Borealis says aims to makes products completely from recycled plastics

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Plastic refuse should be seen as a raw material, able to produce "completely waste-based" recycled goods, the incoming chief executive of Austrian plastics maker Borealis AG told Reuters, vowing his firm would do its bit to cut pollution.

An estimated eight million tonnes of plastic waste ends up in the oceans every year in a mounting threat to marine life, according to the United Nations. Companies from Coca-Cola to Volvo Cars are planning ways to limit use of plastics.

Consumer unease about the environmental cost of plastic waste has become a hot political topic. Governments are working to outlaw single-use items such as drinking straws and retailers are rushing to make their packaging more sustainable.

Borealis has previously described plastic waste as "the Achilles heel of the plastics industry."

The company, which makes plastic products ranging from food packaging to pipes and light-weight car parts, plans new investments to raise the share of recycled plastic in its goods.

"We have a long-term vision that we want to make plastic waste a raw material," Alfred Stern said in a telephone interview on Wednesday.

Borealis, which has 6,500 employees and 7.5 billion euros (USD8.71 billion) in sales last year, would aim for recycled products that are "completely waste-based, just like we use other feedstocks today", he said.

"That will result in further investments over time," he said, declining to give any timetable or estimated numbers. Abu Dhabi's sovereign wealth fund owns 64 percent of the company, with the rest held by Austria-based OMV.

Stern, now head of Borealis' polyolefin business and innovation, will take over from Mark Garrett as CEO on July 2.

He said Borealis was working with Volvo, which said last week that at least 25 percent of the plastics used in new car models from 2025 would be from recycled materials, up from about five percent now.

"The materials we supply to Volvo with post-consumer recycling content perform like virgin materials," he said.

And Borealis also said earlier this month that it would invest 15 million euros (USD17.50 million) to raise annual recycling capacity at its German unit mtm plastics GmbH, acquired two years ago, to 80,000 tonnes from 60,000.

Stern said recycling did not make economic sense in many markets. China has banned imports of some low-grade plastic waste for recycling from this year, upending markets in Europe in North America which lack recycling capacity.

"The end goal needs to be commercial, economic viability," he said.

Borealis is also working on a 4 million euro initiative announced in 2017 to combat plastic pollution of the oceans and improve waste management in South-East Asia, with a pilot project in the Indonesian fishing port of Muncar.

Martin Stuchtey, a founder of SYSTEMIQ which works with Borealis in the anti-pollution project STOP, said Muncar would be a test case of ways to limit waste, collect and recycle plastics in a possible guide for governments.

As MRC wrote previously, in March 2018, Borealis and United Chemical Company LLP (UCC) signed a Joint Development Agreement (JDA) for the development of a world-scale polyethylene project, integrated with an ethane cracker, in the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Borealis is a leading provider of innovative solutions in the fields of polyolefins, base chemicals and fertilizers. With headquarters in Vienna, Austria, Borealis currently employs around 6,500 and operates in over 120 countries.

KBR technology selected for GS Caltex grassroots olefins plant in South Korea

MOSCOW (MRC) -- KBR announced that it has been awarded a contract to supply its proprietary SCORETM Ethylene Technology to GS Caltex Corporation for a grassroots mixed feed cracker (MFC) for its project in Yeosu, South Korea, said the company.

Under the terms of the contract, KBR will provide its innovative Selective Cracking Optimum Recovery (SCORETM) technology license and basic engineering design services for a 700 KTA ethylene mixed feed cracker to be built by GS Caltex, a company owned by GS Energy and U.S. based Chevron Corp. The new plant will use naphtha, liquefied petroleum gas and refinery off-gases as its main feedstocks. It will be constructed in the South Korean southern city of Yeosu where GS Caltex's 790,000 barrels-per-day refinery is located. The project will use KBR's highly selective SC-1 furnaces for the highest yield and flexibility.

"We are honored to be selected as the licensor for GS Caltex's first ethylene plant," said John Derbyshire, KBR President, Technology. "SCORETM technology is highly flexible and enables producers to maximize profitability through superior yield, energy, and operational performance."

KBR has been a leader in olefin plant design, construction and technology development for more than 50 years. Since 1990 over 20 new ethylene plants with a combined capacity of 13 million metric tons per year have been brought on-stream using KBR's cost-effective cracking technologies and flexible plant designs to produce ethylene, propylene and other byproducts from a variety of feedstocks.

KBR is a global provider of differentiated professional services and technologies across the asset and program life cycle within the Government Services and Hydrocarbons sectors. KBR employs approximately 34,000 people worldwide (including our joint ventures), with customers in more than 75 countries, and operations in 40 countries, across three synergistic global businesses.

Arlanxeo invests to reinforce its market position in synthetic rubber

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Arlanxeo is strengthening its position as the world’s leading manufacturer of synthetic rubber, as per the company's press release.

Over the next three years, Arlanxeo will invest EUR mid double-digit million to modernize its production sites in Triunfo, Brazil and La Wantzenau, France.

"With this investment program, we are laying a foundation for the company’s further profitable growth," said Jorge Nogueira, Arlanxeo CEO. “In this context, we are systematically implementing advanced technologies for growing high performance rubber grades in order to support the development of our customers in important regions over the long term,” he explained further. The program will be financed by Arlanxeo own cash flow.

In Brazil Arlanxeo is investing in its facility in Triunfo, Rio Grande do Sul, to make the production of polybutadiene rubber (PBR) more flexible. Currently emulsion styrene-butadiene rubber (E-SBR), which is mainly used in car and truck tires, is produced there. As a result of the upgrade, the company will also be able to produce the more advanced PBR types Nd-BR (neodymium butadiene rubber) and lithium butadiene rubber (Li-BR) for tire and non-tire applications in Triunfo in the second half of 2020. This follows the growing need of the local tire manufacturers for high performance tires.

At the same time, Arlanxeo is relocating part of its existing E-SBR production in Triunfo to its facility in Duque de Caxias, Rio de Janeiro, where E-SBR is already produced. This should allow for better economics going forward.
"This investment highlights our commitment to Brazil and the long-term importance of the Brazilian market for our high-performance rubbers, especially in the tire segment,” said Matthias Gotta, Head of Arlanxeo Tire & Specialty Rubbers business unit (BU TSR). “We want to support our local customers with the innovative technologies that will make tires, and as a result, transportation safer, more environmentally friendly, and thus more sustainable,” he added.

Demand in Brazil for high-performance rubbers for tires continues to grow, supported by the tire labeling regulation, similar to laws that are already in place in the European Union, Japan, and South Korea, for example. All new tires produced in Brazil must be rated with respect to their rolling resistance, grip on wet track, and external noise. The use of Nd-BR in tires significantly improves tire performance, resulting in lower fuel consumption and better wet grip, among other benefits.

Polybutadiene rubbers under the Arlanxeo brand name Buna® are primarily used in the tread and sidewalls of tires. In addition to tires, they are also used to modify plastics in the production of HIPS (high impact polystyrene) for injection molding applications. Other areas of application include golf balls, running shoes, and conveyor belts.

BASF appoints new Asia Pacific president

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BASF has appointed Dr. Ramkumar Dhruva as President, South & East Asia, ASEAN, and Australia/New Zealand at BASF, effective July 1, 2018, said the producer on its site.

He succeeds Dr. Andrea Frenzel, who will assume responsibility for BASF’s global Intermediates Division.

Dhruva joined BASF in 1996. He has been Senior Vice President, Monomers, Asia Pacific, since 2013. Before assuming his current role, he headed BASF Polyurethanes, Asia Pacific and BASF Coating Solutions, Asia Pacific. Dhruva has held several positions at BASF in India, including Chief Executive of BASF Coatings India, Sales Manager and Product Manager. He previously worked in Product Development, Production and R&D in Ludwigshafen, Germany.

Dhruva was born in India in 1968. In 1996 he earned a PhD in Organic Synthesis, Photo & Electro Chemistry from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras.

As MRC informed before, in December 2017, BASF’s Coatings division inaugurated a new automotive coatings plant at its Bangpoo manufacturing site, Samutprakarn province, Thailand. The new plant is the first BASF automotive coatings manufacturing facility in ASEAN, and will produce solventborne and waterborne automotive coatings to meet growing market demand in the region.

BASF is the largest diversified chemical company in the world and is headquartered in Ludwigshafen, Germany. BASF produces a wide range of chemicals, for example solvents, amines, resins, glues, electronic-grade chemicals, industrial gases, basic petrochemicals and inorganic chemicals. The most important customers for this segment are the pharmaceutical, construction, textile and automotive industries.

Gazprom neftekhim Salavat shut down PE production

MOSCOW (Market Report) -- Gazprom neftekhim Salavat, one of Russia's largest production complexes for oil refining and petrochemicals, shut down its polyethylene (PE) production for a scheduled turnaround, according to a ICIS-MRC Price report.

On Sunday, 1 July, Gazprom neftekhim Salavat took off-stream its low density polyethylene (LDPE) and high density polyethylene (HDPE) production capacities, in order to conduct scheduled maintenance works. The plant's representative and customers said the shutdown of HDPE production will be short and operations are planned to be resumed already in seven days.

At the same time, the plant's LDPE production was shut for a longer period, the resumption of LDPE output is planned only after 30 days.

Gazprom neftekhim Salavat's LDPE and HDPE production capacities are 45,000 and 120,000 tonnes per year, respectively.

OAO "Gazprom neftekhim Salavat" (formerly OAO "Salavatnefteorgsintez") is one of the leading petrochemical companies in Russia, carrying out a full cycle of processing hydrocarbon material. The list of products manufactured by the plant includes more than 140 items, including 76 grades of the main products: gasoline, diesel fuel, kerosene, fuel oil, toluene, solvent, liquefied gases, benzene, styrene, ethylbenzene, butyl alcohols, phthalic anhydride and plasticizers, polyethylene, polystyrenes, silica gels and zeolite catalysts, corrosion inhibitors, elemental sulfur, ammonia and urea, glycols and amines, a wide range of household products made of plastics, surfactants and much more.