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.


Rising crude oil prices have given a boost to polyethylene spot prices

(ICIS) -- Rising crude oil prices have given a boost to polyethylene (PE) spot prices globally, but ample inventories in Latin America and subdued demand in China could make March export price hikes more difficult for US producers, sources said on Friday. Some traders with unsold cargo already on the water are having to make aggressive offers in the region, the source added.

Another trader said China buyers remained very quiet, and as a result, Asian manufacturers were trying to sell more material outside Asia. The second trader said buyers were reacting to the crude oil market and paying slightly higher prices for material than 7-10 days ago.

A US producer was considering price increases of 3-4 cents/lb ($66-88/tonne, ┬48-63/tonne) for March cargoes, a source said. US high-density PE (HDPE) blow-moulding grade for export was at 58-61 cents/lb FOB (free on board) US Gulf in bags, as assessed by ICIS. Linear low-density PE (LLDPE) butene film was at 65-66 cents/lb FOB US Gulf in bags.


Technical textile maker SRF Ltd plans to invest Rs 665 crore on expansion projects

(The Economic Times) -- Technical textile maker SRF Ltd plans to invest Rs 665 crore on expansion projects, which includes a new plant in South Africa and another in Gujarat.

The new plant in South Africa, which will be its second overseas units, will have an annual capacity of 25,000 tonnes. It is being set at a total investment of around Rs 250 crore and is expected to start commercial production in July 2013. The new South African plant will also mark SRF's maiden entry into the Biaxially Oriented Polypropylene (BOPP) space.

Earlier in October 2010, the board had approved a joint venture to set up a Bi-axially Oriented Poly Ethylene Terephthalate (BOPET) film plant of 28,500 MT per annum in Bangladesh.

The company has also obtained board approval to set up its second HFC-134a (an ozone friendly refrigerant) plant with an annual capacity of 15,000 tonnes in its chemical complex in Dahej in Gujarat. The project is expected to be commissioned at an estimated cost of Rs 365 crore. The capacity of the second HFC-134a plant is much higher than the company's existing 5,000 tonne capacity plant in Bhiwadi.


INVISTA new nylon 6,6 intermediates and polymer plant in China

(INVISTA) -- INVISTA, a world leader in nylon intermediates and fibers, announced that it is moving forward on its plans to construct a manufacturing facility at the Shanghai Chemical Industry Park in China to meet the region's demand for nylon 6,6 intermediates and polymer.

The company is currently engaged in project engineering, which will include an environmental impact assessment to be completed by the end of 2011. INVISTA expects to begin construction of the plant in 2012 and commence production in phases beginning in 2014. When the new plant is complete, it will be the most energy efficient and technologically advanced nylon intermediates plant in the world, underscoring INVISTA's continuing focus on improving energy efficiency and developing innovative technologies.

INVISTA is one of the world's largest integrated producers of polymers and fibers, primarily for nylon, spandex and polyester applications, a business presence in over 20 countries.