Shell affiliate Equilon agrees new biofuels JV in US

Shell affiliate Equilon agrees new biofuels JV in US

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Shell affiliate Equilon Enterprises has agreed with US agricultural company S&W Seed to establish a joint venture (JV) for developing new plant genetics for oil seed cover crops as feedstocks for biofuel production, said the company.

The JV intends to develop camelina (“Camelina sativa”) and other oilseed species from which oil and meal can be extracted, with initial grain production expected in late 2023.

Camelina is regarded as a scalable and commercially viable oilseed with the potential to be a sustainable feedstock source for the energy transition, S&W said in a statement on Tuesday.

S&W will contribute its expertise in seed research, technology, production, and processing to the JV, including its seed processing and research facilities in Nampa, Idaho.

The JV, named Vision Bioenergy Oilseeds LLC, will be jointly owned by Shell and S&W. Financial terms were not disclosed.

We remind, Shell Chemical Appalachia LLC announced it has commenced operations of its Pennsylvania Chemical project, Shell Polymers Monaca (SPM). The Pennsylvania facility is the first major polyethylene manufacturing complex in the Northeastern United States and has a designed output of 1.6 MMt annually.

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European Commission approves Sika acquisition of MBCC

European Commission approves Sika acquisition of MBCC

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The European Commission has approved the proposed acquisition of Germany-based construction chemicals producer MBCC by Switzerland’s Sika, said Reuters.

The approval, under the EU Merger Regulation, is conditional on the divestiture of MBCC's global chemical admixture business.

As initially proposed, the Sika-MBCC combination would have “substantially reduced competition” and led to higher prices and less innovation in the European Economic Area (EEA) in the markets for chemical admixtures and concrete admixtures, the Commission said.

The merged entity would have "very large market shares" and would only face competition from very few other competitors in the EEA markets for chemical admixtures, the Commission said. The markets for chemical admixtures are characterised by significant barriers to entry, such as the need to have a sufficiently large customer base, strong sales force and technical team, high volumes of orders and know-how to compete, it said.

Sika and MBCC were "key innovators and global leaders” in the development and supply of chemical admixtures and construction materials, it said. The development of new polymers and new formulations of chemical admixtures play a key role in the concrete industry, in particular to address sustainability challenges, such as bio-based admixtures.

"We were concerned that the combined entity could foreclose competitors," said Margrethe Vestager, EU executive vice president in charge of competition policy.

We remind, INEOS Enterprises has today signed an agreement to acquire MBCC Group’s Admixture Business from Sika AG. The admixture business is a leading producer of concrete additives essential for the construction industry, with well invested operations across 35 manufacturing sites and sales of around USD1 billion.

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Masdar, Verbund sign MoU for renewable hydrogen production in Central Europe

Masdar, Verbund sign MoU for renewable hydrogen production in Central Europe

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Masdar and Austrian utility Verbund have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to explore renewable hydrogen generation for the Central European market, said the company.

The MoU was signed in Abu Dhabi and the two companies will cooperate on developing pathways to produce and export renewable hydrogen to Central Europe, specifically Austria and southern Germany.

Masdar announced in 2022 that the company established a renewable hydrogen business with the goal of producing 1 million tonnes/year by 2030.

The company is also involved in several renewable hydrogen projects globally, including a 2GW integrated offshore wind and renewable hydrogen project in Azerbaijan and the 2GW renewable hydrogen project in the Suez Canal Economic Zone.

According to Verbund, over 95% of the electricity generated by the company comes from hydro-electricity power plants, which are supplemented by both wind turbines and solar farms.

According to Austria's Hydrogen Strategy, the country is seeking to have 1GW of electrolyser capacity installed by 2030, and are following renewable hydrogen only with both low carbon hydrogen and hydrogen produced from nuclear are "not sustainable" and "do not constitute as climate-neutral hydrogen."

We remind, Borealis has signed a long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) with Austrian power firm VERBUND for hydropower supply from sites on the Danube. The 10-year PPA will start in January 2023 and will supply 220GWh/year of electricity from renewable sources from VERBUND sites in Aschach and Abwinden-Asten on the Danube to power Borealis’ production in Schwechat, Austria.

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India fuels demand slips in January

India fuels demand slips in January

MOSCOW (MRC) -- India's fuel demand slipped in January after hitting a nine-month peak in December, hit by lower mobility due to cold weather in parts of the country and a slowdown in industrial activity, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Consumption of fuel, a proxy for oil demand, was about 4.6% lower than the previous month at 18.7 MMt in January, data from Indian oil ministry's Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC) showed on Wednesday. Sales of diesel fell 7.6% in January from a month ago to 7.18 MMt, while sales of gasoline, or petrol, fell 5.3% to 2.82 MMt, the PPAC data showed.

"Festive season is over, and cold temperatures might have played a role," said Refinitiv analyst Ehsan Ul Haq. India's manufacturing industry started the year on a weaker note, expanding at its slowest pace in three months in January as output and sales growth slackened, a private survey showed. On a yearly basis, however, fuel consumption was up 3.3%. Sales of diesel rose 12.6%, while sales of petrol jumped 14.2%.

"Car sales remain strong... on the whole, Indian oil demand remains on the right track and will incentivize refiners to keep refinery runs high," Haq said. Passenger vehicle (PV) sales jumped 22% year-on-year to 3,40,220 units in January, while it grew 8% from pre-COVID 2020 levels, helped by healthy bookings and improved supplies, data from the Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations showed.

With an investment boom, India is set to become world's fastest-growing economy in 2023, likely to spark sharp increases in industrial activity, while the central bank puts inflation relief measures in place. Cooking gas or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) sales decreased 2.1% year on year to 2.51 MM, while naphtha sales dipped 14.4% to 1.23 MMt. Sales of bitumen, used for making roads, fell about 20%, while fuel oil use jumped 9.1% last month.

We remind, 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. 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.

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Shell Catalysts & Technologies to increase pricing of catalyst products globally

Shell Catalysts & Technologies to increase pricing of catalyst products globally

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Shell Catalysts & Technologies (SC&T) announces a global price increase of its refining and chemical catalyst products lines, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

This announcement comes as a result of unprecedented global economic challenges which include a rise in energy and raw material costs, supply chain stresses, plus the increased cost of transportation of goods.

“Shell has experienced significant cost increases that have affected our catalysts business around the world. After careful evaluation of the current market dynamics and global economic challenges we have decided to increase the prices of our catalyst products,” said Elise H. Nowee, president, Shell Catalyst & Technologies. “We are (and remain) committed to continue providing high quality catalyst products and services to our customers and sustainably create value for our customers today and in the future.”

As an owner operator, SC&T understands the breadth and depth of the challenges created as costs increase. Along with leveraging our size to minimize material and logistic costs which translate directly toward savings, we are focused on working with customers to identify areas for operational improvements through reduced energy consumption, minimized byproducts, and maximized yield recovery.

We remind, Shell Chemical Appalachia LLC announced it has commenced operations of its Pennsylvania Chemical project, Shell Polymers Monaca (SPM). The Pennsylvania facility is the first major polyethylene manufacturing complex in the Northeastern United States and has a designed output of 1.6 MMt annually.

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