Ravago and Repsol unveil polypropylene compounds factory in Tangier

Ravago and Repsol unveil polypropylene compounds factory in Tangier

MRC -- The partnership between Belgium's Ravago and Spain’s Repsol celebrated the grand opening of a cutting-edge factory in Tangier, exclusively dedicated to the production of polypropylene compounds, a pivotal material extensively utilized in the automotive sector, said Chemanalyst.

In a momentous ceremony attended by the Minister of Industry and Trade, Ryad Mezzour, the Spanish energy behemoth, Repsol, and the Belgian plastics giant, Ravago, unveiled their latest compounding facility nestled within the Tangier Automotive City free zone. This collaborative venture aims to ramp up production capabilities to meet the surging demand from automotive professionals across the region.

With a substantial investment amounting to 20 million euros, the newly established plant is poised to manufacture a diverse range of materials, including polypropylene (PP) compounds, renowned for their ubiquitous presence in automotive applications. Furthermore, the facility will churn out polyamide, polybutylene terephthalate (PBT), and alloy compounds, as outlined in a joint statement issued by Ravago and Repsol. Strategically situated in the Tangier-Tetouan-Al Hoceima region, the factory is strategically positioned to cater to the needs of local clients, particularly esteemed automakers like Renault and Stellantis, who have steadfastly supported the project since its inception.

As per a statement released by the collaborating entities in conjunction with the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the plant boasts an impressive annual production capacity of 18,500 tonnes, with provisions for future scalability. The inauguration of this factory assumes paramount importance in nurturing the growth of the national automotive sector. Armed with state-of-the-art technology, this industrial facility is set to bolster our competitive edge by facilitating localized production of automotive components, thereby advancing value chain integration and augmenting sectoral offerings. The collaboration with Ravago in the region plays a pivotal role in bolstering our foothold within the automotive value chain in Morocco.

Repsol remains steadfast in its commitment to further investments in automotive materials, with plans to expand production capacities to effectively support the manufacturing requirements of models assembled in Tangier, Kenitra, and Casablanca factories. This partnership underscores our unwavering dedication to strengthening our regional presence and delivering top-notch materials to our esteemed clientele. For Ravago, this milestone signifies a significant stride in our growth trajectory within the realm of plastic composites.

Repsol, a Spanish conglomerate, is predominantly involved in a spectrum of activities encompassing exploration, production, transportation, and refining of oil and natural gas. Additionally, the company is engaged in the manufacturing, distribution, and marketing of petrochemical and natural gas products.

We remnd, Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA and joint venture partner Repsol on Monday signed an agreement amending the original terms of a project in the country, aiming to revive its crude and gas output. The agreement for production joint venture Petroquiriquire, which includes the fields Quiriquire, Mene Grande and Barua-Motatan, was signed in Caracas by Venezuela's oil minister Pedro Tellechea and executives from Repsol.

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Finland's Neste shares plummet on downbeat biofuel sales margin outlook

Finland's Neste shares plummet on downbeat biofuel sales margin outlook

MRC -- Shares of Finland's Neste plummeted after the biofuels producer and oil refiner posted fourth-quarter operating profit below expectations and forecast a lower 2024 renewable products sales margin than last year's, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

With its Singapore plant extension finally up and running, Neste expects 2024 renewables sales volume to grow to around 4.4 million metric tons with a comparable sales margin of $600-800 per ton, well below 2023's average of $863.

"We think the FY24 renewable products sales margin guidance...is likely to disappoint investors," RBC analysts said in a note to clients, adding sales of biodiesel could also be affected by increased competition and lower tax credits. Neste's shares fell 12% to 27.7 euros in morning trade.

Neste in December said it planned to exit fossil fuels production and would convert its last remaining oil refinery in Porvoo into a biofuels plant by the mid-2030s. Its renewable products comparable sales margin rose 7.7% to $813 per ton from a year ago.

For the October-December quarter, Neste posted a 10.2% fall in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) fell to 672 million euros ($725 million), missing the 790.7 million expected by seven analysts polled by LSEG. Neste's board proposed a dividend of 1.2 euros per share.

We remind, a planned two-day strike action by Finnish industrial workers early next month will hit output and supply from Neste's oil refinery in Finland. The strike could affect output for up to a week as production must gradually be reduced ahead of time and then ramped up afterwards, Ryynanen said. A company spokesperson said Neste plans to reduce activity at Porvoo and operate the facility in "a safe state" for the duration of the Feb. 1-2 strike and that deliveries by road, rail and sea would be halted.

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Czechs close to buying Shell stake in MiRO refinery

Czechs close to buying Shell stake in MiRO refinery

MRC -- Czech oil pipeline operator MERO is in the final stages of talks to buy Shell Deutschland's 32.5% stake in the Mineraloelraffinerie Oberrhein refinery in Karlsruhe, daily paper Hospodarske Noviny reported without citing sources, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The purchase by state-owned MERO should be approved by the Czech government within weeks, the paper said. "We constantly evaluate opportunities to reshape our portfolio, in line with our business strategy," a Shell Germany spokesperson said.

"Commercial sensitivities prevent us from commenting on portfolio activities that we may or may not currently be engaged in."

A MERO spokesperson said the company is "working on strengthening energy security and evaluates opportunities to achieve that" but does not comment on ongoing business negotiations or development plans.

The Czech industry and finance ministries did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The MiRO refinery is connected to the TAL pipeline from Italy, in which MERO has a stake.

TAL also supplies the Czech Republic and is expected to be the sole Czech source of crude after its MERO-sponsored capacity expansion this year and expected shutdown of the Druzhba pipeline from Russia.

MiRO has processing capacity of 15.8 million metric tons per year. The Czech government has bought gas storage and transit networks while a state-owned company has taken over a network of petrol stations in a drive to increase national energy security since Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022.

We remind, shares of Finland's Neste plummeted after the biofuels producer and oil refiner posted fourth-quarter operating profit below expectations and forecast a lower 2024 renewable products sales margin than last year's. With its Singapore plant extension finally up and running, Neste expects 2024 renewables sales volume to grow to around 4.4 million metric tons with a comparable sales margin of $600-800 per ton, well below 2023's average of $863.

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Japan's Cosmo expects around 90% refinery run rate in 2024-25

Japan's Cosmo expects around 90% refinery run rate in 2024-25

MRC -- Japanese oil company Cosmo Energy Holdings expects its refinery run rate to hover around 90% in the business year starting in April as it plans maintenance shutdowns at its Chiba and Yokkaichi sites, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The estimated run rate for its three refineries in the current year through March 31 is 87.5%, factoring in the impact of scheduled maintenance, down from 97.8% a year earlier, the company said.

The reduced run rate is attributed to scheduled turnaround at its Chiba and Sakai refineries, coupled with technical problems encountered at refineries, including Yokkaichi, according to a company spokesperson.

"For the next year, our plan includes large-scale maintenance on Yokkaichi and No.2 unit in Chiba, mirroring the work we did this year with Sakai and No.1 unit in Chiba," Senior Managing Executive Officer Takayuki Uematsu told a news conference.

As a result, the utilization ratio is expected to come in at around 90%, he said. "But we aim to enhance earnings by avoiding unplanned outages," he added, saying the company's profit in the April to December period was reduced by 17 billion yen ($114 million) due to unforeseen shutdowns.

Cosmo on Thursday reported a 26% drop in April-December net profit as lower oil prices reduced inventory valuation gains. It posted a profit of 45.8 billion yen in the nine months through Dec. 31 against 62.1 billion yen a year earlier and stuck to its full-year profit forecast of 78 billion yen.

Cosmo has not succeeded in Japan's public auctions for offshore wind power projects, but its goal to develop 600 megawatts of offshore wind farms by 2030 remains unchanged, Uematsu said. "Considering that all the auctioned projects have been granted to consortia involving major trading companies, we acknowledge the significant influence of their network power," he said.

We remind, Shares of Finland's Neste plummeted after the biofuels producer and oil refiner posted fourth-quarter operating profit below expectations and forecast a lower 2024 renewable products sales margin than last year's. With its Singapore plant extension finally up and running, Neste expects 2024 renewables sales volume to grow to around 4.4 million metric tons with a comparable sales margin of $600-800 per ton, well below 2023's average of $863.

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Al Rushaid secures Saudi Ethylene plant expansion deal

MRC -- Al Rushaid Construction Company (ARCC), a significant player in the construction industry, has recently announced a significant milestone in its journey – the securing of a subcontract from the Korean group SGC Arabia, said Chemanalyst.

This subcontract is specifically designated for a substantial project involving the development of an ethylene cracker plant located in the dynamic landscape of Saudi Arabia.

ARCC, a noteworthy joint venture between the Al Rushaid Petroleum Investment Company (ARPIC) and EEI Corporation from the Philippines, has been making strides since its inception in 1993. Over the years, the company has carved a niche for itself, emerging as a leading construction entity renowned for its expertise across various sectors, including oil and gas, energy and water, petrochemicals, as well as industrial and manufacturing domains.

The recent announcement of securing the subcontract for the ethylene cracker plant project marks a significant achievement for ARCC. The project entails the expansion of an existing ethylene cracker plant, where ARCC will play a pivotal role as the designated general contractor. This development underscores ARCC's capabilities and reinforces its position as a trusted partner in delivering complex construction projects of substantial scale and importance.

The ethylene cracker plant, which is the focal point of this project, is owned by the Saudi Ethylene and Polyethylene Company (SEPC), a joint venture between Tasnee Sahara Olefins Company (TSOC). With the project slated for completion in 2026 and production scheduled to commence in the first half of the same year, it represents a significant milestone in the region's petrochemical landscape.

Upon completion, the expanded ethylene cracker plant is expected to contribute to a substantial increase in the production of olefins, with an anticipated growth rate of 18%. This enhancement in production capacity not only underscores the strategic importance of the project but also signifies the positive economic impact it is poised to deliver to the region.

The significance of this project extends beyond the mere expansion of a petrochemical facility; it embodies the collaborative efforts of multiple stakeholders, each bringing their expertise and resources to the table. ARCC's involvement as a subcontractor highlights its commitment to excellence and its ability to collaborate seamlessly with international partners to deliver projects of utmost quality and precision.

Moreover, the partnership between ARCC and SGC Arabia reflects the global nature of modern construction projects, where diverse teams come together to execute complex undertakings in diverse geographical locations. This project serves as a testament to the interconnectedness of the global economy and the synergies that arise when organizations from different parts of the world collaborate towards a common goal.

As ARCC embarks on this ambitious endeavor, it underscores its commitment to driving sustainable growth and contributing to the development of Saudi Arabia's petrochemical industry. Through its expertise, innovation, and unwavering dedication to excellence, ARCC is poised to play a pivotal role in shaping the future of the region's construction landscape.

We remind, SIBUR-Khimprom's ethylene and propylene production unit in Perm emerged relatively unscathed following a recent fire, with plans underway to swiftly complete the necessary repairs and resume operations in the near future. The company reassured stakeholders that the incident did not result in significant damage to the production unit and outlined its commitment to fulfilling customer obligations without major disruptions.

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