Michigan Economic Development Corporation will grant USD150,000 to Island Plastics

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The Michigan Economic Development Corporation will grant USD150,000 to Island Plastics, a subsidiary of ACI Plastics, through the Michigan Strategic Fund, as per its press-release.

ACI, a post-industrial plastics recycler, will utilize the funding to install post-consumer LDPE recycling equipment at their Flint, Michigan facility, bringing their total processing capacity to over 11,000 tonnes/year.

“We are excited that ACI Plastics, Inc. has chosen to expand operations in Flint as they continue to grow in the post-consumer plastics recycling industry,” said Tyler Rossmaessler, executive director of Flint & Genesee Economic Alliance.

In total, the capital investment for the expansion is estimated at USD8m.

This follows ACI's announcement earlier this year invest $4m in a new South Carolina facility. The 138,000 square foot facility will process post-industrial plastic into flake and the company hopes to expand with pelletizing operations in the future.

As per MRC, LyondellBasell has developed polymers based on advanced recycled post-consumer materials. These polymers, branded under the name CirculenRevive, are made using an advanced recycling process to convert plastic waste into feedstock, which is used to produce new polymers, using a mass balance approach. With the support of Greiner Packaging, these polymers will be used to make coffee capsules for Nestle’s Nescafe Dolce Gusto. This collaboration aims to help advance a circular economy for plastic.
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Citgo ready to resume oil imports from Venezuela if U.S. authorizes

Citgo ready to resume oil imports from Venezuela if U.S. authorizes

MOSCOW (MRC) -- U.S. refiner Citgo Petroleum is willing to resume imports of Venezuelan crude, suspended since 2019 by Washington's sanctions on its parent company PDVSA, if the U.S. government authorizes the flow, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Since March, top U.S. and Venezuelan officials have been engaged in political negotiations that could lead to Washington easing oil trading sanctions that have hit the OPEC country's production and exports. OPEC and the French government, representing Europe, have called for Washington to allow Venezuelan and Iranian crude to flow to consuming nations that are struggling to replace Russian energy supplies during the war in Ukraine.

"To be competitive in this market, we have to buy the cheapest and most convenient crude," said Carlos Jorda, Citgo CEO in an online conference on Venezuela's foreign energy assets. "We should not be at a disadvantage" to other refiners. Citgo did not immediately reply to a request for further comment.

President Joe Biden's administration in May authorized European companies Eni and Repsol to resume imports of Venezuelan crude, which last month helped boost the nation's oil exports to over 600,000 barrels per day. Chevron Corp, the last U.S. producer operating in Venezuela, also is requesting an authorization from the U.S. Treasury Department to ship Venezuelan oil to the United States and even getting operating control of its joint ventures.

"If authorized (Venezuelan) crude arrives in the U.S. Gulf Coast without penalties at competitive prices, especially if it is heavy crude, we would certainly have to evaluate it," said Horacio Medina, president of a board overseeing Citgo, in the same conference. "I see no reason to be radically closed to that," he added.

Citgo, whose first-quarter profit soared more than 10 times the year-ago level to USD245 million on higher crude processing volumes and surging fuel prices, expects to report second-quarter results in the coming week, Jorda said.

As MRC wrote before, in September 2020, Citgo Petroleum Corp said it did not plan to idle its 418,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) Lake Charles, Louisiana, refinery damaged by Hurricane Laura. Rumors have circulated since Laura’s passage over the Lake Charles area on Aug. 27 that Citgo was considering shutting the refinery for an indefinite period because of the extent of the damage and continuing low demand for motor fuels in the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Greiner swapped to cardboard-plastic packaging solution

Greiner swapped to cardboard-plastic packaging solution

MOSCOW (MRC) -- UK-based healthy-eating, Asian-inspired quick-service retail & grocery brand Itsu has swapped the packaging for its instant udon noodles to a K3® packaging solution from Greiner Packaging UK and Ireland, said Polymerupdate.

“We introduced our first instant noodles in 2018 and in October 2021, we swapped to the K3® cardboard-plastic packaging solution for our udon noodle range to improve its sustainability,” says Katrina Burrows, Packaging Change Manager at Itsu Grocery. “As a brand, we are always striving to improve product recyclability and sustainability. Our udon noodles were previously packaged in a cardboard pot, which was double-laminated, and therefore non-recyclable. It also had a plastic lid, which was recyclable, but made from virgin plastic. Plastic packaging is negatively perceived by consumers, particularly if it is not made from recycled plastics. By moving to a widely recyclable foil lid, the negative connotations are removed, and it is clear to the consumer that it is easily recyclable.

The K3® packaging solution features a lightweight PP plastic cup wrapped in a removable cardboard sleeve which features a patented tear-tab so that consumers can easily and intuitively separate the materials to enable recycling. “We have used the printable reverse of the wrap to clearly indicate to consumers where to fill the boiling water to (as part of the preparation instructions). Previously, this had to be on the outside of an opaque cup and the fill-level was difficult to judge.

“The account manager at Greiner Packaging was very responsive and helpful in the process between ideation and raising orders,” concludes Katrina Burrows. “There were a few teething issues during production and delivery of the first order into our ambient warehouse, but Greiner Packaging solved all of them in an impressive way.

“Overall the move to using the K3® cup has been a positive move for the business but also for sustainability reasons. We will continue to improve the sustainability of the Itsu product ranges in whatever way possible.” “This was our first project with Itsu and it was clear from the outset that they were on a mission to improve their sustainability story,” says Greiner Packaging Sustainability and Innovation Manager Rachel Sheldon. “The K3® pack therefore represents a perfect solution as it is fully recyclable and uses less plastic."

As per MRC, LyondellBasell has developed polymers based on advanced recycled post-consumer materials. These polymers, branded under the name CirculenRevive, are made using an advanced recycling process to convert plastic waste into feedstock, which is used to produce new polymers, using a mass balance approach. With the support of Greiner Packaging, these polymers will be used to make coffee capsules for Nestle’s Nescafe Dolce Gusto. This collaboration aims to help advance a circular economy for plastic.
mrchub.com

Oil refiners, unions press U.S. EPA on biofuel blending costs

Oil refiners, unions press U.S. EPA on biofuel blending costs

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Oil refining company and labor union representatives pressed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency at a virtual meeting last week to lower costs of the nation's biofuel blending program when it resets the policy next year, according to sources familiar with the call, said Reuters.

The refining industry and unions representing its workers have grown more concerned about the impact of an expected overhaul of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). It requires refiners to blend billions of gallons per year of biofuels like ethanol into the nation's fuel or buy credits called RINs from those that do. When Congress enacted the RFS in 2005, it set yearly volume requirement targets of renewable fuel through 2022 and gave the EPA broad authority to reshape the policy after that. The EPA is expected to propose changes by mid-September.

In a virtual meeting last week, representatives of PBF Energy Inc and Monroe Energy LLC discussed RINs policy with EPA officials, according to three sources familiar with the matter. Both companies have refineries near or in President Joe Biden's home state of Delaware. Two of the sources said refinery representatives asked the EPA for measures that could lower the steep costs of the credits. Small refiners say high RINs costs could put them out of business.

The EPA told the refiners and labor groups, which included the boilermakers and steamfitters, that they need to appeal to lawmakers or officials in the administration for any changes to RINS policy and pricing, two of the sources said. That comment appeared to frustrate the refining and labor representatives, one source said.

All three sources asked not to be named because they were not authorized to publicly discuss details of the call. It was unclear who initiated last week's meeting. The EPA said it has met with multiple stakeholders over the last several months to gather input on the upcoming RFS proposal. "We encourage stakeholders to share their perspectives with us and other parts of the administration to ensure our regulatory decisions are based on the best information possible," said EPA spokesperson Lindsay Hamilton.

Monroe and PBF did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Biden and his fellow Democrats are feeling heavy pressure for soaring pump prices and rising consumer costs heading into the November midterm elections. The administration has been pressing refiners and oil drillers to quickly ramp up production.

Last month, Biden wrote a letter to executives from Marathon Petroleum Corp, Valero Energy Corp and Exxon Mobil Corp, complaining they had cut back on oil refining to pad profits. Refiners denied the accusation, saying they were producing near full capacity.

They have also complained vocally that the Biden administration has set biofuel blending volumes too high and has been stingy with waivers from the biofuel mandates meant to help small refiners stay afloat. Fuel producers have been enjoying big profit margins lately thanks to strong demand and tight supply. But the industry has been in long-term decline because of volatile markets, regulatory pressure on fossil fuels, and slow consumption growth. Many refiners have shut down or retooled into biofuel plants in recent years, which has contributed to the current price spike.

EPA has been mum on its plans for the RFS reset. Stakeholders expect the agency to issue multi-year proposals for blending requirements to reduce regulatory uncertainty for refiners and biofuel producers alike. The agency is also expected to somehow incorporate the electric vehicle industry into the next phase of the RFS, which would help advance Biden's efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation and fight climate change. Refiners and biofuel producers both oppose that idea.

As per MRC, the EIA's new report, titled Global Surplus Crude Oil Production Capacity, provides estimates of global surplus crude oil production capacity in both OPEC countries and non-OPEC countries. Preliminary estimates for these data show that, as of May 2022, surplus capacity in non-OPEC countries decreased by 80% compared with 2021. The data show that, in 2021, 1.4 MMbpd of surplus production capacity was available in non-OPEC countries, about 60% of which was in Russia. As of May 2022, we estimate that all surplus production capacity in Russia was eliminated due to the sanctions implemented after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. We determined that excess oil production capacity declined in other non-OPEC producing countries as well. We estimate that, as of May 2022, producers in non-OPEC countries had about 280,000 bpd of surplus production capacity.
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Neste, MAN and Altens sign a partnership to promote biofuels in France

Neste, MAN and Altens sign a partnership to promote biofuels in France

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Sharing a common vision where biofuels have a key role to play in reducing the greenhouse gas emissions in transportation – Neste, MAN and Altens have signed a partnership contract aimed at promoting biofuels in France, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

France is a strong market for biodiesel and FAME, but many OEMs would like to see more renewable diesel, also known as HVO100, on the market. The objective of this partnership is to promote the common vision of Neste, MAN and Altens of the crucial role that biofuels can and must play in the sustainability transformation of the transportation of goods and people.

“This partnership with Neste, a world leader in producing renewable diesel, and Altens, a multi-biofuel supplier in France reinforces MAN's multi-biofuel approach," says Jean-Yves Kerbrat, Managing Director of MAN Truck & Bus France. “MAN advocates sustainable biofuels as opposed to fossil fuels because they allow significant reductions in CO2 emissions and are easy to implement solutions in the short term,” Jean-Yves continues.

MAN Truck and Bus France as an industrial vehicle manufacturer offering several biofuel solutions (HVO100, B100 and biogas) is convinced that biofuels is a solution that is available here and now, reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the already existing vehicle fleets and engine technologies, not requiring any additional investments into these.

“Neste MY Renewable Diesel is a high-quality, high-performance fuel, a more sustainable alternative to fossil diesel, helping its users reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90%* when emissions over the fuel's life cycle are compared with fossil diesel. With Neste MY Renewable Diesel, companies can reduce their climate emissions significantly in an instant by just changing the fuel,'' says Peter Zonneveld, Vice President Sales, Europe and APAC, Renewable Road Transportation at Neste. “We are committed to supporting our customers to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by at least 20 MMtpy by 2030,” Peter Zonneveld said.

As per MRC, Neste has made the final investment decision to invest into new renewable products production capacity in Rotterdam. The decision is based on demand for renewable products growing substantially with customers' higher climate ambitions. Neste’s current 1.4 MMt capacity for renewable products in Rotterdam is the largest in Europe. The Rotterdam refinery expansion investment of approximately EUR 1.9 B will expand Neste’s overall renewable product capacity by 1.3 MMtpy, bringing the total renewable product capacity in Rotterdam to 2.7 MMt annually, of which sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) production capability will be 1.2 MMt. The company’s target is to start up the new production unit during the first half of 2026.
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