BASF production site in Rokuromi, Japan now REDcert2 certified, supporting growing demand for biomass balanced acrylic dispersions

BASF production site in Rokuromi, Japan now REDcert2 certified, supporting growing demand for biomass balanced acrylic dispersions

BASF’s Rokuromi site in Japan has received REDcert2 certification after undergoing an independent third-party audit, said the company.

This certification enables BASF to offer customers certified low CO2 variant dispersions via the biomass balance (BMB) approach, with identical performance to comparable fossil-based dispersions.

Manufacturers are looking to reduce their CO2 emissions to help create a better and more sustainable future. Moreover, increasing awareness among end consumers across many different industries has led to growing demand for low-carbon footprint products, especially in the paints and packaging industries. BASF’s BMB products are catering to this demand, replacing fossil feedstock with renewable raw materials at the very first stage of the chemical production process.

“We are delighted to announce that Rokuromi is the first BASF site in Japan capable of producing BMB acrylic dispersions. This is our third site under BASF’s Dispersions business unit in Asia Pacific to become BMB-certified, following our production facilities in China in 2020 and in Pasir Gudang, Malaysia in 2022. Japan is one of our key markets and Japanese consumers have a high awareness of sustainable products. And therefore, enabling our site in Japan to deliver REDcert2 certified low CO2 dispersions is a key step to better serve our customers there,” said Bir Darbar Mehta, Senior Vice President, Dispersions Asia Pacific at BASF.

We remind, Linde Engineering (Pullach, Germany) has signed an agreement with BASF SE (Ludwigshafen, Germany) for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) of a synthesis gas (syngas) plant in Zhanjiang, China.

Westlake Chemical earnings below expectations in Q4

Westlake Chemical earnings below expectations in Q4

Westlake Chemical Corp. reported fourth-quarter earnings of USD232 mln, said the company.

The Houston-based company said it had net income of USD1.79 per share. The results missed Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of seven analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of USD2.24 per share.

The chemical company posted revenue of USD3.3 billion in the period, which also did not meet Street forecasts. Seven analysts surveyed by Zacks expected USD3.31 billion.

For the year, the company reported profit of USD2.25 billion, or USD17.34 per share. Revenue was reported as USD15.79 billion.

We remind, Westlake Chemical Corporation aims to buy the parent firm of US-based Dimex from Grey Mountain Partners through one of its offshoots. Dimex makes several consumer products produced from post-industrial-recycled (PIR) polyvinyl chloride (PVC), thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) and polyethylene (PE), and records sales of around USD100 M/y. These consumer products comprise of industrial, home and office matting; landscape edging; masonry joint controls; and marine dock edging.

Suncor Energy names Exxon veteran Rich Kruger as CEO

Suncor Energy names Exxon veteran Rich Kruger as CEO

Rich Kruger, who led Imperial Oil Ltd. as president and CEO from 2013 until his retirement in 2019, has been named the new chief executive of Suncor Energy Inc. after a months-long search, said Reuters.

The Calgary-based oil producer and refiner made the announcement Tuesday, bringing an end to months of speculation and anticipation by analysts and investors. The 63-year-old Kruger, who will take the top job on April 3, will replace interim CEO Kris Smith, who stepped in to fill the role after Mark Little resigned in July 2022 amid investor pressure and in the wake of a spate of workplace deaths and safety incidents.

Suncor said Tuesday that following a transition period, Smith will assume the role of chief financial officer and executive vice-president of corporate development after Suncor's annual general meeting on May 9. Alister Cowan, the current CFO, is set to retire at the end of the year, the company said Tuesday.

The naming of Kruger as CEO should satisfy those who wished to see change at the top of Suncor, said Scotiabank analyst Jason Bouvier in a note Tuesday. "We view these changes as positive as it will provide those in the market that wanted a change in leadership with an actionable event," Bouvier said.

"Rich brings considerable oilsands experience and a strong history of operational safety to the role." Two of the board directors serving on the CEO search committee were named to Suncor's board in July, as part of a deal the company struck to appease U.S.-based activist investor Elliott Investment Management.

Elliott publicly expressed frustration last spring at what it called a recent decline in performance at the energy producer. The activist investor also criticized Suncor for its safety record. At least 12 workers have died at the company's oilsands operations in northern Alberta since 2014, and former CEO Little resigned just one day after the most recent fatality.

We remind, ExxonMobil awarded a front-end engineering and design (FEED) contract to Technip Energies for a blue hydrogen project at its complex in Baytown, Texas. ExxonMobil described the contract as the largest of its kind in the world. The company could make a final investment decision (FID) on the project in 2024. If ExxonMobil proceeds, it could start operations in 2027-2028. Financial details were not disclosed.

Huntsman posts higher Q4 profit

Huntsman posts higher Q4 profit

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

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.