Maersk to buy 500,000 tpy of bio-methanol/e-methanol from China's Goldwind

Maersk to buy 500,000 tpy of bio-methanol/e-methanol from China's Goldwind

MRC -- Danish shipping group Maersk said on Wednesday it has agreed to buy 500,000 tpy of bio-methanol and e-methanol from China's Goldwind, to enable low carbon operations, starting in 2026, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The volumes combine a mix of green bio-methanol and e-methanol, all produced with wind energy at a new plant. Goldwind is expected to confirm a final investment decision for the facility by the end of the year, Maersk said in a statement.

"This deal is a milestone for Maersk as it enables us to significantly reduce our emissions footprint in this decade," the company's Chief Infrastructure Officer Rabab Raafat Boulos said in a statement.

The long-term deal will enable low carbon operations for the first 12 large methanol-enabled Maersk vessels on order, which are due for delivery in 2024 and 2025, the company added.

Russia has lifted restrictions on gasoline exports, the energy ministry said on Friday, after scrapping most restrictions on exports of diesel last month, saying there was a surplus of supply while wholesale prices had declined. It said it could reimpose export bans if necessary, adding that stocks of gasoline had risen to around 2 million metric tons.

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Neste to distribute renewable diesel in France

Neste to distribute renewable diesel in France

MRC -- Neste is partnering with two new distributors in France to make Neste MY Renewable Diesel™ available for the first time in the market and to contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emission in the transport sector, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Neste MY Renewable Diesel will be available in France from the beginning of January, 2024. “We are very proud to start our collaboration with two new fuel distribution partners, Altens and Bollore Energy in the French market. In France, transportation is the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for 30% of all emissions. With Neste MY Renewable Diesel, greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced by as much as 75-95%* over the life cycle of the fuel compared to fossil diesel,” says Peter Zonneveld, VP Sales EMEA, Renewable Road Transportation at Neste.

“The collaboration between Neste, the world’s leading producer of renewable diesel, and Altens, a 100% dedicated provider of non-fossil and low-carbon solutions, reflects a joint commitment to effective decarbonization initiatives. Our decision to join forces with Neste to make Neste MY Renewable Diesel available in France was based on the reliability and efficiency of the solution enabling significant greenhouse gas emission reductions for its users. Furthermore, Neste MY Renewable Diesel is a high-quality and high-performance fuel, meeting all specifications of relevant technical standards,” says Mohamed Bennama, Director at Altens.

“As a major actor in distributing oil and gas in France and in Europe, Bollore Energy is proud to announce the partnership with Neste. This is a step forward that is seamlessly connected to our ambitions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation – thanks to Neste MY Renewable Diesel,” says Thibaut de Rivoire, Deputy CEO of Bollore Energy.

Many French truck transportation companies, public fleets, construction companies and large fleet operators are in the process of switching to more sustainable energy sources, but a large part of the French road transport is still powered by fossil diesel. Neste’s collaboration with two new fuel distributors will help French companies to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions with their existing fleet by switching fossil diesel to renewable diesel. Neste MY Renewable Diesel is an immediate solution for significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions, suitable for all diesel engines without any need to invest in new vehicle fleets or modifications to the vehicles or their engine.

Neste, Altens and Bollore Energy wish to emphasize that if France wants to reach the goals set by the French government through the energy climate law and the national low-carbon strategy, while also meeting the European targets, its energy-climate strategy must include the use of biofuels and low-carbon liquid fuels alongside electric and hydrogen. All solutions should be considered when addressing climate change.

We remind, Russia has lifted restrictions on gasoline exports, the energy ministry said on Friday, after scrapping most restrictions on exports of diesel last month, saying there was a surplus of supply while wholesale prices had declined. It said it could reimpose export bans if necessary, adding that stocks of gasoline had risen to around 2 million metric tons.

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U.S. gasoline prices decline amid lower gasoline demand and falling crude oil prices

U.S. gasoline prices decline amid lower gasoline demand and falling crude oil prices

MRC -- On November 20, 2023, the Monday before Thanksgiving, the retail price of regular gasoline averaged $3.29 per gallon (gal) across the United States, 10% less than the same time last year, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

After adjusting for inflation (real terms), retail gasoline prices this Thanksgiving weekend are 13% lower than last year, but they remain higher than pre-pandemic levels for the third year. This Thanksgiving, the American Automotive Association (AAA) forecasts 55 million people will travel 50 miles or more for the Thanksgiving holiday, a 2% increase compared with 2022.

Typically, U.S. retail gasoline prices follow a seasonal trend: prices increase in late summer when people drive more frequently and then decline going into the winter. Less gasoline demand than usual this fall and an early transition to winter-blend gasoline in California helped accelerate the decline in prices. Regulations on gasoline vapor pressure allow refiners to switch to less expensive components to produce gasoline in the fall, which tends to reduce gasoline prices.

Despite crude oil production cuts by OPEC+ members over the last year, concerns about slowing economic growth reducing world oil demand have continued to push crude oil prices down. The Brent crude oil price declined 15% from its most recent peak of $96.55 per barrel (b) on September 27 to $82.32/b on November 20, reaching its lowest level since July. Crude oil prices are the primary driver of U.S. gasoline prices, making up 55% of the total cost to produce a gallon of gasoline.

U.S. gasoline prices vary regionally, reflecting local supply and demand conditions, different fuel specifications required by state laws, and taxes. Regional gasoline prices are usually highest on the West Coast because of the region’s limited connections with other major refining centers, tight local supply and demand conditions, and gasoline specifications that make it more costly to manufacture. West Coast prices as of November 20 averaged $4.42/gal, down 8% since the same time last year.

We remind, Russia has lifted restrictions on gasoline exports, the energy ministry said on Friday, after scrapping most restrictions on exports of diesel last month, saying there was a surplus of supply while wholesale prices had declined. It said it could reimpose export bans if necessary, adding that stocks of gasoline had risen to around 2 million metric tons.

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Russia to lift remaining restrictions on diesel fuel exports soon

Russia to lift remaining restrictions on diesel fuel exports soon

MRC -- Russia will soon lift remaining restrictions on diesel fuel exports, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said on Wednesday speaking in the upper house of the parliament, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Russia, the world's top seaborne exporter of diesel, introduced a ban on fuel exports on Sept. 21 to tackle high domestic prices and shortages. Only four ex-Soviet states - Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan - were exempt.

The government later eased restrictions to allow the export of diesel by pipeline. Last Friday it lifted restrictions on gasoline exports unconditionally. Overseas supplies of diesel by truck and railway are still prohibited.

We remind, Russia has lifted restrictions on gasoline exports, the energy ministry said on Friday, after scrapping most restrictions on exports of diesel last month, saying there was a surplus of supply while wholesale prices had declined. It said it could reimpose export bans if necessary, adding that stocks of gasoline had risen to around 2 million metric tons.

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Europe's Petrochemical Industry Is Heading for Death Row

Europe's Petrochemical Industry Is Heading for Death Row

MRC -- The last time European petrochemical plants processed so little of their favorite feedstock, Sweden’s ABBA was the most popular band on the continent, and the Fall of Saigon had marked the end of the Vietnam War, said Bloomberg.

It was 1975, and the region was still licking its wounds after the first oil crisis. Nearly half a century later, the industry is dying. It would be a mistake to interpret this as a triumph in the fight against plastics. Europe keeps consuming voracious amounts of foams, paints, resins and every other product petrochemical factories make. It’s just replacing indigenous production with imported stuff.

Petrochemicals are intrinsically energy intensive. In Europe, natural gas is about five times more expensive than in the US. Right now, it’s cheaper to buy ethylene, a building block for plastics, in Texas, and ship it across the Atlantic for further processing in Europe than producing it at home. And that’s precisely what petrochemical companies tell me they’re doing. The net result is loss of economic activity in Europe, an erosion of the bloc’s trade balance in chemical products and, ultimately, the loss of jobs and energy security.

First, some context. On average, a European person consumes around 150 kilograms of plastic a year, more than twice the global average of 60 kilograms, according to the European Environment Agency. Plastics are everywhere – from food packaging to construction materials, from mobile phones to clothes.

Next, the data. The petrochemical industry runs largely on two feedstocks: natural gas and naphtha, with the latter being a byproduct of refining oil, similar in some ways to gasoline. According to the International Energy Agency, European naphtha consumption will drop this year to a 48-year low of 34.2 million metric tons. Usage is down 18.5% from pre-Covid-19 levels, and almost 40% below the all-time high set two decades ago.

With processing so low, the industry’s workhorses, called steam crackers, where the naphtha and the gas is transformed into chemical building blocks, are operating at uneconomical rates. Because of their enormous fixed costs, companies typically run their steam crackers as close to capacity as they can throughout the year. Anything below 90% is a source of concern; 85% is bad, and 80% is seen as catastrophic. In recent quarters, however, they have run at loss-making rates of between 65% and 75% of their capacity.

In private, industry executives say they can only lose money for so long — so closures look certain in 2024. Using a more diplomatic language, the IEA said last week that “it is increasingly difficult to see how the continent’s petrochemical industry can recover its previous strength.” I have spent the last few weeks talking to industry executives, and the answer they give is “it won’t — period.”

Across European chemical companies, the proportion of spending in new projects into Asia has jumped by about 50% during the past decade and a half, according to estimates by Jefferies Financial Group Inc., an investment bank.

How does that translate to the economy? Before the pandemic, Europe’s chemical trade balance with the rest of the world was typically in the black to the tune of $40 billion. Last year, the surplus narrowed to just $2.5 billion. Although it’s likely to recover somewhat in 2023, the outlook for 2024 is somber.

We remind, Russia has lifted restrictions on gasoline exports, the energy ministry said on Friday, after scrapping most restrictions on exports of diesel last month, saying there was a surplus of supply while wholesale prices had declined. It said it could reimpose export bans if necessary, adding that stocks of gasoline had risen to around 2 million metric tons.

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