Braskem developed two new polypropylene grades

Braskem developed two new polypropylene grades

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Braskem announced the expansion of its circular polymer portfolio to include two new polypropylene grades with post-consumer recycled (PCR) content, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Braskem's new PCR polypropylene grades can be used in a wide range of U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) food contact applications where polypropylene is used today, including consumer packaging, caps and closures, housewares, and a wide range of thermoforming applications.

Geoffrey Inch, Braskem North America Sustainability Director said, "today's announcement is another milestone in Braskem's journey to a carbon neutral circular economy, and reinforces our commitment to polypropylene as the polypropylene leader in North America. Not only will Braskem's new PCR polypropylene grades help our clients meet their commitments for recycled content in FDA food-contact markets, where PCR solutions are limited today, these developments will also keep us on track to reach our goals of providing 300,000 t of thermoplastic resins and chemicals with recycled content by 2025 and 1 MMt of thermoplastic resins and chemicals with recycled content by 2030."

Braskem's thermoforming grade contains 25% post-consumer recycled content and meets the requirements for certain FDA food contact applications, including high temperature packaging. This grade is best suited for thermoforming applications which can be utilized for a variety of applications including food retail and food service trays, coffee lids and several other packaging products.

Braskem's C&C grade contains 25% post-consumer recycled content and meets the requirements for certain FDA food contact applications. This grade is best suited for injection molded caps and closures in segments such as food and beverage, health, hygiene, and cosmetics.

As per MRC, Brazilian industrial conglomerate Novonor is considering exiting its majority stake in petrochemical company Braskem SA via a secondary share offering. Novonor, formerly known as Odebrecht, had previously organized a competitive merger and acquisition process in an attempt to attract bidders for its stake in Braskem. After that process failed, various media outlets, including Reuters, reported that Novonor was planning to exit Braskem via a share offering.

We remind that Brazilian petrochemical producer Braskem's 450,000 mt/year PP plant in LaPorte, Texas, along the Houston Ship Channel completed its initial commercial production, as per the company's statement as of Sept. 10. "The launch of commercial production at our new world-class PP production line in La Porte clearly affirms Braskem's position as the North American polypropylene market leader," Braskem America CEO Mark Nikolich said in a statement. With a USD750 million investment, the new PP plant's construction started in October 2017 and was completed in June, 2020.

Braskem operates five other US PP plants in Texas, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, with a cumulative capacity of 1.57 million mt/year that the company acquired. The new plant in La Porte, Texas, is Braskem America's first PP new build.

Braskem S.A. produces petrochemicals and generates electricity. The Company produces ethylene, propylene, benzene, toluene, xylenes, butadiene, butene, isoprene, dicyclopentediene, MTBE, caprolactam, ammonium sulfate, cyclohexene, polyethylene theraphtalat, polyethylene, and polyvinyl chloride (PVC).

COVID-19 - News digest as of 24.02.2022

1. HollyFrontier Corporation reports Q4 and full year results

MOSCOW (MRC) -- HollyFrontier Corp posted a wider-than-expected quarterly loss on Wednesday, as the U.S. refiner faced heavy refining maintenance and weather-related downtime, sending its shares down as much as 8%, said Hydrocarbonprocessing. Flooding in British Columbia, Canada, cut crude oil supplies to Puget Sound refinery and severe weather conditions and operating problems restricted output at processing plants in New Mexico and Oklahoma, HollyFrontier said last month. Its refinery utilization in the reported quarter fell to 83.6%, from 93.8% in the previous year and total operating costs and expenses also rose nearly 88% to USD5.64 B. On an adjusted basis, the company posted a quarterly loss of 11 cents per share, slightly bigger than average analysts' expectation of 9 cents per share, according to Refinitiv IBES. For the current quarter, HollyFrontier expects to run between 490,000 and 510,000 bpd of crude.


U.S. EPA commits to increasing biofuel use

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is committed to increasing the use of biofuels, an agency official said on Tuesday, but the industry is still anxiously awaiting the Biden administration to finalize specific blending goals, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The Biden administration is open to using every tool to fight climate change in the transportation sector, which includes biofuels, said EPA's Sarah Dunham, director of the Office of Transportation and Air Quality, at the National Ethanol Conference in New Orleans. Both oil refiners and corn-based ethanol producers are paying close attention to the agency's planned sweeping decisions on the Renewable Fuel Standard, the nation's biofuel blending law, which is due to enter a new phase at the end of the year.

Under the RFS, oil refiners must blend billions of gallons of biofuels into the nation's fuel mix, or buy credits from those that do. Oil refiners historically have been able to receive waivers to the obligations, known as Small Refinery Exemptions, if they can prove the rules cause them financial harm. The Trump administration about quadrupled the number of exemptions it gave out, stoking anger from biofuel groups that claim the waivers hurt ethanol demand. The oil industry disputes that and says the waivers help keep small refiners afloat.

Last year under Biden, the EPA proposed denying all pending SREs. It will take final action on that proposal after fully considering stakeholder comments submitted on the action, Dunham said. Additionally this year, the Biden administration must make decisions to reset statutes that mandate U.S. renewable fuel blending, a process known as the Set. Congress only set yearly volume requirement targets of renewable fuel for the RFS program through 2022.

"We must look both backwards and forwards as we consider what volumes may be appropriate," she said. Dunham also spoke on Tuesday about the ethanol industry's efforts to expand access to a higher-ethanol fuel blend known as E15. The industry has faced legal challenges in its efforts to increase sales of the blend. The EPA is looking at different approaches to expanding E15, Dunham added.

As per MRC, US Environmental Protection Agency would propose to extend deadlines for refiners to prove compliance with biofuel laws, but signaled it would not decide on a slew of pending waiver requests submitted by the industry. The agency’s proposal represented mixed news for refiners hard hit by slumping energy demand during the coronavirus pandemic and eager to sidestep regulatory costs associated with US biofuel blending policy. It also marks one of the last actions from President Donald Trump’s EPA before he leaves office on Jan. 20.

As per MRC, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is considering regulating chemical recycling, a controversial technology that aims to convert mixed plastic waste into fuel or energy. In its notice in the Federal Register earlier this month, the EPA said it wants more information about so-called pyrolysis and gasification, also known as advanced or chemical recycling, and is considering how they could be regulated under the federal Clean Air Act.

Solvay aims cut CO2 emissions by 20% at soda ash plant in Bulgaria

Solvay aims cut CO2 emissions by 20% at soda ash plant in Bulgaria

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Solvay is aiming to cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions at its soda ash plant in Devnya, Bulgaria by 20% from November by adapting an existing boiler, said the company.

Solvay said it will adapt an existing boiler to increase the co-combustion rate by powering it with 30% of biomass - resulting in a one-fifth reduction in emissions. "The biomass will come from a variety of sources, including locally-sourced sunflower husk pellets," said Solvay. The facility is currently powered by thermal coal.

Solvay is also looking to increase green energy supply at its soda ash plant in Dombasle-sur-Meurthe, France after forming a joint venture with waste management firm Veolia. CO2 emissions at the facility are expected to be halved.

In 2020, Solvay said it will phase out coal at its soda ash plant in Rheinberg, Germany the “world's first soda ash plant to be powered primarily” by renewable energy.

As MRC informed earlier, in August, 2020, through the acquisition of the Solvay polyamide (PA) business, BASF enhanced its R&D capabilities in Asia Pacific with new technologies, technical expertise, and upgraded material and part testing services. BASF is planning to integrate the R&D centers from Solvay into its R&D existing facilities in Shanghai, China, and Seoul, Korea. The enhanced capabilities will boost BASF’s position as a solution provider to develop advanced material solutions for key industries.

We remind that BASF-YPC, a 50-50 joint venture of BASF and Sinopec, undertook a planned shutdown at its naphtha cracker on 30 April 2020. The company initially planned to start turnaround at the cracker on April 5, 2020. The plant remained under maintenance unitl 18 June, 2020. Located in Jiangsu, China, the cracker has an ethylene capacity of 750,000 mt/year and propylene capacity of 400,000 mt/year.

Solvay is a science company whose technologies bring benefits to many aspects of daily life. With more than 24,100 employees in 64 countries, Solvay bonds people, ideas and elements to reinvent progress. The Group seeks to create sustainable shared value for all, notably through its Solvay One Planet plan crafted around three pillars: protecting the climate, preserving resources and fostering better life. The Group’s innovative solutions contribute to safer, cleaner, and more sustainable products found in homes, food and consumer goods, planes, cars, batteries, smart devices, health care applications, water and air purification systems. Founded in 1863, Solvay today ranks among the world’s top three companies for the vast majority of its activities and delivered net sales of EUR10.2 billion in 2019. Solvay is listed on Euronext Brussels (SOLB) and Paris and in the United States, where its shares (SOLVY) are traded through a Level I ADR program.

Vietnam to auction gasoline from reserves because of power outage hit Nghi Son refinery

Vietnam to auction gasoline from reserves because of power outage hit  Nghi Son refinery

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Vietnam will auction 100 MM liters (26.4 MMg) of gasoline from its national reserves, state media reported on Tuesday, as a supply shortage enters its second month, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The Southeast Asian country has had to tap into its fuel reserves since its largest refinery cut production last month due to a disagreement between shareholders over financing for crude oil procurement. A source familiar with Nghi Son refinery's operations, who declined to be identified, said it would not resume full production at least until the end of April, later than the mid-March target announced by the trade and industry ministry earlier this month.

The 200,000 bpd refinery is currently operating at 55%-60% of capacity. It typically meets a third of Vietnam's needs. A power outage hit the refinery on Monday, forcing some of its units to shut down, two sources familiar with the matter said late on Tuesday, without elaborating. On Monday, Vietnam raised its RON92 gasoline price by 3.9% to a record high 25,530 dong (USD1.12) per liter, amid a global surge in energy prices.

In a bid to reassure businesses and consumers, the industry ministry has said it would ensure sufficient petroleum supplies for domestic use. Trading firms have increased fuel imports and other refineries have ramped up production, it said. Vietnam imported 803,000 m3 of petroleum products in the first half of February, a significant jump from an average monthly amount of 500,000 m3, government data showed.

The planned auction of the RON92 gasoline will take place later this month, at a starting price of 14,058 dong per liter, several state newspapers reported, citing the industry ministry.

As it was reported before, Hyosung Vina Chemicals Co Ltd is in plans to restart its No. 2 polypropylene (PP) line in Southern Vietnam. This PP line with an annual capacity of 300,000 mtt year was taken offline in mid-December 2021 due to propylene supply disruption. The No. 2 line shall be able to resume production once the upstream propane dehydrogenation (PDH) unit restarts. The 600,000 tons/year PDH plant remain shut at the time of this report.

As MRC wrote previoulsy, Hyosung Vina Chemicals Co Ltd starte up its new No. 2 PP plant in Southern Vietnam in August 2021. Besides, a new PDH unit was also scheduled for a start-up at the same site that month.