Board of Petrobras approves Prates as next CEO

Board of Petrobras approves Prates as next CEO

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The board of directors of Petrobras approved former Senator Jean Paul Prates as the firm's chief executive, marking a strategic shift for the state-run Brazilian oil company, as per Reuters.

Prates had earlier resigned as Senator, according to a document seen by Reuters, a move that was seen opening room for him to take over as CEO of the oil giant.

A long time energy consultant turned politician, Prates was tapped for Petrobras' top job by President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

We remind, Petroleo Brasileiro SA stepped up security at its refineries in a precautionary measure after threats against assets, including Brazil's biggest fuel plant. The threats were detected by Petrobras' intelligence unit monitoring social media communications of supporters of Brazil's far-right former President Jair Bolsonaro, the two people said. The state-controlled company said on Sunday night all its assets and refineries were operating normally.

Topsoe enters agreement with Steeper Energy to introduce complete waste-to-biofuel solution

Topsoe enters agreement with Steeper Energy to introduce complete waste-to-biofuel solution

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Topsoe, a global leader in carbon emission reduction technologies, and Steeper, a pioneer within biomass conversion technologies, have today signed a global licensing agreement for a complete waste-to-fuel solution, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The agreement combines Topsoe’s unique technologies in renewable fuels and hydrogen production as well as decades of experience in engineering to the table, with Steeper’s proprietary Hydrofaction technology and industry know-how.

With the agreement, Topsoe will be able to provide a complete waste-to-fuel technology solution and at the same time a one-stop solution for refineries, project developers, and industries having access to excess waste biomass. The end-products include Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), marine biofuel, and renewable diesel from waste biomass.

Peter Vang Christensen, Senior Vice President, Clean Fuels & Chemicals – Technology, Topsoe, said:
“We are excited to work with Steeper and to combine our technological capabilities. This will make it easier for refineries and project developers to access the technology they need for advanced biofuels. It will also allow them to access new renewable feedstocks while supporting decarbonization of the transportation sector, not least aviation and shipping.”

Bevan May, President, Steeper Energy, said: “Steeper recognizes Topsoe as a world leader in developing and implementing renewable refining technologies. Steeper’s Hydrofaction™ process, when combined with Topsoe’s technology, completes the pathway from biomass waste to drop-in liquid fuels and is compatible with existing refining infrastructure. This reduces capital requirements and allows for the accelerated deployment of these solutions. We are excited to combine our efforts with Topsoe and bring our joint solution to the renewable liquid fuels market.”

Steeper’s Hydrofaction has been validated through various stages of continuous pilot and demonstration-scale plant operations over the past 10 years. With this agreement, the parties are working towards the first commercial scale deployment of Hydrofaction technology.

We remind, Topsoe to move ahead on setting up solid oxide electrolyser plant in Denmark, said the company.
Topsoe has announced that its board has approved the final investment decision (FID) to start the construction of the "world's largest" solid oxide elctrolyser cell (SOEC) electrolyser manufacturing plant in Herning, Denmark.

Chevron 5th and 6th cargoes of Venezuelan oil soon to depart

Chevron 5th and 6th cargoes of Venezuelan oil soon to depart

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Two tankers chartered by Chevron Corp are loading Venezuelan heavy crude at the South American country and should depart in coming days for the United States, according to shipping documents and sources, said Reuters.

The Greece-flagged Amalthea is loading some 250,000 barrels of Boscan crude at the Bajo Grande terminal, while the Bahamas-flagged Caribbean Voyager is scheduled to load 500,000 barrels of Hamaca crude at the Jose port this week, the documents showed.

The vessels will carry Chevron's fifth and sixth cargoes of Venezuelan crude since the U.S. Treasury Department in November authorized the company to reanimate and expand operations in the sanctioned country.

Tankers Kerala, Sealeo, Carina Voyager and ICE Fighter set sail earlier this month for Chevron's Pascagoula, Mississippi, refinery and plants in Freeport and Corpus Christi, Texas, according to Refinitiv Eikon data, marking a strong start to the renewed business relationship between PDVSA and Chevron.

Chevron's supply contract is among a few that have not been suspended since a new administration at PDVSA this month ordered a freeze to most contracts until a general audit is done.

Chevron also is sending its second cargo of U.S. heavy naphtha to Venezuela to dilute for export its Petropiar project's crude, on tanker Hamburg Star, the sources said.

The U.S. oil company this month confirmed shipping activities in Venezuela have commenced and said it is focused on "operating safely and reliably" after restarting operations at its affiliated joint ventures in December.

We remind, Chevron Corp plans to export this month its first cargo of Venezuelan crude to its Pascagoula, Mississippi refinery following a U.S. license granted last year. The 500,000-barrel cargo of Hamaca heavy crude, to be loaded at state-run PDVSA's Jose port, comes from the Petropiar oil joint venture operated by both companies.

Spolana to modernise sulphuric acid production

Spolana to modernise sulphuric acid production

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Spolana on Thursday announced a koruna (Kc) 1bn (USD45.6m) project to modernise it sulphuric acid production over the next three years, said the company.

Main benefits would include increased field reliability and security and reduced electricity and natural gas consumption, the company said. “The modernisation will be performed on a step-by-step basis because it can take place only during planned production shutdowns. That is why we have split the project over three years,” said Piotr Kearney, a Spolana executive representative.

He added: “The crucial project parts include migrating steam production needed for the entire manufacturing process to the sulphuric acid unit and installing more modern and thus more energy-efficient production equipment.”

The project will be implemented from September by India-based industrial conglomerate Nuberg Industries. Spolana, located in Neratovice, Central Bohemia, said that among its liquid sulphur customers are car battery producers.

Concentrated sulphuric acid, it added, is used in Spolana’s caprolactam (capro) production.

We remind, Spolana Neratovice, a member of the refinery and petrochemical Unipetrol Group, has commissioned a new heating plant to generate steam needed for its operations. The investment totalled CZK 200 million.

Spolana, owned by ORLEN Unipetrol Group, is the sole Czech manufacturer of capro and polyvinyl chloride (PVC).

Operations at ExxonMobil in Baytown, Texas refinery normal after storms

Operations at ExxonMobil in Baytown, Texas refinery normal after storms

MOSCOW (MRC) -- ExxonMobil Corp said operations at its Baytown, Texas refining and petrochemical complex were normal on Wednesday following severe storms including at least one tornado on Tuesday, said Reuters.

Sources familiar with plant operations said the 560,500 bpd refinery was operating at planned rates on Wednesday, but the small gasoline-producing fluidic catalytic cracker (FCC), a catalytic light ends unit and an alkylation unit were shut for an overhaul planned before the storms.

"There was no significant damage to our facilities at Baytown from the storm yesterday. Our systems at Baytown are safe and operations are normal," Exxon spokesperson Julie King said.

The 90,000-bpd FCC 2 is the smaller of two FCCs at the Baytown refinery. FCCs use a fine powder catalyst to convert gas oil to unfinished gasoline.

Alkylation units convert refining byproducts into additives that boost octane in gasoline.

We remind, Exxon Mobil Corp in coming days will sharply boost gasoline and diesel production at its Beaumont, Texas, refinery, people familiar with the matter said, completing a USD1.2 B expansion first considered nine years ago. Initial startup of a 250,000 bpd crude distillation unit (CDU) at the 369,000 bpd refinery is expected by Jan. 31, the sources said, making the Beaumont refinery the second largest in the United States.