TNSC acquires portion of Linde American US HyCO business and related assets

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Taiyo Nippon Sanso Corp. (TNSC), through its wholly-owned Matheson Tri-Gas subsidiary, has finalized the acquisition of a portion of Linde Gas North America's (Linde America) HyCO business and related assets in the US for about USD413-million, as per Apic-online.

The HyCO business provides large-scale supply of hydrogen and carbon monoxide to petrochemical and oil refining customers via pipeline. It has eight plants in five locations in the US.

Linde America's sale of the HyCO business was one of the conditions of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission's approval of Linde's recent merger with Praxair.

TNSC is a consolidated subsidiary of Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corp.

As MRC reported before, in December 2017, Ube Industries, JSR Corp. and Mitsubishi Chemical Corp. (MCC) received European Commission (EC) approval for the planned integration of their acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) subsidiaries.

Rising output at SOCAR STAR oil refinery adds to sour shortage in Med

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Azerbaijan’s state-owned SOCAR is gradually increasing production at its STAR oil refinery in Turkey and actively purchasing Russia’s Urals crude oil to supply the plant, adding to shortages of sour grades in the Mediterranean, reported Reuters with reference to traders.

The 200,000-barrel-per-day STAR refinery has reached half of its planned processing capacity, three sources familiar with the refinery launch process told Reuters.

One source with direct knowledge of the refinery plans said SOCAR expects STAR to reach full capacity as early as April.

"The test period is always tricky, but the latest tests show good results," he said.

A SOCAR spokesman told Reuters: “We plan to reach full capacity soon.” He added the company could not give an estimate of operational capacity as different units at STAR were being tested separately.

While in testing mode, SOCAR can only supply STAR with two grades - Urals and Kurdistan’s KBT Blend, sources said.

Overall supplies of Urals to STAR so far in 2019 have exceeded 500,000 tonnes compared to 270,000 tonnes for all of 2018, Refinitiv Eikon flows data shows.

SOCAR buys Urals from Russia’s Rosneft under a long-term contract as well as in the spot market.

In February Rosneft supplied SOCAR with 140,000 tonnes of Urals under the long-term agreement and supplies will continue. Rosneft has a contract to supply STAR with 1 million tonnes of Urals per year, traders said.

SOCAR also bought a February-loading 100,000-tonne Urals cargo loading from Baltic Ust-Luga port in Surgutneftegaz’s spot tender for the first time in a long while.

SOCAR also purchased several Urals cargoes loading from Novorossiisk and Baltic ports in late January and February in a secondary market from Litasco and Trafigura, traders said.

"SOCAR is set to become an active player in Urals market, change is visible. Last year they bought just a couple of cargoes and this year they’re actively monitoring and buying, it certainly adds to support for Urals prices," a trader in the Mediterranean market told Reuters.

Urals differentials in the Mediterranean have traded at a premium to dated Brent for almost two months in January-February and reached the highest premium since 2013 in January due to limited exports of the grade and a shortage of sour grades due to a lack of Iranian crude caused by sanctions.

At full capacity STAR will be able to refine a variety of crude oil grades, but its main feedstock is planned to be heavy and sour oils, Reuters sources said.

As MRC wrote before, in February 2018, Maire Tecnimont S.p.A. announced that its main subsidiaries Tecnimont S.p.A. and KT-Kinetics Technology S.p.A. - had signed with the Client SOCAR (State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic) Heydar Aliyev Baku Oil Refineryan EPC contract (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) as an important part of the execution of the Modernization and Reconstruction works for the Heydar Aliyev Baku Oil Refinery, in Azerbaijan.

SOCAR, which is keen on expanding operations in the retail oil products market abroad, is involved in exploring oil and gas fields, producing, processing, and transporting oil, gas, and gas condensate, marketing petroleum and petrochemical products in the domestic and international markets, and supplying natural gas to industry and the public in Azerbaijan.

Nouryon to build a new US plant for expandable microspheres

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Nouryon expandable microspheres plantNouryon - formerly known as AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals - finds its best fit in US-based location for a world-scale polymerization plant to make Expancel expandable microspheres happen, as per PlasticsInsight.

The company will have better-enhanced leadership hold in expandable microspheres with the progress in this project.

These expandable microspheres play a vital role in making customers’ end products lighter and cost-effective. The advanced engineering is in progress, and the project is likely to be completed by late 2020 post final board approval.

Sylvia Winkel Pettersson, Director Expancel at Nouryons, says: "This investment is an important step to meet the fast-growing demand for this product. The planned facility will enable us to better serve our customers in the US and globally."

Expancel microspheres serve as a lightweight filler and also, a blowing agent to make end products lighter. This helps in reducing costs as it requires less raw material.

Winkel Pettersson further added: "It is a versatile product used in a multitude of applications and markets. It offers benefits such as lower density and better insulation – some of the key applications include automotive and construction."

Today, Nouryon stands as the leading producer of expandable microspheres across the world. This planned investment of the US follows a lately completed capacity increase at Sweden.

Niek Stapel, Managing Director Pulp and Performance Chemicals, quoted: "These projects reflect Nouryon’s commitment to be a trusted partner for our customers, who rely on us to support the growth of their business."

He also believes: "We will take our growth ambitions to the next level by making strategic investments with attractive returns tailored to the needs of our customers."

As MRC informed before, in December 2016, AkzoNobel finalized the acquisition of BASF’s global Industrial Coatings business, which supplies a range of products for industries including construction, domestic appliances, wind energy and commercial transport, strengthening its position as the global number one supplier in coil coatings. The transaction includes relevant technologies, patents and trademarks, as well as two manufacturing plants in the United Kingdom and South Africa. Approximately 400 employees from BASF’s Industrial Coatings business join AkzoNobel, bringing expertise to innovate and serve an expanded customer base worldwide.

Akzo Nobel N.V., trading as AkzoNobel, is a Dutch multinational, active in the fields of decorative paints, performance coatings and specialty chemicals. Headquartered in Amsterdam, the company has activities in more than 80 countries, and employs approximately 55,000 people.

ELIX Polymers presents new materials and technologies

MOSCOW (MRC) -- ELIX Polymers, a leading manufacturer of ABS resins and derivatives, will present its portfolio of materials and technologies at Plastimagen 2019, one of the most important trade fairs in the plastics sector, which will be held in Mexico from the 2nd to the 5th of April at the Banamex centre in Mexico City, said the company.

During this international trade fair, at booth 1363 ELIX Polymers will present its portfolio of products and innovations in materials for several key markets. These innovations are the result of the company’s strong emphasis on product differentiation and its significant investments in R&D, thereby allowing it to stand out among manufacturers of basic ABS products.

Some of the products being presented at the Plastimagen trade fair include the following: ABS grades with a very low level of emissions and odour, in addition to high heat-resistant ABS for the automotive industry.

A generation of ABS grades for chrome-plating, thereby strengthening the company’s position as a pioneer in this market. Grades suitable for contact with food, in applications that require a high level of support and regulatory knowledge. Newly developed, low-friction products for applications in the automotive industry.

In addition to being an excellent manufacturer for important customers throughout the world, ELIX Polymers specialises in producing ABS and SAN polymers, high-performance compounds and polymer mixes, as well as polymer modifiers.

With its factory and head office located in the largest chemical complex of Tarragona, Spain (with another office in Florida, USA), ELIX Polymers manages the third-largest ABS production plant in Europe, with five lines of ABS compounds that produce over 40 grades, and it specialises in the supply of pre-coloured products with over 300 active colours.

ELIX Polymers has an unequalled portfolio of services and is highly valued by its customers: it assures short delivery periods and is proactive, flexible and reliable. The company sells in a number of end user markets, above all in the automotive industry, healthcare, household appliances, consumer goods and products for building and construction.

Two Mitsui Chemicals Companies recognized as excellent enterprises of health and productivity management

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Mitsui Chemicals, Inc. and Mitsui Chemicals Tohcello, Inc.were recognized on February 21 as White 500 companies in the 2019 Certified Health and Productivity Management Organization Recognition Program, operated by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and the Nippon Kenko Kaigi, said the company.

This year’s listing marks Mitsui Chemicals’ third successive appearance and Mitsui Chemicals Tohcello’s debut in the White 500, the program’s large enterprise category.

Under the recognition program’s White 500 category, the Nippon Kenko Kaigi examines large enterprises engaging in initiatives for overcoming health-related challenges in regional communities or for promoting health-conscious activities led by the Nippon Kenko Kaigi, and recognizes outstanding enterprises engaging in efforts for health and productivity management.

To promote health management among employees, Mitsui Chemicals has established health management offices staffed by full-time health and safety managers and occupational health physicians and nurses at its head office, R&D center and four major plants. The company also dispatches occupational health physicians and nurses to visit other plants and the main plants of affiliate companies as part of its endeavors to promote better health among employees throughout the Mitsui Chemicals Group. The company also devotes energy to ongoing efforts toward reducing hygiene risks and preventing mental health issues and lifestyle-related diseases. The results of these initiatives are available on the Mitsui Chemicals website.

Mitsui Chemicals Tohcello works with occupational health physicians and nurses, health insurance societies and labor unions to maintain and promote employee health. Inspired by the president’s declaration on work style reforms, the company is also implementing a comprehensive range of measures aimed at enhancing employee energy and increasing productivity. These include eradicating long working hours and encouraging efforts to run meetings more efficiently.

In a questionnaire on health and productivity management, Mitsui Chemicals was nominated by many other companies as being a role model corporation for such initiatives. Mitsui Chemicals has therefore been named in a report on companies selected for inclusion in the recognition program, which is available on the METI website (see p.35 of the Japanese report) .

Based on the philosophy that healthy employees make for a healthy company, the Mitsui Chemicals Group will continue to position employee health as a key management issue and take the initiative in promoting activities that support good health among all group employees.