Pertamina to adjust refinery investment plans amid energy shift

Pertamina to adjust refinery investment plans amid energy shift

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The refinery arm of Indonesian state energy firm Pertamina is redesigning its refinery expansion plans to meet shifting demands from a transition towards renewable energy, said Reuters, citing its chief executive.

Under Pertamina's 2015 refinery development plan, the company aims to upgrade four of its biggest refineries and build two new ones, which would nearly double its processing capacity to more than 1.5 MMbpd.

PT Kilang Pertamina Internasional, or KPI, Pertamina's refinery subholding, is readjusting the scope, product mix and timeline of its investment for Plaju, Dumai and Cilacap refineries, its chief executive Taufik Adityawarman told Reuters in an interview.

"Previously, we had a long list to increase capacity and we were emphasizing volume," he said of the 2015 plan. "Now, with a new business environment, adoption of electric vehicles and our own commitment to energy transition, we have to be adaptive."

Indonesia last year pledged a more ambitious carbon emission cut of 31.89% on its own, or 43.2% with international support by 2030. It is also targeting net-zero emissions by 2060. According to a 2021 presentation by Pertamina, upgrades of Dumai, Plaju and Cilacap would require a combined USD6.2 billion, with expected completion in 2027.

The new investment plan might result in bigger production of fuel made of renewable sources, such as diesel fuel and jet fuel made from vegetable oil, Taufik added. The Cilacap plant already has 3,000 bpd capacity to produce fuel made from palm oil - of which Indonesia is the world's biggest producer - and is expected to double that capacity by 2026.

Taufik said KPI aims to finalize their new investment plan in the first half of this year. Pertamina completed the first phase of its Balongan refinery upgrade in 2022, expanding its capacity to 150,000 bpd from 125,000 bpd.

It is aiming to finish the first phase of its Balikpapan refinery upgrade in 2024 to raise processing capacity to 360,000 bpd from 260,000 bpd. KPI would spend $1.5 B in capital expenditure this year, mostly for the Balikpapan refinery. Taufik said KPI hopes to reach a final investment decision on the Tuban refinery in the second half of the year.

We remind, ExxonMobil and Pertamina advance regional carbon capture and storage project in Indonesia. The Heads of Agreement builds upon a joint study and memorandum of understanding that was signed at COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland to assess carbon capture and storage technologies, low-carbon hydrogen and geologic data.

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Pemex newest oil refinery to begin crude processing in July

Pemex newest oil refinery to begin crude processing in July

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Mexican state oil company Pemex's newest refinery, which is still under construction in Mexico's southeast, will begin to process crude oil in July 2023, the country's Energy Minister Rocio Nahle said, as per Reuters.

Things are "going really well," Nahle told reporters late on Monday after a meeting with the president, noting the refinery would begin processing in July, a year after its official inauguration. The Olmeca refinery, the cornerstone of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's plan to make the country self-sufficient in gasoline and diesel, was originally slated to come on line early last year.

Meanwhile, the budget for the construction and other infrastructure needed to connect the refinery has more than doubled from an initial USD8 billion. In December, Lopez Obrador said that on July 1, the refinery "will begin to process 170,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil."

The government has said that the refinery, Pemex's eighth, would eventually have capacity to process 340,000 bpd. Located in Lopez Obrador's home state of Tabasco, the refinery is one of the leftist president's signature public works projects.

But it has faced criticism from opponents as well as energy and environmental experts over costs and timing - especially as rivals around the world are stepping up a transition away from fossil fuels towards renewable sources of energy.

Pemex is seeking to increase its current crude production of around 1.7 MMbpd by increasing its local refining. After launching a rehabilitation program for its six refineries already operating domestically, under Lopez Obrador, Pemex also acquired Shell's 50.005% stake in a plant in Deer Park refinery in Houston, Texas.

We remind, Pemex said it has been falling behind in a global race to transition from fossil to renewable energy sources, and that stricter demands from environmentally conscious investors pose a threat. Investors have for years considered Pemex a laggard as rivals worldwide moved to dramatically decrease emissions from energy production and consumption over climate change concerns. In its updated business plan for 2023 to 2027, Pemex said its environmental, social and governance (ESG) record risked hurting its financing.

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Univar to distribute Dow’s acrylic emulsion polymer products in UK, Ireland

Univar to distribute Dow’s acrylic emulsion polymer products in UK, Ireland

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Univar Solutions has been named as a distributor for Dow’s acrylic emulsion polymer products in the UK and Ireland, the US-based international chemicals distributor said.

The products, which are include in Dow’s PRIMAL and UCAR LATEX brand portfolios, are used in construction for improving the properties of cementitious as well as non-cementitious applications.

"We are extremely pleased to expand our global partnership with Univar Solutions in the United Kingdom and Ireland, by adding our acrylic emulsions range developed for construction applications to Dow cellulose ethers, re-dispersible powders, and silicones,” said Alberto Abate, west and south Europe Sales Director for Dow Construction Chemicals.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

We remind, PrimeStone has urged German chemicals distributor Brenntag to end talks with potential takeover target Univar Solutions and instead buy back shares and prepare for a break-up into two separate companies. In a letter to Brenntag’s board and management, the UK-based investor urges Brenntag to terminate discussions with Univar immediately and refocus on improving Brenntag itself.

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Grupa Azoty launches concentrated nitric acid plant

Grupa Azoty launches concentrated nitric acid plant

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Grupa Azoty launched a 40,000 tonne/year concentrated nitric acid unit, doubling its production capacity for the product, said the company.

Azoty, the sole manufacturer of concentrated nitric acid in Poland, said the zloty (Zl) 57.1m ($13.1m) plant, built over the course of two years, would be of great importance in securing the production of more high-value chemicals.

“The commissioning of the installation strengthens the market position of Grupa Azoty SA as a European leader in the segment of suppliers of raw materials for manufacturers of nitrocellulose and fuel additives and the industry of the synthesis of organic substances that are widely used as semi-finished products for high-value chemicals,” the company said in a press release.

State-controlled Azoty, Europe’s second largest fertilizer maker, said it already delivered concentrated nitric acid to more than 30 customers in 20 European countries.

Concentrated nitric acid is used in Europe in the production of polyurethane (PU) foams, dyes, plant protection products, fuel additives that reduce exhaust emissions and other organic syntheses, among other things, Azoty said.

Both of Azoty’s concentrated nitic acid production plants produce the product to a concentration above 98%.

We remind, Grupa Azoty Polyolefins received a first delivery of propane in preparation for the launch of its world-scale propane dehydrogenation (PDH) and polypropylene (PP) plant in Police, northwestern Poland. The 22,000-litre delivery was made in line with a contract signed with Trafigura for the supply of $250m of propane that will meet 50% of the facility’s propane demand over 2023 and 2024.

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Evonik launches research project for plasma-enabled CO2 conversion

Evonik launches research project for plasma-enabled CO2 conversion

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Evonik Industries AG (Essen, Germany) has launched the PlasCO2 project together with three partners, said the company.

The aim is to use carbon dioxide (CO2) as a raw material in the production of C4 chemicals. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research is funding the project with more than €1.8 million. PlasCO2 stands for ‘Plasma-induced generation of carbon monoxide from carbon dioxide and its chemical utilization’. The researchers are working on extracting synthesis gas from carbon dioxide and hydrogen by means of a plasma reactor using a newly developed process. The synthesis gas obtained in this way can then be used for the production of chemical products.

The project consortium, which is coordinated by Evonik, consists of four partners. It thus brings together all competencies, from catalysis and plasma research to plant engineering. In addition to Evonik, the Leibniz Institute for Catalysis (LIKAT), the Leibniz Institute for Plasma Research (INP), and Rafflenbeul Anlagen Bau GmbH are also involved.

“If we succeed in generating carbon dioxide as a raw material, we would not only make a significant contribution to reducing our carbon footprint, but we would also open up a completely new world of chemistry,” says Professor Dr. Robert Franke, head of hydroformylation research at Evonik Performance Intermediates and coordinator of the PlasCO2 project.

Sustainability is a key driver of the venture: At the heart of the project is the conversion of carbon dioxide with hydrogen to carbon monoxide. Low-temperature plasmas are to be used as a novel energy source, which require little energy and thus activate the inert carbon particularly efficiently. To generate these plasmas, the research group wants to develop a new kind of reactor, that can be operated with renewable energy sources. Later, these should be widely deployable and commercializable. The synthesis gas generated in this way can be used for the production of organic compounds in C4 chemistry. These can in turn be used to produce plasticizers or petrochemical specialties, for example.

Evonik will begin with basic research, initially carrying out evaluations of eco-efficiency and economic viability as well as quantum chemical calculations. The plasma reactors used have so far been used for the purification of exhaust gas. Evonik is continuing to work on their development so that, probably after about four years, a pilot plant can be built that creates the plasma with renewable resources.

“To carry out these projects of application-oriented basic research, we at Evonik absolutely need the expertise of our partners at the research institutes and at other companies,” says Dr. Marc Oliver Kristen, project manager of PlasCO2. “Funding from the BMBF is also essential to enable us to pursue such highly innovative approaches.”

We remind, Evonik is pooling its expertise and integrating its alkoxides business into the Catalysts Business Line. The extensive portfolio of heterogeneous catalysts is thus now complemented by homogeneous catalysts. An international network of production sites and the highly experienced alkoxides team will additionally strengthen the Catalysts Business Line, one of Evonik's growth areas, from January 2023.

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