Solvay opens new development lab in Shanghai, China

Solvay opens new development lab in Shanghai, China

Solvay has opened a new application development lab (ADL) in Shanghai, China, to expand its global footprint of its research and innovation facilities, said the company.

The new facility will develop solutions for applications industries including automotive, new energy, life solutions and pharmacy, smart devices and semiconductors for Solvay’s customers active in local and global end markets.

A team of 30 people including scientists, engineers and technicians will work at the site with coordinated resources use simulations, prototyping and performance evaluation services complemented by process equipment such as 3D printing, extrusion and noise vibration harshness (HNV) improvements.

We remind, Solvay announces the completion of the sale of its 50% stake in the RusVinyl joint venture to its joint venture partner Sibur. At the time of closing, Solvay received EUR433 million in cash proceeds in Belgium which will be reported in the first quarter as cash flow from investing activities (Consolidated statement of cash flows). A capital loss of EUR174 million will be recognized in the first quarter of 2023, mainly reflecting the crystallization of historic currency translation balances.

Evonik EU-funded membrane and catalyst project gains interim approval from auditors

Evonik EU-funded membrane and catalyst project gains interim approval from auditors

An EU-funded membrane and catalyst project from Evonik has received positive interim evaluation from the Commission, the German specialty producer announced.

The project is the largest EU-funded project coordinated by Evonik, and mechanical completion of the demonstration plant in Marl, Germany, is scheduled for the third quarter. Auditors were satisfied with the progress of the Membrane and Catalysts Beyond Economic and Technological Hurdles (MACBETH) project, which was launched in 2020.

The aim of the project is to develop reactors that make large-scale chemical reactions such as hydroformylation significantly more energy efficient, and has already successfully brought technology of catalytic membrane reactors closer to industrial implementation.

This could see greenhouse gas emissions from large-volume industrial processes reduced by up to 35%, with an increase in resource and energy efficiency of up to 70%, contributing toward the European Green Deal. The project has also been recognised by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, and was also included in a list of projects receiving funding under the broad EU framework programme Horizon 2020.

Hydroformylation is an industrial process in which unsaturated hydrocarbons (or olefins) are converted into aldehydes using synthesis gas, which is a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide. Aldehydes are intermediate materials used to make higher alcohols, organic acids or esters, which can then be used to produce plasticizers in plastics or as surfactants.

We remind, Evonik introduces a diverse range of additives under the brand name TEGO Cycle to help its customers improve the process and increase the final quality of recycled plastics. Designed to save energy during the mechanical recycling process, the TEGO Cycle portfolio of additives also enhances the quality of polymers, enabling the transition of the plastics value chain into a 'value cycle.'

Valero responds to fire at Corpus Christi, Texas, refinery

Valero responds to fire at Corpus Christi, Texas, refinery

Valero Energy Corp (VLO.N) said crews are responding to a fire on Wednesday within its 290,000 barrel-per-day Corpus Christi West refinery in Texas, said Reuters.

"This morning, a fire occurred at Valero's West Plant refinery. There are no injuries," said company spokeswoman Darcy Schroeder in an emailed response to Reuters. She declined to comment on the impact on operations, or on further details of the fire.

Most of the motor fuels made at the refinery comes from the West Plant. The RBOB Gasoline futures contract was up 3.8% at USD2.573 per gallon by 2:08 p.m. EDT (1808 GMT).

The Bill Greehey refinery East and West plants are located along the Corpus Christi ship channel and the East refinery processes sour crude, while the West plant processes sweet and sour crude and residual fuel oil, according to the refinery website.

Community air monitoring indicated there were no offsite concerns, Valero's Schroeder said and the City of Corpus Christi posted on its website.

This is the second fire at an oil refinery in Texas in days, with a blaze on Monday killing one worker and injuring two others at Marathon's Galveston Bay refinery in Texas City, about 42 miles (68 km) southeast of Houston, prompting an investigation by state and federal agencies.

We remind, Valero Energy Corporation declares regular cash dividend on Common Stock. The Board of Directors of Valero Energy Corporation has declared a regular quarterly cash dividend on common stock of USD1.02 per share. The dividend is payable on June 22, 2023 to holders of record at the close of business on May 23, 2023.

India's Russian oil buying hits record high, slashes Mideast, Africa share

India's Russian oil buying hits record high, slashes Mideast, Africa share

India's oil imports from Russia rose to a fresh record high in April, further reducing the share of Middle Eastern and African grades to their lowest level in at least 22 years, said Reuters.

Refiners in India, the world's third-biggest oil importer and consumer, are on a Russian oil-buying binge after some countries shunned purchases from Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine in February last year.

Asia's third-largest economy imported about 1.9 million barrels per day (bpd) of Russian oil in April, about 4.4% higher than the previous month, the data showed. That accounts for about two-fifths of the nation's overall purchases.

Higher imports from Russian raised the share of oil from the C.I.S. countries - Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Russia - to 43.6% of an overall 4.81 million bpd imported by India last month.

That narrowed the share of the Middle Eastern grades, which traditionally have accounted for the bulk of total oil imports, to about 44% and African oil to 3.4% last month, the data showed.

Russia remained the top oil supplier to India for the sixth-straight month in April, followed by Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

"Indian refiners have cut their spot purchases of Middle Eastern and West African grades as we are getting supply of Russian oil at lower prices," said an Indian refining official at an Indian refinery.

Oil imports from Russia also rose as Indian Oil Corp , the country's top refiner, raised the size of its annual import deal with Rosneft.

India's oil imports from Iraq in April declined by 3.1% from the previous month to a 4-month low of 928,400 bpd, while imports from Saudi Arabia fell by 11% to 723,800 bpd, the least in five months, the data showed.

Lower purchases of oil from the Middle East dragged OPEC's share of India oil imports to a record low of 46%, the data showed.

We remind, Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) unveiled India’s first Hydrogen Internal Combustion Engine technology solution for heavy duty trucks flagged off by Honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the India Energy Week in Bangalore. The Hydrogen Internal Combustion Engine (H2ICE) powered trucks will emit near zero emissions, deliver performance on par with conventional diesel trucks and reduce noise and with projected reductions in operating costs thus redefining the future of Green Mobility.

North American weekly chemical railcar traffic rose by 17%

North American weekly chemical railcar traffic rose by 17%

North American weekly chemical railcar traffic rose, following three straight declines, with loadings for the week ended 13 May up 1.7% year on year to 45,655, according to the latest freight rail data by the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

For the first 19 weeks of 2023 ended 13 May, North American chemical rail traffic was down 2.9% year on year to 862,239, with US traffic down 5.3%, to 592,744 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 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. 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.