LanzaTech demonstrates MEG production from carbon emissions

LanzaTech demonstrates MEG production from carbon emissions

MOSCOW (MRC) -- A new route to the production of monoethylene glycol, a key monomer in the production of polyethylene terephthalate (PET), has been discovered, Illinois-based biotech company LanzaTech has announced, as per Sustainableplastics.

The method builds on the carbon capture technology previously developed by the company. That technology is based on a microbial gas fermentation process that initially could convert carbon monoxide into ethanol, but today provides a sustainable pathway to produce a range of platform chemicals. Gas streams from multiple sources are used, including industrial off-gases from steel and alloy mills; petroleum refineries, petrochemical complexes and gas processing facilities; syngas generated from municipal solid waste, organic industrial waste, agricultural waste; and reformed biogas.

To produce MEG, LanzaTech uses carbon emissions from steel mills or gasified waste biomass and a proprietary engineered bacterium to convert carbon emissions directly into MEG through fermentation. This bypasses the need for an ethanol intermediate, and simplifies the MEG supply chain as it eliminates the multiple processing steps required to convert ethanol into ethylene, then ethylene oxide and then to MEG.

The direct production of MEG was proven at laboratory scale and the presence of MEG was confirmed by two external laboratories. The discovery is a breakthrough in the production of sustainable PET that has vast potential to reduce the overall environmental impact of the process, said Dr. Jennifer Holmgren, CEO of LanzaTech.

As per MRC, Bridgestone Americas (Bridgestone), a global leader in tires and sustainable mobility solutions, today announced an exclusive partnership with Carbon Capture and Transformation (CCT) company, LanzaTech NZ, Inc. (LanzaTech) to address end-of-life tire waste. The two companies will co-develop the first dedicated end-of-life tire recycling process leveraging LanzaTech's proprietary CCT technology, creating a pathway toward tire material circularity and the decarbonization of new tire production.

JGC wins lion share of work in Saudi Aramco’s strategic Zuluf oil and gas field development megaproject

JGC wins lion share of work in Saudi Aramco’s strategic Zuluf oil and gas field development megaproject

MOSCOW (MRC) -- JGC Corporation and JGC Arabia have been jointly awarded a pair of contracts by Saudi Aramco for the Zuluf oil and gas field development megaproject, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Indrajit Sen, Oil & Gas Editor at GlobalData’s MEED, offers his view: “The Zuluf production increment project is of critical importance to Saudi Aramco in its quest of attaining a maximum oil production capacity of 13 MMbpd by 2027. Aramco has allocated a capital expenditure (capex) budget of USD40 billion to USD50 billion for 2022, and spending on the Zuluf EPC contracts accounts for a major chunk of this capex plan.

“By winning the two main onshore EPC packages, JGC has emerged as the single largest contractor on the Zuluf megaproject, with the combined value of its contracts estimated to be more than USD3 billion.

“With Aramco looking to increase its investments towards oil, gas, refining and petrochemicals production capacities, the Japanese contractor, which has a considerable track record of EPC project execution in Saudi Arabia, has positioned itself as a partner of choice for more key project contracts."

As per MRC, JGC Holdings Corporation announced the launch of a joint research and development (R&D) program with Bridgestone Corporation, the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Tohoku University, and ENEOS Corporation. This program is aimed at developing chemical recycling technologies that utilize used tires to achieve high-yield production of isoprene, a raw material for synthetic rubber. By combining the expertise and technologies of industry leading companies and academic institutions, JGC Holdings and its partners are working to develop recycling technologies that will contribute to the realization of a more sustainable society and to conduct demonstrations for the social implementation of these technologies by 2030.

U.S., European thirst for fuel sends physical oil prices soaring

U.S., European thirst for fuel sends physical oil prices soaring

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Sky-high refining margins for diesel and gasoline in Europe and the United States, driven by a cutoff in Russian supply, has sent prices for some types of physical crude oil to all-time records according to traders, said Reuters.

The dearth of fuel in the major consuming countries just as the summer driving season in the United States kicks off has lifted asking prices near and above historic peaks for lighter and medium oil types from West Africa to the North Sea.

The sharp rises underscore a tight market and the difficulty of bringing down transport fuel costs, which have thrust inflation toward 40-year highs and triggered recession fears in the United States and some parts of Europe.

Offers for medium sweet Forcados Blend and Escravos crude from Nigeria have approached an USD8 premium compared to dated Brent, traders said, their highest ever according to Refinitiv Eikon data. The grades are easily refined into middle distillates like diesel. Qua Iboe, another type of Nigerian oil that is suitable for refining into gasoline, was on offer for an unprecedented dated Brent plus USD6.

"Nigerian crude is being supported by gasoline and distillate shortages in general in Europe and the United States," a West African crude trader said. Gasoline refining margins, also known as cracks, in Northwest Europe hit a new peak last week at just above $40 a barrel last week before edging down about USD10 - still near highs last seen in 2015, with stocks there plunging a quarter or 250,000 tons on the week.

In the North Sea, Oseberg and Ekofisk differentials are at all-time highs, traders said, partly due to reduced loadings around maintenance in the latter. Seaborne non-Russian barrels, including from Norway, imported into the Polish Baltic Sea port of Gdansk, have been on the rise as refineries in eastern Europe and Germany look for alternatives to Russian oil.

In the United States, gasoline-friendly light sweet U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose to its highest since March earlier this month. Average diesel prices in the U.S. hovered around a record of USD5.58 this month, up three quarters from last year, as the retail cost gallon of gasoline topped USD4.37 - also a record.

As per MRC, the price of Brent crude oil, the world benchmark, has increased in 2022, partly as a result of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. In addition, a strong U.S. dollar means that countries that use currencies other than the U.S. dollar pay more as crude oil prices increase. Since June 1, 2021, the Brent crude oil price has increased by 59% in U.S. dollars and by 86% in euros.

As per MRC, Russian fuel oil arrivals in the UAE oil hub of Fujairah are set to jump sharply to about 2.5 MM barrels this month, data shows, in a sign that flows of Russian oil and refined products are shifting away from Europe.

We remind, oil prices fell on Monday 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.

One-third of ExxonMobil shareholders back study on virgin plastics risks

One-third of ExxonMobil shareholders back study on virgin plastics risks

MOSCOW (MRC) -- A little more than one-third of ExxonMobil Corp. shareholders voted May 25 to urge the company to closely study its financial risks if society makes rapid moves away from single-use plastics and virgin resin, said Sustainableplastics.

The ExxonMobil vote, which was opposed by the company, comes two weeks after a similar resolution at Philipps 66's annual meeting, where 50.4 percent of shareholders favored a plan from green investors to look at risks it faced from stranded plastics production assets. "What investors are looking for is robust and quantitative disclosure of a company's exposure to the single-use plastics supply chain and how the company can fundamentally change its business model for plastics production," said Joshua Romo, energy and plastics associate at the shareholder advocacy group As You Sow, which brought the resolution.

The issue could be particularly important for ExxonMobil because it's the world's largest maker of virgin plastic intended for single-use applications, AYS said, quoting an analysis from the Minderoo Foundation. AYS said 37.4 percent of ExxonMobil shareholders voted for its resolution.

In comments to shareholders ahead of the May 25 annual meeting, however, ExxonMobil urged investors to reject the AYS resolution, saying that the company shares concerns about plastic waste and is taking action, including investments in chemical recycling facilities in the United States and France, and plans to build capacity to process about 500,000 metric tons of plastic waste per year by 2026.

As well, it said that it's a founding member of the Alliance to End Plastics Waste, a USD1.5 billion industry effort to improve waste management in the developing world. And it said that plastics demand is expected to continue to grow worldwide, including a push to meet needs for lower-carbon technologies like electric cars and green power, as well as help achieve United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in areas like clean drinking water.

ExxonMobil quoted an International Energy Agency analysis that said that even under a net zero emissions by 2050 strategy, chemical demand will grow by 30 percent from 2020, and plastics will account for half that new demand. But the green investors argued that the resin industry is at risk because it's not moving fast enough to use recycled materials to meet that demand, and faces financial risks if it doesn't move faster.

AYS said that ExxonMobil's planned investment in new virgin plastic production is eight times its target for recycled resins, and it said those recycling investments would displace at most five percent of the company's virgin plastics production by 2026.

AYS pointed to a report from the Pew Charitable Trust that said ocean plastic pollution can be reduced by 80 percent by 2040 if recycled plastic demand triples and demand for virgin plastic drops by one-third. "These high votes with Exxon and Phillips 66 send a loud, clear message to the industry to move swiftly to develop a blueprint for an expeditious transition away from virgin plastic and less production of throwaway plastics overall," said Conrad MacKerron, senior vice president at AYS.

As per MRC, ExxonMobil has made three new discoveries offshore Guyana and increased its estimate of the recoverable resource for the Stabroek Block to nearly 11 billion oil-equivalent barrels. The three discoveries are southeast of the Liza and Payara developments and bring to five the discoveries made by ExxonMobil in Guyana in 2022.

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.

ExxonMobil is the largest non-government owned company in the energy industry and produces about 3% of the world's oil and about 2% of the world's energy.

CHIMEI partners with ITRI on carbon capture and utilization CCU project

CHIMEI partners with ITRI on carbon capture and utilization CCU project

MOSCOW (MRC) -- CHIMEI Corporation announced that it is launching a Carbon Capture and Utilization (CCU) project as part of its ongoing development of sustainable materials, said the company.

The CCU project will capture and convert CO2 from production processes into the main raw material in polycarbonate (PC) products. The new generation of fixed carbon PC products produced in this manner will help bring about circular sustainability. Phase 1 of the project commenced in May this year when CHIMEI partnered with the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) to leverage its portfolio of sustainable innovative technologies to develop a technology to covert CO2 recovered from CHIMEI’s flue gas into dialkyl carbonate (DRC), the main in-process material used in PC products. The technology is currently expected to be validated by the end of 2023. In the future, CHIMEI will use this precursor technology as the basis for developing the next-generation of fixed carbon PC products.

To realize circular recycling and carbon reductions in full, CHIMEI has been working with the supply chain in recent years to develop and use various sustainable materials, including mechanical recycling, chemical recycling, and biomass materials. Our goal is to become the leading international partner in sustainability. The CCU project in particular is a key area of CHIMEI’s roadmap on development of sustainable material and the next wave of development.

Polycarbonate makes use of CO2 during the production process so it was selected as the first target for CCU. On the technical side, CHIMEI chose ITRI with its extensive portfolio of sustainable, innovative technologies as its partner. The new catalyst and reaction techniques developed by ITRI as well as CHIMEI’s years of experience in PC manufacturing and outstanding technical capabilities will hopefully lead to a new low-carbon technology for converting CO2 recovered from flue gas into DRC.

CHIMEI then plans to use the DRC output to synthesize diphenyl carbonate (DPC), then use the reaction between fixed carbon DPC with bisphenol A to obtain fixed carbon PC. All of the byproducts during the PC production process can be recycled as well. Once the technology is complete, the only raw material required for fixed carbon PC products will be CO2 recovered from flue gas and bisphenol A.

By upholding the green vision of “Clean & Green”, CHIMEI actively responds to global environmental sustainability issues. In December 2021, CHIMEI committed to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) and became the first petrochemical company in Taiwan to respond to SBTi. With “Net Zero by 2050” as its goal, CHIMEI will propose short-term (2030) and long-term (2050) carbon reduction roadmaps within the year (the official requirement of STBi is 2 years).

As per MRC, CHIMEI completed a one-year-long ecological survey of its Green Energy Park, covering the diversity of animals, plants, and soil properties. Results of the survey indicate that 282 species of animals and plants have been recorded in the park, showing that the ecology of animals and plants in our Green Energy Park is quite rich compared with that in general low-altitude farmland and rural areas.

We remind, EPC Engineering & Technologies GmbH has been selected as technology licensor by ChiMei Corporation and its subsidiary Zhangzhou CHIMEI Chemical Co., Ltd. for a new 180 KTPA Polycarbonate Project to be located in Zhangzhou, China. EPC will provide a license for its patented EPC variPLANT Technology and proprietary equipment to CHIMEI and will also deliver engineering and onsite support for this project.