ExxonMobil started planned maintenance at manufacturing site in Singapore

(ICIS) -- ExxonMobil started on Wednesday a planned maintenance at its integrated manufacturing site in Singapore, the petrochemical giant said in a statement. It said "several operating units" would be off line for about nine weeks, without identifying the plants that would be affected.

ExxonMobil's Singapore integrated manufacturing site consists of the Singapore Refinery and the Singapore Chemical Plant (SCP).

The refinery has a pipestill capacity of 605,000 bbl/day and manufactures a wide range of fuels, lubricant basestocks and specialty products that caters to the Singapore and Asia-Pacific markets, it said.


Polypropylene buyers in Europe under very strong pressure to pay higher prices

(ICIS) -- Polypropylene (PP) buyers in Europe are under very strong pressure to pay higher prices as a series of record high price increases shows no signs of abating, market sources said on Monday.

Homopolymer net injection prices have approached ┬1.400/tonne ($1.944/tonne) FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe) and sometimes traded above this level, as producers sought to cover the ┬80/tonne increase in the propylene monomer contract for March, which settled at ┬1.185/tonne FD NWE.

As recently as November 2010, PP levels were at ┬1.150/tonne FD NWE.

March pricing discussions were said to be tough, and so far there is no sign of any flexibility from European PP producers to their converters.


BASF to increase prices for butanediol and derivatives in Europe

(BASF) -- With immediate effect, or as existing contracts permit, BASF SE will increase its European selling prices for the following products: 1.4 Butanediol (BDO) +200 EUR/mt,
Tetrahydrofuran (THF) +250 EUR/mt, Polytetramethylene ether glycol (PolyTHF) +300 EUR/mt, N-Methyl-2-Pyrrolidone (NMP) +200 EUR/mt, N-Ethylpyrrolidone (NEP) +200 EUR/mt, Gamma Butyrolactone (GBL) +200 EUR/mt

The price adjustment ensures that BASF can continue to offer quality products and services to its customers. BDO and its derevatives are used for producing engineering plastics, polyurethanes, solvents and elastic spandex fibers.


Demand for PVC in the Russian market didn't increase considerably

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Resin consumption in the Russian market is still limited by low demand for finished goods. January became the period of long-term holidays and scheduled maintenance, only in early February many converters restarted their work, according to ICIS-MRC Price report. Severe frost and low demand for PVC finished goods didn't allow Russian converters to increase suspension consumption. Calendar incoming of spring doesn't give much hope to PVC converters as well. Traditional exclusion is the sector of window profiles, though there is no peak of buying activity. Besides, many market players don't have money for resin purchases.

In late February-early March Russian producers and importers of PVC started active preparation for the season. Because of scheduled shutdowns in April in Volgograd and in May in Saiansk, PVC sales in spot market in March are limited. Insufficient offer of PVC from North American suppliers is compensated with growing purchases of resin in China.

Despite growing export prices for suspension in North America and China over last two months, on average, by USD 100/mt, spot quotations for resin in the Russian market remains without serious changes. At that strengthening of ruble against dollar partially compensated the growth of prices in the external markets. Converters still mainly purchase suspension from domestic producers. Russian producers expectedly raised prices for March PVC to the level of 48.000 - 49.000 RUB./t, including VAT, СРТ Moscow.


An energy crisis is coming, likely to be triggered by oil - Oil company Hess

(ICIS) -- Investment in oil supply is not keeping pace with the global demand growth of around 1m bbl/day, setting up a shortfall that puts the energy balance in peril, said the head of independent US oil company Hess on Tuesday. "An energy crisis is coming, likely to be triggered by oil," said John Hess, who serves as the company's CEO and chairman.

"Supply will then have to ration demand and prices will skyrocket - with the likely outcome of bringing the world economy to its knees," Hess told the Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA) conference in Houston. "The $140/bbl oil price of three years ago was not an aberration, it was a warning," Hess contended.

The problem is not one of a lack of oil resources, but a lack of new investment in accessing those deposits, Hess said. The US in particular needs to maintain existing tax incentives for drilling, and also encourage more upstream activity in the Gulf of Mexico.

On the demand front, oil represents 37% of US energy demand, of which 71% is used for transportation, he noted. The US should hike the vehicle performance standard to 50 miles/gal, much higher than the 35 miles/gal target set for 2016, Hess said.

That greater efficiency could be achieved through a mix of engine downsizing, using more diesel engines, reducing vehicle mass and pursuing advanced technologies such as hybrid cars.

It would take 15 years to replace the US fleet of 230m cars and light-duty trucks with more economical vehicles, but the change could save 3m bbl/day of oil, for an annual savings of more than $100bn (┬72bn) at current oil prices, Hess said.