Egyptian PVC producer maintains offer levels

March 17 (plastemart) -- A source from the local PVC producer EPC reported that the producer elected to maintain their offer levels for PVC k67-68 for the rest of the month at EGP5600/ton (US$1022) on ex-Alexandria, cash not including VAT basis, as per Chemorbis. This decision has been compelled by the demand situation as buying interest has not been performing well for the past few weeks. ⌠We preferred to leave our offer levels equal to the cost of material that was imported earlier and is now entering the market, he further clarifies. However, market participants were mainly expecting increases, pointing out that the producer had concluded good sales both in the local and export markets. Plus, the overall import market level was standing at an adjusted range of US$1015-1070/ton on CIF Alexandria, cash equivalent basis last week, showing that the local producer could also find ground from the import market to raise their prices.

MRC

INEOS ChlorVinyls announces caustic soda price increase

March 16 (yourpetrochemicalnews) -- INEOS ChlorVinyls has today announced a price increase of Euro 60 per dry metric tonne on Quarter Two 2010 caustic soda contracts.

This increase is necessary due to reduced margins on the electro-chemical unit and the shortage of caustic soda availability as the maintenance season begins. Domestic demand for caustic soda continues to increase across Europe and each of the INEOS Chlor caustic soda producing sites will have planned maintenance outages during the next three months.

The new prices are effective for contract business from 1st April 2010; for new or non-contract business they are effective immediately.

MRC

Mitsui announces temporary suspension of operations at Ethylene Plant of Ichihara Works

March 16 (yourpetrochemicalnews) -- Mitsui Chemicals, Inc. (Toshikazu Tanaka, President & CEO) announced the temporary suspension of operations at its ethylene plant in the Ichihara Works located in Ichihara City, Chiba Prefecture. The plant experienced trouble during routine production and operations were temporarily suspended pending review and determination of causes. Causes of the trouble have been determined and plant operation will be suspended until the end of March (tentative) to conduct necessary repairs and maintenance.

1. Background

a) Operations at ethylene plant suspended due to trouble during production on February 28.

b) Repair work completed and plant resumed operation on March 4.

c) Concentration of methane and hydrogen in ethylene increased and plant operation suspended to determine cause.

d) Review of March 11 determined necessity of repair work on heat exchanger.

2. Financial Impact

Repair of the heat exchanger and financial loss from operation suspension is currently estimated to have a financial impact of approximately 3 billion yen.

Annual production capacity of Ichihara Workds Ethylene Plant is 553,000 tons.

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Shell to cut 2,000 jobs by end of 2011

SINGAPORE (ICIS news) -- Shell will cut 2,000 jobs by the end of next year and plans to sell $1-3bn worth of assets in a bid to boost profits, the oil giant said on Tuesday.

Downstream, the company aims to boost profitability in its operations by exiting 15% of its current refining capacity worldwide and 35% of its retail markets, it said in a strategy update.

Earnings from Shell's downstream operations had shrunk to $258m (┬188m) from $5.31bn for the whole of 2009.

Of the 2,000 job cuts, 1,000 were announced last month when the company released its full-year and fourth-quarter results.

Shell would be making substantial investments in new refining and petrochemicals capacity in the next 10 years, said CEO Peter Voser.

⌠Once these projects are on stream, I expect the downstream growth emphasis will switch to further strengthening our marketing for the next several years, Voser said.

⌠The priorities are for a more competitive performance, for growth, and for sharper delivery of strategy. We have more to do to drive out cost and improve the operating performance in the company, he added.

Shell's downstream unit was also adding new chemicals capacity in Singapore and refining capacity in the US, the statement said.

Meanwhile, Shell's upstream production of oil was expected reach 3.5m barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2012, an increase of 11% from 2009, the company said.

⌠Near-term pressures on downstream and gas margins remain. However, the medium-term upstream fundamentals are robust, we expect oil to trade typically in a $50-$90 range, and to trend to the upside, said Voser.

MRC


Indebted Ineos' suitors include SABIC, Kuwait's Petrochemical Industries Company

March 16 (plastemart) -- Negotiations are on between indebted British chemicals group Ineos and several parties to ink a deal to introduce a new investor or sell assets. Talks are at a preliminary stage. The potential suitors include SABIC and Kuwait's Petrochemical Industries Company.

MRC

MRC Reference

Ineos is a petrochemical group.
In Russia Ineos's interests are represented by Ineos Polyolefins and IneosChlorVinyls.

The share in the Russian market in 2008:
PVC - 4.5%;

polyethylene - 1.9%
(HDPE - 2.8%, LDPE - 1.2%);
polypropylene - 1.4%
(PP-random - 22.1%, PP-impact - 2.0%);
polystyrene - 0.9%.

Imports by polymers processing technologies:
profile extrusion;
pipe extrusion;
film extrusion;
injection molding.