BASF and Eni sign strategic agreement on joint R and D initiative to reduce CO2 footprint of transportation sector

BASF and Eni sign strategic agreement on joint R and D initiative to reduce CO2 footprint of transportation sector

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Eni and BASF have signed a strategic agreement on a joint R&D initiative to reduce the CO2 footprint of the transportation sector, as per BASF's press release.

The cooperation aims to develop a new technology to produce advanced bio-propanol from glycerin, a side stream of the production of industrial biodiesel (FAME, fatty acid methyl ester), that Eni will purchase from European producers. The technology under development involves the conversion of glycerin to propanol via an innovative, catalytic hydrotreatment process.

The new approach consists of a process of applying a high-pressure hydrogenation reaction over a BASF catalyst, ensuring that the bio-propanol is produced with a high yield and purity while minimizing by-products. The bio-propanol offers the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 65 to 75% compared to fossil fuels.

Propanol obtained via this innovative method can be easily added as a drop-in bio-fuel component to gasoline. Thanks to its better physicochemical properties compared to bioethanol and its very high-octane number, bio-propanol is a valuable component for the preparation of premium gasoline.

As MRC reported earlier, in June, 2021, Trinseo, a global materials company and manufacturer of plastics, latex binders, and synthetic rubber, and BASF, the world's petrochemical major, announced the intention to expand their businesses with the production of styrene monomer (SM) based on circular feedstock. Trinseo has procured first supplies of SM based on circular feedstock from BASF for use in its Solution-Styrene Butadiene Rubber (S-SBR) and polystyrene (PS) products. Trinseo supplies S-SBR to major tyre manufacturers while its PS products are used in applications such as food packaging and appliances. The first few customers have already processed the material, said the company.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated consumption of PS and styrene plastics totalled 236,110 tonnes in the first five months of 2021, up by 27% year on year (172,360 tonnes). May estimated consumption was 48,880 tonnes, up by 66% year on year.

BASF is the leading chemical company. It produces a wide range of chemicals, for example solvents, amines, resins, glues, electronic-grade chemicals, industrial gases, basic petrochemicals and inorganic chemicals. The most important customers for this segment are the pharmaceutical, construction, textile and automotive industries.

Eni, abbreviation of Ente Nazionale Idrocarburi, in full Eni SpA, Italian energy company operating primarily in petroleum, natural gas, and petrochemicals. Established in 1953, it is one of Europe's largest oil companies in terms of sales.

Ravago acquires stake in US-based Alterra Energy

Ravago acquires stake in US-based Alterra Energy

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Luxembourg-based Ravago, a leader in polymer recycling and distribution, has acquired an equity interest in Alterra Energy, headquartered in Akron, Ohio, according to Recycling Today.

The companies say they plan to combine forces to provide integrated recycling solutions that support the transition toward decarbonization, decreasing virgin fossil resource dependency and increasing circularity for petrochemical and chemical partners. Additionally, Ravago will be a strategic partner in supplying preprocessed plastic scrap to Alterra Energy's Akron plant.

A spokesperson for the companies says they decline to provide figures on the stake Ravago is taking in Alterra or on the volume of scrap that will be supplied.

Alterra Energy says its Akron plant, which was commissioned last year, can liquefy up to 60 tons per day of mixed plastic scrap for use as a feedstock for the manufacturing of plastics and chemicals.

This is the second strategic partnership this year for Alterra Energy. In January, the company announced that Neste, a provider of renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel that also helps deliver drop-in renewable and circular chemical solutions, acquired a minority stake in the company.

Alterra Energy, which has developed and commercialized a continuous, advanced recycling technology that uses pyrolysis to transform end-of-life plastics into petrochemical feedstock, will process the Ravago-supplied plastic scrap into ISCC PLUS certified material. Alterra will then market this material for further refining and conversion into circular building blocks for the plastics and chemicals producing industry.

As MRC reported earlier, The Ravago Group has carried out routine maintenance at its expandable polystyrene (EPS) plant in Schkopau, Germany. Thus, the turnaround at this plant with a capacity of 70,000/tonnes of EPS per year began on April 20, 2021, and was completed on April 28. Thus, the maintenance works at this plant lasted for one week.

Ravago represents more than 6.6 million metric tons of annual polymer sales, serving more than 50,000 active customers through more than 325 locations across more than 55 countries worldwide. Ravago's production capability consists of more than 45 manufacturing facilities, 19 of which are recycling and compounding plants in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa with a combined annual capacity of more than 775,000 metric tons; 13 of which are production plants in Europe that offer finished product solutions for the building sector; and seven of which are chemicals plants and 6 are application laboratories for its chemicals business.

COVID-19 - News digest as of 10.08.2021

1. Saudi Aramco Q2 profit surges almost 4 times

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Saudi Aramco, the world's largest oil company, said Aug. 8 that its hydrocarbons production fell 8% to 11.7 million boe/d in the second quarter from the year-earlier period due to OPEC+ cuts, but its profit surged almost four times thanks to higher oil prices and a recovery in worldwide demand, reported S&P Global. Net income soared to USD25.5 billion in the second quarter from USD6.6 billion a year earlier, the company said in an earnings statement. Aramco's total hydrocarbon production, which averaged 12.7 million boe/d in the second quarter of 2020, fell mainly due to OPEC+ cuts this year, CEO Amin Nasser said in a media call with journalists.


Crude oil futures up in Asia on bargain hunting, but rising COVID-19 case numbers continue to sap market sentiment

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Crude oil futures ticked higher during mid-morning trade in Asia Aug. 10 on bargain hunting following an overnight plunge, but rising COVID-19 case numbers continued to sap market sentiment, reported S&P Global.

At 11:18 am Singapore time (0318 GMT), the ICE October Brent futures contract was up 18 cents/b (0.26%) from the previous close at USD69.22/b, while the NYMEX September light sweet crude contract was 36 cents/b (0.54%) higher at USD66.84/b.

The markers had settled 2.35% and 2.63% lower Aug. 10 as the rapid spread of the delta variant of the coronavirus raised fears of further demand destruction.

An uptrend in COVID-19 infection numbers in oil-consuming behemoths China and the US were of particular concern to the market. China is battling its biggest outbreak of the coronavirus since it emerged in Wuhan in 2019.

Analysts at St. George Economics said in an Aug. 10 note that the pandemic resurgence has exacerbated concerns over China's economy that had arisen earlier due to global supply bottlenecks and higher raw material costs, and cautioned that lower domestic economic activity could weigh on oil and energy demand.

Crude oil prices were also pressured overnight by a stronger dollar buoyed by a rise in Treasury yields after the release of a better-than-expected US non-farm payrolls report and hawkish comments from some members of the Federal Reserve. At 11:06 am, the ICE Dollar Index was trading at 92.98, up 0.194% from the Aug. 6 close.

We remind that as MRC informed earlier, Saudi Arabia, the world's top crude oil exporter, will supply full contractual volumes of August-loading crude to at least five Asian customers. However, Saudi Aramco has turned down two of the buyers' requests for extra barrels.

We also remind that Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), said in June he expects the company's deal with Saudi Aramco to materialise this year. Meanwhile, Yasir Al-Rumayyan, chairman of Saudi Aramco and the Governor of the Public Investment Fund, joined the board of Reliance as an independent director.

Ethylene and propylene are the main feedstocks for the production of polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), respectively.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 1,176,860 tonnes in the first half of 2021, up by 5% year on year. Shipments of exclusively low density polyethylene (LDPE) decreased. At the same time, PP shipments to the Russian market were 727,160 tonnes in the first six months of 2021, up by 31% year on year. Supply of homopolymer PP and block-copolymers of propylene (PP block copolymers) increased. Supply of statistical copolymers of propylene (PP random copolymers) subsided.

Accident at Gazprom Pererabotka plant may lead to lower supply of feedstock to ZapSibNeftekhim

Accident at Gazprom Pererabotka plant may lead to lower supply of feedstock to ZapSibNeftekhim

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The accident at Gazprom's Urengoy condensate preparation plant on 5 August might lead to a reduction in liquefied petroleum gases (LPG) production in Russia by about 15% and, as a result, to lower supply of feedstock for the production of LPG at ZapSibNeftekhim (part of SIBUR), the largest polymer production plant in the Russian Federation, reported Kommersant, citing experts' estimates.

Ethane is extracted from the condensate at the plant, after which the condensate is sent to the Surgut plant for stabilization (feedstock capacity - 12 mln tons per year), where lighter fractions - LPG and NGLs - are isolated from the feedstock.

As Anna Lishnevetskaya from Petromarket notes, if the Surgut plant completely stops, this will lead to a 12% decrease in the supply of feedstock for the production of LPG to the largest petrochemical complex in Russia - ZapSibNeftekhim. SIBUR told Kommersant that they are waiting for an estimate of the planned volumes of supplies from partners and that it is too early to make forecasts.

“In any case, we will strive to prevent a reduction in domestic sales and unloading of petrochemical plants,” they stressed. Also, Gazprom neftekhim Salavat (GNS, part of Gazprom) and TAIF will be deprived of some of the raw materials for the production of petroleum products.

As a result of the fire, one of the two deethanization lines of the Urengoy plant was apparently seriously damaged, and the second line was shut as a precaution. Gazprom Pererabotka announced on 8 August that condensate supplies to the Urengoy plant resumed from 7 August, without specifying the quantities. According to Kommersant's interlocutors, at best, the current capacity of the Urengoy plant will be cut by half.

As reported earlier, on 22 June, 2021, ZapSibNeftekhim produced 2 mln tonnes of polyethylene (PE) since the start of the plant. The complex's products are also shipped throughout Russia, to the CIS countries and Europe, Turkey and China. The Tobolsk plant produces 24 grades of PE used for the production of polymer films, packaging, blown containers, tubular products, and it is gradually replacing imported polymers in the domestic market, while increasing exports.

As MRC informed before, after the launch of ZapSibNeftekhim, SIBUR tripled its polymer capacities, Mikhail Karisalov, General Director of the company, said in December last year. Zapsibneftekhim was launched at full capacity on 1 December, 2020. M. Karisalov said the main result of the launch of ZapSibNeftekhim is the completion of SIBUR's transformation into a world-class petrochemical company.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 953,400 tonnes in the first five months of 2021, which virtually corresponded to the same figure a year earlier. High density polyethylene (HDPE) shipments decreased. At the same time, PP shipments to the Russian market were 607,8900 tonnes in January-May 2021, up by 33% year on year. Shipments of homopolymer PP and PP block copolymers increased, whereas deliveries of PP random copolymers decreased.

ZapSibNeftekhim is SIBUR's largest project, the construction of which was completed in May 2019. After reaching its design capacity, it became the largest modern petrochemical complex in Russia. The project is the plant for the production of various PE grades (1.5 mln tonnes) and PP grades (500,000 tonnes). The budget of the complex is USD8.8 bln.