Toray Industries pledges USD 89 million to expand Korean PPS lines

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Toray Industries Inc., Japan’s leading advanced materials maker, will invest KRW 100 billion (~ USD 89.3 million) over the next three years to bump up polyphenylene sulfide (PPS) resin output capacity at its plant in Gunsan, South Korea, reported GV.

The North Jeolla provincial government office said Thursday (13 September 2018) that Akihiro Nikkaku, president and chief executive officer of Toray Industries, met with its governor to submit the company’s investment plan.

According to the office, the Japanese firm will spend up to KRW 100 billion from 2019 to 2021 to add production lines at its PPS manufacturing plant in Gunsan. The expansion will take place at Toray Industries’ PPS factory that was built on reclaimed land in the southwestern coastal area of Saemangeum in Korea in July 2016 at an initial cost of KRW 200 billion. The plant is the world’s first integrated plant that can produce sulfureted hydrogen sodium, paradichlorobenzene, PPS resin, and PPS compounds.

The company plans to break ground for the new lines around June next year with an aim to complete construction within the first half of 2021 and start production from that year. The full capacity is unknown. PPS is a high-performance material that is often called "super engineering plastic" for its light and heat-resistance features. Commonly used to produce semiconductors, automotive and medical products, its demand has increased due to its applications in electric and hybrid vehicles.

As MRC informed previously, in June 2018, Toray Industries, Inc.announced that it had decided to establish a production facility for nylon and PBT resin compounds at its Indian subsidiary Toray Industries (India) Private Limited (TID).

Libya may suspend Zawiya refinery unless security improves

MOSCOW (MRC) - Libya’s state oil firm NOC warned it would have to suspend operations at its 120,000 barrels per day (bpd) Zawiya refinery unless security improved after two recent attacks, as per Reuters.

The refinery west of the capital Tripoli supplies western and southern Libya with fuel. Its port also exports crude from the southern El Sharara oilfield.

Gunmen attacked the site on Wednesday, trying to break into the oil mixing operation and stealing a company car, NOC said in a statement.

The previous week unidentified people assaulted staff, kidnapping one employee who later was released and stealing cars as well as personal things from workers.

“The NOC board warned that any continuation or failure to address this situation, to ensure staff and site protection and increase security, will affect ongoing operations and result in their suspension,” NOC said in the statement.

Libya is currently producing 1 million bpd of oil on average and plans to increase output, NOC Chairman Mustafa Sanallah said on Wednesday.

Protests, blockages by armed groups or staff and outbreaks of violence have frequently interrupted production in Libya.

Current production levels remain below the OPEC member’s pre-civil war pumping rate of around 1.6 million bpd, but are at their highest since mid-2013, according to Reuters estimates.

Axens NA signs contracts with Meridian Energy for final process designs for Davis Refinery

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Meridian Energy Group has selected Axens as the technology provider for the final stages of basic engineering design for its 49,500 BPD Davis refining complex being constructed in Billings County, North Dakota, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The project will utilize Axens’ Suite of clean fuels technologies to refine local Bakken tight oil and produce ultra-low sulfur transportation fuels while minimizing energy consumption and environmental footprint.

The latest design efforts include Axens’ Octanizing®(CCR reforming) and HyKTM (VGO hydrocracking) units, respectively, for the production of high-octane gasoline and ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD). These units will complete the previously designed Axens’ Prime-DTM (Diesel hydrotreating), Benfree® (Benzene reduction), and Naphtha Hydrotreating units.

Both teams paid special attention to energy efficiency and environmental impacts by optimizing process heat integration and conducting process heater emission reduction studies utilizing Axens’ expertise.

Axens NA, a subsidiary of Axens, is excited to continue its partnership with Meridian Energy Group, as they construct the first new refinery built in the US in over 30 years.

In September 2018, Meridian announced that GATE Energy has been selected to provide commissioning and start-up services to the Davis Refinery team during development and execution of the 49,500 bpd Davis Refinery located in Belfield, North Dakota. This LOI comes only weeks after Meridian has begun Civil Construction of the Davis Refinery. The Davis Refinery will commence construction in 2019 and will be fully operational in 2020.

Sipchem and Sahara Petrochemicals ink MoU for merger

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Saudi International Petrochemical Company (Sipchem) has signed a non-binding agreement to buy Sahara Petrochemicals Company in a deal valued at just over USD2bn, as per TankNews.

The agreement has taken place four years after merger talks stalled.

Aligned with the goals of Saudi Vision 2030, which aims to create a thriving private sector in the Kingdom, the merger is expected to deliver multiple strategic benefits to the combined business, including:

1. Strengthening the product portfolio, diversifying feedstock supply and building out presence along the value chain;

2. Increasing scale and resilience in the evolving petrochemicals sector, both in the Kingdom and internationally;

3. Building on the competitive advantages and complimentary capabilities of Sahara and Sipchem to provide benefits commercially, operationally and functionally;

4. Driving efficiency and productivity of the closely situated industrial asset portfolios of each of Sahara and Sipchem in Jubail; and

5. Creating a platform with improved financial resources, capital market access, and product and technological expertise to take advantage of local and international growth opportunities, both organic and inorganic.

The Proposed Transaction is expected to provide synergy potential, from both a revenue and cost perspective, which is expected to drive value for shareholders. It is also expected to deliver benefits to the combined workforce, and local and international business partners.

Sipchem will make an offer to buy all of Sahara’s shares and each Sahara shareholder will receive 0.8356 new Sipchem shares, the companies said. Sipchem and Sahara are working to enter a binding agreement by February 28.

As MRC wrote before, in March 2018, Sipchem said it was planning to resume proposed merger talks with Sahara Petrochemical 2260.SE in a deal that could create a 14.7 billion riyals (USD3.9 bln) chemicals company. The two companies called off a planned merger in 2014, citing an inadequate regulatory framework in the kingdom for the collapse.

Established in 1999, Saudi International Petrochemical Company (Sipchem) manufactures and markets methanol, butanediol, tetrahydrofuran, acetic acid, acetic anhydride, vinyl acetate monomer. Besides, it has launched several down-stream projects to manufacture ethylene vinyl acetate, low density polyethylene, ethyl acetate, butyl acetate, cross linkable polyethylene, and semi conductive compound that are scheduled to start in 2013.

Sahara Petrochemical is involved in building and operating petrochemical projects, especially propylene, polypropylene, ethylene and mixed polyethylene industries.

Total and Sonatrach form joint venture for polymers project in Algeria

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Sonatrach and Total have signed two agreements as part of the comprehensive partnership announced in 2017, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

A new concession contract to jointly develop the Erg Issouane gas field located on the TFT Sud permit, signed by Sonatrach, Total and Alnaft (the National Agency for the Valorization of Hydrocarbon Resources).

The TFT Sud permit is located south of the Tin Fouye Tabankort (TFT) field, of which Total is a long-standing partner. Sonatrach (51%) and Total (49%) will develop the reserves of Erg Issouane located on the TFT Sud permit estimated at more than 100 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe). The development, which represents an investment of around $ 400 million, will be tied back to the existing TFT gas treatment unit by a 22-kilometer-long gas pipeline. First gas is expected late 2021. The partners have also signed a gas marketing agreement. The concession contract will become effective upon approval by the Algerian authorities.

A shareholder agreement to create a joint venture known as STEP (Sonatrach Total Entreprise Polymeres).
STEP will be responsible for carrying out a joint petrochemical project in Arzew, western Algeria. The project includes a propane dehydrogenation (PDH) unit and a polypropylene production unit with an output capacity of 550,000 tons per year. The two partners (Sonatrach 51%, Total 49%) are planning to start the front-end engineering and design (FEED) from November. This project will allow to valorize the propane, produced in large quantities locally, by transforming it into polypropylene, a plastic for which demand is growing strongly.

"Today’s agreements mark a new milestone in the development of the strategic partnership between Sonatrach and Total to continue developing the country’s gas reserves by providing the best of our technological expertise," said Patrick Pouyanne, Chairman and CEO of Total.

Total’s exploration and production activities in Algeria date back to 1952. In 2017, Total’s production in Algeria averaged 15,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d), all of it from the TFT gas and condensate field, in which the Group currently holds a 35% in interest.

In June 2017, Total signed a new concession contract for a period of 25 years to extend the exploitation of the field, giving Total a 26.4% interest alongside Sonatrach (51%) and Repsol (22.6%). This contract has just received the approval of the Council of Ministers.