Hexpol TPE introduces new polymer compounds for cabling applications

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Polymer compounder Hexpol TPE, which has UK operations in Manchester, has launched a new range of materials intended for cable sheathing applications in such sectors are telecommunications and electricity delivery, said PRW.

Marketed as Dryflex Cable, the polymer grades use various polymer chemistries, including EVA, TPE and TPV. This supports a wide range of customisation possibilities, which in turn allows cable manufacturers to select the best solution for their application.

The Dryflex range includes Low Smoke Halogen Free, or Low Smoke Zero Halogen flame retardant compounds, which have low toxicity properties. Typical LOI values run between 28 and 42%.

The compounds are RoHS, SVHC and REACH compliant, and halogen free, according to IEC 60754 Part 1/2.

Applications include low-voltage, data, insulation, jacketing and bedding for cables.

For example, Dryflex Cable 52180 N is a compound suitable for low-voltage power or data cable applications. Dryflex Cable has been developed for applications requiring increased thermal or fluid resistance.

Speaking about the new products, Mark Clayton, managing director at HEXPOL TPE’s UK site, commented: “The challenge we set ourselves was to develop materials that exceed global standards for reliability and durability, combined with the lowest toxicity and smoke levels for human safety. With our new grades we offer market leading performance with high levels of customisation and easy processing.”

Dryflex Cable products can be processed using standard extrusion equipment. Compounds are available ready to use, with no post vulcanisation required, helping to improve productivity.

The compounds are fully recyclable and any production waste can be reprocessed.

As MRC informed earlier, Hexpol acquired the US-based rubber compounderPortage Precision Polymers Inc from the founder Doug Hartley and his family in a deal worth about USD13.2 million on a cash and debt free basis.

Hexpol is a world-leading polymers group with strong global market positions in advanced polymer compounds (Compounding), gaskets for plate heat exchangers (Gaskets) and wheels made of plastic and rubber materials for forklifts and castor wheel applications (Wheels).


Pertamina and Saudi Aramco discussing narrower Cilacap JV plan

MOSCOW (MRC) -- PT Pertamina and Saudi Aramco aim to finalize a deal in the first quarter of 2020 as they discuss a new plan for their joint venture, reported Reuters with reference to the Indonesian energy firm’s chief executive.

A plan to upgrade the Cilacap refinery in Central Java has been under discussion since 2016 but the two firms have failed to agree over pricing the project.

Their latest approach could see them form a joint venture company (JV) focused only on a planned additional facility at the site, CEO Nicke Widyawati said, instead of an initial plan that called for a JV that would involve all of the Cilacap facilities.

Pertamina would continue to operate the existing refinery and pay processing fees to the JV under the new plan under discussion, she said.

"This is what we are discussing now and we have set a target that in the first quarter next year this (negotiation) must be concluded," she said.

The expansion aims to increase Cilacap’s refining capacity to 400,000 barrels per day from 348,000.

A Pertamina official in April said that if a deal with Aramco is not reached, the state-run company is prepared to launch the project on its own to meet its 2025 operational target.

Pertamina is also considering finding a new partner for its USD10 billion refinery project in Bontang, East Kalimantan.

Pertamina signed a framework agreement in 2018 with Oman’s Overseas Oil and Gas LLC (OOG) to develop a refinery and petrochemical complex in Bontang.

Widyawati did not elaborate on the reasons for looking for a new partner for the Bontang project.

As MRC informed earlier, in September 2018, Eni and PT Pertamina (Persero) signed in Porto Marghera, at Eni Green Refinery, a Memorandum of Understanding further expanding the relationship into green refinery.

Ethylene and propylene are feedstocks for producing polyethylene (PE) and polyprolypele (PP).

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 1,724,670 tonnes in the first ten months of 2019, up by 7% year on year. Shipments of all PE grades increased. The estimated PP consumption in the Russian market in January-October 2019 totalled 1,066,520 tonnes, up by 7% year on year. Supply of block copolymers of propylene (PP block copolymer) and homopolymer of propylene (homopolymer PP) increased, demand for statistical copolymers (PP random copolymer) decreased.

Pertamina is an Indonesian state-owned oil and natural gas corporation based in Jakarta. It was created in August 1968 by the merger of Pertamin (established 1961) and Permina (established 1957). Pertamina is the world's largest producer and exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Saudi Aramco, officially the Saudi Arabian Oil Company, is a Saudi Arabian national oil and natural gas company based in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Saudi Aramco"s value has been estimated at up to USD10 trillion in the Financial Times, making it the world"s most valuable company. Saudi Aramco has both the largest proven crude oil reserves, at more than 260 billion barrels, and largest daily oil production.

Enterprise restarts Mont Belvieu PDH unit in early December

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Enterprise Products Partners' Mont Belvieu propane dehydrogenation unit in Texas restarted from planned maintenance in the first week of December, reported S&P Global with reference to a source familiar with company operations.

The company was not immediately available for comment.

The PDH unit went offline for maintenance on November 13. That day, the company said in a filing with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality that the RAC "B" turbine shut down, which resulted in flaring. The flaring was estimated to last 72 hours.

The unit has a capacity of 750,000 mt/year, according to Platts data.

Propylene is the main feedstock for producing polypropylene (PP).

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, the estimated PP consumption in the Russian market in January-October 2019 totalled 1,066,520 tonnes, up by 7% year on year. Supply of block copolymers of propylene (PP block copolymer) and homopolymer of propylene (homopolymer PP) increased, demand for statistical copolymers (PP random copolymer) decreased.

Enterprise Products Partners L.P. is an American midstream natural gas and crude oil pipeline company with headquarters in Houston, Texas. It acquired GulfTerra in September 2004. The company ranked No. 105 in the 2018 Fortune 500 list of the largest United States corporations by total revenue

Toray opens R&D innovation center in Japan

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Toray Industries has opened its new R&D Innovation Center for the Future on the site of its Shiga plant in Otsu, Shiga Prefecture, Japan, as per Apic-online.

The facility will lead Toray's global research as its functional materials headquarters. It will pursue research and developing technologies through collaboration between its domestic and overseas production and sales units.

It will combine fine polymers and fabrication from its proprietary polymer technology with materials and artificial intelligence.

The center "will play a vital role in helping resolve such global issues as climate change, water shortages, and resources depletion," noted Toray President Akihiro Nikkaku.

"I also look for the facility to serve as a vehicle for joint research and development collaborations with universities and public research institutions around the world, innovating world-class technologies."

As MRC reported before, in December 2018, Toray Industries, Inc., announced its decision to enhance production capacity of ABS resin TOYOLAC, manufactured at and distributed by Toray Plastics (Malaysia) Sdn. Berhad. The company will add a facility with production capacity of 75,000 tons annually to expand the sales of high performance varieties such as transparent grade, which has the No. 1 global market share, and start its operation in November 2020. The move will increase TPM’s production capacity to 425,000 tons a year and Toray Group’s capacity with the existing facility at Toray’s Chiba Plant to 497,000 tons a year.

According to ICIS-MRC Price report, November ABS imports to Russia were 3,300 tonnes versus 3,500 tonnes a month earlier and 4,100 tonnes in November 2018. Overall ABS imports into the country slightly decreased year on year in the first eleven months of 2019 to 31,300 tonnes.

Pemex sees crude production dip 3% in October

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Mexican national oil company Pemex produced nearly 3% less crude in October compared with the previous month, as the heavily indebted firm struggles to reverse a prolonged production slump, reported Reuters.

Output averaged 1.66 million barrels per day (bpd) last month, or about 50,000 barrels less than in September.

Compared the same month last year, Pemex’s October oil output was down 5.5%.

The company produced 3.4 million bpd in 2004, but production has steadily declined every year since then. Pemex debt has grown dramatically to just under USD100 billion as of the end the third quarter.

Pemex Chief Executive Octavio Romero has at times this year announced that the company’s oil output has stabilized, while predicting that it should be producing around 1.8 million bpd by the end of this year.

Pemex’s press office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who appoints the Pemex chief and has made the company’s revival a top priority, has said the firm’s oil output will reach some 2.7 million bpd when his six-year term ends in 2024.

Lopez Obrador, a leftist resource nationalist, has suspended competitive oil auctions open to private and foreign oil companies. He has also canceled auctions to pick joint venture partners for Pemex, a common industry practice designed to share the rewards and risks of complex oil and gas developments.

Both decisions have been sharply criticized by industry analysts as well as credit ratings agencies.

Meanwhile, Pemex’s crude exports in October averaged 963,000, the lowest monthly figure this year and down more than 6% compared with shipments during the same month last year.

The company’s taxes contribute about a fifth of federal government revenue.

As MRC informed earlier, the blast, which took lives of twenty-four people, occurred at a vinyl petrochemical plant that is a joint venture between Pemex's petrochemical unit and majority owner Mexican plastic pipe maker Mexichem in late April 2016. Pemex operates the larger petrochemical complex where the plant was located, known as Pajaritos. The plant produces some 900 tpd of vinyl chloride monomer (VCM), also known as chloroethene, an industrial chemical used to produce plastic piping. The joint venture had forecast sales of USD260 million this year.

VCM is the main feedstock for the production of polyvinyl chloride (PVC).

According to MRC's DataScope report, exports of suspension polyvinyl chloride (SPVC) from Russia totalled 175,600 tonnes in the first eleven months of 2019, up by 22% year on year. Imports increased more significantly - by 230% year on year to 48,500 tonnes.

Pemex, Mexican Petroleum, is a Mexican state-owned petroleum company. Pemex has a total asset worth of USD415.75 billion, and is the world's second largest non-publicly listed company by total market value, and Latin America's second largest enterprise by annual revenue as of 2009. Company produces such polymers, as polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene.