SABIC signs four agreements with KAUST

(SABIC) -- Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) signed four agreements with King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) at the University campus in Thuwal on February 26, 2011. The agreements cover the development and localization of technology in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They advance the technology and innovation strategy pursued by SABIC as well as enhance the comprehensive cooperation program sponsored by KAUST.

KAUST President Choon Fong Shih said: ⌠The four SABIC-KAUST agreements will help both organizations fulfill our missions of harnessing science and technology for the benefit to the people of Saudi Arabia and beyond.

The first agreement is for the construction of a SABIC Research and Innovation Center at KAUST, at a cost of US$150 million, as the first stage. The second and third agreements are for SABIC's direct support of KAUST. The fourth agreement organizes the joint research work between the two sides on all matters related to the management of research projects and associated intellectual property rights.

China to invest US$2.5 billion in Iran

( -- China is set to invest US$2.5 billion in South Azadegan oilfield on Iran's border with Iraq the Iranian news agency Mehr reported Friday.

"According to the final agreement, China will invest $2.5 billion in the field," Mehr quoted Naji Saadouni, president of Iran's Petroleum Engineering and Development Company (PEDEC), as saying. The PEDEC president did not however specify which Chinese firm would take up the project.

The Azdegan field currently produces 55,000 bpd and it is expected to increase output to 320,000 bpd after the completion of the first phase of the project which is currently underway, according to the Tehran Times. Completion of the second phase will boost the oilfield's output to 600,000 bpd.

BASF increases prices of antioxidants and process stabilizers

(BASF) -- BASF increases prices globally of antioxidants and process stabilizers for plastic applications by 5-10%, depending on the product. These increases are in addition to the increases announced in December. The price increase is necessary due to a significant increase in prices of major raw materials such as stearyl and lauryl alcohol, phenols, and methyl acrylate which are driven by feedstock price developments in the benzene, propylene, palm kernel oil markets.

BASF is committed to the plastic additives business. However, the recent and anticipated raw material cost escalations and volatility combined with current profitability levels require an increase in prices to sustain BASF's ability to invest.

European ethylene and propylene March contract prices still to settle

(ICIS) -- European March ethylene (C2) and propylene (C3) contract discussions are ongoing and several contract players do not expect a settlement before the weekend, market sources said on Friday. The contract negotiations had become drawn out because of the volatility in the upstream crude oil and naphtha markets this week.

Sources said that it was very difficult to fix an appropriate contract price for the whole month given the unpredictability of feedstock and the uncertainties regarding the future stability of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

A couple of sources said that they wanted to better understand the consequences of the situation in Libya before rushing to settle a price. Others said that it was important that an ethylene and propylene settlement was agreed sooner rather than later.

All sources were in agreement that it was necessary to ensure that the new contract number was established before Tuesday, 1 March.


Brent crude up $2/bbl on supply concerns amid Libya, MidEast woes

(ICIS) -- Brent crude futures spiked more than $2/bbl (┬1.5/bbl) on Monday on heightened concerns about global oil supply disruption amid unabated political upheavals in Libya and in other parts of the Middle East and North Africa. There were concerns that the political unrest could spread to other major oil-producing countries.

At 04:33 GMT, April Brent crude on London's ICE futures was trading at $114.32/bbl, up $2.18/bbl from the previous close, while WTI crude was up $1.74/bbl at $99.62bbl.

Brent crude jumped to as high as $119.79/bbl on 25 February before retreating. Crude prices settled off highs late last week on reports that Saudi Arabia had increased its output to compensate for the reduction in Libya's crude production.

Foreign oil companies with operations in Libya such as Italy's ENI and UK's BP halted some operations because of the political uprising and the violence that ensued.

Political chaos continued in Libya over the weekend, with the country's leader Muammar Gaddafi vowing to cling on to his 41-year rule despite the massive public protests.