World largest CO2-to-methanol plant starts production

World largest CO2-to-methanol plant starts production

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The world’s first commercial scale CO2-to-methanol plant has started production in Anyang, Henan Province, China, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The cutting-edge facility is the first of its type in the world to produce methanol — a valuable fuel and chemical feedstock — at this scale from captured waste carbon dioxide and hydrogen gases.

The plant's production process is based on the Emissions-to-Liquids (ETL) technology developed by Carbon Recycling International (CRI) and first demonstrated in Iceland. The new facility can capture 160,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions a year, which is equivalent to taking more than 60,000 cars off the road. The captured carbon dioxide is then reacted with the recovered hydrogen in CRI’s proprietary ETL reactor system with the capacity to produce 110,000 tons of methanol per year.

The successful start-up marks the end of a two-year project and months-long commissioning phase. Following sign-off by the CRI’s technical service team, the plant operations are now in the hands of Shunli, the project company (majority-owned by the Henan Shuncheng Group).

This flagship plant represents the achievement of an important milestone in the ongoing development of carbon capture and utilization (CCU) technology as well as the progression in industry towards a circular carbon economy.

At the heart of the process is CRI’s bespoke reactor that uses specialized catalysts to convert the carbon and hydrogen feed gases into low carbon-intensity methanol. The entire unit weighs around 84 tons or the weight of a fully-loaded Boeing 737. The reactor is mounted in a dedicated steel frame and connected to a specialized gas compressor and a distillation column that is just under 70-meters-tall.

The ETL process uses emissions that would have otherwise been released into the atmosphere, producing liquid methanol — from carbon dioxide that is recovered from existing lime production emissions and hydrogen that is recovered from coke-oven gas. Methanol production and use has grown rapidly in China in recent years and this new production method offers an alternative to the traditional coal-based methanol currently manufactured in China, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving air quality.

Bjork Kristjansdottir, CEO of CRI, emphasizes the importance of the plant’s start-up, “We are proud to have successfully realized this important project and to bring our environmentally friendly, ETL technology into the global market. We take great pleasure in being able to offer our proven technical solution to produce a valuable product directly from waste streams. This can support large scale reduction of CO2 emissions and help facilitate the energy transition. With increased demand for such solutions, we look forward to continuing to make meaningful impact by deploying the technology with our current and future partners."

CRI’s second project in China was announced last year and is already well on its way. It is expected to come online in the second half of 2023.

We remind, Italy is working on ways to keep a Lukoil-owned refinery in business despite new sanctions against Russia kicking in next month, as Rome tries to buy time to agree the sale of the plant. Lukoil's ISAB refinery in Sicily stands to be hit by an embargo on seaborne Russian oil that comes into force on Dec. 5, putting at risk jobs in Italy's poorer south and the country's refining capacity.

IRPC new DCC cyclone reactor will enable more than 640,000 tons of propylene to be produced per year

IRPC new DCC cyclone reactor will enable more than 640,000 tons of propylene to be produced per year

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The new unit installed at IRPC's petrochemical plant will maximize polymer-grade propylene production and the recovery of polymer-grade ethylene, to be used as feedstock for petrochemical derivate units at the same plant, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Sarens, world leader in heavy lifting, engineered transport and crane rental, assisted IRPC in the dismantling of the previous cyclone reactor, which had been installed in 2012, and the erection and installation of the new unit.

IRPC Public Company Limited's petrochemical plant in Rayong, Thailand, is currently undergoing renovation and upgrading works to optimize its production processes. One of the most important upgrades is the replacement of its DCC (Deep Catalytic Cracking) cyclone reactor, which will allow the plant to exceed the production of 640,000 tons of propylene produced per year.

These new upgrade works are in addition to those carried out in March and are part of IRPC's ongoing efforts to make its petrochemical plants the benchmark in Asia, for which it has invested more than USD1.3 B since 2012.

IRPC decided to rely on the international expertise of Sarens for the new upgrade works, which was in charge of the dismantling of the plant's DCC cyclone reactor and the lifting and installation of the new unit. For this work, Sarens sent three cranes from its international fleet to Rayong: a Terex-Demag CC2800, a Terex-Demag AC650, and a Tadano Faun ATF160G, as well as a team of seven specialists.

Sarens team had to practically adapt the design of the lifting frame to be used for both the disassembly and the lifting and installation of the new reactor, as the weight to be lifted was much greater than initially planned. In addition, the need to interrupt the operation of the plant only for the time strictly necessary led the Sarens specialists to operate uninterruptedly during the development of this new project.

According to Socrates Kannan, Sarens’ Fleet & Operations Manager in Thailand, “the operating time has been the main challenge for us. We were aware that any delay in dismantling the existing reactor or installing the new one could mean a delay in the reopening of the plant, and therefore a financial loss for our client. Therefore, the entire Sarens team worked around the clock to meet our client's needs”.

The new DCC reactor cyclone will allow IRPC to optimize the process of distillation of crude oil by transforming long residue - the remains resulting from the crude oil process - into propylene. Thanks to this new unit, IRPC expects to exceed 640,000 tons per year, of which approximately half will be used in the manufacture of polypropylene, while the other half will be dedicated to the production of specialized chemicals that will be used in the manufacture of value-added products.

Sarens owns more than 60 years of international experience in the development and installation of strategically important projects. In the energy sector, Sarens has been directly involved in the Clean Fuel Project’s expansion works in Thailand, or in the ensemble of two jackets in the Al Shaheen Oil Field in Qatar. The company has also worked in the expansion of the S-Oil plant in Ulsan, South Korea, in the construction of the Petroperu refinery in Talara (Peru), and in the Skikda refinery in Algeria.

We remind, IRPC Public Company Limited, a PTT Plc subsidiary, in March took off-stream its polypropylene (PP) plant in Rayong, Thailand for maintenance. The turnaround lasted 15 days in March, 2022.

PTT Global Chemical is a leading player in the petrochemical industry and owns several petrochemical facilities with a combined capacity of 8.45 million tonnes a year.

Italy issues comfort letter to stave off Lukoil refinery shutdown

Italy issues comfort letter to stave off Lukoil refinery shutdown

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Italian authorities have provided Lukoil with a "comfort letter" to help a refinery it owns in Sicily get bank financing to buy non-Russian oil and remain operational, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters .

The move is aimed at staving off worries that Lukoil's ISAB refinery, which accounts for around 20% of Italian refining capacity, stops working due to an embargo on seaborne Russian oil that comes into force on Dec. 5. ISAB has been forced to rely solely on Russian oil after creditor banks halted financing and stopped providing guarantees needed to buy oil from alternative suppliers.

Though Lukoil has not been hit by international sanctions against Russia, ISAB's suppliers and creditor banks have been wary of dealing with a Russian entity. The letter says that Lukoil should not be restricted in its operations given that it has not been sanctioned, in a bid to reassure ISAB's suppliers and creditors.

The government's safe pass comes from the Financial Security Committee, which is run and chaired by the Italian Treasury and is responsible for enforcing sanctions against Russia. Lukoil was not immediately available for comment.

The ISAB plant directly employs some 1,000 workers in the southern island of Sicily and unions welcomed the government's move. "The plant is an important pillar of the local economy and it's reassuring to know that it can keep functioning," Fiorenzo Amato, a local leader of the CGIL union, told Reuters.

With the letter, the new government of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni tries to buy time to agree the sale of the plant. U.S. Crossbridge Energy Partners, an investment platform specializing in energy transition projects, is among parties interested in buying the refinery. Antonio Nicita, a senator with the opposition Democratic Party who had urged the government to act swiftly, said the letter would allow banks to open credit lines to ISAB.

"I hope the banks will immediately provide funding to ISAB," Nicita said, adding the government should also consider taking control of the plant. ISAB discussed the issue with government authorities in an Oct. 17 meeting, which included representatives from Intesa Sanpaolo and UniCredit banks, with state-owned export credit agency SACE also present.

Talks centered around the possibility of state-backed financing from Intesa and UniCredit with guarantees from SACE.

We remind, Italy is working on ways to keep a Lukoil-owned refinery in business despite new sanctions against Russia kicking in next month, as Rome tries to buy time to agree the sale of the plant. Lukoil's ISAB refinery in Sicily stands to be hit by an embargo on seaborne Russian oil that comes into force on Dec. 5, putting at risk jobs in Italy's poorer south and the country's refining capacity.

Chevron USD11.2 bn quarterly profit soars past estimates

Chevron USD11.2 bn quarterly profit soars past estimates

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Chevron reported its second-highest ever quarterly profit, blasting past analysts' estimates, driven by soaring global demand for its oil and gas and rising production from its U.S. oilfields, said Reuters.

The surge comes as oil companies book mounting profits with prices near record levels and supplies tight on output cuts during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as market disruption from the war in Ukraine. Chevron posted a third-quarter net profit of USD11.2 B, or USD5.78 per share - almost double the $6.1 B from the same period last year, and well ahead of Wall Street's USD4.86 estimate.

The results will back higher project spending and increased oil and gas production next year, Chief Financial Officer Pierre Breber told Reuters. That production was roughly flat last quarter on contract expirations in Asia. U.S. oil executives have been loath to crow about this year's earnings gains - surpassing the once-sizzling tech sector - preferring to emphasize investment commitments. But soaring profits are feeding criticism in the United States and Europe as inflation climbs.

The company's cash flow from operations soared to a record USD15.3 B, far higher than the previous quarter. Chevron's return on capital employed - a measure of how much it earns from each dollar invested in the business - jumped to 25%.

"We delivered another quarter of strong financial performance," Chevron Chief Executive Michael Wirth said in a prepared statement, noting its oil and gas production in the top U.S. shale field reached "another quarterly record."

Output from the U.S. Permian basin topped 700,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boed), up 12% from a year ago and above the second quarter's 692,000 boed. But global production in the first nine months of the year is down by about 100,000 boed from the 3.093 MM boed from the same period last year.

Chevron reaffirmed its goal of pumping 1 million bpd in the top U.S. shale oil field in 2025, and achieve a 3% annual growth rate compounded between 2023-2026 for its overall output. CFO Breber said Chevron will increase project spending by 20% next year, to up to USD17 B. This year's spending will be less than USD15 B excluding acquisitions, Breber said.

Chevron has pledged to put profits into raising shareholder dividends, into fossil fuel and clean energy projects, and to cut debt. "Our fourth priority, after we have met the first three, is to do share buybacks" at $15 B a year, Breber said. Its oil and gas business posted an operating profit that surged 81% to USD9.3 B, while its oil refining business nearly doubled to USD2.5 B.

Still, profit from refining cooled from the second quarter, keeping overall earnings below the company's all-time record of USD11.6 B. Refineries processed about 13% fewer barrels per day from the year-ago period, primarily due to planned maintenance, the company said. However, refined product sales of 1.25 MMbpd were up 5% from the year-ago period, mainly due to higher renewable fuel sales following its acquisition of biodiesel supplier Renewable Energy Group.

We remind, Air Liquide, Chevron, Keppel Infrastructure, and PetroChina announced they have signed an MoU to form a consortium which will aim to evaluate and advance the development of large-scale carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration (CCUS) solutions and integrated infrastructure in Singapore. The consortium intends to research, test, and develop technological, logistical, and operational solutions for CCUS in Singapore. In doing so, the consortium will look to provide industry-wide CCUS integrated infrastructure, primarily to support the energy and chemicals sector, by capturing and aggregating carbon dioxide (CO2) from large industrial emitters at a centralized collection facility.

Large explosion in CPC Dalin oil refinery, no injuries

Large explosion in CPC Dalin oil refinery, no injuries

MOSCOW (MRC) -- An explosion hit Taiwan's state-backed CPC Dalin Refinery in the southern city of Kaohsiung on Thursday night, videos and images from the Fire Department showed with heavy fire seen above the plant, officials said, adding nobody was hurt in the incident, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Fire was seen raging above the plant and thick smoke billowed into the sky above for more than an hour, according to an online video posted on Youtube. Residents from several kilometers away were able to view the explosion.

The fire broke out at 10.35 p.m. local time in Siaogang district. The city's fire department said flames were put out early on Friday and no one was injured or trapped as per an initial investigation.

CPC spokesperson Ray Chang said there was "very limited impact" on the company's output, as it has several other such units in its facilities across the island. "We are moving quickly to look into the cause of the incident and make improvements," Chang said, adding that an initial probe pointed to gas leakage but further checks were needed.

Kaohsiung mayor Che Chi-Mai asked CPC to suspend its operations at the plant until an inspection was completed, adding that labour and environmental authorities have imposed a total fine of T$5.3 MM (USD165,098.75) on the company.

The fire occurred at the resid hydrotreater No. 3 unit, CPC's Chang said. The unit, which has a capacity of 40,000 barrels per day according to Refinitiv Eikon, is used to remove sulfur from oil products. The incident happened during routine maintenance at the plant, the city government said.

We remind, Malaysian state energy firm Petronas said a fire and explosion occurred on Thursday at the Pengerang refinery-petrochemical complex, a joint venture it operates with Saudi Aramco in the southern Malaysian state of Johor. No casualties were reported and the incident poses no immediate threat to the surrounding communities, Petronas said in a statement. The fire occurred at one of the interconnecting pipes at the Pengerang Integrated Complex at 1540 local time and was completely extinguished in about an hour, Petronas said.