N. America chemical rail up by 5.3% in mid-December

N. America chemical rail up by 5.3% in mid-December

MOSCOW (MRC) -- North American chemical railcar traffic rose for a third straight week - up by 5.3% year on year for the week ended 18 December - with increases in the US and Canada more than offsetting a decline in Mexico, according to the latest data from the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

For the first 50 weeks of 2021, ended 18 December, North American chemical railcar traffic was up by 4.3% year on year to 2.28m.

In the US, chemical railcar loadings represent about 20% of chemical transportation by tonnage, with trucks, barges and pipelines carrying the rest. In Canada, producers rely on rail to ship more than 70% of their products, with some exclusively using rail.

As per MRC, North American chemical railcar traffic rose by 3.3% year on year for the week ended 11 December, led by an 8.3% increase in the US that more than offset a decline in Canada, said Seanews. North American rail volume for the week ending November 27 on 12 reporting US, Canadian and Mexican railways totalled 295,807 carloads, down 4.4 per cent together with 281,953 intermodal units, a fall of 16.1 per cent year on year.

North American rail volume for the week ending December 18, 2021, on 12 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 331,416 carloads, down 1.1 percent compared with the same week last year, and 349,986 intermodal units, down 7 percent compared with last year. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 681,402 carloads and intermodal units, down 4.3 percent. North American rail volume for the first 50 weeks of 2021 was 34,480,405 carloads and intermodal units, up 4.8 percent compared with 2020.


PPG invests in powder coatings expansion

PPG invests in powder coatings expansion

MOSCOW (MRC) -- PPG announced an investment of USD2.7 mln to expand its powder coatings manufacturing capabilities at its facility in Sumare, in the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo, said the company.

The project will increase the plant’s production capacity for powder coatings by approximately 40%, beginning in the third quarter of 2022.

The site expansion will include new equipment that will help to further PPG’s distribution of powder coatings, a highly sustainable product offering with enhanced durability, transfer efficiency and the ability to be reclaimed or reused during application. The investment aligns with PPG’s goal to have 40% of its sales by 2025 from sustainably advantaged products, while also increasing production capacity to meet growing customer demand in Brazil and other South American countries.

"PPG is a leader in providing solutions that optimize processes for our customers," said Marizeth Carvalho, PPG general manager, industrial coatings, Americas. “The expansion of our Sumare site reinforces our commitment to grow, share knowledge, develop our workforce and bring innovative, sustainable solutions to the marketplace."

The Sumare plant serves the home appliance, agriculture, transportation and general finishing industries, which encompass steel furniture, storage structures, gym equipment, electrical panels and power transformers.

Powder coatings are one of the fastest growing coating technologies due to their sustainability benefits and excellent performance properties. Powder coatings do not release solvents given their low-VOC nature and are fully reusable, meaning paint that is not deposited on a substrate during application returns to the paint system to reduce waste. In an ongoing commitment to sustainable innovations that exceed customer needs, PPG is investing in powder capabilities across the globe.

As it was written earlier, PPG announced an expansion of its coatings manufacturing capacity in Europe for packaging applications. The investments at sites in The Netherlands and Poland will support growing customer demand in the region for the latest generation of coatings for aluminum and steel cans used in packaging for beverage, food and personal care items. Financial details related to the expansions were not disclosed.

PPG Industries announced it will acquire Worwag (Stuttgart, Germany), a producer of liquid, powder and film coatings for industrial and automotive applications. Terms of the transaction, including purchase price, have not been disclosed. The deal is expected to close in the first half of this year.

Crude oil prices recover on large inventory draw as markets ignore gasoline build

Crude oil prices recover on large inventory draw as markets ignore gasoline build

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Crude oil prices recovered on Wednesday morning despite word from the Energy Information Administration of an inventory draw of 4.7 million barrels for the week to December 17, according to OilPrice.

At 423.6 million barrels, crude oil inventories remain 8% below the five-year average - compared to 7% below the five-year average last week.

Last week’s draw adds to last week’s huge draw of 4.6 million barrels from crude oil inventories.

On Tuesday, the American Petroleum Institute estimated a crude oil inventory draw of 3.670 million barrels for the week to December 17.

In gasoline, the API reported a build of 3.7 million barrels, with a decline of 849,000 in distillates. Gasoline inventories increased by 5.5 million barrels in the reporting period according to the EIA, which compared with a draw of 700,000 barrels for the previous week. Gasoline production decreased last week, averaging 9.9 million bpd, compared with 10.0 million bpd in the previous week.

In middle distillates, the EIA estimated an inventory build of 400,000 barrels for the week to December 17, which compared with a decrease of 2.9 million barrels for the previous week. Middle distillate production increased last week, averaging 4.9 million barrels per day, which compared with 4.8 million bpd in the prior week.

Oil prices have been pressured by pandemic concerns courtesy of the Omicron variant that has triggered another round of restrictions in certain countries.

At 10:12 a.m. EDT, crude oil prices were trading up on the day, with WTI crude trading at USD71.35, up USD0.23 (.32%), and Brent crude trading at USD74.20, up USD0.22 per barrel (0.30%).

Post data release, Brent crude was trading at USD74.37 per barrel, with West Texas Intermediate at USD71.64 per barrel, both up from the opening.

As MRC informed before, US commercial crude stocks fell 3.48 million barrels to 413.96 million barrels in the week ended Sept. 17, to more than 8% below the five-year average, Energy Information Administration data showed. Stocks were last lower Oct. 5, 2018.

We remind that in late August, 2021, US crude stocks dropped sharply while petroleum products supplied by refiners hit an all-time record despite the rise in coronavirus cases nationwide, the Energy Information Administration said. Crude inventories fell by 7.2 million barrels in the week to Aug. 27 to 425.4 million barrels, compared with analysts' expectations in a Reuters poll for a 3.1 million-barrel drop. Product supplied by refineries, a measure of demand, rose to 22.8 million barrels per day in the most recent week. That's a one-week record, and signals strength in consumption for diesel, gasoline and other fuels by consumers and exporters.

We also remind that US crude oil production is expected to fall by 160,000 barrels per day (bpd) in 2021 to 11.12 million bpd, EIA said in a monthly report earlier this year, a smaller decline than its previous forecast for a drop of 210,000 bpd.

Brenntag appoints Dr Kristin Neumann to the Management Board as CFO

Brenntag appoints Dr Kristin Neumann to the Management Board as CFO

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Brenntag has appointed Kristin Neumann as its new CFO, effective 1 April 2022, succeeding Georg Muller who will leave the Germany-based international chemicals distributor in March, said the company.

Neumann joins Brenntag from LSG Lufthansa Service Holding, where she has been CFO since 2014, Brenntag said in a statement on Wednesday.

The current CFO Georg Muller made a personal decision to leave Brenntag at the end of March 2022 after almost 20 years with the company. During this time, he has held various management positions in the company, thereof the last ten years as CFO. Doreen Nowotne: "On behalf of the entire Supervisory Board, I would like to thank Georg Muller most sincerely for his outstanding contributions and his dedication to our company as well as for the trustful cooperation. He has played a decisive role in shaping Brenntag's development into today's role as the global market leader and, in particular, contributed to strengthening the company's financial position and to the excellent reputation that Brenntag enjoys on the capital markets today. The Supervisory Board holds Georg Muller in the highest regard, and we wish him every success in his future responsibilities and all the best."

As per MRC, Brenntag, the market leader in chemical and ingredients distribution, has completed the process of changing from a German Aktiengesellschaft (AG), or stock corporation, to a European company, or Societas Europaea (SE). The company says it is now doing business as Brenntag SE. The conversion, which was announced by the company's management and supervisory boards in 2019 and approved at its 2020 annual shareholders' meeting, came into force when it was entered into the commercial register on 1 February 2021.

As MRC informed earlier, in April 2020, Brenntag sai it had acquired the operating assets of Suffolk Solutions’ (Suffolk, Virginia) caustic soda distribution business. Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

Cargill to buy bio-based performance, industrial chemical businesses from Croda

Cargill to buy bio-based performance, industrial chemical businesses from Croda

MOSCOW (MRC) -- British speciality chemicals group Croda will sell most of its performance technologies and industrial chemicals division to commodities group Cargill Inc in a USD1 billion deal, said Reuters.

The sale of the unit, which makes low-carbon, sustainable additives and materials used in applications from food packaging to medical kits and devices, follows a strategic review as Croda shifts focus to its life sciences and consumer businesses. "We will focus our capital and resources on delivering sustainable solutions and scaling our consumer, health and crop care technologies," CEO Steve Foots said in a statement.

In a separate statement, Cargill said the deal would help broaden its offerings to industrial manufacturers looking for sustainable options. Croda is selling the majority of the business for an enterprise value of 915 million euros ($1 billion) on a cash-free, debt-free basis, it said. The business raked in 470 million pounds (USD626 million) in revenue last year.

Shares in the company, of the year's best performers in the FTSE 100 index (.FTSE), were down 1.5% at 1120 GMT. Some investors expecting a higher price for the deal may have been disappointed, Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Susannah Streeter said. Croda has been focusing its performance tech division towards markets such as renewable technology and electric vehicles.

More recently, the Yorkshire-based company has been supplying vaccine delivery components to Pfizer (PFE.N) for its COVID-19 vaccine, which helped it boost overall sales projections.

As per MRC, Cargill Inc and Thailand’s PTT Global Chemical Pcl announced they will build a biopolymer production facility at a cost of more than USD600 million in Thailand. The plant will be built through their joint venture, NatureWorks, and will help meet increasing demand for sustainable materials, PTTGC said in a statement. The manufacturing complex will use about 110,000 tonnes of sugar annually from Thai farmers as a raw material and have an annual biopolymer capacity of 75,000 tonnes. Its products can be used to make hygiene masks, wiping cloths and food packaging. The new plant is due to begin operations in 2024.

It was reported earlier, Arkema announces the proposed divestment of its epoxides business to Cargill, a leader in agricultural products and services. With this project, Arkema is pursuing the repositioning of its portfolio on its core businesses. Arkema produces bio-based and specialty epoxides in Blooming Prairie (MN, USA), used as additives or intermediates in the manufacture of lubricants, plastic additives and a wide variety of other applications.