Mitsubishi Chemical eyes maintenance at Kashima cracker

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Mitsubishi Chemical is in plans to shut its naphtha cracker for a maintenance turnaround, as per Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in Japan informed that the company is likely to undertake planned turnaround at the cracker in early-May, 2018. The cracker is expected to remain under maintenance for a period of around two months.

Located at Kashima in Japan, the cracker has an ethylene production capacity of 540,000 mt/year and a propylene capacity of 260,000 mt/year.

As MRC informed before, in July 2016, Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings unveiled plans to sell its PTA business, the primary raw material used to manufacture various polyester products and polyethylene terephthalate (PET), in India and China amid profitability concerns with oversupply of the acid, mainly from China.

Mitsubishi Chemical with headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, is a diversified chemical company involved in petrochemicals, polymers, agrochemicals, speciality chemicals and pharmaceuticals. The company's main focus is on three business pillars: petrochemicals, performance and functional products, and health care.

EU Commission clears Hungarys investment aid for MOL plant

MOSCOW (MRC) — The European Commission on Wednesday cleared USD154.12 MM of investment aid Hungary granted to oil and gas company MOL for expanding a plant in the North of the country, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

MOL will invest a total of 874 MM euros to expand production at its Tiszaujvaros plant in northern Hungary, to include petrochemical products used in car manufacturing.

The Commission, which acts as the competition watchdog in the European Union, said that without the funding, the project would not have been carried out in the Northern Hungary region, eligible for rural development aid.

"The Commission therefore concluded that the positive effects of the project on regional development clearly outweigh any distortion of competition brought about by the State aid," it said in a statement.

Celanese to expand its global compounding capacity to support growth in Engineered Materials Business

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Celanese Corporation, a global technology and specialty materials company, has announced plans to expand the capacity of its global compounding assets and certain product-specific manufacturing production sites to support the significant growth in its engineered materials business, as per the company's press release.

"As the global demand for specialty materials increases in key industries such as medical, automotive, consumer goods and electronics, Celanese is partnering with our customers to deliver the innovative materials found in products that consumers around the world use every day," said Scott Richardson, senior vice president, Celanese engineered materials business. "These planned capacity expansions at selected Celanese facilities - along with our recent acquisitions - will enable us to continue to support a growing and diverse customer base and respond to the increasing need for compounded specialty materials, long-fiber thermoplastics and ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene."

Expansions are planned within the global Celanese manufacturing network as follows:

1. Compounding Capacity Expansions:

- In the Asia region, Celanese will add two production lines at its Nanjing, China, facility and one production line at its recently acquired Suzhou, China, facility.
- In the Americas region, Celanese will add two production lines at its Florence, Kentucky, facility, as well as expand compounding production capacity at its Bishop, Texas, facility.
- In the European region, Celanese will add one new production line at its recently acquired Forli, Italy, facility.

Celanese expects these new production lines and expansions will add approximately 50-60kt per year in compounding capacity. The company also expects through the debottlenecking of existing global production lines to see an additional 10-15kt per year capacity of compounded material production capability.

2.Celstran LFT Capacity Expansions:

- In the Americas region, Celanese is in the process of adding one new Celstran® long-fiber thermoplastics (LFT) production line at its Winona, Minnesota, facility as well as debottlenecking existing production lines at this facility.

The company expects through this expansion and the debottlenecking of existing global LFT production lines to see an additional 9kt per year of capacity.

3. GUR UHMW-PE Capacity Expansions:

- In the Asia region, Celanese is in the planning stages of one new GUR® ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMW-PE) production line at its Nanjing, China, facility.

The company expects this new production line to add approximately 15kt per year of new GUR® UHMW-PE product capacity.

These announced projects are expected to be completed in the 2018-2019 timeframe and financial details are not being disclosed at this time.

As MRC wrote before, Celanese Corporation will increase list and off-list selling prices for ethylene-vinyl-acetate (EVA) in the Americas. The price increase below will be effective as of 1 November 2017, or as contracts otherwise allow, and is incremental to the previously announced increases. Thus, the company's EVA prices will go up by USD0,05/lb for the mentioned above regions.

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.

Polish refiner Lotos M&A plans could hit dividend

MOSCOW (MRC) — Poland's second biggest oil refiner Lotos wants to buy local petrol stations and foreign oil deposits to strengthen its position in the market, its CEO said, adding the plans could hit its dividend payout, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Earlier on Thursday, Lotos reported a bigger than expected rise in third quarter net profit, sending its shares to their highest level in 6 mos. Profits were buoyed by the reversal of a writedown, as well as higher sales, margins and throughput after 2016 refinery shutdowns.

But the company's own oil production fell by 6% year on year, mostly due to its aging deposits in Norway. "I hope that this is the last conference at which I am saying that the output is falling. Without an acquisition, the trend will not reverse," Chief Executive Marcin Jastrzebski told the results conference.

He reiterated Lotos was looking for deposits in production phase in Norway and Britain's part of the North Sea. Lotos, whose net debt stood at 3.3 B zlotys (USD916 MM) at the end of September, is also looking to buy petrol stations in Poland to increase its total to around 1,000 from 485 currently.

"Getting to about 1,000 stations would enable us to have a bigger say in retail business," Jastrzebski told reporters. "I hope that investors would forgive us if we were to make significant acquisitions in upstream and retail, which would make paying out dividends difficult."

This year, Lotos paid its first dividend in 10 yr. The CEO also said Lotos wanted to retain its ability to make dividend payments.

LyondellBasell approaches Brazilian Braskem for takeover

MOSCOW (MRC) -- LyondellBasell Industries NV has approached Brazil's Braskem SA for a potential takeover, valuing the petrochemicals company at more than USD10 B, reported Reuters with reference to the Wall Street Journal.

The talks are at an early stage and there is no guarantee of a deal, the Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

A deal would help LyondellBasell expand in Latin America, where Braskem is the biggest petrochemicals company.

The news comes amid a wave of big mergers in the chemicals sector. Dow Chemical and DuPont completed their USD130 B merger last month to form DowDuPont, while ChemChina bought Swiss seeds group Syngenta for USD43 B earlier this year.

LyondellBasell and Braskem did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment.

As MRC informed earlier, Petrobras’s (Rio de Janeiro) minority stakes in Braskem and Deten Quimica were excluded from Petrobras’s divestment program, according to a government decree published in Brazil’s Official Gazette last week. The decree prevents Petrobras from immediately selling its minority stake in Braskem, which had been announced this year. A new decree will be required to release the stock sale. Petrobras’s board earlier approved a strategic plan for 2017-21 that included the divestment of all petrochemical interests.

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.

Braskem S.A. produces petrochemicals and generates electricity. The Company produces ethylene, propylene, benzene, toluene, xylenes, butadiene, butene, isoprene, dicyclopentediene, MTBE, caprolactam, ammonium sulfate, cyclohexene, polyethylene theraphtalat, polyethylene, and polyvinyl chloride (PVC).