BASF breaks ground on MDI capacity expansion project at Geismar site

BASF breaks ground on MDI capacity expansion project at Geismar site

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BASF has broken ground on the third and final phase of the methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) expansion project at its Verbund site in Geismar, Louisiana, announced in July 2022, said the company.

The company will increase production capacity to approximately 600,000 metric tons per year by the middle of the decade to support the ongoing growth of its North American MDI customers.

The investment for this final expansion phase, which takes place from 2022 to 2025, amounts to $780 million. Including the first and second phases, the investment volume totals around USD1 billion, making the MDI expansion project BASF’s largest wholly owned investment in North America. “BASF already ranks among the largest and most forward-looking chemical companies in the United States,” said Michael Heinz, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, BASF Corporation.

“Through this investment, we demonstrate our commitment to meeting the needs of our customers while strengthening our foundation for continued growth in the important U.S. market.” BASF welcomed Clay Schexnayder, Speaker of the House for the Louisiana State Legislature for a ceremonial ‘tilling-of-the soil’ to officially mark the groundbreaking of the final phase of the expansion.

“We are committed to continuing the success story together with our North American MDI customers,” said Stefan Doerr, Senior Vice President, Monomers North America. “BASF is investing to support our customers in various industries with significant growth potential in MDI applications, including transportation, automotive, footwear and furniture."

Kicked off in 2018, the expansion project follows a staggered approach. First, a new MDI synthesis unit was put in operation in October of 2020. The second phase, which started operations in 2021, expanded several existing upstream units. The third and final phase will add new upstream units and a splitter.

Leveraging stateof-the-art technology, the expansion will showcase the highest safety standards combined with advanced digitalization in its operations.

We remind, BASF, Linde, and SABIC have begun the construction of the "world's first" demonstration plant for large-scale electrically heated steam cracker furnaces. The new technology has the potential to lower CO2 emissions by using electricity from renewable sources instead of natural gas. The demonstration plant will be integrated into the existing steam crackers at BASF's Verbund site in Ludwigshafen, Germany.

JM and bp announce successful production using FT CANS waste-to-fuels technology

JM and bp announce successful production using FT CANS waste-to-fuels technology

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Johnson Matthey and bp plc (London) announced that their technology has enabled Fulcrum’s Sierra BioFuels Plant to successfully produce synthetic crude oil for clean transportation fuels, said Chemengonline.

Using JM and bp’s FT CANS technology, the Sierra plant is the world’s first commercial-scale plant to use household rubbish as a feedstock which would otherwise be destined for landfill.

Located outside of Reno, Nevada, it uses JM and bp’s FT CANS technology to convert waste into synthesis gas, which can then be converted to fuels.

The plant will produce synthetic crude oil, which is expected to ultimately be refined to approximately 11 million gallons of renewable, low-carbon transportation fuels each year from approximately 175,000 tons of landfill waste.

JM and bp signed their first licence with waste-to-fuels developer Fulcrum to use their award-winning FT CANS technology in 2018.

Alberto Giovanzana, Chief Commercial Officer of Catalyst Technologies at Johnson Matthey, said: “We’ve worked in partnership with bp, creating deep technology insights for more than a decade. This close collaboration has led to the significant milestone we’re seeing today. The ability to convert household waste into low-cost, low carbon transportation fuel is truly innovative and is a crucial step in decarbonising transport."

Noemie Turner, VP technology development & commercialisation at bp, added: “We’re excited that commercial-scale use of our Fischer Tropsch technology built on a foundation of top-class research and development, in collaboration with our technology partner, Johnson Matthey could help support the decarbonization of the transport sector."

JM and bp have been developing FT technology together over a number of years and have collaborated over the past decade to accelerate this latest enhanced technology.

We remind, Shell has qualified Johnson Matthey’s (JM) PURAVOC GREENTM purification catalysts for use in its global hydrogen production projects. JM’s catalysts will be used to remove trace oxygen to meet oxygen specifications in the production of high purity, zero carbon hydrogen. Removal of oxygen is critical to make the process safer and more efficient. Deoxygenation is an essential step in the production of green hydrogen and requires a flexible and robust catalyst that can operate under a variety of pressures, relatively low temperatures, and intermittent feed flows.

Chemours invests in ion exchange materials for clean hydrogen

Chemours invests in ion exchange materials for clean hydrogen

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Chemours (Wilmington, Delaware) has announced a USD200-million investment to increase capacity for its Nafion fluoropolymer copolymer ion exchange materials at its manufacturing facility in Villers-Saint-Paul, France, said the company.

The ion exchange materials are used for water electrolyzers, energy storage in flow batteries, and hydrogen conversion to power fuel cell vehicles to help support the clean hydrogen economy.

Chemours has an existing robust and reliable ion exchange material capacity in the US to help support the hydrogen supply chain and this new expansion will contribute to Europe’s energy transition as well as expand the Villers-Saint-Paul site’s capabilities to be able support and advance technological progress for the worldwide hydrogen economy, Chemours says.

“Chemours has chosen France for this investment in the hydrogen economy because of the strong alignment between our sustainable growth vision, the French government’s goal to create a reliable and strong hydrogen economy, and the European Union’s ambition to deliver a clean energy transition based on the objectives set in the EU Climate Law,” Mark Newman, Chemours’ president and CEO, says.

Despite robust growth in green hydrogen technologies, more urgent scaling-up of the hydrogen supply chain capacity remains critical in meeting clean hydrogen potential and escalating demand, Chemours says. The proton exchange membrane (PEM) technology is an advancement for its faster start-up; reliance on fewer components; and its smaller footprint, simpler maintenance, and zero emissions when used coupled with renewable energy, the company says.

We remind, Chemours Company (Wilmington, Del.) announced that it will be expanding its Chemours Opteon YF (HFO-1234yf) capacity to help meet customer needs as they continue transitioning to lower GWP refrigerants. The Opteon YF and YF blends refrigerants are now used in millions of vehicles and thousands of retail stores around the world, with zero ozone depletion potential (ODP) and global warming potential (GWP) that is significantly lower than the legacy refrigerants.

Chemours is committed to leadership in responsible manufacturing, and this capacity investment will contribute to its goal of shifting the company’s product portfolio to offerings that contribute to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). Chemours is evaluating potential locations in the United States and Europe for the investment in accordance with applicable regulatory frameworks and is particularly interested in supporting the local communities where they operate.

PetroVietnam 2022 crude oil output flat at 10.84 MMt

PetroVietnam 2022 crude oil output flat at 10.84 MMt

MOSCOW (MRC) -- PetroVietnam reported crude oil output of 10.84 MMt in 2022, flat from a year earlier and 24% above its official target, Vietnam's Ministry of Industry and Trade said, as per Reuters.

The state-owned oil firm's output includes 8.98 MMt from domestic fields and 1.86 MMt from foreign fields, the ministry said in a statement on Tuesday, adding that its gas output rose 8.3% to 8.08 B cubic meters.

PetroVietnam's revenue rose 48% last year to USD39.72 B, a record high, the ministry said, adding that pre-tax profit rose 59% to 82.2 T dong.

In 2023, PetroVietnam will seek to expand its exploration and production activities and speed up its Block B Gas Project and the project to upgrade and expand its Binh Son refinery , its chairman Hoang Quoc Vuong said in a statement.

Vuong, however, said the company will face challenges this year, including a low increase in proven oil reserves, a strong global energy transition trend boosted by the Russia-Ukraine conflict and hurdles in implementing its investment projects.

Projects to develop Block B Gas and Blue Whale Gas complexes and expand Binh Son refinery "are facing difficulties and delays and need support measures from the authorities," he said, without elaborating.

We remind, Vietnam's largest oil refinery will complete repairs needed to fix a technical problem at its residual fluid catalytic cracking (RFCC) unit by Jan. 15. The 200,000-barrel-per-day Nghi Son Refinery and Petrochemical had a leak at the RFCC unit, the government said on Friday, adding the problem would reduce the refinery's output by 20%-25%. Nghi Son, which provides more a third of Vietnam's petroleum needs, is one of only two oil refineries in the country.

Trafigura sells out of Russia-backed Indian refiner Nayara Energy

Trafigura sells out of Russia-backed Indian refiner Nayara Energy

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Trafigura has sold its 24.5% stake in Russia-backed Indian refiner Nayara Energy to a Rome-based energy investment group, following on from a deal on Monday where a group of firms backed by the commodity trading company agreed to buy Lukoil's Italian refinery, said Reuters.

Trafigura said it had completed the sale of its "indirect minority interest" in Nayara Energy to Hara Capital Sarl, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mareterra Group Holding formerly known as Genera Group Holding. Reuters reported in 2021 that the global commodity trader was looking to sell its stake in the Indian oil refining joint venture with Russia's Rosneft to an Italian group Genera.

It is unclear how much Trafigura's stake in Nayara, formerly known as Essar Oil, is worth now. Rosneft owns a 49.13% stake in Nayara. A similar-sized holding was split between Trafigura and Cyprus-based Russian investment group United Capital Partners (UCP).

Trafigura and UCP had 49.84% stake each in Singapore-based Tendril Ventures Pte Ltd, whose Cyprus-registered parent company owns a 49.13% stake in Nayara Energy. Trafigura's equity investment in Tendril was worth about USD166 million, according to its 2022 annual report.

"UCP remains committed to its investment in Nayara Energy and believes in its future growth opportunities," Trafigura's statement cited Irina Lanina, Managing Director of UCP Investment Group as saying. Nayara operates a 400,000 barrels per day Vadinar refinery in western Gujarat state and 6,000 retail fuel stations. It is also building a 450,000 tonnes-a-year polypropylene plant.

Mareterra Group, an investment firm that focuses on energy and carbon efficiency infrastructure, is active in France, Italy, Luxembourg and Spain and wants to expand beyond Europe, the statement said.

"As a new shareholder in Nayara Energy, it will bring its strong experience in reducing the carbon footprint of fuel stations, installing electric charging stations, and improving energy efficiency at industrial assets," it said.

As MRC informed earlier, Trafigura is preparing to sell its 24.5% indirect stake in an Indian oil refining joint venture with Russia's Rosneft to an Italian group. Trafigura holds the stake in Nayara Energy, which owns India's third largest refinery, a port and a network of more than 6,000 fuel stations across India, indirectly through a 49.84% holding in Singapore-based Tendril Ventures Pte Ltd.