BP's Indiana refinery back to normal operations after Feb outage

BP's Indiana refinery back to normal operations after Feb outage

BP’s 435,000-bpd Whiting, Indiana (U.S.), refinery has returned to normal operations for the first time since a February plantwide power outage, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Gasoline prices in the Chicago-area climbed by at least 20 cents a gallon in the days following the Feb. 1 power outage at the Whiting plant, the largest refinery in the U.S. Midwest.

"The Whiting Refinery is back to normal operations," company spokesperson Christina Audisho said in a emailed statement.

BP in February planned to begin preparing the Whiting refinery for restart late that month and would carry the restart out in the first part of March.


Shell publishes Energy Transition Strategy 2024

Shell publishes Energy Transition Strategy 2024

Shell plc has published its first energy transition update since the launch of its Powering Progress strategy in 2021, said the company.

At our Capital Markets Day in June 2023, we outlined how our strategy delivers more value with less emissions, emphasising the “more value” part. In this energy transition update, we are focusing on how the same strategy delivers “less emissions”.

Our target to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 across all our operations and energy products is transforming our business. We believe this target supports the more ambitious goal of the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Shell’s strategy supports a balanced and orderly transition away from fossil fuels to low-carbon energy solutions to maintain secure and affordable energy supplies.

“Energy has made an incredible contribution to human development, allowing many people around the world to live more prosperous lives. Today, the world must meet growing demand for energy while tackling the urgent challenge of climate change. I am encouraged by the rapid progress in the energy transition in recent years in many countries and technologies, which reinforces my deep conviction in the direction of our strategy,” said Wael Sawan, Shell’s Chief Executive Officer.

“Shell has a very important role to play in providing the energy the world needs today, and in helping to build the low-carbon energy system of the future. Our focus on performance, discipline and simplification is driving clear choices about where we can have the greatest impact through the energy transition and create the most value for our investors and customers. We believe this focus makes it more, not less, likely that we will achieve our climate targets. By providing the different kinds of energy the world needs, we believe we are the investment case and the partner of choice through the energy transition,” said Sawan.

Our energy transition plans cover all our businesses. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is a critical fuel in the energy transition, and we are growing our world-leading LNG business with lower carbon intensity. We are cutting emissions from oil and gas production while keeping oil production stable, and growing sales of low-carbon energy solutions while gradually reducing sales of oil products such as petrol, diesel and jet fuel. As one of the world’s largest energy traders, we can connect the supply of low-carbon energy to demand, as we have done for many years with oil and gas.

We remind, Royal Dutch Shell, the Anglo-Dutch oil and gas giant, has officially lifted the force majeure on the supply of phenol and acetone to Deer Park, Texas, USA. According to market sources, the line, boasting a substantial capacity of 363,000 tonnes of phenol and 225,000 tonnes of acetone annually, has resumed full operational status. The declaration of force majeure, made in mid-October the previous year, had stemmed from a technical malfunction that temporarily disrupted the supply chain.


Grace expands fine-chemicals and contract-manufacturing facility in Michigan

Grace expands fine-chemicals and contract-manufacturing facility in Michigan

W. R. Grace & Co. announced the opening of its expanded fine chemical contract development and manufacturing (CDM) facility in South Haven, Mich, said Chemengonline.

Grace executives and local community leaders joined more than 200 employees at the site for a ribbon cutting to mark completion of the 21-month project.

With 25% more capacity, the expansion makes room for a new 4,000 gallon HASTELLOY centrifuge and three 4,000-gallon, multi-use chemical reactors, strengthening Grace’s ability to serve growing demand for Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs).

“The newly expanded South Haven facility cements our position as a leading North American contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) and a leading employer in the community,” said Ed Sparks, Chief Executive Officer, Grace. “Equally important, the expansion solidifies our commitment to helping our fine chemical customers bring life-saving and life-changing drug therapies to people everywhere.”

“The additional capacity and cutting-edge equipment in South Haven bolster our ability to grow with our current and future customers through every stage of fine chemical manufacturing – from research and development, to clinical trials, scale-up services and commercial production of custom molecules and compounds,” said Brenda Kelly, President, Materials Technologies, Grace.

Serving the pharmaceutical market for more than 40 years, the South Haven facility produces APIs, regulatory starting materials (RSMs) and drug intermediates in quantities from kilos to tons, compliant with the FDA’s current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) regulations. The site integrates with Grace’s Tyrone, PA, facility to offer customers flexibility in meeting pharmaceutical and nutraceutical production needs with a U.S.-based supply chain.

We remind, W.R. Grace & Co. announced that China Coal Shaanxi Energy & Chemical Group Co., Ltd. has expanded its license for Grace’s UNIPOL PP process technology, doubling its polypropylene production capacity from 300 to 600 kilotons per annum. The agreement also includes Grace’s UNIPOL UNIPPAC process control software enabling China Coal Shaanxi Company to drive improvements in metrics such as throughput, onstream time, and continuity.


EPA issues final rule banning chrysotile asbestos

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final rule today prohibiting ongoing uses of chrysotile asbestos, the last form of asbestos currently used in or imported to the United States, as per Chemweek.

The EPA said the ban is the first rule to be finalized under the 2016 amendments to the Toxic Substances and Control Act (TSCA) and “marks a major milestone for chemical safety after more than three decades of inadequate protections and serious delays.” The agency cites asbestos’ known carcinogenicity and severe impacts on public health for its decision. “Under the President’s leadership, EPA has been working expeditiously to put the nation’s chemical safety program back on track and finally realize the protections of the 2016 law,” EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan said in a press statement. “This action is just the beginning as we work to protect all American families, workers, and communities from toxic chemicals.”

Used exclusively by the chlor-alkali industry, the EPA first proposed a ban on chrysotile asbestos in April 2022. The move drew industry criticism for its implications for the country’s supply of chlorine, which is used extensively by public drinking water treatment facilities, as well as the rule’s failure to consider worker protections.

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) did not immediately respond to S&P Global Commodity Insights’ request for comment on the EPA’s most recent announcement, but in 2022 it said such a ban would impact nearly one-third of the nation’s chlorine and sodium hydroxide production.

The EPA said there are only eight chlor-alkali plants in the US that still use asbestos and that it will give those facilities a “reasonable transition time … that does not inadvertently adversely impact drinking or wastewater purification efforts.” The facilities must transition to either non-asbestos diaphragms or to non-asbestos membrane technology, and the final rule ensures that six of the eight will have completed this transition within five years, with the remaining two to follow.

“EPA has determined that converting facilities from using diaphragms that contain asbestos to those that do not within five years provides both a reasonable transition time and is as soon as practicable without disrupting the supply of chlorine that is needed for water purification purposes,” according to the EPA’s statement. “EPA also believes that five of the eight facilities likely plan to undergo such conversions.”

However, the EPA admitted that converting facilities from using diaphragms that contain asbestos to non-asbestos membrane technology requires extensive construction, additional permits, specialized expertise and parts for which there are limited suppliers. “EPA has therefore determined that a reasonable transition time for companies that plan to transition multiple facilities to non-asbestos membrane technology is five years to convert their first facility, eight years to convert their second and 12 years to convert their third, and the facilities will be required to certify their continued progress with EPA,” the agency added.

We remind, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced finalized amendments to a program designed to reduce the frequency and severity of accidents at 11,740 chemical plants across the United States, although industry groups have called the updates problematic, unworkable, and counter-productive.


Korea Zinc, LG Chem team up for US recycling business

Korea Zinc, LG Chem team up for US recycling business

Korea Zinc Inc., the leading global zinc and lead smelter, and LG Chem Ltd., South Korea’s top petrochemical producer, joined hands for the plastic waste recycling business in the US to seek new growth drives in the eco-friendly industry, said Kedglobal.

Korea Zinc and LG Chem said on Friday they have agreed to jointly develop a resource circulation system through the plastic waste recycling business in the US, the world’s largest economy.

LG Chem plans to utilize its various technologies, which improve the quality of recycled plastic waste. to cooperate with Korea Zinc specializing in securing plastic waste and processing plastic waste from electronic devices.

“The partnership is expected to create a real resource circulation system by combining Korea Zinc’s unrivaled technology to secure recycling raw materials and extract intermediate goods with LG Chem’s world-class plastic waste recycling technology,” said Lee Hwa-young, head of LG Chem’s sustainability business, in a joint statement.

Korea Zinc and LG Chem have been seeking a new growth drive in the recycling industry. The global plastic waste recycling market was forecast to double to 120 trillion won ($90.3 billion) by 2030 from the current 60 trillion won, industry sources in Seoul said.

LG Chem has been struggling in its main petrochemical businesses such as plastic basic materials manufacturing as the South Korean chemical industry was in a structural downturn due to low-priced products from China.

The company decided to shut down its styrene monomer (SM) production line in South Korea this month and is mulling closing another domestic base chemical production facility, The Korea Economic Daily exclusively reported earlier this week.

Korea Zinc has also been focusing on the resource recycling business. In 2022, the smelter acquired a majority stake in Igneo Holdings LLC, a US-based electronic waste recycling company, for $332 million.

LG Chem, the parent of the world's No. 3 electric vehicle battery maker LG Energy Solution Ltd., and Korea Zinc are predicted to expand their cooperation into the waste battery recycling business, industry sources said. The two companies established a joint venture to produce cathode precursors for EV batteries in 2022.

The petrochemical producer, which holds a 2% stake in Korea Zinc, has been helping the smelter in an equity stake feud against Young Poong Precision Corp.