Ineos to invest 2.7 bln euros in 2 chemical plants in Europe

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Petrochemicals company Ineos will invest 2.7 billion euros (USD3.15 billion) to build a new chemical cracker and a propane dehydrogenation (PHD) unit in northwest Europe, the company said.

This is the first cracker to be built in Europe in 20 years and both facilities will benefit from US shale gas economics, it said, adding that the location of the site will be announced soon and the project will be completed in four years.

Jim Ratcliffe, Founder and Chairman of Ineos says, "This is the largest investment to be made in the European chemical sector for a generation. It will be a game changer for the industry and shows our commitment to manufacturing."

Ineos has approved a EUR2.7 billion capital project to build both a world scale ethane cracker and a PDH (Propane Dehydrogenation) unit in Northern Europe. Both units will benefit from US shale gas economics.

This will be the first new cracker built in Europe for two decades. It will also be one of the most efficient and environmentally friendly plants of its type in the world.

The location of the site will be determined soon and it is likely to be on the coast of North West Europe. A project team has been assigned to consider options and the project is expected to be completed within four years.

Gerd Franken, Chairman Ineos Olefins and Polymers North says, "This new project will increase INEOS self-sufficiency in all key olefin products and give further support to our derivatives business and polymer plants in Europe. All our assets will benefit from our ability to import competitive raw materials from the USA and the rest of the world".

This new investment follows a decision taken by Ineos last year to increase the capacity of its existing crackers.

Jim Ratcliffe adds, "Ineos is going from strength to strength. This new investment builds on the huge investment we made in bringing US shale gas to Europe and will ensure the long-term future of our European chemical plants."

Sasol to use Honeywell Connected Plant to improve reliability of refining operations

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Honeywell announced that Secunda Synfuels Operations, an operating division of Sasol South Africa Ltd., will use a Honeywell Connected Plant service to monitor the operating reliability of its two Honeywell UOP CCR Platforming units at its refinery in Secunda, South Africa, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Sasol will use the Honeywell Connected Plant Process Reliability Advisor, which provides performance analysis and recommendations by streaming plant data through Honeywell UOP fault models.

"This initiative forms part of a range of digitization efforts that are being evaluated at Secunda Synfuels Operations," said Stefan Opperman, Vice President, Technical Support, at Secunda Synfuels. "All of these efforts aim to utilize predictive analytics to improve plant performance and reduce costs."

The Connected Plant service will help the Secunda plant run more smoothly by monitoring unit performance and providing early event detection and mitigating issues before they become costly.

"Process Reliability Advisor is unique in the industry because it analyzes site-specific process data using Honeywell UOP's proprietary process knowledge and deep troubleshooting experience," said Zak Alzein, Vice President, Connected Plant, at Honeywell UOP. "This enables the service to recommend operational adjustments more quickly and accurately than has ever been possible, so plants can run at the very top of their capabilities."

Honeywell Connected Plant is a suite of applications that delivers higher levels of safety, reliability, efficiency and profitability. These proven industry solutions are based on decades of Honeywell's domain knowledge and controls experience. These solutions turn data into actionable insight to optimize operations, predict plant failures and eliminate unplanned downtime.

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.