TPC to sell Baytown propylene derivatives plant to SI Group

TPC to sell Baytown propylene derivatives plant to SI Group

FOCUS Seventh Generation, CEO John Replogle, who will continue to run the company, says that the deal will have a 'multiplier effect' for the business...

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FOCUS Seventh Generation, CEO John Replogle, who will continue to run the company, says that the deal will have a 'multiplier effect' for the business, and help it fulfil its aspiration to be 'a billion-dollar brand'. Finally for this brief introduction to the issue – and providing a rather different take on the concept of 'renewability' – ICT has bought an aroma chemicals plant, idled in 2014 after nearly 20 years in operation, and plans to 'repurpose' it for the production of fluorosurfactants and speciality polymers (p 3).



bn of investment. The company confirmed on 13 Sep 2016 that it intends to construct a 420,000 tonnes/y linear alpha-olefins (LAO) line at its site in Chocolate Bayou, TX, USA. The project is currently in the engineering phase and scheduled for start-up in Nov 2018. Jacobs has been contracted to manage the construction of the project. Original Source: ICIS Chemical Business, 26 Sep-2 Oct 2016, 290 (10), 11 & 25, (Website: © Reed Business Information Limited 2016

Caroline Edser


RAW MATERIALS Linear alkylbenzene Petrobras wants to withdraw from chemicals sector Like its peers in the oil and gas sector, Brazilian giant Petrobras has been hard hit by the fall in crude oil prices. Its situation was made even worse by a major corruption scandal. As a result, on 20 Sep 2016 the group presented drastic plans to cut investment by 25%. Petrobras will also sell off assets worth $19.5 bn between 2017 and 2021. The group plans to withdraw from biofuels, fertilizers and petrochemicals production but has not given further details. The list of Petrobras' involvement in these fields is long and includes a 27.88% stake in Deten Quimica (of which Spain's Petresa is the major shareholder). Headquartered in Camacari, Bahia, Brazil, Deten Quimica is the premier producer of linear alkylbenzene in Latin America, operating a production facility with a capacity of 220,000 tonnes/y. It also produces other raw materials for detergents. Original Source: Chimie Pharma Hebdo, 26 Sep 2016, (774), (Website: http://www. (in French) © ETAI Information 2016

Alpha-olefins Ineos targets USA for capital investment Ineos prefers to invest in the USA, where it already has approximately $2


North America: PKO skyrockets fatty alcohols price The sharp increase of Asian palm kernel oil (PKO) prices in 2016 has introduced volatility into the fatty alcohol market since end-1Q 2016 and stimulated the price hike of US alcohols in 2016. Asian natural alcohol manufacturers were hurt by the upward volatility from PKO prices as it contributed to evaporated alcohol margins and elevated production expenses. PKO rates hiked from nearly $800-900/tonne around mid-2015 to $1200/tonne in late-2016. Prices are expected to reach roughly $1500 and higher by 3Q 2016. Fatty alcohol prices dropped in 2H 2015 into a critical margin condition for most Asian natural alcohol suppliers. The lack of margin prompted Asian producers to cut back capacity utilization levels and some blocked alcohol operations. In 3Q 2015, mid-cut alcohol contract prices decreased by around 17 cents/lb, only recovering until start of transactions for 2Q 2016. C12-15 fatty alcohol contracts were evaluated at 53-62 cents/lb, bulk delivered, for 1Q 2016, with 53 cents low end indicating the turning point for natural fatty alcohol manufacturers. This turning point occurred at the Palm Oil Conference (POC) in Mar 2016 when PKO prices increased by more than $110/tonne from roughly $800/tonne in Dec 2015. The same situations arose in 3Q 2016 contract transactions. Mid-cut alcohol prices increased by double digits in each of these quarters, raising the range to 79-89 cents/lb by 3Q 2016. High PKO prices prevailed into 4Q 2016, remaining at $1500/tonne and above. Furthermore, the severely curtailed utilization levels, currently below 70% in some cases, tightened

the supply. The mid-cut alcohol contract negotiations experienced an upward pressure in 4Q 2016 due to the PKO feedstock dynamics in 20152016. Producers are offering natural alcohols in the range of 90-122 cents/ lb for 4Q 2016, nearly 20 cents/lb higher than the 3Q 2016 forecast. Original Source: ICIS Chemical Business, 3-9 Oct 2016, 290 (11), 17 (Website: http://www. © Reed Business Information Limited 2016

Ethylene oxide/other Zhejiang Rongsheng is building a joint venture refinery-petrochemical complex in Zhoushan China's Zhejiang Rongsheng is building a joint venture refinerypetrochemical complex in Zhoushan. The Yuan 160 bn ($24 bn) project, which will be built in two phases in China's eastern Zhejiang province, is expected to have an overall refining capacity of 40 M tonnes/y or 800,000 bbl/day, according to the preliminary environmental impact assessment (EIA) report published recently on Zhoushan's local government website. The first phase is due to start up in late 2018 and the second phase in 2020. The complex will have an ultimate ethylene capacity of 2.8 M tonnes/y, with aromatics production estimated at 10.4 M tonnes/y, and will include a propane dehydrogenation unit with a total capacity of 1.2 M tonnes/y. The complex is expected to produce a host of downstream products such as polyolefins and ethylene oxide/ethylene glycol (EO/EG). The EO capacity is expected to be 50,000 tonnes/y in phase 1 and 100,000 tonnes/y in phase 2. Zhejiang Rongsheng is reported to be in talks with prospective partners Tongkun Group and Juhua Group to each take up a 25% equity stake in the project. Original Source: ICIS News, 14 Sep 2016 (Website: © Reed Business Information Limited 2016

TPC to sell Baytown propylene derivatives plant to SI Group The US petrochemicals group TPC has signed an agreement to sell a production unit at Baytown, TX, USA to SI Group. The value of the transaction and expected completion date have not been disclosed. The world-scale unit November 2016

FOCUS produces tetramers and other propylene derivatives, which are used as intermediates for plasticizers, detergents, antioxidants and as lubricant additives. Innospec considered buying TPC in 2012 ['Focus on Surfactants', Dec 2012]. Original Source: Chimie Pharma Hebdo, 19 Sep 2016, (773), (Website: http://www. (in French) © ETAI Information 2016. Original Source: PetroChemical News, 19 Sep 2016, 54 (36), 2 (Website: © William F. Bland Co 2016

Industrial-scale microwave technology by Microwave Chemical Microwave Chemical of Japan has developed industrial-scale microwave technology for converting waste vegetable oil to fatty acid esters for use by Toyo. The partnership between the two firms led to the building of the first commercial-scale plant for this technology with 1000 tonnes/y capacity in Osaka, Japan, in 2012. Another 1000 tonnes/y facility is to be launched in Yokkaichi, Japan. The plant is a joint venture with Taiyo Kagaku, a food additive producer, and will feature a new process for making sugar esterbased emulsifiers. The method applies microwaves to selectively heat water in an oil and sugar solution. CEM and Microwave Chemical are introducing a process in 2017 that can facilitate couplings within 2-3 min versus the 2-3 hrs it usually takes. In total, Microwave Chemical cooperates with around 20 firms, with a BASF polymer development cooperation as its highest profile deal. Original Source: Chemical and Engineering News, 12 Sep 2016, 94 (36), 24-25 (Website: © American Chemical Society 2016

SURFACTANTS AkzoNobel’s new surfactant meets stringent US EPA standards AkzoNobel has launched an essential new ingredient for outdoor cleaning products that successfully meets stringent US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) environmental standards without compromising on performance. Developed by the company's Surface Chemistry business, Berol DR-B1 is appropriate for both consumer and November 2016



commercial applications that involve direct release (by-passing sewage treatment). Suitable for a wide range of outdoor applications where very low environmental impact is a priority, the main uses for Berol DR-B1 are expected to include the cleaning of mass transit vehicles such as trains and buses, car washes, and exterior house and garden furniture cleaning. Original source: AkzoNobel, 21 Sep 2016 (Website: © AkzoNobel NV 2016

Fragrance plant to be repurposed Innovative Chemical Technologies (ICT) Inc of Cartersville, GA, USA, has bought a former International Flavors & Fragrances aroma chemicals facility in Augusta, GA, that has been idle since 2014. Financial details of the deal have not been disclosed. ICT plans to retrofit the facility to manufacture speciality polymers and fluorosurfactants. It expects to employ around 100 personnel over a five-year period following the retrofitting. Founded in 1997, ICT operates two chemical plants and an R&D facility in Cartersville that are focused on surface modification products. Its product ranges include Thetawet and Flexiwet fluorosurfactants, and Flexisurf and Flexiwet hydrocarbon surfactants. Original Source: Chemical and Engineering News, 28 Mar 2016, 94 (13), 14-15 (Website: © American Chemical Society 2016

Green alternatives show fastest growth on the global industrial surfactants market, finds Kline Industrial surfactants scattered among a number of applications, such as food, paints and coatings, crop protection, and oil and gas, account for an important one-third of the global surfactants market, but have been lacking comprehensive coverage until now. Spanning multiple regions, Kline's imminent 'Industrial Surfactants: Multiregional Market Analysis and Opportunities' report finds that these industrial applications, driven by complex drivers relating to each application, offer a myriad of growth opportunities. From the two justpublished reports on Europe and the USA, alkyl aryl sulfonates and fatty alcohol ethoxylates are the most commonly used surfactants. However, alkyl aryl sulfonates are mainly

consumed in lubricants whereas the consumption of fatty alcohol ethoxylates is fairly even across a number of applications. Fatty alcohol ethoxylates are considered eco-friendly compared to surfactants such as alkyl phenol ethoxylates/nonyl phenol ethoxylates (APE/NPE) and are currently reasonably priced due to which they are used in large quantities in all industrial applications. The usage of APE/NPE has been banned in Europe due to ecotoxicological concerns. Furthermore, in some European countries, such as Germany, usage of polyethoxylated tallow amine is restricted due to its toxicity. Similarly, in the USA, fatty alcohol ethoxylates are increasingly replacing APE/NPE in the crop protection, construction and textile industries. Environmental concerns, such as an increased focus on fuel economy and emissions reductions, are driving growth of dispersants in lubricants. In paints and coatings applications, the market continues to shift towards water-based paints and coatings that require a higher amount of dispersing agent and thus consume more surfactants. In 2015, the European market (EU-28, Norway and Switzerland) consumed nearly 1 bn tonnes of surfactants. While mono- and diglycerides remain the leading surfactants in volume terms, fatty alcohol ethoxylates are leading in terms of value. In the USA, which consumes approximately 1.2 bn tonnes, alkyl aryl sulfonates remain the leading surfactants in terms of value. Large global multinational companies, namely BASF, Clariant, Huntsman, Stepan and AkzoNobel, are the top five leading suppliers in Europe, together accounting for close to half of the total market value. In addition, many regional companies, such as Leuna Tenside, Bozzetto and Erca, among others, have a strong presence in one or a few European countries. Huntsman, BASF and Stepan are the three leading suppliers in the USA. In the following five years, alkyl polyglucosides are expected to be the fastest-growing surfactant type on the global industrial surfactants market due to their characteristics and favourable environmental profile. Food and crop protection applications are expected to be the fastest-growing consumers for industrial surfactants in the next five years. Original source: Kline & Company, 7 Sep 2016, (Website: © Kline & Company 2016