Hitachi Chemical set to take over Apceth Biopharma

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Hitachi Chemical Advanced Therapeutics Solutions has recently announced an agreement by which Apceth Biopharma, will join PCT Hitachi Chemical’s global services platform, said Process-worldwide.

Apceth Biopharma manufactures cell and gene therapy products for American and European clients through two manufacturing sites in Munich, Germany, certified for GMP manufacture since 2010. These facilities are fully compliant with all current EU regulations and ICH guidelines. The company’s strength lies in its experience and comprehensive quality management systems allowing the manufacturing and development of a wide range of complex cell and gene therapy products. Through this deal, Hitachi Chemical will acquire two state-of-the-art GMP/BSL2 production facilities including 600 sq m of clean room area.

This global contract development and manufacturing services platform currently includes two U.S. facilities, in Allendale, New Jersey and Mountain View, California, and a recently opened facility in Yokohama, Japan. Construction is underway for a third U.S. facility in Allendale, New Jersey that will provide commercial manufacturing capability for products after the opening in the second quarter of 2019.

The addition of Apceth in Europe to Hitachi Chemical will complement the PCT global services platform’s global footprint. All of these facilities will share harmonised quality and information management systems, accounting for all regional regulatory requirements, as well as harmonised manufacturing operations, and technology transfer approaches, designed to ensure a seamless and rapid approach to serving clients globally.

Singapore refinery profits fall to lowest since 2010

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Average Singapore refinery profit margins fell to their lowest levels since 2010 as fuel markets struggle with oversupply while feedstock crude oil prices are near 2019 highs, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The average refinery margins for a Singaporean refinery dropped to USD1.20 per barrel on Monday, the lowest since 2010, Refinitiv data showed.

Traders said the low profits were due to oversupply of refined fuels like fuel oil or diesel, while prices for crude oil, the most important feedstock and biggest cost factor for refineries, reached 2019 highs last Friday.

As MRC informed before, in 2016, Jacobs Engineering Group received a contract from Singapore Refining Company Private Ltd. (SRC), a JV between Singapore Petroleum Co. and Chevron, to provide services for an upgrade project at SRC’s refinery in Jurong Island, Singapore.

Avery Dennison recycled PET liners now available across Europe in four constructions

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The recent launch, by Avery Dennison, of a portfolio using recycled PET (rPET) liners has received another important boost, with four labelling constructions now available across Europe, as per the company's press release.

Georg Muller-Hof, vice president marketing LPM Europe, said that using post-consumer waste (PCW) to manufacture label liners represents a step change in sustainability: "Avery Dennison is focused on real-world sustainability improvements, which ultimately means ‘closing the loop’ and using post-consumer waste to create new products. These four new labelling materials not only use a liner with more than 30% recycled PET bottle content, but they are also part of our CleanFlake and ClearCut portfolios - which offer important additional sustainability gains in their own right."

Three CleanFlake materials are now available on a thin rPET23 liner. The 'switchable' CleanFlake adhesive is designed to separate cleanly from PET bottles during the recycling process so that contamination of PET flakes is avoided - an important factor in ensuring that recycled PET can be recycled rather than downcycled. A fourth material - a high clarity ClearCut PP50 TOP CLEAR-S7000-rPET23 construction - is considerably thinner than today’s market reference (PP60 with PET30), and offers high speed conversion and dispensing using the same thin rPET23 liner.

The rPET liner has been designed to convert in the same way as a conventional PET liner, with no noticeable differences in performance.

Muller-Hof said that more will follow: "We are committed to managing waste across the value chain - in line with our 2025 Sustainability Goals and to meet the needs of our customers. Moving forward, we look forward to introducing rPET liner in an expanded range of products, as well as offering products that contain recycled content and/or enable recycling of end use packaging."

As MRC wrote earlier, in December 2016, Avery Dennison Corporation announced it had agreed to acquire Hanita Coatings, a pressure-sensitive materials manufacturer of specialty films and laminates from Kibbutz Hanita Coatings and Tene Investment Funds for the purchase price of USD75 million. Headquartered in Israel with sales and distribution facilities in the United States, Germany, China and Australia, Hanita Coatings develops and manufactures coated, laminated, and metallized polyester films for a range of industrial and commercial applications, all of which require high performance and superior quality.

Headquartered in Glendale, California, Avery Dennison is a global leader in labeling and packaging materials and solutions. The company’s applications and technologies are an integral part of products used in every major market and industry. With operations in more than 50 countries and more than 25,000 employees worldwide, Avery Dennison serves customers with insights and innovations that help make brands more inspiring and the world more intelligent.

Biffa plans for GBP15m plastics recycling plant approved

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Waste management company Biffa has received planning approval from Durham County Council to build a new GBP15-million plastic recycling facility near the town of Seaham, as per RESOURCE.

Biffa will be making use of a 130,000 square foot vacant warehouse at Foxcover Distribution Park, where the company intends to install a polymer processing plant capable of recycling more than one billion plastic bottles every year.

The proposed facility will be in operation 24/7 and will process three million bottles a day into new food and drink packaging, bringing around 70 new full-time jobs to the area. Construction is expected to commence in summer 2019, with the first commissioning trials scheduled for December.

Biffa’s new site represents its latest investment in UK-based recycling infrastructure and will double the company’s plastic bottle recycling capacity. Currently, its flagship Redcar plant processes around 18,000 tonnes of recycled high density polyethylene (rHDPE) every year, turning it into milk bottles and food trays.

Mick Davis, managing director of resource, recovery and treatment at Biffa, said: "The UK currently uses around 13.5 billion plastic bottles a year but can only process half of this, with the rest diverted to landfill or overseas. This new site represents an exciting opportunity to boost our recycling capacity here at home and supports the country’s long-term plan to find new ways to reuse plastics, as detailed in Defra’s recent Resources and Waste Strategy.

"Our proposals for the Seaham plant were the result of months of careful consideration and we are keen to build on our already excellent reputation for recycling in the north east. We are delighted Durham County Council recognised the importance of this site to the region, as well as the wider waste industry, and we now look forward to seeing these plans come to life."

PetroChina to drop PDVSA as partner in refinery project

MOSCOW (MRC) -- PetroChina Co plans to drop Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) as a partner in a planned USD10 billion oil refinery and petrochemical project in southern China, reported Reuters with reference to three sources familiar with the matter.

The company’s decision adds to state-owned PDVSA’s woes after the United States imposed sanctions on the company on Jan. 28 to undermine the rule of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

However, dropping the company was not a reaction to the U.S. sanctions but follows the deteriorating financial status of PDVSA over the past few years, said two of the sources, both executives with China National Petroleum Corp, the parent of PetroChina.

"There will be no role of PDVSA as an equity partner. At least we don’t see that possibility in the near future given the situation the country has been through in recent years," said one of the executives, asking to remain unidentified because he is not authorized to speak to the media.

The move illustrates the fading relationship between Venezuela and China, which has given USD50 billion to the South American country in the form of loans-for-oil agreements. China, the world’s largest oil importer, is now the second-biggest buyer of Venezuelan crude in Asia, taking in 16.63 million tonnes, or about 332,000 barrels per day (bpd), in 2018.

That relationship began to fray in 2015 when Venezuela requested a change in the payment terms on the debt to ease the impact of its falling crude output and declining oil prices. Instead of handing out large fresh loans, Beijing has shifted to small investments or granting extensions in the grace periods for the outstanding loans.

The sanctions were imposed at the same time the United States and other nations have backed opposition leader Juan Guaido as legitimate ruler instead of President Nicolas Maduro. During Maduro’s rule, oil production has plunged while millions have left amid hyperinflation and as consumer goods have vanished from market shelves.

PDVSA was originally a 40 percent equity partner in the refinery project, located the city of Jieyang in the southern province of Guangdong. PetroChina and PDVSA received environmental approval for the project in 2011.

Initial plans were for the refinery to process 400,000 bpd of strictly Venezuelan crude oil. The plans have now been expanded to focus on petrochemical production including a 1.2-million-tonnes-per-year ethylene plant and a 2.6-million tpy aromatics plant. The plant is expected to be operational by late 2021, Caixin reported on Dec. 5.

Under the revised plan, the refinery will not be restricted to Venezuelan oil but could process other so-called heavy crude grades that could come from Middle Eastern producers such as Saudi Arabia and Iran, said the third official, a PetroChina trading executive.

An e-mail response from PetroChina’s public relations company Hill+Knowlton Strategies only stated "China-Venezuela Guangdong Petrochemical Co Ltd is a joint venture company approved by the state," referring to the formal name for the company set up by Petrochina and PDVSA to develop the refinery.

PDVSA and the Venezuelan Ministry of Petroleum did not respond to a request for comment from Reuters.

As MRC informed earlier, in January 2018, PetroChina nearly doubled the amount of Russian crude being processed at its refinery in Dalian, the company’s biggest, since January, as a new supply agreement had come into effect. PetroChina has designated three refineries in northeast China - Dalian, Liaoyang and Jilin - as the main receiving points for the increased Russian supply. Liaoyang will begin taking more crude once a major upgrade is completed at the end of last year - beginning of this year. The new volumes will flow as a result of Russia and China expanding the East Siberian Pacific Ocean pipeline that starts at Rosneft’s oilfields in East Siberia and enters China at border town of Mohe.