U.S. oil refiners restoring lost output, some outages to run into January

U.S. oil refiners restoring lost output, some outages to run into January

MOSCOW (MRC) -- U.S. oil refiners were working feverishly to resume operations at a dozen facilities knocked offline by a holiday deep freeze, a recovery that in some cases will stretch into January, said Reuters.

An Arctic blast sent temperatures well below freezing and led to power, instrumentation and steam losses at facilities along the U.S. Gulf Coast. The affected plants process about 3.58 million barrels of oil per day, delivering about 20% of U.S. motor fuels.

Refiners have been running near full capacity with strong prices for diesel and other fuels. Retail gasoline prices ticked up along the Gulf Coast this week, but nationwide prices have not been affected by the temporary outages.

Most of the affected plants suffered minor damage. Temperatures fell as low as 17 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 8C) along the Gulf Coast - freezing some instruments and overwhelming steam and co-generation units at several facilities, according to people familiar with the matter.

Two Houston-area plants - Motiva Enterprises' Port Arthur and Petroleos Mexicanos' Deer Park complexes - have restarts that will take them into the first or second week of January, according to notices filed with the state and people familiar with operations. Spokespeople did not reply to requests for comment.

"We'll be up and running in about two weeks," barring any startup disruptions, according to one person involved in the restarts. "This freeze event was a lot lighter than the February (2021) freeze so I'd expect a quick recovery."

Over the weekend, TotalEnergies began working to regain a steam and power co-generation unit critical to sustaining operations at its Port Arthur plant. Exxon Mobil was close to returning its Beaumont, Texas, plant to full operation on Tuesday. Spokespeople for the two did not reply to requests for comment.

LyondellBasell Industries was in the early stages of resuming production at its Houston refinery, people familiar with plant operations said. A spokesperson did not reply to a request for comment.

Marathon Petroleum, which operates the second-largest Gulf Coast facility after Motiva, aims to get production back by week's end, the people said. Marathon declined to comment.

Valero Energy, which suffered disruptions at three of its Texas refineries, did not reply to requests for comment. It was in the process of restarting its Port Arthur plant over the weekend, people familiar with the matter said.

We remind, Oil hit a three-week high on Tuesday as China's latest easing of COVID-19 restrictions spurred hopes of a demand recovery, although prices pared gains after some U.S. energy facilities shut by winter storms began to restart. China will stop requiring inbound travellers to go into quarantine, starting from Jan. 8, the National Health Commission said on Monday in a major step towards easing curbs on borders that have been largely shut since 2020.
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SABIC and Scientex to convert ‘ocean-bound’ plastics into pyrolysis oil to produce flexible PP packaging

SABIC and Scientex to convert ‘ocean-bound’ plastics into pyrolysis oil to produce flexible PP packaging

MOSCOW (MRC) -- SABIC and Scientex are working together to produce flexible packaging for a Malaysian noodles brand by chemically recycling ‘ocean-bound’ plastic waste (OBP) to use as a feedstock in the production of polypropylene, said Packagingeurope.

The OBP – thought to be discarded up to 50km inland and washed into the ocean by rainfall, rivers, and tides – is set to be converted into pyrolysis oil. This will then become an alternative feedstock for SABIC to produce polypropylene, which will be processed in turn to create a BOPP film for Scientex to manufacture and print the noodle packs.

Forming part of the company’s TRUCIRCLE portfolio, SABIC’s propylene is said to contain a mass balance-accounted 30% of OBP while still performing to the same standard as a virgin, fossil-based polypropylene polymer. It is reportedly compatible with the noodles’ existing packaging design without needing to alter assets and processes.

SABIC previously worked alongside HHI and Taghleef Industries in a collaboration with UPM Raflatac to incorporate certified ocean-bound plastic waste into its Ocean Action labels using a mass balance approach.

In another effort to cut down on ocean pollution, Greiner Packaging and Plastic Bank have extended their cooperation to encourage Ocean Stewards to collect plastic waste from shorelines and take it to designated collection points to be returned to the global supply chain.

We remind, SABIC has announced plans to set up a crude oil-to-chemicals (COTC) complex in Ras Al-Khair, Saudi Arabia. The complex is expected to convert 400,000 bbl/day of oil, the company said in a statement to the Tadawul stock exchange. The project, said SABIC, is part of its strategic growth plans, as well as contributing to the realization of the Kingdom’s program to convert oil and its liquids into chemicals.

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SABIC and Cabka design fire-resistant, recyclable PP solutions for folding pallet box

SABIC and Cabka design fire-resistant, recyclable PP solutions for folding pallet box

MOSCOW (MRC) -- SABIC has worked alongside Cabka to launch a series of lightweight, flame-retardant, and reportedly recyclable polymer material solutions to produce the CabCube folding pallet box., said Packagingeurope.

The companies have reportedly produced several high-performance polypropylene compounds, said to enhance processability, compression strength, and impact, as well as deliver a reduction in weight. In a first for SABIC’s foam and lightweight portfolio, they are also thought to be flame-retardant, certified in accordance with UL94-V0 – in which the material is expected to stop burning within ten seconds – and halogen-free.

“SABIC offers more than 20 innovative foam and lightweight solutions enabling customers and partners across the entire value chain to overcome the challenges they face to meet consumer demand for smarter, more sustainable solutions,” said Abdullah Al-Otaibi, ETP & Market Solution general manager at SABIC. “We are delighted to have been able to provide a lightweight solution for Cabka with superior material properties, enabling them to produce a cost-efficient, sustainable, and smart alternative to traditional metal/wooden cages for the transport of goods."

“Cabka has various CabCube designs, sizes and specifications, and their usage creates significant efficiencies in the supply chain for our customers,” added Jean-Marc van Maren, chief product officer at Cabka. “With the support of SABIC, we have made these sustainable load carriers more reliable and safer than existing solutions on the market.”

It is also claimed that the companies are working towards the incorporation of mechanically recycled content into their polyolefin compound solutions to assist their customers in the pursuit of their sustainability goals.

Additionally, plans are being made to replace ‘one way’ wooden pallets and cardboard octabins with lightweight and returnable plastic alternatives – an adjustment expected to originate at the SABIC compounding asset in Genk, Belgium.

In another effort to close the loop on polypropylene packaging solutions, Borealis and PACCOR previously designed mono-material lids and tubs for Froneri’s Aino ice cream brand. The packaging is manufactured with ISCC PLUS certified renewable feedstock using a mass balance approach.

BMW Group also stated that its expanded polypropylene logistics packaging containers, adaptable to the components contained within them, currently contain around 25% recycled content – thought to save the company nearly 280 tons of CO2 every year.

MCC Verstraete’s SealPPeel heat seal die-cut lidding innovation, set to allow polypropylene packaging to become fully mono-material, was the winner of the 2022 Sustainability Awards; SABIC’s certified circular polypropylene cat food packaging was also nominated under the Driving the Circular Economy category.

We remind, SABIC has announced plans to set up a crude oil-to-chemicals (COTC) complex in Ras Al-Khair, Saudi Arabia. The complex is expected to convert 400,000 bbl/day of oil, the company said in a statement to the Tadawul stock exchange. The project, said SABIC, is part of its strategic growth plans, as well as contributing to the realization of the Kingdom’s program to convert oil and its liquids into chemicals.
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Honeywell subsidiary agrees to pay millions to resolve Houston bribery investigation

Honeywell subsidiary agrees to pay millions to resolve Houston bribery investigation

MOSCOW (MRC) -- UOP LLC, doing business as Honeywell UOP, a U.S.-based subsidiary of Honeywell International Inc., has agreed to pay more than USD160 million to resolve parallel bribery investigations by criminal and civil authorities in the United States and Brazil stemming from bribe payments offered to a high-ranking official at Brazil’s state-owned oil company, said Headtopics.

The U.S. Department of Justice’s resolution is coordinated with prosecutorial authorities in Brazil, as well as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

According to court documents, Honeywell UOP entered into a three-year deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) with the department in connection with a criminal information filed in the Southern District of Texas charging the company with conspiracy to violate the anti-bribery provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

According to the company’s admissions and court documents, between 2010 and 2014, Honeywell UOP conspired to offer an approximately USD4 million bribe to a then-high-ranking executive of Petroleo Brasileiro S.A (Petrobras) in Brazil. Specifically, Honeywell UOP offered the bribe to secure improper advantages in order to obtain and retain business from Petrobras in connection with Honeywell UOP’s efforts to win an approximately USD425 million contract from Petrobras to design and build an oil refinery called Premium.

“Honeywell UOP offered to pay millions of dollars in bribes to a high-ranking executive at Brazil’s state-owned oil company to win a lucrative contract,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “Today’s resolution once again demonstrates that in our relentless fight against corruption, the Department of Justice will work together with our partners, both domestic and foreign, to hold companies accountable for their criminal conduct."

According to court documents, in order to effectuate the bribery scheme, Honeywell UOP entered into an agency agreement with a sales agent for the purpose of funding and paying the USD4 million bribe to the high-ranking Petrobras executive. In exchange for the bribe, and after obtaining business advantages, including inside information and secret assistance, from the Petrobras executive, Honeywell UOP won the contract. Honeywell UOP earned approximately USD105.5 million in profits from the corruptly obtained business.

We remind, Honeywell has signed an MoU with Egypt’s Environ Adapt for Recycling Industries with the aim of advancing plastics recycling in the country. The two organizations will explore the development of the first chemical recycling facility in Egypt that would be equipped with Honeywell’s advanced technology, capable of converting waste plastic into valuable recycled polymer feedstock (RPF).

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Mondi to sell its packaging converting operations in Russia

Mondi to sell its packaging converting operations in Russia

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Multinational packaging and paper company Mondi has agreed to sell its packaging converting operations in Russia to conversion manufacturer Gotek, said Packaging-gateway.

Gotek will buy three of Mondi‘s packaging converting operations in Russia for Rb1.6bn (USD24.2m) in cash. The deal includes a corrugated packaging facility and two consumer flexibles plants, which supplies a range of packaging solutions to customers on the Russian market.

Mondi expects a loss of between EUR70m (USD74.5m) and EUR80m (USD85.1m) at current exchange rates due to the sale. The deal is expected to close in the first half of next year.

Its completion is subject to approval from Russia’s Government SubCommission for the Control of Foreign Investments and other customary antitrust approvals. Mondi said that the sale ‘is being undertaken in an evolving political and regulatory environment’ and that there can be ‘no certainty’ as to when it will be completed.

The agreement comes after Mondi decided to sell its assets in Russia as the ongoing conflict in Ukraine continues to impact their operations. The company said its sale of the packaging converting operations is not affiliated with the proposed sale of Mondi Syktyvkar, which is still pending Russian government approval.

Based in Moscow, Gotek has around 2,200 employees across its business. Mondi has become the latest packaging company to sell its operations in Russia amid the Ukraine conflict.

In September this year, Huhtamaki divested its Russian business to Espetina, a holding company owned by Alexander Govor and Iury Kushnerov.

Later that month, US-based aluminium packaging provider Ball Corporation sold its beverage packaging business in Russia to ARNEST Group.

Earlier this year, Finnish pulp and paper manufacturer Stora Enso divested its corrugated packaging plants in the country.

Mondi has around 100 production sites across more than 30 countries, employing roughly 26,000 people worldwide. The company registered total revenues of EUR7bn last year.
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