Ethanol groups slam U.S. EPA advisors for report on fuel's 'minimal' climate benefit

Ethanol groups slam U.S. EPA advisors for report on fuel's 'minimal' climate benefit

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The ethanol and corn industries on Thursday slammed an advisory board to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for a draft report that found there could be little climate benefit to using corn-starch ethanol as a fuel, compared with gasoline, said Reuters.

The question of exactly how much ethanol cuts emissions over gasoline has divided academics and has created a split in the administration of President Joe Biden over implementation of a tax credit for sustainable aviation fuel.

A working group of the EPA's Science Advisory Board (SAB) concluded in an August draft report that there is "a reasonable chance there are minimal or no climate benefits from substituting corn ethanol for gasoline or diesel."

At a public meeting in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, the full SAB discussed the report and took public comments, including from industry groups.

"We adamantly disagree," said Geoff Cooper, CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association, citing findings by the Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory that ethanol is 44% lower in emissions than gasoline. "We encourage the SAB to conduct a more expansive and inclusive examination."

Chris Bliley, senior vice president of regulatory affairs at Growth Energy, a biofuels lobby group, said the draft comment "cherry picks certain data from a few anti-ethanol critics." Neil Caskey, CEO of the National Corn Growers Association, said the science showing ethanol's climate benefits over gasoline is settled.

Members of the SAB working group said new studies suggest ethanol may be less climate-friendly than previously thought and EPA should conduct further research. "This is not a settled issue in my mind," said Peter Thorne, professor of public health at the University of Iowa and a member of the working group.

The full board voted to accept the draft report pending revisions. Some suggested revisions included softening the report's language and clarifying specific uncertainties in the scientific literature.

We remind, The European Union is set to demand that cars running on e-fuels must be 100% carbon neutral if they are to be sold beyond 2035, a draft document showed, after Germany demanded e-fuel cars be exempted from the phase-out of new polluting vehicles. All new cars sold in the EU from 2035 must have zero CO2 emissions, under the EU's main climate policy for cars, which countries agreed earlier this year.

ICCA announces global ambitions on chemical and waste management

ICCA announces global ambitions on chemical and waste management

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The International Council of Chemical Associations, representing more than 90 percent of global chemical sales, announce the launch of three high-level ambitions on the sound management of chemicals and waste ahead of an upcoming key UN conference that will define the future of “Beyond 2020 Instrument”, the global UN-led policy framework to promote chemical safety around the world, said Cefic.

“ICCA has long been a strong supporter and contributor to the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management and the industry has achieved significant progress in building capacity on safe chemicals management in developing countries over the past years. Yet we know that more needs to be done to ensure that all people enjoy the same high standards of chemical safety, regardless of where they live. Our high-level ambition will show, through action, that we will continue to be a willing partner with all stakeholders to the advancement of the new framework’s objectives.”

Chris Jahn, the ICCA Secretariat and President and CEO of the American Chemistry Council added “the launch of the three ambitions is not the end, it is a new start. As we move forward, we will be setting goals for each ambition to keep industry on track, and will actively engage with the governments, NGOs and other stakeholders as we are taking action. This cannot be done by industry alone and we look forward to working with all stakeholders to ensure that the work done is thoughtful and efficient.”

Beyond the ambitions, ICCA members will continue to engage in and support the sound management of chemicals and waste and the adoption of the new framework at the upcoming International Conference of Chemicals Management.

We remind, ORLEN and Yokogawa Europe, the regional headquarters for Japan’s Yokogawa Electric Corporation, announce they have joined forces to initiate industrial-scale production of carbon neutral synthetic aviation fuels.
In a landmark Memorandum of Understanding signed on September 21, the two companies have come together to enhance the technological process responsible for synthesizing fuel from carbon dioxide and green hydrogen. ORLEN is looking to establish itself as a frontrunner in this emerging market segment, poised to drive effective decarbonization of the aviation industry.

Maire Tecnimont links up with Macquarie for European energy transition projects

Maire Tecnimont links up with Macquarie for European energy transition projects

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Maire Tecnimont SpA’s (Milan) project development subsidiary MET Development (MetDev) has agreed to collaborate with Macquarie Capital to establish a new company aimed at developing, constructing and operating energy transition projects in Italy and Europe, said Reuters.

The new entity is expected to focus on sectors ranging from the chemical recycling of waste and the production of sustainable fuels and hydrogen, to green and low-carbon hydrogen and CO2 capture projects, including fertilizers, it said.

The two companies have signed a memorandum of understanding to work together toward launching the new platform, which would see Macquarie Capital hold an 80% stake and MetDev the remaining 20%.

The new company would combine Maire Tecnimont’s energy-transition projects experience with Macquarie Capital’s sectoral expertise, it said. Macquarie’s parent company, Macquarie Group Ltd. (London), is a major investor and advisor in the infrastructure and renewable energy sectors, according to Maire Tecnimont. “With more than 100 GW of renewable energy projects, it has a strong track record of working with stakeholders in the public and private sectors to support and scale energy transition solutions,” it said.

Maire Tecnimont said the new company would also “significantly boost” the implementation of its 10-year growth plan, which aims to leverage an integrated approach through the combination of sustainable technologies via its NextChem business, together with its engineering and construction (E&C) solutions capabilities.

Projects undertaken by the new company are likely to be based on a nonrecourse capital structure, relying upon secured long-term supply contracts and offtake agreements, with Maire Tecnimont to act as technology provider and E&C contractor. The company will leverage Macquarie’s expertise in developing, financing and managing infrastructure and energy assets, it said.

We remind, MAIRE S.p.A. announces that its Integrated E&C Solutions (IE&CS) and Sustainable Technology Solutions (STS) subsidiaries have been awarded new contracts for an overall value of approximately USD260 MM by international clients mainly in Europe, Asia and South America.

Oil prices rise as Russia fuel export ban stokes supply concerns

Oil prices rise as Russia fuel export ban stokes supply concerns

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Oil prices rose on Friday as renewed global supply concerns from Russia's fuel export ban counteracted fears that slowing economies and high interest rates could crimp demand, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Brent futures were up 78 cents, or 0.84%, at $94.08 a barrel by 1443 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude (WTI) futures rose by $1.02, or 1.14%, to $90.65 a barrel. For the week, both benchmarks were relatively flat, after rising more than 10% in the previous three weeks on concerns about tight global supply.

Russia's Transneft suspended deliveries of diesel to the key Baltic and Black Sea terminals of Primorsk and Novorossiysk on Friday, state media agency Tass said. Russia temporarily banned exports of gasoline and diesel to all countries outside a circle of four ex-Soviet states with immediate effect to stabilize the domestic fuel market, the government said on Thursday, without a specified end date.

The ban will "bring new uncertainty into an already tight global refined product supply picture and the prospect that the impacted countries will be seeking to bid up cargoes from alternative suppliers," RBC said in a note. Russian wholesale gasoline prices were down nearly 10% and diesel down 7.5% on Friday on the St. Petersburg International Mercantile Exchange.

But macroeconomic headwinds continue to weigh on oil demand sentiment. "It is signals on the demand side that are mainly likely to affect oil prices in the short term," Commerzbank analysts said in a note.

The euro zone economy is likely to contract in the third quarter, according to Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) data released on Friday. A contraction in UK economic activity deepened further in September compared to August, additional PMI data showed.

The U.S. Federal Reserve on Wednesday maintained interest rates, but stiffened its hawkish stance, buoying fears that higher rates could dampen economic growth. "Progress on inflation is likely to be slow given the current level of monetary policy restraint," Fed Governor Michelle Bowman said on Friday. "Energy prices could rise further and reverse some of the progress we have seen," she added.

U.S. offline refinery capacity was expected to reach 1.4 million barrels per day (bpd) this week according to IIR Energy versus 800,000 bpd offline last week.

We remind, Russia has introduced temporary restrictions on exports of gasoline and diesel in order to stabilize the domestic market. It did not specify how the restrictions would work. The energy ministry said separately that they would prevent unauthorized "grey" exports of motor fuels.

China climate envoy says phasing out fossil fuels 'unrealistic'

China climate envoy says phasing out fossil fuels 'unrealistic'

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The complete phasing-out of fossil fuels is not realistic, China's top climate official said, adding that these climate-warming fuels must continue to play a vital role in maintaining global energy security, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

China is the world's biggest consumer of fossil fuels including coal and oil, and its special climate envoy Xie Zhenhua was responding to comments by ambassadors at a forum in Beijing on Thursday ahead of the COP28 climate meeting in Dubai in November. Reuters obtained a copy of text of Xie's speech, and a video recording of the meeting.

Countries are under pressure to make more ambitious pledges to tackle global warming after a U.N.-led global "stocktake" said 20 gigatons of additional carbon dioxide reductions would be needed this decade alone to keep temperatures from exceeding the critical threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The stocktake will be at the center of discussions at the COP28 climate meeting, with campaigners hoping it will create the political will to set clear targets to end coal and oil use. Xie, however, said the intermittent nature of renewable energy and the immaturity of key technologies like energy storage means the world must continue to rely on fossil fuels to safeguard economic growth.

"It is unrealistic to completely phase out fossil fuel energy," said Xie, who will represent China at COP28 this year. At climate talks in Glasgow in 2021, China led efforts to change the language of the final agreement from "phasing out" to "phasing down" fossil fuels. China also supports a bigger role for abatement technologies like carbon capture and storage.

While ending fossil fuel use would not be on the table at COP28, Xie said China was open to setting a global renewable energy target as long as it took the divergent economic conditions of different countries into account. He also said he welcomed pledges made to him by his U.S. counterpart John Kerry that a $100 billion annual fund to help developing countries adapt to climate change would soon be made available, adding it was "only a drop in the bucket".

China and the United States, the world's two biggest greenhouse gas emitters, resumed top-level climate talks in July after a hiatus brought about by U.S. politician Nancy Pelosi's visit to the self-governing island of Taiwan, which China claims.

China has rejected U.S. attempts to treat climate change as a diplomatic "oasis" that can be separated from the broader geopolitical tensions between the two sides, with U.S. trade sanctions on Chinese solar panels still a sore point.

Xie said protectionism could drive up the price of solar panels by 20-25% and hold back the energy transition, and called on countries not to "politicize" cooperation in new energy.

He also reiterated China's opposition to the E.U. Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism, which will impose carbon tariffs on imports from China and elsewhere.

We remind, Russia's Transneft suspended deliveries of diesel to the key Baltic and Black Sea terminals of Primorsk and Novorossiysk on Friday. Russia temporarily banned exports of gasoline and diesel to all countries outside a circle of four ex-Soviet states with immediate effect to stabilize the domestic fuel market, the government said on Thursday, without a specified end date.