BASF to establish compounding capacities in China

BASF to establish compounding capacities in China

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BASF will establish compounding capacities for its certified compostable biopolymer ecovio in Shanghai, China, said the company.

Upon the successful completion of qualification trials, commercial material quantities will be available for customers throughout the region Asia-Pacific from mid-2023. The first selected compounds that can be ordered will include film grades for applications like certified compostable shopping and organic waste bags, soil-biodegradable agricultural mulch films and packaging. Thus, customers in Asia-Pacific will benefit from closer proximity to BASF’s innovative biopolymer and services, shorter delivery times and quicker adaptation to changing plastics regulations.

Ecovio® is a high-quality biopolymer which is certified according to international and national standards and can be biodegraded by microorganisms under industrial and home composting conditions as well as in agricultural soil. The BASF biopolymer is one of the few certified compostable polymers complying with the requirements of the European food contact regulation and the US Food Contact Substance Notification of FDA. “With local compounding capabilities, we will be better positioned to accelerate business growth in the important Asian markets by more effectively meeting the needs of film manufacturers across the region,” says Marcel Barth, head of global Biopolymers marketing at BASF. “With upcoming new laws and regulations in a lot of countries in Asia-Pacific enforcing the use of compostable materials in bag applications, agricultural mulch films and packaging, the positive market development is expected to continue."

BASF’s biopolymer ecovio® is certified compostable in accordance with standards such as DIN EN 13432. It is a blend of BASF’s PBAT ecoflex® and renewable raw materials. Typical applications for ecovio® are organic waste bags, cling film, fruit and vegetable bags, as well as agricultural mulch films and food packaging applications. Studies show the advantages of ecovio® for production, packaging and shelf life of food as well as for the collection of food waste. These advantages are based on the material’s certified biodegradability in industrial and home composting as well as in agricultural soil: Food waste is reduced, nutrients are returned to the soil by means of greater volumes of compost – and the accumulation of persistent microplastic in agricultural soil is avoided. This contributes to a Circular Economy by closing the nutrient cycle via organics recycling.

We remind, We remind, BASF begins production of its first bio-based polyol, Sovermol, in Mangalore, India. This product serves the fast-growing demand of eco-friendly products for applications in new energy vehicles (NEV), windmills, flooring and protective industrial coatings in Asia Pacific. Utilizing the existing facilities at BASF's Mangalore site, the Sovermol production facility is now operational after comprehensive planning and construction.

Western curbs on Russian oil products redraw global shipping map

Western curbs on Russian oil products redraw global shipping map

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Global fuel suppliers are turning to longer and costlier routes that produce more carbon emissions to move their diesel and other products as Western restrictions on Russian cargoes have reshuffled global energy shipping patterns, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

As a result of the European Union ban on Russian fuel that started on Feb. 5, tankers carrying clean oil products such as gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and naphtha are travelling between 16 and 18 days to bring Russian supplies to Brazil or U.S. cargoes to Europe, according to two shipping sources.

That is up from the four to six days a ship used to travel from Russia to Europe, said the two sources, a broker at a major shipbroking firm and a charterer involved in the Russian trade of naphtha, which is used to make plastics and petrochemicals. The ban comes on top of a halt late last year on Russian crude sales into the bloc as well as Western price caps.

Since the start of the ban, the Clean Tanker Index published by the Baltic Exchange, which measures average freight rates for shipping fuels like gasoline and diesel on some of the most common global routes, has more than doubled.

The redrawing of the shipping map underscores the knock-on effects of Western efforts to punish Russia over its invasion of Ukraine last year, adding to fuel supply insecurity and pushing up prices even as policymakers worry about inflation and the risk of a global economic downturn.

"Not only are voyages much longer, but vessel behavior has also changed, keeping vessels from operating in other CPP (clean petroleum product) markets," Dylan Simpson, freight analyst at oil analytics firm Vortexa, wrote in a March 31 note.

Russian cargoes of fuel are heading to far-flung buyers in Brazil, Turkey, Nigeria, and Morocco as Moscow compensates for the lost European business, while Europe is importing more fuels such as diesel from Asia and the Middle East, according to shipping data from Refinitiv and Kpler.

Asian cargoes, in turn, are being displaced by Russian fuels in Africa and the eastern Mediterranean, and redirected to the blending hub of Singapore for temporary storage, two northeast Asian refinery sources said.

European importers whose naphtha cargoes travelled from Russian ports to Antwerp in four days before Russia's invasion of Ukraine now must wait 18 days for alternative supplies from the United States, the shipbroking source said.

The U.S. is also emerging as a top supplier of heavy naphtha to Europe amid the EU ban, while the Group of Seven Nations, EU and Australia have capped Russian naphtha prices at $45 a barrel and diesel and gasoline at USD100 a barrel for trades that use Western ships and insurance. Meanwhile, Brazil, traditionally a U.S. naphtha importer, is boosting purchases from Russia at more attractive prices.

However, the journey from Russia to Brazil can take 18 days or longer and, at up to USD7 million per voyage, the costs are nearly double that of a U.S. shipment, the ship charterer involved in the Russian market said.

Brazil received around 240,000 tons of Russian diesel and gasoil in the first three weeks of March, accounting for a quarter of Brazilian imports, up from Russia's 12% share in February and less than 1% last year.

We remind, Singapore's imports of Russian naphtha nearly tripled in the first quarter of 2023, government data showed, after the European Union banned oil products imports from Russia. The Asia oil hub imported 741,000 tons of Russian naphtha in the period, accounting for about 23% of Singapore's total imports of the refined product, a Reuters calculation based on Enterprise Singapore data showed. This jumped from about 261,000 tons imported in the fourth quarter last year, the data showed.

AdvanSix workers on strike at Virginia site

AdvanSix workers on strike at Virginia site

MOSOCW (MRC) -- Labour unions representing about 340 workers have called a strike at the Hopewell, Virginia production site of US integrated nylon 6 producer AdvanSix, said the company.

The company does not currently have an estimate of when employees affected by the strike will resume activities or the timing for completion of labour negotiations, it said in an update on Friday. The dispute is about wages and salaries.

“While we bargained in good faith with the unions, we have taken substantial contingency measures and are well prepared to support safe, stable and sustainable operations and continue delivering for our customers while our Hopewell South workers are on strike”, said Erin Kane, CEO of AdvanSix.

The Hopewell manufacturing facility is one of the world’s largest single-site producers of caprolactam, according to information on AdvanSix’s website.

We remind, AdvanSix’s Q4 adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose 28.1% year on year, to USD66.6m, on higher market-based pricing and the favourable year-on-year impact of planned turnarounds, said the company. These positive drivers were partially offset by a 15% decline in sales volume due to soft end-market demand and customer destocking, as well a lower operational performance, the company said.

ALPLA and HANA Innovation unveil mono-PP pumps in new partnership

ALPLA and HANA Innovation unveil mono-PP pumps in new partnership

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The ALPLA Group is entering a joint venture with HANA Innovation to produce recyclable, mono-material plastic pumps for soap, lotion, and shampoo dispensers, said the company.

South Korean company HANA Innovation previously developed its patented polypropylene ECO Pump that aspires for maximum recyclability; it can reportedly be manufactured from post-consumer recycled material and is designed with easy handling in mind. The pumps are set to become customisable in the future.

ALPLA began its production of standard pumps for soap and shampoo dispensers in Hyderabad, India, in 2020. By partnering with HANA Innovation, it hopes to continue its strategic growth in the injection moulding (IM) sector. The companies have also stated that their shared goal is to distribute pumps with patented plastic spring technology worldwide and offer complete systems, including the bottle.

“The potential for high-quality, recyclable pumps is enormous,” says Michael Feltes, global business development director IM at ALPLA. “As a system provider, we can offer the matching bottles at the same time. With this new partnership, we are combining our strengths as a globally operating company with the technological edge of HANA Innovation.”

We remind, Alpla, together with its partners Ecohelp SRL (Romania) and United Polymer Trading AG (Switzerland), have started production at their joint recycling plant in Targu Mures, Romania. The plant, located adjacent to the existing Ecohelp site in Targu Mures, has an annual capacity of around 18,000 tonnes of post-consumer-recycled PET (rPET) per year and aims to supply the southeast European market with food-grade rPET. The project has led to the creation of around 20 new jobs. The joint venture partners will host the official opening ceremony on 4 May 2023.

Evonik sells Lülsdorf site to International Chemical Investors Group

Evonik sells Lülsdorf site to International Chemical Investors Group

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Evonik is selling its site in Lulsdorf, Germany, and the associated cyanuric chloride business in Wesseling, Germany, to International Chemical Investors Group, said the company.

The parties have agreed not to disclose the purchase price. Lulsdorf is a substantial part of the Functional Solutions business line within Evonik’s Performance Materials division. Transfer of ownership is scheduled for mid-2023. The closing of the transaction is subject to antitrust clearance and approval by the competent Evonik committees.

ICIG is an established Luxembourg-based chemicals investor. The company has approximately 4,800 employees and generated sales of approximately €4 billion last year. It has expertise in the development of sites and business units that no longer are part of the core business of other enterprises.

“We wanted a reliable investor that is able and willing to leverage Lulsdorf’s potential effectively, and that is what ICIG offers,” said Christian Kullmann, chairman of Evonik’s Executive Board. “For Evonik, that means: We are taking the first step in the planned disposal of the three businesses in our Performance Materials division. For the site, its employees, and the town of Niederkassel, the sale provides excellent options for future development."

ICIG is taking over the entire site in Niederkassel-Lulsdorf (near Cologne) and the associated cyanuric chloride business in neighboring Wesseling, including more than 600 employees and all production plants. ICIG already has subsidiaries operating in chlorine chemistry and specialty chemicals and wants to expand the businesses in Lulsdorf and Wesseling.

ICIG has given contractual assurances that the sale will not alter the rights of the employees at the sites.

In conjunction with the divestment of this site, Evonik is realigning the three businesses of the Functional Solutions business line. With this sale, Evonik will completely divest the production of potassium derivatives and cyanuric chloride, which takes place exclusively in Lulsdorf and Wesseling.

As planned, Evonik is retaining the business with alkoxides for biodiesel, which are produced at two further sites apart from Lulsdorf. This business was integrated into the Catalysts business line in the Smart Materials division effective January 1, 2023. ICIG will produce alkoxides at the Lulsdorf site exclusively for Evonik until 2027. In total, the businesses to be divested generated sales of approximately EUR260 million in 2022.

We remind, Evonik Catalysts is fully on track to expand its production capacities for activated nickel powder catalysts marketed under the KALCAT and Metalyst brands at its production sites in Hanau, Germany, and Dombivli near Mumbai, India.