Three South Korean petrochemical makers shut down some of their naphtha crackers

(Reuters) -- Three South Korean petrochemical makers said on Tuesday that they will shut down some of their naphtha crackers for maintenance in April, meaning all five local players will proceed with scheduled shutdowns next month. Heavy cracker maintenance schedules through May have been weighing on Asian naphtha markets, which are also facing pressure from the loss of Japanese naphtha demand after the country's worst quake on record on March 11, according to traders.

Samsung Total Co Ltd will close its 850 KTa naphtha cracker for about a month from late April. Honam Petrochemical Corp will shut down a 750 KTa naphtha cracker for 10 days from April 1, their officials said.

Korea Petrochemical Ind Co Ltd (KPIC) will close its 460 KTa cracker from April 3-30, the officials said, adding that Honam would close another 1 million-tpy cracker for 30 days in October.

On March 17, rival LG Chem Ltd started a 30-day maintenance shutdown of its 800 KTa naphtha cracker to raise capacity by 100 KT. YNCC will shut down its largest 857 Kta naphtha cracker from April 5 as planned.


Redevelopment of the West Qurna 1 field to significantly boost Iraq's energy resources

(Arabian Oil and Gas) -- ExxonMobil Iraq Limited, together with the South Oil Company of Iraq and co-venturers Shell West Qurna B.V. and Oil Exploration Company of Iraq, announced Monday the ⌠major production milestone of 285.000 barrels per day (bpd) from 244.000 bpd at the redevelopment of the West Qurna I oil field in Southern Iraq. This exceeds the 10% improved production target established under the technical services contract, according to ExxonMobil.

⌠This important development has been made possible by a strong partnership with the South Oil Company based on common values and goals, said James Adams, vice president of ExxonMobil Iraq Limited. ⌠ExxonMobil is an industry leader in the timely and cost effective execution of complex long-term projects and we are committed to working with the South Oil Company to help fulfill Iraq's strategic energy development plans."


Specialty chemicals distributor Azelis to expand its operations in Russia

(Azelis) -- Specialty chemicals distributor Azelis is expanding its operations in Russia into the coatings market. Alexander Serbin has been appointed as sales manager dedicated to grow sales in this important market, which is estimated to be worth in the region of 1.2 million tons of paint.

International Business Director for Coatings, Michel Dumusois said: ⌠We are building on our established strengths in the coatings market in Western and Eastern Europe, where we have seen annual growth in sales exceeding 10% in recent years, to open up new countries like Russia for coatings.

⌠We will utilise our International logistics infrastructure offering flexibility of shipment size from regularly audited facilities. This, together with local warehousing, our stringent SHEQ standards and full REACH compliance, plus dedicated local commercial support, means that Principals can be confident in the ability of Azelis to offer effective penetration of the attractive growth market for coatings in Russia.

Azelis has had a presence in Russia since April 2008 when an office was opened in Moscow with local warehousing facilities nearby. Later, the local presence has been extended to St Petersburg and Novosibirsk to service customers spread throughout this vast country. Operations in Russia are headed up by Regional Managing Director, Igor Loginov.


SIBUR to use Milliken's Millad NX 8000 for new grades of PP

(Milliken) -- Leading Russian petrochemical company SIBUR will use Milliken's pioneering clarifying agent Millad╝ NX≥ 8000 for new grades of highly transparent polypropylene that it is launching to enter the local market for transparent packaging materials.

SIBUR says the Russian market for plastics products is currently one of the most dynamic in the country, and the demand for attractive and cost-effective packaging for food, household chemicals and cosmetics is constantly growing. The company is the largest polypropylene producer in Russia and the first in the country to offer high-quality clarified homopolymer PP.

The company has already produced pilot quantities of the first grade of clarified PP, a homopolymer, and will begin full-scale production before the end of June. Initial output will be up to 500 tonnes per month. As it develops the market, SIBUR plans to expand its range of PP products by adding several homopolymers and one clarified random copolymer grade.

Milliken's Millad NX 8000 clarifier provides unparalleled improvements in clarity and gloss in polypropylene products. It provides an improvement of at least 50% in clarity of PP over the previous benchmark grade, taking it to a level very close to that of more expensive solutions using other polymers. It is enabling a growing number of processors to take advantage of the polymer's performance and cost advantages. Haze values are around half of those obtainable with the previous top-performing PP clarifier.


Specialty chemicals group Lanxess reopened its office in Tokyo

(Lanxess) -- Specialty chemicals group Lanxess reopened its office in Tokyo on Wednesday after just over two weeks. The approximately 60 Lanxess employees in the Japanese capital returned to their desks after an assessment of the current safety situation in Tokyo. The Group's management team in Japan is also working out of Tokyo again. These managers had temporarily performed their duties from the site of Lanxess subsidiary Rhein Chemie in Toyohashi.

Lanxess is a leading specialty chemicals company with sales of EUR 7.1 bln in 2010 and currently around 14.850 employees in 24 countries. The company is represented at 45 production sites worldwide. The core business of Lanxess is the development, manufacturing and marketing of plastics, rubber, intermediates and specialty chemicals.