Wacker invests in new equipment at Jena biotech site

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Wacker has enhanced its Jena production facilities for biopharmaceuticals – also known as biologics – with new equipment. Furthermore, an inspection by the Brazilian health authority ANVISA assessing the site’s quality standards was a major success, as per Worldofchemicals.

Both developments increase the appeal of the Jena site and offer benefits to customers. The company invested €2.5 million in, among other things, a fully automated fermentation plant including a new bioreactor with a capacity of 350 litres, a new separator for efficiently isolating cells and a new GMP cell-bank suite. The suite enables independent cell-bank production and expands storage capacity for customer cell banks.

Furthermore, analytical capacities were expanded with a new micro-biology laboratory and equipment for process and product characterization. A modern eDMS system now enables the automatic handling of GMP documentation. As a result, Wacker Biotech’s Jena site is fully equipped to supply the fast-growing market for biologics. Future-oriented therapeutic agents now make up 25 percent of the global pharmaceuticals market.

Another positive signal came with the recent visit from the Brazilian health authority ANVISA. After a five-day inspection of the production facility in April 2018, the ANVISA team confirmed that the Jena site complies with the Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) principles and standards for the production of high-quality active ingredients. The health authority not only praised the GMP system itself, but also the outstanding organization and the professionalism of the WACKER employees.

The pre-approval inspection by ANVISA experts was arranged, because one of WACKER’s customers intends to market its cancer medication in Brazil. Wacker Biotech has been producing the active ingredient using a new, efficient, recombinant method since 2016.


Petronas-Saudi RAPID refinery to receive first oil cargo

MOSCOW (MRC) -- A supertanker carrying the first crude oil cargo for a refinery joint-venture project between Petronas and Saudi Aramco is expected to reach Malaysia by end-September, according to trade sources and data from Thomson Reuters Oil Research and Forecast, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The very large crude carrier (VLCC) Navarin carrying 1 million barrels each of Saudi Arab Medium crude and Iraqi Basra Light crude is scheduled to reach Malaysia on Sept. 20.

The project, Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development (RAPID), is a USD27 billion complex located between the Malacca Strait and the South China Sea, conduits for Middle East oil and gas bound for China, Japan and South Korea.

The RAPID complex will have a 300,000-barrel-per-day refinery and petrochemical units with a capacity of 7.7 million tonnes a year. Refinery operations are set to begin in 2019, with petrochemical production to follow in six to 12 months.

As MRC informed earlier, Petronas plans to build a C6-based metallocene linear LDPE plant and a low density polyethylene (LDPE)/ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) swing plant at its greenfield integrated refinery and petrochemical complex in southern Johor state by mid-2019. The proposed metallocene LLDPE will have a capacity of 350,000 tpa, while the LDPE/EVA will have a capacity of about 150,000 tpa. The two plants are part of Petronas' planned Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development project in Pengerang at Johor.

Petronas, short for Petroliam Nasional Berhad, is a Malaysian oil and gas company wholly owned by the Government of Malaysia. The Group is engaged in a wide spectrum of petroleum activities, including upstream exploration and production of oil and gas to downstream oil refining; marketing and distribution of petroleum products; trading; gas processing and liquefaction; gas transmission pipeline network operations; marketing of liquefied natural gas; petrochemical manufacturing and marketing; shipping; automotive engineering; and property investment.

September prices of European PE rose partially for CIS markets

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The September contract price of ethylene was settled in Europe at the level of August.
However, some European producers raised their high density polyethylene (HDPE) prices for September shipments to the CIS markets, according to ICIS-MRC Price report.

Negotiations over September polyethylene (PE) shipments from Europe to the CIS countries began last week.
On the back of stability of ethylene prices, most European producers announced a roll-over of August PE prices for the current month, except for some producers' HDPE, prices of which increased by EUR10/tonne.

Negotiations over September HDPE shipments were held in the range of EUR1,100-1,165/tonne FCA, up by EUR10/tonne from August in most cases. Mainly, only those producers, which production capacities were or will be shut for maintenance in August-September, raised their export HDPE prices. There are restrictions on September shipments because of the outages at the plants.

Prices of black PE100 remained unchanged, whereas supply of material increased. September deals were discussed in the range of EUR1,360-1,415/tonne FCA.

Deals for September shipments of European low density polyethylene (LDPE) were negotiated in the range of EUR1,045-1,090/tonne FCA, which virtually corresponds to the same figure a month earlier. There were no restrictions on LDPE shipments.

Mitsubishi Chemical sets up new polymers site in Chengdu, China

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation has announced plans to establish a new production site for performance polymers in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China, and start production of PVC slush powder, which is suitable for automotive interior panel skins and other parts, in the spring of 2019, as per the company's press release.

Currently, MCC has two production sites for performance polymers in Suzhou and Changshu, located in Jiangsu Province in coastal China, and produces PVC compounds including PVC slush powder, thermoplastic elastomer, and adhesive polyolefin, for various applications such as automobiles, electric wires and cables, and construction materials.

The automotive market of performance polymers in China has shown a steady expansion, and expectations are especially high for the future growth in demand for PVC compounds including PVC slush powder, which have excellent design capabilities and texture, for use in automotive interiors. MCC aims to meet this robust demand by establishing a new performance polymer production site, through a newly-established subsidiary in Chengdu, in west-central China, where automotive parts production sites have clustered in recent years.

The company also plans to look into production of items for the food, medical care, and optical fields, which, like performance polymers, are expected to see significant growth in the future.

MCC will continue to enhance its performance polymers business through diversifying its application portfolio and accelerating business development in growth markets.

As MRC wrote before, in December 2017, Ube Industries, JSR Corp. and Mitsubishi Chemical Corp. (MCC) received European Commission (EC) approval for the planned integration of their acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) subsidiaries.

Mitsubishi Chemical with headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, is a diversified chemical company involved in petrochemicals, polymers, agrochemicals, speciality chemicals and pharmaceuticals. The company's main focus is on three business pillars: petrochemicals, performance and functional products, and health care.

INEOS is to invest GBP60 million in the UK to expand production at its Grangemouth site

MOSCOW (MRC) -- INEOS has announced plans to invest GBP60 million to expand its Grangemouth site. It has awarded a contract to build an additional furnace on its KG ethylene plant to Selas-Linde GmbH, Germany, as per the company's press release.

This significant investment affirms the Company’s commitment to UK manufacturing at a time when it is in decline across many industrial regions across the country. The addition of a tenth furnace, will improve efficiency of the plant and increase its production capacity, to ensure the business can continue meet growing demand for its products.

John McNally, CEO of INEOS O&P UK says: "Our plans to invest in the UK with the further expansion of our plant at Grangemouth, has been made possible because we now have access to the raw materials that we need. The successful completion in 2016 of our project to bring to Grangemouth plentiful supplies of competitive US shale gas ethane over a long-term agreement, has breathed new life into the plant."

"Production from Grangemouth provides vital raw materials used extensively throughout UK industry. Having additional furnace capacity, will provide a range of future opportunities not just for INEOS and for the site but also for the heartlands of manufacturing in Scotland and the North East and North West of England."

"It is entirely fitting that we make this announcement in the year we celebrate 25 years of continuous manufacture of ethylene on the KG plant. Investment into our Chemicals’ business in Scotland alone has already surpassed ?500m in the last 5 years. This latest announcement demonstrates INEOS’ on-going commitment to its manufacturing operations at Grangemouth and investment into the UK."

Subject to planning approval, preparatory project work will begin later in 2018, with the main construction work starting in 2019 and commissioning towards the end of 2020.

As MRC reported earlier, in June 2017, petrochemical giant Ineos unveiled plans to increase the ethylene capacity of its cracker facilities at Grangemouth in Scotland and Rafnes in Norway to over 1 million tonnes each. The company currently produces nearly 4.5 million tonnes of ethylene and propylene annually across Europe, but remains the largest buyer of ethylene and propylene in the region.

INEOS Group Limited is a privately owned multinational chemicals company consisting of 15 standalone business units, headquartered in Rolle, Switzerland and with its registered office in Lyndhurst, United Kingdom. It is the fourth largest chemicals company in the world measured by revenues (after BASF, Dow Chemical and LyondellBasell) and the largest privately owned company in the United Kingdom.