LG Chem to Spend on Water Treatment Business

LG Chem to Spend on Water Treatment Business

MOSCOW (MRC) -- LG Chem, South Korea’s top chemicals manufacturer, plans to spend Won124.6 billion (€86.9 million) to increase its water treatment material output capacity, aiming to double the business over the next 5 years, said Chemanager.

Reverse osmosis (RO) membranes are used to remove salts and other pollutants from water and are crucial in wastewater treatment units. LG Chem has decided to invest the money in a factory in South Korea with an annual capacity of 400,000 RO membranes, capable of desalinating 1.6 billion tons of water a year. That would be enough for 16 million people, about a third of South Korea's population.

“We plan to significantly raise production capacity in Cheongju, the RO membrane production base, through additional investment, to actively target the industrial (water treatment) market following the seawater desalination sector,” commented LG Chem Vice Chairman and CEO Shin Hak-Cheol.

LG Chem's RO business is expected to generate sales of ?200 billion (€139.5 million) this year. The new production complex in Cheongju, about 130 kilometers south of Seoul, will help double this figure by 2028. They also have sights on applications for the membranes outside of water treatment, namely lithium extraction and CO2 separation, both with expanding global markets.

We remind, LG Chem started its RO membrane business in 2014 by acquiring US manufacturer NanoH2O. Now they are the 2nd largest RO membrane producer worldwide. LG Chem plans to build the new plant as a smart factory with artificial intelligence and an automated production process based on digital transformation. The AI is set to detect abnormalities in manufacturing lines and control quality, ramping up production speed by more than 25% compared to the existing facilities.

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Cheniere and BASF sign long-term LNG sale and purchase agreement

Cheniere and BASF sign long-term LNG sale and purchase agreement

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Cheniere Energy Inc, announced that Cheniere’s subsidiary, Cheniere Marketing LLC, has entered into a long-term liquefied natural gas sale and purchase agreement with BASF, said the FT.

Under the SPA, BASF has agreed to purchase up to approximately 0.8 million tonnes per annum of LNG from Cheniere Marketing on a free-on-board basis for a purchase price indexed to the Henry Hub price, plus a fixed liquefaction fee. Deliveries will commence in mid-2026 and, subject to a positive Final Investment Decision with respect to the first train of the Sabine Pass Liquefaction Expansion Project in Louisiana, will increase to approximately 0.8 mtpa upon the start of commercial operations of Train Seven. The term of the SPA extends through 2043.

“We are pleased to enter into this long-term relationship with BASF, a global leader in the chemical industry,” said Anatol Feygin, Cheniere’s Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer. “This SPA demonstrates the critical role US natural gas plays in providing long-term secure, sustainable and affordable energy for Europe. With this agreement, we are supporting the objectives of one of Europe’s key industrial end-use consumers to ensure stability of its supply chain.”

“By establishing our own dedicated LNG supply chain with Cheniere, we are diversifying our energy and raw materials portfolio at a time of critical changes in the European gas market, which is marked by increased demand and volatile prices for LNG,” said Dr. Dirk Elvermann, BASF’s Chief Financial Officer. “While we are reducing our dependence on fossil fuels to reach our goal of net zero CO2 emissions by 2050, this agreement will ensure reliable supply of natural gas at competitive terms.”

The SPL Expansion Project is being developed for up to approximately 20 mtpa of total LNG capacity. In May 2023, certain subsidiaries of Cheniere Energy Partners, L.P. (NYSE American: CQP) entered the pre-filing review process with respect to the SPL Expansion Project with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission under the National Environmental Policy Act.

We remind, BASF, Huntsman and their Chinese partners in the joint venture Shanghai Lianheng Isocyanate Co (SLIC) complete the planned separation of their joint MDI production in Caojing. The two MDI (diphenylmethane diisocyanate) plants at the Caojing site in China will be operated independently by the two companies in the future. Huntsman, together with Shanghai Chlor-Alkali Chemical, and BASF, together with Shanghai Hua Yi (Group company) and Sinopec Shanghai Gaoqiao Petrochemical, will each take over one of the MDI plants.

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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

MOSCOW (MRC) -- 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.

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Pyxis Oncology successfully completes acquisition of Apexigen

Pyxis Oncology successfully completes acquisition of Apexigen

MOSCOW (MRC) -- 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.

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Pemex ‘financial deterioration’ to put pressure on public finances

Pemex ‘financial deterioration’ to put pressure on public finances

MOSCOW (MRC) -- 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.

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