Weak Cargo Demand Impacts the Isophthalic Acid Trade Volume in the US Market

Weak Cargo Demand Impacts the Isophthalic Acid Trade Volume in the US Market

MRC -- The Isophthalic Acid prices in the US market continued to decline amidst the low demand and the declining cargo availability, impacting the overall market prices in the US domestic market, said Chemanalyst.

This decline comes after a continuous decline in feedstock prices (Mixed Xylene) fueled by a moderate demand from the PET and end-use manufacturing industries. When looking at different asset markets, it appears that sellers of Isophthalic Acid are acknowledging the possibility of a slowdown in the United States. Towards the end of the eleventh month of the year 2023, the price quotations of Isophthalic Acid were observed at USD 1332 per MT, CFR Texas.

In the last quarter of the year, the prospects for refrigerated sea trade have diminished, as cargo demand is anticipated to decrease for the second consecutive year. Additionally, transit limitations on the drought-affected Panama Canal are beginning to affect the capacity of vessels that cater to the export of Isophthalic Acid.

Cargo owners should be ready for additional charges from container shipping lines for the Panama Canal, and they should verify if their preferred shipping line guarantees slots before making commitments and completing the Isophthalic Acid demand. The challenges for these networks lie in cost and profitability, as they demand higher freight volumes to compensate for the additional drivers compared to over-the-road operations. The demand-supply gap of Isophthalic Acid in the US market is expected to remain steady amidst the slow demand.

Despite the decrease in cargo demand, reefer container freight rates continue to exhibit resilience in comparison to the broader container shipping market. The above-mentioned facets impacted the operational rate and the final selling prices of Isophthalic Acid. This pattern has persisted into the fourth quarter of 2023, and further decreases in reefer container freight rates are anticipated for the upcoming year, creating a better opportunity for Isophthalic Acid traders.

The API has disclosed a drop of 0.817 million barrels in inventories of US crude oil. This has subsequently led to a decrease in the production cost of Isophthalic Acid. The White House Council on Supply Chain Resilience unveiled the establishment of the Office of Multimodal Freight Infrastructure and Policy (Multimodal Freight Office). This office will manage and enhance the United States freight network and supply chains. According to ChemAnalyst, the prices of Isophthalic Acid are anticipated to remain stable in the coming weeks of 2023 due to a potential decrease in new orders and a decline in feedstock prices.

We remind, Petronas Chemicals Aromatics, Malaysia's state-owned petrochemical behemoth, is strategically orchestrating a temporary shutdown of its paraxylene production facility in Kerteh, Malaysia, scheduled to commence at the end of November. This carefully planned hiatus is part of a broader initiative aimed at scheduled maintenance, designed to elevate the efficiency and reliability of the production facility. The facility, boasting a considerable capacity of 550 thousand tons of paraxylene annually, will undergo an extensive three-week maintenance period.

mrchub.com

BASF advances 54-MW green hydrogen project

BASF advances 54-MW green hydrogen project

MRC -- BASF SE, the German chemical giant, has achieved a major breakthrough with the formal approval of $136.2 million state grant dedicated to the establishment of a green hydrogen plant at its Ludwigshafen headquarters, said Chemanalyst.

This financial endorsement signals a critical advancement for the Hy4Chem-EI project, a collaborative endeavor between BASF and Siemens Energy, propelling it into the eagerly anticipated construction phase.

The funding for this pioneering project will be sourced from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action. The Hy4Chem-EI initiative is designed to introduce a cutting-edge 54-megawatt proton exchange membrane electrolyser, with the capacity to produce a substantial 8,000 metric tons of hydrogen annually. The electricity essential for hydrogen generation will be derived exclusively from renewable energy sources, aligning the project with a sustainable and environmentally conscious approach.

The primary strategic objective for the hydrogen produced at the Ludwigshafen facility is to serve as a fundamental raw material for the decarbonization of BASF's chemical production processes. Additionally, a portion of the hydrogen output will be earmarked for deployment in transportation applications within the Rhine-Neckar Metropolitan Region.

Anticipated to be among the largest of its kind in Germany upon activation, the Ludwigshafen electrolyser is expected to make significant contributions to the nation's green hydrogen landscape. The commissioning of this innovative facility is currently scheduled for the year 2025, marking a pivotal milestone in the transition towards sustainable and eco-friendly energy solutions.

This recent funding approval represents a crucial milestone for the Hy4Chem-EI project, occurring approximately one year after the European Commission (EC) granted Germany the necessary approval to allocate a substantial grant to support this groundbreaking initiative. The collaborative efforts of BASF and Siemens Energy in the Hy4Chem-EI project underscore their commitment to pioneering advancements in the realm of green hydrogen technology.

As the global community intensifies efforts to combat climate change and transition towards more sustainable energy solutions, projects such as Hy4Chem-EI take center stage in contributing to a cleaner and greener future. The support garnered from governmental bodies further underscores the recognition of the project's significance in advancing the green hydrogen agenda.

BASF's success in securing funding for the Hy4Chem-EI project marks a momentous step forward in the realization of a sustainable and innovative green hydrogen facility. As construction activities commence, the project represents a beacon of progress in the broader context of green energy transition, embodying the collaborative spirit required to address environmental challenges on a global scale.

We remind, BASF Services Europe GmbH today opened its new service Hub location in Berlin. BASF will use 15,000 square meters over eight floors in the SCALE office complex in the Prenzlauer Berg district, said the company.
With around 2,800 employees, BASF Services Europe GmbH provides a wide range of business management services for BASF Group companies in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

mrchub.com

ECHA report confirms that regulatory action is needed on PVC and its additives

ECHA report confirms that regulatory action is needed on PVC and its additives

MRC -- Civil society organisations welcome the publication of the investigation report on PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and its additives by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), said Zerowasteeurope.

The findings clearly indicate environmental damage and harm to health from some substances added to PVC and the release of its microparticles.

More than 60 environmental NGOs are calling on the European Commission to phase-out PVC by 2030. Therefore they are pushing for a restriction on the harmful plastic and its additives under the REACH regulation.

The ECHA report sheds light on the damaging health and environmental impacts that PVC poses, some of which have been known for decades. The harmfulness of its additives is highlighted. ECHA moreover confirms the existence of safe alternatives across applications. The report supports the conclusion that we need immediate action by EU policy makers to reduce the risks of PVC and its additives. We therefore ask the Commission to act on PVC, as set out in the Restrictions Roadmap under the Chemical Strategy for Sustainability, and swiftly mandate ECHA to prepare an ambitious restriction under the REACH regulation as a first step to facilitate a complete phase-out of this material by 2030.

The NGOs see the need for this restriction to not only include single problematic substances or groups of additives, but also the production, use and placing on the market of PVC itself. Only essential uses of PVC, for which no safer alternatives are available and which are needed to protect our health or safety or are critical for society – should in their view be allowed under strictly controlled conditions.

In its role as a global model for chemical regulation, we also call on the European Commission and its Member States to demand a global ban of PVC under the new Global Plastics Treaty.

The European Commission already acknowledged the risks of PVC back in 2000 in a Green Paper titled Environmental issues of PVC. Since then the scientific evidence has compounded; the lifecycle of PVC products has been associated with numerous health complications, including endocrine disruption, reproductive impairment, cancer, neurotoxicity, immune system suppression and respiratory irritation.

The NGOs trust that the Commission will take its responsibility seriously and take long-overdue action on PVC.

We remind, Asahimas Chemical, a prominent subsidiary of the renowned Japanese petrochemical giant Asahi Glass, has successfully concluded comprehensive repair operations on Vinyl Chloride Line 3 at its facility in Cilegon, Indonesia. The facility, boasting an impressive annual capacity of 400 thousand tons of Vinyl Chloride Monomer (VCM), underwent meticulous repair activities aimed at addressing operational challenges.

mrchub.com

Petronas Chemicals aromatics halts paraxylene production in Kartekh

Petronas Chemicals aromatics halts paraxylene production in Kartekh

MRC -- Petronas Chemicals Aromatics, Malaysia's state-owned petrochemical behemoth, is strategically orchestrating a temporary shutdown of its paraxylene production facility in Kerteh, Malaysia, scheduled to commence at the end of November, said Chemanalyst.

This carefully planned hiatus is part of a broader initiative aimed at scheduled maintenance, designed to elevate the efficiency and reliability of the production facility. The facility, boasting a considerable capacity of 550 thousand tons of paraxylene annually, will undergo an extensive three-week maintenance period.

In conjunction with this, Petronas Chemicals Aromatics had previously communicated its intention to suspend benzene production in Kerteh, Malaysia, as part of the scheduled maintenance activities. This specific production unit, endowed with an annual capacity of 200 thousand tons of benzene, is slated for repairs spanning a duration of 40-50 days.

Paraxylene, a crucial component in the production of Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET), plays a pivotal role in various industries, from packaging to textiles. Hence, the meticulous planning of scheduled maintenance for the paraxylene production facility underscores Petronas Chemicals Aromatics' commitment to ensuring the reliability and optimal performance of its indispensable production units.

Insights derived from the analysis provide valuable context to the industry landscape, indicating a notable increase in the consumption of PET from January to August of the current year. The estimated total consumption experienced a noteworthy 17% surge compared to the corresponding period in the previous year, reaching an impressive volume of 833.74 thousand tons. This surge substantiates the escalating demand for PET, accentuating the strategic importance of maintaining a robust paraxylene production infrastructure.

Petronas, as a government-owned entity in Malaysia, stands as a prominent player in the oil, gas, and petrochemical sectors. With a distinguished position in the Global Fortune 500, Petronas currently maintains a robust presence in markets across more than 60 countries globally. The planned maintenance activities for its paraxylene and benzene production units align seamlessly with Petronas' overarching commitment to operational excellence and sustainability across its diverse portfolio.

In essence, the temporary shutdown of paraxylene production in Kerteh for scheduled maintenance exemplifies Petronas Chemicals Aromatics' unwavering dedication to ensuring the reliability and efficiency of its critical production facilities. This proactive approach not only adheres to industry best practices but also accentuates Petronas' pivotal role as a key player in shaping Malaysia's dynamic petrochemical landscape. With the global demand for PET on a continual rise, the strategic planning of maintenance activities assumes paramount importance in sustaining a resilient and responsive petrochemical industry.

We remind, Asahimas Chemical, a prominent subsidiary of the renowned Japanese petrochemical giant Asahi Glass, has successfully concluded comprehensive repair operations on Vinyl Chloride Line 3 at its facility in Cilegon, Indonesia. The facility, boasting an impressive annual capacity of 400 thousand tons of Vinyl Chloride Monomer (VCM), underwent meticulous repair activities aimed at addressing operational challenges.

mrchub.com

Neste has been granted energy investment aid for its green hydrogen project at the Porvoo refinery

Neste has been granted energy investment aid for its green hydrogen project at the Porvoo refinery

MRC -- In November 2023, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment in Finland granted Neste an energy investment aid of EUR 1.96 million for heat recovery from the green hydrogen production being planned for the Porvoo refinery, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The goal of the project, which is in the basic engineering phase, is to build a 120MW electrolyzer that produces green hydrogen for the refinery’s processes. In addition to green hydrogen, the production also generates heat that could be recovered. The investment decision readiness regarding the green hydrogen project is expected to be reached during 2024.

In addition to Neste, energy investment aid was granted to the regional Finnish energy company Porvoon Energia. Neste and Porvoon Energia have in cooperation initiated the study on heat recovery and utilization in the City of Porvoo’s district heating network.

“We appreciate the support the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment of Finland gives to the society's transition to renewable energy. If the project is realized, the funding helps us and Porvoon Energia to utilize the heat generated from the green hydrogen production process to the benefit of society,” says Markku Korvenranta, Executive Vice President for Oil Products business unit at Neste.

The aid granted to Neste is part of energy investment aid under Finland’s Recovery and Resilience Plan. The aid programme aims to reduce Finland’s greenhouse gas emissions, support Finland’s carbon neutrality targets and encourage businesses and, in particular, industry to replace fossil fuels with green energy.

We remind, A severe storm in the Black Sea region has disrupted up to 2 million barrels per day (bpd) of oil exports from Kazakhtsan and Russia, according to state's officials and port agent data. Oil loadings from Novorossiysk and the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) terminal in nearby Yuzhnaya Ozereyevka have been suspended since last week.

mrchub.com