North America chem rail traffic rises

North America chem rail traffic rises

MRC -- North American chemical rail traffic rose for a seventh consecutive week, with railcar loadings for the week ended 30 September up 3.6% year on year to 45,804, according to the Association of American Railroads.

A 7.3% increase in the US more than offset declines in Canada and Mexico.

For the first 39 weeks of 2023 ended 30 September, North American chemical rail traffic was down 1.3% year on year to 1,768,929 loadings - with the US down 2.6% to 1,215,546.

In the US, chemical railcar loadings represent about 20% of chemical transportation by tonnage, with trucks, barges and pipelines carrying the rest. In Canada, chemical producers rely on rail to ship more than 70% of their products, with some exclusively using rail.

We remind, North American chemical rail traffic rose for a sixth consecutive week, with railcar loadings for the week ended 23 September up 8.8% year on year to 46,175 tonnes. For the first 38 weeks of 2023 ended 23 September, North American chemical rail traffic was down 1.5% year on year to 1,723,125 loadings - with the US down 2.8% to 1,183,796.

Alujain Advances Contract for Petrochemical Project at Yanbu

Alujain Advances Contract for Petrochemical Project at Yanbu

MRC -- Alujain Corp.'s subsidiary, Alujain National Industrial Co. (LNIC), has taken a significant step in advancing its integrated propane dehydrogenation (PDH) and polypropylene (PP) project in Yanbu Industrial City, located in Saudi Arabia's Medina province, said Chemanalyst.

This milestone involves the awarding of a contract to Samsung Engineering Co. Ltd. for front-end engineering and design (FEED) services. The project aims to bolster the production of propylene and polypropylene in the region.

As of September 27, Samsung Engineering is tasked with providing FEED services for two key units within the project—a 600,000-tonne/year (tpy) PDH plant and a 500,000-tpy PP plant. Additionally, the scope of Samsung Engineering's responsibilities encompasses FEED services for the essential utilities and offsite infrastructure required for the entire project. The contract's total worth stands at $19.428 million. Notably, this contract follows Samsung Engineering's successful completion of preliminary FEED work for the PDH-PP project.

The decision to award the FEED contract for the PDH-PP project comes on the heels of LNIC's strategic move to license cutting-edge technologies for the venture. In early May, LNIC entered into a contract with Lummus Technology LLC, securing licensing rights to its proprietary C3 CATOFIN process technology for the planned PDH unit. This unit is designed to produce propylene, which will serve as the feedstock for the upcoming PP unit. The move underscores LNIC's commitment to adopting advanced technologies to enhance the project's efficiency and productivity.

Furthermore, on May 30, LyondellBasell Industries Holdings BV confirmed that it had been awarded a contract by LNIC. This contract includes the licensing of LyondellBasell's proprietary Spherizone process technology and the supply of its proprietary Avant ZN catalyst for the new PP unit within the PDH-PP project. These technologies represent state-of-the-art advancements in the production of polypropylene.

It's worth noting that LNIC's PDH-PP project is set to be established adjacent to the existing 400,000-tpy PDH-PP plant operated by National Petrochemical Industrial Co. (NatPet), another subsidiary of Alujain. This existing facility benefits from the service provider's proprietary Spheripol PP process technology, demonstrating Alujain's continued commitment to technological excellence.

In a November 2022 notice to investors, Alujain disclosed that upon completion, the new PDH-PP project is projected to yield over 600,000 tpy of PP, PP compounds, and specialized construction materials derived from PP derivatives. Additionally, it is expected to produce approximately 25,000 tpy of saleable hydrogen, contributing to the diversification of the product portfolio.

LNIC's forward-thinking approach extends beyond production capacity. The project includes the implementation of a grid to integrate the new units seamlessly with NatPet's existing facilities. This integration is intended to enhance the reliability, efficiency, and overall profitability of both subsidiaries.

Alujain, with an estimated total project cost of around USD2 billion, envisions the new PDH-PP plant to commence operations during the first half of 2026. This strategic move not only aligns with the company's growth objectives but also reflects its commitment to sustainable development in the petrochemical industry. As the project progresses, it is poised to make a substantial impact on propylene and polypropylene production in the region, further cementing Alujain's position as a leader in the industry.

Yazoo Introduces Eco-Friendly r-PET Packaging Solutions

Yazoo Introduces Eco-Friendly r-PET Packaging Solutions

MRC -- Yazoo, a leading flavored milk brand, has taken a significant step towards sustainability by introducing 100% recycled PET (r-PET) packaging for its products, said Chemanalyst.

This move is in alignment with Yazoo's goal to make 95% of its packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025. The company's new r-PET bottles have already begun appearing on store shelves and are designed with convenience for consumers in mind. They feature "easy peelable sleeves," which Yazoo states will simplify the process of stripping and recycling.

Yazoo's commitment to sustainability extends beyond just its bottles. The company also utilizes 100% recycled paperboard, primarily sourced from post-consumer waste, for its other packaging needs. This initiative reduces the need for virgin plastic material, further promoting a circular economy.

The shift to r-PET packaging is a major development in Yazoo's sustainability strategy. The use of r-PET, a material derived from post-consumer PET plastic (such as soda and water bottles), is ideal for circular economy practices. It helps reduce the need for virgin plastic material and contributes to the overall reduction of plastic waste.

The introduction of these eco-friendly packaging solutions is a testament to Yazoo's commitment to environmental responsibility and sustainability. The company is not only meeting the demands of environmentally conscious consumers but also setting a benchmark for other brands in the industry.

FrieslandCampina, the parent company of Yazoo, has also announced several packaging updates across its other brands, including Chocomel5. All PET bottles under Yazoo's line are now made from 100% recycled plastic, and all lids are manufactured from HDPE, which is widely recyclable.

As part of its sustainability commitments, Yazoo conducts all operations in an environmentally friendly manner. The company uses 100% recycled paperboard, made primarily from post-consumer waste, to create sustainable packaging products.

The use of r-PET recycled plastic aligns perfectly with circular economy practices, providing an excellent example for other businesses to follow. The future of food packaging looks promising with companies like Yazoo taking substantial steps towards sustainability.

This move by Yazoo is not only a significant step towards reducing environmental impact but also a demonstration of how companies can align their business strategies with sustainability goals. It reflects the growing trend among businesses to adopt more sustainable practices and materials in response to increasing consumer demand for eco-friendly products.

Yazoo's introduction of eco-friendly r-PET packaging solutions represents a major advancement in the company's sustainability efforts. By making this shift, Yazoo is not only contributing to the reduction of plastic waste but also setting a precedent for other brands in the industry. This move will hopefully inspire more companies to embrace sustainable packaging solutions, leading to a more sustainable future for all.

We remind, Borealis and TotalEnergies celebrate the start-up of their Baystar joint venture’s new 625,000 metric ton-per-year Borstar® polyethylene (PE) unit, which more than doubles the current production capacity at Baystar’s site in Pasadena, Texas.

European chlorine output dipped in August

European chlorine output dipped in August

MRC -- In August, the European chlorine production stood at 625,537 tonnes. With 20,179 tonnes, the August 2023 average daily production was 5.1% lower than in the previous month (July 2023: 21,257 tonnes) and 4.9% lower than in August 2022 (21,208 tonnes), said Eurochlor.

With 240,402 tonnes, the August 2023 caustic soda stocks were 3.4% higher than in the previous month (July 2023: 232,412 tonnes). No comparison can be made with the August 2022 stock levels since we could not publish them in respect of the Cefic statistical rules.

The following tables give the details of chlorine production and caustic soda stocks in the EU-27 countries plus Norway, Switzerland, and the UK in August 2023.

We remind, in July, the European chlorine production reached 658,845 tonnes. With 21,253 tonnes, the July 2023 average daily production was 6.9% higher than in the previous month (June 2023: 19,879 tonnes) but 4.2% lower than in July 2022 (22,179 tonnes).

Blast at illegal Nigerian oil refinery kills 37 people

Blast at illegal Nigerian oil refinery kills 37 people

MRC -- At least 37 people, including two pregnant women, were burned to death after a blast at an illegal oil refinery in southern Nigeria, as per Reuters.

Illegal refining is common in the oil-rich Niger Delta region of Nigeria as impoverished locals tap pipelines to make fuel to sell for a profit. The practice, which can be as basic as boiling crude oil in drums to extract fuel, is often deadly.

The latest incident happened in the early hours of Monday in the Ibaa community, in Rivers State, Rufus Welekem, the head of security in the community said.

A Reuters witness saw charred remains of 15 people at an open space surrounded by burnt palm trees and a motorbike.

"Thirty five people were caught in the fire. Two people who were lucky to escape also died this morning in hospital," said Welekem. Relatives had identified some of the victims and taken them for burial, he said.

Nigeria has for years tried to clamp down on illegal crude refineries, with little success, in part because powerfully connected politicians and security officials are involved, local environmental groups say.

Crude oil theft, pipeline vandalism and legal battles over oil spills are pushing oil majors operating in Nigeria to sell their onshore and shallow water assets to concentrate on deep water operations.

We remind, Russia is setting no time frame for the fuel export ban it introduced last month, and it will remain in place as long as necessary to stabilize prices and address shortages on the domestic market. Another news agency, TASS, cited Novak as saying that the government plans to prevent the prices of fuel at the pump from rising above general consumer price inflation in 2023 and 2024.