PVC imports to Kazakhstan down by 3% in 2017

MOSCOW (MRC) - Imports of unmixed polyvinyl chloride (PVC) into Kazakhstan slightly exceeded 51,000 tonnes in January-December 2017, up 3% compared with the same time a year earlier, according to MRC analysts.

Despite the seasonal factor, there was a slight increase in demand for PVC in December from local companies. December imports of unmixed PVC amounted to 2,900 tonnes against 2,700 tonnes a month earlier.
Overall PVC imports into the country increased to 51,000 tonnes over the stated period versus 52,600 tonnes a year earlier. Due to the geographical position, the main suppliers of PVC to Kazakhstan were Chinese producers, with the share of about 92% of the local market over the stated period.

The second largest PVC supplier was Russia, the total imports of PVC during the period exceeded 4,000 tonnes.


Ube, JSR and Mitsubishi Chem to start up new joint venture ABS company in April

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Ube Industries, JSR Corp. and Mitsubishi Chemical Corp. (MCC) are scheduled to start up a new company on 1 April 2018, which combines the acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) businesses of the parties' respective subsidiaries, as per Apic-online.

The combination involves UMG ABS Ltd., a 50-50 joint venture of Ube and MCC, and Techno Polymer Co., a JSR subsidiary. The new company, Techno-UMG Co., will be owned 51% by JSR and 49% by UMG ABS.

The transaction was originally scheduled to take effect on 1 Oct. 2017, but was delayed due to the amount of time needed to complete the procedures stipulated in competition laws.

As MRC informed before, in late 2017, Ube Industries, JSR Corp. and Mitsubishi Chemical Corp. (MCC) received European Commission (EC) approval for the planned integration of their ABS subsidiaries.

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.

Diamond Pipeline disrupts oil flows around U.S

MOSCOW (MRC) - The Diamond Pipeline has scrambled crude oil flows around the U.S. Gulf Coast and Midwest since it opened in December, cutting supply at the Cushing hub and hammering Louisiana oil prices, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The line from Cushing, Oklahoma to Memphis, Tennessee, a joint venture between Plains All American Pipeline LP and Valero Energy Corp , has dented volumes on the Capline system - the nation's largest crude pipeline that runs from the Gulf to key refineries in the Midwest.

Prices for Gulf Coast crude grades traded in the Louisiana region have been hit hard. Light Louisiana Sweet (LLS) and Mars - the two main Gulf grades - crashed to six-month lows versus U.S. crude futures. With lower demand for Louisiana crude supplies, the LLS grade in particular is more sensitive to export arbitrage economics and U.S. crude's discount to Brent narrowed to the tightest in more than five months on Monday.

"Those Capline flows could be backing out LLS barrels into the St. James area, causing more supply and putting pressure on prices," Adam Bedard, CEO of Denver, Colorado-based ARB Midstream said.

The price for Mars, a medium sour grade, traded on Friday at a USD1.10 per barrel discount versus WTI crude futures, the weakest since June. Louisiana Light Sweet slipped to a $2.17 premium on Thursday, also the lowest since June. The LLS grade is delivered into the hub in St. James, Louisiana, and Mars is deliverable at the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP) facilities in Clovelly, Louisiana.

Volumes on Capline, once a major artery for imports and Gulf of Mexico crude used by U.S. Midwest refiners, have declined sharply as the U.S. shale boom pushed inland crude to the East Coast and Gulf Coast. The line can carry as much as 1.2 million barrels of oil daily from St. James, Louisiana, to Patoka, Illinois but has seen volumes further eroded by Diamond, which has capacity of up to 200,000 barrels, traders said. Flows on the Capline trunk line have fallen from about 310,000 bpd in July to about 219,000 bpd in the week ended Jan. 19, while Diamond was just above 150,000 bpd in that week, according to data from energy intelligence and monitoring firm Genscape.

The 440-mile long Diamond line feeds Valero's Memphis, Tennessee refinery, which has a capacity of about 190,000 bpd. Valero has historically moved large volumes from North Dakota's Bakken shale region by rail to Louisiana and then shipped it up Capline, a long and expensive route, traders said.

Materia has appointed Christopher Murphy as its new president and CEO

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Materia, Inc., a world-leading supplier of high-performance thermoset polymers, has announced that Christopher Murphy has been named president and chief executive officer effective February 1, as per Prnewswire.

Murphy succeeds Nitin Apte who has been named chief executive officer of a renewable energy company based in Singapore.

"As a former business and sales leader at SABIC and E.I. Dupont de Nemours, Chris has a proven track record of profitably growing materials businesses, commercializing technology and winning in new market applications," said Ray Roberge, Materia's Chairman of the Board. "Chris is the right person at the right time to lead the growth of Materia's advanced polymer business and we are very pleased that he will be joining our team."

"The Materia Board thanks Nitin for his many contributions and for positioning Materia for rapid growth through new strategic partnerships and expansion of the company's manufacturing footprint," said Roberge. "We wish Nitin much success in his new endeavor."

Murphy joins Materia from SABIC where he served as Americas Director in the automotive business and Global Business Director for specialty blends and compounds driving impressive business growth. During his service at E.I. Dupont De Nemours, Inc., Murphy served in positions of increasing responsibility including automotive marketing manager, regional sales and marketing director and global initiatives director. In his most recent DuPont assignment, Murphy led the transition for multiple divestitures of large, complex global businesses and the negotiations and implementation that maximized divestiture value.

"I am honored to have the opportunity to lead Materia at such a pivotal time in the company's history, as well as to work with such a committed and innovative team," said Murphy.

Pertamina picks Omans OOG, Cosmo Energy for USD10 B refinery

MOSCOW (MRC) - Indonesia's Pertamina appointed a consortium of partners to develop a new USD10 billion refinery at Bontang, said Ardhy N. Mokobombang, director of refinery megaprojects and petrochemicals at the state-owned energy company, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Indonesia, one of Southeast Asia's biggest fuel importers, hopes to reduce its import bill by improving its ageing domestic refining infrastructure, but some projects have been delayed because of financing issues.

Pertamina hopes to soon finalize a framework agreement with Oman's Overseas Oil and Gas LLC (OOG) and Cosmo Oil International, a trading unit of Japan's Cosmo Energy Holdings , to develop the Bontang facility, Mokobombang said on Tuesday.

The Oman government will provide financial support for the project, in which Pertamina expects to take an initial 10 percent stake, Mokobombang said. Pertamina would have the rights to supply 20 percent of the crude for the refinery, and Oman the remainder, he said.

Pertamina plans to reach a final investment decision on the 300,000 bpd Bontang grass roots refinery project in mid-2020, he said. "Hopefully in 2025 this refinery will be operational," Mokobombang told reporters.

A spokeswoman for Cosmo Energy Holdings in Japan said only that the company has not made an investment decision on the project yet. OOG is "active in the development of a number of energy related projects," including a refinery project in Indonesia, it said on its website. OOG could not be reached for comment.