Celanese completes acquisition of thermoplastics custom compounder Omni Plastics

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Celanese Corporation, a global technology and specialty materials company, has announced it has completed the acquisition of Omni Plastics L.L.C. and its subsidiaries, including Resinal de Mexico. Financial details of the transaction are not being disclosed at this time, as per the company's press release.

Omni Plastics specializes in custom compounding of various engineered thermoplastic materials and is headquartered and has a compounding facility in Evansville, Indiana, with additional offices in Mexico City.

This acquisition further strengthens Celanese's global asset base by adding compounding capacity in the Americas to enable Celanese to continue to support a growing and diverse customer base.

Celanese will integrate the Omni Plastics thermoplastic compounding product portfolio and production capabilities into the Celanese engineered materials business to include the following product brands:

- OmniLon polyamide formulations for automotive, heavy truck, air movement, appliance, office furniture, and lawn & garden applications.
- OmniPro polypropylene formulations for pump housings, wheels, handles, mounting brackets, levers, pressure vessels, and office furniture component applications.
- OmniCarb polycarbonate formulations for automotive and electronic applications.
- OmniTech non-standard, custom-developed products including polybutylene terephthalate and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene formulations for applications with unique functional requirements, including flame retardant, conductive, wear-and-friction, and improved optical clarity.

Several product grades are UL-listed, FDA-compliant, NSF-compliant and made with post-industrial material, as well as qualified with automotive, E&E, and other original equipment manufacturers.

As MRC reported earlier, in May 2017, Celanese Corporation completed the acquisition of the nylon compounding division of Nilit, a major independent producer of high performance nylon polymers and compounds.

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. Our two complementary business cores, Acetyl Chain and Materials Solutions, use the full breadth of Celanese’s global chemistry, technology and business expertise to create value for our customers and the corporation.

EPA chief riles ethanol advocates with call for biofuels policy reform

MOSCOW (MRC) - The head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on Thursday that the recent bankruptcy of a Pennsylvania oil refiner was evidence the nation's biofuel policy needs an overhaul in comments that infuriated biofuels advocates, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Philadelphia Energy Solutions, the largest oil refiner on the East Coast, filed for bankruptcy last month. The company blamed the cost of complying with the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), a law requiring refiners to blend corn-based ethanol and other biofuels into their gasoline and diesel.

EPA chief Scott Pruitt said in an interview with Fox News that the bankruptcy largely stemmed from the RFS, and cited the program's requirement that refiners earn or purchase biofuel blending credits called RINs to prove to the EPA that they were meeting their obligations. "We need RIN reform," Pruitt said, pointing out RIN prices had risen in recent years. "It is something I’ve talked to Congress about."

He also said the EPA wanted to take a more conservative approach to setting annual biofuel blending volume requirements, an idea he has floated in the past and which has faced stiff resistance from the ethanol lobby.

"We set volume obligations every November," he said. "Our job should be to take the market and production levels and set volume obligations that are consistent with objective factors – not set inflated or blue-sky types of numbers that create this inflationary pressure on RINs."

Overhauling the RFS, which the George W. Bush administration started to help farmers and reduce U.S. petroleum imports, would require an act of Congress. John Cornyn, the No. 2 Senate Republican, is trying to build consensus for a bill that would alter the RFS to help refiners.

The RFS requires refiners to blend 15 billion gallons (57 billion liters) of ethanol into the nation's fuel each year. Pruitt's comments angered proponents of the biofuels industry.

Indian Oil claims technical breakthrough in Octomax unit of Mathura refinery

MOSCOW (MRC) -- State-owned Indian Oil Corp (IOC) has said it has made a technological breakthrough in commissioning a Octomax unit at its Mathura refinery that will help manufacture Euro-VI fuel emission compliant petrol, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

"The breakthrough technology developed by IOC's R&D Centre converts C-4 streams from Catalytic Cracker and/or Naphtha Cracker units to high-octane gasoline (petrol) blending stream, thereby enabling compliance with stringent fuel quality norms," a company statement said.

The Octamax Unit has been completed ahead of the targeted schedule and without any cost overrun, IOC said.

"The blending octane number of the sample drawn from the newly commissioned unit was seen to be 118, higher than the guaranteed 108, while meeting all other defined product properties," it said.

IOC said Octamax truly is a 'Make in India' venture where all activities, from concept to development of the technology, preparation of basic design engineering package, erection and commissioning of the unit, have been accomplished through indigenous efforts.

As MRC informed before, in mid-August 2017, IOC completed maintenance at its polypropylene (PP) plant in India following maintenance turnaround. The company had undertaken a planned shutdown at its plant in mid-July 2017.
Located at Panipat in the northern Indian state of Haryana, the PP plant comprising two units has a production capacity of 300,000 mt/year each.

Indian Oil Corporation Limited, or IndianOil, is an Indian state-owned oil and gas corporation with its headquarters in New Delhi, India.

SIBUR subsidiary opens BOPP metallisation unit in Siberia

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BIAXPLEN's Tomsk site (BIAXPLEN T) has put into operation a 5 ktpa metallisation unit for the biaxially-oriented polypropylene (BOPP) film, as per press release of the producer.

This is the only machine of its kind behind the Urals. It coats the film with an aluminium nanolayer using a sophisticated process of vacuum deposition.

Metallised films have enhanced barrier properties and are used in food packaging, namely for products that require sealed storage and light protection. They also find application as gift wrapping for various household items and flowers, and as material for decorative labels, advertising and printed products. These films preserve their reflective and barrier qualities through printing and heat-sealing, and on top of that they are also recyclable.

The new unit will provide an import substitution product for domestic clients and cater to Siberia's growing demand for quality packaging.

"The launch of the metallisation unit strengthens the competitive advantage of the Tomsk business and adds high value-added products to its range of grades. In addition, the release of Tomsk-manufactured metallised films to the markets of Siberia and neighbouring regions will enable redirecting similar grades produced at SIBUR's other sites to the European part of Russia and the EU countries," said Victor Lushnikov, Executive Director of BIAXPLEN T.

"This is currently BIAXPLEN's most powerful and efficient film metallisation unit. It has an upgraded design based on the knowledge and experience gained at the Company's other production sites. After its launch, we were able to make good time on the ramp-up to regular operations and to the target product quality," said Dimitry Povervit, Head of BIAXPLEN's Production Capacity Upgrade, Improvement and Streamlining function.

Prices for caustic soda increased in China

MOSCOW (MRC) - The deficit of solid caustic soda began to be felt in the domestic market of China, caused by the shutdown of a number of producers.

The restrictive measures taken by the Chinese government in the framework of environmental programs began to affect the chloralkali segment of the country's chemical industry.

So, several sources reported an increase in contract prices for caustics of USD100/tonne for supplies in February.
Spot prices for domestic and export markets in China grew in the third decade of January.

The increase in contract prices for the domestic market will also affect the export prices for Chinese caustic soda, supplied to Russia. Taking into account of the upcoming New Year holidays in China, this is not the latest price increase.

MRC previously reported the price offers of Chinese producers in December were heard in the range of USD600-615/tonne FOB Northeast Asia (NEA). In the second week of December, caustic soda prices in Asia were at the level of USD610-630/tonne, FOB SVA.