NNPC issues 2019-2020 crude-for-product tender

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Nigeria’s NNPC has issued a crude-for-product swap tender, the company said. The Direct Sale Direct Purchase (DSDP) tender document did not specify the start date or the quantities involved but said the arrangement would be for one year, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The tender is set to close on May 2 at noon (1100 GMT), NNPC said on its official Twitter account. Crude-for-product swap contracts are the country’s main avenue to meet the bulk of its gasoline and gasoil needs.

Nigerian refineries have a capacity of about 445,000 barrels per day (bpd) but have underperformed for years, making Africa’s biggest oil producer almost wholly dependent on imports.

The crude-for-product swaps were extended until June, sources familiar with the matter said last year.
The existing contract holders, including trading houses Vitol, Trafigura, Mercuria and French oil major Total, started the swaps in mid-2017, accounting for just over 300,000 bpd of crude.

Nigeria produced 1.82 million bpd of crude in February, according to the Reuters OPEC survey. Nigeria has been using swaps for about 10 years. NNPC launched the DSDP model in 2016 and under it, NNPC sells crude oil to refiners or trading houses, who in return, supply mainly gasoline but also other petroleum products such as diesel.

Late last year, NNPC said it had also agreed a crude-for-product deal with oil major BP.

Mitsui petrochemical unit probed after fire rages for days

MOSCOW (MRC) -- State and local investigators have begun investigating a petrochemical storage company outside Houston, TX where a massive fire fed by giant tanks of fuel burned for days, darkening the skies with soot for dozens of miles, reported Hydrocarbonprocessing with reference to officials.

The blaze at Mitsui unit Intercontinental Terminals Co (ITC) in Deer Park, Texas, began on Sunday and was not extinguished until early Wednesday. It destroyed 11 tanks that can hold up to 80,000 barrels of gasoline and other fuels.

There were no injuries and a cause of the fire has not been determined, officials said.

The state’s environmental regulator said it has begun an investigation into the incident. The agency has cited Intercontinental Terminals for violations of state air-emissions rules 39 times in the last 16 years.

State regulator Texas Commission on Environmental Quality estimated that on the first day of the fire 6.2 million pounds of carbon monoxide and thousands of pounds of nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and toluene were released.

Adam Adams, an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official, said he did not know if the federal agency was conducting its own investigation.

The Harris County district attorney’s office assigned an environmental prosecutor to monitor local and federal reviews of the fire for possible wrongdoing said spokesman Dane Schiller.

That office last year charged chemical company Arkema North America and two of its executives with endangering the public with toxic emissions released during a fire that caused at least 21 injuries.

The EPA’s Adams said air-monitoring systems near the site along the nation’s busiest petrochemical shipping port found no hazardous levels of volatile organic compounds or particulate matter.

The agency will test local waterways for possible contamination from the millions of gallons of water and foam dropped on the fire since Sunday morning. Some of the liquids leaked out of a containment dike and into a nearby drainage ditch that feeds into the Houston Ship Channel, he said.

Measurements of soot and volatile organic compounds from the fire never exceeded dangerous levels, Adams and other officials said. A dark plume was visible from dozens of miles away and local residents reported acrid smells from the fire.

"We were fortunate there were good winds and vertical mixing that allowed the plume to rise and disperse more readily," said Daniel Cohan, an associate professor of environmental engineering at Rice University in Houston.

The smoke likely does not pose a health risk beyond mild irritation for most healthy adults in Houston, said Adrian Shelley, director of the Texas office of the non-profit consumer advocacy group Public Citizen.

But those with respiratory illnesses such as asthma and emphysema were at higher risk of being affected by the elevated levels of particulate matter, Shelley said.

As MRC wrote before, Mitsui Chemicals is likely to take its naphtha-fed steam cracker off-stream for a maintenance turnaround in mid-June 2018. It is slated to remain under maintenance until end-July 2018. Located in Sakai, Japan, the cracker has an ethylene production capacity of 500,000 mt/year and propylene production capacity of 280,000 mt/year.

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.

Report finds USD10 B in potential economic output from advanced technologies that recycle and recover plastics

MOSCOW (MRC) -- – A report released by the American Chemistry Council finds the potential economic impact of expanding advanced plastic recycling and recovery technologies in the United States to be nearly USD10 billion, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The report examines a burgeoning class of technologies that convert used plastics into a range of products and raw materials such as chemicals and chemical feedstocks for new plastics, lower carbon transportation fuels, and other petroleum-based commodities. By bringing used plastics back into the manufacturing system, these technologies are a key enabler in the drive toward a circular economy for plastics.

According to the report, “Economic Impact of Advanced Plastics Recycling and Recovery Facilities in the U.S.,” if widely adopted, these processes could result in nearly forty thousand direct and indirect U.S. jobs, as much as USD2.2 billion in annual payroll, and another USD9.9 billion in direct and indirect economic output.

"Advanced plastic recycling and recovery technologies have the potential to revolutionize the way we make, use, and reuse our plastic resources,” said Steve Russell, ACC’s vice president of plastics. “These technologies further demonstrate the untapped value of used plastics and have the potential to dramatically accelerate our transition to a circular economy."

"Expanding advanced plastic recycling and recovery facilities could create thousands of U.S. jobs, result in billions of dollars in economic output, and eliminate the landfilling of 6.5 million tons of post-use recoverable plastics each year,” said Priyanka Bakaya, founder and CEO of Renewlogy and chair of the Plastics-to-Fuel and Petrochemistry Alliance, which commissioned the study.

Several major plastics makers and energy companies have recently announced investments and/or agreements with advanced plastic recycling and recovery technology providers, which are helping to demonstrate and scale these processes.

Last May plastics makers in the United States, Canada and Europe committed to the goal of recycling or recovering all plastic packaging in these regions by 2040. Such technologies are expected to play a crucial role in meeting these goals.

"Plastic packaging and consumer products weigh less than alternatives, helping to reduce transportation fuel use, greenhouse gas emissions, and waste. Learning to treat used plastics as a resource has both economic and environmental benefits. Converting more of these materials to valuable products and raw materials will help keep plastic waste out of the environment and in productive use," Russell said.

Prepared by ACC’s Economics and Statistics Department, this report updates a similar analysis completed in 2014. The earlier analysis only examined the economic potential associated with converting used plastics into synthetic crude oil. Since then, these technologies have significantly expanded their range of outputs to meet demand for specific commodities.

Sealed Air and Kuraray to invest in new production capacity in North America

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Sealed Air Corporation is investing in capacity at its Simpsonville, S.C. facility to produce plant-based food packaging, said the company.

This facility will be the first in North America to produce materials made from Plantic plant-based resin and post-consumer plastic. Simpsonville is one of the world’s largest packaging plants with over 1,000 employees and 1.4 million square feet of operations. Packaging materials and systems for food and consumer products are currently manufactured at this location.

In June 2018, Sealed Air and Kuraray America, Inc. (Kuraray), a specialty materials company with headquarters in Japan, entered into an agreement to offer Plantic materials to package perishable foods such as poultry, beef and seafood in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Sealed Air’s planned capital investment of USD24 million is underway and production is scheduled to begin in the second quarter of 2020. To support this work, Kuraray is investing approximately USD15 million to install plant-based high barrier resin production and supporting capabilities in Houston, Texas. Kuraray’s resin plant is scheduled to be completed at the end of September 2019 and will begin operating in early 2020.

"This collaborative effort with Kuraray expands our ability to deliver innovative, sustainable food packaging solutions that leave our world, environment and communities better than we found them,” said Ted Doheny, Sealed Air President and CEO. “This investment also helps us reach our commitment to deliver 100% recyclable or reusable packaging offerings, and 50% average recycled content across all packaging solutions by 2025."

As upgrades to both facilities progress, Sealed Air, under the agreement with Kuraray, will continue to serve customers in North America by importing materials from Plantic Australia. The investment positions both companies for strategic growth in the Americas as demand for sustainable materials continues to increase.

“Kuraray continues to pioneer proprietary technology to develop new fields of business, grow globally and improve the environment,” stated Katsumasa Yamaguchi, General Manager of the Global EVAL Division. “We are looking forward to this collaborative investment with Sealed Air which allows us to produce and offer a high-performing plant-based packaging option to the food industry on a much larger scale."

Fire destroyed 11 petrochemical storage tanks before extinguished - official

MOSCOW (MRC) -- A fire at a Mitsui & Co petrochemical storage site outside Houston, TX destroyed 11 massive storage tanks before it was extinguished early Wednesday, Intercontinental Terminals Co officials said, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The company, a subsidiary of Mitsui & Co, has not yet determined what caused the blaze, but officials said at a briefing Wednesday that investigations by local officials have begun.

The fire began on Sunday when a leaking tank containing volatile naphtha, a fuel used in the production of gasoline, ignited and flames quickly spread to other tanks, ITC said. By Tuesday morning, the fire had ignited 12 of 15 tanks.

The tanks each hold up to 80,000 barrels, or 3.3 million gallons, of volatile liquid fuels, making the fire difficult to extinguish. There were no employees or firefighters injured since the blaze began, an ITC spokesman said on Tuesday.

State and federal monitors said air quality was safe, but environmental groups disagreed and said they would conduct their own monitoring.