U.S. EPA to remove proposed EV volumes from biofuel blending rule

U.S. EPA to remove proposed EV volumes from biofuel blending rule

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The Biden administration will abandon a proposal to include the electric vehicle industry in the U.S. biofuel blending program and withdraw potentially billions of dollars worth of tradable credits that had been attributed to the scheme, three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Reuters had first reported in early May that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was considering delaying the EV program over concerns the plan could trigger lawsuits. A final rule is set to be released later this month after review by the White House.

Scrapping the plan pushes the administration further away from allowing electric vehicles to generate nearly 2 billion credits under the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard over the next two years, something companies such as Tesla Inc have pushed for. The EV program would have been a boost to President Joe Biden's goal of electrifying the motor vehicle industry to fight climate change.

The EPA, which administers the RFS, said it was considering comments for a final rulemaking on biofuel blending mandates for the years 2023, 2024 and 2025 and could not comment further. The White House, which is currently reviewing a final rule on the biofuel mandates, declined to comment.

The EPA proposed last year the inclusion of EVs into the RFS, in what would have been a major overhaul of an often-contentious law that mandates that oil refiners must blend billions of gallons of biofuels into the nation's fuel mix or buy tradable credits from those that do.

Most credits generated under the RFS are for blending liquid fuels such as corn-based ethanol into gasoline. Adding credits for power generated from renewable gas and then used for charging EVs would take the program in a new direction.

In last year's proposal, the EPA foresaw EV manufacturers could generate as many as 600 million credits in 2024 and 1.2 billion of them by 2025. Those estimates were included within the cellulosic credit pool in the proposal. However, the EPA will remove those estimated volumes from a final rule that the agency is expected to release by June 14, the three sources said.

The EV plan represented the largest growth in the cellulosic credit pool in the RFS program history, roughly doubling the credits generated from 720 million this year to 2.13 billion by 2025, according to the proposal.

Those in the electric vehicle and renewable natural gas industries were hopeful that even with a delay, an EV program could still be passed by the end of the year.

We remind, Russia agreed to extend its existing 0.5 million bpd curbs into 2024, Angola and Nigeria agreed to give up their unused quotas. The United Arab Emirates was allowed to boost its production quota by 0.2 million bpd to 3.2 million from 2024.

mrchub.com

Oil prices steady as economic fears offset Saudi output cut

Oil prices steady as economic fears offset Saudi output cut

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Oil prices were little changed on Tuesday after erasing earlier losses as worries over sluggish global economic growth that could reduce energy demand offset Saudi Arabia's pledge to deepen output cuts, said Hydracarbonprocessing.

Brent futures remained unchanged at USD76.71 a barrel at 11:18 a.m. EDT (1518 GMT), while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose 12 cents, or 0.2%, to USD72.27. Earlier in the session, WTI was down USD2 a barrel and Brent down almost USD2.

Growing interest in energy trading in recent weeks boosted open interest in WTI futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange to its highest level since March 2022 for a fourth day in a row on Monday. Brent gained as much as USD2.60 a barrel on Monday and WTI as much as USD3.30 after Saudi Arabia, the world's top exporter, said at the weekend that its output would drop by 1 million barrels per day (bpd) to 9 million bpd in July.

But weaker demand, stronger non-OPEC supply, slower economic growth in China and potential recessions in the U.S. and Europe mean the Saudi cut is unlikely to achieve a "sustainable price increase" into the high $80s and low USD90s, Citi analysts said in a note on Tuesday.

The U.S. dollar, meanwhile, rose to its highest level against a basket of currencies since hitting a 10-week high on May 31 as investors waited on fresh signals on whether the U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed) will raise or hold interest rates in June.

A stronger dollar can weigh on oil demand by making the fuel more expensive for holders of other currencies. One of those signals came from the U.S. services sector, which barely grew in May as new orders slowed.

"The market remains focused on the risk to demand, with recession concerns mounted on a broad-based miss in U.S. services PMI (Purchasing Managers' Index), giving room for a Fed pause on rates," said Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank.

We remind, Russian is fulfilling its oil output cut obligations, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak told Rossiya-24 TV channel on Sunday following a meeting of the OPEC+ group of leading oil producers. OPEC+, which groups the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies led by Russia, on Sunday after seven hours of talks decided to reduce overall production targets from 2024 by a further total of 1.4 million barrels per day (bpd).

mrchub.com

BASF increases production capacity for alkoxylates in Europe

BASF increases production capacity for alkoxylates in Europe

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BASF is gradually bringing additional alkoxylation capacity on stream in Antwerp, Belgium, and Ludwigshafen, Germany, from the second quarter of 2023, said the company.

The investment benefits European customers in particular with a significant capacity increase well in excess of 150,000 metric tons per year.

"With this expansion, we are strengthening our position in Europe and opening up important growth opportunities in the European market through a wide range of applications such as in the detergents and cleaners, automotive and construction industries," said Mary Kurian, President Care Chemicals. “This capacity expansion – implemented despite the challenges faced over the past few years – gives our customers enhanced flexibility and supply security. It is in response to the long-term increase in demand for alkoxylates and reinforces our market leadership in this growing segment,” adds Soeren Hildebrandt, Senior Vice President, Home Care, I&I and Industrial Formulators Europe at BASF.

Most of the capacity increase is part of the expansion of ethylene oxide and ethylene oxide derivatives at the Belgian Verbund site in Antwerp. In addition to alkoxylation, the expansion encompasses investment in a second world-scale ethylene oxide production line, including purified ethylene oxide capacity.

Alkoxylation is used for instance to produce surfactants for the home care industry and for various applications in industrial and institutional cleaning. BASF customers utilize these surfactants in the formulation of laundry detergents, cleaning agents, and dishwashing products. Alkoxylates are also used in technical applications for industrial solutions. Examples include raw materials for superplasticizer production, emulsion polymerization emulsifiers, crop protection additives, and polyurethane foams for the automotive and construction industries.

We remind, BASF had a 13.4% decrease in sales for Q1 2023, from EUR23.1 billion in Q1 2022 to EUR20.0 billion. However, net income was EUR1.6 billion, EUR340 million higher than in the same period of the previous year. The company forecasts sales of between EUR84 billion and EUR87 billion for 2023.

mrchub.com

Toyo Ink completes high-performance polymers facility in Japan

Toyo Ink completes high-performance polymers facility in Japan

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Toyochem Co., Ltd., the polymer and coatings arm of Japan’s Toyo Ink Group, announced today that it has completed construction of a new Polymer Pilot Facility at its Kawagoe Factory, a manufacturing complex located in Kawagoe City, Saitama Prefecture in Japan, said the company.

The new Facility, which came online in April 2023, is engaged in the prototyping and medium-scale production of advanced polymers and their composites. In the first-phase production line, Toyochem plans to manufacture condensation polymers that exhibit high heat resistance and high flexibility, properties needed to fulfill the very demanding requirements of today’s semiconductor components. Key applications include high heat resistant and flexible adhesive materials for high-speed communication components and functional adhesives for electric vehicles.

In line with its growth strategy, Toyochem, with the cooperation of its Polymer Materials Research Institute in Japan and the new Polymer Pilot Facility, is expected to accelerate development of new products and related businesses needed to support its customer base now and well into the future. “The Toyo Ink Group has a long track record of manufacturing polymers based on acrylics, urethanes, polyesters and their composites for use primarily in can coatings, adhesives, laminating adhesives and inks,” said Yasushi Ariyoshi, Division Director of the Polymer & Coating R&D Division at Toyochem.

We remind, Toyo Ink SC Holdings, the Japan-based parent company of the specialty chemicals company Toyo Ink Group, has announced that, on March 10, 2023, it and its consolidated subsidiary Toyo Ink (Thailand), concluded a share purchase agreement to wholly acquire Thai Eurocoat, manufacturer of external coatings for non-printed cans in the Thai canned food market.

mrchub.com

BASF appoints new head of personal care business

BASF appoints new head of personal care business

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BASF has appointed Gisela Pinheiro as head of the business unit Personal Care Europe and as the new Managing Director of BASF Personal Care and Nutrition GmbH, effective June 1, 2023, said the company.

She succeeds Tatiana Kalman who held these positions since 2022 and is leaving the company at her own request.
Prior to her current role, Pinheiro was Senior Vice President at BASF’s Care Chemicals division, leading the global key account management, the global business unit for detergent enzymes, the global strategic marketing, supply chain and IT.

Pinheiro holds a master’s degree in Business Administration from IBMEC Business School, Sao Paulo, Brazil, and an economics degree from Northern Michigan University, USA.

She started her career as a consultant at Ernst & Young, Sao Paulo, Brazil, and then worked for Dow Chemicals in Brazil and the US for 14 years in several multi-functional and business roles – strategic as well as operative. In 2017 she joined BASF as Vice President Functional Materials and Solutions South America. She took over the role of Vice President Global Key Account Management at BASF’s Care Chemicals division, located in Ludwigshafen, Germany, in 2019. In April 2022, she has been promoted to Senior Vice President taking up the additional responsibilities of her current role.

We remind, BASF had a 13.4% decrease in sales for Q1 2023, from EUR23.1 billion in Q1 2022 to EUR20.0 billion. However, net income was EUR1.6 billion, EUR340 million higher than in the same period of the previous year. The company forecasts sales of between EUR84 billion and EUR87 billion for 2023.

mrchub.com