Motiva's Texas coker to restart in next two weeks, say sources

Motiva's Texas coker to restart in next two weeks, say sources

Motiva Enterprises plans to restart the large coker at its 626,000 bpd Port Arthur, Texas, refinery within the next two weeks, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The 110,000-bpd DCU-2 coker was scheduled to restart by Feb. 15 from a planned overhaul that began on Jan. 8, according to the sources. The restart was delayed for needed repairs to valves and coke drums after the overhaul finished.

A Motiva spokesperson was not immediately available to discuss refinery operations.

Motiva could begin the coker restart as early as this weekend and complete the restart within a week, but the company is prepared to take up to two weeks to return the unit to full production, the sources said.

DCU-2 is the larger of two cokers at the Motiva refinery converting residual crude oil from distillation units into either motor fuel feedstocks or petroleum coke, which can be used as a coal substitute.

We remind, Motiva Enterprises is scheduled to shut the large CDU and large coker at its 626,000 bpd Port Arthur, Texas (U.S.). Motiva will shut the 350,000 bpd VPS-5 CDU and the 110,000-bpd DCU-2 coker for planned overhauls of the units expected to take 45 days to complete, said the three sources.

Spain's Cepsa, Apical begin work on Southern Europe's biggest biofuels plant

Spain's Cepsa, Apical begin work on Southern Europe's biggest biofuels plant

Spain's Cepsa and Apical Group's Bio-Oils unit began building what will be Southern Europe's largest biofuels plant able to produce 500,000 metric tons of renewable diesel and SAF per year, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The oil and gas company, which is seeking to shift to lower carbon energy, and vegetable oil processor Apical said they will invest 1.2 billion euros ($1.30 billion) in the plant that will start operating in 2026. Initially, they planned to spend 1 billion euros. A Cepsa spokesperson said the extra money would fund infrastructure work at the nearby port of Huelva.

In all Cepsa, owned by Abu Dhabi fund Mubadala and the Carlyle Group CG.O, is investing up to 8 billion euros to shift to low carbon energy. The construction of the plant marks "the first major milestone" of the company's strategy, Chief Executive Maarten Wetselaar said.

Located in the southern Spanish region of Andalusia, the plant will use organic waste, such as used cooking oils, and contribute to the oil company's goal of producing 2.5 million tons of biofuels, of which 800,000 tons will be SAF, by the end of the decade.

Biofuels are seen as essential in decarbonising transportation, such as aviation, which is hard to electrify.

We remind, Cepsa and Air Europa have sealed an alliance whereby the energy company will supply 14.4 tons of SAF to the airline for one year to cover the first monthly Madrid-Havana flight. This is the first time that two companies in Spain have established a regular supply of this sustainable fuel for a specific air route. During the period of collaboration between Cepsa and Air Europa, the emission of around 50 tons of CO2 will be avoided, equivalent to planting 575 trees.

Lanxess completes expansion of Rhenodiv production unit in India

Lanxess completes expansion of Rhenodiv production unit in India

Lanxess has successfully completed and put into operation the expansion of its Rhenodiv production line in Jhagadia, Gujarat on February 1, 2024, said the company.

With this new facility, the company’s Rhein Chemie business unit has significantly increased its production capabilities and will be able to meet the growing demand of the Indian Sub-continent and the Asian tire and rubber goods markets.

The new production line features state-of-the-art equipment and technology, allowing Lanxess to produce high-quality technology tire release agents more efficiently. The company has another such facility in Argentina as well.

The production of high-performance tires and molded elastomer products rely on the use of effective release agents. Process safety and low scrap rates are key for the efficient production of tires and molded elastomer articles. Rhenodiv release agents are strictly water-based, solvent-free and free of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and therefore, environmentally friendly.

Commenting on the development, Matthias Zachert, CEO & Chairman of the Board of Management of Lanxess, said, “India is an important region for us and this strategic milestone reflects our commitment towards meeting the growing demands of our valued customers in the region. The new facility not only amplifies our production capacity but also showcases our faith in the immense potential of the Indian market."

We remind, LANXESS has launched a more sustainable solution for its plasticizer Mesamoll, said Specialchem. The phthalate-free, well-gelling and exceptionally saponification-resistant plasticizer can be applied to a wide range of polymers, such as PVC, PUR and rubber.

Vietnam aims to produce 100,000-500,000 tons of hydrogen a year by 2030

Vietnam aims to produce 100,000-500,000 tons of hydrogen a year by 2030

Vietnam aims to produce 100,000-500,000 metric tons of hydrogen a year by 2030 as part of its energy transition efforts, according to the country's hydrogen development strategy adopted earlier this month, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The output would be raised to 10-20 million tons by 2050, including green hydrogen, according to a government document detailing the strategy reviewed by Reuters.

The production, distribution and usage of hydrogen will help "meet the country's national targets for climate change, green growth and to meet its net zero target by 2050," the document said.

Hydrogen is categorized 'green' when it is extracted from water using electrolysis powered by renewable energy and is seen as crucial to help decarbonize industry, though the technology is still expensive and at an early stage of development.

The hydrogen output will partly replace natural gas and coal at power plants by 2030, the document said, adding that hydrogen will also be used for transport and for fertilizer, steel and cement production. By 2050, hydrogen will be responsible for 10% of the country's electricity generation, it added.

Vietnam will mobilize both public and private funds for hydrogen production, including from green bond issuance and from Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP), a financing scheme made up of equity investments, grants and concessionary loans from members of Group of Seven (G7), multilateral banks and private lenders.

We remind, Ecolab, Inc. announced the grand opening of its new cutting-edge manufacturing plant in Ho Nai Industrial Park, near Ho Chi Minh City. This new facility demonstrates Ecolab’s continued commitment to supporting customers, innovation, and sustainability in Vietnam and throughout Southeast Asia.

BASF plans more German cuts even as group profit set to rebound

BASF plans more German cuts even as group profit set to rebound

Germany's BASF, opens new tab will slash another 1 billion euros (USD1.1 billion) in annual costs at its Ludwigshafen headquarters, citing weak demand and high energy costs in its home market, highlighting the country's economic troubles, said Reuters.

The annual cost savings will be reached by the end of 2026, affecting both production and administrative activities at its largest chemical complex, but it was set to shrink further beyond that, the German chemicals giant said in a statement on Friday.

It also predicted that group earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), adjusted for one-offs, would rebound to between 8 billion and 8.6 billion euros in 2024. Last year, it fell 29% to 7.67 billion.
After gains of as much as 4%, the stock was down 1.6% at 1301 GMT on market disappointment over a 2024 free cash flow guidance of 100 million to 600 million euros, down from 2.7 billion last year.

CEO Martin Brudermueller, who will quit in April to become non-executive chairman of carmaker Mercedes-Benz (MBGn.DE), opens new tab, cited high competitiveness of the group outside of Germany under challenging conditions.

"On the other hand, the negative earnings at our Ludwigshafen site show the urgent need for further decisive actions here to enhance our competitiveness," he added.

An economic downcycle at home is weighing on volumes affecting speciality chemicals and more basic petrochemicals known as its upstream business, BASF said. This would lead to more job cuts that are being discussed with shop stewards.

The German government this week cut its 2024 economic growth projection to 0.2%, from 1.3% previously, amid weak global demand, geopolitical uncertainty and persistently high inflation.

Ludwigshafen would remain by far the group's largest production complex, but it would continue to shrink and shift from home-made to more imported basic chemicals coming from low-cost regions, said finance chief Dirk Elvermann, citing natural gas costs four to five times higher than in the United States.

A year ago, BASF laid out detailed plans to close sites, slash costs and shed about 2,600 jobs in Europe, affecting mainly Ludwigshafen.

In October, the company stepped up cost cuts further to around 1.1 billion euros annually from the end of 2026, having previously targeted a 1 billion euro reduction.

The standing of BASF's Ludwigshafen site, still the world's largest chemical complex run by a single company, has deteriorated over the years. Swapping cheaper Russian pipeline gas for shipped liquefied gas from the United States after Russia's attack on Ukraine has weakened its cost position further.

We remind, BASF is utilizing its extensive global expertise in chemical recycling, employing pyrolysis technology known as ChemCycling, to introduce International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC) Plus certified "Ccycled" materials sourced from the BASF TotalEnergies Petrochemicals facility located in Port Arthur, Texas, said the company. This facility operates as a joint venture between BASF and TotalEnergies, with a ownership split of 60/40 respectively, with TotalEnergies headquartered in France.