U.S. challenges Tronox plan to buy Cristal's titanium dioxide business

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The U.S. government has filed a complaint aimed at stopping chemical maker Tronox Ltd from purchasing Cristal’s titanium dioxide business, the Federal Trade Commission said, said Reuters.

The companies are two of the three top suppliers of chloride process titanium dioxide, used to make paint, plastic, paper and other products, the FTC said. The third is the Chemours Company.

Tronox did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The company valued the deal at USD1.673 billion when it was announced in February.

The FTC has filed a complaint with its own internal agency judge and has requested a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction in Washington, DC to prevent the deal from going forward.

Cristal’s U.S. agent is Cristal USA, while its parent companies are Saudi Arabia-based National Industrialization Company 2060.SE and National Titanium Dioxide Company Limited, the FTC said.

Sabic looking at investing in US gas

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Petrochemicals company Saudi Basic Industries Corp (Sabic) is considering several possible investments in the United States, while state oil giant Saudi Aramco is looking at gas prospects abroad, Saudi energy minister said on Wednesday, reported Reuters.

However, Saudi Aramco’s interest in gas investments is closer to home, probably in Africa or the Mediterranean, Khalid al-Falih told reporters on the sidelines of an industry conference in Abu Dhabi.

"SABIC is looking at multiple investments in the US, taking advantage of this plentiful gas supply, especially ethane, to crack it and create petrochemical products not only for the US but for exports out of the US to grow its markets around the world," Falih said.

Last month Sabic’s chief executive, Yousef al-Benyan, told Reuters the world’s fourth-biggest petrochemicals company planned to make a decision by the end of next year on an investment in a cracker plant in Texas with an affiliate of ExxonMobil.

"The US gas (market) is already saturated, there are plenty of investors. I don’t think the US needs further investments from Saudi Aramco. Aramco’s interest in international gas is probably elsewhere, closer to home perhaps in Africa or the Mediterranean," Falih said on Wednesday.

Falih, who is also Aramco’s chairman, said last year that Aramco was interested in investing in international upstream ventures, particularly gas, and could invest in importing gas into the kingdom.

US Energy Secretary Rick Perry said on Wednesday that he has held discussions with Saudi Arabian officials on possible imports of LNG from the United States.

Perry was speaking at the same industry conference in Abu Dhabi in the course of his first official visit to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar this week.

The US energy chief has met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and Falih and visited Saudi Aramco during his trip.

Aramco is preparing for a share listing next year, aimed at getting a valuation of up to USD2 T for the company in what could be the world’s biggest initial public offering (IPO).

Falih reiterated on Wednesday that the IPO was being planned for the second half of 2018.

As MRC wrote before, Plastics-maker Sabic had developed new materials for customers producing LED automotive lighting parts. LEXAN HF4010SR resin is one of the new offerings. This polycarbonate (PC) material can make it possible for customers to develop complex headlight bezels with enhanced aesthetics. Sabic has also added new grades to its existing LEXAN XHT resin line, which can offer improved flow at high temperatures compared to other high-heat polycarbonate materials available today.

Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic) ranks among the world's top petrochemical companies. The company is among the worldпїЅs market leaders in the production of polyethylene, polypropylene and other advanced thermoplastics, glycols, methanol and fertilizers.

December prices of European PP rose for CIS markets

MOSCOW (MRC) - December contract price of propylene in Europe was agreed up by EUR32/tonne from the level in November. Many European producers announced an increase in December export prices of polypropylene (PP) for the CIS countries but not proportionally to the growth of the price of monomer, according to ICIS-MRC Price Report.

Negotiations on December prices of European PP began at the end of last week, many market participants said many European producers increased their export PP prices by EUR30/tonne.

But in the negotiation process, some producers agreed to limit the growth of prices by the value of EUR20/tonne.
Negotiations for December shipments of homopolymer propylene (homopolymer PP) were done in the range of EUR1,010-1,100/tonne FCA, whereas last month's deals were done in the range of EUR990-1,080/tonne FCA.

Deals for block copolymers of propylene (PP block copolymers) were agreed in the range of EUR1,160-1,230/tonne FCA, down on average by EUR20/tonne from November.

Negotiations over December shipments of statistical propylene copolymers (PP random copolymers) were held in the range of EUR1,210-1,270/tonne FCA.

CKPC selects Jacobs for FEED for Greenfield petrochemical facility in Alberta

MOSCOW (MRC)-- Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. has been awarded a contract by Canada Kuwait Petrochemical Corporation (CKPC) to provide front-end engineering design (FEED) services for a proposed greenfield, integrated propane dehydrogenation and polypropylene facility located in Sturgeon County, Alberta, Canada, as per company's press release.

CKPC is a joint venture of Pembina Pipeline Corporation (Pembina) of Canada and Petrochemical Industries Company of Kuwait. "Jacobs’ strength in front end project delivery, combined with our team’s proven performance in propane dehydrogenation and polypropylene technologies, supports CKPC in the development of this complex,” said Jacobs Global Head of Petroleum and Chemicals Vinayak Pai. “Beyond this project, we look forward to working with CKPC to help them add value to Western Canada's hydrocarbon production and to meaningfully increase local market demand for propane."

"CKPC is looking forward to working with Jacobs for the FEED phase of this project," said Director of CKPC Waleed Al-Bader. "Jacobs was selected after an extensive global search process, by demonstrating vast petrochemical experience, a well-qualified project team and an organizational-wide commitment to CKPC's success."

In execution of the FEED, Jacobs will utilize resources from multiple centers of excellence located in Calgary, Houston and Charleston, West Virginia, with a significant portion of the project scope performed in Canada. Jacobs will fully support CKPC’s vision of engaging and developing the local workforce. The project is expected to mobilize immediately.

Jacobs is one of the world’s largest and most diverse providers of full-spectrum technical, professional and construction services for industrial, commercial and government organizations globally. The company employs over 54,000 people and operates in more than 25 countries around the world.


Trinseo announces quarterly dividend

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Trinseo, a global materials solutions provider and manufacturer of plastics, latex binders and synthetic rubber, has announced that its Board of Directors authorized a quarterly dividend of USD0.36 per share, as per the company's press release.

The dividend will be a cash distribution payable on January 23, 2018, to shareholders of record as of the close of business on January 9, 2018.

As MRC wrote before, Trinseo and its affiliate companies in Europe increased prices for all polystyrene (PS), polycarbonate (PC), acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) and acrylonitrile-styrene copolymer (SAN) grades. Effective December 1, 2017, or as existing contract terms allow, the contract and spot prices for the products listed below rose as follows:

- STYRON general purpose polystyrene grades (GPPS) - by EUR95 per metric ton;
- STYRON and STYRON A-TECH high impact polystyrene grades (HIPS) - by EUR95 per metric ton;
- CALIBRE Polycarbonate Resins - by EUR200 per metric ton;
- MAGNUM ABS resins - by EUR60 per metric ton;
- TYRIL SAN resins - by EUR85 per metric ton.

Trinseo is a global materials company and manufacturer of plastics, latex and rubber. Trinseo's technology is used by customers in industries such as home appliances, automotive, building & construction, carpet, consumer electronics, consumer goods, electrical & lighting, medical, packaging, paper & paperboard, rubber goods and tires. Formerly known as Styron, Trinseo completed its renaming process in 1Q 2015. Trinseo had approximately USD3.7 billion in net sales in 2016, with 15 manufacturing sites around the world, and nearly 2,200 employees.