Shell Chemical fined USD10 mln, restarting production

Shell Chemical fined USD10 mln, restarting production

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Shell (London) has agreed to pay nearly USD 10 mn (EUR 9.3 mn) for breaking emissions rules at its Monaca polyethylene complex in the US state of Pennsylvania, according to the office of governor Josh Shapiro, which said the resin maker had formally acknowledged the violations, said Plasticsnews.

The company’s Shell Chemicals Appalachia unit is to pay a fine of almost USD 5 mn to the Pennsylvania Department of the Environment and local communities, which receive 25%, the office said. USD 5 mn has been earmarked for community environmental protection projects, so municipalities in the western part of the state are to receive USD 6.2 mn. If more violations occur, further payments will be due.

Citizens’ groups have accused the plant of exceeding emissions limits. According to the oil company, some of these emissions – but not all – resulted from the start-up process.

The governor’s office said, “Shell exceeded its rolling 12-month total emission limitations for volatile organic compounds (VOC) beginning in October 2022 through April 2023, carbon monoxide (CO) from February through March 2023, nitrogen oxides (NOx) from December 2022 through April 2023, and hazardous air pollutants (HAP) from December 2022 through April 2023.”

Shell was set to restart the ethane cracker with an ethylene capacity of 1.5 mn t/y and three PE lines with a combined available output of 1.6 mn t/y, which have been shut down since March. Until normal operation, which was originally planned for mid-2023, the group must submit monthly reports on the extent of the respective emissions.

We remind, Shell's Upstream segment includes exploration and extraction of crude oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids. It also markets and transports oil and gas, and operates the infrastructure necessary to deliver them to the market.

PPG expands on 2030 sustainability goals

PPG expands on 2030 sustainability goals

MOSCOW (MRC) -- PPG Industries today announced a variety of sustainability goals for 2030, with a focus on issues related to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and environmental stewardship, said the company.

The move follows last week’s announcement of 2030 targets related to sales and GHG emissions. The company is aiming to reduce scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions, from a 2019 baseline, by 50% by 2030, and reduce scope 3 emission by 30% as of the same date – both goals announced last week. Adding onto this, PPG is aiming for a water intensity reduction of 15% by 2030 and a waste intensity reduction of 25%. It is also aiming to derive 50% of sales from “sustainably advantaged products,” as determined by an in-house methodology informed by United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs), PPG said.

PPG also reported on progress for its 2025 goals, which are based on a 2017 baseline. Progress was made on a variety of goals, including a reduction in waste disposal intensity, GHG emissions intensity, and sourcing electricity from renewable power. However, energy consumption intensity and water consumption intensity increased in 2022, due to product mix changes.

“Our efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across our value chain will include evaluating more circular and renewable raw materials, collaborating with suppliers to lower their emissions footprint, and innovating new lower carbon solutions for our customers,” said Diane Kappas, vice president/global sustainability at PPG.

Renewable energy sourcing will be also a growing area of focus as the company moves to decarbonize. “As we prepare for the next phase of our decarbonization journey, we will be partnering with clean energy solutions providers to define a comprehensive global strategy for renewable and clean energy sources to our network of facilities around the world,” PPG said in its sustainability report. In 2022, the company derived 6% of its total energy consumed from renewable sources.

PPG recently signed an agreement with power utility NRG Energy (Houston) to run four coatings manufacturing plants and 62 stores in Texas on fully renewable electricity.

We remind, PPG will invest USD11 million to double the production capacity of its powder coatings plant in San Juan del Rio, Mexico. The expansion project is expected to be completed by mid-2023 and will allow the plant to meet the expected future demand for powder coatings in Mexico.

PPG is a leading supplier of powder coatings to the automotive, transportation, appliance, furniture and other markets. The company expanded the business with its 2020 acquisition of Alpha Coating Technologies, which manufactures powder coatings for light industrial applications and heat-sensitive substrates, and its 2021 acquisition of Worwag, which makes liquid, powder and film coatings for industrial and automotive applications. PPG recently agreed to acquire the powder coatings business of Arsonsisi, including a manufacturing plant in Verbania, Italy.

Mexico's gasoline independence dream sinks in dirty fuel oil glut

Mexico's gasoline independence dream sinks in dirty fuel oil glut

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Mexico's president took office in late 2018 pledging to boost local output of gasoline while phasing out imports, but so far state refineries have instead set a different course: bumper production of highly contaminating fuel oil, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

To make Mexico self-sufficient, leftist resource nationalist President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador wants the country to wean itself off dependence on foreign gasoline and diesel supplies, mostly from U.S. refiners, and replace them by 2024 with production from state oil company Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex).

The push to increase Pemex's output, however, has ramped up fuel oil production, due mostly to its refineries' struggle to efficiently process the heavy crude Mexican oil fields pump. Some Pemex executives describe Lopez Obrador's promise as more ideological, and less tethered to technical realities.

"It's really more of a political statement than a reachable goal," one Pemex executive told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity to candidly discuss the quandary. Pemex did not respond to requests for comment.

In April, Pemex fuel oil production averaged over 322,000 barrels per day (bpd), the highest since July 2010 - even though the company's total crude output is now over a fifth lower than it was during 2016, official data show. By contrast, gasoline output was 291,000 bpd in April. While over 40% higher than the 2019 average, the figure is down 4% from April 2022, and over 10% below the 2016 average.

We remind, Mexico's northern state Nuevo Leon on Sunday warned that it would seek penalties for state oil company Pemex after a dramatic increase in visible emissions from its Cadereyta refinery earlier in the day. Video footage posted on social media, including by State Governor Samuel Garcia, showed thick, yellow and black smoke billowing from flare stacks - meant to burn off only small volumes of excess natural gas.

Top shipper of Russian oil secures Indian cover as Western certifiers exit

Top shipper of Russian oil secures Indian cover as Western certifiers exit

MOSCOW (MRC) -- An Indian agency has stepped in to provide safety certification for most of Gatik Ship Management's fleet, a major carrier of Russian oil to India, after Lloyd's Register and the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) withdrew classification for many of its vessels, records show, said Reuters.

Mumbai-based Gatik, which has emerged this year as a significant player in Russian oil transport, also recently reflagged at least four of its vessels to Mongolia, according to data from maritime platform Lloyd's List Intelligence.

This followed the de-flagging of 36 of the Gatik-managed fleet by St. Kitts & Nevis International Ship Registry. However, Indian Register of Shippping (IRClass) data showed six vessels being reflagged to Mongolia. Other Gatik ships were recently reflagged to Gabon.

Classification societies such as London-headquartered Lloyd's Register (LR), ABS and IRClass provide services including seaworthiness checks, certification that is vital for securing insurance and entry to ports. IRClass, which is recognized globally, did not respond to requests for comment.

As Western sanctions on Moscow's energy trade tightened, Gatik suddenly stepped in with a fleet of tankers that has numbered more than 40, shipping data shows. India, which does not recognize the sanctions, has quickly become the biggest buyer of seaborne Russian crude since Moscow's invasion of Ukraine in February last year.

The reflagging of vessels and changes of registry highlight the tightening oversight by Western service providers over supply of Russian oil, but also the limitations of such efforts given the ease with which ship owners and operators can find new documentation to continue sailing.

While non-EU countries can import seaborne Russian crude, Western shipowners and insurers are prohibited from handling such cargoes unless they are sold at or below USD60 a barrel cap.

"As a U.S. company, ABS strictly follows both the letter and the spirit of U.S. and other applicable sanctions. We are arranging the transfer out of class of all vessels formerly managed by Gatik," a company spokesperson told Reuters.

The spokesperson added that 13 vessels were being dropped from ABS certification. Gatik did not respond to requests for comment. About three dozen Gatik ships have obtained certification from IRClass since mid-March, the IRClass data showed.

The IRClass data also indicated that most of these ships are managed by Indian firms including Gaurik Ship Management, Geras Ship Management, Caishan Ship Management, Galena Ship Management, Zidan Ship Management and Plutos Ship Management.

No details about the companies could be found on the Indian corporate affairs ministry's website and the companies did not respond to emails seeking comment. However, according to shipping database Equasis, the companies handle safety and environmental-related issues of the vessels while commercial operations are managed by Gatik.

Lloyd's Register has said it will withdraw certification of 22 of Gatik's vessels by June 3, Reuters has reported. Major U.S. ship insurer American Club also told Reuters previously it was no longer providing cover for Gatik ships, while Russian insurer Ingosstrakh said it would not work with Gatik in future.

India's ship certifier is one of the 11 members of the International Association of Classification Societies, which also includes ABS and LR, that account for more than 90% of the world's cargo-carrying tonnage.

We remind, Russia is leaning towards leaving oil production volumes unchanged ahead of an OPEC+ policy meeting on June 4 because Moscow is content with current prices and output. OPEC+, which groups the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries with Russia and other allies, surprised the market on April 2 with further output cuts that pushed up the price of oil.

Oil edges up after steep losses ahead of U.S. debt ceiling vote

Oil edges up after steep losses ahead of U.S. debt ceiling vote

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Oil prices edged up on Wednesday after steep losses in the prior session, as market participants awaited an expected vote on a bipartisan deal to lift the USD31.4-T U.S. debt ceiling, said Reuters.

Brent crude futures for August delivery rose 11 cents to USD73.82 a barrel by 0013 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude (WTI) gained 8 cents to USD69.54 a barrel. Both fell more than 4% on Tuesday. Brent's July contract, which expires on Wednesday, and the U.S. benchmark were on track for monthly declines of more than 7% and 9%, respectively.

Top congressional Republican Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday urged members of his party to support the deal even as he faced a direct challenge from some, which weighed on oil prices during the previous session. Still, a key party hardliner said he would likely support the measure in a critical procedural vote, which would allow it to clear a pivotal House of Representatives Rules Committee with a Republican majority. The committee was due to vote later on whether to advance the 99-page bill.

The debt deadline nearly coincides with the June 4 meeting of OPEC+ - the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies including Russia. Traders were uncertain about whether the group will increase output cuts as a slump in prices weighs on the market.

Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Abdulaziz bin Salman last week warned short-sellers betting oil prices would fall to "watch out" in a possible signal that OPEC+ may cut output. However, comments from Russian oil officials and sources, including Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak, indicate the world's third-largest oil producer is leaning toward leaving output unchanged.

In April, Saudi Arabia and other members of OPEC+ announced further oil output cuts of around 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd), bringing the total volume of cuts by OPEC+ to 3.66 million bpd, according to Reuters calculations.

Market participants also awaited industry data on U.S. crude stockpiles due later on Wednesday. The data was delayed by a day because of a U.S. holiday earlier this week. Seven analysts polled by Reuters estimated on average that crude inventories fell by about 1.2 million barrels in the week to May 26.

We remind, Russia is leaning towards leaving oil production volumes unchanged ahead of an OPEC+ policy meeting on June 4 because Moscow is content with current prices and output. OPEC+, which groups the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries with Russia and other allies, surprised the market on April 2 with further output cuts that pushed up the price of oil.