Nordmann expands distribution partnership with Venator

MOSCOW (MRC) -- German distributor Nordmann has taken over the distribution of Venator Materials plc’s (TiO?) and functional additives (FAD) in Germany, Austria and Switzerland (DACH) as of 1 Aug, the company has announced, said Plasticsnewseurope.

The deal will primarily affect the markets for adhesives, coatings & inks, elastomers, lubricants and plastics.

The extension, said Norman in a release 5 Aug, has come on the back of a longstanding ‘successful partnership’ and ‘trusting relationship’ between the two firms.

“In Nordmann, we have a reliable distribution partner at our side,” said Stephane David, senior commercial director at Venator, commenting on the new distribution agreement.

The two companies, he added, share common goals and have cooperative partnership.

The deal, according to Jost Laumeyer, global sales director plastics at Nordmann, brings ‘added value, extensive product expertise and market support’ to Nordmann customers.

Coexpan launches EUR12m Russian barrier films extrusion plant

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Spanish thermoformed packaging moulder Coexpan SA. has launched a new EUR12.1m barrier films extrusion plant in the Moscow region of Russia to serve the food industry, said Plasticsnewseurope.

This modern purpose built 10,000 m2 facility in Naro-Fominsk will be operated by the company’s Russian subsidiary, Coexpan Extekh which previously occupied a leased nearby plant in the Selyatino district.

Coexpan acquired the Russian packaging business Ekstruzionnyye tekhnologii in 2006. In 2017, it bought a 4 hectare development site at Kotovo Industrial Park in Naro Fominsk where it built the new plant, warehousing and offices.

Inaugurated on 25 July, the plant, with a production area of 3,500m2, will initially employ 57. As output grows, Coexpan is due to increase the workforce to 120, according to a statement from the Moscow Region government.

Coexpan Extekh offers a wide portfolio of coextruded rigid sheet including polypropylene, PP barrier, polystyrene barrier and polylactic acid (PLA) based products used for form, fill and seal machines to package dairy and fresh foods.

The company aims to incorporate thermoforming technology at the new operation enabling it to diversify its product range still further. The design of the new Russian facility is based on lean manufacturing principles, Coexpan said.

“We are very proud of this project ... The new plant in Russia has been designed to comply with the most demanding international standards, allowing us to grow and diversify our business in new markets,” commented Tomasz Mikos, chief executive of Coexpan Extekh.

Coexpan is part of the Spanish print and packaging group Grupo Lantero with other subsidiaries including flexible plastics specialist Emsur. Emsur controls EximPack, a Russian manufacturer of shrink film labels, based in Vsevolozhsk near St Petersburg in the west of the country.

Coexpan, formed in 1973, is based at Alcala de Henares, outside Madrid, Spain has 13 production plants in eight countries of Europe and Latin America. It now runs production units in Brazil, Chile and Mexico.

Last year, the firm expanded its operations in Chile with the acquisition of the thermoforming capacity of Santiago, Chile-based BO Packaging. Coexpan group’s local offshoot Coexpan Coembal already ran its own plant at Quilicura, just outside Santiago, extruding and thermoforming packaging from PS, PP, PET and PLA plastics.

The Spanish company, with annual turnover of €350m, is continuing to grow its international footprint as part of the Grupo Lantero strategy of expanding its rigid and flexible plastic packaging manufacture worldwide.

ExxonMobil expands PAO capacity

MOSCOW (MRC) -- ExxonMobil announced today that it has increased low-viscosity polyalphaolefin production capacity at its Gravenchon, France, plant by 19 percent to 105,000 metric tons per year, said Lubesngreases.

The company said in a press release that it undertook the 17,000 t/y expansion in order to meet growing demand for synthetic base stocks.

The oil major reported that it has also improved its supply chain network through expanded sales hubs and upgraded carriers, as well as by placing more emphasis on efficient trucking, shipping and rail operations.

With this expansion, global PAO capacity sits at about 738,600 t/y, nearly all in the United States and Europe. In addition to the Gravenchon facility, ExxonMobil can make 196,000 t/y at its Baytown and Beaumont, Texas, plants, giving it about 40 percent of global capacity.

The company’s capacity is split at 209,000 t/y of low-viscosity PAO, which is typically used as synthetic base stock, and 92,000 t/y of high-viscosity PAO, which is most often used as lubricant additive.

Ineos Oligomers is the world’s second-largest maker of PAO. The producer plans to open 120,000 t/y of new capacity at its Chocolate Bayou, Texas, petrochemical complex before the end of this year. That addition will put Ineos ahead of ExxonMobil as the world’s largest source for PAO.

Citing data from consultancy Kline & Co., ExxonMobil expects demand for synthetic lubricants to grow more than 20 percent from 2017 to 2021. PAO is an important base fluid for synthetic lubricants, especially the types of low-viscosity engine oils that are swiftly picking up market share in North America and Europe.

Shares in Egypts Qalaa Holdings slide on diluted refinery stake

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Shares in Egypt’s Qalaa Holdings, one of the country’s largest investment companies, fell by nearly 10% after it said that its stake in a new refining company had been reduced, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Qalaa said on Wednesday that it now owns 13.14% of the Egyptian Refining Company (ERC), a USD4.1 billion project it co-owns with Qatar Petroleum, state-run Egyptian General Petroleum Corp (EGPC) and other partners. Qalaa previously held a 19% stake.

The company’s shares closed at 3 Egyptian pounds, down 9.9% from Tuesday’s close. In a statement to the Egyptian stock exchange, Qalaa said its holding had been diluted over time partly because Qatar Petroleum and EGPC have underwritten additional equity for the project.

Radwa El-Swaify, head of research at Pharos Securities Brokerage, said the share price fall was attributable to Qalaa’s reduced stake in ERC combined with the effect of low oil prices on the refinery’s financial outlook.

Qalaa’s shares have suffered steep losses in recent years, sinking as low as 0.66 Egyptian pounds in October 2016.

“The stock’s recent performance has been negative, reaching the level of 3 Egyptian pounds today, which may open the door to a further decline to technical support levels at 2.7-2.75 Egyptian pounds,” said Ibrahim El Nemr, analyst at Naeem Brokerage.

Qalaa Chairman Ahmed Heikal told Reuters in May that he expects revenue to exceed 90 billion Egyptian pounds (USD5.45 billion) in 2020 after the refinery comes online in the third quarter of 2019. Between 50 billion and 55 billion Egyptian pounds would come from ERC, he said.

Major renewable energy expansion to create world-class bioenergy company

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BP has agreed to form a 50:50 joint venture with Bunge – a leader in agriculture, food and ingredients - that will create a leading bioenergy company in one of the world’s largest fastgrowing markets for biofuels, according to Hydrocarbonprocessing.

BP will combine its Brazilian biofuels and biopower businesses with that of Bunge to create a world-scale, highly-efficient producer of sugarcane ethanol in Brazil, BP Bunge Bioenergia. BP’s interest in the new venture will grow its existing biofuels business by more than 50%.

Ethanol produced from sugarcane is one of the most carbon-efficient biofuels available globally, with lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions around 70% lower than conventional hydrocarbon transport fuels. Brazil is the world’s second-largest and most integrated market for ethanol as a transportation fuel with demand forecast to grow rapidly. The majority of vehicles in the country – around 70% – are already able to run on ethanol and the country’s demand for ethanol is estimated to increase by around 70% by 2030.

“This is another large-scale example of BP’s commitment to play a leading role in a rapid transition to a low carbon future. Biofuels will be an essential part of delivering the energy transition and Brazil is leading the way in showing how they can be used at scale, reducing emissions from transport. This combination will unlock new possibilities for improved efficiency and future growth in this key market," Bob Dudley, BP group chief executive said.

“This joint venture with BP, one of the world’s leading energy companies, represents a major portfolio optimization milestone for Bunge. We are proud of what our team has done to evolve our sugar and bioenergy business as an industry leader. I am confident that this team, and the strong commitment from a global leader such as BP, will create even greater shareholder value," Gregory A. Heckman, Bunge’s Chief Executive Officer said.

“In one step, this will allow BP to significantly grow the scale, efficiency and flexibility of our business in one of the world’s major growth biofuels markets. With a shared commitment to safety and sustainability, bringing together our assets and expertise will allow us to improve performance, develop options for growth and generate real value. BP Bunge Bioenergia will be well-placed to support Brazil’s increasing demand for both low carbon biofuels and biopower," Dev Sanyal, chief executive of BP Alternative Energy said.

BP Bunge Bioenergia will have 11 biofuels sites in Brazil. With 32 million metric tons of combined crushing capacity per year, the joint venture will have the flexibility to produce a mix of ethanol and sugar. It will also generate renewable electricity - fuelled by waste biomass from the sugar cane - through its cogeneration facilities to power all its sites and sell surplus electricity to the Brazilian power grid. BP and Bunge’s assets are largely complementary, with sites in five Brazilian states including three in the key region of Sao Paulo.

In 2018, the two businesses produced a total of around 2.2 billion liters of ethanol equivalent and, after powering the sites, exported 1,200-gigawatt hours of low-carbon biopower to the national grid. Together the two businesses currently employ over 10,000 people in Brazil.

The combined business will be ranked the second-largest player in the sugar cane ethanol biofuel industry in Brazil by effective crushing capacity.

Under their agreement, BP and Bunge will each contribute their existing Brazilian biofuel, biopower and sugar businesses into the new, equally-owned, standalone joint venture. On completion, BP will pay Bunge USD75 million, subject to customary closing adjustments, and the joint venture will assume USD700 million of non-recourse debt associated with Bunge’s assets.

Subject to satisfaction of conditions precedent, including obtaining the necessary regulatory clearances and approval, the deal is expected to complete in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Following completion, the aim is for BP Bunge Bioenergia to generate significant operational and financial synergies, through scale efficiencies and by applying best practices, optimized technologies and operational capabilities across all the assets of the new business.

The new business is expected to be headquartered in Sao Paulo. Mario Lindenhayn from BP will be executive chairman, Geovane Consul from Bunge, chief executive, and Marcus Schlosser from BP, chief financial officer. BP and Bunge will have equal representation on the board of directors.

In 2018 the Brazilian production of ethanol was some 26 billion liters, produced almost entirely from sugarcane grown in-country. The Brazilian government is introducing a new low carbon transport policy, known as RenovaBio, to establish the first regulated carbon credits market in the country. RenovaBio is expected to encourage continued growth in the market and support development of the sugarcane ethanol industry.