BASF Venture Capital invests in startup DePoly SA

BASF Venture Capital invests in startup DePoly SA

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BASF Venture Capital GmbH (BVC), the corporate venture company of the BASF Group, announced an investment in the Swiss startup DePoly SA (DePoly), a sustainable plastic solutions provider developing a unique chemical recycling technology, said the company.

Founded in 2020, the company has developed a chemical recycling technology that converts mixed post-consumer and post-industrial polyester plastic waste streams, as well as polyester-containing fabrics and fibers, back into their precursors at virgin-grade quality. This process is energy efficient — operating at room temperature and standard pressure, without the need for pre-sorting, pre-washing, or removal of contaminant materials. For BVC this investment underlines BASF’s ongoing commitment to developing sustainable solutions for a circular economy.

BVC co-led DePoly’s CHF12.3M seed financing round along with Wingman Ventures, with the participation of Beiersdorf, Infinity Recycling, CIECH Ventures, Angel Invest, and others. The proceeds of the financing round will enable DePoly to accelerate the scale-up and development of its depolymerization process, leading to the building of a demonstration plant expected to be operational in 2024.

Plastics are an essential part of everyday life. But only about 10 percent are recycled, with the majority going to incineration or landfill. As brand owners increasingly aim for higher recycled content rates in their products, the demand for advanced recycling technologies is expected to grow. DePoly offers a unique solution to address this need. “Our technology has the potential to fundamentally change the lifecycle of PET plastics and reinforce the global efforts in tackling the climate challenge. We are thrilled to have BASF Venture Capital and other strategic investors in this round supporting us in implementing our solution on a larger scale,” said Samantha Anderson, CEO and co-founder of DePoly.

BASF aims to move toward a more Circular Economy by increasingly using recycled and renewable feedstocks, shaping new material cycles and creating new business models. BASF is therefore running a Circular Economy Program. By the year 2030, the company aims to double its sales generated with solutions for the circular economy to €17 B. One example for these efforts is BASF’s ChemCycling business. The investment in DePoly is another commitment towards supporting this goal.

“To truly implement the circular plastics economy, we must transform our business practices, and that requires collaborative efforts from various stakeholders. DePoly's technology offers a promising solution to address the global plastic waste challenge and concurrently support the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions related to the production of virgin plastics. We are excited to support their mission to create a more sustainable future,” said Markus Solibieda, Managing Director at BASF Venture Capital.

We remind, BASF has broken ground on a polyethylene (PE) plant at its Verbund site in Zhanjiang, China. The new plant with a capacity of 500,000 metric tons of PE annually will serve the fast-growing demand in China, said the company. The plant is scheduled to start up in 2025.

Ecopetrol sells crude to Asia at deeper discounts amid Russia competition

Ecopetrol sells crude to Asia at deeper discounts amid Russia competition

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Colombia's Ecopetrol is managing to sustain sales to Asia at about 45% of its crude oil production though rivalry from Russian oil is forcing it to offer deeper discounts, said Reuters.

It has maintained long-term supply contracts with key customers especially in China and is diversifying its sales to buyers in South Korea, India and the Gulf of Mexico, Ecopetrol Chief Financial Officer Jaime Caballero Uribe told Reuters on the sideline of the Energy Asia conference.

Ecopetrol sells mainly heavy sweet crude priced at a discount to Brent. Caballero Uribe said growing competition from Russian oil is forcing it to discount more. "The discount has widened because of Russian oil," he said. "You cannot sell at the same discount as you sold before, you have to sell at bigger discounts. That happens to all crude (grades), not only ours."

We remind, Honeywell has been selected by Ecopetrol S.A. (Ecopetrol), the largest company in Colombia and one of the main diversified energy companies on the American continent, to develop a prefeed engineering study for an Advanced Solvent Carbon Capture (ASCC) modular demonstration unit, which will be used to evaluate carbon dioxide (CO2) capture from Ecopetrol fluid catalytic cracking units (FCCUs).

SCG Chemicals expected to start production at Long Son plant by September

SCG Chemicals expected to start production at Long Son plant by September

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Long Son Petrochemicals, owned by SCG Chemicals, will start commercial production at its petrochemical complex in southern Vietnam in September, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The company is in the process of testing each operating unit at the complex, Siam Cement Group's Roongrote Rangsiyopash said on the sidelines of an industry event. Siam Cement Group owns SCG Chemicals. Testing will be completed in July or August, so commercial operations could start around September, Rangsiyopash said.

The $5.4-B plant in Ba Ria Vung Tau province will produce polyethylene, polypropylene and basic chemicals, he said. "The total demand for the country is around 3.3 million tons of both polyethylene and polypropylene combined, our complex (production capacity) is about 1.3-1.5 million tons. So, I would assume that the majority of the products that will be consumed locally," he added.

He also said for the first year, some of the products will be exported to countries in Southeast Asia like Thailand and Indonesia to balance the supply and demand until Vietnam can fully absorb the supply. Petrochemical demand has been struggling globally recently amid economic headwinds and poor demand in China. Refiners' profit margins on processing naphtha to make ethylene turned negative this month for the first time since October.

He said there is no recovery in sight in the second half of the year, as China consumption remains poor despite their reopening. Because of slowdown in demand and lower chemical product price, 2023 revenue growth will be flat from last year, even with the increase in capacities from the LSP complex startup, he further said.

Bulk of the plant's raw materials, naphtha and propane, will be imported from the Middle East, he added. Separately, the company could list 25.2% or 3.85 billion shares in an IPO this year. Rangsiyopash said they had time until October to decide on the IPO plans and it might be shelved depending on market conditions.

We remind, Vietnam's Binh Son Refining and Petrochemical will delay the maintenance at its refinery until next year, and said it expects profits to drop 88% this year due to rising costs, including higher taxes. Binh Son said the maintenance delay would allow the company to "maximize its production, revenue and profit" this year. The 130,000-barrel-per-day refinery was originally scheduled to undergo major maintenance from June 22 to August 11 in 2023. The maintenance will now take place early next year, the company said in a statement.

Nigeria's NNPC spends USD2.41 B on petrol subsidy

Nigeria's NNPC spends USD2.41 B on petrol subsidy

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Nigeria's petrol subsidy cost state oil firm NNPC Ltd USD2.41 B in the five months through May before the program was scrapped, a report seen by Reuters showed.

Nigerian President Bola Tinubu, who's embarking on the country's biggest reforms in decades to tackle issues including a high debt burden, scrapped the popular but expensive subsidy when he took office last month. NNPC spent $10 B on the subsidy last year, making it unable to remit funds to federal accounts.

The NNPC claims it is still owed unpaid subsidy receipts by the government. "The May 2023 subsidy amounted to 307.4 billion naira, thus the outstanding balance carried forward is 3.74 billion naira as of June 2023," it said. Nigeria imports almost all its refined fuel because local refineries were shut due to years of neglect.

NNPC has been the sole importer of petrol using crude swap contracts. Because it lacks cash, it pays a consortia of foreign and local trading firms in crude oil. The NNPC's import monopoly is set to end after the industry regulator licensed private firms to start importing petrol from July, the head of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority said this month.

We remind, Nigeria's state oil firm NNPC Ltd is winding down crude swap contracts with traders and will pay cash for gasoline imports, its chief executive told Reuters, adding that private companies could begin importing petrol as soon as this month.

Turkey stays top destination for Russian June diesel loadings

Turkey stays top destination for Russian June diesel loadings

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Turkey will again be the top destination for Russian diesel exports in June, while total shipments are set to rise after seasonal refinery maintenance, traders said and Refinitiv Eikon data showed, said Reuters.

Russia's estimated offline primary oil refining capacity for June could total 4.029 million tons versus 4.95 million tons in May, Refinitiv data shows. Since the full EU embargo on Russian oil products took effect on Feb. 5, traders have diverted diesel export supplies from Russian ports to Africa, Asia and the Middle East instead of Europe, which was previously the main buyer.

In June to date, Russia has sent about 0.9 million tons of diesel to Turkey versus 1.0 million tons the previous month, Refinitiv data shows. About 320,000 tons of that are still in transit with the port of discharge not yet confirmed.

Brazil is also among the top destinations of Russian seaborne diesel exports, totaling about 280,000 tons since the start of this month versus 450,000 tons in May, according to Revinitiv data. In June to date, about 550,000 tons of diesel have headed from the Russian ports to Africa, mainly to Ghana, Morocco and Togo.

In May, diesel loadings from Russian ports to Africa totaled about 575,000 tons, Reuters calculations based on Refinitiv data showed.

Nearly 375,000 tons of Russian diesel are destined in June for ship-to-ship loadings near the Greek port of Kalamata and also near Malta, Refinitiv data shows. The final destinations for these cargoes are not yet known. Most of those cargoes end up in Turkey and Middle Eastern countries, market sources said.

In May Russia sent about 410,000 tons of diesel to Saudi Arabia, but so far in June there is no sign of cargoes to this destination, Refinitiv data indicated.

We remind, PAO Novatek plans to build a small-scale LNG plant in Russia’s Tula region, said the company.
A cooperation agreement signed by Leonid Mikhelson, chairman of the management board of Novatek, and Alexei Dyumin, governor of the Tula Region, at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forums in mid-June, provides for construction of a 126,000 tonnes/year LNG plant on the territory of the special economic zone Uzlovaya.