France to initiate fuel tax despite looming protests

MOSCOW (MRC) -- French President Emmanuel Macron said he would not back down from a hike in fuel tax, despite plans for nationwide protests this month and his personal popularity reaching a new low, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Drivers are planning blockades and go-slows across France on Nov. 17 to protest against higher fuel prices, which have increased by up to a third in the past year, making Macron's claim to help hard-working people harder to defend.

In a bid to fight climate change, his government has voted increases in a carbon tax and decided in particular to ramp up the price of diesel, the most commonly used car fuel in France.

But the increases, decided in late 2017 at a time crude oil prices were hovering under USD50 per barrel, have become more painful for consumers after oil surged to over USD85 last month. The issue has helped drive Macron's popularity to as low as 21 percent in a poll published last week.

The president, who has launched a seven-day tour of northeastern France, said he has no plan to back down.

"I prefer taxing fuel to taxing labour. People complaining about rising fuel prices are the same ones who complain about pollution and how their children suffer," he told regional newspapers in the area, in an interview published on Monday.

Macron's political rivals have seized on the anger to paint the former investment banker as a member of the metropolitan elite who does not relate to those outside Paris.

"You have to be completely out of touch with reality not to understand that taxing fuel is taxing those French who work," conservative opposition leader Laurent Wauquiez said on Twitter.

The protests, which according to an Odoxa poll are supported by 78 percent of the French, come at a time Macron is seeking to regain the initiative after a political scandal over the summer and a series of cabinet resignations.

His tour of the northeast, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One, gives the 40-year-old leader a chance to reconnect with de-industrialising areas that are among the poorest and most isolated in France.

Sensing a business opportunity from the political tumult over fuel taxes, France's top two hypermarket chains Leclerc and Carrefour announced promotions to sell petrol at cost.

Carrefour said on Monday that its special offer on petrol prices would run until Nov. 17, the date of the planned blockades. Leclerc's will run until the end of the month.

Saudi Aramco CEO says IPO will 'certainly' happen

MOSCOW (MRC) - Saudi Aramco Chief Executive Officer Amin Nasser said the initial public offering of the state-oil producer will "certainly" happen when the conditions are righ, said Reuters.

Saudi Aramco said it is still in discussions to buy a stake in petrochemicals company Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (Sabic) from the kingdom's sovereigh wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund, he said at a conference in Abu Dhabi.

As MRC informed earlier, Saudi Aramco signed an agreement to invest in a refinery-petrochemical project in eastern China, part of its strategy to expand in downstream operations globally. The memorandum of understanding between the company and Zhejiang province included plans to invest in a new refinery and co-operate in crude oil supply, storage and trading, according to details released by the Zhoushan government after a signing ceremony in the city south of Shanghai.

Saudi Aramco, officially the Saudi Arabian Oil Company, is a Saudi Arabian national oil and natural gas company based in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Saudi Aramco"s value has been estimated at up to USD10 trillion in the Financial Times, making it the world"s most valuable company. Saudi Aramco has both the largest proven crude oil reserves, at more than 260 billion barrels, and largest daily oil production.

Ethylene pipeline will help Tabriz Petrochemical Co. raise production

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Tabriz Petrochemical Company in East Azarbaijan Province will be connected to the West Ethylene Pipeline, a 1,200km pipeline that runs from Asalouyeh in the south to West Azarbaijan Province in the northwest, within five months, the TPC managing director said, as per Fiinancialtribune.

The pipeline will help the company increase annual output capacity to 1.5 million tons by 2022, the Association of Petrochemical Employers' Union reported Siavash Derafshi as saying.

Tabriz Petrochemical Company (TPC) is located next to Tabriz refinery. TPC is a producer of raw polymers, polyethylene, polystyrene and A.B.S., and each product in several common grades.

Main feed and Consumed raw materials are NAPHTA, LPG, ACRYLONITRILE, AMS, Mineral Oil, PBR and other chemicals provided by TABRIZ & TEHRAN refineries and national petrochemical affiliated companies in south of Iran.

Polymir resumed LDPE production

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Polymir (Novopolotsk, Belarus), part of JSC "Naftan", has resumed its production of low density polyethylene (LDPE) after shutdown for a scheduled turnaround, according to ICIS-MRC Price report.

The plant's customers said Polymir resumed production at its second LDPE line (158 grade) on 13 November after a long scheduled maintenance. The outage began in late September and was originally planned for 20 days. The second line's annual production capacity is 65,000 tonnes.

As MRC reported earlier, the first line (workshops No.101 and 102) was taken off-stream for maintenance on 3 May, 2018, and the outage lasted slightly more than two weeks.

Polymir (part of Naftan) is Belarus' largest petrochemical company, producing a wide range of chemical products, such as low density polyethylene (LDPE), acrylic fibres, products of organic synthesis, hydrocarbon fractions, etc. Polymir was founded in 1968. The producer uses technologies of the largest foreign companies from Great Britain, Japan, Germany, Italy (Courtaulds, Asahi Chemical Co. Ltd, Kanematsu Gosho, SNIA BPD, etc.), as well as the developments of scientific research institutes and design institutes of the CIS countries. The plant's annual production capacity is 130,000 tonnes.

Praxair signs long-term supply agreement with Samsung in Hwaseong, South Korea

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Praxair, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Linde plc, has announced it has signed a long-term agreement to supply ultra-high purity nitrogen to Samsung’s world-class semiconductor facility in Hwaseong, South Korea, as per the company's press release.

This is the fifth plant Praxair will build at this site to help enable Samsung to meet increased global semiconductor demand.

The plant will supply Samsung’s facility with high purity nitrogen and is expected to start up in late 2019. Additionally, the company will install multiple purifiers and a new pipeline system to support the project.

"Praxair has been a reliable partner to Samsung for over four decades," said B.S. Sung, president of Praxair Korea. "We are proud to continue to support their growth as global demand for electronics intensifies. This project increases our density in the region and positions us for future expansion."

Earlier this year, Praxair announced two other long-term agreements with Samsung affiliates in South Korea, one to supply another of Samsung Electronics’ world-scale semiconductor plant in Pyeongtaek and a second to supply Samsung Electro-Mechanics’ facility in Busan.

And in July 2017, as MRC informed earlier, Praxair, Inc. announced the start-up of a new air separation plant to supply 700 tons per day of nitrogen to Samsung’s display manufacturing complex in Tangjeong, South Korea.

Praxair, Inc. is a leading industrial gas company in North and South America and one of the largest worldwide. With market capitalization of approximately USD40 billion and 2017 sales of USD11 billion, the company employs over 26,000 people globally and has been named to the Dow Jones World Sustainability Index for 16 consecutive years. Praxair produces, sells and distributes atmospheric, process and specialty gases, and high-performance surface coatings. The company's products, services and technologies are making our planet more productive by bringing efficiency and environmental benefits to a wide variety of industries, including aerospace, chemicals, food and beverage, electronics, energy, healthcare, manufacturing, primary metals and many others.