Linde Engineering to extend Slovnaf polypropylene capacity in Slovakia

Linde Engineering to extend Slovnaf polypropylene capacity in Slovakia

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Linde Engineering announced it has been selected by Slovnaft, a member of the MOL Group, a leading integrated Central Eastern European oil and gas corporation, to conduct a complex large-scale revamp of a polypropylene (PP3) plant in Bratislava, Slovakia, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The revamp will extend the plant’s capacity by 18 percent to 300 kilotons of polypropylene per year, and the storage facility will be expanded from the current 45 to 61 silos in total. The revamped plant has been designed to offer a higher degree of operational flexibility by producing multiple product grades and utilizing intermediate storage to ensure just-in-time production.

Furthermore, the project will incorporate environmental measures to capture waste gas streams in compliance with local regulations. "The revamp will enable Slovnaft to meet rising demands from the polyolefin processing industry. The project is challenging given its complexity: Interdependency with other process facilities allows only a narrow time frame for a shutdown. With our proven expertise and best-in-class services, we will be able to complete all installation works, including construction, commissioning and testing," said Juergen Nowicki, CEO Linde Engineering.

Several studies performed by Linde Engineering between 2016 and 2020 laid the foundation for Slovnaft’s investment decision. "One of the goals of our updated 2030+ strategy is to reduce the production of fossil fuels and strengthen the production of basic plastics. Linde Engineering is our reliable partner. Less than 20 years ago, the company built the PP3 polypropylene production unit in Slovnaft and now it will renovate and modernize it,” said Gabriel Szabo, Executive Vice President of Downstream at MOL Group.

As per MRC, bp and Linde announced plans to advance a major carbon capture and storage (CCS) project in Texas that will enable low carbon hydrogen production at Linde’s existing facilities. The development will also support the storage of carbon dioxide (CO2) captured from other industrial facilities – paving the way for large-scale decarbonization of the Texas Gulf Coast industrial corridor.

Orion Engineered Carbons expands its revolving credit facility

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Orion Engineered Carbons, a specialty chemical company, announced that it has added 100 million EUR to its senior secured revolving credit facility, which expands the company's facility to EUR350 mln, said the company.

"In light of current volatility within the global energy markets, we feel it is prudent to increase our revolving credit facility. We believe this will cover our working capital needs up to an oil price of about USD200 per barrel. We want to be proactively prepared for this higher level of volatility,” said Jeff Glajch, Orion’s chief financial officer.

This expansion was completed at similar terms as Orion’s previous facility. Two new global lenders were added to the lending group. The credit facility was oversubscribed, reflecting confidence in Orion’s prospects during these unsettled times.

Orion Engineered Carbons is a leading global supplier of carbon black, a solid form of carbon produced as powder or pellets. The material is made to customers’ exacting specifications for tires, coatings, ink, batteries, plastics and numerous other specialty, high-performance applications. Carbon black is used to tint, colorize, provide reinforcement, conduct electricity, increase durability, and add UV protection. Orion has innovation centers on three continents and 14 plants worldwide, offering the most diverse variety of production processes in the industry.

As per MRC, Orion Engineered Carbons, a specialty chemical company, announced plans to build the only plant in the U.S. producing acetylene-based conductive additives – a critical link in the value chain for lithium-ion batteries, high-voltage cables and other products powering the global transition to electrification and renewable energy. Orion’s planned facility in La Porte, Texas, south of Houston, will be backed by a long-term agreement for acetylene supplied from a neighboring site owned by Equistar Chemicals LP, a subsidiary of LyondellBasell.

As per MRC, Orion Engineered Carbons (Houston, Texas) says it will raise prices by 20% globally for acetylene black after a period of investment in its production plant in France “to better serve the growing market demand for acetylene black used in lithium-ion (Li-on) battery production” . The price increase takes effect on 1 March 2021 or as contracts allow.

We remind, Orion Engineered Carbons has raised its fourth-quarter guidance for adjusted EBITDA earnings to a range of USD64-67 million from the previously issued range of USD44-55 million given during its third quarter results on 5 November.

Orion Engineered Carbons is a worldwide supplier of Carbon Black. The company offers standard and high-performance products for Coatings, Printing Inks, Polymers, Rubber and other applications. Our high-quality Gas Blacks, Furnace Blacks and Specialty Carbon Blacks tint, colorize and enhance the performance of plastics, paints and coatings, inks and toners, adhesives and sealants, tires, and manufactured rubber goods such as automotive belts and hoses.

Tomra calls on PET supply chain to close the loop

Tomra calls on PET supply chain to close the loop

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Tomra continues to play a key role in closing the loop on PET beverage containers but recognizes that there is more to be done, said Plasticsinpackaging.

Tomra, a company specialised in sophisticated sensor-based sorting systems for recycling, has long worked to promote and develop increasingly more accurate PET sorting processes with the help of advanced technology. Tomra currently invests approximately 10% of its revenues in future-oriented activities to increase resource efficiency, advancing the market for circular solutions.

What’s needed, however, are a clear political framework, bold decisions and smart investments to improve circularity across all material streams and to overcome today's supply chain bottlenecks. As Andersen pointed out, first the pandemic and now the Ukraine war have thrown the need and urgency to decrease dependency on primary materials into sharp relief.

"We have the technology capable of maximising collection and recovery rates. We can act now, optimise waste management practices and fill existing gaps," she concluded. The European Green Deal, together with binding regulations and guidelines for producers and manufacturers, are propelling the transition to a circular economy forward. Tomra urges all participants in the value chain to see these specifications as an opportunity and to support their implementation.

Yet, the impact of any mandatory legislation will be less than optimal, as long as the collection systems continue to lag. "There are well-functioning collection systems in place, but it is still not enough. Every day we lose valuable resources to landfill and incineration where they are buried and burned. This is low-hanging fruit and the material must be collected, recovered and recycled,” said Dr. Volker Rehrmann, EVP, Head of Recycling/Mining & Circular Economy.

Resource circularity is a bigger topic than plastics alone. Closed-loop systems should be in place for material streams such as metals and wood as well, argued Tom Eng, SVP Head of Recycling. "We must pay equal attention to these recyclables to support reaching the EU's climate neutrality goals set for 2050", he said.

"If we leverage the power of intelligent technologies and closely work with the industry, we can turn waste into value and reduce the dependency on primary materials. Recycling is a key climate mitigator and energy-efficient route to go when supporting a sustainable transition, keeping materials in continuous use. Whatever it takes to close the loop, we will get there."

As per MRC, a six-year project in France to develop a recycling solution for monolayer and multilayer food packaging PET trays has led to a new technology that makes it possible to process the monolayer trays into a recycled product that is suitable for new tray production.

As per MRC, Indorama Ventures completed the acquisition of Ngoc Nghia Industry, one of Vietnam’s leading PET packaging companies. The acquisition will boost IVL's market position as it continues to expand its integrated offering of PET products to major multinational customers throughout the region.

Global refiners falter in efforts to keep up with demand

Global refiners falter in efforts to keep up with demand

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Refiners worldwide are struggling to meet global demand for diesel and gasoline, exacerbating high prices and aggravating shortages from big consumers like the United States and Brazil to smaller countries like war-ravaged Ukraine and Sri Lanka, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

World fuel demand has rebounded to pre-pandemic levels, but the combination of pandemic closures, sanctions on Russia and export quotas in China are straining refiners' ability to meet demand. China and Russia are two of the three biggest refining countries, after the United States. All three are below peak processing levels, undermining the effort by world governments to lower prices by releasing crude oil from reserves.

Two years ago, margins for making fuel were in the dumps due to the pandemic, leading to multiple closures. Now, the situation has reversed, and the strain could persist for the next couple of years, keeping prices elevated.

"When the coronavirus pandemic occurred, demand for global oil was not expected to fall for a long time, and yet so much refining capacity was cut permanently," said Ravi Ramdas, managing director of energy consultancy Peninsula Energy. Global refining capacity fell in 2021 by 730,000 barrels a day, the first decline in 30 years, according to the International Energy Agency. The number of barrels processed daily slumped to 78 MMbpd in April, lowest since May 2021, far below the pre-pandemic average of 82.1 MMbpd.

Fuel stocks have fallen for seven straight quarters. So while the price of crude oil is up 51% this year, U.S. heating oil futures are up 71%, and European gasoline refining margins recently hit a record at USD40 a barrel.

The United States, according to independent analyst Paul Sankey, is "structurally short" on refining capacity for the first time in decades. U.S. capacity is down nearly 1 million barrels from before the pandemic to 17.9 MMbpd as of February, the latest federal data available.

LyondellBasell recently said it would shut its Houston plant that could process more than 280,000 bpd, citing the high cost of maintenance. Operating U.S. refiners are running full-tilt to meet demand, especially for exports, which have surged to more than 6 MMbpd, a record. Capacity use currently exceeds 92%, highest seasonally since 2017.

"It's hard to see that refinery utilization can increase much," said Gary Simmons, Valero chief commercial officer. "We've been at this 93% utilization; generally, you can't sustain it for long periods of time."

The U.S. ban on Russian imports has left refiners in the northeast United States short of feedstocks needed to make fuel. Phillips 66 has been running its 150,000-bpd catalytic cracker at its New Jersey refinery at reduced rates because it cannot source low-sulfur vacuum gasoil, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

As per MRC, LyondellBasell announced that Jiangsu Hongjing New Material Co. Ltd. will use its Lupotech T high-pressure polyethylene technology at a new facility. The process technology will be used for two 200 kiloton per year (KTA) vinyl acetate copolymer (EVA) lines. The facility will be located in the Lianyungang, Jiangsu Province, P.R. of China.

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.

BASF Bioenergy launches its new brand Spartec

BASF Bioenergy launches its new brand Spartec

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BASF Bioenergy launches its new brand Spartec for the North American bioethanol market. With the new brand, BASF establishes a new standard for performance and service, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

"The new brand Spartec demonstrates our commitment to addressing key customer needs such as improving plant performance by increasing yields, improving plant efficiency, and reducing carbon intensity," says Danielle Cusumano, Head of Bioenergy Business, BASF Enzymes.

BASF Bioenergy continuously works with customers and strategic partners to deliver sustainable solutions and develop innovative enzymes creating value for ethanol producers. The products under the new brand name are already available and in use with more products to be launched soon.

As per MRC, BASF and Brookfield have finalized a term sheet for a 25-year renewable electricity supply agreement to purchase solar and wind power for the BASF Zhanjiang Verbund site in China. Under the fixed-price agreement, Brookfield will develop and build dedicated solar and wind farms, as well as possible storage solutions to support the renewable energy demands of BASF site.

We remind that BASF is to increase its production capacity for plastic additives at its sites in Pontecchio Marconi, Italy and Lampertheim, Germany. BASF did not disclose, however, current or future capacities for its production of plastic additives hindered amine light stabilizers (HALS).

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.