TotalEnergies sells its retail fuel networks in Germany, Netherlands

TotalEnergies sells its retail fuel networks in Germany, Netherlands

TotalEnergies has agreed to sell its retail fuel networks in Germany and the Netherlands and form a joint venture for its pumps in Belgium and Luxembourg under a Eur3.1 billion (USD3.3 billion) deal with Canadian convenience-store operator Couche-Tard, the companies said.

TotalEnergies said the deal is part of hitting a target of reducing its petroleum product sales by 30% by 2030 so that its fuel sales and refining throughput do not exceed its oil production. Under the deal, TotalEnergies will sell 100% of its networks in Germany and the Netherlands to Couche-Tard, covering a total of 1,590 service stations. TotalEnergies and Couche-Tard will also form a 40:60 joint venture to own and operate 619 service stations in Belgium and Luxembourg, they said.

TotalEnergies said the 2,209 fuel pumps in the four countries will remain under the TotalEnergies brand as long as it supplied fuel for the sites for at least five years from its refineries in Antwerp (Belgium) and Leuna (Germany).

TotalEnergies is a market leader in Belgium and Luxembourg and the partnership with Couche-Tard will accelerate the transformation of these assets by maximizing their non-fuel sales, it said. The company is not a market leader in Germany and the Netherlands and the "expertise of a convenience store retailer is crucial" for its retail segments, TotalEnergies said.

"TotalEnergies has been looking at ways to develop non-fuel revenues in its retail business. Service stations are becoming service hubs with shops, car washes, food services and other convenience features, rather than just fuel outlets," the company said in a statement.

We remind, TotalEnergies and Paprec, leader in plastic recycling in France, have signed a long-term commercial agreement to develop a French value chain for advanced recycling of plastic film wastes. The agreement will secure the supply of TotalEnergies' future advanced plastic recycling plant in Grandpuits. Following the terms of this agreement, Citeo, the main organization in charge of end-of-life household packaging in France, will provide a stream of flexible plastic waste sorted from post-consumer packaging.

Strong plastics market and emphasis on fire hazard control to spur alumina trihydrate demand in the U.S.

Strong plastics market and emphasis on fire hazard control to spur alumina trihydrate demand in the U.S.

The global alumina trihydrate market is projected to accelerate at a phenomenal CAGR of 7.7% throughout the forecast period from 2023 to 2033, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The global market is likely to reach a valuation of USD5,324.6 M in 2023 and surpass a valuation of USD1,180.1 M in 2033. The market touched a valuation of USD4,936.1 M in 2022.

According to Future Market Insights' historical analysis, the global alumina trihydrate market registered a CAGR of 7.4% between 2018 and 2022.

The growth of the global alumina trihydrate market is attributed to its diverse application in numerous industries such as plastics, papers, paints & coatings, and others is the key factor propelling the growth.

All these industries rely heavily on alumina trihydrate, and their anticipated expansion should fuel aluminum hydroxide sales. It has been estimated that more than 90% of alumina trihydrate production goes into manufacturing aluminum. When alumina trihydrate is used for flame retardant applications, it suppresses and reduces fire spread via plastic.

Alumina trihydrate or aluminum hydroxide is known for its power source from bauxite. It is translucent and white in color. Through exposure to heat, alumina trihydrate converts to aluminum oxide and releases water. The powder is most commonly used for preparing transparent lake pigments.

Alumina trihydrate comprises antacid properties and can facilitate the maintenance of optimum pH in the gastrointestinal tract. Its antacid properties are likely to make aluminum hydroxide demand soar from the worldwide pharmaceuticals industry. Furthermore, its excellent filler qualities make it suitable for use in plastics, cosmetics, detergents, inks, ceramics, and glass. It is also an excellent water-repellent, flame-retardant, and paper coating.

Over recent years, strict fire safety regulations have come into force all over the world. This has resulted in augmenting demand for high-quality flame retardants that have been on a consistent rise. Future Market Insights (FMI) expects this trend to continue between 2023 and 2033.

Throughout the assessment period, non-halogenated flame-retardant demand elevated all over the globe, owing to various fire-related accidents. The use of alumina trihydrate also gained traction for engineering papers, plastics, rubbers, paints, and coatings. Automobiles with low weights tend to be more fuel efficient as it takes less power to move them compared to heavy all-metal vehicles.

We remind, 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. 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.

Gas production plant lacked adequate training, process controls for leaks

Gas production plant lacked adequate training, process controls for leaks

A federal investigation into two workers’ fatal burns at an Oregon, Ohio, refinery’s crude unit has found its operator, BP Products North America Inc. violated the U.S. Department of Labor’s process safety procedures for highly hazardous materials and failed to adequately train the workers, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

As the workers attempted to correct rising liquid levels in the fuel gas mix drum, a flammable vapor cloud formed, ignited and then triggered an explosion in September 2022, causing the deadly burns.

Inspectors with the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration identified the training deficiencies and failure by BP Products North America to meet OSHA’s process safety management procedures. They also determined naphtha – a flammable liquid hydrocarbon mixture – was released when flow control valves were opened in an attempt to regulate an overfill occurring in upstream process equipment. The opened valve allowed the flammable liquid to enter the refinery’s fuel gas system.

OSHA cited BP Products for failing to implement shutdown procedures for the equipment when requested by the operators responding to the naphtha release and for not clearly defining conditions for emergency shutdown of the crude tower.

“Federal safety standards require BP Products North America Inc. to develop companywide process safety and response procedures that address worst-case scenarios,” explained OSHA Area Director Todd Jensen in Toledo, Ohio. “This tragedy is a reminder of why employers must consistently reevaluate those procedures for accuracy and ensure workers are properly trained to respond in dangerous situations."

We remind, BP has decided to end the publication of its statistical review of world energy after 70 years. The task has now fallen to the industry body the Energy Institute, which kicks off IE Week in London today – and is the same organisation that BP UK country head Louise Kingham used to head up. BP’s statistical energy review was first published in 1952, providing key data on global oil, gas and coal consumption.

Toyo Ink Group to wholly acquire Thai Eurocoat

Toyo Ink Group to wholly acquire Thai Eurocoat

Toyo Ink SC Holdings, the Japan-based parent company of the specialty chemicals company Toyo Ink Group, has announced that, on March 10, 2023, it and its consolidated subsidiary Toyo Ink (Thailand), concluded a share purchase agreement to wholly acquire Thai Eurocoat, manufacturer of external coatings for non-printed cans in the Thai canned food market, said the company.

Following the transfer of shares, Thai Eurocoat, which is based in Samut Sakhon province, will retain its name and operate as a business unit of Bangkok-based Toyo Ink Thailand. Through the acquisition, the Toyo Ink Group will expand its regional business operations with the aim of becoming a top metal coatings supplier in the ASEAN canned food market.

Can coatings are applied to the interiors and exteriors of steel and aluminum cans to preserve the quality of packaged food, beverage or other product, and to protect the metal surface appearance and integrity against abrasion. In recent years, metal packaging has been garnering greater attention as global demand for processed foods has been strong stemming from rising populations and incomes, and a renewed focus on metal packaging due to their recyclability. As a result of these trends, the global canned food market is expected to grow by more than 130% by 2026 compared to 2020. To meet with the increase in future demand, the Toyo Ink Group aims to leverage its own technological strengths with the product commercialisation capability of Thai Eurocoat.

We remind, Toray Industries, Inc., announced that it has developed a polyethylene terephthalate (PET) film that combines excellent applicability and adhesion for water-based and solvent-free coatings and can eliminate solvent-derived carbon-dioxide emissions. The company looks to produce the film at a domestic plant by end-March 2024 to help popularize eco-friendly film products for which decarbonization during manufacturing is desirable. These items include release, adhesive, printing, packaging, and automotive films.

MAN Energy Solutions ships world’s largest salt bath reactors to China

MAN Energy Solutions ships world’s largest salt bath reactors to China

MAN Energy Solutions has completed the world's largest salt-operated reactors for a new maleic anhydride plant for the production of biodegradable plastic, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The three reactors, each weighing 655 tons, have now been loaded onto the 135 meter long Danube ship “Excelsior” at the MAN Energy Solutions site in Deggendorf (Germany). From there, the reactors will first be transported via the Danube to the Romanian port of Constanta, from where they will then reach their destination in the Chinese city of Yantai (Shandong province) by ocean-going vessel.

The customer is Wanhua Chemical Group Co. Ltd., a leading supplier of chemical products in China, which will use the three salt bath reactors to produce maleic anhydride. This chemical product is in turn required for the production of PBAT (polybutylene adipate terephthalate), a raw material for biodegradable plastics. With a total capacity of 200,000 tpy, Wanhua will start up one of the world's largest production plants for maleic anhydride.

Norbert Anger, MAN Energy Solutions’ Head of Site in Deggendorf, says: “With an annual capacity of 67,000 metric tons each, the three salt bath reactors are the largest ever built anywhere in the world. Currently, only MAN Energy Solutions has the know-how and capabilities required to build such large reactor systems.”

The salt-operated reactors each measure nearly 7 meters in height and around 12 meters in diameter. Each reactor consists of 38,500 tubes. The power consumption of the system is optimized and a higher efficiency of the process is achieved through an optimized tube diameter, which leads, among other things, to a lower pressure drop across the catalyst bed. The reactors reach an operating temperature of up to 450°C. Thanks to the excellent temperature control provided by the DWE reactors, the operating conditions for each of the 38,500 tubes are practically identical, maximizing selectivity and yield.

China expects a growing demand for maleic anhydride in the coming years, mainly driven by the process industry’s efforts to increase the production of environmentally sustainable packaging-material. PBAT-based plastic is biodegradable: when buried in soil, it decomposes due to the action of naturally occurring micro-organisms – such as fungi, algae and bacteria – and leaves no toxic residues behind.

We remind, Huntsman completed the USD593m sale of its Textile Effects division to Archroma, a company owned by the private-equity firm SK Capital Partners. Archroma was set up by SK Capital Partners in 2013 after acquiring the textile chemicals, paper specialties and emulsions businesses from Swiss producer Clariant in 2013. It has about 3,000 employees in 25 facilities globally.