China plans to boost petrochemical demand

(ICIS)--China's plan to build 36m units of government subsidised apartments over the next five years ensures strong demand for construction-related petrochemicals through 2015, analysts said on Tuesday.

The first 10m of the government-subsidised apartments would be built this year, Premier Wen Jiabao said on Sunday in an online chat session with users of, a state-owned web-based news organisation.

Petrochemicals such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) were expected to benefit from the planned robust construction activities, analysts said.

⌠China is a key market for petrochemicals in Asia, with the country's domestic supply still lagging demand due to delays in start-up of a number of projects since 2008, analysts said.


Middle East crisis to destabilize polymer market in Europe and Asia

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Africa and the Middle East political crises destabilized polymers markets in Europe and Asia, the Russian processors are confused as well, said MRC analysts.

Long-term political troubles caused oil and petrochemicals prices hike. Naphtha quotations in Europe raised by record USD 74/Mt on Friday, and it didn't allow main market players to settle March propylene and ethylene contract prices. Undefined contract prices for olefins resulted in indeterminate March prices for polyethylene, polypropylene and polyvinylchloride.

The same situation was marked in Asia. As a result of sharp price growth for oil, ethylene and propylene, some Asian suppliers started to form prices on a weekly basis. Some companies get re-insured and raised prices for March supplies by USD 100/Mt higher than expected.

Russian producers acted in a more predictable way. Polyethylene, polypropylene and polyvinylchloride contract prices for March supply raised by RUB 500/t - 2.000/t (depending on a polymer producer). The Russian converters, who use the European polymers, are forced to wait for new prices from thier European suppliers in terms of dynamic development of oil and naptha market.


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.