PP imports to Russia remained at February level

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Imports supplies of polypropylene (PP) to the Russian market remain at the previous level. In March overall imports didn't exceed 18 KT, according to MRC DataScope. Import volumes are limited by low demand for polypropylene.

Overall imports of the polymer in the Russian market in March grew only by 600 t and made 17.7 KT. Over Q I import supplies of PP to Russia made 49 KT.
No serious changes happened in the structure of March imports. Insignificant reduction of homopolymer propylene imports from Turkmenistan was partially compensated with grown supplies form Ukraine. Overall import supplies of homopolymer propylene made 10.6 KT.
Insignificant growth of import of impact copolymer propylene was caused by increased demand of Russian companies for IM, while supplies of pipe types were reduced.


European spot prices of MTBE surged to a record high this week

(ICIS) -- European spot prices of methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) surged to a record high this week, on the back of robust global oil futures, tight supply and firm demand, triggering a price rally in Asia, market players said on Thursday. Domestic prices in China also soared to an all-time peak but are lagging behind the rest of Asia, leaving Chinese buyers scrambling for spot material, they said.

In Europe, MTBE prices soared to USD 1.438-1.460/tonne (EUR 992-1.007/tonne) FOB (free on board) Amsterdam, Rotterdam, this week, eclipsing the previous high of USD 1.385/tonne in mid-July 2008, according to ICIS data.

Prices of the octane booster was assessed significantly stronger as USD 1.190-1.210/tonne FOB Singapore in the week ended 8 April, the highest levels since 11 July 2008, when MTBE prices closed at USD 1.210-1215/tonne FOB Singapore, the data showed.


Petrobras will use natural gas as feedstock in the new petrochemical complex

(Plastemart) -- Petrobras will use natural gas from the pre-salt fields as fuel and feedstock in the new petrochemical complex in Rio de Janeiro (Comperj), which is being built in Itaborai. The first refinery is expected to go into operation in late 2013. The petrochemical plant should start operating between late 2016 and early 2017 in collaboration with Braskem.

According to Petrobras' Downstream Director, Paulo Roberto Costa, the gas will be taken, probably by sub-sea pipelines (about 250 to 300 km long) to Comperj. Another possibility to bring the gas to Comperj is the use of gas vessels to liquefy natural gas in the sea and transport it to a regasification terminal on land.

About 15 mln cubic meters of natural gas daily from pre-salt as a feedstock in Comperj petrochemical plant, where will be transformed into products such as propylene, butadiene,benzene, polyethylene and polypropylene.


Lanxess to launch its first natural product

(LANXESS) -- Specialty chemicals company Lanxess AG is to launch its first natural product: Natural Choice is an innovative flavor that also increases the shelf life of beverages. Typical applications include non-carbonated soft drinks containing fruit juice such as still lemonade and isotonic sports drinks. Philipp Borgs, Product Manager Beverage Technology in the Material Protection Products (MPP) business unit, said: "We are now launching our new product in the United States, which is the world's biggest market for soft drinks, with annual sales amounting to USD 38 bln. Following a successful launch, other countries will follow."

Natural Choice is a fruity, lemon-tasting formulation, consisting entirely of natural ingredients. The main constituents are citrus fruit peel oil, lecithin and beeswax. "Natural Choice is only the beginning. We are continuing to carry out active research in natural, bio-identical products for the food and beverage industry, and this will be our mission for the next few years," added Ingo Broda, head of Beverage Technology.

The launch of a natural product is a further example of the commitment shown by Lanxess to Green Chemistry. The leading manufacturer of synthetic rubber owns shares in the U.S. company Gevo Inc., an expert in the production of bio-based raw materials. The two parties are working on methods to produce isobutene from renewable raw materials, which is then used for rubber production.


Dow Chemical and OPX Biotechnologies to produce bio-based acrylic acid

(Enhanced Online News)--The Dow Chemical Company and OPX Biotechnologies, Inc. announced that the two companies are collaborating to develop an industrial scale process for the production of bio-based acrylic acid from renewable feedstocks.

Dow and OPXBIO recently signed a joint development agreement to prove the technical and economic viability of an industrial-scale process to produce acrylic acid using a fermentable sugar (such as corn and/or cane sugar) feedstock with equal performance qualities as petroleum-based acrylic acid, creating a direct replacement option for the market. If collaborative research is successful, the companies will discuss commercialization opportunities that could bring bio-based acrylic acid to market in three to five years.

Dow, a leading global producer of acrylic acid and esters, will provide its expertise in industrial chemistry, process optimization and product development. OPXBIO, a company that uses biotechnology to convert renewable raw materials into biochemicals and fuels, will contribute its expertise in strain development and bioprocessing utilizing its EDGE (Efficiency Directed Genome Engineering) technology.

The global petroleum-based acrylic acid market is USD 8 bln and growing 3 to 4 percent per year. Acrylic acid is a key chemical building block used in a wide range of consumer goods including paints, adhesives, diapers and detergents.