North American chemical railcar traffic fell for a 20th straight week

North American chemical railcar traffic fell for a 20th straight week

MOSCOW (MRC) -- North American chemical railcar traffic fell for a 20th straight week, with loadings for the week ended 4 February down 2.0% year on year to 45,381, led by a 3.5% decline in the US, according to the latest freight rail data by the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

For the first five weeks of 2023 ended 4 February, North American chemical rail traffic was down 5.6% year on year to 218,205 railcar loadings, with US traffic down by 9.8% or 154,499 loadings.

In the US, chemical railcar loadings represent about 20% of chemical transportation by tonnage, with trucks, barges and pipelines carrying the rest. In Canada, chemical producers rely on rail to ship more than 70% of their products, with some exclusively using rail.

We remind, North American chemical railcar traffic fell for 19th straight week, with loadings for the week ended 28 January down 5.9% year on year to 44,803, led by a 10.0% decline in the US. For the first four weeks of 2023 ended 28 January North American chemical rail traffic was down 6.5% year on year to 172,824 railcar loadings, with US traffic down by 11.4% or 15,641 loadings.

Trinseo reports Q4 net loss of USD365m on goodwill impairment

Trinseo reports Q4 net loss of USD365m on goodwill impairment

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Trinseo reported a Q4 net loss of $365.3m largely because of a pre-tax, non-cash goodwill impairment charge of USD297m related to its PMMA business and Aristech Surfaces reporting units, said the company.

The company saw Q4 sales fall by almost 25% compared with the same quarter a year go while costs fell at a slower pace. The following table shows the company's Q4 financial performance. Figures are in millions of dollars.

The company attributed the lower sales volumes to continued customer destocking exacerbated by extended year-end shutdowns at many customer sites, COVID-19 impacts in China, and underlying demand weakness stemming from an uncertain economic and geopolitical macroenvironment.

Additionally, elevated energy prices in Europe, weak demand in China and easing shipping constraints created a temporary arbitrage window for lower-cost imports from Asia into Europe, which negatively impacted volumes and created margin pressure for globally traded products such as ABS (acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene), polycarbonate, MMA (methyl methacrylate) and PMMA (polymethyl methacrylate sheets.

“During the fourth quarter we observed a similar sequential operating environment including lower global demand and elevated natural gas prices in Europe,” President and CEO Frank Bozich said. “However, our results improved sequentially as we made proactive operating decisions that will continue to reduce our exposure to cyclical commodity markets.”

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.

Reliance unveils India first hydrogen combustion engine technology for heavy-duty trucks

Reliance unveils India  first hydrogen combustion engine technology for heavy-duty trucks

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) unveiled India’s first Hydrogen Internal Combustion Engine technology solution for heavy duty trucks flagged off by Honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the India Energy Week in Bangalore, said the company.

The Hydrogen Internal Combustion Engine (H2ICE) powered trucks will emit near zero emissions, deliver performance on par with conventional diesel trucks and reduce noise and with projected reductions in operating costs thus redefining the future of Green Mobility.

As part of its Net carbon Zero vison, Reliance with its vehicle partner Ashok Leyland and other technical partners are engaged in developing this unique technology since the last year with first engines running in early 2022. Going forward, Reliance will first extensively test and validate the H2ICE technology for heavy duty trucks before its first commercial deployment at scale initially across its captive fleet. Simultaneously Reliance is pursuing the opportunity to create an end-to-end Hydrogen eco system for mobility.

We remind, Reliance Industries Ltd., helmed by billionaire Mukesh Ambani, posted a larger-than-expected quarterly profit as growth in its consumer units offset the weakness in its traditional petrochemicals business. Net income fell 15% to 157.9 billion rupees (USD1.9 billion) in the quarter ended Dec. 31 but was still higher than the average 156.19 billion rupees estimated in a Bloomberg survey. India’s largest company by market value also secured approval of its board to raise as much as 200 billion rupees via bonds.

Reliance is India’s largest private sector company, with a consolidated revenue of INR 792,756 crore (USD104.6 billion), cash profit of INR 110,778 crore (USD14.6 billion), and net profit of INR 67,845 crore ($9.0 billion) for the year ended March 31, 2022. Reliance’s activities span hydrocarbon exploration and production, petroleum refining and marketing, petrochemicals, advanced materials and composites, renewables (solar and hydrogen), financial services, retail and digital services.

Sasol half-year profits to double

Sasol half-year profits to double

MOSCOW (MRC) -- South African petrochemical group Sasol said it expects its half-year profit to double, driven by strong oil prices and despite operational challenges in its domestic unit, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Sasol expects its headline earnings per share (HEPS)- the main profit measure in South Africa - to be between 29.84 rand and 31.36 rand (USD1.69-USD1.78) in the six months to December 2022, compared with 15.21 rand in the same period a year earlier.

The world's biggest producer of fuel products and chemicals from coal said the benefit of a weaker rand as well as higher oil prices and refining margins was offset by weaker global economic growth, depressed chemicals prices and higher input and energy costs. "Our South African operations also experienced several operational challenges, most notably in the mining business, where coal productivity and quality have been below plan," Sasol said in a trading update.

Poor rail performance, port constraints and power outages in South Africa had impacted sales volumes during the six months, Sasol added. Last week, Sasol said its coal exports fell 25% during the half year to 900,000 t due to rail logistics problems as well as safety and operational outages at its mines.

State-owned rail operator Transnet's under-performance, blamed on a shortage of locomotives and spare parts as well as cable theft and vandalized infrastructure, has hobbled South African coal exports at a time of high demand, especially in Europe, after the European Union banned imports from Russia after it invaded Ukraine.

We remind, Sasol announced that its world-scale U.S. ethane cracker has reached beneficial operation on 27 August 2019. Sasol’s new cracker, the heart of its Lake Charles Chemicals Project (LCCP), is the third and most significant of the seven LCCP facilities to come online and will provide feedstock to six new derivative units at Sasol’s Lake Charles multi-asset site.

NextChem and Biorenova sign deal to scaleup CatC technology

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Maire Tecnimont S.p.A. announces that its subsidiary NextChem S.p.A. has signed an agreement with Biorenova S.p.A. to acquire, scale up and industrialize the proprietary CatC technology, a continuous chemical recycling process to recover monomers with ultra-high levels of purity from sorted plastic waste, particularly Polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA),, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

NextChem intends to scale up CatC’s industrialization in the plexiglass market, while progressively expanding its application to other value-added plastics, as this technology could also be suitable for the depolymerization of polystyrene, a largely used plastic with numerous industrial applications from food packaging to electronics and automotive, among others. Moreover, a further optimization of the technology could allow to address the even larger polyolefins market.

The CatC technology has been developed in the Abruzzo region (central Italy), where the first market development plant has already been built. Monomer samples have been fully validated by perspective off-takers. Once scaled up, CatC would provide a cost-effective, competitive alternative to other existing depolymerization technologies for plexiglass, as the obtained monomers can be used directly without any further treatment. Biorenova S.p.A. is an innovative company engaged in the development of circular economy proprietary technologies, particularly in recovering materials through CatC technology, and hydrogen bioproduction.

NextChem will hold a 51% stake of a new company (NewCo) which will own the CatC technology. Biorenova will maintain the remaining 49%. Closing, is expected to take place by 30 April 2023, subject to customary conditions. This acquisition is strategically significant since it allows the Group to expand its technological portfolio and enter new markets.

Expected revenues coming from such activity are expected to progressively grow to an overall value of EUR30 million by 2028. After this ramp-up period, yearly revenues are expected to be in the EUR15-20 million range. NextChem through the NewCo will act as technology licensor, high-value process engineering and critical equipment provider.

We remind, Maire Tecnimont S.p.A. announces that NextChem, through its subsidiary MyRechemical, has kicked off the engineering phase of Hydrogen Valley in Rome, which is based on NextChem’s waste-to-chemical technology and has received the EU Commission grant within IPCEI HY2USE initiative, as already communicated, said the company.
NextChem has started, through MyRechemical, the engineering of waste conversion to Circular Gas™ that will be the feedstock for the ethanol and hydrogen production. In this framework, NextChem has awarded LanzaTech an engineering contract to deliver a process design package for a syngas fermentation unit to produce circular ethanol for sustainable mobility and chemicals based on its biocatalyst technology.