Petrobras earnings soar on oil price rise, weaker currency

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Brazil’s state-controlled oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA reported a surge in third-quarter net profit, helped by a pick-up in oil prices and the weakening of the real currency, said Reuters.

Petrobras made a net profit of 6.644 billion reais (USD1.78 billion), well above the 266 million reais it posted a year earlier. Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose to 29.856 billion reais from 19.223 billion in the same period last year.

Petrobras said its growing share of the domestic diesel market also contributed to the strong earnings, as a diesel subsidy program put in place in June to quell a truckers’ strike over rising fuel costs hit the company’s competitors.

Petrobras said it received 1.6 billion reais from the government as part of the second phase of the subsidy program, which is set to end in December.

Golar LNG looks to Nigeria to expand power footprint

MOSCOW (MRC) - Golar LNG said on Monday it was in talks with Nigerian authorities about setting up a power project that could use one of its vessels to import liquefied natural gas (LNG), as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The company wants to expand beyond its core LNG shipping and terminals business and owns half of the USD1.7 billion Sergipe power plant project in Brazil, in which it will also provide a floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) to take delivery of LNG.

Golar's Chief Commercial Officer Robert Carter said the company was looking into a "fully integrated gas and power project" in the state of Lagos. "We're in discussions with Nigerian authorities. We're trying to develop a terminal there that could include the utilisation of domestic LNG supplies," Carter told Reuters after local media reported the potential talks.

LNG-to-power projects tend to comprise an LNG import terminal such as an FSRU vessel; infrastructure such as pipelines for the regasified gas; and a power plant which uses the gas as feedstock to produce electricity.

Nigeria is a massive oil and gas producer, with a large LNG export terminal, but still needs to import fuels for vehicles and suffers power shortages due to poor infrastructure and chaotic governance of its energy sector.

Golar has a fleet of 16 LNG carriers and eight FSRUs but has said it plans to expand into the broader LNG business by operating production facilities at the upstream end and participating in power projects at the downstream end.

"We don't invest in a project where there isn't a Golar flag, so to speak," Carter said when asked whether Golar would provide an FSRU for the Nigerian project. "We're talking about a Golar solution."

On the Sergipe project, Golar owns 50 percent of the company operating a 1,500 megawatt power plant and associated infrastructure and will provide an FSRU. It said on Monday the project is on track to start operations in January 2020.

All of Golar's FSRUs, which can also be used as conventional LNG carriers, are currently in use aside from the Golar Tundra which is being used in the spot LNG market.

Air Products to build world-scale liquid hydrogen plant at its La Porte, Texas facility

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Lehigh Valley, Pa. Air Products, the leading global hydrogen provider, has announced plans to build a new liquid hydrogen plant at its La Porte, Texas industrial gas facility to meet increasing product demand from several customer markets, according to Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The liquid hydrogen plant will produce approximately 30 tons per day, will draw its hydrogen to be liquefied from Air Products’ existing Gulf Coast hydrogen pipeline system network, and is to be onstream in 2021.

"The investment in this new liquid hydrogen production facility in Texas will assist with meeting current customer demand, as well as capture the increased growth that we see coming from several markets. Logistically, our La Porte plant has several operational benefits which make the site selection for this new facility a good choice. We are confident with this additional capacity that we will be able to meet the projected growing liquid hydrogen needs coming from the varied industries in the United States for which a reliable source of this product is vitally important to our customers’ manufacturing operations," said Marie Ffolkes, president, Americas at Air Products.

Once liquefied at La Porte, the hydrogen will be delivered in trailers to customers in industries including: electronics, chemical and petrochemical, metals, material handling, float glass, edible fats and oils, and utilities. Air Products also has liquid hydrogen production plants operating in New Orleans, Louisiana; Sacramento, California; Sarnia, Ontario, Canada; and Rotterdam in The Netherlands.

The new facility at La Porte will join Air Products’ existing hydrogen and syngas production operations, as well as an air separation unit. The liquid hydrogen plant will be connected to, and draw hydrogen from, Air Products’ Gulf Coast Pipeline(GCP), the world’s largest hydrogen plant and pipeline network system. The 600-mile pipeline span stretches from the Houston Ship Channel in Texas to New Orleans, Louisiana, and supplies customers with over 1.4 billion feet of hydrogen per day from 23 hydrogen production facilities.

Pipelines offer a safe, robust and reliable supply of hydrogen to industries around the world. Globally, Air Products’ pipeline operational expertise is evidenced by its network of systems. Besides the GCP, Air Products also has a hydrogen pipeline in California in the U.S., in Sarnia, Ontario and Alberta, Canada, and in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

As MRC reported earlier, in August 2016, Air Products and Chemicals Inc. opened a new advanced non-electronics specialty gas and helium transfill center in Ochang, North Chungcheong, South Korea. The company built the facility to cater to the growing demand of numerous industries including automotive, analytical, petrochemical and bio-healthcare, among others.

Mitsui Chemicals completed production expansion for ultra-high molecular weight PE

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Mitsui Chemicals, Inc. has expanded production facilities to manufacture HI-ZEX MILLION ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene in response to growing demand for automotive and industrial batteries, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

This action boosts the company's production capacity for HI-ZEX MILLION by about 15% to 8,500 tons per year.

Mitsui Chemicals developed HI-ZEX MILLION through the application of the company’s proprietary technology in catalysts and processes, giving this ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene an average molecular weight of up to 6 million. Due to the material's excellent chemical resistance, abrasion resistance, impact resistance and self-lubrication, it is used in diverse fields such as lithium-ion battery separators, industrial materials and medical devices.

Furthermore, HI-ZEX MILLION retains a consistent shape and provides excellent solubility. With these properties helping to streamline customers' fabrication processes, the product has been certificated Mitsui Chemical's Blue Value.

Positioning HI-ZEX MILLION as a strategic product in the key business domain of mobility, Mitsui Chemicals will continue to be proactive in further strengthening and expanding this business.

As MRC wrote before, in March 2016, Mitsui & Co., Ltd. and Hankuk Carbon Co., a company listed on the Korea Exchange, entered into a strategic alliance agreement to engage in collaborative business activities relating to the processing of composite materials.

Mitsui Chemicals is a leading manufacturer and supplier of value added specialty chemicals, plastics and materials for the automotive, healthcare, packaging, agricultural, building, and semiconductor and electronics markets. Mitsui Chemicals is a Japanese Chemicals company, a part of the Mitsui conglomerate. The company has a turnover of around 15 billion USD and has business interests in Japan, Europe, China, Southeast Asia and the USA. The company mainly deals in performance materials, petro and basic chemicals and functional polymeric materials.

Arkema expands thiochemicals global manufacturing capacity for linear mercaptans

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Arkema has announced a project to increase its linear mercaptans production capacities to support the demand growth of polymers for transportation and electronics markets, as per the company's press release.

This incremental investment would increase the Houston (Texas) plant’s manufacturing capacity by up to 30%.

"Arkema is the world’s leading producer of mercaptans and other sulfur derivatives, and this investment would further strengthen that position. The expansion would position us to better serve our customers’ needs and support their growth," said Frederic Vartician, Global Group President of Thiochemicals.

The total new capacity should come online in the first half of 2020.

As MRC informed before, in March 2017, Arkema completed the sale to INEOS of its 50% stake in Oxochimie, their oxo alcohols manufacturing joint venture, and of the associated business.

Arkema is a leading European supplier of chlorochemicals and PVC. Kynar and Kynar Flex are registered trademarks of Arkema Inc.