Braskem to idle Pennsylvania PP unit: Update
Adds background, PP buyer comment.
Braskem America confirmed today it will be idling one of its polypropylene (PP) production lines at its Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania, plant.
"To ensure the long-term resilience of Braskem America amid continuing global economic uncertainty and a trough in the chemical industry business cycle, we have made the difficult decision to implement an extended idling of one of our polypropylene production lines at our facility in Marcus Hook, PA," the company said in an email to Argus.
The plant's two production lines have combined capacity of around 455,000 t/yr. The company did not provide information on which line was being shut, or how long it would be shut.
The closure will result in a limited reduction of workforce at the plant, the company said.
Market participants said the Marcus Hook plant is one of the oldest PP plants in the US and it has feedstock limitations.
The PP market has been weak in the US for much of 2023, and new capacity that started up at the end of last year in Canada and the US has created an oversupply.
One buyer said the shutdown is not likely to significantly draw down PP inventories.
"The indications are that it is going to be pretty long for the next year or so," the buyer said.
Sources said the Marcus Hook site has faced feedstock constraints since the shutdown in 2019 of Philadelphia Energy Solutions' 330,000 b/d refinery in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Braskem in January 2022 said it had successfully completed the first propylene import in more than a decade to the US east coast as part of an effort to enhance feedstock options for the Marcus Hook PP plant. It is not clear whether the company has continued to import propylene to feed the facility.
In 2011, Braskem became one of the largest PP producers in the US when it purchased Dow's PP business. That purchase included Texas plants in Freeport and Seadrift, increasing Braskem's PP capacity by 50pc in the US.
Even with the closure of one of the Marcus Hook units, Braskem will still be one of the largest PP producers in the US, taking its annual capacity in the US down from around 2mn t/yr of capacity to around 1.8mn t/yr of capacity, according to an Argus database. LyondellBasell also has approximately 1.9mn t/yr of PP capacity in the US.
The plant shutdown is one of the first shutdowns in the US PP market since November 2014, when Flint Hills Resources announced it was closing its 88,000 t/yr plant in Marysville, Michigan.
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Shell exits Iraqi petchem project
Shell exits Iraqi petchem project
Dubai, 20 February (Argus) — Shell has withdrawn from plans to build a petrochemical plant in Iraq's southern Basra region after nearly 10 years, in a blow to Baghdad's aim of driving foreign investment in its energy sector. The major has pulled out following an "in-depth evaluation on the feasibility" of the Nebras complex. Shell will continue to support the project through its Basrah Gas (BGC) joint venture with the Iraqi government and Japan's Mitsubishi. Shell signed an initial agreement in 2015 to develop the project using BGC's associated gas, but it has stalled. Shell has a 49pc stake in the venture estimated at $8bn. BGC will provide ethane feedstock for the complex from its gas processing facilities, with the associated gas coming from the Rumaila, West Qurna 1 and Zubair oil fields. Send comments and request more information at email@example.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.
Marine fuel global weekly market update
Marine fuel global weekly market update
New York, 20 February (Argus) — A weekly Argus news digest of interest to the conventional and alternative marine fuel markets. To speak to our team about accessing the stories below and access to Argus Marine Fuels , please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternative marine fuels 16 February CMA CGM takes first of 10 LNG-fueled vessels France-based shipping company CMA CGM will take delivery of the first of a series of 10 LNG-fueled container ships this month. 16 February Egypt to load 8-10 more LNG cargoes by end-winter: Eni Egypt could load 8-10 more LNG cargoes "before the end of the winter season", Eni said today. 16 February South Korean refiners opt to co-process biofuels A lack of regional mandates and retreating European demand for hydrotreated biofuels this year has pushed back timelines for new capacity start-ups in Asia-Pacific, driving South Korean refiners to favour co-processing rather than standalone biofuel plants. 15 February WSC proposes fossil-green fuel price gap close The World Shipping Council (WSC) proposed a green balance mechanism to close the price gap between conventional and sustainable marine fuels. 15 February Singapore LNG bunker sales at 5-month high Singapore LNG bunker sales reached a five-month high in January, according to data from Maritime & Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), driven by competitive prices compared with conventional marine fuel. 15 February Lake Charles Methanol to build $3.2bn low-CO2 plant Lake Charles Methanol II announced plans to build a $3.2bn plant that will produce low-carbon intensity methanol and other chemicals at the Port of Lake Charles. 15 February Singapore LNG bunker sales at 5-month high Singapore LNG bunker sales reached a five-month high in January, according to data from Maritime & Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), driven by competitive prices compared with conventional marine fuel. 15 February Maritime sector most promising for H2 in transport: HE The maritime sector provides most opportunities for use of hydrogen-based synthetic fuels in the transport sector, according to a survey carried out by industry body Hydrogen Europe. 15 February JBS says its B100 biodiesel has same yield as diesel Global meat producer JBS said that its 100pc biodiesel fuel (B100) — unblended biodiesel — has an energy efficiency equivalent to diesel and emits up to 80pc less carbon dioxide, based on tests on one of its trucks. 15 February Off-spec bio-blends widen pricing spread The range of prices for marine biodiesel blends in Europe has widened as cheaper product that does not meet the region's diesel engine specifications — as defined by the European EN14214 standard — gains market share. 15 February China turns to domestic ammonia output boost Increased domestic production capacity and weaker downstream industrial demand has the potential to weigh on China's ammonia imports this year. 15 February Mabanaft to build green methanol plant in Australia Hamburg-based Mabanaft has received approval to build a new green methanol plant in Port Augusta, located in southern Australia. 14 February Emerging LNG markets to absorb extra supply: Shell Emerging gas markets in China, southeast and south Asia will absorb much of the increase in LNG supply for the rest of this and the next decade, having been constrained by high prices in 2022-23, Shell said in its global LNG outlook, published today. 14 February Avoid offsets, ETS for carbon removals: Study Carbon dioxide removal (CDR) activities should be promoted for the "right reasons" and at the "right scale", and should not be financed through carbon offset credits or included in emissions trading systems (ETS), according to a recent study by the Institute for Responsible Carbon Removal at American University. 14 February Indonesia ammonia production at risk of curtailments Indonesian ammonia producers could be forced to consider production curtailments or outages if southeast Asian loading prices fall much further. 14 February More than 100 US biogas plants to start up in 2024 The American Biogas Council said 96 new biogas projects with a combined production capacity of 66,000 ft³/minute (9.82bn m³/yr) became operational in the US in 2023. It expects over 100 more to start up this year and said output from these will mostly be used for transportation fuel instead of power production. 14 February Chinese yard advances 271,000m³ LNG carrier orders French engineering firm Gaztransport and Technigaz (GTT) has received an order for eight 271,000m³ LNG tanks from a Chinese shipyard, with delivery of the vessels to be fitted with the tanks scheduled between the second quarter of 2028 and fourth quarter of 2029, GTT said. 14 February SE Asian UCO sees limited hit from US fast-food boycott A consumer boycott on US fast food outlets in support of Palestine is affecting some Indonesian and Malaysian used cooking oil (UCO) supplies, but market participants said the overall impact should be limited. 13 February Carnival commissions new LNG-fueled vessel US cruise ship operator Carnival has ordered a newbuild dual-fuel LNG-powered vessel for delivery in spring 2027. 13 February US House readies vote to end LNG review pause President Joe Biden's temporary pause on the review of new US LNG export facilities could face its first congressional test with a vote on a Republican-backed bill that would eliminate federal licensing of those projects. 13 February LNG carrier declares for Greece's Alexandroupolis The TotalEnergies-chartered 174,000m³ Gaslog Hong Kong has declared for arrival at Greece's new 4.3mn t/yr Alexandroupolis import terminal on 15 February, and could deliver the facility's first cargo. 13 February EU hydrogen plan relies on uncertain imports: T&E The EU should not rely on uncertain imports to meet its overly-ambitious hydrogen targets, says a study commissioned by the Brussels-based climate group Transport & Environment (T&E). 12 February Red Sea issues impact European methanol, derivatives Volatility in shipping markets following attacks in the Red Sea is impacting Europe's methanol market indirectly through higher freight rates and has directly impacted European derivative markets, as a result of reduced vessel availability and rerouting. 12 February Qatar taps Nakilat for second phase LNG fleet expansion State-owned QatarEnergy has selected Qatari state-controlled shipowner Nakilat for the ownership and operation of 25 174,000m³ LNG carriers, to be built at an unnamed shipyard in South Korea. 12 February SBTi validates Maersk's GHG emission reduction targets Danish shipping firm Moller-Maersk has become the first company to have its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions targets validated under new maritime guidance from the UN-backed Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). 12 February Spanish independent biodiesel producers under pressure Smaller Spanish biodiesel producers remain under pressure from thin margins that are cutting profits and shutting in some output. They are not being supported by domestic demand, which fell to a seven-year low in 2023. 12 February Mabanaft to apply for ammonia import terminal permit German energy trading firm Mabanaft expects to submit a permit application for its planned 1.2mn t/yr ammonia import terminal at Hamburg in the spring of this year. Alternative marine fuels 16 February Fujairah bunker premiums weaken as ships reroute Delivered bunker premiums have fallen in Fujairah, UAE, the world's third largest bunkering centre. Demand has weakened in recent weeks as a result of route diversions, stemming from the tense security situation in the Red Sea. 16 February US Gulf coast fuel oil spreads widest in 11 months Sulphur spreads between US Gulf coast residual fuel oil grades have reached the widest in 11 months, but that could change as refinery turnarounds likely wind down by late February or early March. 16 February Brazil's Paranagua cargo handling rises in January Cargo handling in Brazil's southern Paranagua and Antonina ports increased by 20pc in January from the same month last year, driven by higher exports and imports. 16 February Brazil's Paranagua port seeks to reach net zero by 2035 Brazil's port of Paranagua is working on a decarbonization plan for delivery by the end of 2026 to help it reach net zero balance greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2035 by developing renewable energy sources such as biogas and hydrogen. 16 February Tanker targeted in Red Sea A Panama-flagged tanker was targeted by a missile in the Red Sea today around 72 miles northwest of Mokha, Yemen, according to security firm Ambrey. 16 February Japan's NYK taps demand for chemical tankers Japanese shipping company Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK Line) plans to receive six chemical tankers from late 2026 to 2029, in anticipation of potential demand growth for petrochemical products. 15 February Upper Mississippi ice report canceled on warm weather An annual government ice measurement program for shipping on the upper Mississippi River was canceled this year because of unseasonably warm weather. 15 February Scorpio Tankers upbeat on clean tanker rates New York-listed Scorpio Tankers said it expects strong market fundamentals to keep clean tanker freight rates elevated, even if disruptions to trade flows dissipate. 15 February Magellan Corpus Christi terminal doing maintenance US crude and refined products pipeline operator Magellan Midstream reported maintenance at its Corpus Christi, Texas, marine terminal. 15 February ARA oil products stocks increase on weaker demand Independently-held oil product stocks at the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA) trading hub hit their highest since mid-August, reaching 5.67mn t in the week to 14 February, according to consultancy Insights Global, as demand in the region slowed down. 15 February Panama Canal freezes customer priority ranking The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) will freeze its customer priority ranking used to secure transit slots while temporary water-saving measures remain in place. 15 February Singapore's oil product stocks inch higher Singapore's overall oil product inventories inched upwards, driven by a surge in middle distillate imports, despite both light and heavy distillate stocks falling close to a 2½ month low, showed latest data from Enterprise Singapore. 14 February Petrobras working to rebuy refinery: CEO Brazil's state-controlled Petrobras is in talks with Abu Dhabi's Mubadala to buy the 300,000 b/d Mataripe refinery back, 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plans refinery maintenance in Aug-Sep Indian state-controlled refiner MRPL plans to conduct a maintenance turnaround at one unit of its 311,000 b/d Mangalore refinery for around three weeks during August-September, a top official from the company told Argus. 12 February Atlantic basin diesel faces tight spring European diesel markets could be facing a tight spring as refinery maintenance and disruptions in the Red Sea make resupply difficult and expensive. Send comments and request more information at email@example.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.
Draft EC document supports fuel-exempt mass balance
Draft EC document supports fuel-exempt mass balance
London, 19 February (Argus) — A leaked draft of the European Commission's implementing decision for calculating recycled plastic content in single-use plastic beverage bottles — towards mandatory content requirements — outlines support for the plastic and chemical recycling industry's preferred "fuel-use-exempt" model for mass balance accounting. The draft document sets out the rules for calculating recycled content in plastic beverage bottles for the Single Use Plastics Directive (SUPD), which mandates 25pc recycled content in PET bottles from next year and 30pc recycled content in all plastic beverage bottles by 2030. The draft states that recycled content from chemical recycling will be allowed to count towards the recycled content requirements. And where mass balance accounting is used to track the output of chemical recycling through the plastic production chain — such as when pyrolysis oil is blended with fossil-based materials as a steam cracker feedstock — a fuel-use-exempt approach will be permitted. Under a fuel-use-exempt model, processors of pyrolysis oil or another feedstock from chemical recycling would be free to allocate recycled content to their highest value output, equal to the volume of recycled feedstock input minus a certain proportion to account for fuels and residue outputs of the cracking process. A more restrictive "polymer-only" approach, which was also under consideration, would reduce the amount of recycled content "credits" that producers could allocate to their most valuable outputs, by excluding from reallocation the proportion of recycled feedstock used to make chemicals that do not go into polymer production, in addition to fuels and residues. Supporters of chemical recycling have said that this approach would significantly worsen pyrolysis plant economics and stifle development in the industry. According to the draft, mass balance accounting could be applied only at site level, with transfers of recycled content credits between different companies or sites within the same company not permitted. There would also be a need for "chemical traceability", to avoid "overcompensation" and the attribution of recycled content to outputs that can be chemically linked to stemming from post-consumer plastic waste. The implementing decision, if and when adopted, would apply directly in EU countries. The decision should have been adopted by the European Commission before 1 January 2022. An official noted political difficulties holding up work on the law, and another source pointed to a change of position among member states, notably Germany, leading to the commission's latest attempt at a proposal. A meeting of the relevant technical advisory committee, comprised of EU member state experts, could take place later this month allowing for public consultation in March and formal adoption in April. According to the overarching SUPD, approval of the commission's implementing decision would then require a qualified majority in favour of 55pc of EU states, representing 65pc of the bloc's population. Support for a fuel-exempt model will be well received by the plastic and chemical industries. Associations representing the sectors wrote an open letter to the European Commission in March last year calling for this methodology to be implemented. "In our view, a fuel-use exempt model would provide for a robust system, viable with chemical recycling routes, and allow producers and users of recycled content to reach the levels expected by the market and required by EU legislation in a timely manner," the leter said. The letter also called for a decision relating to the SUPD to set a precedent for calculating chemically-recycled content in other regulations that would extend recycled content requirements beyond beverage bottles, such as the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR) and the End of Life Vehicle (ELV) regulation, which are currently under discussion. But the commission's position has not met with universal approval. Non-governmental organization Zero Waste Europe (ZWE) said by proposing the inclusion of a fuel-use exempt model for mass balance, the commission had "blatantly" dismissed concerns of greenwashed recycled content claims at product level and disruption of a level playing field. "Should this flawed allocation rule persist, urgent action must be taken to impose a cap on pyrolysis and gasification technologies to prevent their undue advantage over mechanical recycling, perpetuated by the proposed allocation rule," said Lauriane Veillard, ZWE's policy officer for chemicals recycling and plastic-to-fuels. The commission's draft still states that it considers mechanical recycling technologies generally preferable to chemical recycling "provided they can produce recyclates of the required quality, and waste that can be recycled mechanically should generally not enter into chemical recycling". The commission will review the methodologies established in the draft implementation document by 1 January 2030, to take into account technological advances such as the roll-out of chemical recycling to commercial scale. By Dafydd ab Iago and Will Collins Send comments and request more information at firstname.lastname@example.org Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.
Orbia closing New Jersey E-PVC plant in 2024
Orbia closing New Jersey E-PVC plant in 2024
Houston, 16 February (Argus) — Mexico-based PVC producer Orbia told customers today that it will close its emulsion-PVC (E-PVC) plant in Pedricktown, New Jersey, later this year due to weakness in the market and the global economy. The company plans to close the plant by the end of 2024, although some services may continue into the first quarter of 2025 to meet contractual commitments with site partners, Orbia said Friday in a notice to customers. The site has an annual capacity of 60,000t of E-PVC production, also referred to as paste-PVC. Production at the plant will be relocated to other Orbia facilities, the company said without providing details. Orbia's plant in Henry, Illinois, has paste-PVC capacity roughly equivalent to the Pedricktown site. The company also has facilities in La Presa, Mexico, and Tlaxcala, Mexico, and some capacity in Marl, Germany. A source at the company said production will be spread among its plants, depending on the product type. The company cited profitability issues at the plant and weakness in the global economy as reasons for the plant's closure. Orbia has been weighing construction of an integrated chlor-alkali and vinyls plant in the US Gulf coast region to take advantage of lower cost energy and feedstock costs in the US. That project has [been delayed](https://direct.argusmedia.com/newsandanalysis/article/2503198) as the company evaluates broader market dynamics before making a final investment decision. By Aaron May Send comments and request more information at email@example.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.
Japan’s NYK taps demand for chemical tankers
Japan’s NYK taps demand for chemical tankers
Tokyo, 16 February (Argus) — Japanese shipping company Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK Line) plans to receive six chemical tankers from late 2026 to 2029, in anticipation of potential demand growth for petrochemical products. NYK Stolt Tankers, the joint venture between NYK Line and Norwegian shipping firm Stolt Tankers, agreed on 5 February with Chinese shipbuilder Nantong Xiangyu Shipyard to build six 38,000 dead weight tonne stainless steel parcel chemical tankers, which can carry various petrochemical products, as well as plant oils and animal fats. The vessels will be equipped with 30 cargo tanks each. The ships will burn very-low sulphur fuel oil but will be designed to be able to convert to use methanol as a marine fuel. The new vessels will be incorporated into NYK Line, Stolt Tankers and Japanese shipping firm Eneos Ocean's chemical ship pooling project in Asia-Pacific. The partners launched the business in October 2023 with 13 chemical tankers to enhance petrochemical deliveries in the region. NYK Line has attempted to strengthen its chemical shipping business. The company commissioned its third methanol-fuelled chemical tanker Grouse Sun in April 2022 to charter for Waterfront Shipping, a subsidiary of Canadian methanol producer Methanex. NYK Line also partnered with domestic petrochemical company Mitsubishi Gas Chemical and Danish shipping firm AP Moeller-Maersk to explore green methanol bunkering . By Nanami Oki Send comments and request more information at firstname.lastname@example.org Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.