Crane barge arriving at Baltimore bridge tonight

  • : Agriculture, Coal, Coking coal, Fertilizers, Freight, Metals, Oil products, Petroleum coke
  • 24/03/28

The first major piece of equipment capable of beginning to clear the blocked Port of Baltimore, Maryland, is expected to arrive onsite tonight.

The Chesapeake 1000 crane barge, capable of lifting 1,000 short tons with its a 231ft-long boom, is expected to arrive at the site of the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge near Baltimore at 11pm ET on 28 March, the US Coast Guard (USCG) told Argus.

Both the crane and the tug pulling it, Atlantic Enterprise, are owned by Donjon Marine. It is currently the only crane on route to the collapsed bridge, the USCG said.

There is no official timetable for the reopening of the port after the Interstate 695 highway bridge over the Patapsco River was hit in the early hours of 26 March by a container ship and collapsed, with the debris and ship blocking the waterway.

The operator of the ship, Maersk, has contracted with marine salvage company Resolve Marine to refloat the vessel and remove it from the area, according to the USCG. It is not clear who has contracted for the Chesapeake 1000.

Despite the inbound crane, it could take weeks or even months to clear debris and reopen the waterway under the collapsed bridge according to a engineering professor at the nearby Johns Hopkins University.


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24/05/24

Funding grant aims to lift Australia-China barley trade

Funding grant aims to lift Australia-China barley trade

Sydney, 24 May (Argus) — Australia's barley trade with China has the potential to expand further following a government-backed grant to support relationships between Australian growers and Chinese maltsters and brewers. Australia's National Foundation for Australia-China Relations (NFACR) awarded the Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre (AEGIC) A$350,000 ($231,735) to support Australian growers "re-engage and reinvigorate relationships" with Chinese barley importers and promote sustainable barley trade. Australia's barley trade with China has rapidly recovered since Beijing removed its 80.5pc anti-dumping and countervailing duties on Australian barley in August 2023. The tariffs had caused barley exports to China to cease entirely between December 2020 and July 2023 but exports hit a decade high of 1.16mn t in December 2023, according to Australia Bureau of Statistics data. AEGIC will use the NFACR grant to host Australian barley industry seminars in China, as well as to demonstrate the Australian barley supply chain to a Chinese delegation in Australia. AEGIC's provision of technical information on Australian barley to Chinese buyers will increase "the likelihood they will choose grain from Australia", said its executive general manager Courtney Draper on 20 May. China is Australia's largest barley export destination this year, accounting for 82pc of all barley exports during January-March, ABS data show. By Edward Dunlop Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Richmond City Council proposes Chevron refinery tax


24/05/23
24/05/23

Richmond City Council proposes Chevron refinery tax

Houston, 23 May (Argus) — The Richmond City Council in California's Bay Area has paved the way for a tax on Chevron's 245,000 b/d refinery, voting unanimously at a 21 May meeting for the city's attorney to prepare a ballot initiative. The newly proposed excise tax would be based on the Richmond refinery's feedstock throughputs, according to a presentation given by Communities for a Better Environment (CBE) at the meeting. It is a "…legally defensible strategy to generate new revenue for the city," CBE attorney Kerry Guerin said. The city has previously looked to tax the refinery, with voters passing ‘Measure T' in 2008 before it was struck down in court in 2009. This led to a 15-year settlement agreement freezing any new taxes on Chevron's refinery, but the agreement expires on 30 June 2025. The city is projecting a $34mn budget shortfall for the 2024 to 2025 fiscal year and is seeking to shore up its finances with additional revenue. Ballot initiatives allow Californian citizens to bring laws to a vote without the support of the state's governor or legislature, and the tax proposal could go to voters as early as November this year, according to CBE's Guerin. "Richmond has been the refinery town for more than 100 years, but it won't be 100 years from now," Richmond Mayor Eduardo Martinez said during the meeting. Chevron reiterates risk to renewables A tax on the refinery is the "wrong approach to encourage investment in our facility and in the city that could lead to new energy solutions and reductions in emissions from the refinery," Chevron senior public affairs representative Brian Hubinger said during the meeting's public comments. Hubinger's comment echoes prior warnings from Chevron that a potential cap on California refining profit in the process of being implemented by the California Energy Commission (CEC) would make the company less willing to investment in renewable energy . "An additional punitive tax burden reduces our ability to make investments in our facility to provide the affordable, reliable and ever-cleaner energy our community depends on every day, along with the job opportunities and emission reductions that go with these investments," Chevron said in an emailed statement. The Richmond refinery tax is a "hasty proposal, brought forward by activist interests," the company said. The company last year finished converting a hydrotreating unit at its 269,000 b/d El Segundo, California, refinery to process both renewable and crude feedstocks. The facility was processing 2,000 b/d of bio feedstock to produce renewable diesel (RD) and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and said it expected to up production to 10,000 b/d last year. But Chevron has so far lagged its California refining peers in terms of RD volumes with Marathon's Martinez plant running at about 24,000 b/d in the first quarter — half of its nameplate capacity — and Phillips 66's Rodeo refinery producing 30,000 b/d with plans to up runs to over 50,000 b/d by the end of the second quarter . Chevron did not immediately respond to a request for current RD volumes at its California refineries. By Nathan Risser Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

USDA to invest $83mn in fertilizer projects


24/05/23
24/05/23

USDA to invest $83mn in fertilizer projects

Houston, 23 May (Argus) — The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) plans to invest $83mn to build out fertilizer production plants, modernize equipment and adopt new technologies in 12 states. The grants are part of the USDA's Fertilizer Production Expansion Program (FPEP) aimed at boosting domestic fertilizer production, increasing competition and lowering costs for farmers. Around $25mn will be granted to a food waste upcycling facility in Jurupa Valley, California, to produce organic fertilizer. Nearly 90 market participants in the area will be supplied by the 11,400 tons of fertilizer produced annually at this facility. Cog Marketers, in partnership with AgroLiquid, is expected to produce 2mn USG of fertilizer a year at its Lake City facility in Florida with a $4mn grant from the USDA. Around 200 fertilizer retailers in the Mid-South region would receive product from this facility. Return will receive $4mn to expand production at its Northwood facility in Iowa. Other grants were awarded to projects in California, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon and Washington. So far, FPEP has supplied 29 states with $251mn for increased domestic fertilizer production, with the last round of awards announced in March and January . About $649mn are left from the $900mn the administration of President Joe Biden committed to domestic fertilizer funding through FPEP in 2022. The FPEF was started in response to rising fertilizer prices caused by a variety of factors including the war in Ukraine. By Meghan Yoyotte Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

RE monazite demand shifts mineral sands supply chain


24/05/23
24/05/23

RE monazite demand shifts mineral sands supply chain

London, 23 May (Argus) — Interest in monazite as a feedstock for rare earth (RE) processing is rising as producers look for sources outside China, bringing mineral sands projects into the RE supply chain. Deposits of RE elements are typically found in rock formations including carbonatites and granites, in calc-silicate sequences and ionic adsorption clay deposits — primarily in China and surrounding countries. But as downstream consumers and governments increasingly look to diversify their supply chains, monazite is becoming attractive as an alternative source. Monazite is a phosphate mineral that contains about 55-60pc RE oxides. It contains 17 RE elements, including cerium, neodymium, lanthanum, thorium and yttrium. Reflecting this, US-based uranium and rare earths producer Energy Fuels is acquiring Australia-based mineral sands developer Base Resources to gain access to the monazite stream from its Toliara project in Africa as an RE feedstock. The Toliara heavy mineral sands project in Madagascar plans to produce monazite as a by-product of its primary titanium and zirconium output. The acquisition marks Energy Fuels' entry into the mineral sands business as it invests in operations in Australia, Brazil and Madagascar to supply RE concentrate. Toliara's monazite stream will provide the feedstock Energy Fuels needs for RE oxide production at its White Mesa uranium and vanadium mill in Utah. The facility will also process the uranium content from the feed and if needed, it can recover thorium. The mill has been processing monazite to produce a mixed RE carbonate, which it has been selling commercially since 2021. "We're putting together two pieces of the puzzle that nobody has put together," Energy Fuels president and chief executive Mark Chalmers said at the recent Metal Events Rare Earths conference in Singapore. "We're putting together the physical metallurgy and the hydrometallurgy." White Mesa has been processing monazite supplied by US titanium dioxide producer Chemours. But its output has been limited as there is not enough monazite in the feed, Chalmers said, whereas Toliara contains more than 1mn t of monazite and has about 1.5mn t of existing tailings capacity. Energy Fuels is in the process of commissioning its Phase 1 neodymium-praseodymium (NdPr) separation facility, which is scheduled to start production by the end of the first half of 2024. It plans to produce 35t of NdPr oxalate in 2024. Phase 1 will have the capacity to process 8,000-10,000 t/yr of monazite to produce up to 800-1,000 t/yr of NdPr oxide. The company plans to increase its NdPr capacity to 3,000 t/yr in 2026-27 and add heavy RE processing in 2027-28. It is starting to pilot heavy RE separation and is exploring moving downstream into metal and alloy production. The first stage of Base's Toliara project, scheduled for September 2027, aims to produce an average of 17,400 t/yr of monazite. The second stage would ramp up to 26,100 t/yr. Energy Fuels also owns the Bahia project in Brazil, which could supply 4,000-5,000 t/yr of monazite to White Mesa Mill to produce 400-500 t/yr of NdPr oxide and 20-25 t/yr of dysprosium and terbium oxides. Energy Fuels has the potential to produce 4,000-6,000 t/yr of NdPr oxide, 150-225 t/yr of dysprosium oxide and 50-75 t/yr of terbium oxide, which would supply enough magnetic RE oxides to supply 3mn-6mn electric vehicles (EVs) per year. RE oxides are in demand from US, European and Asian EV, wind energy and other clean energy manufacturers, as well as emerging commercial metal-making, alloying and magnet-making facilities that are under development in the US. The US defence industry could include offtake of other non-magnetic oxides contained in monazite. Developments at other mineral sands producers outside China also indicate that demand for concentrate for its monazite content rather than zircon or titanium is on the rise. Indonesia-focused zircon producer PYX Resources said last week that it has made its first shipment of monazite-rich zircon concentrate to a customer in Hainan, China, exporting 750t. PYX expects to report further exports in the future. Mineral sands producer Iluka is also moving into the RE market using its monazite by-product. The company has stockpiled monazite since the 1990s at its Narngulu Mineral Separation Plant in Eneabba, Western Australia. Iluka is now developing RE production at Eneabba, commissioning a concentrator plant to process the stockpiled material. It will separate the monazite and additional zircon to produce a 90pc concentrate to feed its RE refinery. The company aims to produce neodymium, praseodymium, dysprosium and terbium oxides from 2026. It holds other mineral sands deposits that could feed the RE refinery, and it will be able to handle third-party deposits if it requires additional feedstock. Companies had stopped processing monazite owing to the high cost of disposing radioactive thorium. But thorium is now becoming attractive for advanced nuclear reactor design and medical isotopes, which could drive offtake. By Nicole Willing Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Günstiger Frei-Haus Diesel wirft Fragen auf


24/05/23
24/05/23

Günstiger Frei-Haus Diesel wirft Fragen auf

Hamburg, 23 May (Argus) — Im Osten und Süden Deutschlands bieten mehrere Unternehmen mindestens seit Ende 2023 Diesel zur Lieferung frei Haus teils mehrere Euro pro 100l unter den Preisen ab Lager oder Raffinerie an. Händler berichten von Umsatzeinbußen. Marktteilnehmer in den entsprechenden Regionen im Osten und Nordbayern suchen nach einer Erklärung für diese großen Preisdifferenzen. Sie berichten von Diesellieferungen frei Haus, deren Preis 4,00 €/100l bis 6,00 €/100l unter den Inlandspreisnotierungen und damit weit unter ihren Einkaufspreisen liegt. Entsprechend könnten sie preislich nicht mithalten. Händler und Großhändler haben deswegen Kunden in geschäftsrelevanten Größenordnungen verloren. Inverkehrbringer von Diesel schätzen, dass täglich etwa zwischen 600 und 1000 m³ von den Niedrigpreisanbietern umgesetzt werden. Weiter geben Marktteilnehmer an, es seien diverse Zollämter auf diese Preisdiskrepanz aufmerksam gemacht und um Überprüfung gebeten worden, ein Ergebnis stehe jedoch noch aus. Die Generalzolldirektion teilte auf Anfrage von Argus mit, zu etwaigen laufenden Ermittlungen keine Auskunft geben zu können. Die Firmen, die Diesel so günstig anbieten, sind erst seit kurzer Zeit aktiv beziehungsweise waren zuvor nicht im Mineralölmarkt tätig. Gegenüber Argus haben zwei der besagten Anbieter bestätigt, dass sie Diesel unter Inlandspreisniveau verkaufen, gaben jedoch keine Auskunft darüber, wer exakt die Ware nach Deutschland importiert und diese in Verkehr bringt, also für das Aufkommen von Energiesteuer, EBV-Beitrag, CO2-Abgabe und THG-Kosten verantwortlich ist. Es handele sich um ganz normale Trading-Geschäfte. Eines der anbietenden Unternehmen teilte mit, dass Diesel mit einem Abschlag von 4,00 bis 5,00 €/100l auf Inlandspreisbasis verkauft würde. Hierbei handele es sich jedoch um große Mengen von mindestens zehn kompletten Tankzügen in der Woche. Bei kleineren Mengen wäre der Abschlag geringer. Die Ware würde im großen Umfang von mehreren Unternehmen in Rostock oder im Raum Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerpen zusammen zugekauft und dann an mehrere Lagerhäuser verteilt. Dabei hat die Firma auf Nachfrage nicht angegeben, ob es sich bei den Lagerhäusern um Tanklager handele. Lagerraum würde individuell verwendet werden. Die Auslieferung an den Kunden erfolge per eigenem Spediteur. Ein anderer Anbieter ist nach eigener Aussage nur als Zwischenhändler tätig, und das seit etwa einem Jahr. Sein Vorlieferant kaufe Handelskontingente in Polen, Tschechien und auch Deutschland zu, um diese dann in Deutschland günstig auf den Markt bringen. Die Ware würde allen deutschen Vorgaben entsprechen. Von Gabriele Zindel Senden Sie Kommentare und fordern Sie weitere Informationen an feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . Alle Rechte vorbehalten.

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