UK minister: petrol car ban immovable but some green policies to be relaxed

UK minister: petrol car ban immovable but some green policies to be relaxed

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Britain is sticking to its plan to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030 but some measures to reduce the carbon footprint of residential homes will be relaxed, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Britain's green agenda has been thrown into question after the governing Conservatives won a vote for a parliamentary seat last week by attacking London's flagship anti-pollution policy. That risks sparking uncertainty for companies producing everything from electric vehicle infrastructure to heat pumps at a time when the United States and European Union are seeking to spur investment and decarbonize their economies.

Asked on Times Radio if banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars was an immovable target in Britain, Gove said: "Yes." But on the question of targets to install heat pumps in new homes, Gove said it was important new homes meet net zero standards but said the government needed to be wary of the cost of some proposals to decarbonize existing housing.

"We're living through a real cost of living challenge and what we don't want to do is to force individuals to pay excessive sums at this stage, we need to take a proportionate approach," he said. Gove later told LBC radio that the government would make changes to planned timetables to make them more achievable.

"When it comes to landlords in the private rented sector, the timetable that we have for meeting particular energy efficiency standards will be relaxed," he said. On Monday, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the government's target to reach net zero by 2050 was important to him, but he did not want to do anything that would add to people's bills at a time of high inflation.

"I do agree that it's important that the government does press ahead with appropriate and thoughtful steps in order to safeguard the environment but there are some specific areas where the cost that is being imposed on individuals risks creating a backlash," Gove told Times Radio.

We remind, U.S. refining profits are expected to fall from last year's records but remain strong as domestic refining outages and increased foreign competition pose challenges. Refiners have come off a wave of favorable pricing and strong demand after pandemic-era plant closings and Russia's invasion of Ukraine boosted margins. Slowing economic activity and an increase in global refining capacity has brought the market down from last year's highs.

Braskem expands its biopolymer production by 30% following an investment of USD87 mln

Braskem expands its biopolymer production by 30% following an investment of USD87 mln

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Braskem concluded a 30% increase in production capacity of its bio-based ethylene plant, located in the Petrochemical Complex of Triunfo, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The USD87 MM investment aims to meet the growing global demand for sustainable products. The plant now operates at an increased capacity, from 200,000 to 260,000 tons/year. Braskem's bio-based ethylene is made from sustainably sourced, sugarcane-based ethanol which removes CO2 from the atmosphere and stores it in products for daily use.

The initiative is an important advance in the company's ambition to increase the production of biopolymers to one million tons by 2030, and to become carbon neutral by 2050.

"The expansion of bio-based ethylene capacity reinforces Braskem's commitment to sustainable development and innovation and proves the success of the strategy we engaged in thirteen years ago, when we launched the world's first bio-based polyethylene production at industrial scale, with proprietary technology. We want to meet society's and customers' demand for products with less impact on the environment," explains Walmir Soller, O/P VP for Europe and Asia and responsible for the I'm greenTM bio-based business globally.

Each ton of plastic resin made from renewable feedstock represents the removal of 3 tons of CO2 from the atmosphere. Since the plant's beginning in 2010, more than 1.2 million tons of I'm greenTM bio-based polyethylene has been produced. The recent increase in production capacity will remove approximately 185,000 tons of CO2 equivalent per year.

Braskem is the world leader in the production of biopolymers. Today, the portfolio of bio-based resins is exported to more than 30 countries and is used in products from more than 250 major brands, such as Allbirds, DUO UK, Grupo Boticario, Johnson&Johnson, Natura & Co, Nissin and Tetra Pak. These bio-based resins are used to manufacture packaging, bags, toys, housewares, industrial cables and wires, packaging films, hockey fields, reusable water bottles among many other products.

The development and production of ethylene and resins from bio-based sources is the result of Braskem's continued investment in disruptive innovation and technology. Research, digital transformation and bold partnerships are the foundations upon which Braskem searches for, and scales, sustainable solutions for society and the environment. Braskem's current sustainability commitments include improving the circularity of plastics, promoting human-centric development and leading the revolution in bio-based materials.

We remind, Braskem's Q1 main chemicals sales in Brazil fell 15%, year on year, while resin sales were stable, the Brazilian petrochemicals major said. Braskem puts under the main chemicals umbrella the following: ethylene, propylene, butadiene, cumene, gasoline, benzene, toluene and paraxylene. Main chemicals sales volume compared with 1Q 2022 decreased 15% due to lower demand in the period, which reflected in the utilisation rate of petrochemical crackers, the company said.

INEOS and TotalEnergies Further Integrate their Petrochemical Assets in Eastern France

INEOS and TotalEnergies Further Integrate their Petrochemical Assets in Eastern France

MOSCOW (MRC) -- TotalEnergies and INEOS have signed agreements to realign their respective stakes in their production assets and logistics infrastructure to better reflect the balance between their production and internal use of ethylene in eastern France, said the company.

For TotalEnergies, this exchange of interests supports the integration between its petrochemical sites at Feyzin, near Lyon, and Carling in eastern France, while INEOS strengthens its operations at the Lavera site on the Mediterranean coast. Realigning the two companies’ interests to improve integration.

The companies’ sites that produce and use ethylene in eastern France are connected by a pipelines and storage network that begins at Lavera in south-eastern France and passes through Feyzin to Carling in the north-east.

However, TotalEnergies does not itself use its share of production from the Lavera steam cracker, which is equally (50/50) owned with INEOS, and sells it mainly to INEOS.

In order to realign the companies’ production and internal use of ethylene, TotalEnergies will therefore sell its stake in the Lavera assets to INEOS, in addition to part of its interests in the Eastern France ethylene pipeline and storage network, which TotalEnergies will continue to operate. TotalEnergies reaffirms the key role of the Feyzin petrochemical platform.

Within TotalEnergies, the Company is thus consolidating the key role of the Feyzin petrochemical platform as the integrated supplier of ethylene to the Carling platform. The agreement will have no operational impact on TotalEnergies’ refining and petrochemical sites.

"This operation allows us to strengthen the links between our Feyzin and Carling petrochemical sites, with Feyzin becoming Carling’s integrated ethylene supplier, in line with our strategy to focus on our integrated platforms," said Jean-Marc Durand, Senior Vice President, TotalEnergies Refining Base Chemicals Europe.

The implementation of this project is subject to the prior consultation process of employee representatives and the approval from the relevant authorities.

We remind, TotalEnergies and its partner SOCAR (State Oil Company of the Republic of Azerbaijan) announce the start of production of the first phase of development of the Absheron gas and condensate field in the Caspian Sea, around 100 km south-east of Baku.

TotalEnergies is a global multi-energy company that produces and markets energies: oil and biofuels, natural gas and green gases, renewables and electricity. Our more than 100,000 employees are committed to energy that is ever more affordable, cleaner, more reliable and accessible to as many people as possible. Active in nearly 130 countries, TotalEnergies puts sustainable development in all its dimensions at the heart of its projects and operations to contribute to the well-being of people.

U.S. distillate stocks fail to make summer recovery amid refinery outages

U.S. distillate stocks fail to make summer recovery amid refinery outages

MOSCOW (MRC) -- U.S. diesel, heating oil and jet fuel stockpiles have failed to recover from the 10-year lows hit last year when high prices caused the Biden administration to consider a ban on fuel exports, leaving the markets vulnerable to supply shocks when demand picks up toward the end of the summer, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Though diesel prices have fallen by 30% year-on-year, tight supplies could spell trouble if the U.S. and global economy strengthens going into the final quarter of the year. A leading economic indicator forecasts that the U.S. economy is likely to be in recession from this third quarter to the first quarter of 2024, but economists including Goldman Sachs' Jan Hatzius and Janet Yellen have downplayed recession risks in recent weeks as inflation cools.

Inventories of these fuels known as distillates are still near 10-year lows, at just over 118 million barrels, according to the latest data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). A slew of refinery problems has prevented distillate fuel inventories from growing, as they typically do during the summer.

At Phillips 66's Bayway refinery in New Jersey, the 150,000 barrel-per-day catalytic cracking unit - the largest gasoline-making unit in the Western Hemisphere - was offline most of June and July for unplanned repairs. Marathon Petroleum’s 75,000-bpd reformer at its Galveston Bay, Texas, refinery has been offline since a May 15 fire that killed one worker. The unit - also the Western Hemisphere's largest reformer - converts refining byproducts into an octane-boosting product used in gasoline.

Overall, unplanned outages in June averaged about 550,000 bpd, nearly double June 2022's unscheduled shutdown of near 290,000 bpd of capacity, according to data from refining intelligence firm IIR Energy. "This is not normal stuff," said a Houston-based refined products trader.

Stocks have not risen even though demand for diesel fuel has been significantly lower than a year ago due to weak trucking and industrial activity. "Low distillate inventories could be a problem if there's flooding or hurricanes that affect refineries this summer," said Hillary Stevenson, senior director of Energy Market Intelligence at IIR.

Seasonally adjusted industrial production has dropped about 10% from late 2022, and U.S. containerized exports are near two-year lows, according to data from the census bureau. The four-week average for U.S. distillate demand is about 7% below where it was a year ago, according to the EIA.

"Couple lower industrial production with container exports being near the same levels as 2018, and that helps explain low domestic inventories," said Jason Miller, associate professor of logistics at Michigan State University.

The increased costs of carrying inventories due to higher interest rates have also reduced refiner appetite to fill up the storage tanks, and has encouraged traders to drain inventories where they can, said Ernie Barsamian, founder and CEO of The Tank Tiger, a terminal storage clearing house based in Princeton, New Jersey.

"Traders and refiners are kicking tires of storage to take advantage of opportunities in the cash market, and because working capital requirements too expensive," Barsamian said. U.S. refiners are instead sending diesel to Europe, whose refiners have been running at lower capacity and are also in need of supplies to replace Russian fuel that is now sanctioned.

Exports, however, do not explain why inventories are so low. A flood of Russian diesel exports to Latin America, typically a key export market for the U.S. fuel, has in part caused U.S. distillate exports to fall below 2022 levels since April, according to traders and EIA data.

We remind, within the framework of their strategy to provide practical solutions for cleaner energy, ECARU (Egyptian Company for Solid Waste Recycling), Qalaa Holdings, and Axens, signed a cooperation protocol in the presence of H.E. French ambassador to Egypt Marc Barety, to carry out technical and economic studies for a project of second-generation biofuel (advanced bioethanol) and Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) production.

Greenpeace challenging UK's new North Sea oil and gas licenses

Greenpeace challenging UK's new North Sea oil and gas licenses

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Britain's decision to authorize new licenses for oil and gas exploration in the North Sea came under scrutiny at London's High Court on Tuesday, as Greenpeace argued the government failed to assess emissions produced by burning extracted fuel, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The environmental campaign group says Britain's failure to assess the greenhouse gases produced by consuming oil and gas – so-called end-use or downstream emissions – renders its offshore energy plan unlawful.

But lawyers representing Britain's Department for Energy Security and Net Zero say ministers were not required to assess end-use emissions, though they nonetheless considered them. Last year, Britain held its first oil and gas exploration licensing round since 2019, with a view to boosting domestic hydrocarbon output as Europe weans itself off Russian fuel.

Britain says domestic oil and gas production is key to its plan to improve energy security – and that doing so is consistent with its target of net zero by 2050. However, Greenpeace argues the government should have assessed downstream emissions because the whole point of the new licensing rounds is to provide a secure domestic energy supply by extracting and then consuming oil and gas.

Its case is being heard against a similar challenge brought by campaign group Uplift, which argues Britain wrongly failed to consider not issuing new oil and gas licenses. Lawyers representing the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero argued in court filings that "any end use emissions from domestic oil and gas production would likely be consistent with the UK's net zero targets".

We remind, RockCreek, a leading global multi-asset firm investing in the energy transition, announced the closing of an investment in Raven SR, Inc. (Raven SR), a company that produces high-value renewable transportation fuels from a variety of feedstocks, including waste streams, using a proprietary non-combustion process.