North America weekly chem rail traffic rises

North America weekly chem rail traffic rises

North American chemical rail traffic rose month on month and year on year, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) said on Wednesday.

For this week, total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 486,787 carloads and intermodal units, up 24.2 percent compared with the same week last year.

Total carloads for the week ending December 23 were 230,946 carloads, up 23.7 percent compared with the same week in 2022, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 255,841 containers and trailers, up 24.7 percent compared to 2022.

All of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2022. They included coal, up 16,458 carloads, to 66,730; motor vehicles and parts, up 4,936 carloads, to 16,287; and grain, up 4,475 carloads, to 21,237.

For the first 51 weeks of 2023, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 11,519,813 carloads, up 0.6 percent from the same point last year; and 12,478,616 intermodal units, down 5.0 percent from last year. Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 51 weeks of 2023 was 23,998,429 carloads and intermodal units, a decrease of 2.4 percent compared to last year.

North American rail volume for the week ending December 23, 2023, on 12 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 340,069 carloads, up 21.4 percent compared with the same week last year, and 337,542 intermodal units, up 25.3 percent compared with last year. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 677,611 carloads and intermodal units, up 23.3 percent. North American rail volume for the first 51 weeks of 2023 was 33,580,237 carloads and intermodal units, down 2.2 percent compared with 2022.

Canadian railroads reported 93,678 carloads for the week, up 23.1 percent, and 70,358 intermodal units, up 33.5 percent compared with the same week in 2022. For the first 51 weeks of 2023, Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 8,168,179 carloads, containers and trailers, down 2.5 percent.

We remind, North American chemical rail traffic rose for a sixth consecutive week, with railcar loadings for the week ended 16 December rising 8.8% year on year to 48,215. Increases in the US and Canada more than offset a decline in Mexico.

California county conducts surprise inspection at PBF's Martinez refinery

California county conducts surprise inspection at PBF's Martinez refinery

Health authorities in California's Contra Costa County said on Tuesday they had launched an unannounced inspection at PBF Energy's 156,400 barrel per day refinery in Martinez, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The inspection was aimed at requesting records and observing its operation with a focus on safety programs, reliability of equipment, and to follow up regarding several recent accidents, Contra Costa Health said.

The refinery had released petroleum coke dust in October, after a similar incident in July. The Department of Justice is also investigating the refinery over a November 2022 release of a powdery substance later determined to be spent catalysts.

Due to the facility's history of chemical spills and other mishaps, PBF is required by the county's industrial safety ordinance to allow inspectors on site and grant them complete access to the site and all corporate records, it said.

"So far in 2023, there have been 21 documented releases or spills of hazardous materials at PBF," the Contra Costa release said, adding that PBF also reported flaring at a rate of nearly one per week throughout the year.

This regulatory inspection will include staff from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, according to the release.

CCH staff will review records pertaining to deferred maintenance of equipment, programs and training relating to workplace safety, and policies and procedures related to emergency response and community notification.

The release also stated that the inspection will conduct a variety of field verification activities.

Contra Costa Health had issued an advisory earlier this month after a strong odor from the refinery, asking people with respiratory sensitivities to stay indoors with doors and windows closed if there is an odor in their area.

We remind, Nigeria's oil refinery in Port Harcourt will restart operations "after the Christmas break" following an overhaul, the petroleum minister said on Thursday, following several delays. Africa's top oil exporter has for years prioritized the production of its own fuels but efforts to overhaul refineries have often failed, leaving it almost entirely reliant on imports of refined crude.

Mitsubishi team up with Maersk to promote green methanol, acquire ISCC certification

Mitsubishi team up with Maersk to promote green methanol, acquire ISCC certification

Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Company, Inc. announces today that it has acquired International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC) PLUS for Bio-methanol and dimethyl ether (DME) produced at its Niigata Plant, said the company.

MGC has signed a Basic Agreement with Niigata Prefecture on the Purchase and Sales of Biogas to ensure the effective utilization of unused biogas generated from its sewage treatment plants (septic center). With this certification, MGC can manufacture and sell Bio-methanol produced from this unused biogas as an ISCC PLUS certified product manufactured via the mass balance method.

MGC will use existing facilities at Niigata Factory to process bio-methane and bio-CO2, the main components of biogas, and will start producing Bio-methanol in the spring of 2024. Bio-methanol produced via this method will be used in a wide range of applications including as a chemical feedstock, fuel, and hydrogen carrier, all under the Carbopath™ brand developed as part of MGC's Circular Carbon Methanol (CCM) concept. This certification also facilitates the use of Bio-methanol as an ISCC PLUS certified feedstock in the production of methanol derivative products.

DME is produced by dehydrating methanol and has various uses including as an injection agent and foaming agent. When DME is used as a fuel, its physical properties are similar to those of liquid petroleum gas (LPG), so it is a promising environmentally friendly alternative to the fossil fuel, by using Bio-methanol as a feedstock.

Based on our mission of "Creating value to share with society," we will continue to realize the social implementation of Carbopath™, build a carbon-neutral society based on the reduction of greenhouse gases and the recycling of resources, and actively promote the realization of a decarbonized society and a recycling-oriented society.

Mitsubishi Chemical sells Indonesian PTA business to Lintas Citra Pratama, said the company.
Mitsubishi Chemical Group Corporation resolved at its Executive Officers' Meeting held that it will transfer shares of PT Mitsubishi Chemical Indonesia (President: Hideyuki Matsuda; location: Special Capital Region of Jakarta, Indonesia, hereinafter, “MCCI”), which operates the pure terephthalic acid (hereinafter, "PTA") business to PT Lintas Citra Pratama.

Brazil's Petrobras mulls Mubadala refining partnership

Brazil's Petrobras mulls Mubadala refining partnership

Brazilian state-run oil company Petrobras said it will analyze a proposal from Abu Dhabi sovereign investor Mubadala on creating a strategic refining and biorefining partnership in the northeastern state of Bahia, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Friday's announcement re-ignited speculation about Petrobras potentially buying back the Mataripe refinery, which it sold under previous management to Mubadala in 2021 for $1.65 billion.

Since leftist Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva became president in January, members of his government have hinted at the Petrobras buying back some refining assets to boost its fuel output.

Petrobras said in a securities filing that the business model to be analyzed would take into account potential joint investments, but noted it would "evaluate the acquisition of a stake" in Mataripe and Mubadala-owned Acelen Renewable Energy.

The oil giant did not detail if the talks included fully buying back Mataripe, which accounts for more than 10% of Brazil's oil refining capacity.

Brazil's Mines and Energy Minister Alexandre Silveira backed a Mataripe buyback in September, while Petrobras CEO Jean Paul Prates said last month that it was "a possibility".

"The aim of the future partnership is to strengthen the business environment in the sector and increase the supply of renewable fuels in our country," Petrobras said on Friday.

Petrobras in September signed a memorandum of understanding to study joining Mubadala in its downstream operations in Bahia, including a biorefinery in which the Abu Dhabi fund estimates $2.5 billion in investments will be needed.

Sources told Reuters at the time that the partnership could open the door to talks on Mataripe as Petrobras remained eager to repurchase the refinery, despite potential antitrust hurdles.

We remind, Petrobras, further to the announcements made on May 24, 2022 and August 5, 2022, informs that, after complying with internal governance procedures, it has signed a new amendment to the natural gas purchase agreement with Yacimientos Petroliferos Fiscales Bolivianos (YPFB). The amendment signed changes the delivery profile of the total volume of gas contracted by Petrobras, due to the availability of gas for export by YPFB.

BPCL to invest Rup 5044 crore to set up polypropylene unit

BPCL to invest Rup 5044 crore to set up polypropylene unit

State-owned Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) on Wednesday said it will invest Rs 5,044 crore in setting up a polypropylene production unit at its Kochi refinery in Kerala to meet rising petrochemical demand in the country.

"This visionary project leverages the abundant propylene feedstock at Kochi Refinery, marking a significant milestone in reshaping the petrochemical industry landscape. The Polypropylene Unit, boasting a production capacity of 400 Kilo-Tonnes Per Annum, is strategically designed to meet market demands and reinforces BPCL's commitment to downstream industries," BPCL said in an official statement.

BPCL’s CMD G Krishnakumar shared, “our Rs 5,044 crore investment in the Kochi Refinery's Polypropylene Unit is part of our strategic commitment towards a sustainable future. Addressing India's petrochemical demand, this project will reshape the industry, meeting the requirements for packaging films, containers and more.”

Polypropylene, a versatile material, finds applications in packaging films, sheets, boxes, containers, bags, home ware, home care, personal care, and everyday articles. The project is slated for completion in approximately 46 months, signaling BPCL's dedication to driving innovation and meeting the evolving needs of the market.

We remind, Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd. (BPCL) has approved a project to add petrochemical production capacity at its 7.8-million tonne/year (tpy) refinery at Bina, Madya Pradesh, India. At a meeting of the company’s board on May 15, BPCL approved an investment of 490 billion rupees (nearly $6 billion) for an ethylene cracker project at the Bina refinery that, alongside a cracker, would include the addition of other downstream petrochemical plants as well as an expansion of the refinery, the operator said in separate regulatory filings to BSE Ltd. and the National Stock Exchange of India Ltd.