US ethane demand grew 9% in 2022

US ethane demand grew 9% in 2022

MOSCOW (MRC) -- In 2022, US ethane demand increased by approximately 9%, or almost 0.2 million bpd, according to the EIA's preliminary annual data published in the Petroleum Supply Monthly, said Hydrocarbonengineering.

US production and consumption of ethane, a hydrocarbon gas liquid used almost exclusively as a feedstock in the petrochemical industry, has grown since 2010 along with the build-out of US petrochemical capacity. More recently, international demand for ethane exported from the US, also for use as a petrochemical feedstock, has been growing. Petrochemical plants consuming ethane use steam crackers to produce ethylene, a precursor chemical for manufacturing many plastics and resins. US ethane product supplied, a proxy for ethane demand for domestic ethylene production, averaged just under 2.0 million bpd in 2022, reaching a peak of almost 2.2 million bpd in July.

Ethane prices almost doubled between January and June 2022, from approximately US$0.37/gal., or US$5.65 per million British thermal units (Btu), to USD0.64/gal., or USD9.67/million Btu, according to Bloomberg Finance, L.P. Most petrochemical cracking capacity built in the US since 2012 can only use ethane as a feedstock, meaning high ethane prices can reduce ethylene margins. In 3Q22, new ethylene crackers came online in Port Arthur, Texas, and Monaca, Pennsylvania, adding a combined 156 000 bpd of domestic ethane cracking capacity. These capacity additions follow a 108 000 bpd increase in cracker capacity in 2021. Ethane demand declined in December due to a winter storm that caused some petrochemical facilities in the Gulf Coast to be idled prior to the storm.

US ethane exports rose to 447 000 bpd in 2022, up from 369 000 bpd in 2021 and 271 000 bpd in 2020, as the capacity to consume ethane as a petrochemical feedstock rose internationally. Ethane exports from the US to China increased 50% from 2021 levels to average a record 157 000 bpd in 2022, as an additional 75 000 bpd of ethane-fed cracker capacity came online in China. The construction of new ethane tankers has facilitated higher utilisation of US ethane export capacity.

In the EIA's February 2023 Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), it is forecast that domestic ethane consumption will grow slightly to just under 2.1 million bpd in 2023 and just over 2.1 million bpd in 2024, reflecting no anticipated new petrochemical cracker completions through the end of the forecast period. EIA forecasts ethane exports to continue growing to an average of 460 000 bpd in 2023 and 490 000 bpd in 2024. Increased petrochemical capacity coming online abroad, paired with export capacity additions, is expected to drive these increases.

We remind, Braskem Idesa (BI) and Advario announce the formalization of their partnership, by virtue of which Advario acquired 50% of the capital of Terminal Quimica Puerto Mexico (TQPM), a company whose purpose is the construction and operation of a new ethane import terminal in Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz, said the company.
The total estimated investment for the project amounts to USD400 million. The new terminal will have an area of 10 hectares for ethane storage connected to the BI petrochemical complex through an ethane pipeline of approximately 10 kilometers; it will have a storage capacity of 100 thousand m3 and will supply the ethane required by the BI plant to operate at full capacity. The project will have a positive impact on the southern region of Veracruz through the generation of approximately 2 thousand direct jobs, the contracting of suppliers and the creation of new logistics infrastructure for the area and the state.

DIC and Idemitsu Kosan agree to begin exploring the production of biomass polystyrene

DIC and Idemitsu Kosan agree to begin exploring the production of biomass polystyrene

MOSCOW (MRC) -- DIC Corporation announced that it has reached an agreement with Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd., to build a new biomass plastics supply chain, as well as to begin exploring the production of biomass polystyrene, said the company.

Actual production of biomass polystyrene, at DIC’s Yokkaichi Plant, is scheduled to commence by the second half of the fiscal year 2023.

In recent years, climate change—a key cause of which is CO2 emissions—has been identified as an increasingly critical global challenge and as a crucial social imperative. In Japan, initiatives aimed at achieving resource circulation and carbon neutrality are accelerating. Recent developments include the enforcement of the new Plastic Resource Circulation Act and the implementation of various adjustments in advance of the launch of a carbon pricing system, scheduled for some time in the 2030s. Both DIC and Idemitsu Kosan recognize stepping up efforts to address climate change and advancing the sustainable, circular use of resources as key management responsibilities, prompting the decision to explore the production of low–environmental impact polystyrene made with biomass naphtha–based styrene monomer.

Because it is derived from plant matter, a renewable resource, biomass naphtha boasts lower CO2 emissions than conventional petroleum-derived naphtha. Idemitsu Kosan’s biomass naphtha–based styrene monomer† has earned ISCC PLUS certification under the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC) system‡, verifying its sustainability, in line with which the company employs the mass balance approach§ for the products its supplies. DIC also expects to obtain ISCC PLUS certification in the first half of the fiscal year 2023, positioning the two companies to begin the production of biomass polystyrene as scheduled.

Biomass plastics supply chains require stronger partnerships at all stages—from production of raw material biomass naphtha through to the production of biomass polystyrene—than those for conventional products. DIC and Idemitsu Kosan have agreed on a basic policy of contributing to the reduction of CO2 emissions in the plastics industry for the new supply chain they will build. Through this partnership, the two companies will continue to strengthen their cooperation with customers and suppliers, to ensure the new supply chain’s carbon neutrality and contribute to a circular economy.

We remind, Idemitsu Kosan Co has shut the 150,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) crude distillation unit (CDU) at its Hokkaido refinery in northern Japan on Feb. 14 due to system trouble, said Hydrocarbonprocessing, citing a company spokesperson. He declined to comment on details of the glitch, but said it expects to restart operations soon.

Pengerang Energy Complex inks strategic agreements

Pengerang Energy Complex inks strategic agreements

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Pengerang Energy Complex Sdn Bhd has signed key agreements with several blue-chip partners for the upcoming Pengerang Energy Complex (PEC), located within the dedicated Pengerang Integrated Petroleum Complex (PIPC) in Johor, Malaysia, said Hydrocarbonengineering.

The strategic feedstock supply and product off-take agreement signings with leading energy majors Chevron and Equinor, Thai national oil company PTT, and trading house Mitsui & Co. Ltd are worth a combined total of USD102 billion and together will support the full needs of PEC for its initial 12 years of operation.

Alwyn Bowden, CEO of Pengerang Energy Complex Sdn Bhd, said: “When it enters into operation in late 2026 the PEC project will deliver the lowest carbon footprint per tonne of paraxylene produced of any such facility globally, thereby delivering industry pacesetting benchmarks, and allowing PEC to ‘start with the future’. It is against this background that we are especially pleased to successfully conclude negotiations on feedstock supply and off-take with our like-minded and forward-thinking partners, who together will form the cornerstone of PEC operations. These key agreement signings also signal the strong confidence that our various stakeholders have in the project and are set to be a catalyst for further exciting announcements and progress updates in the coming months."

PEC forecasts an annual export turnover of USD5 billion, propelling Malaysia further up the value chain in the petrochemical sector. With strong regional demand for fuels and downstream petrochemicals products, PEC’s hydrogen output holds potential for further downstream investments which will enable green initiatives such as sustainable aviation fuels (SAF), biodiesel and other biofuels.

PEC, which is being developed by ChemOne Group, along with its strategic partners, has been designed to optimise energy efficiency, minimise equipment requirements, and significantly reduce carbon footprint and has been developed in line with International Financial Corp.'s (IFC) performance standards and Equator Principles 4. Once completed, the US$4.5 billion (approximately SG$6 billion/MYR 19.8 billion) PEC facility is set to be one of the largest and most competitive as well as energy and resource efficient aromatics complexes in the world.

Financing of PEC is expected to be concluded within the next quarter as per financing terms and schedule agreed with leading global export credit agencies (ECAs), with export guarantee facilities of around USD2.5 billion anticipated to be available to support the project.

We remind, LyondellBasell announced that PetroChina Jilin Petrochemical Company will again license LyondellBasell’s polyethylene technology at their facility located in Jilin City, Jilin Province, P.R. of China. The newly licensed technology will comprise of LyondellBasell’s leading high-pressure Lupotech process technology which will be used for both a 100 kiloton per year (KTA) Autoclave and a 300 KTA Tubular line. Both production trains will produce mainly low-density polyethylene (LDPE) with ethylene vinyl acetate copolymers (EVA). Furthermore, an additional 400 KTA Hostalen “Advanced Cascade Process” (ACP) line for the production of high density polyethylene (HDPE) will be built at the same time.

Chimei begins mass production at new PS plant in China

Chimei begins mass production at new PS plant in China

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Zhangzhou CHIMEI Chemical Co., Ltd. announced the official start of mass production at its newly-built PS production lines on March 10, said the company.

These production lines, with an annual capacity of 350,000 tons, are expected to be fully operational in the second half of this year. Combined with the PS production capacity of Zhenjiang CHIMEI, they will strengthen the CHIMEI Group's presence and customer service in the mainland market. The addition of the new production capacity will bring CHIMEI's total annual PS production capacity to 920,000 tons.

The construction of the Zhangzhou CHIMEI PS plant took 20 months. High-quality safety designs and advanced environment-friendly equipment were used in the construction to build an energy-efficient, safe, environmentally friendly, and high-performance next-generation plastics plant.

Zhangzhou CHIMEI Chemical Co., Ltd., a reinvestment by CHIMEI Corporation, was founded in August 2018. It is located in the Gulei Port Economic Development Zone in Zhangzhou, Fujian. The first phase of the plant's ABS capacity of 450,000 tons per annum (tpa) started in September 2021 and will increase to 600,000 tpa, together with the PC capacity of 180,000 tpa expected to start in 2025, bringing the plant's total future capacity to one million tpa.

We remind, Lummus Technology announced it has been awarded a contract by Zhangzhou CHIMEI Chemical Co. Ltd. for digitalization services at their petrochemical facility in Gulei, Fujian Province, China.

BASF Venture Capital GmbH invests in WayBeyond

BASF Venture Capital GmbH invests in WayBeyond

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BASF Venture Capital GmbH (BVC), the corporate venture capital company of BASF SE, is investing in WayBeyond. Founded in New Zealand and now headquartered in the United States, WayBeyond is an Internet of things (IoT) and software as a service (SaaS) company that aims to improve crop yields, crop quality and grower profitability for low-to-mid tech controlled-environment agriculture (CEA) operations using data capture, farm management, and prediction tools, said the company.

CEA refers to a variety of systems that take a technology-based approach to farming, which includes glasshouses, greenhouses, net houses and tunnels. CEA growing operations typically produce tomatoes, berries, cucumbers and peppers. Growth in CEA, specifically low-to-mid tech CEA, is expected to increase steadily as the global population increases and as sustainability goals drive concerns of food shortages, encouraging growers to reduce the environmental footprint of their operations. Major production markets include Mexico, Morocco and Spain, while CEA is also growing in other regions including Southeast Asia, both North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa, and South America. Export markets include the United States and Europe.

WayBeyond is transforming the CEA industry with their data collection tools and AI-powered agronomy insights platform, FarmRoad. FarmRoad is an expert agronomist for every farm that gives growers farm- and crop-specific insights and recommendations to transform their growing decisions, improving yield, consistency and quality for more sustainable farming. WayBeyond also partners with seed producers to utilize the FarmRoad platform and FarmRoad’s crop-contextual AI for seed efficacy and quality transformation.

Markus Solibieda, Managing Director of BASF Venture Capital GmbH, said: “The use of controlled-environment agriculture to grow fruits and vegetables continues to expand globally. As the next generation of growers enters the agriculture industry, we believe that their entry point will be CEA. WayBeyond is positioned to transform the way these CEA farmers grow the crops that will feed our growing population."

“WayBeyond’s solutions not only help growers visualize their growing operations, but also provide growers with the agronomic recommendations that they need to optimize yield and yield quality,” added Neal Okarter, Investment Manager at BVC in Los Angeles, California.

“We are delighted to have BVC as an investor. As a strategic VC fund, they are in a special position to appreciate WayBeyond as a disruptive business model. We are perfectly aligned around the vision of a digitally empowered, sustainable agricultural industry that will bring vast benefits to the seed and crop protection providers. Together, we are focused on supporting farm operators and growers,” saids Darryn Keiller, Founder and CEO of WayBeyond.

We remind, 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. 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.