Ineos earnings decreased on higher costs

Ineos earnings decreased on higher costs

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Ineos Group Holdings has reported unaudited EBITDA of EUR444 million in the first quarter, down from EUR995 million a year earlier but up sequentially from EUR392 million in the previous quarter, said the company.

The company has continued to focus on cash management and liquidity, with net debt of approximately €7.0 billion at the end of March, it said. Cash balances at the end of the quarter were EUR2.64 billion, with availability under undrawn working capital facilities at EUR682 million, it said.

Ineos’ North American olefins and polymers (O&P) business achieved first-quarter EBITDA of EUR191 million, falling from EUR450 million in the prior-year period. Earnings were impacted adversely in January by a tornado that struck the firm’s site at Battleground, Texas, leading to an estimated earnings hit of approximately EUR55 million, it said in a trading update. Ethylene markets in the quarter were “generally weaker with lower demand, improved industry supply availability and reduced export opportunities,” it said. Polymer markets were softer with erosion of margins for most products in the quarter, although pipe markets remained healthy, it said, mirroring similar market comments issued by Ineos for the fourth quarter.

In Europe, Ineos’s O&P business reported quarterly EBITDA of EUR90 million, declining from EUR210 million a year earlier. Markets for olefins were also “generally weaker with most industry crackers being trimmed across Europe. Propylene markets were long with weak demand across most derivatives due to high energy costs,” it said. European polymer markets were also weaker, with reduced demand and increased levels of imports, it added, again reflecting comments similar to those issued by the company for the prior quarter.

In March, Ineos completed its previously announced acquisition of Mitsui’s phenol business in Singapore for approximately USD330 mln.

Mitsubishi confirms closure of its UK MMA plant

Mitsubishi confirms closure of its UK MMA plant

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Mitsubishi Chemical UK has confirmed the closure of its methyl methacrylate (MMA) plant at Billingham (Cassel), UK, said the company.

The decision comes following a period of over two months of collective consultation with its employees. The company stated in a press release in November announcing its consultation that the “economic sustainability of UK manufacturing operation of methacrylates in an increasingly competitive global market cannot be achieved”.

The MMA plant had been offline since January 2022, initially for a planned maintenance shutdown. Since then, the impact of soaring and volatile natural gas prices because of the war in Ukraine, a “significant downturn in the European economy as a result of high inflation” and underlying weak demand in the MMA market has seen this shutdown extended.

The Billingham plant has a capacity of 200,000 tonnes/year, began operating in 1930 and produces methacrylic acid and higher methacrylates.

We remind, Mitsubishi Chemical Group (the MCG Group) announces that it will start verification testing of a scheme for collecting acrylic resins from end-of-life vehicles, with the goal of commercializing molecular recycling operations for acrylic resin in collaboration with Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co., Ltd. and ABT Corporation1.

KBR awarded contract for Chemours expansion

KBR awarded contract for Chemours expansion

MOSCOW (MRC) -- KBR, Inc. (Houston) announced it has been awarded an engineering and design services contract from The Chemours Co. (Wilmington, Del.) to increase capacity and advance technology for its industry-leading Nafion ion-exchange materials platform, said the company.

The contract is part of Chemours’ USD200 million investment to expand the Nafion membranes and dispersions technology platform to support the growing hydrogen economy. Nafion™ membrane technology is the heart of hydrogen power generation, storage and use. Its chemical properties help generate clean hydrogen from water electrolysis, with vapor water as the only byproduct. Fuel cells — another Nafion™ proton exchange membrane application — convert hydrogen to create power instantly, making zero-emission fuel cell-powered vehicles a reality.

“We are excited to be a part of this important program, which furthers our partnership with Chemours, and to deliver solutions that will contribute to a cleaner, more sustainable world,” said Jay Ibrahim, president of KBR’s Sustainable Technology Solutions business. “This win highlights KBR’s extensive clean hydrogen and specialty chemical expertise and is indicative of KBR’s strategic commitment to support our customers through the energy transition."

We remind, KBR has launched a new ethylene and propylene process technology, utilising 100% hydrogen-fuelled burners, “for zero emissions from the ethylene cracking furnaces,” said the US energy and chemicals engineer company. The new SCOREKlean technology would play a major role to decarbonise the petrochemical industry, given that furnaces are the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the industry, KBR said.

NextChem awarded new contract for biomethane project in Normandy

NextChem awarded new contract for biomethane project in Normandy

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Maire Tecnimont S.p.A. (Milan, Italy) announced that its Sustainable Technology Solutions subsidiary NextChem has been awarded a new contract by Storengy to carry out a further advanced basic engineering study for the gasification of the waste wood and the purification system of the syngas to produce biomethane, said Chemengonline.

NextChem’s scope also includes the evaluation and estimate of the Engineering, Procurement and Construction activities for the full gasification and methanation package of the project, including the relevant utilities and ancillary units, which will be considered as part of the Client’s Final Investment Decision.

The plant should have a capacity of 11,000 tons per year of biomethane and will be the first commercial project in the world of its kind to inject in the grid methane produced through pyro-gasification of waste wood.

Alessandro Bernini, Chief Executive Officer of MAIREGroup, commented: “This new agreement with Storengy is further proof of MAIRE’s recognized know-how in developing and implementing technologies for the energy transition, in line with the new European regulations for the production of syngas and bio-methane from wood waste and biomass."

Maire Tecnimont S.p.A. (Milan, Italy) announced completion the methanation advanced basic engineering study in July 2022 for the Salamandre project in the Normandy region.

US EPA calls for testing of oil derived from plastic waste

US EPA calls for testing of oil derived from plastic waste

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Friday said it will require companies that produce oil from a process known as "advanced recycling" to submit the product to the agency to test it for impurities, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The measure is one of dozens of goals and objectives the EPA has outlined in a new draft federal strategy for preventing plastic pollution that was required by a law passed in 2020 aimed at keeping plastic waste and post-consumer materials out of waterways and oceans.

The agency is seeking public input on an array of strategic objectives and voluntary actions that can be taken to "reduce, reuse, collect, and capture plastic and other waste from land-based sources" by 2040.

While the EPA has said it wants to promote "circular economy policies," which focus on the reuse of plastic waste, it said it will exclude "processes that convert solid waste to fuels, fuel ingredients, or energy from being considered as a recycling practice in this strategy."

"Advanced recycling," also known as pyrolisis or chemical recycling, is a set of reprocessing technologies that the plastics industry has touted as a solution to deal with the global scourge of plastic waste. It uses heat or chemicals to turn plastic waste into fuel or reclaimed resin to make new plastic.

The agency said that though it had welcomed "further discussion" on the technology when its released a separate draft national recycling plan in late 2021, it now "reaffirms does not consider activities that convert non-hazardous solid waste to fuels or fuel substitutes or for energy production to be 'recycling' activities."

The EPA also said it has become aware of health concerns and environmental risks related to impurities found in oil from pyrolisis and will require companies to submit oil chemicals to the Agency for review under the Toxic Substances Control Act for testing prior to approval of projects, and ongoing testing to ensure there is no variability in the plastic waste stream used to generate the pyrolysis oil.

A recent Reuters investigation found that advanced recycling projects backed major companies have been dropped or indefinitely delayed because they were not commercially viable.

We remind, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed increases in the amount of ethanol and other biofuels oil refiners must blend into their fuel over the next three years. The agency is also proposing incorporating electricity made from renewable biomass and used for electric vehicle into the program for the first time. The agency's long-awaited proposal will call for overall blending mandates of 20.82 B gallons in 2023, 21.87 B gallons in 2024 and 22.68 B gallons in 2025.