Nexeo Plastics appoints michelle boven as new vice president

Nexeo Plastics appoints michelle boven as new vice president

MRC -- Nexeo Plastics announced that Michelle Boven has joined the company as Vice President and General Manager, Commodities and Packaging, said Polymerupdate.

With this strategic hire, Nexeo Plastics continues to strengthen its leadership team and position itself for continued growth and success in the dynamic plastics distribution industry.

Ms. Boven brings a wealth of industry knowledge and experience to Nexeo Plastics. With more than 25 years of proven leadership in the market, she has a demonstrated track record of developing a growth strategy to capitalize on changing market dynamics, specifically in flexible and rigid packaging applications. Ms. Boven has held key leadership roles at Dow, Inc., ranging from business development leader to polyethylene product director, to North America excellence leader, and her most recent role of Commercial Director, North America.

In her new role at Nexeo Plastics, Ms. Boven will be responsible for the Commodities and Packaging Division. She will collaborate closely with the current leadership team to drive the company’s vision and help shape the future of plastics distribution, including the execution of standard operating plans designed to deliver financial goals, build cross-functional processes and improvements.

“We are thrilled to welcome Michelle to the Nexeo Plastics family,” said Paul Tayler, President and Chief Executive Officer of Nexeo Plastics, LLC. “Her extensive industry knowledge, leadership skills, and passion for innovation make her the ideal candidate to lead our Commodities and Packaging Division. We believe that her vision and experience will help us continue to deliver outstanding products and services to our customers and suppliers, while driving growth in this vital sector of our business.”

“I am honored to join Nexeo Plastics at this exciting time. The company’s commitment to delivering high-quality plastics solutions, combined with its strong customer focus, is truly impressive. I look forward to leading the Commodities and Packaging Division in pursuit of our growth ambitions and to ensure we continue to meet and exceed the expectations of our customers and suppliers.”

We remind, Nexeo Plastics, a global leader in thermoplastics resin distribution, is pleased to announce a significant expansion of its collaboration with Americhem, a pioneer in tailored compound solutions. Effective on November 1, 2023, Nexeo Plastics has become the preferred distributor of Americhem's full range of Engineered Compounds in North America, encompassing Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the United States.

U.S. fuel inventories surge as refiners boost runs, post holiday lull

U.S. fuel inventories surge as refiners boost runs, post holiday lull

MRC -- U.S. gasoline and distillate inventories posted large builds last week as demand slipped, while crude stocks fell more than expected, the Energy Information Administration said on Thursday, news that sank prices for crude, gasoline and heating oil, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

U.S. gasoline stocks rose by 10.9 million barrels, the largest build since May 1993, to 237 million barrels in the week to Dec 29, the EIA said, compared with analysts' expectations in a Reuters poll for a 215,000 barrel drop.

Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, rose by 10.1 million barrels, the most since January 2019, to 125.9 million barrels, versus expectations for a 588,000 barrel rise, the EIA data showed.

Gasoline futures fell to 2.9%, while heating oil futures fell 1.3% and crude benchmarks eased more than 1%. Brent futures were down $1.25, 1.6%, to $77 by 12:18 p.m. ET (1718 GMT), while U.S. crude futures eased $1.04, or 1.4%, to $71.69.

Gasoline supplied, an indicator of demand, fell 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd), the largest drop since December 2022, to about 8 million bpd. Distillate fuel oil supplied fell to 2.7 million bpd, the lowest since 1999.

"Weaker implied demand makes sense, given the post-holiday lull after the front-running of demand ahead of the holiday period, nonetheless, such chunky product builds will weigh on sentiment," said Kpler analyst Matt Smith.

Crude inventories fell by 5.5 million barrels in the last week to 431.1 million barrels, driven by stronger refinery runs and higher year-end exports as companies looked to avoid a year-end storage tax.

Analysts' had expected a 3.7 million-barrel drop, in a Reuters poll. Refinery crude runs rose by 121,000 barrels per day in the last week, EIA said. Refinery utilization rates rose by 0.2 percentage points in the week to 93.5%.

Crude exports climbed 1.4 million bpd to 5.3 million bpd. Net U.S. crude imports fell last week by 758,000 barrels per day, EIA said.

We remind, U.S. refiner and petrochemical manufacturer Phillips 66 is in active discussions for a sale of its non-core assets, Chief Executive Mark Lashier said on Thursday during an energy conference. Last year, the company said it would monetize $3 billion in non-core assets in 2024 as part of a plan to boost returns by cutting costs and assets. Lashier, however, said there was no fixed timeline when such potential sales may occur.

Coolbrook successfully cracks naphtha in its electric steam cracking pilot plant

Coolbrook successfully cracks naphtha in its electric steam cracking pilot plant

MRC -- Engineering firm Coolbrook (Helsinki, Finland) said that it recently completed a successful demonstration of the electric steam cracking of naphtha at its pilot plant in the Netherlands and that it plans to test other traditional feedstocks this year, said the company.

The test, carried out in December 2023, assessed Coolbrook’s Roto Dynamic Reactor (RDR) technology at the company’s pilot plant in the Brightlands Chemelot Campus in Geleen. The electric rotating technology is being developed with the aim of replacing traditional fossil fuel-based steam cracker furnaces.

Coolbrook said that, based on the test’s positive results, it will continue with performance testing and optimization of the technology in 2024. The company will “first test various traditional feedstocks and later also recycled and renewable feedstocks to enable circular and bio-based materials manufacturing at industrial scale,” it said. The deployment of the technology at an industrial scale on initial customer projects is targeted for this year, it added, without giving further details.

In early 2023, Coolbrook announced separate collaboration projects with Sabic (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia) and Braskem SA (Sao Paulo, Brazil) for the assessment of its RDR technology as part of the chemical companies’ ongoing initiatives to potentially electrify their steam crackers. It has also previously announced partnerships with companies including Shell and ArcelorMittal.

Steam crackers emit approximately 300 million metric tons of CO2 annually, according to Coolbrook. Electrical cracking furnaces, combined with renewable electricity, could reduce these emissions to zero, it said.

We remind, W. R. Grace & Co, the leading independent supplier of polyolefin catalyst technology and polypropylene process technology, announced that Oriental Energy Co. Ltd. has started up a new plant with Grace’s UNIPOL PP Process Technology. Located in Maoming, China, the new 400 Kpy reactor line began producing high-quality homopolymers and random copolymers on September 15, 2023.

North American chemical rail volume increased 1% in 2023

North American chemical rail volume increased 1% in 2023

MRC -- North American chemical rail traffic rose for an eighth consecutive week, with railcar loadings for the last week of 2023 rising 24.3% year on year to 44,162, according to the Association of American Railroads.

Loadings rose in all three countries: the US, Canada and Mexico. For the full year, chemical railcar loadings were up 1.0% from 2022 to 2,364,975 in 2023 as increases in Canada and Mexico more than offset an 0.3% decline in the US.

In the US, chemical railcar loadings represent about 20% of chemical transportation by tonnage, with trucks, barges and pipelines carrying the rest. In Canada, chemical producers rely on rail to ship more than 70% of their products, with some exclusively using rail.

Total US railcar loading were up 2.0% year on year in the fourth quarter while US intermodal traffic was up 5.5%, meaning "that Q4 was clearly the best quarter of 2023 for US rail volumes on a year-over-year basis”, said AAR senior vice president John Gray.

“It appears that intense rail efforts to improve service quality are paying off. Railroads are hopeful that gains in the fourth quarter will carry over into the first quarter of 2024 and beyond,” he said.

We remind, North American chemical rail traffic rose month on month and year on year. The following table shows rail traffic for the week ending on 23 December. Figures show railcar loadings. In the US, chemical railcar loadings represent about 20% of chemical transportation by tonnage, with trucks, barges and pipelines carrying the rest. In Canada, chemical producers rely on rail to ship more than 70% of their products, with some exclusively using rail.

Colonial Chemical set to inaugurate Saudi Arabia facility

Colonial Chemical set to inaugurate Saudi Arabia facility

MRC -- US personal care ingredients maker Colonial Chemical is to inaugurate a manufacturing facility in Dammam, Saudi Arabia on 17 January, said Personalcaremagazine.

The plant was built by Colonial Chemical Middle East Arabia (CCME), a joint venture between Colonial Chemical and its Saudi partners, Sadeem Investments and Earth Reservoir for Oil & Gas.

The new facility will manufacture speciality chemicals and surfactants to meet the demand of service companies and formulators in the consumer and personal care, oil and gas, mining and other industries.

“The state-of-the-art facility brings manufacturing technologies and capabilities on a large scale allowing our customers within Saudi Arabia and the region to meet the IKTIVA and Vision 2030 of the country,” the company said in a statement.

The facility will also provide a secure sourcing point for the larger Middle East region taking advantage of local feedstocks.

“We are very excited about the new venture and the very positive response we have had from the market. We look forward to developing the business and making Colonial Chemical ME Arabia a strong contributor to growth in the region,” said chairman David Anderson Sr.

We remind, Personal care ingredient distributor Azelis has acquired two competitors, Localpack of Colombia and Oktrade in Turkey. Founded in 2004, Localpack is a speciality chemical distributor located in Medellin that employs 27 staff. The transaction is expected to close early in the first quarter of 2024 after fulfillment of customary closing conditions.