Japan's production woes to nudge up prices of selected petrochemical products in Asia

(ICIS) -- Japan's production woes in the wake of the 11 March disaster have nudged up prices of selected petrochemical products in Asia over the past three weeks and will likely continue to influence regional trades going forward, industry sources said on Tuesday.

Widespread damage to logistics infrastructure in the northeastern part of the country, and the consequent shortage of electricity as Japan grapples with a nuclear crisis in quake-hit Fukushima prevents domestic industrial plants, including petrochemical facilities, from running at full tilt.

Supply from Japan has been falling and regional demand is being beefed up as the country needed to compete for imported material, creating strong upward pressure on product prices.

Most petrochemical plants in Kashima, which was near the epicentre of the 9.0-magnitude quake that triggered a massive tsunami, have remained shut, while others in the surrounding areas are gradually restarting operations.


Evonik starts up new isobutene plant in Antwerp

(Evonik) -- Evonik Industries, Essen (Germany) has started up a new facility to produce high-purity isobutene at its site in Antwerp (Belgium). The new plant, which involved investment of tens of millions euros, can produce up to 110 KT isobutene p.a. and forms part of the site's integrated C4 production platform. The investment has tripled Evonik's production capacity for isobutene, which is used, for example, for butyl rubber for applications such as inner liners with low air permeability in automotive tires.

Evonik's integrated C4 production complex in Antwerp is on of the world's leading technology platforms in this field. As a specialty chemicals group, Evonik produces high-quality starting products and intermediates from crude C4, a by-product of ethylene and propylene production.


Tsai Ing-wen defends her petrochemicals plan

(Tai Pei Times) -- Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential hopeful Tsai Ing-wen yesterday defended her plans to move the nation's petrochemicals industry to the Middle East, calling the effort environmentally friendly, viable and urgently needed. On a visit to the Yilan Green Expo, the contender for the DPP's presidential nomination said the sensitive wetlands in Changhua County were an ⌠unsuitable location to build a USD 20.5 bln petrochemical complex.

Tsai said a better idea would be to build the facilities in oil producing regions, referring to comments she made last week proposing that future petrochemicals plants be built either in Saudi Arabia or other oil-producing Middle Eastern states.

Her comments came amid controversy over whether construction should start at the proposed eighth naphtha plant, which has drawn opposition from activists and local residents, citing health and environmental concerns.


Lukoil Overseas announced FM

(Lukoil) -- Lukoil Overseas (a wholly-owned subsidiary of OAO Lukoil) released an official force majeure notification under the PSA terms with regards to the CI-205 offshore geological prospecting project to the Government of Cote d'Ivoire, relevant ministries and Oranto Petroleum and PETROCI Holding partner companies. LUKOIL Overseas will resume active operations under the CI-205 project as soon as the situation in Cote d'Ivoire subsides.


Foster Wheeler undertake FEED for the expansion of Huntsman's Isocyanates Facility

(BUSINESS WIRE) -- Foster Wheeler AG (Nasdaq: FWLT) announced today that its Global Engineering and Construction Group has received a contract from Huntsman (Europe) BVBA to undertake the front-end engineering design (FEED) for the expansion of Huntsman's Isocyanates Facility at Caojing, in Shanghai, People's Republic of China. Isocyanates are used in the production of polyurethanes which have a wide range of uses in the plastics industry.

The Foster Wheeler contract value for this project was not disclosed and will be included in the company's first-quarter 2011 bookings.

Foster Wheeler's scope will include front-end engineering, technology licensor management and development of the project schedule and cost estimates. The FEED phase of the project is scheduled for completion in the third quarter of this year, with the overall project scheduled for mechanical completion by the fourth-quarter of 2013.