North American chem rail traffic falls

North American chem rail traffic falls

MOSCOW (MRC) -- North American chemical railcar traffic fell for a second week, with loadings for the week ended 29 April down 1.3% year on year to 47,654, led by a 1.9% decline in the US, according to the latest freight rail data by the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

For the first 17 weeks of 2023 ended 29 April, North American chemical rail traffic was down 3.2% year on year to 776,704, with US traffic down 6.0%, to 552,069 loadings.

In the US, chemical railcar loadings represent about 20% of chemical transportation by tonnage, with trucks, barges and pipelines carrying the rest. In Canada, chemical producers rely on rail to ship more than 70% of their products, with some exclusively using rail.

We remind, North American chemical railcar traffic fell 0.1% year on year to 47,726 loadings for the week ended 22 April, led by a 1.5% decline in the USA. In the previous week, ended 15 April, chemical railcar traffic rose 0.6%, following six consecutive weekly declines.

Trinseo turns in loss

Trinseo turns in loss

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Trinseo (Wayne, Pennsylvania) has reported a first-quarter loss of USD49 million, down from profit of USD17 million in the year-ago quarter on lower volumes and margins, said the company.

Sales totaled USD996 million, down 28% year over year (YOY) from USD1.387 billion on continued customer destocking and demand weakness, the company said. Adjusted earnings per share came to a loss of USD1.01, down from profit of USD2.08 in the year-ago quarter and short of analysts’ consensus estimate of a USD0.62 loss as compiled by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Adjusted EBITDA totaled USD36 million, up 112% YOY from USD17 million. Volumes declined in all segments, compared to the year-ago quarter, while margins were hit by a USD34 million net timing variance and unfavorable impacts of USD19 million from natural gas hedging and USD10 million from manufacturing cost under-absorption.

“We anticipate performance will significantly improve in the second quarter from lower raw material and corporate costs, better fixed-cost absorption and a lower natural gas hedge loss,” said Bozich. “While we are expecting a gradual demand increase through the end of the year, the range of our full-year outlook reflects no sales volume improvement at the low end and a 10% improvement at the high end.”

For the second quarter, the company expects a net loss from continuing operations of approximately USD15 million and adjusted EBITDA of approximately USD80 million.

We remind, Trinseo has added a new grade to its Magnum ABS family. Complementing the bio formulations of the material made with 60 and 80 percent bio-attributed content made available in late 2022, the company has now launched a version with 95 percent mass-balanced renewably sourced content.

Sinochem plant explosion kills nine workers, another is missing

Sinochem plant explosion kills nine workers, another is missing

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Nine workers have died following an explosion at a Sinochem-owned chemical plant in eastern China’s Shandong province. One other worker is missing and another is seriously injured, said Upstreamonline.

The explosion took place at 08.00 local time on 1 May at a hydrogen peroxide unit of the Sinochem Luxi Chemical Plant, shutting down facilities involving the production of hydrogen peroxide, caprolactam, nylon 6 and polyol.

The preliminary investigation found that when recovering the fluid, a large amount of 70% hydrogen peroxide had leaked into the kettle of the hydrogen peroxide device.

The impurities in the kettle caused the hydrogen peroxide to decompose, causing overpressure explosions in the kettle that triggered explosions in the adjacent octanol storage tanks and pipeline leaks.

Listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange in 1998, Luxi Chemical incorporates seven production units with annual hydrogen peroxide of 400,000 tonnes.

Hydrogen peroxide, in its pure form, is a pale blue liquid that is slightly more viscous than water. It is used as an oxidiser, bleaching agent and antiseptic, usually as a dilute solution in water for consumer use, and in higher concentrations for industrial use.

We remind, Sinochem International, a leading company in the chemical sector in China, inaugurated its new compounding factory in Yangzhou on 18/8/22. This new plant is an important milestone in Sinochem International’s industrial strategy in the field of engineering plastics. Hongsheng Liu, General Manager of Sinochem International, said: "The operation of the Yangzhou compounding plant has opened a new chapter in the industrialisation strategy of Sinochem International for ABS and modified materials.

Neste moves forward in its renewable hydrogen project in Porvoo, Finland

Neste moves forward in its renewable hydrogen project in Porvoo, Finland

MOSCOW (MRC) -- In accordance with its ambition to reach carbon neutral production by 2035, Neste is working on a 120 MW electrolyzer project to produce renewable (i.e. green) hydrogen at its Porvoo refinery in Finland, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The company has now decided to proceed to the basic engineering phase with the project. The investment decision readiness is expected to be reached in early 2024. If an investment decision is made, green hydrogen production could start in 2026.

“Our project is one of the largest development projects to produce green hydrogen in the European refineries and it supports our goal to transform the Porvoo refinery to the most sustainable refinery in Europe by 2030. The green hydrogen would be primarily used in our Porvoo refinery’s processes, where it would replace hydrogen produced from fossil feedstocks,” says Markku Korvenranta, Executive Vice President in Neste’s Oil Products.

Production of green hydrogen also generates renewable heat. In connection with the 120 MW green hydrogen project, Neste has started a preliminary study with Porvoon Energia on the utilization of renewable heat in district heating. Porvoon Energia is a regional Finnish energy company focusing on heat and electricity production and distribution as well as development of the electricity network.

Hydrogen projects at Neste’s Porvoo refinery contribute considerably to the EU green hydrogen value chain. In July 2022, Neste became the first Finnish company to receive IPCEI (Important Project of Common European Interest) status from the European Commission for its hydrogen projects. In December 2022, Business Finland awarded Neste EUR27.7 MM of public funding for its renewable hydrogen projects at the Porvoo refinery.

We remind, Neste is looking to build capacities at its Porvoo site to process 400,000 tons of liquefied waste plastic per year in the course of project PULSE, which is funded by the EU Innovation Fund. From 2030 onwards, Neste wants to process more than 1 million tons of waste plastic per year.

Kazakhstan to ban oil products supplies via rail to Russian port of Taman

Kazakhstan to ban oil products supplies via rail to Russian port of Taman

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Kazakhstan Railways will ban transportation of oil products to the Russian Black Sea port of Taman starting from May 8, according to a document from the state-owned railway operator seen by Reuters .

No reasons for the ban were disclosed in the document, which was issued to cargo shippers. Traders said the terminal continued to handle oil products and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).

Russian Railways has also restricted rail deliveries to Taman starting from Wednesday this week until further notice after Russian officials said a fuel depot had caught fire near a crucial bridge linking mainland Russia to Crimea.

Taman's oil transhipment hub, which lies across the Kerch Strait from Crimea, at the mouth of the Azov Sea and Black Sea, has the capacity to handle 20 million tons of crude oil, oil products and LPG a year. In 2022, it handled 7.3 million tons of oil products from Russia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

The port of Taman boosted exports of oil products in the first quarter by 15% from the same period in 2022 to 2.775 million tons, according to port sources. Kazakhstan's exports via Taman last year reached over 1 million tons of fuel oil, around 230,000 tons of LPG and some 74,000 tons of vacuum gasoil.

Three traders said the Tanamneftegaz terminal continued transhipment of oil products and LPG. "Taman is working, the transhipment of heavy (petroleum products) and LPG has been resumed, there is no ban on exports from Kazakhstan until May 8," a trader said after operations were temporarily suspended after the incident on Wednesday.

"There is an accumulation of rail cars on the approaches to the port, but we hope that by May 8 the situation will stabilize, the ban will be lifted."

We remind, Russia has become India's largest crude supplier, displacing erstwhile OPEC+ ally Saudi Arabia, with India's April imports from the kingdom dropping to the lowest since September 2021. Russian crude is also winning against Saudi oil in China, with April arrivals of 2.10 million bpd beating out the 1.73 million bpd from the Middle East's top exporter.