Kuwait's KIPIC says al-Zour refinery distillation unit 21 online

Kuwait's KIPIC says al-Zour refinery distillation unit 21 online

Kuwait Integrated Petroleum Industries Company’S (KIPIC) distillation unit 21 at the al-Zour refinery has come online, paving the way for the refinery to operate at full capacity, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Kuwait's oil minister said that his country hopes to have a higher oil production quota when it ramps up capacity, and that Kuwait remains committed to OPEC decisions.

The minister, Saad Al Barrak, his country hopes to reach 3.2 million barrels per day of production capacity before the end of 2024. The hope for a higher OPEC quota was not urgent, he told reporters.

We remind, Kuwait Petroleum Corporation sees continued good demand for oil from China in the second half of the year, its chief executive said on Thursday, speaking to Reuters as part of a podcast series hosted by the Al Attiyah Foundation.


Mitsui buys 49% of Danish e-methanol plant from European Energy A/S

Mitsui buys 49% of Danish e-methanol plant from European Energy A/S

Japan's Mitsui has agreed to buy 49% of a Danish e-methanol plant and a connected solar plant from the privately-owned renewable energy firm European Energy A/S, said Reuters.

The e-methanol facility is the world's largest, Kenichi Hori, President and Chief Executive Officer, Mitsui & Co., Ltd, said in a statement. "Mitsui will leverage its expertise in chemicals, renewable energy, shipping, and other industries to enhance the competitiveness of this e-methanol facility," he said.

The 304 megawatt (MW) solar PV plant is located in Kassoe in the Aabenraa municipality in Denmark, and the connected 52 MW e-methanol facility has production of up to 42,000 metric tons of e-methanol per year, European Energy said.

Shipping company Maersk, which has 19 vessels on order that can sail on methanol, last year agreed to purchase half of the plant's output, and the LEGO Group and Novo Nordisk have since signed up as offtakers from 2024. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of 2023.

Interest in methanol as an alternative fuel has grown in the shipping industry, which seeks to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. Mitsui is involved in establishing the world's first methanol bunkering pilot in Singapore this year, along with Maersk Oil Trading, Mitsui & Co Energy Trading Singapore, and American Bureau of Shipping.

Solar projects are this year expected for the first time to attract more investments than oil production, the International Energy Agency said in May. European Energy develops solar, wind and sustainable fuel projects in 19 countries globally with the aim of eventually selling them.

We remind, Mitsui Chemicals, Inc. announced that new affiliate Mitsui Chemicals EMS Corporation has begun doing business after its establishment on July 1, 2023. Created to take over the pellicle business acquired from Asahi Kasei Corporation, Mitsui Chemicals EMS is the No. 1 player in the market for FPD pellicles, which are used in the LCD panel exposure process.


Venezuela's PDVSA freezes petcoke deliveries to Maroil amid contract dispute

Venezuela's PDVSA freezes petcoke deliveries to Maroil amid contract dispute

Venezuela's state-run oil company PDVSA has suspended deliveries of petroleum coke to a company owned by a Venezuelan shipping magnate amid a commercial dispute over a sales contract, said Reuters.

PDVSA earlier this year started a review of accounts with Geneva-registered firm Maroil Trading, owned by tycoon Wilmer Ruperti, as part of a vast audit of PDVSA's accounts receivables. Maroil at the time owed the state company USD423.7 MM from petroleum coke sales made since January 2020, according to PDVSA's review, seen by Reuters. Maroil disputed the bill.

PDVSA did not reply to a request for comment. A law firm representing Maroil did not provide immediate comment. According to a 2017 contract, Maroil had to invest at least USD138 MM in infrastructure repairs in exchange for rights to sell some 12 million metric tons of petroleum coke produced by PDVSA, then valued at USD11.50 per ton.

The contract turned Maroil into the entity responsible for most of the country's exports of the oil byproduct that is burned as an alternative to coal. In a interview with Bloomberg News on Wednesday, Ruperti said the contract, set to expire in 2021, was extended by two years due to the pandemic, which PDVSA now disputes. He denied wrongdoing and added that he is still owed USD300 MM.

It was unclear if the contract had been terminated or suspended until further decision is made. In April, PDVSA began registering new customers of petcoke, according to documents and people close to the matter, expanding a customer roster amid the audit of unpaid bills from various PDVSA clients and middlemen.

Venezuela's exports of petcoke plummeted to less than 100,000 metric tons in June, from a peak of 626,000 tons in January, according to shipping data.

We remind, PDVSA has allocated an oil cargo to a unit of Eni for a February loading, the first to the Italian firm following a contract suspension this year by new management at the state-run company, people familiar with the matter said. Eni and Spanish oil firm Repsol in May last year received authorizations from the U.S. State Department to take the crude to Europe for outstanding Venezuela debt and dividends, an exception to U.S. oil sanctions on Venezuela.


BP expands investment in bioenergy, collaborating with U.S. biofuels developer WasteFuel

BP expands investment in bioenergy, collaborating with U.S. biofuels developer WasteFuel

BP expanded its investment in bioenergy today as bp ventures committed USD10 mln, leading the Series B investment round, in WasteFuel, a California-based biofuels company that will use proven, scalable technologies to convert bio-based municipal and agricultural waste into lower carbon fuels, such as bio-methanol, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Globally, solid waste production totals about 2 billion metric tons annually and is expected to increase to 3.4 billion metric tons by 20501. WasteFuel’s deployment of anaerobic digestion and methanol production technologies will convert municipal and agricultural waste into viable lower emission alternatives to traditional fuels, like bio-methanol.

In hard-to-abate sectors, such as shipping, bio-methanol has the potential to play a significant role in decarbonization. Maritime transport represents around 90% of trade worldwide, whilst producing 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions2. In the effort to reach net zero, some of the biggest companies in the shipping industry are converting to methanol-ready ships. bp is working to establish supplies of lower carbon alternative fuels for the shipping sector and will look to use its trading expertise to bring WasteFuel’s bio-methanol to market.

WasteFuel plans to develop multiple bio-methanol plants around the world in collaboration with local strategic partners including waste companies. WasteFuel expects its first project will be in Dubai and the company has a pipeline of additional projects to develop. bp and WasteFuel have entered a memorandum of understanding for bp to offtake the produced bio-methanol and to work together to help optimize and improve bio-methanol production.

Gareth Burns, vice president of bp ventures, said: “WasteFuel projects will look to help with the growing volumes of global waste, whilst advancing the development of lower carbon solutions for hard-to-abate sectors. Achieving decarbonization in shipping will require a step-change, and biofuels have a key role to play in helping the industry to decarbonize. We look forward to working together on WasteFuel’s next stage of growth and market development.”

Bioenergy is one of bp’s five transition growth engines, in which the company plans to invest heavily through this decade. The transition growth engines – which also include convenience, electric vehicle charging, hydrogen and renewables & power – will help drive bp’s transition to an integrated energy company and delivery of the company’s net zero ambition.

Philipp Schoelzel, vice president of next generation biofuels in bp, said: “Working with WasteFuel allows bp to offtake bio-methanol and help optimize production which could support decarbonizing shipping. bp is in action to produce more biofuels, aiming to deliver around 100,000 barrels per day by 2030, to help decarbonize transport. Investments like this are important as we strive to reach net zero and help our customers decarbonize too."

Trevor Neilson, Co-founder, Chairman and CEO of WasteFuel added: “This investment from bp ventures is a significant milestone for WasteFuel as it will help scale the production of bio-methanol to decarbonize the shipping sector. As companies who are reliant on shipping work to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, it is essential that we dramatically expand the availability of these fuels.”

We remind, supervisors at bp's Toledo, Ohio refinery opted to keep the plant running despite a series of malfunctions and a petroleum spill in the hours before an accident that killed two workers last year.


PCG Sets Sights on Specialty Chemicals Segment Growth

PCG Sets Sights on Specialty Chemicals Segment Growth

Petronas Chemicals Group Berhad (PCG) is bolstering its specialty chemicals portfolio with the formation of a dedicated Specialty Chemicals division as part of its efforts to further strengthen its position within the petrochemicals industry, said the company.

To lead and drive the new division, PCG has appointed Dr. Debbie Chiu Yuen-Yuen as Chief Operating Officer (Specialty Chemicals) along with a strong management team in place to manage and steer critical strategic priorities, towards supporting PCG’s long-term aspirations within specialty chemicals.

“The global specialty chemicals market growth trajectory is expected to continue, and we are proud to strengthen our presence with the establishment of our new division, marking another major milestone in our specialty chemicals growth journey that is in line with our second-prong strategy. All of us at PCG welcome Dr. Debbie to helm the new division as we are confident in her extensive technical chemistry and application knowledge, as well as having the right vision to materialise our specialty chemicals growth aspirations,” said Ir. Mohd Yusri Mohamed Yusof, PCG Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer.

Dr. Debbie brings with her close to 30 years of experience within the chemicals industry with extensive knowledge in coatings, specialty polymer, energy storage, devise materials and fibre solutions. She also brings leadership experience in mergers & acquisitions, business transformation, market expansion, among others.

“PCG has clear and ambitious aspirations for its business and specialty chemicals will play a large role in realising them. I am honoured to be leading this new team and I look forward to delivering positive impact through maximising our current offerings and capitalising on growth opportunities for the company,” said Dr. Debbie.

As part of its Two-Pronged Strategy, PCG has identified the diversification into Specialty Chemicals as a key anchor for the company’s growth and to cushion the business against the cyclical nature and volatility of the broader oil and gas industry.

The company has made significant strides in this segment’s growth journey, most notably with the landmark acquisition of Perstorp Group, a Sweden-based global leader in sustainable specialty chemicals, that will see to the expansion of its presence through stronger positioning in Asia Pacific markets. PCG’s specialty chemicals portfolio brings a wide range of products that includes Silicones, Lube Oil Additives and Chemicals, Resin and Coatings, Engineered Fluids, Animal Nutrition, and Advanced Coatings to the market.

PCG looks forward to growing its specialty chemicals presence and capturing new revenue streams with the establishment of the new division of about 2,000 employees.

We remind, Petronas in collaboration with ASEAN energy operators, governmental agencies, and international organisations, launched the ASEAN Energy Sector Methane Leadership Program (MLP) and announced methane abatement flagship projects in collaboration with Japan Organization for Metals and Energy Security.