with Evonik Industries, related to olefin metathesis catalysts, following a patent infringement case between the two companies, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Subject to the terms of the agreement, Evonik allows Materia to make and sell the catalysts that are covered by an injunction issued by the court in August of this year. The agreement also permits Materia's customers to use these catalysts in their products.

The license agreement addresses Evonik's United States Patent Numbers 7,378,528, 7,652,145 and 8,153,810 and related U.S. and foreign patents and patent applications.

As MRC informed earlier, Evonik is expanding its production facilities in Birmingham (Alabama, USA) and Darmstadt (Germany). This will create additional capacity for the production of biodegradable polymers marketed globally under the brand names RESOMER and RESOMER SELECT. These poly-lactic-glycolic-acid (PLGA) copolymers are primarily used to manufacture bioresorbable medical devices and controlled-release formulations for parenteral drug delivery.

Evonik, the creative industrial group from Germany, is one of the world leaders in specialty chemicals. Its activities focus on the key megatrends health, nutrition, resource efficiency and globalization. Evonik benefits specifically from its innovative prowess and integrated technology platforms. Evonik is active in over 100 countries around the world.

Clariant launches amide/amine-free masterbatch concentrate for PE films

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Clariant, a world leader in specialty chemicals, announces a new amide/amine-free anti-static masterbatch concentrate for polyethylene (PE) films used in pharmaceutical production, according to the company's press release.

The new anti-stat, known under grade name MEVOPUR PEAM 176045, will be introduced at CPhI Worldwide, being held 24 - 26 October 2017 at Messe Frankfurt. Clariant is exhibiting on Stand 42L20.

The introduction is timely due to the changes in industry standards which, by 2020, will limit the acceptability of many of the currently used films that contain amide- and amine-based anti-stats, says Stephen Duckworth, Clariant’s Head of Global Segment Medical and Pharmaceutical. For the first time, plastics used in pharma manufacturing, including anti-static films, will need to comply with the same standards as plastics packaging used for finished pharmaceuticals.

"Anti-static additives are routinely incorporated in the polyethylene 'clean-room films' that line containers and dispensers for active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), and in the tubes used to transfer powdered and liquid API during drug production. They are important because the anti-static properties help to reduce the risk of dangerous conditions like explosions," he explained.

The new additive masterbatch concentrate is part of MEVOPUR, the brand of 'Controlled, Consistent and Compliant' products for plastics applications in the medical and pharmaceutical industries.

When incorporated into PE films Clariant’s new anti-static provides very good static-dissipating performance and a competitive cost profile relative to alternatives. In addition, it has already been tested to the stricter new United States Pharmacopeia (USP) pharmaceutical standard for pharmaceutical-contacting plastics, which are scheduled to come into force in 2020.

As MRC informed before, in March 2017, Clariant was awarded a contract by Dongguan Grand Resource Science & Technology Co. Ltd. to develop a new propane dehydrogenation unit in cooperation with CB&I. The project includes the license and engineering design of the unit, which is to be built in Dongguan City, Guangdong Province, China. The Dongguan plant will be one of the largest single-train dehydrogenation units in the world. Clariant's technology partner CB&I will base the plant's design on its Catofin catalytic dehydrogenation technology, which uses Clariant's tailor-made Catofin catalyst and Heat Generating Material (HGM).

Clariant AG is a Swiss chemical company and a world leader in the production of specialty chemicals for the textile, printing, mining and metallurgical industries. It is engaged in processing crude oil products in pigments, plastics and paints. Clariant India has local masterbatch production activities at Rania, Kalol and Nandesari (Gujarat) and Vashere (Maharashtra) sites in India.

SK Inks Agreement to Acquire Dow's Polyvinylidene Chloride Business

MOSCOW (MRC) -- SK Global Chemical, a subsidiary of SK Innovation, has entered into an agreement with Dow Chemical to purchase Dow's polyvinylidene chloride (PVDC) business for an undisclosed amount, as per Apic-online.

Through the agreement, SK Global will acquire all of Dow's PVDC business, including its production facility in Michigan, related manufacturing technology and intellectual property, as well as the Saran trademark.

According to local sources, the PVDC acquisition is expected to cost under USD86-million.

As MRC informed before, in early 2017, Dow divested its ethylene acrylic acid (EAA) copolymers and ionomers business to SK Global. The amound of the deal was USD370 million.

The Dow Chemical Company is an American multinational chemical corporation. Dow is a large producer of plastics, including polystyrene, polyurethane, polyethylene, polypropylene, and synthetic rubber.

BASF concentrates European production of paper coating dispersions in Ludwigshafen and Hamina

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BASF will concentrate the production of paper coating dispersions in Europe at two sites, the Ludwigshafen Verbund site and the Hamina site in Finland, said the producer on its site.

The goal is to strengthen BASF’s ability to compete in the challenging market environment of paper coating dispersions in the long term.

As a result of this decision, BASF SE has signed a contract with Synthomer Austria GmbH, a subsidiary of the British specialty chemicals manufacturer Synthomer plc, for the sale of the BASF production site for styrene butadiene dispersions for paper coating in Pischelsdorf, Austria, for a purchase price of EUR30 million. The buyer will take over 42 employees at the site. The transaction requires authorization by the relevant merger control authorities and is expected to be completed by late January 2018.

In future, BASF will supply customers for styrene butadiene dispersions in Europe from existing production capacities at the sites in Ludwigshafen and Hamina. Furthermore, paper dispersion production will continue without changes in the other BASF production sites for paper coating dispersions in the EMEA region, i.e. Gebze, Turkey and Durban, South Africa.

The styrene acrylic dispersions that are currently produced in Pischelsdorf are not included in the sale. The respective production will also be concentrated in Ludwigshafen.

"This decision helps us improve our competitiveness and creates the conditions necessary to offer products and services to our customers at attractive terms in the future. We will continue to supply our Austrian paper customers with the usual range of styrene butadiene and styrene acrylic dispersions combined with technical on-site services and optimized logistics," says Professor Thomas Schiele, Vice President Paper Coating Chemicals Europe at BASF. "At the same time, we are pleased that Synthomer, an experienced producer of dispersions, wants to further develop the site."

Paper dispersions are applied to paper together with other additives and pigments to improve such properties as the print quality of graphic paper as well as packaging paper and cardboard.

As a leading supplier of paper chemicals BASF offers, besides styrene butadiene and styrene acrylic dispersions for paper coating, a broad portfolio of customer-focused solutions and chemicals for the paper and packaging industry. These product lines for the production and coating of paper and cardboard are not affected by the decision.

As MRC wrote previously, within the next five years, BASF plans to invest globally more than EUR200 million in its plastic additives business, approximately half of which in Asia, focusing on capacity expansions and operational excellence, said the producer in November 2016. Plastic additives improve product properties such as scratch resistance or light stability, and optimize plastics manufacturing processes. As the leading global supplier of plastic additives with manufacturing assets in all regions, BASF is a major partner to the plastics industry.

BASF is the largest diversified chemical company in the world and is headquartered in Ludwigshafen, Germany. BASF produces a wide range of chemicals, for example solvents, amines, resins, glues, electronic-grade chemicals, industrial gases, basic petrochemicals and inorganic chemicals. The most important customers for this segment are the pharmaceutical, construction, textile and automotive industries. BASF generated sales of about EUR58 billion in 2016.

Oil rallies on Chinese import boost and Mideast tensions

MOSCOW (MRC) — Oil prices firmed on Friday as bullish news from strong Chinese oil imports to turmoil in the Middle East put Brent on track for a more than 3% weekly gain, said Reuters.

The developments added to other signs that the market was finally rebalancing after years of excess. Brent was at USD57.42 at 1139 GMT, up USD1.17. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was at USD51.59 per barrel, up 99 cents from its last settlement.

The contracts were on track for weekly gains of more than 3% and 4%, respectively. Chinese oil imports hit 9 MMbpd in September, data showed on Friday. Imports averaged 8.5 MMbpd between January and September, solidifying China's position as the world's biggest oil importer.

"We woke up with the strong data from China. That's on the supportive side," said Olivier Jakob, managing director of PetroMatrix. China's huge imports have been strongly driven by purchases for its strategic petroleum reserves (SPR).

The nation has spent around USD24 B on building its crude reserves since 2015 and now holds around 850 MMbbl of oil in inventory, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). Unrest in Iraq, and possible US action on the Iran nuclear deal, also underpinned prices.

On Friday, local television reported that tens of thousands of Kurdish fighters had deployed in the Kirkuk oil region to confront possible "threats" from Iraqi forces. Tensions between the two, which traders fear could cut off oil exports from the region, have been building since Iraq's Kurds overwhelmingly backed independence in a Sept. 25 vote.

Later on Friday, US President Donald Trump is expected to announce that he will not certify the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. The deal has to be re-certified every 90 days and is due for renewal on Sunday. The step would give the US Congress 60 days to decide whether to impose sanctions, but Iran's parliament speaker told the TASS news agency that decertification would "be the end" of the deal and cause "global chaos."

"US sanctions could cut off a lot of Iranian oil trade finance," FGE President Jeff Brown told Reuters this week. Despite the bullish signals, Bernstein Research said that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries needed to extend its agreement to reduce oil output beyond its current March 2018 expiry date in order to clear stocks.

OPEC, with other producers including Russia, have agreed to production cuts of 1.8 MMbpd. "OPEC will not achieve normalized inventory levels before cuts expire at the end of March," Bernstein analysts said, adding: "We believe an extension of cuts through 2018 should allow inventories to reach normalized levels before the end of 2018."