Sri Lanka bans single-use plastic following numerous wildlife deaths

Sri Lanka bans single-use plastic following numerous wildlife deaths

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Sri Lanka is banning single-use plastic as announced by the government last week. The move follows a series of wild elephant and deer deaths from plastic poisoning, said Packaginginsights.

Cabinet spokesman and media minister, Bandula Gunawardana, says the manufacture or sale of plastic cutlery, cocktail shakers and artificial flowers will be prohibited from June this year. The move was recommended by a panel appointed 18 months ago to study the impact of plastic waste on the environment and wildlife. Autopsies showed numerous animals had died after eating plastics mixed with food waste.

Although non-biodegradable plastic bags were banned in 2017 due to concerns over flash floods, local manufacture and sale of plastic products continued.

Sri Lanka’s top authority on Asian elephants, Jayantha Jayewardene, welcomed the move to stop single-use plastic but told global news agency AFP the ban should be extended to biodegradable plastic bags. “These bags are getting into the food chain of elephants and wildlife and that is not a good thing,” he says.

Many elephants in Sri Lanka suffer agonizing deaths after foraging for food at dumps filled with plastic waste.
Elephants are considered sacred and protected by law in Sri Lanka, but about 400 die a year due to human-elephant conflict near wildlife reserves, as do approximately 50 people.

Shrinking habitat has led to elephants raiding villages looking for food and many suffer agonizing deaths after foraging for food at dumps filled with plastic waste. Dozens of wild deer died from plastic poisoning in the northeastern district of Trincomalee about five years ago, prompting the government to ban the open dumping of garbage near jungle reserves.

We remind, LyondellBasell and Nexus Circular announced they have signed a definite long-term contract, which will supply LyondellBasell with approximately 24,000 tpy of recycled feedstock. The material will be produced at Nexus Circular's new advanced recycling facility, which will begin construction in 2023. The new facility will convert mixed plastic waste, which today mostly ends up in landfills or incineration, into recycled feedstock. LyondellBasell will use the recycled feedstock at its Channelview, Texas facility to produce new plastics which will be marketed under the CirculenRevive brand.

North American chemical railcar traffic fell

North American chemical railcar traffic fell

MOSCOW (MRC) -- North American chemical railcar traffic fell for a 22nd straight week, with loadings for the week ended 18 February down 1.7% year on year to 47,253, led by a 3.9% decline in the US, according to the latest freight rail data by the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

For the first seven weeks of 2023 ended 18 February, North American chemical rail traffic was down 4.7% year on year to 311,306 railcar loadings, with US traffic down 8.4%, to 221,076 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 a 21st straight week, with loadings for the week ended 11 February down 2.6% year on year to 46,254, led by a 5.8% decline in the US. For the first six weeks of 2023 ended 11 February, North American chemical rail traffic was down 5.2% year on year to 264,053 railcar loadings, with US traffic down by 9.1%, to 187,166 loadings.

Huntsman announced 12% increase in Q1 2023

Huntsman announced 12% increase in Q1 2023

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Huntsman expects a sharp drop in its first quarter adjusted earnings, much of which will occur in its polyurethanes (PU) segment, said the company.

The following table shows the company's forecasts for adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA).

It compares the forecasts with the company's performance in Q1 2022 and Q1 2021. Figures are in millions of dollars.

In the PU segment, tough market conditions have led Huntsman to idle two production lines that make methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) in the US and Europe. Huntsman warned that Europe is in a recessionary environment, and energy costs remain high despite recent declines.

In Asia, Huntsman is seeing early signs of a recovery as China continues to reopen following the end of its zero COVID-19 policies. Signs of the recovery are appearing in the cold chain, which refers to the refrigerated logistical network that keeps food, beverages and other goods cold from the point of production to the point of consumption.

Such logistical networks require insulation to keep the goods cold and PU is a powerful insulator. Other recovering end-markets in China include infrastructure and individual consumer markets such as furniture.

China's outlook is critical for the PU segment because it is the world's largest market for MDI, accounting for more than 40% of global capacity and demand, Huntsman said. For China in general, Huntman expects that consumer goods and the automobile industry will recover the soonest, while infrastructure and other end-markets connected to government stimulus could stage a more gradual recovery. Exports could remain relatively weak, they said.

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 USD593m in cash plus assumed pension liabilities, and Huntsman expects the net after tax cash proceeds to be approximately $540m before customary post-closing adjustments.

BASF appoints Stephan Kothrade to the Board of Executive Directors

BASF appoints Stephan Kothrade to the Board of Executive Directors

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The Supervisory Board of BASF SE appointed Dr. Stephan Kothrade, president, Intermediates, as a member of the Board of Executive Directors effective March 1, 2023, said the company.

Kothrade has been with BASF since 1995 and leads BASF’s Intermediates division since 2022. “Stephan Kothrade has proven himself in several leadership roles in Germany and abroad,” Dr. Kurt Bock, chairman of the Supervisory Board of BASF SE, said. “He has worked successfully for many years at our Verbund sites in Europe and Asia and will complement the Board of Executive Directors in an excellent way.”

Saori Dubourg is leaving the company as of February 28, 2023, in best mutual agreement. The Supervisory Board thanks Dubourg for her successful work and wishes her all the best for her professional as well as private future and continued success.

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.

Cepsa, Fertiberia sign deal to boost renewable hydrogen production in Huelva

Cepsa, Fertiberia sign deal to boost renewable hydrogen production in Huelva

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Cepsa and Fertiberia, two of Spain's largest hydrogen consumers, have reached an agreement to decarbonize their production processes by jointly developing a large-scale renewable hydrogen plant in Huelva using green energy and other renewable gases, said the company.

The companies will also implement other industrial synergies between their Huelva sites. Through this union, Cepsa and Fertiberia have become strategic partners in the project to develop 1 GW of electrolysis capacity in Palos de la Frontera as part of the Andalusian Green Hydrogen Valley.

This valley will have a 2 GW capacity—1 GW in Campo de Gibraltar (Cadiz) and another in Palos de la Frontera (Huelva)—and production of up to 300,000 tons in Cepsa's Energy Parks.

The agreement will meet the hydrogen and biogenic CO2 needs of both companies’ facilities in the industrial fabric of Palos de la Frontera (Huelva) in the most optimal way. Green hydrogen production will begin in 2026, and it will be used for Cepsa's and Fertiberia's own industrial consumption while enabling the manufacture of advanced biofuels, ammonia, AdBlue and sustainable crop nutrition solutions.

Cepsa's La Rabida Energy Park is adjacent to Fertiberia's facilities in Palos de la Frontera. Therefore, the partnership will help to leverage all existing industrial and operational synergies between the two sites, allowing them to be managed as efficiently as possible.

We remind, Cepsa has signed a deal with the Dutch port of Rotterdam to ship green hydrogen from southern Spain to northern Europe. The hydrogen will be produced at Cepsa’s San Roque Energy Park near the Bay of Algeciras, and will be exported through hydrogen carriers such as ammonia or methanol to the Port of Rotterdam.