Ineos workers in Ohio on strike

Ineos workers in Ohio on strike

MOSCOW (MRC) -- On 12 March, workers at INEOS Pigments’ production facility in Ashtabula, Ohio, went on strike over disputes in labour practices, as well as prolonged attempts by unionised employees to negotiate their first contract after forming a union, said Plasticsnews.

INEOS Pigments is a subsidiary of INEOS, British multinational chemical company with its headquarters in London.

In September 2021, INEOS Pigments employees at Plant 2 in Ashtabula voted to form a union. In a news release, Ralph "Sam" Cook, Secretary-Treasurer of the Teamsters Local 377 union, said the company has stalled in negotiating the first contract with employees since the union was formed, and is preventing workers from collective bargaining.

INEOS workers are represented by Teamsters Local 377, as well as Local 1033C of the International Chemical Workers Union Council.

According to the news release, the INEOS facility employs more than 400 workers, although the number of unionised workers is not known.

Neither INEOS nor the Teamsters Local 377 immediately responded to questions about the strike, including how many workers were involved and whether operations at the facility had been impacted by the walkout.

According to media reports, management employees, as well as non-union represented workers, have continued to work at the site.

The Ashtabula facility has two plants that produce titanium dioxide (TiO2). The second plant - where workers went on strike on 12 March - has a nameplate capacity of 120,000 tonnes per year. Chlorine is also produced there, with a nameplate capacity of 60,000 tonnes annually.

We remind, INEOS has secured EUR3.5bn in financing for its Antwerp, Belgium, cracker project, set to have the lowest CO2 output of any unit in the continent. The plant, expected onstream in 2026, has the capacity to operate entirely on low-carbon hydrogen, with scope for the addition of a carbon capture facility and electric furnaces in future, according to INEOS. The estimated budget for the project, which INEOS made a final investment decision (FID) on last year, currently stands at EUR4.0bn.

China diesel exports could fall as refiners focus on domestic demand/filling reserves

China diesel exports could fall as refiners focus on domestic demand/filling reserves

MOSCOW (MRC) -- China's diesel exports could fall to an eight-month low in March as refiners focus on meeting local demand and increasing domestic stockpiles ahead of planned overhauls at refineries, a Reuters survey showed.

Lower Chinese exports also point to a recovery in domestic fuel demand and prices after the world's second-largest oil consumer lifted COVID-19 measures. The decline in exports could tighten Asia's supplies and provide support for refiners' diesel margins, especially as the region enters peak demand season from the agriculture and construction sectors between April and July.

Exports of the industrial and transportation fuel are estimated at 400,000 to 770,000 tons compared with estimates of about 2 MMt in February, a survey of consultancies JLC, Longzhong and Refinitiv, and two China-based trade sources showed. Diesel exports were last at similar levels in July last year, China customs data showed.

This could bring the combined March exports for all three products - diesel, gasoline and jet fuel - to between 1.5 MMt and 1.94 MMt, at least 50% lower than February's estimate of 3.9 MMt to 4.15 MMt, the survey showed. The need to secure sufficient domestic supply during the peak maintenance season for Chinese refineries is a major reason for lower diesel exports, Vortexa analyst Emma Li said.

Between 600,000 bpd and 800,000 bpd of crude processing capacity will be shut between April and June, curbing refined products output, Reuters calculations and consultancies' data showed.

Another factor is that Chinese exporters' profits have fallen, sapped by a more than 30% drop in Asian diesel cracks since mid-January. Domestic netbacks are more favorable as local retail prices have fallen less than international prices, a Singapore-based trader said.

Chinese refiners are also less inclined to use up their export quotas quickly as Beijing is expected to curb exports in 2023 versus 2022, Vortexa's Li added.

We remind, BASF has broken ground on a new production complex at its Verbund site in Zhanjiang, China, that includes plants for glacial acrylic acid (GAA), butyl acrylate (BA) and 2-ethylhexyl acrylate (2-EHA). Planned to come on stream by 2025, the complex will have an annual production capacity of approximately 400,000 metric tons of BA and 100,000 metric tons of 2-EHA.

Fire at Pemex Deer Park, Texas facility extinguished

MOSCOW (MRC) -- A fire broke out before noon on 14 March in one of the operating units at the Pemex Deer Park refinery, causing dark smoke that was visible in the community, said Reuters.

The fire was extinguished about an hour later by the site’s emergency response team, a spokesperson for Pemex Deer Park said, and members of the team are currently assessing damages at the facility and the cause of the fire.

“All workers onsite have been safely accounted for and we have made all proper notifications,” the company said. “Air quality monitoring activities indicated no recorded impacts."

This is the second fire at the plant in the past three weeks, with the previous fire reported on 24 February.

The refinery has 340,000 bbl/day crude capacity, processing crudes from Mexico, Canada, the US, Africa and South America.

We remind, three separate fires at Petroleos Mexicanos facilities on Thursday left at least eight people injured and several missing, putting the Mexican state oil company’s safety record under scrutiny ahead of its earnings call on Monday. Pemex said at least five people were missing and three were hospitalized after a fire broke out at a storage facility in Ixhuatlan, Veracruz, on Thursday. A few hours later, it reported that 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 that there was a fire at one of its units in the Deer Park refinery in Texas.

Crimea bridge restrictions strands liquefied petroleum gas cargoes

Crimea bridge restrictions strands liquefied petroleum gas cargoes

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Several tankers loaded with liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) have been unable to cross under Russia's Crimea bridge due to security restrictions, traders said on Friday, prompting suppliers to use other routes out of Russia, said Reuters.

The 12-mile (19 km) road and rail bridge, which was personally opened by President Vladimir Putin in 2018, was bombed in October in an attack Russia said was carried out by Ukraine. The bridge spans the Kerch Strait linking the Black Sea with the smaller Azov Sea.

Kyiv never claimed responsibility for the bombing of the bridge on the morning of Oct. 8, a day after Putin's 70th birthday. Russia's Federal Security Service said the attack was organized by Ukrainian military intelligence.

According to Refinitiv Eikon ship tracking data, tankers were loaded with LPG in the Azov Sea port of Temryuk at the end of December, but they have been unable to proceed further south into the Black Sea.

The data showed that gas carriers Summer loaded with 2,900 tons of LPG, Gas Houston (3,400 tons) and Premier (2,400 tons) are still located in the Azov Sea, waiting for the passage into the Black Sea though the Kerch Strait.

"Looks like LPG was added to the list of the dangerous cargos, prohibited from the passage under (Crimea) bridge," an industry source said on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the situation.

LPG, which is mainly used as fuel for cars, heating and to produce other petrochemicals, has been exempt from sweeping Western sanctions imposed against Russia over Ukraine. The port of Temryuk, Russia's Federal Security Service, the Federal Service for Supervision of Transport, as well as cargo owners Gazprom and Lukoil, did not respond to Reuters' requests for comments.

It usually takes up to a week for tankers to deliver LPG cargoes from Temryuk to the Romanian ports of Midia and Mangalia, or to the Bulgarian port of Burgas. LPG exporters from Russia and Kazakhstan have already diverted their cargoes from Temryuk.

Traders said that Tengizchevroil company is delivering LPG cargoes to the Georgian port of Batumi instead of Temryuk, while Russian suppliers increasingly use the port of Taman, located south to the Crimea bridge with unhindered passage to the Black Sea.

We remind, Russia is ramping up its diesel supplies to Saudi Arabia using ship-to-ship (STS) loadings in addition to direct supplies, market sources said and Refinitiv data showed. Exporters of Russian diesel are trying STS to save on new longer and therefore costly routes after a full EU embargo on Russian oil products was imposed on Feb. 5. They are switching Russian diesel exports to Africa and Asia instead of adjacent European countries.

Emerson wins contract to automate USD8.5 bn Golden Triangle Polymers facility

Emerson wins contract to automate USD8.5 bn Golden Triangle Polymers facility

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Emerson will provide automation technologies, software and analytics from its Plantweb digital ecosystem for the Golden Triangle Polymers Project, a world-scale integrated polymers facility on the Texas Gulf Coast, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The total installed cost of the project is expected to be USD8.5 B and is a JV between Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LP and an indirect subsidiary of QatarEnergy. Operations are expected to begin in 2026. Designed using the latest greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction technology, the project aims to have approximately 25% lower GHG emissions than similar facilities in the United States and Europe.

“With its digital automation technologies, industrial software portfolio, and deep energy experience, we are relying on Emerson to help ensure a project of this magnitude operates safely and reliably, optimizes energy use and mitigates emissions,” said David Godard, project director for the Golden Triangle Polymers Project.

The Golden Triangle Polymers Project, located in Orange, Texas, includes a 2.08-MMtpy ethane cracker, as well as two 1-MMtpy high-density polyethylene units. Polyethylene is used to produce durable goods and essential packaging to protect food and keep medical supplies sterile.

“The Golden Triangle Polymers Project and the recently announced Ras Laffan Petrochemical complex in Qatar are among the world’s largest ethane crackers, both leveraging Emerson’s digital automation technologies, software and expertise to promote safer, smarter and more sustainable operations,” said Ron Martin, Emerson’s president, Americas. “We are proud to support Chevron Phillips Chemical’s and QatarEnergy’s track record of building world-class, optimized facilities."

Emerson will deliver integrated process control and safety systems that leverage advanced predictive technologies to reduce operational complexity and minimize project risk through its DeltaV distributed control and safety instrumented systems, and Rosemount gas analyzer and chromatograph solutions. The project also leverages Emerson's Mimic and AspenTech HYSYS simulation software for operator training, energy management, safety analysis and operational optimization. Emerson’s AgileOps operations management software and alarm management services will help staff monitor and maintain safety, alarms, and the control system to drive improved process and operational integrity.

The Golden Triangle Polymers Project is located about 113 miles east of Houston in the “Golden Triangle” region of Texas that encompasses the city of Orange.

We remind, LANXESS has selected Emerson, a global software and technology leader, as a Global Alliance Partner for automation technology, enhancing its existing long-standing relationship. By upgrading its control and safety systems, and digitally transforming its production facilities, LANXESS aims to optimize operational performance and support sustainability targets. The companies have signed an initial five-year global agreement. Emerson will help drive the adoption of advanced automation technologies and enable more efficient project implementation that will allow LANXESS to achieve shorter time-to-market for new products.