US refiners receiving last Russian oil cargoes

US refiners receiving last Russian oil cargoes

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Nine tankers carrying Russian-origin crude and fuel oil have discharged in the US in April, likely the last ones to deliver before a wind-down set by Washington expires this week, reported Reuters with reference to customs and tanker tracking data.

The US last month set an April 22 ban on imports of Russian crude and refined products. The US gave importers of Russian petroleum, liquefied natural gas and coal 45 days to taken route and under-contract cargoes.

Tanker Seamagic, which loaded fuel oil at Russia's Taman port, discharged at Valero Energy's St. Charles, Louisiana, refinery last week, the last of the nine tracked to discharge. The data does not include ship-to-ship transfers or Russian-origin oil loaded elsewhere.

Minerva Ellie, a vessel carrying high sulfur fuel oil and sold by Russia's Rosneft, also discharged at Valero's St. Charles facility, according to US customs data. The cargo was chartered by commodities trader Vitol.

Valero, Vitol and the managers of the tankers did not immediately reply to requests for comments.

The US imported 672,000 bpd of Russian crude and refined products last year, according to data from the Energy Information Administration. Of that, 30% or 199,000 bpd was crude, while 473,000 bpd was refined products.

This month, one crude and eight fuel oil tankers carrying about 6.3 million barrels and which departed from Russian ports reached US ports and lightering zones, according to the data.

A 2 million-barrel cargo of Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) Blend and Urals crude that departed from Russia was received in Delaware, according to ship tracking data based on the chartering contract.

As MRC wrote before, record volumes of fuel oil from Latin America landed in the US in March, customs data showed, as refiners snapped up alternatives to Russian feedstocks ahead of Washington's April 22 deadline to end U.S. imports of Russian oil. US Gulf Coast refiners that use fuel oil to supplement heavy crude went hunting for new supplies last month after US President Joe Biden placed a ban on Russian crude and refined products with a 45-day wind-down period. Russia accounted for about a quarter of the 524,400 bpd of fuel oil the US imported last year. It also supplied some 200,000 bpd of crude mostly to U.S. East Coast refiners.

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.

Topsoe supports new production of SAF and renewable diesel

Topsoe supports new production of SAF and renewable diesel

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Refuel Energy Inc. has announced its plans for the construction of a 3000-bpd renewable fuel plant in Southern Ontario, Canada, said the company.

The proposed project, called Refuel YYZ, would supply the aviation and terrestrial fuel needs of the Greater Toronto area, home to 6 MM Canadians, while lowering the CO2 emissions for the end users by up to 80%. It is also strategically located for exporting to the US Northeast.

The plant would utilize Haldor Topsoe’s proprietary HydroFlex and H2bridge technologies to produce renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). Planned feedstocks include a mix of waste fats, oils and greases, such as regionally sourced used cooking oil, animal fats and non-edible crop oils.

“We are very pleased that Refuel has selected our HydroFlex and H2bridg technologies for this state of the art, standalone renewable diesel and SAF facility. Our market-leading technologies are complementary and together they will produce some of the lowest carbon intensity renewable fuels in the world,” said Henrik Rasmussen, Managing Director, The Americas at Topsoe.

"This is an important milestone in the development of Refuel YYZ. We are thrilled to be building such a strong team with Topsoe and Fluor to produce our renewable fuels, ensuring a successful project execution,” said Zohrab Mawani, director and co-founder of Refuel. “There is much exciting news to share as we continue development and get closer to a low carbon future."

Refuel expects to make a FID in 2023. If approved, production at the new facility would start in 2025.

As MRC reported earlier, in February 2021, Haldor Topsoe and Acron Group signed a MoU with the purpose of jointly working within green technologies area. The MoU includes initiatives within joint development of technologies aimed to reduce GHG emissions (СО2 and N2O) at the existing production sites of Acron Group and development of promising projects for new products with minimum environmental impact. Acron Engineering, a Russian engineering research center, which is a part of Acron Group, will be engaged in the work.

We remind that in October 2021, Dow (Midland, Michigan), the world's petrochemical major, and Haldor Topsoe partnered to promote the circular economy. About 300 million tons of plastic waste is produced every year on a global scale. The partnership between Dow and Topsoe marks a new initiative to efficiently convert waste plastics to circular plastics, keeping them out of the environment and responsibly reclaiming their value.

Plans include Dow to proceed with the design and engineering for a 10,000 ton per year market development unit using Haldor Topsoe’s PureStepTM technology to purify pyrolysis oil feedstock derived from waste plastics for use in circular products. Dow’s development unit will advance the technology for industrial-scale purification of circular feedstocks, which will be used to meet strong market demand for circular polyethylene (PE).

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.

Evonik expands its capacities for petrochemical specialties in Germany

Evonik expands its capacities for petrochemical specialties in Germany

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Evonik has invested a double-digit million euro sum to increase production capacity for isobutene derivatives at its Marl location, according to Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The isobutene part of the C4 production network produces the petrochemical specialties tertiary butanol (TBA), di-isobutene (DiB) and 3,5,5-trimethylhexanal (TMH). The expansion, which was recently completed, increases capacity for isobutene derivatives by more than 50%. In addition, the expansion improves security of supply, flexibility and product quality for the customers.

Evonik's isobutene specialties are already in high demand as intermediates for the pharmaceutical and chemical industries. "As a leading European key supplier of high-purity isobutene derivatives, we willingly rise to the challenge of supporting our customers' dynamic growth and continuing to invest in product quality and security of supply," said Dr. Hinnerk Gordon Becker, head of the Specialties market segment at Evonik Performance Intermediates. "That's why, in June 2020, we already began the targeted expansion of our C4 Verbund and to eliminate existing bottlenecks in production and logistics. In this way, we are further expanding our position in the field of high-purity isobutene derivatives and also living up to our leadership role."

The conversion work has increased the purity of the 3,5,5-trimethylhexanal produced in Marl from around 88% to more than 95%. Customers will benefit from this: In future, they will be able to use the isobutene derivative directly in their own production process without having to purify it first.

As MRC reported earlier, in March, 2022, Evonik launched a new biosurfactant produced from renewable feedstocks.
The rhamnolipids are produced at Evonik’s plant in Slovenska Lupca, Slovakia following a triple-digit million-euro investment in the site, which is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2023. The biosurfactant range is made using feedstocks which are locally sourced and fully biodegradable, meeting demand for low-emission, low-impact cleaning products in the market.

We remind that in February, 2020, Dow and Evonik entered into an exclusive technology partnership. Together, they plan to bring a unique method for directly synthesizing propylene glycol (PG) from propylene and hydrogen peroxide to market maturity.

Evonik is one of the world leaders in specialty chemicals. The company is active in more than 100 countries around the world and generated sales of EUR12.2 billion and an operating profit (adjusted EBITDA) of EUR1.91 billion in 2020. Evonik goes far beyond chemistry to create innovative, profitable and sustainable solutions for customers. About 33,000 employees work together for a common purpose: to improve life today and tomorrow.

Shell withdraws staff from Russia projects as exit plan begins

Shell withdraws staff from Russia projects as exit plan begins

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Shell Plc started to withdraw staff from its joint ventures with Russia’s Gazprom PJSC as it moves forward with plans to exit investments in response to the war in Ukraine, said Bloomberg.

Dozens of Shell employees on temporary assignment at the Sakhalin-2 liquefied natural gas export project in Russia were removed over the weekend to be relocated back to other offices, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Operations at the facility are unlikely to be affected by the move, the people said, requesting anonymity to discuss private details.

Shell is demobilizing its seconded employees in ventures with Gazprom and Gazprom Neft in a phased process, according to an emailed statement from the company. “Our key focus in this process is safety of our people and operations and compliance with applicable laws,” a Shell spokesperson said.

Some of the world’s top energy producers, including Shell and Exxon Mobil Corp., pledged to exit Russian projects in a bid to reduce reputational damage after the invasion of Ukraine. Shell said earlier this month that the withdrawal will result in USD4 billion to USD5 billion of impairments.

London-based Shell has increased its effort to distance itself from Moscow after the company came under fire in early March for purchasing Russian crude at a steep discount. Since then, Shell said it won’t make any new purchases of Russian oil or gas. The energy major has also idled LNG vessels chartered from Russian companies.

Shell also owns a 50% of stake in the Salym Petroleum Development in Russia. The company previously said it would end an exploration partnership with Gazprom called Gydan, and withdraw from the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which was already suspended by German authorities.

In early March, Shell plc announced its intention to phase out participation in all Russian hydrocarbon projects, including oil, oil products, gas and liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Earlier it was noted that in April 2019, Shell announced its withdrawal from the Baltic LNG project after Gazprom's decision to change the concept of the project development, fully integrating it with the gas processing plant in Ust-Luga. In 2015, Shell became the sole partner of Gazprom in the Baltic LNG, and in 2018, the development of a technical project began. Initially, Shell estimated the capacity of the plant at 10 million tons of LNG per year, with a possible subsequent increase in capacity to 13 million tons.

Shell is a British-Dutch oil and gas concern engaged in the extraction, processing and marketing of hydrocarbons in more than 70 countries.

Fire and chlorine spill occur at Olin Corporation plant in Plaquemine

Fire and chlorine spill occur at Olin Corporation plant in Plaquemine

MOSCOW (MRC) -- A fire and chlorine spill at Olin Corp’s plant in Plaquemine, a tenant at the Dow Chemical facility, was reported to Iberville Sheriff’s office around 8:40 p.m., sheriff’s office official Clint Moore told Reuters by telephone.

Louisiana authorities lifted a shelter-in-place order within five hours of issuing it after a chlorine leak on Monday.

“After continuously monitoring the air quality, we feel it is safe to return to normal activities. However, we are still investigating the source of fire and the leak,” Moore said.

“No injuries have been reported from the incident and there is no offsite potential exposure too. Meanwhile, efforts towards chlorine response continue along with analysis to identify the cause of the event,” an Olin Corp spokesperson told Reuters by email.

As MRC informed previously, Olin Corp. (Calyton, Mo.) and Mitsui & Co., Ltd. (Tokyo) announced a global strategic alliance to better serve customers. The companies have agreed to a memorandum of understanding to establish a joint venture that brings together Mitsui’s top-notch global logistics, deep supplier and customer relationships, and breadth of product portfolio with Olin’s scale, North American export capability, and production flexibility across the electrochemical unit (ECU) portfolio.

We remind that Olin Corp., one of the largest PVC producers in the country, plans to close production at the phenol and acetone plant in Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek, Texas, USA) in mid-April for planned preventive measures. Maintenance at this facility with a capacity of 295,000 tonnes of phenol and 180,000 tonnes of acetone per year will be short and will take one week.

It was previously reported that in 2019, Olin carried out scheduled maintenance at the phenol and acetone plant in Oyster Creek from 15 to 31 March.

Phenol is the main feedstockl for the production of bisphenol A (BPA), which, in its turn, is used for the production of polycarbonate (PC).

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's overall consumption of PC granules (excluding exports from Belarus) totalled 7,800 tonnes in January 2022, down by 4% year on year (8,100 tonnes a year earlier).

Olin Corporation was founded in 1892 and is currently based in Clayton, Missouri, USA. The company's activities are concentrated in three segments: the production of military ammunition and chlor-alkali products, and their distribution. It is one of the main producers of polyvinyl chloride in the USA along with Shintech, Formosa Plastics, Westlake Chemical and Axiall.