Chevron takeover of Petrobras Pasadena refinery stalls

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Chevron announced in January it would buy the Pasadena Refining System Inc (PRSI) plant owned by Petrobras for USD350 million, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

"We expected them to take over on Monday," one of the sources said on Tuesday.

Last week, the Brazilian flag and a Petrobras flag were not visible on flag poles in front of the Pasadena refinery. Both have been flying there since Petrobras took over sole ownership of the plant in 2012.

On Tuesday, a Petrobras sign in front of the refinery was covered up.

"We continue to expect the PRSI transaction to close in the first half of 2019," said Chevron spokesman Braden Reddall on Tuesday.

A Petrobras spokeswoman did not reply to messages on Tuesday seeking to comment.

On Sunday, PRSI filed notices with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) that the electrostatic precipitator (ESP) and the 56,000 bpd gasoline-producing fluidic catalytic cracking unit (FCCU) at the Pasadena refinery were shut for required maintenance.

Energy industry intelligence service Genscape said the refinery’s 100,000 bpd crude distillation unit and a 23,000 bpd catalytic reformer were also shut on Sunday at the refinery.

The Pasadena refinery was at the center of a corruption probe by the Brazilian government into Petrobras. The company paid more than USD1 billion for the plant by the time it took sole ownership in 2012.

In addition to the refinery, Chevron is buying a terminal, land surrounding the refinery and a trading company owned by PRSI.

Chevron is buying the Pasadena plant to run sweet crude oil it produces in Texas. It will be the second Gulf Coast refinery owned by the company.

The CDU does the primary breakdown of crude oil into hydrocarbon feedstocks for all other production units. The reformer produces octane-boosting chemicals added to gasoline.

An ESP removes fine catalyst particles from the emissions of the unit. The catalyst is used to convert gas oil into gasoline within an FCCU.

As MRC wrote before, in May 2018, Chevron Products Company, a division of Chevron U.S.A. Inc., and Novvi LLC announced that they had entered into an agreement to jointly develop and bring to market novel renewable base oil technologies.

US EPA waits on DOE input to process small refinery waivers for 2018

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The US Environmental Protection Agency is waiting to receive input from the Department of Energy to process 2018 applications exempting small refineries from US biofuel laws, reported Reuters with reference to the agency’s administrator Andrew Wheeler.

Speaking at a hearing at the House Appropriations Committee, Wheeler said he expected to receive the DOE input over the next couple of days and would process the applications "on a timely basis."

"As far as the 2018 applications we have not received the official applications from DOE yet," Wheeler said at the hearing about EPA’s budget. "We’re expecting those any day now, probably the next couple of days."

Currently, there are 39 outstanding petitions for exemptions for 2018, EPA data shows.

The Renewable Fuel Standard is a federal program that requires that transportation fuel sold in the United States contains a minimum amount of renewables biofuels like ethanol each year, or that refiners buy blending credits from those that conform with the program.

But small facilities with a capacity of less than 75,000 barrels per day, that can prove that complying with the RFS would cause them significant financial strain, can seek to be exempted from the biofuel law.

The RFS program has been a financial boon for corn farmers in the Midwest, but merchant refiners say it has added hundreds of millions of dollars in compliance costs.

Under President Donald Trump, the EPA has vastly expanded the program, granting waivers to plants of oil majors, including Exxon Mobil Corp and Chevron Corp, drawing the ire of the corn industry, a key Trump constituency.

The number of small refinery exemptions granted grew from seven in 2015 to at least 35 in 2017, EPA data shows.

Asked if the EPA was going to be able to rule on all of them within a 90-day period, Wheeler said it would try.

"If we get all 39 in one day it might be difficult to process all of them in 90 days, but we will do on a rolling basis," he said.

AkzoNobel share buyback

MOSCOW (MRC) -- AkzoNobel has repurchased 942,782 of its own ordinary shares in the period from March 25, 2019 up to and including March 29, 2019, at an average price of EUR79.32 per share, said the company.

The consideration of the repurchase was EUR74.8 million.

This is part of a repurchase program announced on February 13, 2019. The total number of shares repurchased under this program to date is 4,096,962 ordinary shares for a total consideration of EUR327.0 million.

AkzoNobel intends to repurchase common shares up to a value of EUR2.5 billion as part of a total EUR6.5 billion being distributed to shareholders following the sale of the Specialty Chemicals business. The share buyback is due to be completed by the end of 2019.

In accordance with regulations, AkzoNobel will inform the market about the progress made in the execution of this program through weekly updates and on the Share buyback overview page.

One Rock completes acquisition of Nexeo Plastics

MOSCOW (MRC) -- New York City-based Investment firm One Rock Capital Partners has completed its acquisition of Nexeo Plastics, which is the plastics distribution business of Nexeo Solutions Inc., a subsidiary of Univar Inc., as per Canplastics.

The USD640-million deal was first announced in February. The new business will continue to be led by Shawn Williams, the executive vice president of Nexeo Plastics.

"Our partnership with One Rock and new structure as a pure-play plastics distribution business will allow us to focus our talent and resources on expanding our service offering for our suppliers and customers worldwide,” Williams said in a statement.

Headquartered in The Woodlands, Texas, Nexeo Plastics is a global leader in the distribution of plastics products, including polymer products and prime engineering resins, and supplies customers in more than 60 countries in North America, Europe, and Asia.

MRC earlier said, Nexeo Univar Inc., has announced that it has completed the acquisition of Nexeo Solutions, creating a leading global chemical and ingredients solutions provider. The combined company will conduct business as Univar Solutions, reflecting a commitment to combining the 'best of the best' from each legacy organization.

AkzoNobel invests in major site upgrade to strengthen position in US wood coatings

MOSCOW (MRC)--AkzoNobel is making a multi-million dollar investment to upgrade its wood coatings facility in High Point, North Carolina, into a best-in-class manufacturing site – and further strengthen the company’s market position in the US, the producer said.

The transformation will involve reorganizing manufacturing operations at the site and will include the addition of automatic dosing unit technology to produce paint more efficiently. A new raw materials warehouse, research lab and technical application center are also being built. Construction is due to begin in April 2019, with rolling projects expected to be completed by 2020.

"This is a significant investment, which will further enable us to meet and exceed our customers’ expectations,” says AkzoNobel CEO Thierry Vanlancker. “The US is a key market for our Wood Coatings business, and our customers trust us to deliver world-class products and services.

"Investing in High Point will increase our comprehensive North American supply capability for wood finishes, which also includes our plants in Roanoke, Virginia; Salem, Oregon; Warwick, Quebec; and Port Hope, Ontario. It will enable us to remain ahead of market trends, so we can continue to provide the visionary service our customers have come to expect – and it will solidify our position as a frontrunner in the wood coatings industry."

AkzoNobel has a long and proud history of supplying the world’s leading manufacturers of cabinetry, furniture, flooring and building products with top quality industrial wood finishes to beautify and protect their products. Today, the High Point facility covers 30 acres and employs more than 250 people. The site produces a wide range of products, including UV, solvent-based and water-based wood coatings, such as paints, stains and lacquers.

“This investment in High Point will enable us to ensure the satisfaction of all our customers and partners, including our direct OEM building product customers and our Chemcraft distribution partners,” adds Simon Parker, Managing Director of AkzoNobel’s Industrial Coatings business.

"We’ll be able to provide current and future customers with even more flexibility through the delivery of small batch sizes; higher accuracy in stains and solid colors; more water-based products and a rapid response to requests."

This latest investment follows last year’s opening of a newly-constructed mega-warehouse in La Porte, Texas, which serves as a central regional hub for the company’s Marine and Protective Coatings business. It also comes just weeks after the inauguration of a state-of-the-art R&D innovation campus at AkzoNobel’s Felling site in the UK.