US resin production down on Harvey; Braskem denies sales talks with LyondellBasell; Caliche to build NGL/olefin storage in Beaumont

Our pick of the latest petrochemicals news you need to know

Braskem denies it is in talks with LyondellBasell; analysts say it would be strategic fit

Braskem denies sales talks with LyondellBasell

LyondellBasell is in talks to buy Braskem for more than $10 billion according to news reports, but Braskem’s owner said in a regulatory filing the company is not for sale.

Braskem said in a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that LyondellBasell never approached it about any proposal to acquire its shares.

In the SEC filing, Braskem said whether its shares should be sold would be up to its shareholders.

Braskem has two major shareholders, the largest of which are Odebrecht, with a 38.3% equity and a controlling 50.1% vote, and

Petrobras, with a 36.1% equity and 41% voting stake

Braskem has two major shareholders – one being Brazil’s state-controlled oil and gas company Petrobras, with a 36.1% equity share and 41% voting stake in Braskem.

Odebrecht agreed in December 2016 to pay a $3.5bn fine to settle charges with authorities in the US, Brazil and Switzerland for its role in the Lava Jato bribery scandal.

Analysts speculate that LyondellBasell could have approached Odebrecht about the deal.

"(Odebrecht) informed that it keeps working on alternatives to add value to Braskem and for all shareholders, and reaffirmed its intention of keeping Braskem as part of the group investments," the filing said.

Odebrecht could still keep a stake in Braskem even with a LyondellBasell takeover.

If a deal did happen, it would combine two of the largest North American makers of polypropylene resin, and two major global polyethylene suppliers.

Caliche to build NGL/olefin storage in Beaumont

Caliche Development Partners will develop 32m bbl of natural gas liquids (NGL) and olefin storage at its site in Beaumont, Texas, “Caliche Coastal,” the company announced.

The initial phase of the project involves engineering, construction, and customer contracting for ethylene storage service from the existing 5 million barrel cavern. 

This first Caliche Coastal cavern can hold up to 600 million pounds of ethylene and provides 600,000 pounds/hour of deliverability.

This cavern and surface facilities will be operational and available for customer deliveries during the third quarter of 2018. 

Caliche Coastal's fully-permitted, salt cavern storage facilities sit on 53 acres atop Spindletop Dome in Beaumont, Texas, with an additional 345-acre brine pond site less than four miles away. 

When fully developed, Caliche Coastal will provide Gulf Coast NGL and olefin producers and end users up to 32 million barrels of purpose-built, salt cavern storage facilities. 

Caliche expects to develop seven additional fully-permitted storage wells, coming online at a rate of one well per year through 2025.

Chevron Phillips restarts its Texas PE unit

Chevron Phillips Chemical has begun to restart a polyethylene PE) unit at its Cedar Bayou complex in Baytown, Texas, that has been offline since Hurricane Harvey made landfall, according to a regulatory filing.

The startup of Polyethylene Unit 1799 began Wednesday, according to a filing with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and those procedures could run through November 14.

The complex sustained significant flooding due to Hurricane Harvey in late August. The Cedar Bayou complex has an existing steam cracker that can produce 835,000 mt/year of ethylene and three polyethylene plants that can produce a combined 791,000 mt/year.

U.S. resin production down in September on Harvey impact

U.S. production of major plastic resins totaled 5.8 billion pounds during September 2017, a decrease of 9.3% compared to the same month in 2016, according to statistics released by the American Chemistry Council (ACC).

Year-to-date production was 59.2 billion pounds, a 1.2% decrease as compared to the same period in 2016.

Sales and captive (internal) use of major plastic resins totaled 6.3 billion pounds during September 2017, a decrease of 2.4 percent from the same month one year earlier. Year-to-date sales and captive use was 59.6 billion pounds, a 0.7 percent decrease as compared to the same period in 2016.

Much of the U.S. Gulf resin output was shut down for several days in September following Hurricane Harvey.

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