Ground fire at Equinor refinery in Mongstad, Norway put out, no production impact

Ground fire at Equinor refinery in Mongstad, Norway put out, no production impact

MOSCOW (MRC) -- A heather fire near Equinor's Mongstad refinery in western Norway was extinguished on Monday without affecting production, reported Reuters with referece to Equinor's statement.

Police had been evacuating staff from the premises after reports of the fire in the vicinity of the plant with a processing capacity of 226,000 bpd of oil.

Only non-essential staff had been evacuated and the refinery could maintain regular production, an Equinor spokesman told Reuters.

As MRC informed earlier, Equinor's Board of Directors has recently decided to stop new investments into Russia, and to start the process of exiting Equinor’s Russian Joint Ventures (JV).

At the end of 2021 Equinor had USD 1.2 billion in non-current assets in Russia. The company expects that the decision to start the process of exiting JVs in Russia will impact the book value of Equinor’s Russian assets and lead to impairments.

Flexible foam makers in Ukraine in need of raw materials

Flexible foam makers in Ukraine in need of raw materials

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Flexible foam makers in quiet western Ukraine want to make foam but are being starved of raw materials by international companies which refuse to supply them, said Sustainableplastics.

Speaking from Poland, Artur Gredzielski of Foam Group Holdings said at the start of the invasion, his company stopped production of foam and furniture. Last week he was able to locate a tanker of polyol and a tanker of TDI in Ukraine and started up foam production "on Tuesday (March 16), but we ran out of raw materials earlier today."

Foam Group Holdings, which uses its own foam to make furniture, said it had successfully sent 50 trucks of furniture this week, and plans 70 next week from its factory in Kvasilyv, near Rivne, 200 miles west of Kyiv. But the foam production underpinning this, and the tax revenue it raises to help fund the Ukrainian resistance to the Russian attack has stopped because the plant has run out of raw materials.

"The big companies decided that they will not supply to Ukraine because of the security measures. I told them, 'we will pick it up ourselves with our forwarders. We and a Ukrainian distributor have escalated it within Europe and to the US. We believe that this decision is completely wrong. If they really want to support Ukraine, they need to support supply," Gredzielski said.

"The risk is the same for a truck as it is for a factory if it were hit, he said. 'No-one came to take it [raw materials] back, when we were invaded. I can understand the logic but from the wider perspective, the risk is small, but the benefit is very high."

In an attempt to ease the situation, the Ukrainian government has put polyols on a list of strategic raw materials that can be purchased with the country's limited supplies of hard currency such as dollars and euro. "If companies and people really want to support Ukraine, they need to support supply otherwise it is just empty words," he said. "Please reconsider your decision."

As per MRC, Dow, the world's petrochemical major, has announced new product extension of VORASURF silicone surfactants to support the growing demand for enhanced energy efficiency and sustainable solutions in the rigid polyurethane foam market, with a specific focus on spray and construction applications.

We remind, BASF and foam specialist NEVEON are working together to further develop the recycling of mattresses.
The aim is to establish a closed product loop for mattresses. Currently, discarded mattresses are mainly thermally recycled or disposed of in landfills. BASF and NEVEON want to change this and return mattress foams to the product life cycle. As early as this year, the two companies plan to obtain the first pilot quantities of recycled mattress foams made from collected used mattresses. The next step will then be to transfer the recycling to a larger scale in subsequent years.

W. R. Grace to increase prices for FCC catalysts, additives

W. R. Grace to increase prices for FCC catalysts, additives

MOSCOW (MRC) -- W. R. Grace & Co. stated that it will increase prices for its Fluid Catalytic Cracking (FCC) catalysts and additives this year as contracts allow, said the company.

As Grace offers products and services that continue to deliver increasing value, it faces rapidly escalating costs for key raw materials and energy, including aluminum-derived chemicals and natural gas. In addition, freight and logistics costs continue to rise at an extraordinary rate.

Grace remains focused on reducing operational expenses through increased efficiencies; however, those efforts cannot completely offset unprecedented inflationary trends.

We will initiate pricing actions necessary to sustain our on-going investment in new technology, enhanced technical services, and leading manufacturing capabilities to serve our global customers.

As per MRC, W. R. Grace & Co., a leading independent provider of polyolefin catalyst technology, polypropylene (PP) and process services, has awarded Oriental Energy a UNIPOL PP process license for its Maoming plant in China. This is Oriental Energy's fifth polypropylene production line and its fourth, which uses the Grace UNIPOL PP process with a production capacity of 400,000 tonnes per year.

Grace, a Standard Industries company, is a leading global supplier of catalysts and engineered materials. The company’s two industry-leading business segments—Catalysts Technologies and Materials Technologies—provide innovative products, technologies, and services that enhance the products and processes of our customers around the world. With approximately 4,300 employees, Grace operates and/or sells to customers in over 60 countries.

Walkout at Chevron oil refinery not to further raise fuel prices

Walkout at Chevron oil refinery not to further raise fuel prices

MOSCOW (MRC) -- A strike that began on Monday at a large Chevron Corp oil refinery outside San Francisco will not add to record fuel prices as long as replacement workers remain at the facility's controls, reported Reuters with reference to a fuel price analyst's statement.

The walkout by more than 500 United Steelworkers (USW) members at the 245,000 bpd Richmond, California, plant came after its members rejected a Chevron contract proposal over the weekend. The plant is the second-largest in state and a major supplier of gasoline, jet fuel and diesel fuel.

Its managers began taking over operations staffed by union workers on Sunday evening, Chevron said last night.

US gasoline futures jumped 3% in early Monday trading in New York on reports that European Union officials are weighing a ban of Russian petroleum imports for its invasion of Ukraine, said Devin Gladden, a spokesperson at motorist group AAA.

The Richmond plant strike is unlikely to lift prices as long as operations are unaffected, Gladden said. That will change with any disruption to the plant's gasoline and diesel units until operations return to normal, he added.

Chevron staff began replacing union workers at the controls of production units on Sunday evening ahead of the union's strike deadline.

The second-largest US oil producer is committed to continuing to negotiate toward an agreement, spokesman Tyler Kruzich said. No plans for a resumption of talks have been set.

As MRC wrote earlier, in August 2021, Chevron and other partners said they are investing in a startup to build modular waste-to-green hydrogen and renewable synthetic fuel facilities in northern California with tentative plans to eventually grow worldwide. The USD20 million investment in Wyoming-based Raven SR is focused on technology to develop combustion-free, green hydrogen for transportation that is cleaner than so-called blue hydrogen derived from natural gas.

We remind that Chevron Phillips Chemical, a joint venture of Phillips 66 and Chevron, will make a final investment decision on a new cracker in far southeast Texas in 2022, followed by an FID in 2023 on an USD8 billion joint venture petrochemical complex along the US Gulf Coast in 2023.

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 2,487,450 tonnes in 2021, up by 13% year on year. Shipments of all grades of ethylene polymers increased. At the same time, 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.

Headquartered in San Ramon, California, Chevron Corporation is the the second-largest integrated energy company in the United States and among the largest corporations in the world. Chevron is involved in upstream activities including exploration and production, downstream activities including refining, marketing and transportation, and advanced energy technology. Chevron is also invested in power generation and gasification processes.

BASF and REEF Technology to improve the quality of plastic recyclate materials

BASF and REEF Technology  to improve the quality of plastic recyclate materials

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BASF has signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Zhejiang REEF Technology Co., Ltd. to develop stateof- the-art recyclate formulations for applications used in the automotive, packaging and consumer industries, said the company.

Under the agreement, BASF will provide its recently launched IrgaCycle™ additive solutions along with technical consultancy and support for recycled polymer formulations conducted at BASF’s test facilities.

IrgaCycle™ additive solutions help to increase the percentage of mechanically recycled content in several end-use applications such as packaging, automotive & mobility, and building and construction. These solutions address specific quality issues associated with recycled resins, such as limited processability, poor longterm thermal stability and insufficient protection from outdoor weathering.

The IrgaCycle range is offered as part of the VALERAS™ portfolio. In addition to enabling plastics circularity with IrgaCycle, VALERAS solutions bring significant sustainability value to plastic applications by improving durability, reducing waste, saving energy, reducing emissions, and promoting biodiversity.

Zhejiang REEF Technology Co., Ltd. is a subsidiary of Veolia Huafei Polymer Technology (Zhejiang) Co., Ltd., a joint venture company of the French Veolia Group in China. It focuses on the R&D and production of high-end engineering plastic modified materials. REEF’s core products include recycled polypropylene, high density polyethylene, ABS, and polyamide.

As MRC wrote before, Air Liquide, BASF and Shell are joining Calpine, Chevron, Dow, ExxonMobil, INEOS, Linde, LyondellBasell, Marathon Petroleum, NRG Energy, Phillips 66 and Valero to collectively evaluate and advance emissions reduction efforts in and around the Houston industrial area. Three additional companies have announced their support for exploring the implementation of large-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology in and around the Houston industrial area. The 14 companies are evaluating how to use safe, proven CCS technology at Houston-area facilities that provide energy and products for modern life, including advanced manufacturing for plastics, packaging, motor fuels and power generation.

BASF will almost double the production capacity for its synthetic ester base stocks at its site in Jinshan, China. The investment comes in response to the rising demand for high-performance lubricants in Asia Pacific, and further strengthens BASF’s position as a reliable supplier that strongly supports customers’ growth in the region.

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.