Huntsman posts higher Q4 profit

Huntsman posts higher Q4 profit

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Chemicals maker Huntsman fourth-quarter profit narrowly beat Wall Street's expectations, helped by higher prices for chemicals used to make insulation and paint, said the company.

For the quarter, the company posted net income of USD105 million, or 44 cents per share, compared with USD30 million, or 12 cents per share, a year ago. Excluding items, Huntsman earned 28 cents a share.

By that measure, analysts expected earnings of 27 cents per share. "Looking forward, we anticipate that the corporation will see an improving global economy from this point forward," Chief Executive Peter Huntsman said in a statement. "Most of our businesses have strong upside potential as we see a continued recovery in the world's economy." Revenue rose 9% to USD2.63 billion. Analysts expected USD2.69 billion in revenue.

The jump in revenue was highest in the polyurethanes unit, which makes products for insulation markets, and the pigments unit, which makes titanium dioxide pigment for paint. Price hikes in both units also lifted results. DuPont is a large competitor in the titanium dioxide space.

Huntsman's textile effects unit saw sales fall 8% as customers bought fewer specialty clothing materials and due to the high value of the Swiss franc. The quarterly results are the first since Jon Huntsman Jr., the former U.S. presidential candidate, son of the company's founder and brother to the chief executive, joined the company's board of directors.

We remind, Huntsman Corporation announced that it has secured all regulatory approvals required to complete the sale of its textile effects division to Archroma, a portfolio company of SK Capital Partners, said the company.
Both parties expect the transaction to close 28 February. The agreed purchase price was $593m in cash plus assumed pension liabilities, and Huntsman expects the net after tax cash proceeds to be approximately $540m before customary post-closing adjustments.

Origin Materials to partner with Dutch Avantium on mass production of FDCA, PEF

Origin Materials to partner with Dutch Avantium on mass production of FDCA, PEF

MOSCOW (MRC) -- US Origin Materials and Dutch renewable chemical company Avantium will partner to accelerate the mass production of furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA) and polyethylene furanoate (PEF) for use in advanced chemicals and plastics, the companies said.

Plant-based FDCA is a building block for many chemicals and plastics, including PEF. PEF is a polyester of similar properties to polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and has an attractive combination of sustainability and performance characteristics for packaging including enhanced barrier properties.

It has a higher gas barrier against oxygen, CO2 and water vapour, eliminating the need for most of the multilayers used in PET bottles. The partnership will use the technologies of both companies to produce FDCA from sustainable wood residues on an industrial scale.

Origin Materials uses a process that converts biomass into paraxylene (PX) and makes 5-chloromethyl-furfural (CMF), the intermediate it uses to make PX. Avantium uses its YXY Process that converts plant-based sugars into FDCA. “Bridging these two complementary technologies creates a route that can convert sustainable wood residues via CMF into FDCA,” the companies said.

The produced PEF is expected to be 100% plant-based, fully recyclable, have attractive unit economics, and to offer a significantly reduced carbon footprint, with superior strength, thermal properties, and barrier properties compared to today’s widely used petroleum-based materials.

The partnership includes a licensing agreement providing Origin with access to relevant parts of Avantium’s process technology for producing FDCA from Origin’s CMF derivatives at a 100,000 tonnes/year scale facility and a conditional offtake agreement under which Avantium will supply Origin Materials with FDCA and PEF from its plants to accelerate market development.

We remind, Origin Materials has mechanically completed its first commercial-scale plant that will convert biomass into chemicals that can be used to make paraxylene (PX), one of the monomers used to make polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Commissioning work should finish at the end of the first quarter, with start-up beginning soon afterwards, Origin said. The plant is in Sarnia, Ontario province, in Canada, and will be able to process 25,000 dry metric tonnes (dmt)/year of biomass.

Chinese refining utilization dropped in 2022

Chinese refining utilization dropped in 2022

MOSCOW (MRC) -- In 2022, refiners in China processed less crude oil than they did in 2021, which was the first year-over-year decrease in processing according to data going back to 2000. Reduced refinery activity in China resulted from numerous factors, including mobility restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic and low petroleum product export quotas, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

According to China’s General Administration of Customs, refiners in China processed an average of 13.5 MMbpd of crude oil last year, a 4% decrease from 2021's record high of 14 MMbpd. The 2022 reduction in crude oil processing was greatest from April through August, when refiners in China processed an average of only 12.5 MMbpd.

In 2022, refiners in China processed more crude oil early in the year and late in the year. In July, refiners processed the least crude oil (11.3 MMbpd) since January 2018. Refining in China reached its monthly record high of 15.1 million b/d in September 2022 before declining slightly and then rising to more than 14 MMbpd in November and December.

Less domestic demand for crude oil reduced refining activities in China last year. Demand for petroleum products in China declined in response to COVID-19 outbreaks and related mobility restrictions in major cities, including Shanghai. These restrictions significantly slowed China’s economic activity.

We remind, PetroChina completed trial runs at a 1.2 million tonne-per-year ethylene facility in its newly launched refinery complex in south China on Sunday. PetroChina Guangdong PC announced that the ethylene plant, a 10-million-ton refining and chemical integration project, produced on-spec products and entered the stage of comprehensive trial production on Feb 12. PetroChina Guangdong Petrochemical Refining and Chemical Integration Project, located in Jieyang, Guangdong Province, covers an area of 920 hectares, with crude oil refining production capacity of 20 million mt/year aromatics capacity 2.6 million tons/year and ethylene capacity 1.2 million tons/year.

HPCL to begin ops on Barmer integrated complex in January 2024

HPCL to begin ops on Barmer integrated complex in January 2024

MOSCOW (MRC) -- India's Hindustan Petroleum Corp (HPCL) plans to start its 9-MMtpy Barmer refinery and petrochemical project in Rajasthan state by January 2024, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

India, the third biggest oil importer, is expanding refining capacity to meet rising demand for fuel and petrochemical to power economic expansion. India's per capita petrochemical consumption is about a third of the global average.

Oil Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said the project, which covers 4,800 acres, would produce 2.4 MMtpy of petrochemicals and cut the annual petrochemical import bill by 260 B rupees (USD3.14 B). India's annual imports of petrochemicals were worth about 950 billion rupees, he said.

Most Indian refiners are linking petrochemical plants with refineries as demand for plastics and specialty chemicals rises. Integrating petrochemical plants would also help refiners hedge against slowing demand for conventional fuel in the longer term.

The Barmer refinery and petrochemical project will produce gasoline and gasoil for retail sales and will use naphtha, liquefied petroleum gas and kerosene as feedstock to make petrochemicals. HPCL's head of refineries, S Bharathan, said his company would look at importing oil from the Middle East to start the project, which will also process 1.5 MMtpy of locally produced oil.

The project, in which HPCL has a 74% stake and the Rajasthan government holds the rest, was due to be completed by December 2022 but shutdowns due to the pandemic delayed the plans. The project cost has risen to 720 B rupees from the 430 B rupees estimated in 2018, the minister said. The Barmer complex, executed by HPCL Rajasthan Refinery Ltd, could double capacity to 18 million tonnes a year, he added.

We remind, HPCL commenced its Cowdung to Compressed Biogas Project at Sanchore, Rajasthan. This will be HPCL’s first project under Waste to Energy portfolio. The plant is proposed to utilize 100 Tons per day of dung to produce biogas, which can be utilized as automotive fuel. The project is proposed to be commissioned in a year’s time.

Bangladesh needs USD1 bn to import fuel oil and avert an energy crises

Bangladesh needs USD1 bn to import fuel oil and avert an energy crises

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Bangladesh's private power producers will need USD1 B in foreign currency to import fuel oil and avert an energy crisis this summer, their industry association said in a letter to the central bank seen by Reuters.

Analysts expect power cuts in Bangladesh to worsen this year, as a rapid decline in the value of its currency and foreign exchange reserves have limited its ability to import power generation fuels, whose prices have surged following Western sanctions on major energy exporter Russia.

Outages have already hampered commercial operations in Bangladesh, hitting lucrative garment industry supplies to clients such as Walmart, Gap Inc, H&M and Inditex's Zara. The Bangladesh Independent Power Producers' Association (BIPPA) flagged a shortage of U.S. dollars to pay for crucial energy imports, and said private generators would need over USD250 million a month until June to pay for fuel shipments.

"We humbly urge Bangladesh Bank to enable local commercial banks to establish letter of credit for critical imports such as fuel oil... by providing U.S. dollars to local commercial banks," BIPPA told the central bank in a letter on Monday. Private power producers, including small private producers and public/private partnerships and led by Summit Power International, provide more than half of the country's electricity.

Mezbaul Haque, a spokesperson for the central bank, said the bank would "look into the matter," without elaborating. "Measures have been taken to ease the dollar crisis and the trend is stable now," Haque said, adding that dollar holdings at commercial banks were on the rise. Bangladesh imports the bulk of the fuel it needs for electricity.

BIPPA said irrigation during the annual harvest season, festivities during the holy month of Ramadan and hot weather would drive a sharp rise in electricity demand this summer, adding that lack of support from the central bank could force utilities to resort to widespread power cuts. Temperatures typically start increasing from the end of March, and BIPPA estimates power producers to require 2.12 MMt of fuel oil in the four months to June 2023.

Dwindling local gas reserves and a lack of sufficient coal-fired capacity have forced the country to depend on liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports and polluting fuels such as fuel oil for power generation over the years. High global prices forced Bangladesh to slash its imports in 2022 despite a rise in power demand, resulting in a fuel shortage that forced millions of citizens into hours of darkness every week during the second half of last year.

We remind, Sumitomo Corporation has commenced sales of the industrial park developed in a special economic zone in Narayanganj District, Dhaka Division, Bangladesh together with Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority. Bangladesh borders India on the north, east and west, and Myanmar on the southeast, placing at a geographically important location connecting South and Southeast Asia.