Petrochem open to facilities integration with SIIG

(Arabian Oil and Gas) -- The board of directors of Saudi Arabia's National Petrochemicals Company (Petrochem) have decided to approach the SIIG board of directors, to propose a study to merge both Petrochem and Saudi Industrial Investment Group (SIIG).

During the board meeting, which took place on the 10th of April, the Petrochem board reviewed the progress of its petrochemical project in Jubail industrial city. The complex is set to start operation by the end of this year, and will produce ethylene, polyolefins and aromatics.

SIIG has three nearby operational downstream projects in joint venture with Chevron. It has been reported that Petrochem management wish to integrate elements of its production with the SIIG facilities, with a view to a potenital merger in the future.

⌠If SIIG's board agrees to proceeding, the process of evaluating such a merger will start, including evaluating the assets of each company, and proceed on getting the necessary approvals from authorities and relevant shareholders, the company said in a statement published on Saudi stock exchange ⌠Tadawul. The company said that SIIG's board is due to meet this month.


SABIC to launch a new domestic carbon fiber plant

(Arabian Oil and Gas) -- Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) is in talk with Japanese firms to establish a carbon fiber plant in Saudi Arabia, according to a Japanese media report.

⌠Mitsubishi Rayon and Toray Industries are interested in joining hand with SABIC to establish a carbon fiber in Saudi Arabia due to the low production cost, The Nikkei newspaper quoted Mohammed Al Madi, CEO of SABIC, as saying. ⌠The two Japanese firms will start the initial studies of the project, and from our part, we will also look at the choices we have before taking a final decision, he added.

According to the Japanese newspaper, Mitsubishi initial estimations indicate that construction cost would range between USD 60 mln to USD 120 mln, with a total capacity of 2000 to 2.700 tonne per year. The plant is set to be located near the 250 KTa methyl methacrylate monomer, which being constructed by Mitsubishi in the Kingdom, and set to go on stream by 2013.


CEPSA Quimica resumed phenol/acetone production

(ICIS) -- CEPSA Quimica has resumed phenol/acetone production on line No 2 in Huelva, Spain, following a five-week planned outage, a company source said on Friday. ⌠Production started early week 14 as planned. We have been building up slowly but we are now running fully, the source confirmed. Line No 2 has the capacity to produce 200 KTa of phenol and 124 KTa of acetone.

CEPSA added that it will be shutting down line No 3 for at least two weeks in May for planned maintenance.

Line No 3 is CEPSA Quimica's largest and newest line. It has the capacity to produce 250 KTa of phenol and 155 KTa of acetone.

The company officially decommissioned line No 1 at Huelva earlier this year. It had been idled since the end of 2008 as a result of the global economic downturn.


US polyethylene terephthalate producers are seeking price increases for April

(ICIS) -- US polyethylene terephthalate (PET) producers are seeking price increases for April, but whether these initiatives are achievable remains doubtful, market participants said on Friday. Two producers so far have announced that they will target PET price increases of 5 cents/lb (USD 110/tonne, EUR 77/tonne) for April. Domestic prices for bottle grade PET are currently assessed by ICIS at 99.50-101.50 cents/lb DEL (delivered).

However, one said its April initiative really will be determined by feedstock price increases, and that it wants to see margin improvement of 2 cents/lb on top of any raw-material hikes.

The producer said that while Mexican buyers could well end up paying an additional 5 cents/lb in April, ⌠we probably won't get the whole 5 [cent/lb increase] in the US.

The key factor is likely to be the April paraxylene (PX) contract price, a portion of which is passed on to the monthly contract price for purified terephthalic acid (PTA), the immediate precursor to PET.


Shell is likely to delay the restart of its cracker in Singapore

(ICIS) -- Shell is likely to delay the restart of its 800 KTa mixed-feed cracker in Bukom, Singapore, to May because of ongoing technical issues, market sources said on Monday. ⌠We are hearing that April is not possible, said one source who declined to provide further details. Company officials were not available for comment.

Other sources said the cracker had failed to restart as scheduled on 10 April. The cracker was shut on 18 March, which prompted Shell to declare a force majeure on ethylene and monoethylene glycol (MEG) shipments.

Meanwhile, Shell has been buying ethylene to feed into its 750 KTa MEG plant in Singapore, said another market source.

The MEG plant has been running at below capacity, said the source, but did not elaborate.