Explosion burst out at illegal oil refining depot in Nigeria

Explosion burst out at illegal oil refining depot in Nigeria

MOSCOW (MRC) -- An explosion at illegal oil refining depot in Nigeria's Rivers state has killed over 100 people overnight, reported Reuters with reference to a local government official and the NGO Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre's (YEAC) statement on Saturday.

"The fire outbreak occurred at an illegal bunkering site and it affected over 100 people who were burnt beyond recognition," the state commissioner for petroleum resources, Goodluck Opiah, said.

As MRC informed earlier, Dangote's 650,000-bpd oil refinery being built in Nigeria is due to begin production by the 4Q of 2022.

We remind that in August, 2021, gunmen killed a police officer and six employees of a Nigerian oil and gas services contractor during an attack on buses transporting workers to a Shell project site in the southeastern state of Imo. Attacks on oil and gas facilities have long been a problem in Nigeria, where the multi-billion dollar industry sits alongside impoverished communities that have seen little benefit from it. In this case, the motive was unclear.

We also remind that Royal Dutch Shell plans to reduce its refining and chemicals portfolio by more than half, it said in July 2020 without giving a precise timeframe. The move is part of the Anglo-Dutch company's plan to shrink its oil and gas business and expand its renewables and power division to reduce greenhouse gas emissions sharply by 2050.
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.
MRC

CQ launches production of sustainable phenol feedstock

CQ launches production of sustainable phenol feedstock

MOSCOW (MRC)-- Materials maker Cepsa Quimica SA has begun production of a sustainable grade of phenol, a feedstock used to make engineering resins, said Sustainableplastics.

Madrid-based CQ is marketing the new phenol under the NextPhenol brand name. The material can be used to make nylon, polycarbonate, methyl methacrylate and coatings. The firm also recently launched Next LAB, a sustainable linear alkylbenzene, which can be used in cleaning products. In a news release, CQ officials said that the new line is part of the firm's ambitions to make its own business activities fossil-free in the long term and also helps CQ customers to make their products and production processes more sustainable.

CQ is a leading global supplier of phenol and LAB. The firm "has formulated clear objectives to make the company sustainable and fossil-free in the long term," feedstocks and ESG head Jose Maria Cuadro said in the release. "To achieve this, we not only look at our own production processes, energy consumption and the supply chain, but also at the origin of the raw materials, replacing traditional fossil sources for renewable feedstocks and wastes," he added.

The new range of products contains at least 68 percent sustainable or alternative carbon sources. "The only difference is that we no longer get them from fossil sources, but from waste and biomass," Cuadro said. He added that product specifications, performance and applications of the new products are basically the same. "We do have to adapt our production processes because renewable and recycled raw materials need additional treatment," Cuadro said.

From a production point of view, he added, customers won't notice any difference between the traditional and new products. "The biggest benefit is that the customer will be able to increase the sustainability of their products and production processes because of our sustainable raw materials, thus reducing their ecological footprint," Cuadro said. "Buyers and consumers are increasingly demanding this."

The new NextLAB and NextPhenol product lines are currently being produced at CQ plants in the Spanish provinces of Cadiz and Huelva as well as Shanghai. These plants have been certified according to the ISCC Plus standard, which focuses on the sustainability and traceability of recycled materials, waste products and biomass for the production of recyclable plastics and chemical raw materials, officials said.

CQ employs more than 1,000 and has plants in seven countries. The firm's other chemical products include plastic feedstock cumene.

As it was written earlier, Cepsa is exploring a sale of its chemicals business under a strategic review as it seeks to raise funds to accelerate its transition to clean energy. Cepsa is working with Citi to identify possible buyers for the division which is valued at up to 3 billion euros (USD3.5 billion), the sources said, cautioning that discussions were at a preliminary stage and no deal was certain.

Cepsa is a Spanish petrochemical company. Full name Compania Espanola de Petroleos S.A. The company is headquartered in Madrid. Refining is one of the main activities of CEPSA. The production of asphalt and other road surfaces is another of the company's core activities; nine CEPSA factories are engaged in the production of these products.
mrchub.com

Nextloopp project to trial food-grade compliant rPP

Nextloopp project to trial food-grade compliant rPP

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Nextek’s Nextloopp project has arrived at a decisive point in its progress towards closing the loop on post-consumer food-grade recycled polypropylene, or FgrPP said Sustainableplastics.

Following the successful trials at Tomra in September 2021, the 43-strong multi-participant global project is now moving forward with production trials of food-grade compliant rPP. During the September trials, 99.9% sorting purity using Nextek’s invisible PolyPrism fluorescent markers was achieved. This, said Professor Edward Kosior, the driving force behind Nextloopp, was the real breakthrough: demonstrating that sorting into food packaging - as the current regulations require - is indeed possible, combined with the ability to clean and decontaminate recycled polypropylene packaging to food safety standards. For consumer safety, the European Food Standards Authority (EFSA) requires that recycled food-grade materials can only be made from (>95%) food packaging and that the recycled plastic must meet the same high standards required for virgin food-grade plastics.

Nextloopp is now dispatching its PPristine recycled PP prototype resins from post-consumer food packaging to its 43 participants for further trials, during which over 60 different products will be produced from Nextloopp’s four grades of PPristine food compliant and "INRT grade" resins.

This milestone confirms the project is poised to address the key challenges to recycling this valuable polymer, according to Luke Burgess, director of Business Development at Viridor, the UK’s largest recycling operator. It also opens up important commercial opportunities for the circular economy, he added.

Colleague participants concurred. Robinson Packaging’s Managing Director UK, Steve Haley, pointed to the rising demand for post-consumer recycled material and the need for a high-quality food-grade solution, while in Malaysia, Heng Hiap’s CEO, Kian Seah, foresaw demand for food-grade rPP soaring, driven by public and regulatory pressure as the world recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Pro-Pac Packaging Group's Category Manager–Food, Tim Strachan, says they are exploring innovative, sustainable change in rigid PP packaging driven by consumers, retailers and their customers who all want to make an impact. Nextloop has provided tremendous knowledge, support and the technology to reach this latest milestone, noted Pro-Pac Packaging Group's Category Manager–Food, Tim Strachan, ‘bringing them even closer to answering the complexities of adding food-grade recycled PP material into food-grade PP products’.

Meanwhile, the project is now still fine-tuning the required data to compile the dossier for its application to EFSA and FDA for food compliance.

We remind, Ineos Olefins and Polymers Europe have joined the UK-based Nextloopp project, which is aiming to launch the first food-grade mechanically recycled polypropylene (R-PP) material from post-consumer waste in Europe. INEOS will be at the centre of an important two-year project that will inform the building of a demonstration plant in the UK to produce 10,000 tonnes per year of food-grade recycled polypropylene.

The Nextloopp project had initially targeted a launch date during the second half of 2022. However, delays resulting from the impact of COVID-19 and Brexit have pushed back the project completion date by approximately six months, in to 2023.

The group plans to overcome this challenge for R-PP by using marker technology to separate out the food-contact origin material at sorting and separation stage. The process will include a decontamination stage to comply with both EFSA and US Food and Drug Administration standards.
mrchub.com

PPG net income down by 95% in Q1 2022

PPG net income down by 95% in Q1 2022

MOSCOW (MRC) -- PPG Industries has reported first-quarter net income down 95% year-on-year (YOY), to USD18 million, on net sales up 11%, to USD4.31 billion, as per the company's press release.

Adjusted earnings, excluding charges related to the wind-down of PPG’s business in Russia, totaled USD327 million, or USD1.37/share, down 27% YOY but well ahead of analysts’ consensus estimate of USD1.11/share, as reported by Refinitiv (New York, New York). Selling prices grew 10% YOY and volumes were down 3%, while raw material costs rose 25%, and energy and transport costs remained elevated during the quarter.

“Adjusted earnings exceeded our January guidance as we delivered excellent earnings leverage on higher-than-expected sales volumes,” says PPG chairman and CEO Michael McGarry. “The leverage benefits were aided by sequential quarterly improvements in manufacturing performance, including the benefit of more consistent raw material availability. We once again finished the quarter with a much larger than normal order backlog, totaling about $180 million, primarily in automotive refinish and aerospace coatings, and we expect further volume growth in these businesses in the coming quarters.”

Performance coatings segment sales grew 11% YOY, to USD2.57 billion, while segment income fell 17%, to USD319 million. Volumes fell 2% YOY, while selling prices rose 8%. “While demand remained strong in most end-use markets, raw material availability continued to constrain sales in many businesses, with the largest impacts in architectural coatings Americas and Asia Pacific, traffic solutions, and automotive refinish,” PPG says.

Industrial coatings segment sales rose 11% YOY, to USD1.74 billion, while segment income was down 43%, to USD140 million. Volumes declined 5% YOY, while selling prices increased 12%. “Industrial Coatings net sales increased primarily due to selling price increases across all businesses and acquisition-related sales, partially offset by lower sales volumes in comparison to strong, pandemic-related volume recovery in the prior year,” PPG says. “Most businesses were also impacted by lower economic activity in China due to the Winter Olympics and growing COVID-19 restrictions later in the quarter.”

As MRC reported before, earlier this month, PPG announced that it has completed its acquisition of the powder coatings manufacturing business of Arsonsisi, an industrial coatings company based in Milan, Italy. Financial terms were not disclosed. The transaction will provide PPG with a highly automated, small- and large-batch capable, powder manufacturing plant in Verbania, Italy. PPG will also now have metallic bonding capabilities in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region. In 2021, the Arsonsisi powder business had sales of approximately USD15 million.

We remind that in June 2021, PPG announced an expansion of its coatings manufacturing capacity in Europe for packaging applications. The investments at sites in The Netherlands and Poland will support growing customer demand in the region for the latest generation of coatings for aluminum and steel cans used in packaging for beverage, food and personal care items. The projects include a further expansion of the company’s location in Tiel, The Netherlands, which will increase the plant’s production capacity for PPG INNOVEL non-BPA internal coatings for beverage cans by 30%. Expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2022, the project follows a 50% expansion completed at the end of 2020.

PPG is a leading supplier of powder coatings to the automotive, transportation, appliance, furniture and other markets. The company expanded the business with its 2020 acquisition of Alpha Coating Technologies, which manufactures powder coatings for light industrial applications and heat-sensitive substrates, and its 2021 acquisition of Worwag, which makes liquid, powder and film coatings for industrial and automotive applications. PPG recently agreed to acquire the powder coatings business of Arsonsisi, including a manufacturing plant in Verbania, Italy.
MRC

Reliance calls off deal with Future Group

Reliance calls off deal with Future Group

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Indian petrochemical major Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) "cannot implement" a rupee (Rs) 247bn (USD3.2bn) deal to acquire core parts of retail chain major Future Group after the letter's secured creditors rejected the offer, said Indianexpress.

The shareholders and unsecured creditors of Future Retail Ltd (FRL), a retail arm of the Future Group, have voted in favour of RIL’s offer, RIL said in a statement to the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) over the weekend. “But the secured creditors of FRL have voted against the scheme. In view thereof, the subject scheme of arrangement cannot be implemented,” it stated.

Future Group, which owns more than 1,500 retail outlets, may now face bankruptcy proceedings. The group’s debts stood at around Rs270bn. Its secured creditors had rejected the RIL deal in the absence of any official commitment on loan repayment, according to media reports.

Future Group has a significant presence in the Indian retail and fashion sectors, with popular supermarket chains. FRL is the flagship company of the Group with stores in 428 cities across the country. A nearly two-year long legal battle between the Future Group and global e-commerce giant Amazon also posed as an obstacle to the asset sale to RIL.

Amazon had legally blocked the deal between RIL and the Future Group, citing violation of contracts. In 2019, Amazon India invested around USD200m in Future Coupons, the promoter entity of Future Group which holds a 9.82% stake in FRL.

This deal involved a non-compete clause that forbade Future Coupons from selling its retail assets to certain firms, including RIL’s retail subsidiary Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd (RRVL). As per the agreement, in case of a dispute, the matter was to be settled by the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC).

As per MRC, Reliance Industries, operator of the world's biggest refining complex, may avoid buying Russian fuels for its plants following western sanctions on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.

As MRC informed before, in November 2021, Reliance Industries and Saudi Aramco decided to re-evaluate their agreement for the Middle Eastern producer to buy a stake in the refining and petrochemical business of India's biggest private refiner, and both companies would look at broader areas of cooperation due to the changing energy scenario.

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.
Reliance Industries is one of the world's largest producers of polymers. The company produces polypropylene, polyethylene and polyvinyl chloride and other petrochemical products.
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