MOSCOW (MRC) -- SK Holdings Materials, a South Korea-based company specialising in material technology, has signed an agreement with ExxonMobil, a US energy and petrochemical company, with the main aim of introducing blue ammonia to SK Materials in Korea, said Offshore-energy.
The company noted that ExxonMobil plans to build a facility to produce blue ammonia in Baytown, Texas, USA, and SK Materials plans to support the transition to clean energy in the domestic coal power generation market by introducing blue ammonia and supplying it as a power generation fuel in time for co-fired power generation in Korea.
SK Materials said it also plans to expand cooperation with ExxonMobil to develop a carbon reduction solution business.
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.
MOSCOW (MRC) -- BASF said it would cut 2,600 jobs, halt share buybacks and hike investment to improve competitiveness as it warned of a further decline in earnings due to rising costs, said Reuters.
The German chemicals giant said in a statement that adjusted 2023 earnings before interest and tax (EBIT), would fall to between 4.8-5.4 billion euros (USD5.09-USD5.69 billion) from 6.9 billion euros in 2022, which was down 11.5% from 2021.
BASF, which in October laid out plans to cut annual non-production costs in Europe by 500 million euros, said on Friday this would lead to 2,600 job cuts, or about 2.3% of its global workforce, including about 1,800 job losses at its Ludwigshafen headquarters. It also announced plans to cut another 200 million euros in annual fixed production costs.
A 3 billion euro share buyback programme will be stopped after 1.4 billion euros was spent, due to "profound changes in the global economy", it added. "Europe's competitiveness is increasingly suffering from overregulation, slow and bureaucratic permitting processes, and in particular, high costs for most production input factors," said Chief Executive Martin Brudermueller.
Shares in the company slumped 6.6% to their lowest in almost two months at 1400 GMT, the worst performer on Germany's blue-chip DAX 30 index. BASF kept the 2022 dividend flat at 3.40 euros and did not commit to a longer-term increase. Finance chief Hans-Ulrich Engel said dividends would depend on future cash flows after investment.
"Uncertainty over dividends and a strong increase in investment expenditures are a burden on the share price," Arne Rautenberg, a portfolio manager at German mutual fund firm Union Investment, told Reuters. Investments, driven by an expansion in China and a global bet on automotive battery chemicals, would be 6.3 billion euros this year, up more than 50% from 2022, and rise further for a peak in 2024, BASF said.
BASF's job cuts, which are about 3.9% of its European workforce, come after carmaker Ford (F.N) last week said it would slash 3,800 roles in Europe. Hit by a product recall, Dutch medical device company Philips (PHG.AS) last month announced it would scrap 6,000 jobs.
BASF said it would strive to offer affected staff alternative positions. It has previously flagged the risk of major labour shortages as baby boomers retire in Germany. At the heart of BASF's soaring costs are European natural gas prices which rocketed last year after Moscow's invasion of Ukraine. Although European prices have eased to around 50 euros per megawatt hour (MWh) from last August's peak of more than 340 euros, they remain above historic averages.
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.
MOSCOW (MRC) -- Three separate fires at Petroleos Mexicanos facilities on Thursday killed one worker, left at least eight people injured and several others missing, putting the Mexican state oil company’s safety record under scrutiny ahead of its earnings call on Monday, said Bloomberg.
Pemex said at least five people were missing and three were hospitalized after a fire broke out at a storage facility in Ixhuatlan, Veracruz. One of those workers died, Milenio reported in a video citing workers of the company.
Pemex also reported another blaze at the combined Maya unit of its 285,000-barrel-a-day Minatitlan refinery in Veracruz injured five workers. The same day, Pemex issued a community alert noting there was a fire at one of its units in the Deer Park refinery in Texas.
The fire at the Minatitlan refinery was controlled quickly, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said in a press conference Friday morning, while the fire at the Ixhuatlan storage facility is yet to be extinguished. “In the case of Ixhuatlan, it will take more time because it occurred at an oil deposit,” he said. The blast at Ixhuatlan sent huge clouds of smoke into the sky, pictures and videos on Twitter show.
While Pemex has said operations at its Minatitlan and Deer Park refineries are back to normal, the series of incidents has put Pemex’s environment, social and governance record under a spotlight during an already rocky start to the year for the company.
Pemex is under pressure to improve its oil production after it reported another year of declines and to boost refinery output to meet a nationalist goal of making Mexico self-sufficient in energy generation. The company has the most debt of any oil major, at USD105 billion by the end of September, and is searching for funds to repay about $8 billion in debt due this year.
Pemex’s safety issues have attracted international attention. In 2021, a huge gas explosion near its offshore oil platform — dubbed the “eye of fire”— sparked criticism from famed environmental activist Greta Thunberg and US Senator Bernie Sanders. Another offshore platform accident that year resulted in five deaths and Pemex was forced to cut output by a quarter.
We remind, Pemex's newest refinery, which is still under construction in Mexico's southeast, will begin to process crude oil in July 2023. The Olmeca refinery, the cornerstone of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's plan to make the country self-sufficient in gasoline and diesel, was originally slated to come on line early last year.
Meanwhile, the budget for the construction and other infrastructure needed to connect the refinery has more than doubled from an initial USD8 billion.
MOSCOW (MRC) -- Evonik's coating additives business line is launching two new wetting agents, TEGO Wet 290 and TEGO Wet 296, said Coatings.specialchem.
Both can be used for various substrates such as wood, plastic, and metal surfaces. The main areas of application are waterborne automotive and wood coatings.
The two wetting agents improve wetting and anti-cratering properties and enhance flow and leveling.
Due to their excellent flow and leveling properties, TEGO® Wet 290 and TEGO® Wet 296, are well suited for the automotive market, where the demand for glossy coatings with a unique color impression continues to grow.
Manufacturers of wood coatings benefit from the excellent wood pore wetting which brings out the structure of the substrate particularly well, which is very important to many end customers.
“As a truly global partner to our coating customers, we are constantly working to expand our offering, to meet the evolving market and customer needs”, said Maximilian Morin, head of the Industrial & Transportation Coatings market segment. “With our two new wetting agents, we are trying to help satisfy the appearance requirements for automotive and wood furniture coatings.”
The two additives differ mainly in their composition, TEGO® Wet 290 consists of 100 percent polyether-modified siloxane and is therefore particularly suitable for formulations with requirements of low volatile content.
TEGO® Wet 296 is a 52 percent solution of a polyether-modified siloxane in DPM (dipropyleneglycol-methyl-ether), which works well in low solids formulations such as waterborne automotive basecoats.
We remind, Evonik is pooling its expertise and integrating its alkoxides business into the Catalysts Business Line. The extensive portfolio of heterogeneous catalysts is thus now complemented by homogeneous catalysts. An international network of production sites and the highly experienced alkoxides team will additionally strengthen the Catalysts Business Line, one of Evonik's growth areas, from January 2023.