Neste and Marathon Petroleum to establish JV for production of renewable fuels

Neste and Marathon Petroleum to establish JV for production of renewable fuels

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Neste Corporation has signed definitive agreements for the establishment of a 50/50 JV with US-based Marathon Petroleum, reported Reuters.

The JV will produce renewable diesel following a conversion project of Marathon's refinery in Martinez, California (the Martinez Renewable Fuels project). The closing of the JV is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals, including obtaining the necessary permits, which depend upon certification of a final Environmental Impact Report.

Neste’s total investment will amount to approximately EUR900 MM (USD1 B), inclusive of half of the total project development costs projected through the completion of the project. The project is expected to increase Neste’s renewable products capacity by slightly over 1 MMtpy. Production of renewable diesel is expected to come online in the second half of 2022. The facility is planned to reach its full annual nameplate capacity of 2.1 MMt by the end of 2023.

“This is a very important step in our renewables growth strategy execution. The location of the facility is in the middle of the growing renewable fuel market in California. The partnership will further strengthen our footprint in the US, as we will have a broad value chain that covers feedstock sourcing to renewables production and sales in the US. We are thrilled to partner with Marathon: we both share an ambition in offering more high-quality, lower-emission renewable products, thus helping customers to achieve their sustainability goals,” said Peter Vanacker, Neste’s President and CEO.

Through this JV Neste obtains a 50% interest in the Martinez Renewable Fuels project. The production output will be split evenly between the JV partners, and each partner will be responsible to market the products under its own brand and responsibility. The facility will be operated by Marathon, which has long experience in refinery operations and in executing major capex projects in the US. Both Neste and Marathon will be responsible for feedstock sourcing for the JV.

As MRC wrote before, Neste has successfully concluded its first series of trial runs processing liquefied waste plastic at its Porvoo refinery in Finland. After kicking the series off with its first-ever industrial scale trial run with liquefied waste plastic in 2020, Neste has conducted additional runs in 2021. In the course of the trial runs, Neste has been able to upgrade liquefied waste plastic to drop-in solutions for plastic production and develop industrial scale capabilities to upgrade recycled feedstocks. Trials pave the way for continuous and commercial activities. Neste has set itself the goal of processing more than 1 MM tons of plastic waste per year from 2030 onwards.

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 2,265,290 tonnes in the first eleven months of 2021, up by 14% year on year. Shipments of all grades of ethylene polymers increased. At the same time, PP shipments to the Russian market were 1,363,850 tonnes in January-November, 2021, up by 25% year on year. Supply of homopolymer PP and block-copolymers of propylene (PP block copolymers) increased, whereas supply of injection moulding PP random copolymers decreased significantly.

Neste (Helsinki) creates solutions for combating climate change and accelerating a shift to a circular economy. The company refines waste, residues and innovative raw materials into renewable fuels and sustainable feedstock for plastics and other materials. The company is the world’s leading producer of renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel, developing chemical recycling to combat the plastic waste challenge. In 2020, Neste's revenue stood at EUR11.8 billion, with 94% of the company’s comparable operating profit coming from renewable products.


Engel acquires automation specialist TMA

Engel acquires automation specialist TMA

MOSCOW (MRC) -- In a move aimed to expand its offerings in process automation, injection molding machine maker Engel has acquired the majority interest in Poland-based TMA Automation, said Canplastics.

The financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed. "Engel has a strong presence in Eastern Europe, and with the acquisition of TMA is taking the next step for further growth in the region,” Engel Group CEO Stefan Engleder said in a news release. TMA’s technologies perfectly complement our in-house spectrum of robots and automation components."

The release also noted that Engel and TMA have already cooperated closely numerous customer projects, with the regional focus being Poland and the neighbouring eastern European countries. One of TMA’s focuses is on automating in-mold labelling processes in the medium performance segment. “With TMA, we’ve gained a know-how provider who knows the specific requirements of this performance segment very well and optimally serves them with solutions tailored to them,” Engleder said.

In the high-performance segment, Engel said it will continue to cooperate with its long-standing partners for IML automation. TMA, which is headquartered in Gdynia, Poland, will remain independent under the Engel Group umbrella and continue to be an independent market player in the future. The two company founders, Marek Langowski and Piotr Orlikowski will continue to manage the company.

Engel also said that the deal helps to allow TMA to push forward with its growth targets. A site has already been purchased in Gdansk in order to start building a new office and production facility in the near future. “As a location, Gdansk, with its good infrastructure and large number of technical universities in the surrounding area, is the ideal starting position for excellent access to a qualified expert workforce,” said managing director Walter Aumayr. “We will also be expanding the workforce at the new Gdansk facility."

We remind, Engel Holding GmbH has acquired Austria-based MES provider T.I.G. (Technische Informationssysteme GmbH). The terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

Also, Schwertberg, Austria-based injection molding machine manufacturer Engel Holding GmbH has entered the pre-owned machinery market through its new Engel Used Machinery s.r.o. business. The newly founded company is headquartered in Prague, Czech Republic.

DSM boosts material production capacity in China to serve EV market

DSM boosts material production capacity in China to serve EV market

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Material supplier DSM Engineering Materials has announced plans to expand its high-performance materials production capacity at its Jiangyin plant in Jiangsu Province, China, said Canplastics.

Work on an additional compounding line began in February 2022, DSM officials said in a Feb. 24 news release, with completion expected in 2023. The new line will help DSM meet growing demand for high-performance polymers used in a range of end applications – particularly for electric vehicles (EVs) and in electrics and electronics – and will help drive the shift to a low-carbon, circular economy.

"In recent years, rising living standards and increasingly ambitious environmental policies have driven demand for sustainable high-performance materials in China,” the news release said. “The new state-of-the-art compounding line will help meet this demand for high-performance specialty materials such as Akulon PA6/PA66, Arnite PET/PBT, Arnitel thermoplastic copolyester, EcoPaXX PA410, ForTii PA 4T/PPA, and Stanyl PA 46."

In addition to increasing production capacity for materials enabling sustainable solutions, the expansion project will deliver no increase in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions upon start-up and will be powered by 100 per cent renewable electricity, DSM said. “This aligns with [our] sustainability commitments…which include halving global GHG emissions and launching bio- and/or recycled-based alternatives for [our] whole portfolio by 2030,” the company said.

The Jiangyin site already uses sustainable manufacturing, the news release said, including using self-generated solar power and sourced renewable electricity.

We remind, DSM Engineering Materials, a division of Dutch chemical maker DSM, has partnered with Ford Motor Co. and cable component maker HellermannTyton for an award-winning new auto part made from recycled ocean plastic.

Also, Royal DSM has started a review of strategic options for its materials businesses, including the possibility of selling them.

DSM Engineering Materials is a business group of Royal DSM.

North American weekly chemical railcar traffic rises for third week, US up 22.1%

North American weekly chemical railcar traffic rises for third week, US up 22.1%

MOSCOW (MRC) -- North American weekly chemical railcar traffic rose 11.6% year on year, led by the US where loadings rose 22.1% from depressed levels during last year’s US Gulf Coast winter storm, according to data for the week ended 26 February from the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

For the first eight weeks of 2022 ended 26 February, North American chemical railcar traffic was up 4.0% year on year to 372,286 railcar loadings.

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.

We remind, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported U.S. rail traffic for the week ending February 19, 2022. For this week, total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 497,822 carloads and intermodal units, up 31.7 percent compared with the same week last year. Total carloads for the week ending February 19 were 237,256 carloads, up 38.2 percent compared with the same week in 2021, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 260,566 containers and trailers, up 26.3 percent compared to 2021.

COVID-19 - News digest as of 02.03.2022

1. Covestro Q4 net income declined

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Covestro's fourth-quarter net income fell by 3.2% but the full year 2021 income surged manifold over the previous year to EUR1.62bn on the back of strong global demand for its products, said the company. "The group benefited from strong global demand and buoyant earnings in the year as a whole. Core volumes sold increased by 10% year on year, mainly due to additional volumes from the Resins & Functional Materials (RFM) business acquired from DSM," it said in a statement.