Braskem and Haldor Topsoe start up demo unit for developing renewable MEG

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Braskem and Haldor Topsoe announced, that they have reached mechanical completion of the MOSAIK process step of their demonstration plant that will produce bio-based MEG from sugars, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The demonstration plant, located in Lyngby, Denmark, is an important step to upscale the MOSAIK solution and begin production at an industrial scale, which is planned to commence in 2023. The plant demonstrates all key design features of the technology and can produce more than 100 tons per year of glycolaldehyde, which is converted into MEG in the next process step.

Construction and pre-commissioning of the MOSAIK process step have been completed as planned and on schedule. The next activities in this part of the demonstration plant will be start-up and operation with the aim to achieve key technical targets and confirm economic feasibility of the process. Operation will begin March 1.

In parallel with operating the first process step, the partners will complete the construction of the next process step, the downstream conversion to MEG. Mechanical completion is expected before the end of 2019.

"Haldor Topsoe is a world leader within catalytic solutions, and we are determined to maintain that position also in the renewables arena. So we are extremely pleased to be able to begin the next phase of the validation of the MOSAIK solution for bio-based MEG together with Braskem. Our goal is to show that innovative catalytic technologies can make chemicals from biomass a commercially attractive option," says Kim Knudsen, Executive Vice President at Haldor Topsoe.

As a leading producer of thermoplastic resins in the Americas, Braskem wants to expand its portfolio of renewable products to offer new solutions that complement its bio-based polyethylene marketed with the I’m green seal.

"The process for developing renewable MEG in partnership with Haldor Topsoe represents a major advance in competitiveness for Green PET. The partnership strengthens the leading role we play and adds value to our I’m green portfolio, which already features Green Polyethylene and Green EVA, both made from sugarcane. It also will further corroborate our vision of using biopolymers as a way to capture carbon, which helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions," said Gustavo Sergi, Director of Renewable Chemicals at Braskem.

Topsoe delivers a packaged solution for this project with Braskem, including process design, engineering, catalyst, and technology.

As MRC wrote before, in late October 2017, Petrobras’s (Rio de Janeiro) minority stakes in Braskem and Deten Quimica was excluded from Petrobras’s divestment program, according to a government decree published in Brazil’s Official Gazette a week earlier. The decree prevents Petrobras from immediately selling its minority stake in Braskem, which had been announced in 2017. A new decree will be required to release the stock sale.

Braskem S.A. produces petrochemicals and generates electricity. The Company produces ethylene, propylene, benzene, toluene, xylenes, butadiene, butene, isoprene, dicyclopentediene, MTBE, caprolactam, ammonium sulfate, cyclohexene, polyethylene theraphtalat, polyethylene, and polyvinyl chloride (PVC).

Total Q4 operating income up by 2%

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Total reported that its net income group share for the fourth-quarter rose to USD1.13 billion or $0.40 per share from last year's USD1.02 billion or USD0.37 per share, reflecting increased production volumes, as per the company's press-release.

Chairman and chief Executive Officer Patrick Pouyann said, "These excellent results reflect the strong growth of more than 8% for the Group's hydrocarbon production, which reached a record level of 2.8 Mboe/d in 2018 and led to a 71% increase in Exploration & Production's adjusted net operating income. .."

Adjusted earnings per share increased by 6% to USD1.17 from in the prior year. Sales for the quarter rose to USD52.50 billion from USD47.35 billion last year.

The Group noted that it will eliminate the scrip dividend option from June 2019. Within the framework of its program to buy back USD5 billion of shares over the 2018-20 period, the Group expects to buy back USD1.5 billion of its shares in 2019 in a 60 USD/b Brent environment.

The Board of Directors met on February 6, 2019, and decided to propose to the Shareholders' Meeting, which will be held on May 29, 2019, the distribution of an annual dividend of 2.56 a‚¬/share for fiscal year 2018, an increase of 3.2% compared to 2017, in accordance with the 2018-20 shareholder return policy announced in February 2018. Given the three 2018 interim dividends of 0.64 per/share decided by the Board of Directors, the final 2018 dividend will amount to 0.64 per/share.

The Board of Directors decided to propose to this Meeting that the final 2018 dividend of 0.64 per/share be paid exclusively in cash. The Board of Directors also decided not to propose to this Meeting the renewal of the scrip dividend option for the 2019 interim dividends that the Board of Directors may decide, which will therefore be paid exclusively in cash.

Separately, Total said that it has made a significant gas condensate discovery on the Brulpadda prospects, located on Block 11B/12B in the Outeniqua Basin, 175 kilometers off the southern coast of South Africa.

The Brulpadda well encountered 57 meters of net gas condensate pay in Lower Cretaceous reservoirs. Following the success of the main objective, the well was deepened to a final depth of 3,633 meters and has also been successful in the Brulpadda-deep prospect.


Refiner Marathon to replace Venezuela crude with Middle East, Latin America imports

MOSCOW (MRC) - U.S. refiner Marathon Petroleum Corp would replace crude oil from Venezuela with imports from the Middle East and Latin America, a top company executive said Reuters.

"We see those replacement barrels being...Arabian Gulf barrels, as well as predominantly, Latin American barrels," Rick Hessling, a senior vice president at Marathon’s MLP unit, said on a post-earnings conference call.

The U.S. imposed sweeping sanctions on Venezuela’s state-run oil company PDVSA last week to curb OPEC members’ crude exports to the United States and pressure Venezuela’s socialist President Nicolas Maduro to step down.

ClearSign to demonstrate Duplex as a superior ultra-low emissions solution

MOSCOW (MRC) -- ClearSign Combustion Corporation, an emerging leader in industrial combustion technologies that improve energy and operational efficiencies while dramatically reducing emissions, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

This project, which was previously announced in September 2017, will demonstrate ClearSign's Duplex technology as a Best Available Control Technology (BACT) candidate to achieve sub 5 ppm NOx emissions levels in refinery process heaters and other types of fired equipment. The project will involve a retrofit installation of five Duplex Plug & Play™ burners on a process heater within World Oil Refinery's South Gate, California refinery as a demonstration of the technology for the District and refiner.

Funding for the project is a collaborative effort that includes contributions from the District, ClearSign, and World Oil Refining. The addition of World Oil to the project was subject to final review and approval by SCAQMD Board of Directors, and once commenced is slated to span approximately one year. Based on preliminary estimates, the project is expected to result in a reduction of over 15 tons of NOx emissions compared to current operations, without the utilization of catalysts, chemicals, utility consumption or other inefficient requirements of established technologies.

"We are pleased that this project has been approved to move forward," said Rob Hoffman, Interim CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors. "We are encouraged that all parties see the benefits and value that our technologies provide. The installation, as it is planned, will involve replacement of all existing burners with our Duplex Plug & Play product resulting in a complete heater operating with our Duplex technology. This will be another field demonstration of the superior attributes of our technology when compared to the cost and performance of alternative methods like Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) and flue gas recirculation. We see this as a win for all involved and express our thanks to our collaboration partners."

"World Oil is committed to sustainability, environmental protection, and building a better future by employing a broad range of emissions reduction initiatives," said Robert and Steven Roth, co-CEOs of World Oil Corp. "We are delighted to partner with the teams at ClearSign and SCAQMD to advance this promising technology."

SABIC and customers launch certified circular polymers from mixed plastic waste

MOSCOW (MRC) -- SABIC, a global leader in the chemical industry, has announced together with its customers Unilever, Vinventions and Walki Group, the launch of certified circular polymers to be manufactured by SABIC and planned to be used by its customers for packaging solutions for a variety of consumer products that will be introduced into the market in 2019, said the producer in its press release.

The certified circular polymers will be produced from a feedstock known as TACOIL - a patented product from UK-based PLASTIC ENERGY Ltd - from the recycling of low quality, mixed plastic waste otherwise destined for incineration or landfill. SABIC will process this feedstock on its production site at Geleen in The Netherlands. The finished certified circular polymers will then be supplied to the three key customers to use in their development of pioneering, high quality and safe consumer packaging for food, beverage, personal and home care products. The market foundation stage is an important step of a project recently announced by SABIC and Plastic Energy to build first commercial plants in the Netherlands to manufacture and process the feedstock.

The announcement of the launch of SABIC’s certified circular polymers has taken place at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, where leaders from all four companies gathered at the iconic, energy-efficient, quick to construct and reusable ICEhouse building constructed using SABIC materials. The ICEhouse, with ICE standing for “Innovation for the Circular Economy”, will host a number of key events from 22 to 25 January and is a fitting venue for the presentation of this initiative that underlines a key strategic sustainability priority for SABIC.

As a disruptive innovation, the introduction of the certified circular polymers in 2019 will create a new value chain, where SABIC, its upstream supplier and key downstream customers work side-by-side to upcycle mixed plastic waste back to the original polymer for packaging applications.

As global brand leaders or frontrunners in their respective areas, Unilever, Vinventions and Walki recognise the importance of sustainability and their role in the circular economy. They also recognise the critical role purity, quality and safety play in consumer product packaging, requirements that are met by SABIC’s certified circular polymers as a drop-in alternative to traditionally produced materials.

SABIC’s strategic customers cover a wide spectrum of consumer packaging needs from Unilever’s packaging for food, personal and home care products; synthetic wine closures for consistent preservation at Vinventions; and Walki Group’s protective packaging materials for consumer products. The common unifier among these companies is the need to deliver the highest quality packaging solutions with consumer safety being paramount and to meet the environmental and sustainability goals demanded by today’s society.

"Sustainability and re-use have been part of SABIC’s mission since its inception," said Yousef Al-Benyan, Vice Chairman and CEO, SABIC. "Today, more than ever, sustainability is a core value which drives our advanced scientific and technological expertise and our pioneering spirit. Along with our eminent customers, we are proud to launch our certified circular polymers which is further testament to our leadership in advancing the circular economy."

As MRC reported earlier, in October 2016, the first product of a new generation of low density polyethylene (LDPE) foam grades from Sabic was designed to increase production efficiency at the foam manufacturer.

Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic) ranks among the world's top petrochemical companies. The company is among the worldпїЅs market leaders in the production of polyethylene, polypropylene and other advanced thermoplastics, glycols, methanol and fertilizers.