Nexans wins major contract for Oman first integrated downstream petrochemicals complex

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Worldwide demand for high and low-density polyethylene (HDPE and LDPE) is increasing, especially within Asia, where it is an important raw material for the manufacture of various plastic products for both domestic and industrial uses. Oman Oil Refineries and Petroleum Industries Company (Orpic) is aiming to meet this demand with its USD4.5 billion Liwa Plastics Industries Complex (LPIC) project that is a vital element in the Sultanate’s program to reduce its overall reliance upon the export of natural gas and crude oil by further developing Oman’s downstream industry, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Nexans is playing a vital role in the LPIC project by providing a variety of instrumentation and fiber optic telecommunication cables that will be supplied via Rexel, the global cable distributor.

Orpic’s project to build LPIC is an example of the transformation journey undertaken by the company to diversify its business. The cutting-edge complex will include a refinery, aromatics plant, steam cracker and downstream polypropylene and polyethylene plants, making it one of the best-integrated refinery and petrochemical facility combinations in the world. Thanks to the new facility, plastics production will be increased by 1 million tonnes, allowing Orpic for a total of 1.4 million tonnes of polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) production by 2020. It is anticipated that 150 technicians and 350 operators will be required to manage the new facilities, which are also expected to create more than 1,200 jobs in the local area.

LPIC will be equipped with Nexans’ instrumentation, fiber optic telecommunication cables, and fieldbus cables, supplied through the Group’s established partnership with Rexel. These cables feature Nexans’ innovative HYPRON design developed and tested to provide an alternative to lead-sheath cables for onshore oil & gas installations, especially within refineries and petrochemical installations in moist areas where corrosive aromatic hydrocarbons are present. Nexans HYPRON cables contribute to the cleaner environment by avoiding lead exposure and emissions thanks to three concentric, co-extruded sheaths which provide water tightness as well as resistance to inorganic and organic chemicals (such as chlorine and synthetic oils as well as aromatics, benzene, petrol).

“It is a big honor for Nexans to contribute to the development of Oman by bringing our global expertise to the Sultanate’s large-scale and forward-looking projects, such as the LPIC,” said Orlando Vaquero, Nexans O&G Downstream ISP Global Market Director. "The scope of Nexans’ technical capability, together with the complete ‘one stop shop’ we offer in cooperation with Rexel, made the difference in persuading Orpic that we can deliver the quality, performance and fast response they require."

The LPIC project will enter the commissioning phase at the end of 2018 ready for commercial operation from 2020.

As MRC wrote before, in April 2018, Orpic Logistics Company (OLC), a joint venture created by Compania Logistica de Hidrocarburos (CLH) and Oman Oil Refineries and Petroleum Industries (Orpic), inaugurated the Muscat-Sohar pipeline and the Al Jefnain terminal in Oman. This pipeline, into which 336 million dollars have been invested, represents a key logistics infrastructure, allowing more than 50% of the country’s fuel to be transported and contributing to improved road safety and greater efficiency and sustainability by reducing the number of road tankers in and around the capital, Muscat.

Orpic (Oman Oil Refineries and Petroleum Industries Company) is one of the leading companies in Oman and has two refineries in that country, in Sohar and Muscat. Orpic is owned by the Government of the Sultanate of Oman and Oman Oil Company SAOC, the trading company created by the Government of the Sultanate of Oman for managing investments in the energy sector.

BASF confirms 2018 outlook, notes trade conflicts risk

MOSCOW (MRC) -- German chemicals giant BASF confirmed its 2018 outlook for a "slight increase" in earnings but pointed out that economic risks had "increased significantly" because of escalating trade tensions, as per the Financial Times.

The group reported second quarter earnings on Friday, with earnings before special items up 5 per cent to EUR2.4bn as sales grew 3 per cent to EUR16.8bn.

Martin Brudermuller, chief executive, said "all segments" were aided by higher prices. Only its Performance Products division failed to record volumes growth.

In October announced BASF announced the EUR5.9bn acquisition of “significant parts” of Bayer’s seed and non-selective herbicide business, the biggest acquisition in its history.

Earlier this month BASF also announced its intention to spend up to USD10bn by 2030 on a new Verbund project in Guangdong. The deal marks its largest investment ever and is, according to the company, the first 100 per cent foreign-owned Verbund site in China.

"Once again, BASF is a pioneer here, leading the way," Brudermuller added on Friday.

In confirming its outlook, BASF said "trade conflicts between the United States and China, as well as between the United States and Europe," were unwelcome developments.

"We are monitoring these developments and the potential effects on our business very closely," the company said.

As MRC informed earlier, in December 2017, BASF’s Coatings division inaugurated a new automotive coatings plant at its Bangpoo manufacturing site, Samutprakarn province, Thailand.

BASF is the leading chemical company. It 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. BASF generated sales of about EUR58 billion in 2016.


AkzoNobel teams up with Renmatix to develop biomass-derived additives for paint and construction

MOSCOW (MRC) -- AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals and Renmatix will jointly develop biomass-based performance additives that improve the properties of architectural paints and construction materials, as per ChemEurope.

Renmatix is one of the winners of the 2017 Imagine Chemistry challenge, a program through which AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals collaborates with startups, scale-ups, scientists and others to uncover business opportunities for sustainable chemistry.

Renmatix's proprietary Plantrose Process utilizes 'supercritical' water under high temperature and pressure to convert biomass into cellulosic sugars and bio-fractions, which are valuable green chemistry building blocks. It is the first application under a joint development agreement signed by the companies to research, develop and commercialize novel products using Crysto(TM) Cellulose, a unique form of crystalline cellulose, and the newest bio-fraction isolated by Renmatix.

"I am impressed by Renmatix's thinking and their development of a biomass conversion technology that is not only disruptive technically and economically, but also enables green chemistry," said Geert Hofman, General Manager of AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals' Performance Additives business. "Being able to access and work with unique cellulose materials derived from biomass fits closely with our growth strategy and innovation agenda and will give a significant sustainability advantage to our customers," Hofman said.

"We look forward to working with AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals to advance their sustainability initiatives," said Mike Hamilton, Renmatix CEO. "This agreement is significant because it demonstrates a bright future for plant-based ingredients in the industrial materials segment, and we're uniquely positioned to enable strong performance from biobased alternatives. This collaboration highlights our efforts to partner with progressive market leaders as we work to commercialize our technology for broader industrial applications," he said.

"We will work jointly with Renmatix to develop a range of novel cellulose-based materials for commercial use, ranging from improving personal care to cleaning and construction materials," said Annika Karlsson, AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals RD&I Director for, amongst others, cellulose ethers. "This collaboration is another testament to the success of the Imagine Chemistry challenge and shows that startups, scale-ups and corporates can work together efficiently to break barriers in innovation."

As MRC informed earlier, in June 2018, AkzoNobel entered into an agreement to acquire 100% of the shares of Fabryo Corporation S.R.L. (Fabryo), becoming the leader in the Romanian decorative paints market.

Akzo Nobel N.V., trading as AkzoNobel, is a Dutch multinational, active in the fields of decorative paints, performance coatings and specialty chemicals. Headquartered in Amsterdam, the company has activities in more than 80 countries, and employs approximately 55,000 people.

Perstorp upgraded to B- by S&P

MOSCOW (MRC) -- S&P Global Ratings announced on 23 July 2018 that it has upgraded its long-term issuer credit rating for Perstorp Holding AB to B-. The outlook is stable, as per the company's press release.

Concurrently, S&P announced that it is raising the issue rating on Perstorp’s Euro and USD Senior Secured Notes to B and that it is raising the issue rating on the company’s Second Lien Secured notes to CCC and the issue rating on Prague CE Sarl’s Subordinated Notes to CCC.

According to S&P, the upgrade reflects Perstorp’s sustained EBITDA growth and deleveraging, having seen strong volume growth in its main business lines over the past several quarters.

"We are pleased to see our investment discipline and performance reflected in this upgrade decision. This should further increase our financial flexibility and the potential to lower our future cost of capital", says Magnus Heimburg, Chief Financial Officer of Perstorp.

As MRC informed earlier, in May 2018, Perstorp AB, global leading specialty chemicals company, and 3D4Makers, a high performance 3D printing filament producer, joined forces with a new Joint Venture: ElogioAM, to bring new material solutions in order to advance the additive manufacturing industry. By combining the deep insights of both companies into chemicals and polymers, ElogioAM is bringing the world’s first fifth-generation 3D filament, Facilan, which enables applications previously unobtainable with other 3D printing materials.

Perstorp is one of the world leaders in various sectors of the specialty chemicals market, it's pioneer in formalin chemistry, plastics and surface materials. Perstorp was founded in 1881 and is controlled by PAI partners,a major European private equity company. The company has around 1,500 employees in with 22 production plants in Europe, Asia and North America.

Marathon Petroleum plans to maximize US crude input

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Marathon Petroleum Corp plans to “maximize” input of U.S. crude in the third quarter, taking advantage of bottlenecks in key shale plays that have weakened domestic prices, reported Reuters.

The company said during an earnings call that about 32 percent of its total throughput of 1.95 million barrels per day will be crude linked to the U.S. benchmark price, up from 23 percent during the same stretch last year.

Input of U.S. crude at the company’s Midwest refineries is expected to jump to 53 percent of total throughput in the third quarter, up from 38 percent last year.

U.S. and Canadian producers have been forced to sell crude at a discount versus global prices as production has outpaced pipeline capacity.

As MRC wrote before, in July 2018б Marathon Petroleum Corp. and Andeavor announced that the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 expired in connection with the proposed transaction whereby MPC would acquire all of Andeavor's outstanding shares. The transaction is still expected to close in the second half of 2018, and remains subject to customary closing conditions, including approval by Andeavor shareholders of the proposed merger, approval by MPC shareholders of the new MPC shares to be issued in connection with the transaction, and the receipt of other required regulatory approvals.