Braskem, New Iridium partner on photocatalytic CO2 conversion

Braskem, New Iridium partner on photocatalytic CO2 conversion

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Braskem (Sao Paulo) has partnered with startup firm New Iridium (Boulder, Colorado) to develop technologies for the photocatalytic conversion of industrial CO2 emissions to chemical products, said the company.

The partnership marks New Iridium’s first efforts in the commodities sector, Braskem said in a press release on April 13.

Braskem said the first phase of the collaboration, which is focused on proofs of concept, has already begun. Subsequent phases will involve scaling and industrialization.

"The project is an excellent fit with Braskem's innovation portfolio for more sustainable solutions in which promising technologies such as photocatalysis can play a lead role in CO2 conversion," said Gus Hutras, global process technology director at Braskem. "This partnership holds great potential thanks to the combination of Braskem's expertise in industrial processes and commodity markets with New Iridium's capacity and knowledge in the state-of-the-art technology of photocatalysis."

We remind, Brazil’s mines and energy ministry (MME) has requested that federal oil firm Petrobras halt the sale of assets for 90 days starting March 1. The request was made due to the reassessment of the national energy policy and the establishment of a new composition of the national energy policy council (CNPE), which is part of the ministry.

Oil products shipments disrupted at two TotalEnergies refineries

Oil products shipments disrupted at two TotalEnergies refineries

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Oil products shipments from TotalEnergies' Donges and La Mede refineries were disrupted on Thursday, a company spokesperson said, with 20% of operational staff having joined strike action over the government's pension reforms, said Reuters.

The disruption is part of nationwide action against the government's plan to raise the retirement age by two years to 64, which was forced through parliament last month but is set to be reviewed by France's Constitutional Council on Friday.

The strikes had previously shuttered production at the company's refineries, but its Gonfreville, Donges and La Mede sites were increasing production on Thursday, the spokesperson said.

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.

Vietnam Binh Son refinery delays maintenance, expects 88% profit fall this year

Vietnam  Binh Son refinery delays maintenance, expects 88% profit fall this year

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Vietnam's Binh Son Refining and Petrochemical will delay the maintenance at its refinery until next year, and said it expects profits to drop 88% this year due to rising costs, including higher taxes, said Reuters.

Binh Son said the maintenance delay would allow the company to "maximize its production, revenue and profit" this year. The 130,000-barrel-per-day refinery was originally scheduled to undergo major maintenance from June 22 to August 11 in 2023. The maintenance will now take place early next year, the company said in a statement.

Binh Son's net profit is forecast to fall this year to USD73.38 MM from USD625 MM last year, the company said. It is subject to corporate income tax of 10% this year, compared with 5% last year.

Binh Son is facing more competition in the local market as import tariffs on gasoline will be cut to 5% this year from 8%, it said. The company is also concerned it will not be able to buy enough crude oil for its operations this year due to tight supplies. "Global inflation remains at high levels, putting upward pressure on inflation in Vietnam, which relies heavily on imported materials," the company said. "This will push operation costs higher."

Vietnam's total crude oil imports in the first quarter rose 55% from a year earlier to 2.7 million tons. Binh Son, 92% owned by state oil company PetroVietnam, is also considering moving its shares to Vietnam's main bourse, Hochiminh Stock Exchange, this year. Its shares have been trading on the unlisted public company market, or UPCoM, since 2018.

We remind, Long Son Petrochemicals, a unit of Thailand's SCG Chemicals, will start commercial production at its petrochemical complex in southern Vietnam by mid-2023. The USD5-billion facility in Ba Ria Vung Tau province will produce 1.4 MMtpy of plastic resins, it said in an emailed statement. Its annual output will include 500,000 tpy of high-density polyethylene, 500,000 tpy of linear low density polyethylene and 400,000 tpy of polypropylene, it said.

Asian refiners to raise gasoline output, cut diesel to ease oversupply

Asian refiners to raise gasoline output, cut diesel to ease oversupply

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Several Asian refiners are likely to maximize gasoline output from May and reduce gasoil output, cashing in on higher profits for the motor fuel ahead of the peak summer driving season, industry sources and analysts say, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The adjustments come after margins for gasoil and jet fuel slumped on rising supplies as China boosted exports, while the arbitrage window to Europe has been shut since early 2023 due to ample supplies on the continent.

Meanwhile, gasoline profits have rebounded as traders build supplies ahead of a seasonal travel demand boost from April through September. By adjusting production, the oversupplied gasoil market in Asia could tighten again and support prices.

At Taiwan's Formosa Petrochemical Corp, one of Asia's largest oil products exporters, the company plans to cut gasoil output from some units, such as the delayed coking unit, and ramp up gasoline production from its residue fluid catalytic cracker (RFCC), spokesman KY Lin told Reuters.

"Our gasoil production volumes will be down around 5%, with gasoline production yield up 2-3% for May compared with the original production plan," said Lin. Refiners who can switch have been slowly making adjustments in the past few weeks, said a person working for a southeast Asia refinery who declined to be named due to company policy.

If the cracks continue to converge, there is a possibility of a production switch, a source at an Indian refinery said. Complex refinery margins in Singapore, the bellwether for Asian refining margins, have more than halved to USD3.17 a barrel - the lowest since October 2022 - from an average of USD7.56 in March.

The extent to which Asian refiners can change production yields between light distillates - gasoline and naphtha - and middle distillates - gasoil and jet fuel - is limited on feedstock and catalyst reasons, estimated at between 3% and 5% on average, according to industry sources.

Still, refiners are eyeing strong demand from the United States, the world's top petrol guzzler, which is short on gasoline and blendstocks, traders said. Even though U.S. refineries have ramped up output after first-quarter maintenance, imports are still required, one Singapore-based blendstock broker said.

We remind, The rise in gasoline output is typically accompanied by more naphtha, which can be used as a blendstock for petrol or for the production of ethylene and propylene, used for plastics. Refiners considering ramping up their FCC runs would need to assess the overall uplift margins, as higher unit runs will produce more propylene, in addition to gasoline. Gasoline output, on the other hand, rebounded to above 4 million bpd in January.

Cepsa teams up with Apical to build USD1 bn biofuels plant

Cepsa teams up with Apical to build USD1 bn biofuels plant

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Spanish oil company Cepsa teamed up with vegetable oil processor Apical Group’s Bio-Oils unit to build a second-generation biofuels plant in southern Spain, a USD1.11-bn project, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The plant, set to start operating in 2026, will be Southern Europe’s largest, the Spanish company said on Friday. It will have a capacity of 500,000 tons of renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) per year using organic waste, such as used cooking oils. Biofuels are seen as key to decarbonize transportation in sectors hard to electrify, like aviation.

Building and operating the facility, which will be in the southern Spanish region of Andalusia, will create around 2,000 direct and indirect jobs and save 1.5 million tons of CO2 emissions per year, Cepsa said.

The project will help the oil company achieve its goal of producing 2.5 million tons of biofuels by the end of the decade.

We remind, Cepsa plans to nearly double its investments over the next three years to a total of 3.6 B euros (USD3.82 B), with more than half of that amount going to sustainable energy and mobility. It also posted a full-year net profit at current cost of supplies (CCS) of 790 MM euros for 2022, up sharply from the 310 MM euros reported in 2021. The planned investment increase of 93% for 2023-25 is from the previous three years, Cepsa said.