Exxon moves Beaumont, Texas overhaul to June from August

Exxon moves Beaumont, Texas overhaul to June from August

MRC -- Exxon Mobil moved up the start date for a CDU overhaul at its 619,024-bpd Beaumont, Texas, refinery from August 2024 to June 2024, said people familiar with the company’s plans, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Exxon continues to plan to shut the 65,000-bpd diesel-producing hydrocracker in January for an overhaul, during which the 80,000-bpd reformer will also be shut for work, according to the sources. Exxon spokesperson Lauren Kight declined to comment on Tuesday.

The 180,000-bpd Crude B CDU is scheduled to shut down for the overhaul in June, two months earlier than previously planned, the five sources said. Crude B is one of three CDUs breaking down crude oil at the start of the refining process to produce feedstocks for all other units at the refinery, which is the nation's second largest by capacity.

Crude B processes sour crude oil, a cheaper grade that requires processing for the higher levels of residual crude it produces compared with sweet crude. While the CDU is shut, the 100,000-bpd Vacuum B vacuum distillation unit (VDU) will also be shut for work, the sources said. Production on the refinery’s 60,000-bpd coker will be cut back while Crude B shut.

Unlike CDUs, which operate at atmospheric pressure, VDUs operate at vacuum pressure to break down residual crude oil into feedstocks for other production units. Cokers take residual crude from distillation units and break it down into motor fuel feedstocks or petroleum coke, which can be used as a coal substitute.

Hydrocrackers use a catalyst under high heat and pressure in the presence of hydrogen to convert gas oil into diesel and other motor fuels. Reformers convert refining byproducts into octane-boosting components added to unfinished gasoline to make premium grades.

We remind, ExxonMobil is planning to invest up to $15bn in a greenfield petrochemical project as well as new carbon capture and storage (CCS) facilities in Indonesia. The Indonesian government earlier this week signed an agreement with ExxonMobil to study the possibility of the petrochemical project which would include polymer production units.


Japan Witnesses Growth in Caustic Soda Exports during Q3

Japan Witnesses Growth in Caustic Soda Exports during Q3

MRC -- In the third quarter, Japan witnessed a substantial surge in the export of liquid caustic, with volumes reaching 248.85 thousand tonnes, marking an impressive 90.1 percent increase compared to the preceding quarter, said Chemanalyst.

This uptick in export figures, despite favorable conditions in caustic soda supply during most of the third quarter, can be attributed to robust chlor-alkali production. The profitability of electrochemical units (ECUs) within Japanese polyvinyl chloride (PVC) producers likely played a crucial role in driving this growth.

Analyzing the key export destinations, Australia, Indonesia, and the United States emerged as the top three, collectively constituting 83.1% of Japan's total liquid caustic exports for the quarter. This strategic distribution points to the significance of these markets in absorbing Japan's increased export volumes.

On a year-on-year basis, the export volumes witnessed a notable 6.8% rise, indicating sustained growth and positive trends in Japan's liquid caustic sector.

Comparatively, South Korea's export volumes of liquid caustic soda in the third quarter amounted to 83.34 thousand tons, reflecting a 17.2% decline from the previous quarter. This decrease was influenced by limited workload indicators among manufacturers, driven by a reduction in profitability. Despite favorable supply conditions in Asia during most of the third quarter, South Korea experienced a decrease in export volumes. However, on a year-on-year basis, South Korea's export volumes demonstrated a significant 12.2% increase.

The estimated consumption amounted to 635.71 thousand tons, reflecting a marginal 2% decline compared to the same period in 2022. Within this market landscape, the emulsion PVC sector witnessed a commendable 4% increase in shipments, while the slurry market experienced a modest 2% decrease.

Japan's notable surge in liquid caustic exports in the third quarter reflects a dynamic market influenced by both domestic and international factors. The profitability of ECUs within Japanese PVC production has evidently played a pivotal role in driving this growth. The strategic distribution of exports to key destinations further underscores the resilience and adaptability of Japan's liquid caustic sector.

Meanwhile, South Korea's experience of a decline in export volumes emphasizes the delicate balance between profitability and market dynamics. The year-on-year increase in South Korea's export volumes showcases the potential for recovery and growth in the liquid caustic sector.

As the global landscape continues to evolve, these trends provide valuable insights into the nuanced dynamics of the liquid caustic market in the broader context of the chemical industry. The year-on-year growth in both Japan and South Korea's export volumes signals resilience and adaptability, crucial attributes in navigating the complexities of the international chemical market.

We remind, Japan and South Korea will establish a joint supply network for carbon-neutral fuels such as hydrogen and ammonia. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol will announce the framework on Nov. 17 in the United States, where they are expected to join the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting, the paper said.


Maire’s Nextchem and Dimeta to unlock the potential of low-carbon DME production

Maire’s Nextchem and Dimeta to unlock the potential of low-carbon DME production

MRC -- MyRechemical, part of the Sustainable Technology Solutions business unit led by NEXTCHEM, and Dimeta B.V. have agreed to carry out a study to explore the feasibility for the development of plants to produce renewable and recycled carbon Dimethyl Ether (DME), a low-carbon sustainable liquid gas from waste, that can be used as a clean-burning fuel, based on MyRechemical’s Waste-to-Chemicals technologies and expertise, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The study will assess the regulatory environment and carry out a market analysis of available feedstock and product enhancement in Europe, with a focus on Italy. Based on the results of the study, MyRechemical and Dimeta will work then to define the best development strategy for project implementation.

DME is an innovative fuel and a sustainable alternative for LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) able to support all thermal uses not served by the natural gas network and for LPG-powered cars. When blended with LPG, low-carbon DME can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality and decarbonize the off-grid sector with no changes to LPG appliances or infrastructure. It can also achieve carbon neutrality when carbon capture is used.

Within NextChem’s technology portfolio, the Waste to Chemical process developed by MyRechemical can convert municipal solid waste to methanol and then to DME, meeting the needs of the circular economy to decarbonize many industries and sectors, including transportation.

The feasibility study is the result of a Memorandum of Understanding signed in February between MyRechemical and Dimeta, a Dutch company created to advance the production and use of renewable and recycled carbon DME. Dimeta, a joint venture between SHV Energy and UGI International, aims to produce 300,000 tons of DME by the end of 2027, establishing plants in the UK, Europe and the USA.

Giacomo Rispoli, Managing Director of MyRechemical: “With this feasibility study, which adds on the initiatives we are conducting on circular ethanol, methanol and hydrogen, we look forward to investigating the exciting market opportunities offered by the application of our proven Waste Gasification technology to the production of DME. We are pleased that our MoU with Dimeta is already moving forward with this first concrete result.”

Frankie Ugboma, Dimeta Chief Executive "We are delighted to announce our continued progress in building upon the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) as we embark on our next endeavor to reduce carbon emissions. Through the initiation of pre-feasibility studies, we aim to produce Renewable & Recycled Carbon DME from waste, to decarbonize the off-grid sector. Dimeta remains steadfast in our efforts to achieve Net Zero by 2050, and this is a significant step towards our goal."

We remind, OCI Global, the world’s third largest nitrogen fertilizer and ammonia producer, is supplying Rohm, a leading manufacturer of methacrylates, with bio-ammonia for the production of methyl methacrylate (MMA), an important precursor for PLEXIGLAS - the world’s most popular brand of acrylic glass.


BASF and SK On entered into an agreement to evaluate collaboration opportunities in the global lithium-ion battery market

BASF and SK On entered into an agreement to evaluate collaboration opportunities in the global lithium-ion battery market

MRC -- BASF, a globally leading battery materials producer, and SK On, a globally leading electric vehicle battery cell manufacturer, have entered into an agreement to jointly evaluate collaboration opportunities in the global lithium-ion battery market focused on North America and Asia-Pacific, said the company.

The collaboration brings together strong business and product development capabilities to develop industry-leading battery materials for lithium-ion batteries. Initially, BASF and SK On will focus on evaluating collaboration options for cathode active materials (CAM) production. Further details on the collaboration will be revealed at a later stage.

Additional collaboration opportunities along the battery materials value chain will be evaluated subsequently, including battery recycling. By leveraging their respective expertise, BASF and SK On aim to develop innovative solutions to support their strong growth ambitions.

Sustainability plays a key role for both companies in line with the principles of the “Value Balancing Alliance,” which is working on a global standard for measuring a company’s social, economic, and environmental contribution and translating environmental and social impacts into comparable financial data.

“With the collaboration with SK On, we are further strengthening our market position to serve battery manufacturers and electric vehicle producers around the world.” said Dr. Peter Schuhmacher, President of BASF’s Catalysts division, who is also responsible for the company’s battery materials and battery recycling business. “We want to address the need for more sustainable solutions for the electric vehicle industry. And we are ready to work with our customers and partners in all regions to make this a reality.”

“The collaboration with BASF is part of our efforts to bolster battery materials supply chain,” said Jee Dong-seob, President and Chief Executive Officer of SK On. “We look forward to expand our partnership to lead the global EV battery market.”

We remind, BASF and Teamplas Group, a leading manufacturer of recycled pellets in Southeast Asia, have collaborated to transform post-consumer waste into new high-quality office equipment and car interior parts with the help of BASF’s IrgaCycle.


OCI Global and Rohm announce pioneering production of methyl methacrylate using bio-ammonia

OCI Global and Rohm announce pioneering production of methyl methacrylate using bio-ammonia

MRC -- OCI Global, the world’s third largest nitrogen fertilizer and ammonia producer, is supplying Rohm, a leading manufacturer of methacrylates, with bio-ammonia for the production of methyl methacrylate (MMA), an important precursor for PLEXIGLAS - the world’s most popular brand of acrylic glass, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

This week, OCI Global delivered a shipment of bio-ammonia to Rohm in a pioneering step to help reduce the carbon footprint of essential and everyday products that rely on MMA, including compounds for cars, airplane windows, building, glazing and dental products. The partnership demonstrates the viability of lower carbon ammonia in industrial processes, supporting downstream decarbonization to other industries and ultimately end consumers.

The delivery of OCI Global’s bio-ammonia to Rohm was witnessed by His Majesty King Willem- Alexander of the Netherlands as part his tour of hydrogen projects in the region, demonstrating the hydrogen corridor connecting Port of Rotterdam to other regions and inland ports, such as duisport, to supply hydrogen products into Europe.

OCI Global is the only producer of ISCC PLUS certified bio-ammonia in Europe and the US today. OCI’s bio-ammonia uses biomethane from waste and residues of biological origin as well as biodegradable fraction of industrial and municipal waste as feedstock. The result is a GHG reduction of >70% compared to conventional grey ammonia production, which uses a fossil-based feedstock.

Ahmed El-Hoshy, CEO, OCI Global said: “OCI is already leading the industry in scaling up the supply of renewable and lower carbon ammonia and methanol at our nine facilities globally, in the US and Europe and, through Fertiglobe, our strategic partnership with ADNOC, the MENA region. This delivery of our bio-ammonia shows our pivotal role in developing the hydrogen corridor to enable the supply of lower carbon ammonia across Europe, from the Port of Rotterdam. Through partnerships with other industry leaders like Rohm, we’re able to continue to make first-moves prove the case for lower carbon products in existing value chains, and we’re excited about the opportunity we have ahead of us to work with other industrial customers to do this. The industrial sector represents around 20% of the global ammonia market today. By converting this sector to lower carbon ammonia, we can help to create a future that allows for the continued production of essential downstream products in a sustainable way.

Hans-Peter Hauck, COO at Rohm said: “Rohm as a global manufacturer of methylmethacrylate products such as PLEXIGLAS is committed to its ambitious climate agenda and targets to achieve a GHG reduction of 30% by 2030. Ammonia is a central feedstock for the manufacture of these methacrylic products such as Plexiglas, Degalan and Degaroute roadmarkings. We therefore are excited to join this partnership and take a significant step towards the decarbonization of our processes and products. A low carbon alternative of ammonia made from biogas allows us to manufacture in our ISCC PLUS certified plants Methacrylate based monomers, molding compounds and resins, in order to deliver sustainable products and solutions for our customers in the industries we serve. We are committed to driving the sustainable transformation forward and are convinced that this change can only be successfully accomplished by partnerships and close cooperation along the value chain”.

OCI and Rohm have shared values around sustainability and breaking new ground in their respective sectors. Earlier this year, OCI Global announced it had begun supplying bio-ammonia in the food and drinks sector, supporting the production of lower carbon wheat and barley malt. OCI is also tripling capacity at its ammonia import terminal in Rotterdam in readiness for increased demand for lower carbon ammonia to support new markets, such as use as a shipping fuel and in the power sector.

Rohm produces MMA at its European sites in Worms and Wesseling as well as in the USA and China. At its Bay City site in Texas, the company is currently building a MMA plant, where it will introduce its new production technology LiMA that will enable the manufacture of methacrylatemonomers with a significantly lower product carbon footprint and improved environmental impact. In addition to new production technologies, Rohm also introduced an environmentally friendly product range “pro Terra” that is based on recycled high-performance materials with a reduced carbon footprint.

We remind, North American chemical rail traffic rose for a 10th consecutive week, with railcar loadings for the week ended 21 October up 3.7% year on year to 45,549, according to Association of American Railroads. For the first 42 weeks of 2023 ended 21 October, North American chemical rail traffic was down 1.0% year on year to 1,903,429 - with the US down 2.2% to 1,307,333.