Ukraine to import 420,000 tonnes of fuel in May as Russia strikes depots

Ukraine to import 420,000 tonnes of fuel in May as Russia strikes depots

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Ukraine has signed contracts to import 300,000 tons of diesel and 120,000 tons of petrol to cover consumption in May as Russia targets Ukrainian fuel infrastructure, First Deputy Prime Minister Yulia Svyrydenko said on Friday, as per Reuters.

Russia has destroyed 27 fuel depots and the Kremenchuk oil refinery in central Ukraine since it launched its Feb. 24 invasion, the government official said at a government meeting.

As per MRC, pressure on Europe to secure alternative gas supplies increased on Thursday as Moscow imposed sanctions on European subsidiaries of state-owned Gazprom a day after Ukraine stopped a major gas transit route.
Gas prices surged, with the key European benchmark gaining 12% as buyers were unsettled by the mounting threats to Europe's supply given its high dependence on Russia. Moscow has already cut off supply to Bulgaria and Poland and countries are racing to fill dwindling gas reserves before winter.

As per MRC, Uniper remains in talks with Gazprom and the German government over how to implement Moscow's demand to pay for Russian gas in roubles, which the European Commission said would breach sanctions. Uniper, in presentation slides published along with final first-quarter results, cited "ongoing discussions with German government and Gazprom on potential implementation" of the decree, which has stoked fears that supplies may be disrupted. The company, Germany's largest importer of Russian gas in which Finland's Fortum owns 78%, declined to comment on details of the talks, only saying that no binding assessment had been made as of now.

Borealis, Reclay Group launched Recelerate GmbH

Borealis, Reclay Group launched Recelerate GmbH

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Polyolefin manufacturer Borealis has teamed up with the environmental and material recovery experts of the Reclay Group, the company has announced, said Sustainableplastics.

Together, the two have now launched Recelerate GmbH, an initiative designed to re-examine and streamline the process involved in the recycling of lightweight packaging recycling, ultimately with the goal of ensuring more post-consumer lightweight packaging (LWP) is sorted and recycled into high quality materials.

The companies came together in response to rising market demand for high-quality recyclates for use in high-end plastic applications and the need boost the output of these recyclates from current operations. Recelerate is envisioned as playing a critical connector role in the plastic value chain, connecting downstream and upstream expertise to rethink how LWP waste is managed, sorted, processed, and recycled.

The combination of Borealis’ available recycling expertise - the company has developed a proprietary technology dubbed Borcycle - and Reclay Group’s strength in the area of extended producer responsibility schemes (EPR) will enable a macro view approach to identify opportunities to add value and invest where it matters, to ensure more and more plastic waste from LWP is able to stay within the value chain.

As Raffael Fruscio, owner and managing director of the Reclay Group pointed out: “This is an important moment to build on existing strengths and get some momentum in creating smart, successful, sustainable models that more and more businesses, regions and communities can benefit from. Together we will ensure that valuable material is kept in the cycle.” Both Borealis and Reclay anticipate significant benefits from the partnership.

For Reclay, Recelerate will help grow the reach, scale and impact of EPR; for Borealis, it will open up supply of post-consumer plastic waste to be recycled with its Borcycle recycling technology; for customers and consumers, it means greater access to high quality recycled materials. Recelerate will connect critical partners in the plastic value chain; closing the gap, and accelerating the growth and scaling of circular plastics.

We remind, Borealis (Vienna), a leading producer of polyolefins, has delayed the start-up of a new, world-scale propane dehydrogenation (PDH) plant at its existing production site at Kallo, Belgium, which is the company's biggest investment in Europe, until Q3 2023, citing Covid-19. The plant in Kallo in the port of Antwerp was previously targeted to begin operations by the end of next year.

As per MRC, Adnoc and Mubadala Mubadala announced a strategic transaction involving Borealis, one of Europe’s leading petrochemical companies. Under this agreement, Adnoc will acquire a 25% shareholding in Borealis from Mubadala. Upon completion of the transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals, Borealis will be owned 25% by Adnoc and 75% by OMV, an Austrian multi-national integrated oil, gas and petrochemical company listed on the Vienna Stock Exchange.

Sumitomo to supply fluidized-bed gasifier to Protos Biofuels

Sumitomo to supply fluidized-bed gasifier to Protos Biofuels

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Sumitomo SHI FW (SFW) has been selected as the preferred gasifier supplier to Protos Biofuels Ltd (Protos), a project developed by Advanced Biofuel Solutions Ltd (ABSL) and Greenergy, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Protos announced that its first municipal waste advanced biofuels project has progressed into the front-end engineering design (FEED) phase. Petrofac has been appointed to deliver the FEED with SFW to supply the fluidized-bed gasifier that converts the household waste into synthesis gas (syngas) as part of ABSL’s RadGas process in which the syngas is cleaned in a direct current plasma arc furnace. The clean syngas is then converted into biomethane and biohydrogen.

The commercial scale Protos plant will incorporate ABSL’s RadGas process technology and be the first to produce grid-grade biomethane and biohydrogen from municipal waste. Located on the Protos site in the North West of England, the project site is part of HyNet North West, one of the UK’s leading industrial decarbonization projects.

Due for completion in 2025, the project will divert 150,000 tonnes of household waste annually, the amount produced by a large town, from landfill and incineration, converting it into renewable low-carbon fuel. By using waste as a feedstock, the plant will avoid 160,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year, equivalent to the emissions of 107,000 cars, through the replacement of fossil fuel with waste-based fuel alternatives and the capture of carbon dioxide.

As per MRC, Sumitomo Chemical announced its decision to close down its production facilities for caprolactam, a raw material for nylon, at its Ehime Works (Niihama city, Ehime, Japan) in October 2022, and exit the business. Sumitomo Chemical started production of caprolactam at its Ehime Works in 1965, employing a liquid-phase process, and has since been engaged in the business for more than 50 years.

Also, Sumitomo Corporation has commenced sales of the industrial park developed in a special economic zone in Narayanganj District, Dhaka Division, Bangladesh together with Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority.

Sumitomo Corporation has taken part in the business of development, sales and operation of industrial parks in Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Myanmar and India. As of February 2022, the 7 industrial parks have invited 563 tenant companies with 220,000 direct employment. This year marks the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Bangladesh and Japan. Sumitomo Corporation will utilize its know-how obtained through industrial park business operations in other countries to support tenant companies and contribute to the diversification of the industrial sector and encouraging job creation in Bangladesh.

Evonik to invest 8 billion euros by 2030 in high-margin businesses

Evonik to invest 8 billion euros by 2030 in high-margin businesses

MOSCOW (MRC) -- German chemicals company Evonik plans to invest 8 billion euros (USD8.45 billion) by 2030 to boost growth in its smart materials, specialty additives and nutrition & care units, said Reuters.

The company, which makes ingredients for products ranging from animal feed and diapers to Pfizer/BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine, is restructuring to focus on high-margin and high-growth businesses. Evonik’s business in Russia will come to a standstill, CEO Christian Kullmann said. “We are deliberately letting it run down."

Methionine, an amino acid that Evonik produces in Russia and which is used as an animal-feed additive, is now on the European Union’s embargo list, according to Kullmann. Half of the investments are planned for Germany, Kullmann said. The money was earmarked for products that are sustainable and generate a margin on earnings before interest and tax of more than 20%.

The group had decided to sell its 900-staff baby care business next year, and was looking for a partner or a buyer for its C4 Verbund unit, which makes components for car petrol, rubber and PVC plastic, with around 1,000 staff.

Evonik also plans to divest its production site in Luelsdorf, close to the city of Cologne, the CEO said. Evonik has around 600 employees at the chemical site.

As per MRC, Evonik, one the world's petrochemical majors, is embarking on the next phase of its strategic transformation. Sustainability is being integrated fully and systematically into all elements of the strategy: portfolio management, innovation, corporate culture.

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.

Europe refiners benefit from U.S. emergency oil stock releases

Europe refiners benefit from U.S. emergency oil stock releases

MOSCOW (MRC) -- At least three vessels carrying crude oil from U.S. emergency stockpiles sailed for Europe in April as refiners there scrambled to replace Russian crude supplies, said Reuters.

Releases from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) since Russia's invasion of Ukraine were designed to counter supply shortages and stem fuel price gains. A release last fall was aimed primarily at pushing down rising U.S gasoline prices. The Biden administration last month added 180 MM barrels to two smaller releases since November from caverns along the U.S. Gulf Coast. The United States has not prohibited exports of SPR oil and some analysts believe the exports will grow.

U.S. retail gasoline and diesel prices, averaging USD4.40 and USD5.55 per gallon nationally, have remained near record highs despite the releases. Fuel demand is so strong U.S. refiners' average per share earnings this quarter are projected to run four times the first quarter's profit, according to analyst projections. Last month, U.S. oil refiner Phillips 66 loaded about 600,000 barrels of crude from the Bryan Mound cavern in Texas onto tanker Sea Holly. It is on its way to Trieste, Italy, U.S. customs data and Refinitiv Eikon showed. Trieste is home to a pipeline that send oil to refineries in central Europe.

Atlantic Trading & Marketing (ATMI), an arm of French oil major TotalEnergies, sent a little over 1 MM barrels of SPR crude to Rotterdam last month. About 2.25 MM SPR barrels on three vessels were exported to Italy and the Netherlands in April, according to Matt Smith, lead oil analyst for the Americas at data provider Kpler.

ATMI has secured at least 3.5 MM barrels from the SPR, while Phillips has secured at least 10 MM barrels, based on government disclosures. Other companies taking SPR oil include Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Marathon Petroleum and Valero Energy.

Phillips 66 declined to comment on trading activities. ATMI did not immediately respond to a request for a comment. With continued releases of SPR over next several months, "expect to be seeing some of those exported," Kpler's Smith said.

As per MRC, oil prices fell on as concerns over weak economic growth in China, the world's top oil importer, overshadowed fears supply might be crimped by a potential European Union ban on Russian crude. Brent crude futures were down USD3.73, or 3.4%, to $103.41 a barrel at 1403 GMT, while U.S. WTI crude futures fell USD3.98, or 3.8%, to USD100.71 a barrel. Markets in Japan, Britain, India and across Southeast Asia were closed for public holidays on Monday. China released data showing factory activity in the world's second-largest economy contracted for a second month to its lowest since February 2020 because of COVID lockdowns.

We remind, US oil refiners expect strong first-quarter earnings as margins to sell gasoline and diesel strengthened due to a steep dropoff in refining capacity and crude oil supplies tightened because of Russia's war with Ukraine.
Refining capacity worldwide has dropped during the coronavirus pandemic, with several less profitable oil refineries closing in the last two years. However, worldwide fuel demand has rebounded to near pre-pandemic levels, boosting profits for facilities that are still operating.