Workers vote to halt production at TotalEnergies Feyzin refinery

Workers vote to halt production at TotalEnergies Feyzin refinery

TotalEnergies workers on Wednesday took a majority vote to halt production at the Feyzin refinery close to Lyon as part of wider strike action across France against a planned pension reform, a CGT union official told Reuters.

Striking workers had so far only blocked shipments at the site. CGT representative Eric Sellini said the union was now negotiating the modalities on how to organize the shutdown with management.

Following a day of strikes and demonstrations on Tuesday, TotalEnergies' refinery deliveries were suspended on Wednesday, electricity output was reduced and train services remained disrupted as workers in key industries continued their action aimed at blocking the government's plan to delay the retirement age by two years to 64.

We remind, TotalEnergies is joining forces with Portuguese packaging player Intraplas to create commercial products with TotalEnergies renewable polymer – a range of the RE:clic portfolio, which uses renewable sources to lower carbon footprint. TotalEnergies’ biorefinery in La Mede, France, allows direct access to renewable feedstock for its drop-in RE: newable polymer range derived from bio-based products. The company claims these polymers retain virgin-like properties.

CNOOC-Shell JV lets contract for Huizhou Phase 3 ethylene expansion

CNOOC-Shell JV lets contract for Huizhou Phase 3 ethylene expansion

Shell PLC subsidiary Shell Nanhai BV and China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC) have let a contract to Shell Catalyst & Technologies (SC&T) to deliver process technology for a third major expansion of ethylene production capacity at the operators' 50-50 joint venture CNOOC & Shell Petrochemicals Co Ltd's (CSPC) petrochemical complex in Daya Bay Economic & Technological Development Zone, Huizhou City, Guangdong Province, China, said the company.

As part of the Feb. 27 contract, SC&T will license a suite of technologies for CSPC’s Phase 3 expansion, including its proprietary production process for styrene monomer and propylene oxide (SMPO) and OMEGA catalytic process for manufacturing of ethylene-oxide-ethylene glycol (EO-EG), as well as its technology for production of linear alpha olefins (LAO) for a grassroots LAO plant to be built as part of the project, the service provider said.

SC&T said its scope of delivery under contract also includes provision of associated catalysts for the Phase 3 growth project, which will add a new 1.6-million tonne/year (tpy) ethylene cracker.

The contract for CSPC’s Phase 3 expansion follows the partners’ May 2020 confirmation that they would proceed with project development that was then only to include construction of a new 1.5-million tpy cracker.

Preceded by commissioning of a 1.2-million tpy ethylene cracker—the site’s second—in 2018, CSPC most recently completed startup of remaining derivatives units included under complex’s Phase 2 expansion in April 2021.

We remind, Royal Dutch Shell PLC subsidiary Shell Nanhai BV and China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC) have started up new units to complete the Phase 2 expansion of their 50-50 joint venture CNOOC & Shell Petrochemicals Co. Ltd.’s (CSPC) petrochemical complex in Daya Bay Economic & Technological Development Zone, Huizhou City, Guangdong Province, China.

Sulzer technology to recycle 30,000 tpy of plastic waste at Indaver Plastics2Chemicals plant

Sulzer technology to recycle 30,000 tpy of plastic waste at Indaver Plastics2Chemicals plant

Sulzer advanced separation technology will enable end-of-life plastics recycling at Indaver’s first plastic depolymerization plant currently under construction in Antwerp, Belgium, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The new Plastics2Chemicals (P2C) plant will drive polymer circularity by using Sulzer separation technology to reclaim and purify 30,000 tpy of plastic waste. The resulting pure chemical feedstock can then be reused in manufacturing.

As a leading European sustainable waste management company based in Belgium, Indaver is leveraging Sulzer’s advanced separation technology to develop safe recycling methods for typically non-recyclable post-consumer plastic. This demo-plant is the first of several sustainable P2C facilities that Indaver plans to build in strategic locations across Europe, together which will upcycle 1 MMt of used plastic.

After breaking long plastic macromolecules (polymers) down to simple monomers through depolymerization, the new P2C facility will use Sulzer Chemtech equipment to recover and purify the monomers to be used in the production of packaging materials, such as butter dishes, chocolate foils, cups and yoghurt pots amongst others.

Indaver elected to partner with Sulzer in this project due to its extensive research and pilot testing at Sulzer Chemtech’s in-house pilot plant in Allschwil, Switzerland. Sulzer is delivering four units that will run proprietary processes to enhance the quality of the recovered styrene or oil fractions. The Sulzer Chemtech equipment is critical to purification of chemical feedstock, enabling the polymer circularity.

We remind, Sulzer has signed an agreement with circular technology company Fuenix Ecogy to acquire a strategic stake in its plastic upcycling business. The partnership will drive the development, commercialization and adoption of advanced, fully integrated solutions for plastic waste processing.

Russia exports record diesel volumes to Brazil in February

Russia exports record diesel volumes to Brazil in February

Russian ultra-low-sulphur diesel (ULSD) diesel shipments to Brazil hit a record high in February, while Moscow is exploring new markets following the European Union ban, according to traders and Refinitiv data, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

A full EU embargo on Russian oil products went into effect on Feb. 5, and Africa, Asia and ship-to ship (STS) loadings took market share of Russian diesel buyers instead of Europe. According to Refinitiv, at least four cargoes carrying 140,000 tonnes of diesel were loaded in the Russian Baltic port of Primorsk in February and were now heading to Brazil.

Two more cargoes were loaded with 60,000 tonnes of diesel in the Russian Baltic port of Vysotsk and discharged in Brazilian ports. In January, export diesel supplies from Russia to Brazil totaled about 96,000 tonnes, according to Refinitiv data.

Brazil is looking to buy as much diesel as it can from Russia, Brazilian Foreign Minister Carlos Franca said last year.

We remind, Shell said it completed withdrawal from its interest in Salym Petroleum Development in Russia on 3 March. Shell Salym Development BV - a subsidiary of Shell plc - completed the withdrawal from its 50% interest in the Salym project, which had been jointly developed with Gazprom Neft, a subsidiary of Gazprom. This follows the receipt of all necessary regulatory approvals.

Kronos posts Q4 loss as revenue plummets

Kronos posts Q4 loss as revenue plummets

Kronos Worldwide reported on Wednesday a year-on-year decline in Q4 net income as revenue fell faster than costs, said the company.

The following shows the company's Q4 financial performance. Figures are in millions of dollars. The company noted higher production costs, including for raw materials and energy, and lower sales volumes, and higher selling prices for titanium dioxide (TiO2).

The following table shows the company's sales volumes and production volumes. Figures are in thousands of tonnes.

The company experienced higher production and other costs in its European facilities that it was unable to absorb in the quarter after lowering production because of reduced demand from its European and export markets.

TiO2 sales volumes were down by 40% compared with the same quarter a year ago, impacted by weaker consumer demand that began to emerge late in Q3. Utilisation rates in the quarter were 89%. The company also cited headwinds from currency exchange rates.

For Kronos, the demand weakness it saw at the end of Q3 and throughout Q4 was compounded by rapidly rising costs, especially in Europe, over the second half of the year. The company said it began to see pockets of improving demand in Europe and certain export markets, bolstered by restocking after experiencing significant destocking in Q4.

The company sees weak demand in North America so far in 2023, but said it expects to see demand gradually return during the first half of the year, especially in Europe and export markets.

We remind, Kronos Worldwide Inc announced that its board of directors has declared a regular quarterly dividend of $0.19/share on its common stock, payable on 16 Mar 2023 to stockholders of record at the close of business on 7 Mar 2023. Kronos Worldwide Inc is a major international producer of titanium dioxide products.