LyondellBasell contributed to relief efforts for Japan

(LyondellBasell) -- LyondellBasell announced that it will contribute up to USD 250.000 toward relief efforts in Japan by matching employee contributions to agencies providing disaster relief services.

"We extend our heartfelt sympathies to the people of Japan who have been so greatly impacted by these twin calamities," said LyondellBasell CEO Jim Gallogly. "Our employees are responding individually to help the people of Japan who are in need and that is why we will be matching their generous contributions up to USD 250.000," Gallogly said.

LyondellBasell is one of the world's largest plastics, chemical and refining companies. The company manufactures products at 58 sites in 18 countries. LyondellBasell products and technologies are used to make items that improve the quality of life for people around the world including packaging, electronics, automotive parts, home furnishings, construction materials and biofuels.


Shares of Japan's major automakers ended mostly higher on Tuesday

(ICIS) -- Shares of Japan's major automakers ended mostly higher on Tuesday amid expectations that their operations would be restarted or ramped up this week after they were halted by the earthquake that struck the country's northeast on 11 March.

Shares of Toyota Motor ended 4.04% higher on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, while Honda Motor rose 2.11%. Nissan Motor, meanwhile, bucked the trend and slipped 0.13% at the close of trading. Mazda Motor was up 4.94%, while Fuji Heavy Industries, the maker of Subaru cars, was 3.19% higher.

These automakers are expected to resume some operations this week after shutting their plants from 14 March because of safety issues in the wake of the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and the tsunami that followed.

On Monday, Nissan restarted the production of parts for overseas manufacturing and repairs at its Oppama, Tochigi, Yokohama, Kyushu and Nissan Shatai plants.

Vehicle production is expected to start on 24 March and will continue while supplies last, the company said in a statement.

Toyota, Japan's largest automaker, said on Tuesday it will keep all of its 12 assembly plants in Japan shut at least through 26 March, according to a Reuters report. The company previously said it would keep the plants shut until 22 March.

Many automakers in Japan are facing serious supply disruptions, not only damages to their plants, but also problems such as rolling blackouts, infrastructure damage, port and shipping issues.


Shuttered auto parts plants in Japan could threaten supply chains in North America

(ICIS) -- Shuttered parts plants in Japan could threaten supply chains all the way in North America, working down to the chemical industry - although it is too early to forecast what effects this may have, sources said on Monday.

General Motors (GM) already has suspended production at a plant in Shreveport, Louisiana, because of a parts shortage. Toyota, meanwhile, has curtailed overtime at its 13 vehicle and engine plants in North America, the company said.

Many supplier plants in Japan were destroyed or damaged by the earthquake, according to a column by Keith Crain, the editor in chief of Automotive News. If a key part is missing, a producer could suspend all production, cutting demand for bumpers, tyres and other auto parts.

That, in turn, could reach downstream to the chemical industry, as the automobile industry is a major end market for such materials as polypropylene (PP); nylon; acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS); polyurethane flexible foam; synthetic rubber; and paints and coatings.

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) estimates that each automobile contains an average of USD 2.700 worth of chemicals.


PE imports to Russia in February remained in January level

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Low demand for polyethylene (PE) almost in all consumption sectors as well as stable work of Russian producers kept the imports in February at the level of January, according to MRC DataScope.

Low demand for PE along with stable work of the Russian producers limited import supplies of PE in February to the level of 39.5 KT, without considering LDPE supplies from Belorussia. On the other hand, imports of polymer this year has been much higher than that of last year.

Serious changes in the structure of February imports were not marked. Not a big gain in imports fell at HDPE and LLDPE. Supplies of HDPE made 23.7 KT at the end of last month, the biggest gain in imports fell at pipe HDPE.

Supplies of linear polyethylene from external suppliers grew by 1.5 KT to the level of 8.7 KT in February. After a month-long absence LLDPE supplies from Uzbekistan (Shurtanskiy GKhK ) were renewed. Also the imports of metallocenes for EBM from the South Korean company Daelim grew considerably.


BASF supports Japan disaster victims

(BASF) -- The Board of Executive Directors of BASF SE has decided as a first step to contribute EUR 500.000 to the Central Community Chest of Japan as immediate aid to victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. This donation will be provided by the BASF Social Foundation. Additionally, the company will start a global donation campaign among its employees and will fully match each euro contributed by the employees one-to-one.

All of the approximately 1.700 BASF employees in Japan are safe and taken care of, including local employees, international delegates and business travelers. BASF has recommended that employees in strongly affected areas move to less affected regions, and is providing logistical support. The company will continue to provide assistance to employees whose housing was destroyed or damaged by the earthquake or tsunami. Especially for BASF sites in the northeast of Japan, the company is helping to provide basic temporary support such as food, water, batteries, and lodging to those with damaged homes.