Shell taps Goldman Sachs to explore Singapore refinery and petchem plant sale

Shell taps Goldman Sachs to explore Singapore refinery and petchem plant sale

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Shell is considering a sale of its Singapore refining and petrochemical plants as part of a broader strategic review and has hired investment bank Goldman Sachs to explore a potential deal, said several sources close to the matter, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The global energy major's new CEO, Wael Sawan, is targeting spending cuts over the next two years to boost profitability while remaining committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2050.

Those efforts include the review of energy and chemicals assets on Singapore's Bukom and Jurong islands, announced in June, as the group seeks to repurpose its energy and chemical parks globally to offer more low-carbon solutions to customers.

"Our strategic review is ongoing and we are exploring several options including divestment," a Shell spokesperson told Reuters on Wednesday.

Singapore's position as a regional trading and marketing hub remains important, she added. Companies that are reviewing Shell's Singapore assets include Asia's largest refiner, China's Sinopec, as well as global trading companies Vitol and Trafigura, the sources said.

For trading companies, the site is seen as a potential oil storage and distribution hub, some of the sources said.

Goldman Sachs, Sinopec, Trafigura and Vitol declined to comment.

The Bukom refinery, Shell's only wholly owned refining and petrochemicals center in Asia, can process 237,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude. Built in 1961, it was Singapore's first refinery.

The complex also houses a 1 million metric tons per year (tpy) ethylene cracker and a 155,000 tpy butadiene extraction unit. These are integrated with a monoethylene glycol (MEG) plant at Shell’s petrochemicals site on Jurong Island.

In March, Shell decided not to proceed with two projects it was studying to produce biofuels and base oils in Singapore.

Oil slides on grim manufacturing data

Oil slides on grim manufacturing data

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Oil prices slid almost 2% on Wednesday as gloomy global manufacturing data grabbed attention ahead of an annual meeting of central bankers at Jackson Hole in the United States, with interest rates high on the agenda, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Brent crude was down $1.54, or 1.8%, at $82.49 a barrel by 1308 GMT while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude was down $1.54, or 1.9%, at $78.10. Manufacturing data emanating from a host of purchasing managers' index (PMI) surveys on Wednesday gave a steer on the health of economies across the globe.

Results so far have been grim. Japan reported shrinking factory activity for a third straight month in August. Euro zone business activity also declined more than expected, particularly in Germany. Britain's economy, meanwhile, looks set to shrink in the current quarter and is in danger of falling into recession. U.S. PMI data is expected later on Wednesday.

"What oil watchers should be concerned with is that all of the predictions of manufacturing PMIs are under 50 ... all in contraction territory," said John Evans of oil broker PVM.

Crude stocks in the United States continued to fall, dropping by about 2.4 million barrels in the week ended Aug. 18, according to market sources citing American Petroleum Institute figures on Tuesday. That was a slightly smaller draw than the 2.9 million barrel drop expected by analysts in a Reuters poll. The weekly report from the Energy Information Administration, the statistical arm of the U.S. energy department, is due at 1430 GMT on Wednesday.

Vietnam's largest refinery begins shutting down for maintenance

Vietnam's largest refinery begins shutting down for maintenance

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Vietnam's largest oil refinery has shut down some of its units, beginning a 55-day total shutdown for major maintenance, said Reuters.

The 200,000-barrel-per-day Nghi Son Refinery and Petrochemical will be totally shutdown on Friday, said the source, who declined to be named as the person is not allowed to speak to media. "We have hired five contractors for the maintenance work, mostly domestic ones," the person said, declining to reveal the value of the contract.

The facility, which began commercial production in 2018, covers more than a third of Vietnam's needs for refined fuels. The Southeast Asian country, a regional manufacturing hub, has recently increased imports of refined products to compensate for the shortfall due to the maintenance, with imports in the first seven months of this year rising 12.7% from a year earlier.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade said on Wednesday it had told the country's top petroleum importer Petrolimex to "actively import to ensure sufficient supplies, especially during the maintenance of Nghi Son refinery" to make sure there is no shortage in the local market.

Nghi Son is 35.1% owned by Japan's Idemitsu Kosan Co , 35.1% by Kuwait Petroleum, 25.1% by Vietnam's state oil firm PetroVietnam and 4.7% by Mitsui Chemicals Inc.

An official document signed by Kuwait's oil minister and reviewed by Reuters last week showed the refinery could incur a USD1 billion loss this year, due to price volatility, increasing interest payments for loans and the maintenance shutdown.

We remind, Vietnam is expected to see a decline in its annual crude oil and coal output during the rest of this decade, the Ministry of Industry and Trade said on Friday. The Southeast Asian country is targeting annual crude oil output of 6.0-9.5 million tons during the 2021-2030 period, the ministry said in a statement, down from an annual average of 10.17 million tons in the past five years.

Chemical recycling of polycarbonates reaches a major milestone

Chemical recycling of polycarbonates reaches a major milestone

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Covestro has developed an innovative process for recycling polycarbonate, i.e. polychain plastics, said the company.

In this process, plastics are converted back into their monomers, a precursor of plastics, so that they can be fed back into the production process as alternative raw materials. At Covestro in Leverkusen, the technical implementation of chemical recycling is now beginning on a pilot scale. On the way to industrial scale, the process is still being optimized and is undergoing further development stages.

"As a manufacturer of plastics such as polycarbonate, we naturally have a responsibility in dealing with these important materials, including at the end of their product life. Our advantage is: we know how our products are designed and can therefore conduct targeted research into recycling solutions," says Dr. Thorsten Dreier, Covestro's Chief Technology Officer. "The chemical recycling of polycarbonate is another example with which our colleagues in development show that closed cycles are possible in the future. We need to use end-of-life plastics as a resource and reuse them as alternative raw materials to close the loop."

The return of plastics through recycling replaces primary fossil raw materials in production. Comprehensive recycling thus contributes to climate neutrality and the protection of natural resources and the environment. Mechanical recycling of polycarbonate is already an important component of Covestro's recycling strategy. The mechanical recycling process is used whenever waste streams are sufficiently pure and the recycled polycarbonate meets the requirements profile of the future application.

Chemical recycling works in a complementary way to mechanical recycling - it converts plastic building blocks back into monomers, i.e. their individual building blocks. These can be separated and serve as raw materials for future plastic. Chemical recycling can therefore make larger waste streams that are unsuitable for mechanical processes in particular accessible for recycling; it allows the production of plastics that meet the highest quality requirements. Covestro is therefore actively developing chemical recycling.

We remind, Covestro has commenced a new manufacturing line for thermoplastic polyurethanes (TPUs) that will be utilized for paint protection films (PPFs). The line is installed at the firm's current Taiwanese facility in Changhua. Products manufactured here will be available in the global market. The world's PPF market is expected to rise steadily until 2030, with Asia-Pacific representing the biggest share of the overall market.

Researchers use polymer coating to transform APL packaging into cooling films

Researchers use polymer coating to transform APL packaging into cooling films

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Bayreuth researchers, led by Prof. Dr. Markus Retsch, physical chemist, develop an upcycling process that gives aluminum-plastic composite films an innovative second use, said Specialchem.

An easy-to-apply coating transforms used APL packaging into high-performance, versatile cooling films that counteract another global problem - the high energy demand for cooling systems. Aluminum-plastic composite (APL) films are very often used for food packaging, but they pose a challenge when it comes to plastic recycling.

Films made of aluminum-plastic laminates (APL) have long been used extensively to extend the shelf life of chips, roasted and powdered coffee, milk, fruit juices and other foods. The films consist of several polymer layers and an aluminum layer, which protects the products from damaging factors –sunlight, heat, moisture and oxygen. However, recycling such composite films is difficult as a result of this combination of different materials.

The upcycling process of chips bags now developed in Bayreuth shows a way to improve the recycling of APL waste and, at the same time, reduce global energy consumption. The aluminum layer of APL packaging provides a mirror-like reflective surface, such as that found on emergency blankets.

If a clear polymer layer is now applied that increases the radiation of thermal energy, a powerful cooling system is complete. A simple laminating film, such as is commonly found in office supply stores, is already sufficient as a material for the coating.

The coating creates cooling foils that can be applied to any surface in the open air, such as umbrellas, blinds and awnings and thus, prevent heating from glaring sunlight. At the same time, the ambient heat is diverted to the cool space without the need for an external energy supply. These effects are referred to as ‘passive daytime cooling. Ideally, they can lead to temperatures below the ambient temperature, even in the case of intense sunlight.

We remind, Indorama Ventures has inked a deal with AMB to drive circularity in PET food tray packaging. The companies intend to manufacture recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET) flakes by recycling PET food tray packaging. These high-quality rPET flakes can then be used for producing new food packaging trays, contributing to a circular economy system.