Celanese completes acquisition of Next Polymers

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Celanese Corporation, a global chemical and specialty materials company, has announced it has completed the acquisition of Next Polymers Ltd., one of India's largest engineering thermoplastics (ETP) compounders, as per the company's press release.

"This acquisition complements our rapidly growing India business and establishes Celanese as a leader in the Indian ETP market by broadening our ability to serve nylon and other engineered materials customers with high product quality and service levels, while also offering our customers a wider range of polymer products," said Scott Sutton, Celanese Chief Operating Officer. "This step also offers our new employees career growth opportunities as part of a global chemical and materials company focused on numerous stewardship initiatives."

By adding a new production unit in India, this acquisition further expands Celanese's global manufacturing footprint with a world-class domestic compounding facility and 10 production lines to support local customers in a fast-growing market and leverage a potential export base. The acquisition also grows Celanese's capability in compounding polymers with post-industrial content, an increasingly important focus area that reinforces the company's commitment to waste reduction and environmental accountability.

Celanese will manage Next Polymer's ETP product portfolio within its engineered materials business to include the following products: nylon 6 and nylon 66, polypropylene (PP), acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS), polycarbonate (PC), polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA).

Next Polymers specializes in custom compounding of various ETP materials and is located in Mumbai, India, with an approximate 20 kilo tons per annum compounding production facility in Silvassa, located in the union territory of Dadra & Nagar Haveli.

Financial details of the transaction are not being disclosed at this time. Celanese announced its agreement to acquire Next Polymers in October 2018.

As MRC wrote before, in late December 2018, Celanese Corporation announced price increases for its GUR and GHR grades (UHMW-PE) to be shipped starting from January to Europe, the Americas and Asia. The price increases below are effective for orders shipped on or after 1 January, 2019, or as contracts otherwise allow, as follows:

- in Europe - by EUR150/tonne;
- in Asia - by USD150/tonne;
- in North and South America - by 10%.

Celanese Corporation is a global technology leader in the production of differentiated chemistry solutions and specialty materials used in most major industries and consumer applications. Based in Dallas, Celanese employs approximately 7,600 employees worldwide and had 2017 net sales of USD6.1 billion.

BASF names location for planned Verbund project in China

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BASF, which last year signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding with the Guangdong provincial government to establish a new "smart" Verbund site in Guangdong, said it has selected the city of Zhanjiang as the location of the proposed project, as per Apic-online.

BASF and the Guangdong government have now signed a framework agreement setting out further details for the planned site, which is expected to cost up to USD10-billion.

The project, to be implemented in phases, will include a 1-million-t/y steam cracker and several petrochemical units. The first plants could be completed around 2026 at the latest. This will be the company's second Verbund site in China.

A smart manufacturing concept is being further developed for the new site on the basis of cutting-edge technologies that maximize resource and energy efficiency and reduce environmental impact, BASF noted.
"By 2030, China's share of the global chemical production will increase to nearly 50%," said Martin Brudermller, chairman of the board of executive directors at BASF SE.

"Guangdong is a growing market for innovations from chemistry, and our new site will support customers in multiple industries."

As MRC informed before, in July 2018, BASF managed to wrap up a preliminary deal to build China's first wholly foreign-owned chemicals complex quite quickly, aided in part by trade tensions between Beijing and Washington. The proposed complex, worth some USD10 billion in investment to 2030, will be located in Guangdong, China's most populous province which had been worried about the impact of a US decision to heavily penalize telecom firm ZTE Corp, also based there.

BASF is the leading chemical company. It produces a wide range of chemicals, for example solvents, amines, resins, glues, electronic-grade chemicals, industrial gases, basic petrochemicals and inorganic chemicals. The most important customers for this segment are the pharmaceutical, construction, textile and automotive industries.

Nghi Son oil refinery exports first jet fuel cargo

MOSCOW (MRC) - Vietnam’s Nghi Son oil refinery has exported its first batch of jet fuel, the company said, as per Reuters.

The batch of 8,000 cubic metres of jet fuel has been shipped to Singapore, the company said in a statement.

The 200,000-barrel-per-day refinery, which started commercial production in November, will produce 500,000 cubic metres of jet fuel this year for the domestic market, it added.

Kuwait Petroleum (IPO-KUWP.KW) and Japan’s Idemitsu Kosan Co own 35.1 percent stake each in the USD9 billion refinery, wile PetroVietnam and Mitsui Chemicals Inc have 25.1 percent and 4.7 percent respectively.

Husky Energy considering sale of non-core downstream assets

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Canadian oil and gas producer Husky Energy Inc said it will conduct a strategic review and is considering a sale of its non-core downstream assets, reported Reuters.

The company said the assets would include its Canadian retail and commercial fuels business and its Prince George Refinery.

The move comes as Husky intends to focus on its core assets in Atlantic Canada and the Asia Pacific region.

Chief Executive Officer Rob Peabody said the decision follows the company’s plans to aligns its heavy oil and downstream businesses to form one integrated corridor.

Husky’s retail and commercial network consists of over 500 stations, travel centers, and bulk distribution facilities from British Columbia to New Brunswick.

The company’s Prince George Refinery has a capacity of 12,000 barrel-per day and supplies refined products to retail outlets in the central and northern regions of British Columbia.

The Calgary, Alberta-based company said the potential disposition is being undertaken independently of the outcome of Husky’s proposed acquisition of rival MEG Energy Corp.

As MRC informed earlier, in October 2018, Canadian oil and gas producer Husky Energy Inc said it had made an unsolicited bid to acquire rival MEG Energy Corp in a deal valued at USD5 billion including debt. The combined company would have total production of more than 410,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) and refining and upgrading capacity of about 400,000 barrels per day (bpd).

China grants first crude import license to private trading firm

MOSCOW (MRC) - China’s commerce ministry granted a crude oil import license to Zhejiang Wuchan Zhongda Petroleum, a private trading firm based in the Zhoushan free trade zone in eastern China, the ministry said in a statement on its website, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Zhejiang Wuchan Zhongda, a venture between government fund Zhousan Communications Investment Group and Wuchang Zhongda Group, is the first privately owned company to receive a crude import license from the ministry.

The move could be an effort by the Chinese government to support the Shanghai crude futures contract that started up last year and attract institutional investors, according to Zhong Jian, chief analyst with consultancy JLC.

“The approval showed China is further opening up its crude market. More importantly, a trading firm can deliver crude oil to refineries against the Shanghai crude futures contracts,” Zhong said.

Zhejiang Wuchan Zhongda was set up in May 2018 with a registered capital of 1 billion yuan (USD147.97 million), according to a filing from its parent company Wuchan Zhongda Group to the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

The company has not yet been granted a quota from the state planner, which will set the amount the trading firm can buy each year.

China first granted quotas to an independent refiner in July 2015. While the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) approves the qualifications, the Ministry of Commerce releases the allowances. The ministry last month issued the first batch of crude oil quotas 58 so-called “non-state trade”, including mostly these independents.

The actual allotments can be lower than the initial NDRC approvals, based on the plants’ import records.

Under rules issued in February 2015 by the NDRC, smaller refiners can gain permission to use imported crude oil if they meet certain environmental conditions, including closing old and polluting refining capacity.