BASF appoints chief digital officer, creates new division

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BASF SE said Monday that it has combined its digitalization and IT units into one division called digitalization and information services, said the company.

The German chemical company said Christoph Wegner will lead the new division, becoming the group's chief digital officer.

"Over the last few years, we have shown how to implement digitalization in a chemical company. Now, the new organization will help lend more assertiveness to the topic," Mr. Wegner said.

BASF’s Digitalisation & Information Services division, which has been in operation since 1 January, will aim to “accelerate” the company’s digital drive.

The German producer reshuffled its corporate structure and board responsibilities as recently as December.

Toyobo to start Indonesia barrier films production in November

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Increasing consumer demand for high-barrier transparent packaging materials has seen Japanese film maker Toyobo sign Terphane up as an exclusive distributor in the Americas, as per Plasticsinpackaging.

The agreement will focus on the ECOSYAR transparent gas barrier film, Toughster polyester film, Olyester heat-sealable polyester, and BOPET film made from 80 per cent post-consumer PET.

Jose Bosco Silveira Jr., president of Terphane, says the agreement with Toyobo signifies a new phase for the specialty polyester producer. “We understand that the players in the market, especially brand owners, need partners that participate in all stages of new product development and act with speed to bring innovative packaging to the market. These abilities are even more important in the premium products market.

"Because consumers react to transparent packaging at the moment of purchase with, ‘If I can see the contents of the package, it is because the product is good,’ the transparent packaging helps to build and support the brand’s value proposition. And in premium products and brands, a simple ‘window’ can validate the quality expected from the product’s positioning."

Toyobo’s general manager of Packaging Strategy and Marketing, Hisao Oku, said: "I am very pleased that the customers in Americas now have the access to our solutions through Terphane’s network."

Claims Toyobo, the ECOSYAR PET film line is technically aligned with market expectations for environmentally-friendly product by excluding chlorine in its formulation. Ceramic elements that are used guarantee film barrier properties and eliminate the use of PVDC, aluminium deposition and lamination with aluminium foil and other barrier materials that can compromise post-consumption recycling. In addition, the stability in the production process guarantees the stability of film barrier properties during the conversion process and on the store shelves. The possibility of producing thinner packages can reduce the generation of waste.

Indian Oil eyes turnaround at Panipat PTA plant

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The state-owned Indian Oil Corp Ltd (IOCL) is in plans to shut its purified terephthalic acid (PTA) plant for maintenance, as per Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in the India informed that the company is likely to start turnaround at the plant in early-February, 2019. The plant is slated to remain under maintenance until end-February, 2019.

Located in Panipat, India, the PTA plant has a production capacity of 550,000 mt/year.

As MRC wrote before, Indian Oil Corporation's Rs 34,555-crore 15 million tonnes per annum Paradip Refinery was commissioned in phases from March 2015 onwards. Indian Oil Corporation was conducting feasibility studies to set up a petrochemical complex at Paradip in Odisha for Rs 20,000 crore. The petrochemical complex will be built in the vicinity of the company’s to-be-commissioned 15-mln tpa greenfield refinery at Paradip. The petrochemical complex will be in addition to the already announced Rs 3,150-crore polypropylene project at the same location, the foundation stone for which was laid by MOS for petroleum and natural gas.

Indian Oil Corporation Limited, or IndianOil, is an Indian state-owned oil and gas corporation with its headquarters in New Delhi, India.

Saudi Aramco bolsters South Korean refining business with USD1.6bn Hyundai deal

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Saudi Arabia's Aramco is paying up to 1.8 trillion won (USD1.6 billion) for a 19.9% stake in Hyundai Oilbank, in a deal that strengthens its hold on South Korea's refining industry while also providing a welcome cash injection for Hyundai Heavy Industries Group, the struggling South Korean shipbuilder, as per NIKKEI.

Aramco already owns a 63% stake in South Korea's third-largest refinery, S-Oil, and the deal will bolster its downstream presence in one of the world's biggest crude oil importing countries. Currently the South Korean refining market is dominated by SK Innovation and GS Caltex. Aramco in recent years has been moving aggressively to expand its refining capacity in Asia.

HHIG, meanwhile, is struggling to pay back debt after years of losses, a situation exacerbated by the downturn in the shipbuilding industry since the global financial crisis. More recently, the shipbuilder has sought to restore profitability by selling its noncore assets and laying off thousands of employees.

The Ulsan-based shipbuilder planned to list the refinery affiliate, which also runs a network of gas stations, on the South Korean stock market this year as part of a strategy to cut borrowing. The company's total debt reached 12.2 trillion won in September, up from 10.8 trillion won in December 2017.

That listing is likely to go ahead despite the deal, said analysts, who welcomed the stake sale. The valuation of Hyundai Oilbank at 9 trillion won was far higher than the market estimation of 7.5 trillion won, one said.

"We need to pay attention to the fact that Aramco gave Oilbank a higher valuation than S-Oil. This will lead to revaluation in Oilbank," said Han Young-soo, an analyst at Samsung Securities. "It is also positive that [Oilbank] is participating in many projects initiated by Aramco."

Shares of HHIG jumped 3.83% to 379,500 won on Monday.

South Korea's shipbuilders have suffered amid the industry's long downturn. Earlier this month, the Philippine subsidiary of Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction filed for court protection after defaulting on loans.

As MRC informed before, Saudi Aramco’s potential acquisition of a stake in petrochemicals maker SABIC would affect the timeframe of its own planned initial public offering, the firm’s chief executive, Amin Nasser, said in a TV interview in late July 2018.

Saudi Aramco is an integrated oil and chemicals company, a global leader in hydrocarbon production, refining processes and distribution, as well as one of the largest global oil exporters. It manages proven reserves of crude oil and condensate estimated at 261.1bn barrels, and produces 9.54 million bbl daily. Headquartered in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, the company employs over 61,000 staff in 77 countries.

Zhejiang Petrochemical to use Honeywell technologies in phase 2 Zhoushan plant

MOSCOW (MRC) -- China's greenfield Zhejiang Petrochemical will use a range of process technology from Honeywell UOP for the second phase of its integrated refining and petrochemical complex in Zhoushan, Zhejiang province, according to a document, quoting a senior Honeywell official, seen by S&P Global Platts Thursday, reported Apic-online.

"This second phase of the complex by itself will process 20 million tons per year of crude oil and produce another six million tons per year of aromatics when completed," Bryan Glover, vice president and general manager, Process Technology and Equipment, at Honeywell UOP, stated in the document.

"It will be the largest crude-to-chemicals complex in the world, with more than 50% of the crude converting to petrochemicals."Zhejiang Petrochemical was established in 2017 and is a joint venture between textile companies Rongsheng Holding (51%) and Tongkun Group (20%), as well as chemical company Juhua Group (20%). Saudi Arabia's state-owned oil company Aramco on October 18, 2018, said it was taking a 9% stake in the refinery, with a source close to the project telling Platts that Aramco had agreed to supply around 5 million mt (36.65 million barrels) of crude to the plant in 2019.

With an overall project cost of Yuan 160 billion (USD25.8 billion), Zhejiang Petrochemical plans to ultimately build up 40 million mt/year of crude processing capacity on Yushan Island of Zhoushan city in eastern China's Zhejiang province.

Phase I, revolving around 20 million mt/year of primarily crude processing capacity, will be able to produce 4 million mt/year of paraxylene, along with 8.5 million mt/year of gasoline, gasoil and jet fuel. Zhejiang Petrochemical has plans to start trial operations in February on its crude distillation unit and vacuum distillation unit at the phase I project, a source close to the company said this week.

Construction of the second phase will begin after the full start-up of phase I.

As MRC informed before, in October 2018, state oil giant Saudi Aramco announced that it would take a stake in a new refinery being built by Zhejiang Petrochemical. The oil giant expects to supply 170,000 barrels per day of Saudi crude to the refinery in Zhoushan in eastern China when it starts operation, Aramco's Senior Vice President of Downstream, Abdulaziz al-Judaimi said Reuters.