BASF sells Lusatian Neopolen foam business

BASF sells Lusatian Neopolen foam business

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BASF sells its Neopolen business to Knauf Industries GmbH, said the company.

This affects the BASF site in Schwarzheide (Oberspreewald-Lausitz), where the production facility is located.

Neopolen, developed by BASF, is a foam used in car parts and heat pumps. According to the company, Neopolene can be used to produce lightweight components.

The transaction includes a production facility at BASF’s Schwarzheide site about 140km south of Berlin, along with intellectual property and brand rights and customer and supplier agreements. About 40 employees at Schwarzheide will transfer to Knauf. Financial details were not disclosed.

BASF’s Neopolen-brand EPP is made from expanded, predominantly closed-cell foam particles.

It has applications in lightweight components for the automotive, heating and other industries. It is also suitable for reusable packaging and reusable transport containers, according to BASF’s website.

We remind, BASF has inked an agreement with Qore LLC for long-term access to the latter’s bio-based 1,4-butanediol (BDO), the companies said in a joint statement. Qore LLC, a joint venture between Cargill and HELM AG, will produce the bio-based QIRA BDO at Cargill’s biotechnology campus and corn refining operation in Eddyville, Iowa.

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Pemex struggles to boost oil refining in Aug as fuel imports rise

Pemex struggles to boost oil refining in Aug as fuel imports rise

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Crude oil processing at Mexico's six local refineries rose slightly in August, data from state-owned oil company Pemex showed, but the facilities are operating at barely half their capacity, forcing the country to import large volumes of fuel, said Reuters.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has pushed hard to refine more motor fuels at home, arguing Mexico must wean itself from foreign supplies, but the latest data underscores the difficulty of reaching the nationalist leader's goal before his term ends next year.

Crude processing at Pemex's domestic refineries rose by 0.11% in August from the previous month to reach nearly 797,000 barrels per day (bpd), the data released on Wednesday showed, but refining levels remained stuck below last year's 816,000 bpd.

Lopez Obrador has vowed to grow crude processing to between 1.0 million bpd and 1.2 million bpd. Meanwhile, Pemex produced only 242,000 bpd of gasoline in August, down 9% from July and the lowest level of monthly output this year. Diesel production in August reached around 152,000 bpd, also down from the previous month.

The eighth month of the year showed a much bigger swing in fuel imports, the data showed. Gasoline imports rose 17% to reach more than 407,000 bpd, while diesel imports were up by the same percentage to total nearly 175,000 bpd.

Pemex did not offer an explanation for its fuel production levels in August, but in the past it has blamed the previous administration for what it has called insufficient maintenance at the aging facilities. Lopez Obrador is also betting on significant new streams of fuel output from what will be Pemex's seventh, and largest, refinery once in comes online.

Energy Minister Rocio Nahle this month said the Olmeca refinery located off of Mexico's Gulf coast will overcome past delays and be fully online later this year with a processing capacity of 340,000 bp.

We remind, Pemex’s production of aromatics, ethane, propylene, and sulphur fell in the first quarter, year on year, but methane output rose strongly. The rise in production of methane and its derivatives helped overall petrochemicals production to remain mostly flat, with 319,000 tonnes produced during the first quarter, down by 0.62% year on year.

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INEOS announces the acquisition of the Eastman Texas City site

INEOS announces the acquisition of the Eastman Texas City site

MOSCOW (MRC) -- INEOS has announced it has reached an agreement with Eastman Chemical Company to purchase the Eastman Texas City site, including the 600kt Acetic Acid plant and all associated third party activities on the site, for circa USD500 MM, said the company.

Eastman and INEOS have also entered into a Memorandum of Understanding to explore options for a long-term supply agreement for vinyl acetate monomer. David Brooks, CEO INEOS Acetyls, comments "We are delighted to announce this strategic acquisition which will help drive our global ambition for our Acetyls business. The site is ideally placed to take advantage of competitively priced feedstocks which will help support the growth of our business and sustainable future of the site."

Currently INEOS licenses its leading Cativa Acetic Acid Technology to Eastman Chemical Texas City for production of Acetic Acid at the site.

“We are happy to have reached this agreement with INEOS. They have been a strong partner with us at the Texas City site and have extensive experience and a complementary position in the acetyls space,” said Erwin Dijkman, Division President, Chemical Intermediates.

“Our Texas City Operations is an attractive site with an incredible team of people, and we are pleased that INEOS plans to further invest in and grow the site. We look forward to working closely with INEOS as we prepare for a seamless transition later this year, and longer-term as operators of our plasticizer business at the site.”

All current employees on the Eastman Texas City site will transfer over to INEOS upon completion of the transaction. The plasticizers unit on the site will continue to be owned by Eastman, but will be operated and maintained by INEOS from closing.

The deal is targeted to close before the end of 2023, subject to regulatory approvals.

We remind, INEOS and SINOPEC signed a shareholder agreement for the formation of a 50:50 joint venture to build a new 300ktpa ABS plant in Tianjin, said the company. The plant, which is currently under construction by SINOPEC, will be based on INEOS’ world-leading Terluran® ABS technology and is planned to come on stream in April 2025.


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China refiner Shenghong in preliminary deal with Saudi Aramco for equity investment

China refiner Shenghong in preliminary deal with Saudi Aramco for equity investment

MOSCOW (MRC) -- China's privately controlled Jiangsu Eastern Shenghong Co Ltd said on Wednesday it had entered a preliminary deal with Saudi Aramco for the Middle Eastern oil major to become a minority stakeholder in its refining and petrochemical unit, said Reuters.

Under a framework agreement, Saudi Aramco intends to become a strategic investor in Jiangsu Shenghong Petrochemical, which operates a refinery and petrochemical complex in the eastern province of Jiangsu.

In a separate statement, Aramco said it was looking at investing 10% in Shenghong Petrochemical, adding that companies also intend to cooperate on a large expansion project, although Aramco did not provide details.

The companies are willing to cooperate in areas such as long-term crude supply and marketing of refined fuel and chemical products, as well as licensing high-value added manufacturing technology, according to a stock filing. The parties will carry out due diligence and evaluation works to follow up on this agreement, the company added. Shenghong Petrochemical, one of China's newest refineries, operates a 320,000 barrel-per-day plant in port city of Lianyungang. Under a similar alliance, Aramco said in March it had agreed to acquire a 10% stake in privately controlled Rongsheng Petrochemical Co Ltd for about $3.6 billion, an investment attached to a 20-year crude oil supply deal with Rongsheng-controlled Zhejiang Petrochemical Corp.

We remind, Aramco, one of the world’s leading integrated energy and chemicals companies, has agreed to purchase a 100% equity stake in Esmax Distribuscion SpA (“Esmax”) from Southern Cross Group, a Latin America-focused private equity company. The transaction is subject to certain customary conditions, including regulatory approvals.

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PPG introduces high-performance UF membranes and filter elements for improved industrial water reuse

PPG introduces high-performance UF membranes and filter elements for improved industrial water reuse

MOSCOW (MRC) -- PPG announced the introduction of a high-performance ultrafiltration (UF) membrane and filter elements for industrial process water and wastewater applications, said the company.

The new UF membrane adds to PPG’s line of microfiltration (MF) membranes and filter elements, which are designed to remove oil and other contaminants so process water and wastewater can be disposed or reused safely and economically, helping to improve water reuse and play a role in addressing global water scarcity.

Incorporating a proprietary antifouling treatment technology, PPG’s UF membranes are superhydrophilic, or water loving, which inhibits trace amounts of oil, grease and other tough-to-filter contaminants from fouling the membranes and filter elements. In turn, this can extend the service life of membranes, reducing costs through lower maintenance and replacement needs.

“Our antifouling treatment represents a significant technical advancement with potential benefits in multiple industries,” said Lisa Walters, PPG filtration segment manager, Specialty Coatings and Materials. “The traditional belief is that membranes are not well-suited for removing oil and grease because of their tendency to foul. PPG filtration membranes have an exceptional ability to separate emulsified contaminants from water.”

PPG’s high-performance MF and UF membranes separate oil, grease and emulsified contaminants from higher volumes of industrial process water. This can reduce the number of filters and the amount of manufacturing floor space needed to recover the water for reuse. Aided by the antifouling treatment, PPG membranes can offer plant managers and maintenance engineers a solution that helps their filtration systems perform better and last longer with enhanced cleanability.

“The ability to clean and reuse industrial process water is beneficial in so many ways, not just to the companies that recapture this valued resource, but also for the environment by reducing demands and stress on freshwater supplies,” said Walters. “Our sustainably advantaged membranes and the enhanced performance provided by our new UF offerings and MF membranes with antifouling treatment offer another great example of how PPG products protect and beautify the world.”

Potential applications for PPG filtration membranes include industrial process water and wastewater, from oil and gas to automotive and industrial paint lines, to graywater treatment.

We remind, PPG announced that Hugh Grant, 65, PPG independent lead director, has informed the board of directors of his decision to end his tenure as independent lead director, effective Oct. 1, and retire from the board at the end of the year. Grant joined the board in 2005 and has served on the Nominating and Governance Committee and the Human Capital Management and Compensation Committee, serving the last nine years as independent lead director.

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