GS Caltex investing around USD1.8-Billion to set up new olefins plant in Yeosu

MOSCOW (MRC) -- To Build New Olefins Facility in Yeosu, South Korean GS Caltex is planning to invest approximately USD1.8-billion to build a new olefins production plant in Yeosu, South Korea, reported Apic-online with reference to several industry sources citing a company statement.

The project involves construction of the company's first mixed feed cracker, which will have the capacity to produce 700,000 t/y of ethylene and 500,000 t/y of polyethylene. Construction is expected to start this year with operations anticipated to begin in 2022.

According to GS Caltex's website, the company has a 790,000-b/d refinery at Yeosu, as well as an aromatics facility producing over 1.35-million t/y of paraxylene, 900,000 t/y of benzene and other aromatics products. It also produces 180,000 t/y of polypropylene.

As MRC informed before, in 2013, CB&I was awarded a contract by GS Caltex for the license, basic engineering and catalyst supply for a new paraxylene (PX) unit to be built in Yeosu, Korea. The unit uses the BP paraxylene technology, exclusively licensed by CB&I, and has a world-scale design capacity. Start-up took place in 2016.

GS Caltex is an equally-owned joint venture of GS Holdings and Chevron.

Last year HIPS and GPPS imports to Russia remained at the level of 2016

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Overall imports of high impact polystyrene (HIPS) and general purpose polystyrene (GPPS) into Russia reached 46,000 tonnes in 2017, which equals the level of 2016. In terms of grades, HIPS imports rose by 5%, whereas GPPS shipments dropped by 4%, according to MRC's DataScope report.

December HIPS imports fell by 28% to 1,430 tonnes, compared to 1,980 tonnes a month earlier. The reduction was caused by a sharp decrease in imports from China, which totalled 20 tonnes in December versus 400 tonnes a month earlier.

Overall GPPS imports dropped by 4% in 2017 to 24,600 tonnes from 25,700 tonnes a year earlier.

Styrolution's shipments accounted for 50% of the total GPPS imports or 12,300 tonnes versus 63% or 16,100 tonnes in 2016. Material for the production of XPS-boards accounted for.about 48% of the total GPPS imports. Imports of material for the production of refrigerators accounted for 28% or 6,800 tonnes.

December HIPS imports fell by more than 2 times to 750 tonnes from 1,610 tonnes a month earlier.

Overall HIPS imports grew by 5% last year to 21,400 tonnes from 20,500 tonnes a year earlier.

Styrolution's shipments grew by 3% to 8,350 tonnes from 8,080 tonnes a year earlier. Shipments of Hungarian Polimeri Europa's material increased by 10% year on year to 5,860 tonnes from 5,350 tonnes a year earlier. Converters directly purchased 17,600 tonnes or 82% of the total GPPS imports last year.


Shell buying spree cranks up race for clean energy

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Royal Dutch Shell has spent over USD400 million on a range of acquisitions in recent weeks, from solar power to electric car charging points, cranking up its drive to expand beyond its oil and gas business and reduce its carbon footprint, as per Reuters.

The scale of the buying spree pales in comparison to the Anglo-Dutch company's $25 billion annual spending budget. But its first forays into the solar and retail power sectors for many years shows a growing urgency to develop cleaner energy businesses.

The investments are not limited to renewables such as biofuels, solar and wind. Shell, as well as rivals such as BP , Exxon Mobil and Chevron, are betting on rising demand for gas, the least polluting fossil fuel, to power the expected surge in electric vehicles in the coming decades.

To that end, Shell agreed in December to acquire independent British power provider First Utility for around USD200 million, according to several sources close to the deal. The value of the acquisition had not been previously disclosed. Shell declined to comment.

With First Utility, the company hopes to find an outlet for its gas supplies via the retail power market, betting on rising demand as drivers charge electric vehicles at home.

Earlier this month, the company ventured back into solar after a 12-year hiatus when buying a 43.86 percent stake in Silicon Ranch Corporation for USD217 million. In the last three months of 2017, Shell also invested in two projects to develop charging stations for electric vehicles across Europe's highways. It has also signed agreements to buy solar power in Britain and develop renewables power grids in Asia and Africa.

According to analysts at Bernstein, Big Oil has invested over USD3 billion on renewables acquisitions over the past five years, most of which went towards solar.

"Green" merger and acquisition (M&A) activity today averages 13 percent of total energy M&A activity, they said. "However greater scale is needed for the majors to effectively operate and leverage their trading skills in this market, necessitating more M&A," they said in a note.

Other companies have also made investments. BP got back into solar power with a USD200 million investment in solar generator Lightsource late last year, six years after exiting the sector with a large writedown. Total bought battery maker Saft for USD1 billion in 2016.

As MRC wrote before, Royal Dutch Shell could usurp its largest rival Exxon Mobil as the energy sector's biggest cash generator after higher oil and gas prices combined with an improved performance lifted its 2017 revenue.

Royal Dutch Shell, commonly known as Shell, is an Anglo–Dutch multinational oil and gas company headquartered in the Netherlands and incorporated in the United Kingdom.Created by the merger of Royal Dutch Petroleum and UK-based Shell Transport & Trading, it is the fourth largest company in the world as of 2014, in terms of revenue, and one of the six oil and gas "supermajors".

Eni/Total find natgas off Cyprus in field close to Zohr

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Italy’s Eni and France’s Total have discovered a promising natural gas field off Cyprus, Eni said on Thursday, saying the find looked geologically similar to the mammoth Zohr field off Egypt, reported Reuters.

Further analysis was required to determine the range of gas volumes and define further exploration and appraisal operations, Eni said.

“Calypso 1 is a promising gas discovery and confirms the extension of the ‘Zohr like’ play in the Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ),” Eni said in a statement.

The Italian oil and gas group reported the Zohr discovery in 2015. Located in the Egyptian offshore Shorouk block about 190 km north of Port Said, Zohr holds an estimated 30 trillion cubic feet of gas, the largest ever discovered in the Mediterranean.

We remind that, as MRC informed previously, in June 2016, ENI announced that it could not reach an agreement with the US private equity firm SK Capital to sell a majority stake in ENI’s chemicals subsidiary Versalis (Milan) and had terminated the discussions.

ENI is an Italian multinational oil and gas company headquartered in Rome. It has operations in in 79 countries, and is currently Italy's largest industrial company with a market capitalization of EUR68 billion (USD 90 billion), as of August 14, 2013. The Italian government owns a 30.3% golden share in the company, 3.93% held through the state Treasury and 26.37% held through the Cassa depositi e prestiti. Another 39.40% of the shares are held by BNP Paribas.

Clariant expands operations at Coatzacoalcos, Mexico plant

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Clariant International Ltd said that it has completed the project to expand its industrial facility in Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz, and increased production capacity by around 15 percent, said Worldofchemicals.

This investment in the expansion of the plant was made to strengthen the group's ability to serve industrial and consumer markets - not only in Mexico but around the world, especially in the Americas. The expansion project in Coatzacoalcos took approximately two years to complete, concluding within the planned timeframe and budget and with zero accidents. Included amongst the benefits it is bringing to the local communities is the creation of indirect service jobs in areas such as transportation and maintenance, among others.

Since its inaugural in 2002, the Coatzacoalcos plant has continuously been expanded over the last 15 years. It currently occupies an area of 76,000 square meters, has over 100 employees and manufactures a wide variety of Clariant products.

"To make progress on our way to becoming a leading speciality chemicals company, Clariant focuses on the allocation of investments in areas with excellent growth potential. One of these important strategic markets in the Americas is Mexico, particularly due to its growth potential, its export strength and our highly motivated and qualified workforce," said Hariolf Kottmann, CEO of Clariant.

"We have a strong presence in Mexico, with production plants, laboratories, and sales offices located in Santa Clara (Mexico state), Puebla, and Coatzacoalcos, which provides solutions to multiple industries and we continuously invest in new technologies to better meet the needs of our customers," added Fernando Hernandez, country head of Clariant Mexico.