Venezuela restarts largest refinery catalytic cracker after eight weeks

Venezuela restarts largest refinery catalytic cracker after eight weeks

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Venezuela's state oil company PDVSA on Friday restarted the fluid catalytic cracker (FCC) of its 645,000 bpd Amuay refinery, the country's largest, following an outage that halted operations for eight weeks, three sources from the facility said, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Outages and unplanned maintenance often interrupt operations at PDVSA's aging 1.3-MM-bpd refining network, leading to fuel scarcity, especially of gasoline and diesel.

Amuay's FCC is essential for producing enough motor gasoline to meet the country's demand. PDVSA in recent weeks had resorted to the neighboring Cardon refinery's catalytic cracker, which can only process up to 45,000 bpd, for partially offsetting the lost of key operational units at Amuay.

Amuay's 108,000-bpd FCC was out of service since early December due to equipment malfunctioning. The unit is currently processing some 67,000 bpd, one of the sources said.

Amuay and Cardon are part of PDVSA's largest refining complex, the 955,000-bpd Paraguana Center.

We remind, PDVSA has assigned a third crude cargo to Chevron Corp under a U.S. authorization that restarted exports to the United States after a nearly four-year pause. Chevron received a U.S. license in November allowing it to revive its oil output and expand operations in Venezuela, part of Washington's effort to encourage talks towards elections in the OPEC country, which has been under U.S. oil sanctions since 2019.

Roehm innovation center opens in Connecticut

Roehm innovation center opens in Connecticut

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Roehm announced the opening of its flagship Innovation Center. This “Center of Excellence” is equipped with a state-of-the-art materials development laboratory, featuring advanced processing capabilities for material compounding, injection molding, and extrusion, said the company.

The 2,000 square foot lab has a full range of physical, mechanical, thermal, and optical material characterization techniques. Expanded functionality will provide enhanced support and solutions for Roehm customers. The Innovation Center marks the largest non-production investment for Roehm in the region. The 15,000 square foot facility is located in Wallingford, Connecticut – close to a Roehm manufacturing plant. The site is home to technical, processing, and formulation polymer experts committed to the development of new CYROLITE® and ACRYLITE® molding compound solutions for the medical, automotive and lighting industries, as well as the household goods sector.

“The space fosters collaboration of OEM’s, processors, and Roehm experts to create new PMMA-based solutions that meet the demanding requirements of our medical, and general industry clients,” says Thomas Spagnuolo, Vice President and General Manager of Molding Compounds at Roehm America. “Improved technical resources provide our team with the tools needed for advanced product development with our customers.”

The Innovation Center will soon be certified with ISO and IATF accreditations. The modern onsite lab features temperature and humidity control, ideal for plastic formulation and processing optimization. The new site is also home to a visitor’s center - showcasing Roehm’s history of innovation, an internal/external training facility, and a customer hub built to respond quickly to customer requests such as technical data, samples, and application support.

As the global headquarters for medical research and development, the Innovation Center is the central hub for the development of new CYROLITE® solutions in the medical device industry. The team will support medical OEM for infusion therapy, blood management, diagnostics, and other technologies. Activities also include development, design, and processing support for ACRYLITE® applications in automotive lighting, extrusion, optics, and distribution in the Americas region. This work will encompass body add-on components as well as signal and interior lighting for the automotive industry. Applications such as appliances, general lighting, and custom-made compounds will be supported at this facility as well.

“The new Innovation Center will deliver enhanced capabilities crucial to the advancement of material solutions and technical services that exceed our customers’ expectations and fuel the growth of Molding Compounds,” says Renlong Gao, Head of Innovation Center.

News of the Innovation Center launch at the start of this year reaffirms Roehm’s commitment to growth in the Americas’ Region along with two previous significant investments last year, including the newly constructed headquarters in Parsippany, NJ and the new world-scale methyl methacrylate (MMA) plant in Bay City, TX.

We remind, Rohm extends the shut down of several methacrylate monomer production units in Worms into November. Rohm remains your reliable and committed Methacylates producer in Europe with two strong production sites in Worms and Wesseling serving our valuable customers.

Russian gasoline to be sent to Pakistan as EU import ban looms

Russian gasoline to be sent to Pakistan as EU import ban looms

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Independent Russian oil refiner Forteinvest has clinched a deal that will see Russian gasoline sent to Pakistan by land for the first time, two industry sources said on Friday, as Russian refiners seek alternative markets for motor fuels days before an EU import ban, said Reuters.

Forteinvest has sold to a trader an initial 1,000-tonne lot of gasoline from its Orsk plant for delivery to Pakistan and has more requests to supply gasoline, diesel and LPG to the country, the sources added.

The refined products will be shipped from the Orsk refinery in Russia's Orenburg region near the Kazakhstan border to Afganistan by rail and reloaded into tank trucks for delivery to Pakistan, as Russia and Pakistan don't have direct rail connections, the sources said. Forteinvest did not respond to a request for comment.

The move comes days ahead of a new set of Western sanctions, as G7 countries, and the 27-nation EU as a whole, seek to limit Russia's revenue from oil exports without disrupting world supply. A price cap on imported Russian oil products is due to come into force on Feb. 5, along with an EU import ban on Russia's refined products.

Russia could start exporting oil to energy-starved Pakistan after March if terms are agreed, Russia's energy minister said on Jan. 20. Russia will sell crude, petrol and diesel oil to Pakistan at discounted prices, Pakistan's state minister for petroleum said in December, days after he led a government team to Moscow to negotiate the deal. Pakistan's foreign minister is due to hold talks in Moscow on Monday.

Historically, Pakistan has had no major commercial energy ties with Moscow. It currently depends on oil from Gulf countries, which often extend facilities such as deferred payments and can supply with lower transport costs, given Pakistan's proximity.

In 2022, Russia shipped to Afganistan by rail some 120,000 tons of gasoline from Orsk, Omsk, Salavat, Taneko and TAIF oil refineries, as well as some 41,000 tons of diesel of Belarusian origin and from Russian oil depots. Russia has also exported to the country some 104,000 tons of LPG, rail data shows.

We remind, BASF investors said that oil and gas business Wintershall Dea's exit from Russia, though painful, clears the way for plans to take it public and for BASF to focus on its chemicals operations. BASF late Tuesday flagged a 7.3 B euro (USD7.9 B) writedown on Wintershall Dea (WD), as the energy business, in which Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman's investment firm LetterOne owns a 27% stake, pulls out of Russia.

Shin-Etsu Chemical nine month results climb

Shin-Etsu Chemical nine month results climb

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Shin-Etsu Chemical, a Japanese chemical maker, reported that its nine-month net income attributable to owners of parent climbed 63.8% to 578.52 billion yen from last year's 353.14 billion yen,said the company.

Earnings per share were 1,415.68 yen, compared to 849.18 yen last year. Operating income grew 68.32 percent from last year to 808.23 billion yen.

Net sales were 2.16 trillion yen, up 45.8 percent from 1.48 trillion yen a year ago. Looking ahead for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2023, the company has raised its guidance.

We remind, Shin-Etsu Chemical Co Ltd has developed new process technologies that can be applied for the manufacturing of Micro LED displays. The size of a Micro LED chip is not visible to the naked eye, with the length of one side being less than 50 micrometres. For example, in order to manufacture one 4K display that has 4 times the resolution of a conventional high-definition screen, it is necessary to precisely array about 24.90 M chips. In order to implement improvements in the complexity and yield ratio in the processes of Micro LED chip manufacturing and the transfer process of each chip, Shin-Etsu Chemical has been working together with Shin-Etsu Group companies to take advantage of its unique materials technologies.

Trinseo announced Q4 net loss

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Trinseo said it expects a net loss from continuing operations of $367m-362m, which includes a pre-tax, non-cash goodwill impairment charge of USD297m related to its PMMA business and Aristech Surfaces reporting units, said the company.

Frank Bozich, president and CEO, said in the advance notice that the loss also includes a pre-tax unfavourable net timing impact of USD19m from declining raw material costs as well as a USD15m unfavourable impact from natural gas hedges that were put into place in the second half of the year.

The company will host a conference call to discuss further details of its Q4 and FY 2022 financial results on 9 February. “Our fourth quarter results reflect a challenging operating environment including a continuation of customer destocking, lower underlying demand, and volume and margin impacts from lower-cost imports into Europe from Asia,” Bozich said.

“As a result, our earnings and cash generation were below our previous expectations. However, due to proactive operating decisions such as idling styrene production throughout the fourth quarter, we saw a considerable sequential Adjusted EBITDA improvement of more than USD40m,” Bozich said. “Further improvement in the first quarter is expected given seasonally stronger demand, lower energy prices and the realisation of our asset restructuring initiatives,” the CEO said.

Regarding the impairment charges, Bozich pointed to a challenging macroeconomic environment, including significantly lower demand for building and construction and wellness applications, which led to lower operating results including slower growth projections as well as a prolonged drop in market capitalisation.

We remind, Trinseo, a specialty material solutions provider and Japan Steel Works Europe GmbH (JSW EU), a group company of The Japan Steel Works, Ltd. (JSW), a manufacturer of industrial and plastics machinery, recently announced a collaborative effort on chemical recycling of polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA).

Trinseo a specialty material solutions provider, partners with companies to bring ideas to life in an imaginative, smart, and sustainability-focused manner by combining its premier expertise, forward-looking innovations and best-in-class materials to unlock value for companies and consumers. From design to manufacturing, Trinseo taps into decades of experience in diverse material solutions to address customers’ unique challenges in a wide range of industries, including consumer goods, mobility, building and construction, and medical.