Norway's Equinor acquires a stake in U.S. Bayou Bend CCS project

Norway's Equinor acquires a stake in U.S. Bayou Bend CCS project

Norwegian oil and gas company Equinor said on Monday it has acquired a 25% stake in Bayou Bend CCS LLC, a U.S. project to capture and store carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions along the Gulf Coast in southeast Texas, as per Reuters.

The acquisition adds to Equinor's ambition to develop net 15-30 million tonnes of CO2 transport and storage capacity by 2035. It is already developing several CO2 storage projects in Europe, including in Norway and Britain.

"Commercial CCS solutions are critical for hard-to-abate industries to meet their climate ambitions while maintaining their activity," Equinor said in a statement.

The Bayou Bend project operated by Chevron (CVX.N) covers both onshore and offshore areas where CO2 captured from industrial emitters, such as cement, steel or chemical producers, could be stored underground, it added.

Equinor acquired its 25% share through the purchase of Texas Carbon 1 LLC, a subsidiary of Carbonvert, without providing the value of the deal.

Chevron has 50% stake in the project, while Talos Energy Inc. (TALO.N) holds the remaining 25%.

We remind, Equinor has reported the start of test production at its 60 MW Zagorzyca solar facility in Poland. Situated in the Damnica municipality in the north of the country, the Polish project would yield 61 GWh/y of renewable energy that is equal to the power use of 31,000 local homes. It would operate for three decades. The launch of Equinor's second Polish solar unit is a move towards making a strong renewable portfolio in the country. The project was developed by the Norwegian company's 100%-held arm, Wento. The latter will also run the solar unit.

Pyxis Oncology successfully completes acquisition of Apexigen

Pyxis Oncology successfully completes acquisition of Apexigen

Pyxis Oncology Inc, a clinical-stage company focused on developing next-generation therapeutics to target difficult-to-treat cancers, announced on 23 Aug 2023 the successful completion of its acquisition of Apexigen Inc, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering and developing innovative antibody therapeutics for oncology, in an all-stock transaction valued at approximately USD10.7 M, said the company.

The combined company is positioned at the forefront of ADC innovation with a platform that now includes four key components: novel humanized antibody generation capabilities, an expanded library of linkers with improved stability, site specific conjugation chemistries, and optimized payloads. Under the terms of the transaction, (i) each outstanding share of Apexigen common stock was converted into the right to receive 0.1725 (the "Exchange Ratio") of a share of Pyxis Oncology common stock and (ii) any outstanding options to purchase shares of Apexigen common stock, Apexigen restricted stock units and warrants to purchase shares of Apexigen common stock were converted into options, restricted stock units or warrants, respectively, of Pyxis Oncology, based on the Exchange Ratio.

This results in Pyxis Oncology shareholders owning approximately 90% and Apexigen shareholders owning approximately 10% of the combined company's common stock, assuming no exercise or settlement of the converted options, restricted stock units or warrants. Pyxis Oncology issued approximately 4.3 M shares of common stock as a result of this transaction, and immediately post-acquisition, Pyxis Oncology is expected to have 43,872,248 shares of common stock outstanding. Sidley Austin LLP served as legal advisor to Pyxis Oncology.

We remind, Bryson Recycling, a United Kingdom-based social enterprise that operates a material recovery facility (MRF), has ordered four additional robotic sorters made by London-based Recycleye Robotics. The Bryson MRF in Mallusk, Northern Ireland, installed an initial Recycleye robot in 2021.

Pemex ‘financial deterioration’ to put pressure on public finances

Pemex ‘financial deterioration’ to put pressure on public finances

The “financial deterioration” suffered by Mexico’s state-owned energy and petrochemicals major Pemex is set to increase its dependence on federal resources, posing a risk to the country’s debt ratings, the country's central bank has said.

According to the minutes from the monetary policy committee (MPC) held earlier in August, one of the MPC members warned about the increasing financial costs Pemex could face when aiming to repay short-term debt maturities.

Pemex posted sharply lower sales and net income in the first quarter, although its petrochemicals output remained practically flat.

The warnings by the Banco de Mexico – also known as Banxico – follows on from that of US credit rating agency Fitch, who said in July that Pemex’s debt maturities and interest payments will increasingly turn the company into a “liability” for the Mexican Treasury.

“Some members indicated that one rating agency downgraded Pemex's credit rating while another one changed its outlook from stable to negative. One member warned about the higher financial cost that this company could face and the possible difficulties to meet its short-term refinancing needs,” said Banxico.

“He/she argued that the multiple rating downgrades between January 2019 and July 2023 signal the company's recent financial deterioration. He/she mentioned that the lack of investment in maintenance, the lack of changes in its business strategy, and an outlook for lower capital expenditures have increased its dependence on federal resources, which could be a risk to sovereign debt ratings.”

Moreover, the MPC member who warned about Pemex added that the company’s financial woes could also affect the Mexican banking system, given its exposure to the company.

However, another MPC member considered that Pemex’s downgrade had had a limited impact on domestic financial markets, with Mexico’s sovereign risk premia remaining practically unchanged after the downgrades.

We remind, Shell Plc and Pemex each could face more than USD1 mln in fines over a Deer Park, Texas, chemical plant fire in May under a lawsuit filed by the state's attorney general.

Bakelite to Acquire LRBG Chemicals

Bakelite to Acquire LRBG Chemicals

US phenolic resins and adhesives producer Bakelite Synthetics has agreed to acquire LRBG Chemicals, a Canadian resin manufacturer and developer, with facilities in Longueuil, Quebec, said Chemanager-online.

The transaction is expected to close in August, subject to customary regulatory approvals and other closing conditions.

LRBG Chemicals' products are used in a wide range of applications in building and construction, transportation, industry and chemical intermediates worldwide. Bakelite said that LRBG Chemicals “has a customer-driven research and development focus with strong technical knowledge and support, closely aligned to Bakelite Synthetics business model.”

“This acquisition allows Bakelite to expand its footprint into Canada and to better serve the northeastern regions of Canada and the US,” said JP Aucoin, president and CEO of Bakelite Synthetics. Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, the combined company will have approximately 1,500 employees and 21 manufacturing sites operating in 12 countries.

Mid-2022, Bakelite Synthetics had closed its purchase of Georgia-Pacific Chemicals. This previous acquisition gives Bakelite complementary resin and formaldehyde technology and end markets in the building materials, transportation, industrial, chemical intermediate and specialty resins space, as well as 11 chemical facilities employing about 600 people in the US and South America.

Bakelite was formed on May 1, 2021, from the $425 million purchase of Hexion’s phenolic resins business by private equity firms Black Diamond and Investindustrial.

We remind, Sumitomo Bakelite, a Japanese plastic products and phenolic resin producer, has disclosed that its China arm, Sumitomo Bakelite (Suzhou), has decided to buy new land and construct a new facility to expand its production capacity for semiconductor packaging materials. Sumitomo Bakelite estimates that it now holds the largest global market share (nearly 40%) for Sumikon EME, epoxy resin moulding substances for encapsulation of semiconductor devices. The planned project will increase China capacity by 1.3 times. The firm intends to finalize the installation of the building and production line in FY 2023 and begin production in early FY 2024. Nearly $45 M will be spent on the project, including buildings, land, manufacturing lines, and ancillary units.

Avantium secures EU grant for FDCA-based biodegradable polyester

Avantium secures EU grant for FDCA-based biodegradable polyester
Avantium announces that it has been awarded a EUR 0.76 M grant by the EU Horizon Europe programme for its participation in the research and development program Rebiolution, said Specialchem.

This programme aims to design and synthetize biobased and biodegradable polyester blends based on furan dicarboxylic acid (FDCA) and other biobased monomers, to be used as plastic coating for food packaging and for mulch films for agricultural applications. The EUR 0.76 M grant will be paid out in tranches to Avantium over a period of three years, starting in Jun 2023. Avantium has developed the YXY Technology that converts plant-based sugars into FDCA, which can be polymerized together with plant-based mono-ethylene glycol (MEG) into the sustainable plastic polyethylene furanoate (PEF).

As a monomer, FDCA brings the opportunity to create a variety of polymers, from polyesters, polyamides, and polyurethanes, to coating resins, plasticizers and other chemical products. Avantium is currently constructing the world's first commercial FDCA facility in Delfzijl (the Netherlands), with a capacity of 5000 tonnes/y and set to open in 2024. Under the Rebiolution programme, Avantium will provide several hundreds of kilograms of FDCA for the development and production of a biodegradable and compostable polyester blend.

The intention is to use the resulting Rebiolution bioplastic as plastic coating for food packaging (paper/plastics composites), as an alternative for fossil-based polyethylene (PE). Another intended application for the Rebiolution bioplastic is to use it as mulch films for agricultural applications. As such, this new polyester could be a fully biobased alternative for the widely used butyleneadipate-co-terephthalate (PBAT), which is partly fossil-based.

We remind, Avantium N.V. (“Avantium”), a leading technology company in renewable chemistry, and Origin Materials, Inc. (“Origin” and “Origin Materials”), a leading sustainable materials company based in the USA, today announced a partnership to accelerate the mass production of FDCA and PEF for use in advanced chemicals and plastics.