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.

PP imports into Russia rose by 17% in first nine months of 2018

MOSCOW (MRC) - Total imports of polypropylene (PP) into Russia increased to about 144,600 tonnes in the first nine months of 2018, up 17% compared to the same period of 2017. Supply of all grades of PP increased, according to a MRC's DataScope report.

Russian companies slightly reduced their PP imports in September, which were 13,400 tonnes versus 16,600 tonnes a month earlier, shipments of propylene homopolymers (homopolymer PP) from Central Asia decreased. In general, PP imports into Russia were about 144,600 tonnes in January-September 2018, compared with 123,800 tonnes year on year. Imports of all grades of propylene polymers increased, with homopolymer PP accounting for the greatest increase in deliveries.

Overall, the structure of PP imports by grades looked the following way over the stated period.

September imports of homopolymer PP decreased to 3,300 tonnes against 6,300 tonnes a month earlier, shipments of homopolymer PP raffia from Turkmenistan decreased two times. Overall imports of this PP grade reached 51,600 tonnes in the first nine months of 2018, compared to 40,800 a year earlier.

September imports of PP block copolymers was about 4,000 tonnes, which actually equal to the level in August. Imports of PP block copolymers into Russia rose to 35,900 tonnes in the first nine months of 2018, compared to 32,600 tonnes a year earlier.

Import of stat-copolymers of propylene (PP random copolymer) in September also remained at the level of August and amounted to about 3,000 tonnes, while the decline in demand for film PP was offset by the growth in purchases of pipe PP random copolymers. Total imports of PP random copolymers in Russia were 27,100 tonnes in January - September 2018, compared with 23,000 tonnes year on year.

Imports of other propylene polymers for the reported period increased to about 30,100 tonnes compared with 27,400 tonnes in the same time a year earlier.


Van Baarle new Head of Procurement and Logistics at Lanxess

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Frederique van Baarle, will take over as Head of the Procurement and Logistics Group function at Lanxess on 1 December 2018, reported GV.

Van Baarle is currently Head of Marketing & Sales Engineering Plastics sector for the EMEA region within the High Performance Materials business unit. She succeeds Bernd Makowka, who is retiring after 33 years with Lanxess and Bayer AG.

Van Baarle began her professional career in the chemical industry at the Dutch company Royal DSM in the year 2000. She joined Lanxess in 2011 and held various management positions in sales and marketing in the High Performance Elastomers (now Arlanxeo) and the High Performance Materials business units.

As MRC wrote earlier, in July, specialty chemicals company Lanxess announced plans to open a new applications development and technical services (AD&TS) laboratory for polyurethane dispersions (PUDs) in Latina, Italy.

Lanxess is a leading specialty chemicals company with about 19,200 employees in 25 countries. The company is currently represented at 74 production sites worldwide. The core business of Lanxess is the development, manufacturing and marketing of chemical intermediates, additives, specialty chemicals and plastics. Through Arlanxeo, the joint venture with Saudi Aramco, Lanxess is also a leading supplier of synthetic rubber.