DOMO teams with RPD to enhance SLS 3D printing with advanced materials

MOSCOW (MRC) -- DOMO Chemicals has formed a partnership with Austrian 3D printing product developer RPD Rapid Product Development, to focus on Sinterline polyamide 6 (PA6) selective laser sintering (SLS) powders, said the producer.

DOMO said that the increased use of SLS in high-performance functional parts in automotive and other market segments has created a need for plastic materials that are capable of bridging the gap between conventional injection moulding and 3D printing.

DOMO’s partnership with RPD was “strategically targeted” at accelerating this production process transformation, it said.

"This partnership opens up new opportunities for SLS customers in near to small series automotive and other higher-volume application areas beyond prototyping,” said Dominique Giannotta, Sinterline programme leader at DOMO Chemicals. Financial terms were not disclosed.

As MRC informed earlier, Russia's output of chemical products rose in June 2020 by 2.6% year on year. However, production of basic chemicals increased year on year by 4.9% in the first six months of 2020. According to the Federal State Statistics Service of the Russian Federation, polymers in primary form accounted for the greatest increase in the output in January-June. Production of benzene was 106,000 tonnes in June 2020, compared to 110,000 tonnes a month earlier. Overall output of this product reached 721,000 tonnes over the stated period, up by 3.9% year on year.

DOMO Chemicals is a leading producer of high-quality engineering nylon materials for a diverse range of markets, including the automotive, food, medical, pharmaceutical, chemicals and electronics industries. The company offers a complete portfolio of integrated nylon 6 and 66 products, including intermediates, resins, engineering plastics, performance fibres, packaging film and distribution of petrochemical products. Headquartered in Germany, the familyowned company leverages advanced technology and consumer insights to deliver sustainable & innovative solutions. DOMO generated 2019 sales over EUR 900 million and employs in 2020 approximately 2200 employees worldwide.

Air Liquide to build world-scale oxygen plant in Port of Moerdijk, the Netherlands

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Air Liquide is investing EUR125m to build the first world-scale oxygen production plant to enable renewable energy production at the Port of Moerdijk in the Netherlands, said the company.

The new air separation unit (ASU) will produce oxygen with an energy storage system to help facilitate more renewable energy on the electricity grid due to its grid stabilising capability.

The plant will have an oxygen capacity of 2,200 tonnes/day and will allow storage of 40MWh of energy (enough for the daily consumption of 4,000 households) “with circa 10% less energy consumption", said Air Liquide.

"While keeping a constant production for customers, it can accommodate the intermittency of renewable energy thus contributing to the growth of power coming from the wind and solar on the electricity grid," the industrial gases producer added.

The ASU will be used to produce oxygen, nitrogen and argon for industrial, food and medical markets and will be connected to Air Liquide’s industrial pipeline. Its location in Moerdijk will serve to decrease bulk truck deliveries by 400,000km a year, further reducing the environmental footprint.

As MRC informed earlier, Air Liquide has entered into a long-term supply agreement with NLMK Group (Moscow) that will see it invest around EUR100 million (USD114 million) in the steel producer’s site at Lipetsk, Russia, on the construction of a new air separation unit (ASU) and the acquisition of existing hydrogen and rare gases production units.

We remind that Shell Singapore restarted its naphtha cracker in Bukom Island in early December 2019, following a two months maintenance shutdown since the beginning of October 2019. Thus, this cracker was taken off-stream for the turnaround on 1 October 2019. The cracker is able to produce 960,000 tons/year of ethylene and 550,000 tons/year of propylene.

Ethylene and propylene are feedstocks for producing polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP).

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 595,170 tonnes in the first five month of 2020, up by 10% year on year. Deliveries of all ethylene polymers, except for linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE), rose partially because of an increase in capacity utilisation at ZapSibNeftekhim. At the same time, PP shipments to the Russian market was 457,930 tonnes in January-May 2020 (calculated by the formula production minus export plus import). Deliveris of exclusively PP random copolymer increased.

ADNOC inks USD20.7 bil gas pipelines deal with group of investors

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Abu Dhabi National Oil Co., the UAE's biggest energy producer, has recently inked a USD20.7 billion deal with a group of investors to acquire a 49% stake in its gas pipelines a year after striking a similar transaction for its oil pipelines, reported S&P Global.

A consortium grouping Global Infrastructure Partners, or GIP, Brookfield Asset Management, Singapore's sovereign wealth fund GIC, Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan Board, South Korea's NH Investment & Securities and Italy's Snam will invest in select ADNOC gas pipeline assets valued at USD20.7 billion, ADNOC said in a statement on June 23.
The consortium will collectively hold a 49% stake in ADNOC Gas Pipelines, a newly-formed ADNOC unit, with the parent company holding the remaining interest.

ADNOC Gas Pipelines will lease rights to 38 pipelines spanning a total area of 982.8 km, the company added.

"The innovative transaction structure allows ADNOC to tap new pools of global institutional investment capital, whilst at the same time maintaining full operating control over the assets included as part of the investment," it said.

"ADNOC will lease its ownership interest in the assets to ADNOC Gas Pipelines for 20 years in return for a volume-based tariff. The transaction will result in upfront proceeds of over USD10 billion to ADNOC and is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals."

ADNOC clinched last year a USD5 billion deal, with a consortium that includes GIC, BlackRock Inc., KKR & Co and Abu Dhabi Retirement Pensions and Benefits Fund, to invest in select pipeline infrastructure and collectively hold a 49% stake in ADNOC Oil Pipelines, a subsidiary of the parent company.

ADNOC Oil Pipelines will lease the national oil company's interest in 18 pipelines and give rights to transport crude and condensates from the company's onshore and offshore concessions over 23 years.

The transaction was the first midstream partnership between institutional investors and a Middle East national oil company.

The gas pipeline network links ADNOC's upstream assets to local UAE off-takers, while ownership and management of the pipeline and all responsibility associated with operation and capital expenditures will remain with ADNOC, it said.

"The strategic joint venture will see ADNOC pay ADNOC Gas Pipelines a volume-based tariff for the use of pipelines that transport sales gas and natural gas liquids (NGL) from ADNOC's upstream assets to Abu Dhabi's key outlets and terminals," it said. "The tariff will be charged on the total volumes transported through the pipelines, together with liquefied natural gas (LNG) flows, subject to a volume cap."

ADNOC Gas Pipelines will distribute 100% of free cash to the investors in the form of quarterly dividends, it added.

As MRC informed earlier, in late July 2019, ADNOC said its Ruwais refinery west cracker was offline for maintenance.

Ethylene and propylene are feedstocks for producing polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP).

According to MRC's DataScope report, PE imports to Russia dropped in January-June 2020 by 7% year on year to 328,000 tonnes. High density polyethylene (HDPE) accounted for the main decrease in imports. At the same time, PP imports into Russia rose in the first six months of 2020 by 21% year on year to 105,300 tonnes. Propylene homopolymer (homopolymer PP) accounted for the main increase in imports.

Total sells UK Lindsey refinery to owner of Harvest Energy

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Total has agreed to sell its 108,000 b/d Lindsey refinery in the UK to fuel trading and marketing Prax Group, as the French oil major focuses on its integrated downstream assets and the coronavirus adds to the uncertainty over long-term demand for fuel, reported S&P Global.

Located in North Killingholme, Lincolnshire, the 52-year-old plant is the smallest of the UK's four operating refineries and sources most of its crude from the North Sea.

For UK-based independent Prax, the deal will boost the scale of its existing fuel supply and retailing operations through its subsidiary Harvest Energy, securing local supplies for its growing independent fuel dealerships business.

The deal includes the Fina line pipeline which links the refinery with the Buncefield fuel terminal and the Killingholme loading terminal. No financial details of the deal were given.

Lindsey is Total's last remaining downstream asset in the UK after the major sold off its retail fuel network to a consortium led by independent service station operator Snax 24 and Shell in 2011.

Total, Europe's largest refiner, said the sale of the plant was in line with its downstream strategy of focusing investment only its integrated refining and petrochemical assets.

"Since the sale of our British retail network in 2011, the Lindsey refinery hasn't been part of Total's downstream system," Total said. "It will be put to better use within the Prax Group; an independent player with a growing UK network."

Total first began looking to sell the Lindsey refinery in 2010 but shelved the plans two years later after failing to find a buyer. In 2016, the plant's nameplate capacity was halved from 220,000 b/d after one of the two crude distillation units was shut down.

European refiners, which have been suffering from structural overcapacity in the region for years, have also been forced to reconsider the future of some plants due to the impact of coronavirus on fuel demand. Most market watchers don't expect global oil demand to recovery fully before 2022, and many predict the pandemic has permanently weakened the world's oil demand trajectory.

Shell recently relaunched the sale of its Fredericia refinery in Denmark after suspending the sale in 2018 and in June Gunvor said it is considering whether to mothball its Antwerp site.

Harvest Energy was ranked the UK's fifth independent fuel group by the UK's Forecourt Trader last year with 88 sites trading under the Harvest Energy, BP, Essar, Esso, Gulf, Jet, Shell and Texaco brands.

Total is already supplying fuel to Harvest under a deal signed in November to develop a network of Total-branded service stations under a fuel supply and partnership.

The Lindsey sale should be finalized by the end of the year once the conditions of the sale have been satisfied, Total said.

As MRC informed before, Total has recently disclosed that it is evaluating construction of a new gas cracker at its Deasan, South Korea, joint venture (JV) with Hanwha Chemical.

Ethylene and propylene are feedstocks for producing polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP).

According to MRC's DataScope report, PE imports to Russia dropped in January-June 2020 by 7% year on year to 328,000 tonnes. High density polyethylene (HDPE) accounted for the main decrease in imports. At the same time, PP imports into Russia rose in the first six months of 2020 by 21% year on year to 105,300 tonnes. Propylene homopolymer (homopolymer PP) accounted for the main increase in imports.

Total S.A. is a French multinational oil and gas company and one of the six "Supermajor" oil companies in the world with business in Europe, the United States, the Middle East and Asia. The company's petrochemical products cover two main groups: base chemicals and the consumer polymers (polyethylene, polypropylene and polystyrene) that are derived from them.

Clariant licenses sunliquid technology to company in Bulgaria

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Clariant said today that it has licensed its sunliquid cellulosic ethanol technology to Eta Bio, a recently established company owned by the Pavlovi family, running a leading business in the agricultural sector in Bulgaria, according to Chemweek.

Eta Bio was established to construct, own and operate a commercial plant for the production of cellulosic ethanol from agricultural waste. The deal represents Clariant’s fourth agreement to license the technology and is another significant step towards its commercialization.

Eta Bio will be responsible for the project’s development and plant operation at a greenfield site in General Toshevo, the north eastern region of Bulgaria, utilizing available land, owned by the Pavlovi family, and existing infrastructure. The facility will be designed to produce 50,000 metric tons/year of cellulosic ethanol by processing around 250,000 metric tons/year of wheat straw, which is an abundant resource in the region, also known as the granary of Bulgaria.

“Our sunliquid technology is trendsetting for the development of sustainable and advanced biofuels. The…technology meets the market needs for sustainable solutions and gives us a competitive edge”, said Hans Bohnen, Clariant’s COO. “After signing license agreements with first-generation ethanol producers, as well as mineral oil players, we are excited to also gain a foothold in another important customer segment – the
agricultural sector – with our sunliquid® technology”, adds Christian Librera, Clariant’s head of biofuels and derivatives business line.

“The realization of the first Bulgarian cellulosic ethanol production project will help solve one of the main challenges agricultural producers face in the region – the removal of straw from the fields. This project will give us the chance to have an additional revenue stream from agricultural leftovers,” said Kiril Pavlov, managing director of Eta Bio.

The cellulosic ethanol will be used as a gasoline additive to fulfil the country’s blending mandate for advanced biofuels, as laid out in the Renewable Energy Directive II. The agreement covers the supply of the license, basic engineering, provision of technical services, as well as the supply of starter cultures from Clariant’s proprietary enzyme and yeast platform to process Eta Bio’s feedstock into cellulosic ethanol.

As MRC reported earlier, in June 2020, TechnipFMC and Clariant Catalysts entered into a joint development agreement for the demonstration and commercialisation of Clariant’s new state-of-the-art AcryloMax propylene ammoxidation catalyst for the production of acrylonitrile (ACN).

Besides, in May 2020, Clariant’s CATOFIN catalysts was selected by Advanced Global Investment Co. (AGIC), a joint venture between Advanced Petrochemical Company (APC) and SK Group, to build a PDH facility in the Middle East.

Propylene is the main feedstock for the production of polypropylene (PP).

According to MRC's DataScope report, PP imports into Russia rose in the first six months of 2020 by 21% year on year to 105,300 tonnes. Propylene homopolymer (homopolymer PP) accounted for the main increase in imports.

Clariant AG is a Swiss chemical company and a world leader in the production of specialty chemicals for the textile, printing, mining and metallurgical industries. It is engaged in processing crude oil products in pigments, plastics and paints.