SABIC pioneers first production of certified circular polymers

MOSCOW (MRC) -- SABIC, a global leader in the chemical industry, has announced another major milestone in its ground-breaking project to pioneer the production of certified circular polymers using a feedstock from mixed plastic waste, as per the company's press release.

The latest achievement - the production of the first certified circular polymers - is part of what is known as a ‘market foundation stage’. Launched in January, this stage is an important step towards creating a new circular value chain for plastics, during which, initial volumes of pyrolysis oil from plastic waste are introduced as feedstock at SABIC’s Geleen production site in The Netherlands. The patented pyrolysis oil has been produced by PLASTIC ENERGY Ltd from the recycling of low quality, mixed plastic waste otherwise destined for incineration or landfill.

As part of the market foundation stage, SABIC has begun to produce and commercialize the first monthly volumes of certified circular polymers - polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP)-, prior to the projected start-up in 2021 of the commercial plants planned by SABIC and PLASTIC ENERGY in the Netherlands to manufacture and process the alternative feedstock.

"Certified circular polymers are a disruptive innovation and SABIC’s market foundation stage is a critical phase in their development", said Frank Kuijpers, General Manager Corporate Sustainability at SABIC. "It will act as a bridge moving from a linear economy to a circular one and will enable the value chain to become familiar with the products and consider how they can best be implemented in their own markets. It will allow confidence in this pioneering product to grow before SABIC goes into full scale production."

The polymers are certified through the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification plus (ISCC+) scheme that certifies circular content and standards across the value chain from source to end product. The ISCC+ certification works on what is known as a “mass balance system”, meaning that for each tonne of circular feedstock fed into the cracker and substituting fossil-based feedstock, a tonne of the output can be classified as circular.

Certified circular polymers will help SABIC’s customers to meet consumer demand for more sustainable products and will contribute to closing the loop on reutilizing plastic waste.

As MRC reported before, in November 2017, Sabic introduced new materials for customers producing LED automotive lighting parts. LEXAN HF4010SR resin was one of the new offerings. This polycarbonate (PC) material can make it possible for customers to develop complex headlight bezels with enhanced aesthetics. Sabic has also added new grades to its existing LEXAN XHT resin line, which can offer improved flow at high temperatures compared to other high-heat polycarbonate materials available today.

Glenn M. Plumby named Marathon Petroleum Corporate Officer

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Glenn M. Plumby, senior vice president and chief operating officer for Speedway LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Marathon Petroleum Corporation (MPC), has been appointed an MPC officer, with the title senior vice president and chief operating officer, Speedway, said the company.

"Among Glenn's many notable accomplishments, he has played a key leadership role in Speedway's significant growth in recent years," said MPC Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Gary R. Heminger. "Glenn has gained enormous expertise in our retail business during more than 37 years of dedicated service, making him a welcome addition to our senior management team."

Plumby joined MPC in 1981 and held various accounting and marketing positions until transferring to Emro Marketing Company, the predecessor of Speedway LLC, in 1994. He was appointed vice president of Light Product Marketing in 2000 and served as vice president of Marketing from 2003 to 2009. From 2010 through 2017, Plumby held operations posts as both a vice president and a senior vice president. He was appointed senior vice president and chief operating officer for Speedway in 2018.

Neil Carson maybe appointed as Director of Royal Dutch Shell

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Carson is non-executive Chairman of Oxford Instruments and TT Electronics, a non-executive director of TI Fluid Systems and also a former non-executive director of Amec Foster Wheeler and Paypoint, said Process-worldwide.

The Netherlands – Royal Dutch Shell has recently announced its intention to propose to the 2019 Annual General Meeting that Neil Carson be appointed a Director of the Company with effect from June 1, 2019.

The Nomination and Succession Committee recommended Neil’s appointment to the Board following its review of the skills, knowledge and experience needed and a rigorous and thorough search process. The firm stated that Neil has a wealth of expertise, and the Board is delighted to recommend to shareholders that he be appointed a Director of the Company.

As a Non-Executive director, Neil brings a track record of utilising well his strong operational exposure, familiarity with capital intensive business and a first-class international perspective on driving value in complex environments.

Neil currently serves as Honorary President of the Society for the Chemical Industry and was awarded an OBE for services to the chemical industry in 2016.

EQUATE Group announces financial results for 2018

MOSCOW (MRC) -- EQUATE Group announced its fourth quarter (Q4) 2018 and full-year 2018 earnings, said the compant.

In Q4 2018, the EQUATE Group reported an EBITDA of USD427 million, compared to USD388 million for the same period in 2017. EQUATE Group’s total EBITDA for 2018 stood at USD2.12 billion, compared to USD1.73 billion in 2017. Net Income After Tax for the year was USD1.56 billion, compared to USD1.13 billion in 2017.

"EQUATERS across the globe defined excellence in 2018," said Dr. Ramesh Ramachandran, CEO and President of the EQUATE Group. “The record-breaking EBITDA was a result of extraordinary performance across all functions. We had an exceptionally safe year without any recordable EH&S incidents across the globe, a manufacturing volume record at all global sites and a very good pricing environment - notably in the first three quarters - and excellent cost optimization.""
Looking ahead to 2019, Ramachandran said, “Global headwinds in the commodity environment and high volatility due to uncertainty of tariffs resulted in a slowdown in the fourth quarter that persists in early 2019. That said, EQUATERS have always overcome challenges and I have every confidence that their expertise and commitment will continue to result in success."

The EQUATE Group maintained its leadership position as the second largest producer of EG globally, with EG production of over 2.5 million metric tons. This market leadership will be further strengthened in the coming months with an additional 750,000 MT in EG capacity as the new Oyster Creek, Texas Site comes on line on the US Gulf Coast.

The EQUATE Group is a global producer of petrochemicals and the world’s second largest producer of ethylene glycol (EG). The Group owns and operates industrial complexes in Kuwait, North America and Europe that annually produce over 6 million tons of ethylene, EG, polyethylene (PE), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), styrene monomer (SM), paraxylene (PX), heavy aromatics (HA) and benzene (BZ). The EQUATE Group includes EQUATE Petrochemical Company (EQUATE), The Kuwait Olefins Company (TKOC), as well as a number of subsidiaries such as MEGlobal and Equipolymers. Their products are marketed throughout Asia, the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The Group’s shareholders are Petrochemical Industries Company (PIC), The Dow Chemical Company (Dow), Boubyan Petrochemical Company (BPC) and Qurain Petrochemical Industries Company (QPIC). Employing more than 1,500 people worldwide, the EQUATE Group is a leading enterprise that pursues sustainability wherever it operates through partnerships in fields that include the environment, economy and society.

Chinese oil demand rebounds as independent refiners restock

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Chinese demand for crude oil is rebounding as independent refiners push to buy before prices climb further from low levels hit late last year, restocking with supplies that will arrive in March and April, reported Reuters with reference to trade sources.

That appetite from such refiners, often known as ‘teapots’, has driven up spot premiums for oil from Africa, Europe, Russia and Oman, the sources said, with prices for some grades hitting multi-month highs.

That comes after teapots slowed crude purchases for delivery in the first two months of 2019 as demand for the fuel they churn out typically fades over the Lunar New Year holidays, which this year fall in early February.

"It’s as if someone lit a match and the market’s caught fire," said one of the sources. All sources declined to be named as they were not authorized to speak to media.

Global benchmark Brent oil prices had fallen more than 30 percent to just above USD50 a barrel by the end of 2018, but prompt May crude futures have rebounded to above USD60 a barrel this month.

Teapots tend to time their crude purchases based on oil price movements, and often when one buys others will follow, the sources said.

Spot premiums for crude grades popular with Chinese buyers are between 50 cents and more than USD1 a barrel higher than price quotes seen at the start of the month, they said.

For example, Oman’s spot premium almost doubled last week to USD1 a barrel from the start of the month, while offers of Russian ESPO crude for delivery to China in March have risen by 50 cents to about USD3.20 a barrel to May ICE Brent futures, according to the sources and Reuters data.

However, demand is expected to cool by the end of this week as would-be buyers leave the office for the week-long Lunar New Year break, the sources said.

China’s refined product consumption could only see 0.5-percent growth in 2019 from last year as gasoline demand slows with an expected 5-percent drop in passenger vehicle sales, while diesel use will continue to contract on weaker industrial output, Lin Chen, Nomura’s head of greater China energy global markets research, said in a note.

Still, the world’s biggest oil importer could see crude imports rising to 9.5 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2019, up more than 4 percent from the previous year, Chen said.

China’s refining throughput is set to hit another all-time high of 12.7 million bpd in 2019, about 600,000 bpd more than last year, driven by new refineries Hengli Petrochemical and Zhejiang Petrochemical, he added.

Competition from these new plants means that other independent refiners are unlikely to increase their throughput this year, Chen said.

Also, oil imports in the key refining region of Shandong in the east of the country are unlikely to rise until Dongjiakou city completes a port expansion by year-end, he said.