Two men convicted in U.S. of trying to sell Iranian petroleum

Two men convicted in U.S. of trying to sell Iranian petroleum

MRC -- A U.S. jury has convicted two Texas men of trying to sell Iranian petroleum in violation of sanctions imposed by Washington and of conspiracy to commit money laundering, said Reuters.

Zhenyu Wang and Daniel Ray Lane were found guilty, and each face a maximum penalty of 45 years in prison. The two men had planned to purchase petroleum from Iran, mask its origins, and then sell it to a refinery in China, the U.S. Justice Department said in a statement.

Lane was president of privately held Stack Royalties, a Texas-based company that sells oil and gas mineral rights to investment funds and private equity groups. Lane's attorney, Paul Hetznecker, told Reuters in a statement that the case was based on undercover government agents who offered Lane "millions of dollars in profits" if he took part in the scheme, after initially rebuffing their approaches.

"This is an outrageous example of government overreach," Hetznecker said in a statement. He vowed to appeal the conviction. An attorney for Wang did not respond to a request for comment.

The pair were charged, along with three others, in 2020 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Two co-conspirators have since pleaded guilty, court records showed.

"The Justice Department will not tolerate those who would violate U.S. sanctions and imperil our national security for personal profit," said Matt Olsen, head of the Justice Department's National Security Division, in a statement.

China is the world's only major importer of Iranian oil despite sanctions former U.S. President Donald Trump unilaterally re-imposed on Tehran's petroleum exports in 2018 after withdrawing the United States from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal between Tehran and six world powers. The pair are scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 29, 2024.

We remind, a planned overhaul of the gasoline-producing fluidic catalytic cracker at TotalEnergies’ 238,000 bpd Port Arthur, Texas refinery is expected to continue into late November. The 76,000-bpd gasoline-producing fluidic catalytic cracker-2 was shut on Aug. 23 for a planned overhaul. FCCs use a fine powder catalyst to convert gas oil into gasoline.

China October gasoline exports fall 20% on year, diesel shipments up

China October gasoline exports fall 20% on year, diesel shipments up

MRC -- China's gasoline exports fell 20% in October from a year earlier, data showed on Saturday, as domestic road travel surged during the Golden Week holiday, said Reuters.

Gasoline shipments of 770,000 mt were down from last year's 1 MMt and below September's 1.09 MMt, data from the General Administration of Customs showed.

Domestic road travel received a boost during an extended Golden Week holiday, which ran from the end of September through the first week of October. Trip numbers were up 71.3% from a year earlier and 4.1% higher than in 2019, according to data released by state media outlet Xinhua. Diesel exports remained strong, up 4.4% in October from a year earlier to 1.1 MMt, as a worsening slump in property construction continued to suppress domestic demand.

Exports of diesel, which account for the biggest share of refinery output, eased slightly month-on-month from September's 1.18 MMt. Domestic diesel demand continues to face significant headwinds from China's property slowdown and an uneven recovery in its manufacturing sector. Jet fuel exports stood at 1.53 MMt, up 5.5% from September and up 32% from a year-earlier.

Domestic kerosene demand is benefiting from the domestic travel surge, with domestic flight levels already above pre-COVID levels and expected to step up further. However, international airline capacity in and out of China in October and November this year was around 56% to 57% of the figure in the same months of 2019, before the pandemic halted international travel, according to data from aviation analytics firm OAG.

Fuel provided to international flights is counted as an export in customs statistics. Regional refining margins continued to fall, declining from $6.72/bbl at the start of October to $2.79/bbl at the end of the month. Total refined fuel exports, which includes marine bunker fuel, continued to ease month-on-month in October, customs data previously showed. The data released on Saturday also showed China imported 5.17 MMt of LNG in October, up from a relative low of 4.03 MMt last year.

We remind, GS Caltex Singapore Pte Ltd said on Monday it has sold its first cargo of biofuel-blended marine gasoil to Maersk Oil Trading (MOT) at the world's largest bunker hub Singapore as it seeks to expand into lower carbon fuels.The sale by the Singapore-based trading arm of South Korea's second-largest refiner is part of GS Caltex's plans by to expand its biofuels supply chain overseas. More of such biofuel bunkering trials are taking place at key global maritime hubs this year as the shipping industry tests new and cleaner fuels in a bid to reduce emissions.

LyondellBasell to build industrial-scale advanced recycling plant in Germany

LyondellBasell to build industrial-scale advanced recycling plant in Germany

MRC -- LyondellBasell has announced it has made the final investment decision to build the company's first industrial-scale catalytic advanced recycling demonstration plant at its Wesseling, Germany, site, said the company.

Using LyondellBasell's proprietary MoReTec technology, this plant will be the first commercial scale, single-train advanced recycling plant to convert post-consumer plastic waste into feedstock for production of new plastic materials that can be ran at net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The new plant is expected to have an annual capacity of 50,000 metric tpy and is designed to recycle the amount of plastic packaging waste generated by more than 1.2 MM German citizens per year. Construction is planned to be completed by the end of 2025.

"We are committed to addressing the global challenge of plastic waste and advancing a circular economy, and today's announcement is another meaningful step in that direction," says Peter Vanacker, LYB CEO. "Scaling up our catalytic advanced recycling technology will allow us to return larger volumes of plastic waste back into the value chain. By doing this, we will have the ability to produce more materials for high-quality applications, retaining value of plastics for as long as possible."

The LYB MoReTec demonstration plant will close the gap for difficult to recycle plastics, such as mixed or flexible materials that are currently sent to landfill or incineration. Source One Plastics, a joint venture of LYB and 23 Oaks Investments formed in October 2022, will supply the majority of the sorted processed feedstock. The advanced recycled feedstock produced by the MoReTec facility will be used for the production of polymers sold by LYB under the CirculenRevive product line for use in a wide range of applications, including medical and food packaging.

The MoReTec difference. The MoReTec technology produces pyrolysis oil and pyrolysis gas. Pyrolysis oil is a substitute for fossil-based materials used in polymer production. Typically, pyrolysis gas streams are consumed as a fuel, however, the MoReTec technology enables the pyrolysis gas to be recovered as well, contributing to the production of polymer and displacing fossil-based feedstocks, which lowers direct CO2 emissions.

In addition, the proprietary catalyst technology lowers the process temperature, reduces energy consumption and improves yield. With lower energy consumption, the process can be powered by electricity, including electricity from renewable sources at net zero GHG emissions.

These differentiating advantages provide a carbon footprint advantage as well. The recovery of pyrolysis gas as feedstock, lower energy demand, electrical heating design, displacement of fossil-feedstocks, and recovery of waste plastic from incineration or landfill result in a significantly lower carbon footprint compared with fossil-based processes. This makes MoReTec a unique value proposition, according to the company.

We remind, LyondellBasell along with the Plastics Industry Association announced the use of the equivalent of 520,000 plastic retail bags to pave 4,875 square yards of parking lot at the Louisiana Integrated PolyEthylene JV LLC, said the company. The project utilized 8,000 pounds of LyondellBasell CirculenRecover polymers, made from plastic waste using a mechanical recycling process. The asphalt project is an example of LyondellBasell’s commitment to end plastic waste in the environment that would otherwise end up in landfills or incinerated.

Occidental announces 3Q 2023 results

Occidental announces 3Q 2023 results
MRC -- Occidental announced net income attributable to common stockholders for 3Q 2023 of $1.2 bn, and adjusted income attributable to common stockholders of $1.1 bn, said the company.

3Q 2023 after-tax items affecting comparability of $22 M were primarily comprised of after-tax gains on sales of $111 M related to certain non-core proved and unproved properties in the Permian Basin and $40 M for the sale of 5.1 M Western Midstream Partners LP (WES) limited partner units, partially offset by derivative losses in marketing of $63 M, preferred stock redemption premiums of $42 M and other equity method investment charges of $27 M. Oil and gas pre-tax income for 3Q 2023 was $2.0 bn, compared to pre-tax income of $1.1 bn for 2Q 2023.

We remind, Occidental Petroleum’s carbon capture, utilisation and sequestration (CCUS) subsidiary, 1PointFive, has been selected to receive a grant from the US Department of Energy (DOE) for the development of its South Texas Direct Air Capture (DAC) Hub in Kleberg county, south of Corpus Christi. The hub is expected to include the world’s first DAC plant designed to remove up to 1m tonnes/year of carbon dioxide (CO2). The funding by the DOE's Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations will support the development of the DAC hub, Occidental said on Friday without disclosing financial details.

Westlake Corporation Declares Quarterly Dividend

MRC -- The Board of Directors of Westlake Corporation declared a regular dividend distribution of 50 cents per share for the third quarter of 2023, said the company.

This dividend will be payable on December 6, 2023, to stockholders of record on November 21, 2023.

This is the 77th successive quarterly dividend that Westlake has declared since completing its initial public offering in August 2004.

The statements in this release that are not historical facts, including statements regarding future repurchases of common stock, are forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are subject to significant risks and uncertainties. Actual results could differ materially, based on factors including, but not limited to, the ultimate timing, outcome and results of integrating the operations of recent acquisitions; general economic and business conditions; the cyclical nature of the chemical and building products industries; availability, cost and volatility of raw materials and utilities; uncertainties associated with the United States, European and worldwide economies, including those due to political tensions and unrest; uncertainties associated with pandemic infectious diseases; and other risk factors. For more detailed information about the factors that could cause actual results to differ materially, please refer to Westlake’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2022, which was filed with the SEC in February 2023, and Westlake’s Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q for the quarters ended March 31, 2023 and June 30, 2023, which were filed with the SEC in May and August 2023, respectively.

We remind, Westlake Chemical Partners LP reported net income attributable to the Partnership in the third quarter of 2023 of $13.2 million, or $0.37 per limited partner unit, compared to third quarter 2022 net income of $14.8 million. The reduction in Partnership net income in the third quarter of 2023 compared to the third quarter of 2022 was the result of higher interest expense attributable to higher interest rates on floating rate debt.