Solvay completes expansion for US solvent extraction reagents site

Solvay completes expansion for US solvent extraction reagents site

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Solvay has completed its capacity expansion for its solvent extraction reagents manufacturing at its' US site, the Belgian producer announced on Wednesday.

The facility in Mount Pleasant, Tennessee, produces solvents for mines producing copper through hydrometallurgical processes.

Demand for copper solvent extractants is expected to remain strong in e-mobility and clean energy applications, supported by new technologies capable of treating sulphide ores.

The increase was originally announced in December 2021.

Solvay’s solvent extraction reagents complement its broad product portfolio for the mining industry to help reduce operating rates as well as freshwater and energy use, and reagent consumption while meeting metallurgical requirements.

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

Russian oil supplies to EU via southern Druzhba to rise 16% in June

Russian oil supplies to EU via southern Druzhba to rise 16% in June

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Russia's piped supply of Urals crude to the European Union (EU) via the southern Druzhba pipeline in June is set to increase by 16% compared to May as EU refiners seek to secure more oil amid fears of disruptions in transit via Ukraine, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Russian pipeline oil supplies to Europe are excluded from an EU embargo, but the route crosses Ukraine and has been under constant risk of disruptions since Russia sent thousands of troops into Ukraine last year in what Moscow calls a "special military operation".

The southern branch of the Druzhba pipeline supplies Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Hungary's MOL, the main buyer of Urals crude in Hungary and Slovakia, is expected to purchase about 900,000 tons of Urals oil via Druzhba in June, up from 750,000 tons in May, the sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

"Recent escalation in Ukraine, damages to big infrastructural objects (are a) worry ... it is a good idea to order more now," one of the sources said, referring in particular to this week's destruction of the Kakhovka hydroelectric dam. Russia and Ukraine blame each other for the incident.

The Czech Republic's Unipetrol refiner - the country's sole buyer which is owned by Poland's PKN Orlen - will purchase up to 430,000 tons of Urals in June, versus 400,000 tons purchased in May, the sources said. "Crude oil continues to arrive uninterruptedly to Hungary via the Druzhba pipeline and we do not expect delays during the upcoming months", a MOL media representative said, but declined to comment on monthly purchases.

PKN Orlen also said it never comments on oil purchases and contractual details. The EU imposed an embargo on Russian oil purchases via maritime routes from December. Hungary, Slovakia and Czech Repubic were, however, allowed to continue Russian oil imports as critical feedstock. It would be difficult for them to secure enough oil for their refineries if Druzhba is suspended.

Oil supplies via a section of the southern Druzhba pipeline were temporarily suspended in November following shelling on a power station which provides electricity for a pump station. Parts of the pipeline have also been attacked by drones inland in Russia, according to Russian reports, but the attacks did not cause significant supply disruptions.

The Druzhba pipeline crosses Belarus and Ukraine and remains an income source for both countries which receive transit fees. Kiev and Minsk asked for significant hikes in transit tariffs, making the route less convenient for European buyers that pay for transport.

A MOL media representative told Reuters that the company "continues to procure crude oil via both the Druzhba and Adria pipelines despite the transit fees being significantly higher compared to reasonable market prices".

MOL started to make payments to Ukrtransnafta for transit directly amid issues on Russian Transneft payments to Ukrainian pipeline operator.

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.

Germany triggers EU investigation into Chinese biofuels

Germany triggers EU investigation into Chinese biofuels

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Germany has asked the European Commission to investigate the flow of allegedly fraudulent biofuels into the European Union, a spokesperson for the German Environment Ministry said, stepping up scrutiny on trade in the fuel that has rattled the industry, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

EU incentives for biodiesel production made with waste oils and fat to increase renewable energy use have caused concerns that companies in Asia are mixing biofuels with cheaper oils and exporting them to Europe.

Germany "has asked the Commission to carry out an assessment to determine whether the sustainability criteria and requirements for greenhouse gas reductions ... are met for fuels originating in China," the spokesperson for the German Environment Ministry told Reuters.

A Commission spokesperson said in an email to Reuters that an unnamed member state had referred imports from China that had potentially been mislabeled as biofuels. The spokesperson said the Commission aimed to step up its oversight of the trade, with a database of supply chains due to be up and running by the end of the year, and it will look into whether the fuel imports qualify for greenhouse gas emissions credits.

EU classifications qualify the most advanced biofuels for valuable greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions certificates that are bought and traded by industry players at the national level. Germany, the EU's top energy consumer and biofuel importer, is the most valuable market in the bloc for the certificates.

"The Commission has to examine whether the sustainability and greenhouse gas emission savings criteria are met," the EU spokesperson said, adding that the allegations are being investigated. The top European biofuels body warned last week that a flood of potentially "dubious" biodiesel imports into Europe from China could trigger the collapse of the EU's biofuels industry.

European producers and traders, who had flagged their concerns over the lack of oversight over Chinese imports, were cautiously optimistic on the decision. "It's clear that the (German) government is moving - everyone is very expectant," a senior industry source said, who declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter.

We remind, U.S. diesel demand will drop through 2024 despite growing economic activity, extending a recent break from tradition where demand for the freight fuel grows with GDP, the Energy Information Administration forecast on Tuesday.

Leak halts unit at Shell's Pernis oil refinery in Rotterdam

Leak halts unit at Shell's Pernis oil refinery in Rotterdam

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Shell has halted a unit at its Pernis oil refinery in Rotterdam because of an unspecified leak, the company said in a statement on Tuesday.

"Due to a leak on one of our units, it was decided to temporarily take it out of service for repair," Shell said in a statement.

The company declined to comment on the type of leak, unit or duration of the outage.

We remind, 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.

Thyssenkrupp Uhde awarded supply of new uhde ammonia converter cartridge including synthesis catalyst by İGSAŞ

Thyssenkrupp Uhde awarded supply of new uhde ammonia converter cartridge including synthesis catalyst by İGSAŞ

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Thyssenkrupp Uhde and Johnson Matthey have been commissioned by IGSAS - Istanbul Gubre Sanayii A.S., Kocaeli (Turkey) to supply a solution to significantly reduce the pressure in the synthesis loop of an ammonia plant while maintaining the nameplate capacity of 1,200 mtpd, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The new cartridge will be based on the latest design principles, including a modular design with removable catalyst beds which enable better accessibility during catalyst filling, axial-radial flow beds, lower pressure drop, etc. The cartridge, which will be installed in the existing pressure shell, will bring further benefits in terms of safety as no major welding activities are required during installation.

The currently installed cartridge, based on a reliable design by thyssenkrupp Uhde, has reached an extraordinarily long lifetime of 36 years in operation. Usually, replacements are necessary after two catalyst exchange cycles, approximately after 20 years. However, thanks to the robust design and high quality requirements set by thyssenkrupp Uhde during equipment manufacturing and testing, life times of 30 years and more are feasible.

Kutay Durna, factory manager at IGSAS: “With this upgrade of our plant, we are ready for the future. Key decision points for choosing thyssenkrupp Uhde were the proven reliability of their products combined with reducing the energy consumption in our Kocaeli plant.”

Thore Lohmann, Executive Director Fertilizer and Methanol at thyssenkrupp Uhde: “This is further proof that our uhde ammonia technology can meet the diverse requirements of plant owners around the globe. Our proprietary design of ammonia converter cartridges meets the highest quality standards and, when retrofitted to ammonia converters, it hugely enhances plant performance.”

The improved reliability of the plant and the energy savings will be achieved by combining the new uhde ammonia converter cartridge with Johnson Matthey’s high-performance catalyst KATALCOTM 74-1. This combination will open up the potential for a further increase in plant capacity in the future, for example for green ammonia production.

The new equipment is under fabrication, and start-up is scheduled for mid-2024. thyssenkrupp Uhde will perform full supervision services during converter opening, catalyst unloading, cartridge disassembly, converter inspection, cartridge assembly, catalyst filling/activation, startup and performance testing at this time.

Besides supplying the new cartridge for IGSAS, thyssenkrupp Uhde currently has eight additional uhde ammonia converter cartridge retrofits underway for their current blue ammonia projects.

We remind, Thyssenkrupp nucera AG & Co. KGaA (Dortmund, Germany) is partnering with OxyChem to install the latest generation eBiTAC v7 electrolyzers to support the conversion of its Battleground plant in LaPorte, Texas, from the diaphragm to membrane chlor-alkali technology.