Indorama Ventures to acquire Invista HVA Polymer Asset in Germany

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Indorama Ventures Public Company Limited (IVL), a global chemical producer, has announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire INVISTA Resins & Fibers GmbH, which owns a high value-added PET manufacturing facility located in Gersthofen, Germany, as per the company's press relase.

The Gersthofen site has a combined capacity of 282,000 tonnes/ annum, and employs approximately 140 employees.

The transaction is expected to be completed in the 1st quarter 2019, subject to regulatory approvals.

Invista Gersthofen is a strong strategic fit with IVL and is aligned with our strategy to grow and support our customer’s needs with differentiated solutions in both packaging and in industrial fibers. IVL will own the intellectual property rights of POLYSHIELD PET and OXYCLEAR Barrier PET, Invista’s barrier technology, in all markets globally. POLYSHIELD PET and OXYCLEAR Barrier PET brands are well-anchored in oxygen barrier packaging i.e. Ketchup. Together with IVL’s HVA polymer business in America’s, Gersthofen will open new opportunities in several new markets and attractive segments.

PET packaging with an oxygen barrier is mainly used by the food and beverage industry to protect oxygen-sensitive products, such as juice, wine, beer, dairy as well as ketchup, sauces and other condiments throughout their entire shelf life. Demand for barrier resins is expected to grow at a strong pace, driven by the improved shelf life of packaged food products, the increasing health and hygiene concerns and the emergence of new recyclable PET applications over traditional materials such as glass and aluminum cans. Currently, IVL has a leading market share in the North America oxygen barrier PET market.

Commenting on the acquisition, Mr. Aloke Lohia, Group CEO of Indorama Ventures said, "This is very exciting development for IVL. With our strong foundation in the PET market and IVL’s geographic reach, we see vast opportunities to grow the POLYSHIELD PET and OXYCLEAR Barrier PET brands to their full potential, and reach existing and new customers around the world.

We are already capitalizing on the opportunities in the US market, one of the largest barrier resins markets in the world - through our existing OXYCLEAR Barrier PET license in America’s. This strategic acquisition will evolve IVL to the next level of success by taking advantage of opportunities in global markets. With this acquisition, we reinforce our commitment to deliver the highest value to our customers and create sustainable long-term value for our shareholders."

As MRC wrote before, in October 2017, global chemical manufacturer IVL completed its purchase of DuraFiber Technologies Mexico Operations, S. A. DE C. V. (Durafiber). Durafiber is a leading Mexican producer of durable technical textiles for industrial, tyre reinforcement, and specialty applications globally.

Indorama Ventures Public Company Limited, listed in Thailand, is one of the world's leading petrochemicals producers, a global manufacturing footprint with 59 sites in 20 countries across Africa, Asia, Europe and North America. The company's portfolio is comprises necessities and high value-added (HVA) categories of polymers, fibers, and packaging. Indorama Ventures has approx. 15,000 employees worldwide and consolidated revenue of USD 8.4 billion in 2017. The company is listed in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI).

Rising use of plastics to drive oil demand to 2050

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Plastics and other petrochemical products will drive global oil demand to 2050, offsetting slower consumption of motor fuel, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said, said Reuters.

Despite government efforts to cut pollution and carbon emissions from oil and gas, the Paris-based agency said it expected the rapid growth of emerging economies, such as India and China, to propel demand for petrochemical products.

Petrochemicals that are derived from oil and gas feedstocks form the building blocks for products that range from plastic bottles and beauty products to fertilisers and explosives.

Oil demand for transport is expected to slow by 2050 due to the rise of electric vehicles and more-efficient combustion engines, but that would be offset by rising demand for petrochemicals, the IEA said in a report.

“The petrochemical sector is one of the blind spots of the global energy debate and there is no question that it will be the key driver of oil demand growth for many years to come,” IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol told Reuters.

Petrochemicals are expected to account for more than a third of global oil demand growth by 2030 and nearly half of demand growth by 2050, according to the world’s energy watchdog.

Global demand for petrochemical feedstock accounted for 12 million barrels per day (bpd), or roughly 12 percent of total demand for oil in 2017. The figure is forecast to grow to almost 18 million bpd in 2050.

Most demand growth will take place in the Middle East and China, where big petrochemical plants are being built.

Oil companies such as Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell plan to invest in new petrochemical plants in the coming decades, betting on the rising demand for plastics in emerging economies.

In the Middle East, major producers such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait are also investing in large petrochemical plants because in some cases they can make more money by converting crude oil directly into plastics rather than oil products such as gasoline and diesel, Birol said.

Plastics use has come under increased scrutiny as waste makes its way into the oceans where it harms marine life, prompting several countries to ban, partly ban or tax single-use plastic bags.

But the IEA report said government efforts to encourage recycling in order to curb carbon emissions would have only a minor impact on petrochemical growth.

“Although substantial increases in recycling and efforts to curb single-use plastics take place, especially led by Europe, Japan and Korea, these efforts will be far outweighed by the sharp increase in developing economies of plastic consumption,” it said.

Under the IEA’s most aggressive scenario, recycling could hit around 5 percent of high-value chemical demand.

Petrochemical plants mainly run on light oil products such as naphtha and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). But natural gas is becoming an increasingly favored feedstock, particularly in the United States where shale gas production has risen.

FRX Polymers announced availability of non-halogenated flame retardants for low-VOC PU flexible foam

MOSCOW (MRC) -- FRX Polymers Inc. has announced the availability of its Nofia phosphonates for use in the production of low volatile organic compound (VOC) polyurethane foam for automotive interior applications, reported GV.

According to the company, these low-VOC PU flexible foam products can deliver significant improvements in vehicle interior air quality. VOCs are inherently present in newly produced components for automotive interiors. PU foam with small molecule flame retardants (FRs) or other volatile additives can increase VOC level, said FRX Polymers. These volatile components vaporise into the interior, creating odour and fogging.

The growth of the automotive industry in Asia is driving the effort to improve interior air quality. The Chinese government is placing strict regulations on the level of VOCs, according to FRX Polymers. Effective January 2019, the most stringent mandatory Chinese national standard, "Air quality assessment of passenger car" (GB/T 27630-201X), will reduce the maximum VOC limits for eight harmful substances by 10-45 %, and returning to its 2011 version.

Nofia phosphonate polymeric halogen-free FRs are a replacement for the small molecule volatile FR additives in PU flexible foam products for automotive interiors and exteriors, eliminating odours in vehicles while meeting other critical structural requirements. They can be added into the manufacturing process in either powder form or as a liquid polyol solution. Due to its polymeric structure and reactivity with isocyanates, which results in incorporation into the backbone of polyurethane products, Nofia FRs enable these foam products to meet various automotive fire safety standards as well as new total VOC and fogging standards from global car producers and regional in-vehicle air quality regulations, said FRX Polymers. These include the new Chinese mandatory standard GB/T 27630-201X.

"Nofia flame retardants are a unique FR solution for auto interior parts made of polyurethane foams," said Ken Wei, sales manager for FRX Polymers China. "Our team is working with various foam producers in Asia to meet new VOC regulations and our flame retardant products stand out from the competition, becoming the ‘go to’ FR solution for this market."

As MRC wrote earlier, FRX Polymers, Inc., a producer of polymeric halogen-free flame retardants, earned ISO 9001:2015 certification from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), effective from 6 February 2017. ISO 9001:2015 is the international standard that specifies requirements for a company-wide quality management system (QMS).

Nofia products are a family of halogen-free, phosphorus-containing oligomers and polymers that are inherently flame retardant and display unique physical properties. FRX’s products have applications in consumer electronic, building and construction, and transportation markets.

FRX Polymers, Inc. was founded in 2007 following over five years of intensive research and development in the field of inherently flame retardant plastics. The company operates two pilot plants in Chelmsford MA, a polymer pilot plant in Switzerland and a full scale plant in Antwerp Belgium.

Alberta government seeks industry interest in refining

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Expanding the capacity of Alberta's refining and upgrading sector has long been a focus of the Resource Diversification Council (RDC), as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Alberta's bitumen has been netting record low prices due to oversupply. The opportunity to refine this low value feedstock into much higher value end products like gasoline and diesel could mean millions of dollars in revenue for the province and thousands of high paying jobs.

The Resource Diversification Council (RDC) commends the Alberta government for its continued focus on ensuring that Albertans get the full value for their resources. Since the inception of the RDC, the association has advocated for expanding the capabilities of Alberta's resource sector through diversification and refining and upgrading Alberta resources in the province.

RDC members have over 20 billion dollars in proposed projects, which would refine or upgrade Alberta's abundant resources such as natural gas, natural gas liquids and bitumen. If these projects were built in Alberta, they would generate billions of dollars for our municipalities, province and country, as well as create thousands of jobs. It is estimated that over their operating lifetimes, these projects would add 56 billion dollars to Alberta and Canada's GDP. During construction, these projects are expected to add approximately 42,000 direct full-time positions, followed by thousands of long-term high-quality direct and indirect jobs to operate these facilities. The economic activity generated by a new facility – no matter where in Alberta it is located – provides significant benefits across our province and country.

"Large industrial value-add energy investments help provide economic resilience and diversification, and create highly skilled, well-paying jobs for decades," said David Chappell, Chair of RDC. "There is significant international competition for projects and for Alberta to compete, government and industry must work together. It is encouraging to see the Government of Alberta continue to provide signals that should help attract investors."

Lyondell refinery not affected by nearby accident

MOSCOW (MRC) - Operations at Lyondell Basell Industries 263,776 barrel-per-day (bpd) Houston refinery were unaffected by a nearby industrial accident on Saturday, a company spokeswoman said, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The refinery was informed about the accident at about 3 p.m. local time (2100 GMT) on Saturday, said Lyondell spokeswoman Chevalier Gray.

Two people working on a pipeline near the refinery were injured, according to local media. One worker was injured after a piece of pipe went through his back and abdomen and another was burned, according to KPRC-TV and KHOU-TV.