IHS Chemical Week


Chemical industry weekly news roundup, 5 September

10:42 AM MDT | September 5, 2014 | By LINDSAY FROST

This Week in CW:

Pembina (Calgary, AB) has chosen Portland, OR, as the site for a $500-million, 30,000-bbl/day propane export facility. The company has also agreed to acquire the Vantage pipeline system and Mistral Midstream’s share of the Saskatchewan Ethane Extraction Plant (SEEP) for a total of $650 million Pembina expects to bring the so-called West Coast Terminal online in early 2018. Pembina says it has agreed on a site with the Port of Portland. The Vantage pipeline carries ethane from the liquids-rich North Dakota Bakken play to Alberta. SEEP is a development-stage, 60-million cubic feet/day deep cut gas-processing facility serving the southeast Saskatchewan Bakken region. Pembina expects SEEP to produce about 4,500 bbl/day of ethane, which it will begin delivering into the Vantage pipeline in mid-2015.

Boardwalk Pipeline Partners (Houston) has agreed to acquire Chevron Petrochemical Pipeline, which owns the Evangeline ethylene pipeline system, for $295 million in cash. The acquisition is expected to close in the fourth quarter, Boardwalk says. A subsidiary, Boardwalk Louisiana Midstream (BLM), will operate the pipeline, which stretches 176 miles from Port Neches, TX, to Baton Rouge, LA, where it connects with the BLM ethylene distribution system, including the company’s storage facilities at the Choctaw Hub. BLM plans to connect the Evangeline pipeline to its Sulphur Hub in the Lake Charles, LA, area after the acquisition is completed.

Solvay has a reached a deal to acquire the polyphenylene sulfide (PPS) business of Chevron Phillips Chemical (CPChem) for $220 million. Solvay will acquire two Ryton PPS resin manufacturing units at Borger, TX; its pilot plant along with its PPS R&D assets at Bartlesville, OK; a compounding plant at Kallo-Beveren, Belgium; and certain intellectual property relating to the PPS business. CPChem's compounding unit at La Porte, TX, will remain part of CPChem and will provide temporary tolling services to Solvay. The deal is expected in the fourth quarter. CPChem's PPS business has a strong share in the automotive sector, replacing metal parts to make cars lighter and more energy efficient. Other worldwide leading positions are in electronics, where it enhances fire resistance, and in filter bags to extend their lifetime in reducing pollution at coal-fired power stations, Solvay says.

Bayer CropScience (BCS), the world’s second largest producer of agricultural chemicals, on 4 September held an inauguration ceremony at a new site at West Sacramento, CA, which also serves as the global headquarters of its fairly new biologics business, and pledged to invest $1 billion in the United States in the three years through 2016. The ceremony was attended by BCS’s top management, customers, politicians and the media. The company has also outlined future plans in several segments, including biologics. The $80 million West Sacramento facility, situated on 10 acres of land, includes a pilot plant to support research and development of biologic crop protection products, a vegetable seeds research building, a greenhouse and five acres of nearby land for future greenhouse space.

Around the Web:

US regulators on Wednesday issued rules for banks to hold enough easy-to-sell assets to keep them afloat during a crunch, after many were caught short of cash during the 2007-09 financial crisis, according to Reuters. The rules, adopted by the three main bank regulators, are a new building block in a global effort to make big banks such as JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup sturdier and head off a future meltdown of the financial system. The Federal Reserve said big US banks would need to hold a total of about $2.5 trillion in highly liquid assets by 2017, and that they would have a shortfall of about $100 billion if that threshold applied today.

The United States climbed to third in a leading ranking of the world's most competitive economies, rising for the second straight year because of more positive views of the nation's business climate, innovation capacity and strength of public and private institutions, according to the Los Angeles Times. The US trailed only Switzerland and Singapore in the annual survey by the World Economic Forum. Rounding out the top 10 were Finland, Germany, Japan, the Hong Kong region of China, the Netherlands, United Kingdom and Sweden. The results were released Wednesday by the forum, which hosts a high-profile gathering of corporate chieftains and politicians each winter at Davos, Switzerland. Competitiveness is based on a dozen factors, including the strength of a nation's public and private institutions, the state of its infrastructure, the quality of its education and its ability to foster innovation.

Americans' views of the banking industry are positive for the first time since 2007, at a net positive rating of 8, according to Gallup. The public also has an improved view of the real estate industry, marking the first time Americans' image of this industry has been positive since 2006. Net positive views of banking increased 18 points from 2013, while opinions of real estate rose 11 points. Each year since 2001, Gallup has asked Americans to rate 24 different business sectors and industries on a five-point scale ranging from "very positive" to "very negative." The net ratings are the difference between the positive and negative ratings for each industry, reflecting Americans' overall attitudes toward each industry. The most recent data were collected from 7-10 August as part of Gallup's annual Work and Education poll. The average net positive rating across all 24 industries this year is 18, up significantly from previous years. The images of both the banking and real estate industries remain below the overall average, continuing a pattern seen since 2007.

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