Axens, Univation partner to improve efficiency of linear alpha olefins

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Axens and Univation Technologies have entered into a cooperation agreement to develop improved capital and operating efficiencies for the production of on-purpose linear alpha olefins (LAO)—including both butene-1 and hexene-1—for use in manufacturing polyethylene resins with the UNIPOL PE process, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The alliance is expected to identify and deliver quantifiable synergies to benefit polyethylene producers globally for new UNIPOL PE projects as well as provide for retrofit opportunities for UNIPOL PE plants already in operation.

Univation and Axens will collaborate to identify and capture capital and operating cost reduction opportunities as well as optimize process requirements for both Axens LAO technology platforms—AlphaButol and AlphaHexol—and Univation’s UNIPOL PE process to deliver value to polyethylene producers. These synergies and optimization will be carried out during the early process design phase of the project.

Jean-Luc Nocca, Executive Vice-President at Axens said, "We look forward to cooperating with Univation Technologies and bring additional values to our customers by developing synergies."

Luis Cirihal, President of Univation Technologies said, "Univation is pleased to collaborate with Axens to enhance value to our mutual customers by enabling even greater cost advantaged production of polyethylene resins with the UNIPOL PE process".

As per MRC, Axens launched new P/PR 200 Series of its catalyst technology. This year, Axens celebrated the tenth anniversary of Symphony, Axens’ suite of high performance reforming catalysts, which gave Axens a unique position in reforming technology. Symphony consists in industrially proven, high-performance, top-stability reforming catalysts together with an outstanding hydrothermal resistance, covering continuous catalyst regeneration (CCR), semi-regenerative and cyclic applications.

We remind, Sumitomo Chemical has successfully conducted the first waste-based polyolefin production at its laboratory in Japan earlier this year, by use of the ethylene produced by Axens ethanol-to-ethylene technology Atol. This process value chain is complemented with the upfront “Waste to Ethanol” technology by Sekisui Chemical.

BP seeks to divest near 20% stake in Russian Rosneft

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BP is seeking to divest the near 20% stake in Russian state-oil company Rosneft it has held since 2013 in the starkest sign yet of the corporate backlash against Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, reported Financial Times.

The UK-listed oil group said in a statement on Sunday that it would no longer report reserves, production or profits from Rosneft, and its chief executive, Bernard Looney, would resign from the Rosneft board “with immediate effect”.

BP did not specify how and when it might divest the Rosneft stake. It could write off the shareholding, sell it back to Rosneft or find another buyer. Analysts have speculated that a state-backed Chinese or Middle Eastern group might be interested in the shareholding, but it is thought that BP could struggle to find a bidder. The Qatar Investment Authority is already a major Rosneft shareholder.

BP said the changes in the accounting treatment of the Rosneft stake would lead to two “material non-cash” charges in its first-quarter results that could amount to as much as USD25bn: an USD11bn charge related to foreign exchange losses, and the difference at that time between the “fair value” and the “carrying value” of the stake, which is currently USD14bn.

The other BP-nominated director, Bob Dudley, BP’s former chief executive, will also step down from Rosneft’s board, the oil major said.

Helge Lund, BP’s chair, described Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as an “act of aggression which is having tragic consequences across the region”.

He said BP had operated in Russia for more than 30 years, “working with brilliant Russian colleagues”.

“However, this military action represents a fundamental change,” he added. The board had concluded that the company’s involvement with Rosneft “simply cannot continue”, Lund added.

BP’s move, which came as Norway’s sovereign wealth fund said it was divesting of all of its Russian assets, will increase pressure on other oil and gas majors and commodity traders with investments in Russia, such as Shell, TotalEnergies, ExxonMobil, Trafigura and Vitol.

As MRC informed before, earlier this month, during the visit of the delegation headed by the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin to Beijing (PRC), negotiations were held between PJSC Rosneft Oil Company and China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and the Agreement was signed on the supply of 100 million tons of oil to China through Kazakhstan for 10 years.

Crude oil will be processed at factories in northwest China to meet the country's needs for petroleum products. The Company's total supplies to China since 2005 amounted to 442 million tons of oil. Rosneft is the leading oil exporter to PRC, providing 7% of the country’s total demand in raw annually. Rosneft is also one of the leading suppliers of petroleum products to China. Since 2009, the Company has exported about 41 million tons of petroleum products.

Rosneft is the world's largest public oil company. The company accounts for about 5% of global oil production, and its proven reserves in the international category will exceed 5 billion tons of oil equivalent. The structure of Rosneft includes the Angarsk Polymer Plant and Ufaorgsintez (part of the structure of Bashneft) after the closing of the deal to purchase Bashneft on October 12, 2016. The main shareholder of Rosneft is the state-controlled Rosneftegaz (50% plus one share), and the British BP owns another 19.75%.

BP is one of the world's largest oil and gas companies, serving millions of customers every day in around 80 countries, and employing around 85,000 people. BP's business segments are Upstream (oil and gas exploration & production), and Downstream (refining & marketing). Through these activities, BP provides fuel for transportation; energy for heat and light; services for motorists; and petrochemicals products for plastics, textiles and food packaging. It has strong positions in many of the world"s hydrocarbon basins and strong market positions in key economies.

Libyan NOC to purchase Trasta’s 50% shares in LERCO

Libyan NOC to purchase Trasta’s 50% shares in LERCO

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Libya's National Oil Corporation has announced it is proceeding with the exercise of its call option to purchase 50% of Trasta’s shares in the Libyan Emirates Oil Refining Company (LERCO), the JV company formed to operate the Ras Lanuf refinery, reported Reuters with reference to the compnay's statement on Friday.

Trasta had previously sought to block NOC’s exercise of the call option through ICC arbitration proceedings, but an award rejected Trasta’s position and upheld NOC’s right to exercise the call option, the statement added.

As MRC informed previously, in November 2021, Libya's Government of National Unity approved the sale of US oil company Hess Corporation's stake in the giant Waha oil concessions to both TotalEnergies and ConocoPhillips.

We remind that last year, TotalEnergies inaugurated the extension of Synova in Normandy, the French leader in recycled polypropylene (PP) production. TotalEnergies is therefore doubling its mechanical recycling production capacity for recycled polymers, to meet growing demand for sustainable polymers from customers, such as Automotive Manufacturer (Auto OEM) and the construction industry.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, PP shipments to the Russian market totalled 1,494.280 tonnes, up by 21% year on year. Deliveries of homopolymer PP and PP block copolymers increased, whreas.shipments of PP random copolymers decreased significantly.

Fitch downgrades Petkim and Tupras to negative

Fitch downgrades Petkim and Tupras to negative

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Fitch Ratings has revised its outlooks on Turkey’s major petrochemical producer Petkim and largest Turkish refiner Tupras to negative from stable, said American corporation.

The move follows Fitch’s recent sovereign rating action that downgraded Turkey to 'B+', four notches below investment grade, with a negative outlook. Turkey is mired in an economic crisis that sent the official annual inflation figure to 49% at the end of January. The Turkish lira struggling to hold ground against the US dollar. The Turkish currency lost 44% of its value against the dollar in 2021.

Fitch, in a notice released on Thursday, revised the outlook on Petkim’s long term foreign currency (LT FC) issuer default rating (IDR) to negative from stable, while also affirming the company’s 'B+' rating. “Petkim's LT FC IDR is constrained by the Country Ceiling, due to the company's sizeable exposure to the Turkish economy,” Fitch said.

In the same notice, Fitch revised the outlooks on Tupras’ LT FC and long-term local-currency (LT LC) IDRs to negative from stable and affirmed the refiner’s 'B+' ratings.

"Tupras's LT LC IDR is constrained by Turkey's LT LC IDR, due to the company's large domestic operations and significant cash holdings in Turkish banks due to preferable interest rates. Weakening of the credit profiles of Turkish banks could also affect Tupras's access to liquidity sources," Fitch said.

As per MRC, Petkim, whose majority shareholder is Azerbaijan's SOCAR, plans to start capital planned maintenance work at a polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plant in Aliaga (Turkey) in the fourth quarter of this year. It is expected that scheduled maintenance activities at this facility with a capacity of 157 thousand tons of PVC per year will continue for about six months. Thus, this plant should return to work again in the second quarter of 2023.

Petkim Petrokimya Holding A.S. - Turkish chemical company. The owner of the controlling stake in the company (51.39%) is the State Oil Company of the Republic of Azerbaijan (SOCAR). The remaining shares are owned by TURCAS. The company produces polymers (PE, PP, PVC, PA), detergents, packaging, etc.

ExxonMobil to expand CCS at LaBarge facility

ExxonMobil to expand CCS at LaBarge facility

MOSCOW (MRC) -- ExxonMobil has made a FID to expand CCS at its LaBarge, Wyoming facility. The expansion project will capture up to 1.2 metric MMt of CO2, in addition to the 6-7 metric MMt captured at LaBarge each year, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

"Carbon capture and storage is a readily available technology that can play a critical role in helping society reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Joe Blommaert, President of ExxonMobil Low Carbon Solutions. “By expanding carbon capture and storage at LaBarge, we can reduce emissions from our operations and continue to demonstrate the large-scale capability for carbon capture and storage to address emissions from vital sectors of the global economy, including industrial manufacturing."

ExxonMobil completed front-end engineering and design work for the project in December 2021 and expects to issue the engineering, procurement and construction contract in March. Pending regulatory approvals, startup is estimated in 2025 with an estimated investment of USD400 MM. The expansion is part of the company’s 2030 emission-reduction plans and supports the company’s ambition to achieve net-zero GHG emissions (Scopes 1 and 2) for its operated assets by 2050. By capturing an additional 1.2 metric MMt of CO2 each year, ExxonMobil can reduce GHG emissions from its upstream operated emissions by 3%. The LaBarge facility currently captures nearly 20% of all human-made CO2 captured in the world each year.

“Our state has always been a leader in carbon capture, utilization and sequestration and we are pleased to see projects like this that bring that technology forward. Wyoming and our industries do more than talk about carbon capture technologies. We help develop and deploy them,” said Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon. “This announcement is a great example of what industry can do to reduce greenhouse emissions and develop resources. I am delighted that ExxonMobil has decided to move forward with their expansion in Wyoming. This helps Wyoming advance its commitment to develop the technology to become carbon negative.

As MRC informed before, ExxonMobil shut down at its cracker in Singapore for maintenance last year. Thus, the company halted operations at the cracker on September 14, 2020. The cracker remained off-line till end-October, 2020. Located at Jurong Island, Singapore, the cracker has an ethylene production capacity of 1 million mt/year and a propylene production capacity of 450,000 mt/year.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, PP shipments to the Russian market totalled 1,494.280 tonnes in 2021, up by 21% year on year. Deliveries of homopolymer PP and PP block copolymers increased, whreas.shipments of PP random copolymers decreased significantly.

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.