BASF increases production capacity of antioxidants for lubricants

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BASF’s global business unit Fuel and Lubricant Solutions is investing in Mexico and China to increase production of antioxidants for lubricants, said the company.

The capacity expansions address growing demand for antioxidants from the increasing number of vehicles in Asia and the increasing global demand for long-life lubricant additives.

In Mexico, BASF expanded the production capabilities of its site in Puebla. In China, the expansion is through a technology licensing and manufacturing agreement with Feiya Chemical Co. Feiya has recently built a new site in Rudong, Jiangsu Province, which is fully operational and producing on-spec products.

"We continue to address the regional and global needs of our customers through investments and product innovation,” said Marius Vaarkamp, Global Marketing Director, Lubricant Oil Additives, BASF. “Expanding our global production capacity of antioxidants for lubricants shows our commitment to meeting the increasing needs of an evolving market."

“We value BASF as our partner, and we are committed to meeting the expectations of BASF and its customers,” said Hong Seng Cao, Chairman and General Manager, Feiya Chemical Co.

Algeria eyes Exxon deal, trading JV in first half

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Algeria will conclude its deal with Exxon Mobil Corp and set up a trade joint venture with an international company before the first half of 2019, reported Reuters with reference to Sonatrach’s CEO.

"We are very optimistic and things are moving in the right direction so we will conclude with Exxon and have our trade JV," Abdelmoumen Ould Kaddour told reporters.

He gave no further details. Sonatrach has previously said it wanted a shale gas cooperation with the US major.

The state energy firm had also said before it was in talks with 14 international companies over a joint venture to trade oil and gas products after agreeing to buy its first overseas refinery.

As MRC wrote earlier, in October 2017, ExxonMobil Chemical Company commenced production on the first of two new 650,000 tons-per-year high-performance polyethylene (PE) lines at its plastics plant in Mont Belvieu, Texas. The full project, part of the company’s multi-billion dollar expansion project in the Baytown area and ExxonMobil’s broader Growing the Gulf expansion initiative, will increase the plant’s polyethylene capacity by approximately 1.3 million tons per year. The Mont Belvieu plant capacity will total more than 2.5 million tons per year, making it one of the largest polyethylene plants in the world.

ExxonMobil is the largest non-government owned company in the energy industry and produces about 3% of the world's oil and about 2% of the world's energy.

European PP prices fell by EUR20-30 /tonne for the markets of the CIS countries in January

MOSCOW (MRC) - January contract price of propylene in Europe was agreed down EUR35/tonne below the level of the December. European producers announced an decrease in January export prices of polypropylene (PP) for the CIS countries but not proportionally to the growth of the price of monomer, according to ICIS-MRC Price Report.

Negotiations over January prices of European PP began last week. All market participants reported the desire of producers to limit the decline in export prices of propylene polymers to a value less than the decline in monomer prices. In fact, we are talking about lowering prices by only EUR20-30/tonne.

January deals for homopolymer PP were agreed in the range of EUR1,100-1,160/tonne FCA, down on average by EUR20-25/tonne from December. Some producers still had significant restrictions on this month's shipments.

Deals for block propylene copolymers (PP block copolymers) were done in the range of EUR1,180-1,240/tonne FCA, while in December deals were done in the range of EUR1,210-1,270/tonne FCA.

European PE fell by EUR30-50/tonne for CIS markets in January

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The January contract price of ethylene was agreed in Europe down by EUR40/tonne from December. However, European producers did not cut proportionally to the monomer reduction their prices of some polyethylene (PE) grades for this month's shipments to the CIS markets, according to ICIS-MRC Price report.

Negotiations over January PE shipments from Europe to the CIS countries began last Tuesday. A reduction of EUR40/tonne in the contract price of ethylene in the region suggests a similar decrease in PE production costs. European producers reduced their prices of some PE grades by a greater amount than the reduction in the price of monomer. But the price reduction for other PE grades was less than the monomer price decrease. In general, European PE fell by EUR30-50/tonne, depending on the grade.

Thus, deals for January shipments of high density polyethylene (HDPE) were done in the range of EUR1,050-1,075/tonne FCA, for blow moulding and injection moulding PE, down by an average of EUR30/tonne from December. Prices of injection moulding HDPE dropped to EUR1,000-1,030/tonne FCA.

Prices of black pipe grade HDPE of PE 100 grade were in the range of EUR1,220-1,260/tonne FCA, down by an average of EUR30/tonne from December.

Deals for January shipments of European low density polyethylene (LDPE) were done in the range EUR930-985/tonne FCA, whereas last month's deals were done in the range of EUR980-1,035/tonne FCA.

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.