Russia may ease ban on diesel exports soon

Russia may ease ban on diesel exports soon

The Russian government is ready to ease a ban on diesel exports in coming days, said Reuters.

Separately, TASS news agency cited Energy Minister Nikolai Shulginov as saying that the government "at all levels" had been discussing partial permission for fuel exports. He said further decisions on fuel market regulation would be published in the near future.

Despite being one of the world's top oil producers, Russia has suffered shortages of gasoline and diesel in recent months as high export prices made it advantageous for refiners to sell their products abroad.

Kommersant reported that the ban would be lifted only on pipeline exports of diesel, and that volumes may be subject to quotas to avoid surges in wholesale prices. The ban on gasoline exports will remain in force for now, it said.

Diesel is Russia's biggest oil product export, at almost 35 million tons last year. It exported 4.8 million tons of gasoline. The newspaper said Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak was due to hold a weekly meeting later on Wednesday with oil companies to discuss the possible easing of the ban.

Novak's office did not immediately reply to a request for comment. Novak said last week that Russia may introduce quotas on fuel exports if a complete ban on cross-border supplies imposed on Sept. 21 does not succeed in bringing down high gasoline and diesel prices.

Prices have fallen on the local exchange since the ban was introduced; gasoline by almost 10%, and diesel by 23%. The oil pipeline monopoly Transneft's storage facilities are nearly full and it is proving almost impossible to redirect all incoming volumes to the domestic market, Kommersant said.

On Tuesday, Novak said the government was not setting any time frame for the fuel export ban. Analysts' expectations vary on how long the measures will be in effect. JP Morgan said it could last a couple of weeks until harvest season concludes in October, while FGE Energy said replenishing Russia's gasoline stocks could take up to two months.

Chevron Gains Dominant Position in Hydrogen Venture through Majority Stake

Chevron Gains Dominant Position in Hydrogen Venture through Majority Stake

Chevron USA's New Energies division has entered into an agreement with Haddington Ventures to acquire Magnum Development, a company that holds a controlling interest in the Advanced Clean Energy Storage (ACES) joint venture, along with Mitsubishi Power Americas, said Chemanalyst.

This strategic move underscores Chevron's commitment to advancing its presence in the renewable energy sector and contributing to the development of sustainable solutions.

The ACES project, situated in Delta, Utah, within the United States, is the primary focus of the joint venture. It aims to harness surplus wind and solar energy during off-peak periods for the purpose of electrolysis, thereby generating green hydrogen and oxygen.

Chevron has highlighted the significance of the ACES hub, noting that it is poised to substantially augment the global installed capacity for electrolysis. The initial project, currently under construction, is designed to convert and store up to 100 metric tons per day of hydrogen. It is projected to commence full-scale commercial operations by mid-2025. The unique aspect of this endeavor lies in its use of salt caverns for the seasonal storage of the hydrogen produced, providing a reliable and efficient storage solution.

The ACES hub's immediate objective is to support the Intermountain Power Project's initiative, which involves the replacement of a coal-fired power plant with gas turbines capable of utilizing a blend of natural gas and 30% hydrogen. By the year 2045, the ultimate goal is to have the Intermountain plant entirely powered by hydrogen. This transition is a significant step towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions and embracing cleaner energy sources.

Michael Ducker, Senior Vice President of Hydrogen Infrastructure for Mitsubishi Power, expressed optimism regarding the accelerated expansion of hydrogen supply as a result of Chevron New Energies' participation in the venture. He highlighted the shared commitment to investing in the future of hydrogen and fostering a competitive market for emerging lower-carbon solutions.

Chevron's strategic approach to this acquisition aligns with its broader mission to stimulate demand for lower-carbon intensity hydrogen. The company recognizes the importance of hydrogen as a viable, cost-competitive alternative in sectors such as transportation, power generation, and industrial processes, where reducing greenhouse gas emissions presents significant challenges. By actively engaging in projects like ACES, Chevron aims to play a pivotal role in driving forward sustainable energy solutions and facilitating the transition to a more environmentally friendly future.

We remind, Chevron Phillips Chemical, Technip Energies and LyondellBasell are collaborating on the design, construction and operation of a demonstration unit for Technip Energies’ electric steam cracking furnace technology, designed to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the olefins production process.

North America chem rail traffic rises

North America chem rail traffic rises

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

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

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.