Shinkong and Mitsubishi plan to increase R-PET capacity in Taiwan

Shinkong and Mitsubishi plan to increase R-PET capacity in Taiwan

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Thai Shinkong Industry Corporation (TSIC), which is a joint venture between Taiwan’s Shinkong and Japan’s Mitsubishi, will hike the nameplate capacity of its recycled polyethylene terephthalate (R-PET) facility in Thailand, said the company.

As more customers and business partners have expressed buying interest for the materials, TSIC increased output to 140,000 tonnes/year from the initially planned 70,000 tonnes/year.

The plant will use the Uhde Inventa-Fischer (UIF) flakes-to-resin (FTR) technology to use R-PET flakes, combined with purified terephthalic acid (PTA) and mono-ethylene glycol (MEG) to produce chemically recycled R-PET pellets.

Previously encountering delays due to the surge of COVID-19 cases in Thailand in the past years, the facility is expected to commence production by end-February to April.

Although the facility will not directly compete for post-consumer bales from the local market, it will secure R-PET flakes which would indirectly hike demand for bales.

We remind, Mitsubishi Chemical Group Corporation announced the start of labormanagement consultation on cessation of the production of methacrylates (MMA) at Mitsubishi Chemical UK's Cassel, said the company. Site, and announced today that its Corporate Executive Officers Committee resolved in the day to cease the production of methacrylates at its Cassel Site subject to completion of the labor-management consultation.

Chevron annual profit doubles to record USD36.5 bn

Chevron annual profit doubles to record USD36.5 bn

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Chevron Corp. posted a record USD36.5 bn profit for 2022 that was more than double year-earlier earnings but fell shy of Wall Street estimates, undercut by an asset writedowns and a retreat in oil and gas prices, said Reuters.

The second largest U.S. oil producer's adjusted net profit for 2022 beat by about USD10 billion its previous record set in 2011. But USD1.1 B in writedowns in its international oil and gas operations in the fourth quarter left earnings short of forecasts for adjusted net profit of USD37.2 B.

Chevron's numbers kick off what promises to be nosebleed level earnings for global energy suppliers. High prices from strong demand and shortages since Russia's invasion of Ukraine position Western energy firms to show a combined $200 B profit for the year, according to analysts.

Industry earnings already have put energy stocks at the top of market returns as companies lift their payouts to shareholders. The latest figures could stir fresh calls for windfall taxes.

The White House on Wednesday protested against Chevron's decision to triple the budget to buy back its own stock from future earnings - now at USD75 B over an undisclosed period. Biden's administration say companies should invest more in ways to lower prices for consumers.

Investors reacted by boosting Chevron shares by almost 5% on Thursday, to USD187.79, up 44% in the last 52-weeks.

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.

Eastman Q4 income falls

Eastman Q4 income falls

MOSCOW (MRC) -- US-based specialty chemicals producer Eastman reported a sharp decline in Q4 net income because it reported fewer one-time benefits and a decline in sales, said the company.

Income fell in part because of a decline in reported benefits for the company's employee pension account. It reported a Q4 benefit of USD6m, down from USD303m from the same time last year. Factoring out the benefit, Eastman would have still reported a decline in Q4 net income because sales fell faster than costs.

During the quarter, demand slowed, destocking accelerated across all end-markets and the rapid spread of COVID-19 in China weakened demand in that country at the end of the year. In addition, Eastman's customers had destocked beyond what is typical for the fourth quarter.

Eastman attributed its decline in sales to a 12% decline in sales volume/mix, a 7% hit from divested businesses and a 3% hit from unfavourable exchange rates. These were partially offset by a 10% rise in selling prices.

The increase in sales prices more than offset the rise in costs for raw materials, energy and distribution. Demand was especially weak for products used in consumer durables as well as building and construction.

As per MRC, US-based Eastman aims to light a fire under the ecosystem for collecting hard-to-recycle polyester waste with USD2bn in new investments for plastics recycling projects in the US and France.

ExxonMobil moves forward with largest renewable diesel facility in Canada

ExxonMobil moves forward with largest renewable diesel facility in Canada

MOSCOW (MRC) -- ExxonMobil announced its majority-owned affiliate, Imperial Oil Ltd, will invest about USD560 million to move forward with construction of the largest renewable diesel facility in Canada, said the company.

The project at Imperial’s Strathcona refinery is expected to produce 20,000 barrels of renewable diesel per day primarily from locally sourced feedstocks and could help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the Canadian transportation sector by about 3 million metric tons per year, as determined in accordance with Canada’s Clean Fuel Regulation. The facility is a part of the corporation’s plans through 2027 to invest approximately USD17 billion in lower-emission initiatives.

Imperial’s renewable diesel facility will use low-carbon hydrogen produced with carbon capture and storage technology to help Canada meet low emission fuel standards. Imperial has entered into an agreement with Air Products for low-carbon hydrogen supply and is developing agreements with other third parties for biofeedstock supply. The low-carbon hydrogen and biofeedstock will be combined with a proprietary catalyst to produce premium lower-emission diesel fuel and will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector, relative to conventional fuels.

Site preparation and initial construction are underway. Renewable diesel production is expected to start in 2025. The project is expected to create about 600 direct construction jobs, along with hundreds more through investments by business partners.

We remind, 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. 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.

Hexpol posts higher earnings

Hexpol posts higher earnings

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Hexpol (Malmo, Sweden), a polymer compounder, says net profits in the fourth quarter of 2022 grew by 40% year on year (YOY) to 624.0 million Swedish kronor (USD60.5 million) on sales up 35% YOY to SKr5.49 billion. Adjusted EBITA increased 29% YOY to SKr837.0 million, said the company.

EBITA margin was 15.2%, 0.7 percentage points lower YOY. “[The company posted] good sales in all markets and all product areas. However, at the end of December we saw lower sales compared to the beginning of the quarter, affected by inventory reductions at customers and the effects of the extreme winter weather in USA. Despite that, America showed overall a continued strong development,” says Georg Brunstam, president and CEO at Hexpol.

Hexpol’s compounding business posted a 36% YOY growth in sales to SKr5.15 billion. EBIT increased 55% YOY to SKr767.0 million. Sales of the company’s engineered products were up 18% YOY to SKr347.0 million. The business’s EBIT increased 76% YOY to SKr74.0 million.

We remind, Hexpol has completed the previously announced acquisiton of US thermoplastic compounding company McCann Plastics for USD120m on a cash and debt free basis. McCann Plastics, of North Canton, Ohio, specialises in niche thermoplastic compounds, with a focus on roto moulding applications. Its main end customer segments are general industry, agriculture and specialised cooling boxes. The company, with sales of USD72m in the past 12 months, has operations at two sites in Ohio and employs about 100 people.