Britain's Harbour Energy, bp to develop Viking CCS project

Britain's Harbour Energy, bp to develop Viking CCS project

Harbour Energy, Britain's largest oil and gas producer, said on Tuesday it has entered into an agreement with bp to develop the Viking CCS transportation and storage project, said Reuters.

Harbour will continue as operator of Viking CCS with a 60% interest, with bp acquiring a 40% non-operated share, the company said in a statement.

The announcement follows the UK's recent decision to launch the "Track 2" cluster sequencing process for carbon capture and storage (CCS), a technology that removes carbon dioxide emissions from the atmosphere and stores it underground.

Efforts to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and put it in underground storage have gained steam across Europe over the past few years as industries and governments seek to reduce emissions to meet their climate goals.

Harbour said the government recognizes Viking CCS as one of the leading transport and storage system contenders for this process, and that a final investment decision on the project is expected in 2024, subject to the outcome of the Track 2 CCS.

We remind, two Chinese polyester fiber makers are seeking Beijing's approval to build a $10-B refinery and petrochemical complex in Indonesia. The move comes as China ramps up talks on mega investments in Southeast Asia as part of President Xi Jinping's Belt and Road Initiative, and as Beijing limits approvals for new domestic refineries to cut carbon emissions and a fuel supply overhang.

Clariant additives add up to a better future for plastic

Clariant additives add up to a better future for plastic

Clariant will present how its versatile additive solutions are adding extra values and new dimensions for the future of the plastic industry, said the company.

Highlighted in the Clariant booth will be the new AddWorks PKG 158 that offers huge performance enhancement on packaging, in addition to the AddWorks PKG 906 Circle and AddWorks AGC 970 G stabilizers that are valuable in plastic film recycling and extending its service life. Also in the spotlight will be the highly functional Exolit OP 1400 flame retardant that facilitates mechanical recycling. The high-performing wax additives of Licocare Vita / Licocene Terra, and the sustainability-focused Licocare RBW Vita are the other highlights in the show.

Clariant’s wide range of additives boast a broad spectrum of functionality and safety features that add values to plastics in multiple ways for many different industries such as packaging, electronics, agriculture and E-Mobility. As consumer demands from within China and overseas continue to rise after the pandemic, Clariant’s additive solutions will help these segments tap into the new opportunities more quickly and effectively.

“Versatility and safety hold the key for success in plastic as a key material in the fast-expanding E-Mobility and electronics industries where the industry requirements get more sophisticated by the day. Our wide range of AddWorks additives and Exolit flame retardants are therefore indispensable in helping our customers satisfy the new demands in our value chain,” says Jochen Ahrens, Global Vice President, E-Mobility & Electronics, Clariant BU Adsorbents & Additives. “With our new state-of-the-art facilities for Exolit OP halogen-free flame retardants in Daya Bay of China coming into operation later this year, I’m confident that our strong local manufacturing facilities, and the development capabilities at our One Clariant Campus laboratories in Shanghai will help us respond faster to customers’ needs, as we work more closely together.”

Clariant’s patent-protected Exolit OP 1400 flame retardant’s high effectiveness and strong mode of action makes it the preferred choice of flame retardant in the field of E-Mobility. In a low dosage of as little as 0.4mm of 16-20% in most polyamides, the industry’s leading fire standard of class UL94 V-0 can already be fulfilled.

We remind, Clariant, a focused, sustainable, and innovative specialty chemical company, today announced the completion of the divestment of its North American Land Oil business to Dorf Ketal, a specialty chemicals manufacturer and service provider headquartered in India, for USD 14.5 million on 31 March 2023.

Shell projects Q1 loss for chems ops on higher costs

Shell projects Q1 loss for chems ops on higher costs

Shell expects its chemicals division to post a loss for the first three months of 2023, the oil and gas major said on Thursday, amid potential higher tax and depreciation costs, lower utilisation rates and slower than expected ramp-up of its Pennsylvania petrochemicals complex, said the company.

Pre-tax depreciation costs are expected to be USD800m-1bn compared to USD800m during the fourth quarter of 2022, while tax charges for the division are expected to be USD100m-600m for the period compared to zero in the prior quarter.

Realised chemicals margins are expected to be below USD100/tonne despite the indicative margin for the first quarter standing at USD140/tonne, a substantial increase on the USD37/tonne generated in the fourth quarter and USD27/tonne loss during the third quarter 2022.

The disparity between indicative and realised chemicals margins is due to lower utilisation as a result of slower than projected capacity ramp-ups at the firm’s newly-completed Pennsylvania complex.

Refining margins are expected to be USD15/bbl compared to USD19/bbl during the fourth quarter of 2022, while utilisation levels are expected to 70-74% compared to 75% during the preceding three months.

We remind, CNOOC and Shell Petrochemicals Company Ltd (CSPC), a joint venture established by China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC) and Royal Dutch Shell, signed a framework agreement worth USD5.6-bn with China’s Huizhou city government to expand its ethylene project in the city. CSPC is expected to add 1.5 million tons per annum ethylene production capacity on top of its existed 2.2 million tons in Huizhou, according to a statement issued by CNOOC on Sunday night.

Biden administration proposes protections from chemical used to sterilize equipment, spices

Biden administration proposes protections from chemical used to sterilize equipment, spices

The Biden administration proposed new health protections to reduce exposure of U.S. workers and communities to ethylene oxide, a toxic, colorless gas mainly used to sterilize medical equipment and spices, said Reuters.

The Environmental Protection Agency issued a proposed rule with new requirements at 86 sterilizer facilities across the country, that if finalized, aims to reduce ethylene oxide (EtO) emissions by 80%. Long-term exposure to EtO can have health implications, including certain cancers, studies say. The proposed rule is part of President Joe Biden's initiative to cut the death rate from cancer and create new treatments to fight it.

"At EPA, we recognize that ensuring that all people have clean air to breathe is not just an important responsibility and our job under the law, but it's also a moral imperative," Janet McCabe, the agency's deputy administrator, told reporters in a teleconference.

The rules aim to reduce use of EtO at the facilities to 500 milligrams per liter (about a half teaspoon per quarter gallon) while working with the Food and Drug Administration to make sure all sterility requirements are met. An EPA official told reporters that some facilities have already reduced use of EtO to appropriate levels while others use up to twice the proposed amount.

The agency also proposed prohibiting certain uses of EtO where it is used to a lesser extent and alternatives exist, including in museums, archives, beekeeping, cosmetics and musical instruments. The proposed rule will be open for a 60-day public comment period and the EPA aims to finalize it in 2024.

We remind, it could take years for the United States to refill the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, the energy secretary told lawmakers on Thursday, after sales directed by President Joe Biden last year pushed the stockpile to its lowest level since 1983.

Making ethanol more efficiently - INEOS

Making ethanol more efficiently - INEOS

Continuously improving efficiency and reducing carbon emissions is standard practice across INEOS. We know that a lot of small improvements will amount to a big difference, said the company.

On paper, converting ethylene to ethanol is relatively simple - just add water. In practice, the industrial chemistry that underlies the process is somewhat more complex, requiring large amounts of water, steam and energy. But here’s how our team in Grangemouth recently both improved plant efficiency and made a major cut to emissions.

The INEOS Grangemouth ethanol plant was commissioned in 1983 and has been significantly upgraded over the last 5 years to improve performance and reliability. The production process requires an excess amount of water for the reaction to take place, but needs the right balance be struck. Using more water in the reaction will decrease impurities, while further down the line more steam is needed to purify and ‘dry’ the product by boiling off the water – a costly process. Conversely, too little water increases production of unwanted by-products and not enough ethylene is converted into ethanol.

The technical team decided to review the entire manufacturing process. Was there a way to be more efficient, reducing water and steam usage, with a reduction in carbon emissions per tonne of product too.

Determined to come up with a solution, they carefully examined every aspect of the manufacturing process alongside the operations team, from the temperature the reactants enter the reactors to the management of energy and steam across the asset.

We remind, INEOS has completed the purchase of Mitsui Phenols Singapore in a USD330m deal, giving the UK-based firm over 1m tonnes/year of additional Asia production capacity. Based on Jurong Island, Singapore, the entire asset base of the Mitsui subsidiary will be transferred to INEOS. The business has a production capacity of 410,000 tonnes/year of cumene, 310,000 tonne/year of phenol and 185,000 tonnes/year of acetone.