Mitsubishi Gas Chemical and Origin Materials to jointly produce advanced chemicals and materials

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Origin Materials, Inc., the world’s leading carbon negative materials company, and Mitsubishi Gas Chemical, Inc., a global leader in basic and fine chemicals and advanced materials, have announced a partnership to industrialize and manufacture advanced chemicals and materials built on the Origin Materials technology platform, according to BusinessWire.

“Together, we aim to revolutionize entire industries. This is a groundbreaking partnership that we believe will change how countless materials and products are made, with far-reaching impact supporting the world’s ambition to reach net zero emissions.”

The partnership includes an agreement for Origin Materials to sell Mitsubishi Gas Chemical carbon-negative materials and a joint development agreement for the companies to create new, functionally advantaged chemicals and derivatives, including high-value specialty chemicals.

The partnership aims to rapidly develop and industrialize new products based on Origin Materials’ technology platform, leveraging the leadership position of Mitsubishi Gas Chemical as a provider of expertise and resources across global supply chains; Mitsubishi Gas Chemical as an important strategic partner for Origin Materials for accessing end markets in the automotive, medical, food, information and communication, energy, and infrastructure sectors.

The companies believe the market for carbon-negative chemicals and advanced materials will grow significantly in response to rising global demand for low-carbon products and services. The companies aim to explore not only new technologies, but new industrial supply chain relationships that are expected to support technology commercialization and enable downstream products across a variety of industries and applications, including functionally advantaged chemicals and materials.

We remind that, as MRC informed before, Mitsubishi Chemical Corp (MCC) consolidated its headquarter functions for its global methyl methacrylate (MMA) business in Singapore, and renamed its major MMA subsidiaries to Mitsubishi Chemical Methacrylates, effective 1 April, 2021. The move is aimed at optimising the company's global product supply network by utilising digital technologies that connect regional production, costs and supply and demand.

We also remind that in December 2020, Mitsubishi Chemical acquired a greenfield property at a large integrated site in Geismar, Louisiana, and plans to advance its feasibility study for the design and construction of a 350,000-metric tons/year MMA plant. The plant will be the third and largest to employ the Alpha production technology developed by subsidiary Lucite. The company earlier in March this year announced its intent to build the plant.

The main application, consuming approximately 75% MMA, is in the production of polymethyl methacrylate acrylic plastics (PMMA). Methyl methacrylate is also used to produce methyl methacrylate-butadiene-styrene copolymer (MBS), used as a modifier for polyvinyl chloride (PVC).

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's overall PVC production reached 259,400 tonnes in the first three months of 2021, down by 3% year on year. All producers reduced their output over the stated period.

Headquartered in West Sacramento, Origin Materials is the world's leading carbon negative materials company. Origin Materials’ mission is to enable the world’s transition to sustainable materials. Over the past 10 years, Origin Materials has developed a platform for turning the carbon found in non-food biomass into useful materials, while capturing carbon in the process. Origin Materials’ first commercial plant is expected to be operational in 2022 with a second commercial plant expected to be operational by 2025 and plans for additional expansion over the next decade.

Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Company, Inc. (MGC), headquartered in Tokyo, is a unique technology-oriented manufacturer producing more than 90% of its products using proprietary technologies. Committing itself to creating new technology and value, MGC boasts a broad range of products, from basic chemicals such as methanol, xylene, and hydrogen peroxide to high-performance products such as engineering plastics, foamed plastics, materials for printed wiring boards and oxygen absorbers.

USW calls on ExxonMobil to continue Texas refinery contract negotiations despite lockout threat

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The United Steelworkers union (USW) called on ExxonMobil, one of the world's petrochemical majors, to continue negotiations for a new Beaumont, Texas, refinery contract despite the company's threat to lock out workers on May 1 if there is no agreement, reported Reuters.

"These negotiations are not about wages,” said Darrell Kyle, president of USW Local 13-243, which represents 650 workers at the 369,024 barrel-per-day (bpd) Beaumont refinery and adjoining blending and packaging plant.

“Our greatest concern is making sure our lives and our jobs are safe and secure," Kyle said in a statement issued by the union.

Exxon spokeswoman Julie King said Exxon issued the lockout notice on Friday to union negotiators.

"We have made extensive efforts to reach an agreement, but it appears the union is unwilling to accept our offer to resolve the outstanding differences on the issues," King said.

Kyle said the lockout notice came after the USW offered a one-year extension of the six-year pact agreed to in 2015.

“It would allow our members to maintain their job security and safely operate the facility while the two sides continue to bargain for a fair and equitable agreement, without the risk of a work stoppage,” Kyle said of the proposed extension.

The two sides have been negotiating for a new contract since Jan. 11. At the start a 75-day labor peace period on Feb. 15, Exxon issued a lockout notice and the USW issued a strike notice both to take effect on May 1 if there was no new agreement or an extension to the notices was not granted.

Such notices at the beginning of contract talks are not unusual in labor negotiations. In a lockout, a company prevents employees from entering.

As MRC informed previously, Sinopec Engineering (Group) and ExxonMobil (Huizhou) Chemical (EMHCC) have just entered into a BEPC (basic design, engineering, procurement and construction) contract for the proposed Huizhou Chemical Complex Project (Phase I). The main units of the project include a 1.6 million tonnes/year ethylene flexible feed steam cracker, downstream polymer and derivative units and utilities. The main product units include two performance polyethylene (PE) lines and two differentiated performance polypropylene (PP) lines.

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

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated polyethylene (PE) consumption totalled 356,370 tonnes in the first two month of 2021, down by 9% year on year. Shipments of exclusively low density polyethylene (LDPE) increased. At the same time, polypropylene (PP) shipments to the Russian market was 246,870 tonnes in January-February 2021, up by 30% year on year. Supply of homopolymer PP and PP block copolymers increased.

ExxonMobil is the largest non-government owned company in the energy industry and produces about 3% of the world"s oil and about 2% of the world"s energy.

ZymeFlow completes company rebrand

MOSCOW (MRC) -- ZymeFlow completed a major rebrand effective immediately. ZymeFlow has seen immense growth year over year both domestically and internationally, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Continuous innovation and service expansion are two of the main reasons for this growth. The rebranding effort was initiated to better showcase their expanded services and demonstrate why they are the leader in the chemical decontamination field. The project took place in tandum with other key changes in the company including the addition of two major offerings: reactor cleaning and mechanical services.

Tom McQueary, President of ZymeFlow, stated, “Instead of slowing down, we have continued to move forward, innovate and lead out of the pandemic shutdowns. At the same time we were able to develop new products, enter new regions, and create a new brand image."

The rebranding includes a top-to-bottom redesign of the company’s website, logo, graphics, and communications. In addition, the company changed its name, shortening it from ZymeFlow Decon Technology to ZymeFlow. The new brand assets include a modern logo, along with a new website and other visual communications that utilize simple, bold graphics along with real employee photos to better humanize complex solutions.

"We are the same ZymeFlow, known as the world leader in chemical decontamination and process improvement, but have completely updated our image to better match the personality and offerings of the company. We wanted to make sure everyone understands exactly what we do and how we do it.” Says Tom McQueary President at ZymeFlow. “We have refreshed the look and tone of the brand to better represent who our company truly is. We are innovators that take modern approaches to the industry’s toughest cleaning challenges. We do not accept industry standards as being good enough but work hard to find better, faster, cleaner solutions."

As it was written earlier, Lummus Technology today announced that it has been awarded a master licensor contract by PJSC Nizhnekamskneftekhim for its ethylbenzene, styrene monomer, ethylene dimerization and olefins conversion technologies. These four plants will be part of the expansion of an olefins production facility in Nizhnekamsk, Russia. The dimerization and olefins conversion units will be the first in Russia.

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

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated polyethylene (PE) consumption totalled 356,370 tonnes in the first two month of 2021, down by 9% year on year. Shipments of exclusively low density polyethylene (LDPE) increased. At the same time, polypropylene (PP) shipments to the Russian market was 246,870 tonnes in January-February 2021, up by 30% year on year. Supply of homopolymer PP and PP block copolymers increased.

Austrotherm opens its third EPS insulation plant in Poland

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Austrotherm (Austria) has launched another plant for the production of expanded polystyrene insulation materials (EPS) in Grodkow, in the south-west of Poland, said Plasteurope.

The Austrian company has invested EUR5.5 mln in the new plant, which is the third in Poland after the sites in Auschwitz and Skierniewice. At present, the number of employees is 15 people and, depending on the expansion plans, if necessary, it can be increased to 50 people.

"The demand for expanded polystyrene insulating sheets in Poland has been constantly growing for many years. This growth is driven, firstly, by rising energy prices and secondly by the smog program launched in 2019, which is providing financial support for thermal insulation measures in private homes,"said Klaus Haberfellner, Managing Director of the Austrotherm Group. explaining the reason for the expansion in Poland.

Austrotherm opened its first plant in Auschwitz in 1993 and then built another plant in Skierniewice in 1999. Together with the plant in Grodkow, the company currently employs 145 employees in Poland.

In Austria, the company has recently started offering services for the removal of extruded polystyrene construction scrap throughout the country. At the Purbach plant, the waste is shredded and then prepared for recycling in the production process.

As per MRC, expandable polystyrene (EPS) resin producer Epsilyte (The Woodlands, Texas) increased prices for the second month in a row for all grades of EPS by 4 cents/pound, effective 1 February 2021 or as contracts permit.

According ICS-MRC Price Report, prices of Russian EPS remained steady this week. EPS producers have not announced next month's price adjustments yet. Prices for SIBUR-Khimprom's material were at Rb160,000-168,000/tonne CPT Moscow, including VAT, this week. Prices of Plastik, Uzlovaya's material remained at Rb158,000-160,000/tonne CPT Moscow, including VAT.


Eni began producing renewable fuels at its refinery in Italy

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Honeywell announced Italy’s largest energy company, Eni, is producing renewable fuels at its refinery in Gela, Italy, using the Ecofining technology jointly developed by Eni and UOP, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The production of biofuels at the Gela and Venice refineries helps Eni meet the growing demand for alternative fuels in Europe. UOP provided technology licensing, basic engineering, specialty equipment, catalysts and training for the project in Gela, which has an annual production capacity of 750,000 tons of HVO (Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil) biofuel per year.

In 2014, Eni also converted its refinery in Venice to biofuels, producing up to 360,000 tons per year of biofuels from used vegetable oils, used cooking oils and animal fats. In total, Eni currently converts about 25% of Italy’s recovered used cooking oil to biofuels, supporting European emissions regulations while improving utilization of existing refinery assets. Venice was the first example in the world of conversion of a conventional refinery into a biorefinery.

"To meet increasing demand for biofuels in Europe, Eni converted its existing Gela facility to a biorefinery using the Ecofining technology jointly developed by Eni and UOP,” said Ben Owens, vice president and general manager, Honeywell Sustainable Technology Solutions. “The company saw this as an effective way to further support the growth of biofuels and the European Union’s policies for renewable energy."

The Ecofining process converts non-edible natural oils, animal fats and other waste feedstocks to renewable diesel, chemically identical to petroleum-based diesel, which can be used as a drop-in replacement in vehicles with no modifications.

Ecofining technology also can be used to produce jet fuel. Honeywell Green Jet Fuel™ produced by this process can be blended seamlessly with petroleum-based fuel. When used in up to a 50-percent blend with petroleum-based jet fuel, Honeywell Green Jet Fuel requires no changes to aircraft technology and meets all critical specifications for flight.

The Ecofining process is the most widely used technology to produce renewable diesel and jet fuels, and Eni and UOP continue to collaborate on future Ecofining developments to satisfy growing demand for advanced biofuels worldwide.

As per MRC, Honeywell announced a partnership with Princeps for petroleum refining supply chain solutions. Honeywell’s expertise in oil and gas planning will add Princeps’ petroleum solutions platform to its offerings to provide customers with industry-leading insights in determining the most profitable ways to operate their plants.

As MRC reported earlier, in May, 2020, Honeywell announced that Enterprise Products Partners L.P. will use Honeywell UOP’s C3 Oleflex technology in its second propane dehydrogenation plant, called "PDH 2". Located near Mont Belvieu, Texas, PDH 2 will produce 750,000 metric tons per year of polymer-grade propylene as part of Enterprise’s expansion of propylene manufacturing capacity.

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

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated polyethylene (PE) consumption totalled 356,370 tonnes in the first two month of 2021, down by 9% year on year. Shipments of exclusively low density polyethylene (LDPE) increased. At the same time, polypropylene (PP) shipments to the Russian market was 246,870 tonnes in January-February 2021, up by 30% year on year. Supply of homopolymer PP and PP block copolymers increased.