French refineries to halt operations as strikes deepen

  • Spanish Market: Crude oil, LPG, Oil products, Petrochemicals
  • 17/03/23

Four out of six French refineries are stopping operations or plan to stop by Monday, 20 March, as industrial action deepens over planned changes to pension rights.

Workers and union officials said refineries are shutting as a response to the government forcing through its pensions law, using a parliamentary clause known as 49:3.

"Anger is rising," one said.

It also appears refineries are running short of crude, as strikes by dockers and port workers hamper discharge.

TotalEnergies' 219,000 b/d Donges and 246,900 b/d Gonfreville plants, UK-Chinese refiner Petroineos' 210,000 b/d Lavera refinery and ExxonMobil's 207,100 b/d Port Jerome should all be closed by 20 March, according to workers. The latter is halting operations as it does not have enough crude to maintain throughput.

The situation is fluid and TotalEnergies has yet to respond to queries on the matter.


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24/04/24

EU plastics law clears parliament with mixed reaction

EU plastics law clears parliament with mixed reaction

Brussels, 24 April (Argus) — The European Parliament has adopted the EU's Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR) that requires reductions in plastics and other packaging, ahead of formal approval by the bloc's ministers. The regulation had been provisionally agreed between EU diplomats in March. The regulation, adopted with 476 votes in favor and 129 opposed, obliges packaging reductions of 5pc by 2030, 10pc by 2035 and 15pc by 2040. EU countries must specifically cut plastic packaging waste. Starting on 1 January 2030, the regulation also bans single-use plastic packaging for unprocessed fresh fruit and vegetables, and for foods and beverages filled and consumed in cafés and restaurants. Other bans from 2030 affect individual portions for condiments, sauces, creamers and sugar, as well as very lightweight plastic carrier bags. The rules require all packaging to be recyclable, with exemptions for lightweight wood, cork, textile, rubber, ceramic, porcelain and wax. Plastics Europe's managing director Virginia Janssens said the adopted text is "ambitious" and needs practical implementation. "We need a careful review of the impact of the reuse targets and affected formats, especially in transport packaging," Janssens said. The plastics manufacturers' association said a lack of material neutrality undermined the aims of the PPWR to reduce packaging waste. European paper industry association Cepi pointed to a phase out of "fossil-based materials" and called for timely compliance with the new regulation. Cepi urged EU member states to endorse the agreement when voting. European farmers association Copa-Cogeca noted "discriminatory" treatment for the fruit and vegetable sector, adding that the European Commission, EU member states and parliament have so far "ignored" arguments to amend the text to exempt single-use packaging for fresh fruit and vegetables. EU ministers also voted on an objection approved last week by the EU environment committee regarding mass balance accounting rules, which did not get the majority needed to be confirmed. By Dafydd ab Iago Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Barge delays at Algiers lock near New Orleans


24/04/24
24/04/24

Barge delays at Algiers lock near New Orleans

Houston, 24 April (Argus) — Barges are facing lengthy delays at the Algiers lock near New Orleans as vessels reroute around closures at the Port Allen lock and the Algiers Canal. Delays at the Algiers Lock —at the interconnection of the Mississippi River and the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway— have reached around 37 hours in the past day, according to the US Army Corps of Engineers' lock report. Around 50 vessels are waiting to cross the Algiers lock. Another 70 vessels were waiting at the nearby Harvey lock with a six-hour wait in the past day. The closure at Port Allen lock has spurred the delays, causing vessels to reroute through the Algiers lock. The Port Allen lock is expected to reopen on 28 April, which should relieve pressure on the Algiers lock. Some traffic has been rerouted through the nearby Harvey lock since the Algiers Canal was closed by a collapsed powerline, the US Coast Guard said. The powerline fell on two barges, but no injuries or damages were reported. The wire is being removed by energy company Entergy. The canal is anticipated to reopen at midnight on 25 April. By Meghan Yoyotte Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Brightmark to build Georgia pyrolysis plant


24/04/24
24/04/24

Brightmark to build Georgia pyrolysis plant

Houston, 24 April (Argus) — Chemical recycler Brightmark plans to build a 400,00t/yr pyrolysis plant in Thomaston, Georgia, two years after the company terminated its plan to build a similar plant in a nearby Georgia community. Pyrolysis is a form of chemical recycling that breaks down used plastic into pyrolysis oil, which can then be reprocessed into new plastics at virgin polymers facilities. The 2.5mn ft² plant will cost $950mn, including infrastructure such as roads and rail access, Brightmark said. A previous plan to build a chemical recycling facility in Macon, Georgia, ended in 2022 after Mayor Lester Miller withdrew his support, citing "long-term safety concerns" from Brightmark's "unproven process". The company finished construction of its first chemical recycling plant in Ashley, Indiana, in 2022. Brightmark said it has recycled 2,000t of plastic waste so far at its Indiana plant, well behind its anticipated volume of 100,000 t/yr. By Zach Kluver Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Cepsa supplies HVO bunker fuel in Algeciras


24/04/24
24/04/24

Cepsa supplies HVO bunker fuel in Algeciras

London, 24 April (Argus) — Spanish refiner and bunker fuel supplier Cepsa has recently delivered 150t of 100pc hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) by truck to the Ramform Hyperion at the port of Algeciras. The supply follows market participants reporting firmer buying interest for HVO as a marine fuel from ferry lines in the Mediterranean in recent sessions. The supplied HVO is said to be of class II, with used cooking oil (UCO) as the feedstock. Cepsa added that the supply was completed in cooperation with Bunker Holding subsidiary Glander International Bunkering, and could bring about a greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction of up to 90pc compared with conventional fuel oil. Cepsa will also look to obtain capability to supply marine biodiesel blends exceeding 25pc biodiesel content by the end of the year, delegates heard at the International Bunker Conference (IBC) 2024 in Norway. This also follows plans by Cepsa to build a 500,000 t/yr HVO plant in Huelva , set to start production in the first half of 2026. Argus assessed the price of class II HVO on a fob Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA) basis at an average of $1,765.54/t in April so far, a premium of $906.41/t to marine gasoil (MGO) dob Algeciras prices in the same month. By Hussein Al-Khalisy Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Iraq to keep 3.3mn b/d crude export cap until year end


24/04/24
24/04/24

Iraq to keep 3.3mn b/d crude export cap until year end

Dubai, 24 April (Argus) — Iraq will stick to its pledge to cap crude exports at 3.3mn b/d until the end of the year, regardless of what the Opec+ coalition decides at its June meeting, sources with knowledge of the matter told Argus. Baghdad announced the 3.3mn b/d export limit last month , representing a 100,000 b/d cut compared with the first-quarter average. April's exports will be in line with recent months, according to the sources, indicating that Iraq has yet to adhere to the cap. The self-imposed limit on exports is part of Iraq's commitment to compensate for exceeding its 4mn b/d Opec+ production target in the first three months of 2024. It produced 211,000 b/d above target in January, then overshot by 217,000 b/d and 194,000 b/d in February and March, respectively, according to an average of secondary sources including Argus . Prior to that, Iraq exceeded its then 4.22mn b/d output ceiling in each of the last six months of 2023. The persistent overproduction has drawn scrutiny within Opec+, prompting repeated reassurances from Baghdad in recent months that it is committed to its output pledges. Iraq blames it on its inability to oversee production in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region in the north of the country. Most Iraqi Kurdish crude output is being directed to local refineries or sold on the black market following the closure of the export pipeline that links oil fields in northern Iraq to the Turkish port of Ceyhan just over a year ago. Iraq's federal oil ministry says its Kurdish counterpart has stopped providing production data. Baghdad recently sent the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) an official request to hand over oil produced in the region to federal marketer Somo in order to resume Kurdish exports through Turkey, the sources said. Baghdad also urged the KRG back in January to curb output to help Iraq adhere to its lower Opec+ production quota. Ever-widening gap The Association of the Petroleum Industry of Kurdistan (Apikur) said international oil companies (IOCs) operating in the region were hoping that a long-awaited visit to Baghdad by Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan on 22 April might help pave the way for a restart in exports. "We definitely believe the Iraqi government seems more serious about resolving the issues after prime minister [Mohammed Shia] al-Sudani's visit to the US," an IOC source told Argus. But differences between the KRG and Baghdad, mainly over contracts that the former signed with international oil companies (IOCs) in Kurdistan, continue to delay the restart. And tensions between the two sides show little sign of easing. In a statement on 22 April, the KRG's ministry of natural resources accused Baghdad of misleading statements by seeking to blame the KRG for the export shut-in, adding that there is no provision in Iraq's constitution that gives power to the federal government to approve contracts issued by the KRG. With the help of multiple federal court rulings, Baghdad has been attempting to downgrade the KRG's autonomy over its finances and energy sector. A court ruling in February 2022 overturned a law governing Kurdish oil and gas exports and upheld Baghdad's request that all KRG production-sharing contracts be placed under federal oil ministry oversight. The judgment rendered the KRG's 2007 oil and gas law unconstitutional, raising questions over the future of the KRG's active contracts. The KRG's natural resources ministry has dismissed the February 2022 court order, saying it was delivered by a "committee of political appointees in Baghdad". While the federal Iraqi oil ministry "publicly refers to that committee as the 'Federal Supreme Court', everyone knows that it is no such thing", the ministry said. By Bachar Halabi Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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