Japan's Kuraray plans Singapore plant for packaging that cuts food waste

Japan's Kuraray plans Singapore plant for packaging that cuts food waste

Japanese plastic maker Kuraray will construct a USD410 million plant in Singapore under plans announced Tuesday, aiming to boost output of a packaging material that helps to reduce food waste, said Indianchemicalnews.

The new plant will produce EVOH, a proprietary resin that helps block oxygen and prevent food from spoiling. Operation will begin at the end of 2026, marking Kuraray's first time producing the material in Southeast Asia.

Kuraray expects efforts to fight food waste to grow in the region. The company plans to leverage its client network and supply chains it has established in the region from producing polyvinyl alcohol, a water-soluble resin, in Singapore.

The new plant will have a front-end capacity of 36,000 tonnes per year and a back-end capacity of 18,000 tons per year. The company intends to make further investments as early as fiscal 2026 to expand capacity.

Kuraray currently produces 103,000 tonnes of EVAL annually across Japan, the U.S. and Belgium. It is planning expansions in the U.S. and Belgium as well, with the goal of boosting global capacity by around 30% by the end of 2026.

We remind, Kuraray Co. (Tokyo) announced that construction of a new plant for isoprene-related businesses has been completed and will soon start operations in stages. The construction was undertaken by Bangkok-based subsidiaries Kuraray GC Advanced Materials Co., Ltdand Kuraray Advanced Chemicals (Thailand) Co., Ltd.

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INEOS completes acquisition of TotalEnergies’ petrochemical assets in Lavera, France

INEOS completes acquisition of TotalEnergies’ petrochemical assets in Lavera, France

INEOS said that it has completed acquisition of TotalEnergies’ 50% share in their three joint ventures, as well as some other infrastructure assets in France, said the companies.

The targets are Naphtachimie, Appryl and Gexaro, which were 50:50 joint ventures between INEOS and the French energy major at Lavera in southern France. Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.

The deal includes one of Europe’s largest steam crackers which can produce 720,000 tonnes/year of ethylene under Naphtachimie; an aromatics business with a 270,000 tonne/year capacity under Gexaro; and a 300,000 tonne/year polypropylene (PP) business under Appryl.

INEOS also acquired a naphtha storage, as well as other infrastructure assets, including part of TotalEnergies’ ethylene pipeline network in France.

INEOS will now fully integrate the Naphthachimie, Gexaro and Appryl petrochemical businesses, assets and infrastructure into INEOS Olefins & Polymers South at Lavera in southern France, the company said.

Gexaro, which is located on the Lavera refinery site will continue to be operated by Petroineos.

We remind, that TotalEnergies’ plans to sell its stake in petrochemical assets in Lavere became known last summer.

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Global refinery capacity totaling 3.6 mln bpd at high-risk of closure

Global refinery capacity totaling 3.6 mln bpd at high-risk of closure

As much as 3.6 MM bpd of global refinery capacity has been assessed as being under high-risk of closure, according to Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The report ‘Global refinery closure threat update’ shortlists 120 out of 465 refining assets as high, medium, or low risk of closure based on 2030 net cash margin (NCM) forecasts. The total global refinery capacity at some risk of closure amounts to 19.95 MM bpd, equating to 21.3% of the 2023 total capacity.

Most of the sites identified in the report as high-risk are located in Europe with the continent making up 45% of the total. The 11 refineries are spread across the continent and most of them are standalone catalytic cracking sites.

“The European refinery sector will come under pressure in the mid-term as gasoline margins weaken and pressure to decarbonize increases,” says Emma Fox, Senior Oils and Chemicals Analyst at Wood Mackenzie. “This will impact operating costs to such a degree that closure may be the only option.”

The seven high-risk sites in China are all independent assets that will suffer from the threat of competition against larger integrated sites, a more competitive domestic market as well as governmental policies in China that are not favorable to stand-alone operators.

Outside of China there are 23 sites in Asia Pacific assessed by Wood Mackenzie as being medium or low risk of closure. Japan alone accounts for 15 of the sites with 12 of those also having some degree of petrochemical integration.

Four of the remaining sites, spread across South Korea and Singapore, are at risk due to no decarbonization projects being in place, despite being in carbon cost-applicable locations, while the other four, spread across Taiwan and Pakistan, suffer from low forecasted 2030 NCMs.

China has 12 sites that Wood Mackenzie assessed as low or medium risk with the majority having high emissions and no low-carbon investments currently planned. The region is assumed to be subject to carbon tax in 2030.

“The cost of decarbonization for independent operators may be too high to justify keeping many of the sites in the Asia Pacific region operational, despite 70% of them having some degree of petrochemical integration,” says Fox. “As the decade progresses and more pressure is asserted to lower emissions some difficult decisions will have to be made by operators.”

The report concludes that future carbon taxes could take up a significant portion of a refinery’s operating costs so facilities that invest in decarbonization strategies could significantly improve their relative competitiveness. It adds that petrochemicals production at sites may not be enough to save many facilities, especially if they don’t have a diversified product slate.

“Standalone sites with high emissions are typically the first to face portfolio divestments or closures,” says Fox. “But as the world embraces the energy transition, refiners need to adapt to survive.”

We remind, Russia’s crude oil exports and transit from its western ports are seen at around 8.2 MMt this month, in line with market forecasts. Russia's loading plans for the ports of Primorsk, Ust-Luga and Novorossiisk in February were revised up earlier this month due to additional Rosneft volumes freed up after the shutdown of its Tuapse oil refinery.

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NextChem Tech selected as engineering and technology partner for Aliplast’s upcycling plant project in Italy

NextChem Tech selected as engineering and technology partner for Aliplast’s upcycling plant project in Italy

Another strategic milestone for NextChem: its subsidiary NextChem Tech has been selected as engineering and technology partner for a new plastic upcycling project to be implemented in Modena by Aliplast, a company part of Hera Group and responsible for the recycling and conversion of plastic waste, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

This innovative project was presented today in attendance by the Mayor of Modena, Hera Group CEO and Aliplast CEO. When fully operational, the plant will process up to 30,000 tons per year of polyolefin rigid plastic waste.

NextChem Tech is NextChem’s subsidiary dedicated to the development of innovative solutions for the decarbonization of industrial processes. NextChem Tech’s expertise consists of a mechanical upcycling process to produce high purity recycled and compounded polymers. These recycled polymers (so-called “r-polymers”) are suitable to replace fossil-based virgin materials in several industrial applications (such as automotive, pressure and irrigation pipes, home appliances and gardening, building applications, etc.), effectively meeting the growing demand driven by regulatory pressures and off-takers’ voluntary commitments.

Such expertise is the result of MAIRE’s historical track-record in polymers, which has been further extended in the last years to the industrial plant in Bedizzole (near Brescia, Italy), owned by NextChem Tech’s subsidiary. Thanks to MAIRE’s know-how, the plant has enhanced the production capacity up to 40,000 tpy of polyolefin rigid plastic waste through an innovative approach.

Mohammed Nafid, CEO of NextChem Tech, commented: “We are pleased to have been selected by Aliplast as technological partner for this important project. The recycling sector needs a sustainable development model based on technology, innovation and product quality. NextChem Tech’s expertise allows to invert the common and usual “waste-to-market" approach into a customer driven "products-from-waste” strategy, where materials derived from fossil feedstock are replaced by virgin-grade compounded r-polymers".

We remind, MAIRE announces that NEXTCHEM (Sustainable Technology Solutions), through its subsidiary NextChem Tech, has signed a contract with Paul Wurth S.A., a subsidiary of SMS group (‘Paul Wurth'), and Norsk e-Fuel AS for a licensing and engineering design package relating to NX CPO to be applied in the first industrial scale plant able to produce SAF from green hydrogen and biogenic CO2 in Mosjoen, Norway.

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Russia's Novak says there's no need for diesel export ban

Russia's Novak says there's no need for diesel export ban

There is no need for Russia to ban exports of diesel to tackle rising prices and possible shortages of the fuel after drone attacks reduced refining capacity, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Speaking to reporters, Novak also said, without elaborating, that the Novatek-led Arctic LNG 2 project, which started tentative production in December, remains in talks about LNG deliveries as Western sanctions hinder the availability of tankers for the project.

Russia has faced a steep reduction in oil refining capacity, crippled by technical outages and drone attacks. It banned exports of gasoline for half a year starting from March 1.

Refining capacity shut down by drone attacks has reached 14% of Russia's total oil refining capacity, according to Reuters calculations. The country's total daily offline primary oil refining capacity has jumped by around a third in March from February to 4.079 million metric tons.

Novak said that other oil refineries managed to boost their output, while the government is working on the issue of fuel deliveries from plants amid railway bottlenecks. "The situation in the oil products market is stable today," Novak said.

"Our companies have already increased the load at the available capacities. It allowed for more supply, including... gasoline and diesel fuel."

Speaking about a technical outage at the Norsi refinery, Russia's fourth-largest by output, Novak said that a malfunctioning turbine may resume operations in a month or two.

Industry sources have said one of two catalytic crackers remains out of action at the plant.

We remind, Gazprom is sticking to its goal of achieving 100% of the technically possible level of network gasification by 2030, and is actively working with the regions via five-year programs, Deputy Chairman of the Board of Gazprom Oleg Aksyutin said in an article in the company's corporate magazine. "It is expected that due to gasification and post-gasification alone, the increase in demand in the domestic market could reach nearly 20 bcm by 2030," the article says.

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