US move to cut sulphur in gasoline significant – WR Grace

24 April 2013 19:25  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--A proposal by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to tighten sulphur standards for gasoline is a significant development for WR Grace’s catalysts business, an executive for the US-based catalysts and specialty chemicals firm said on Wednesday.

“I think [the EPA’s move] is significant”, especially if it prompts Asian and Latin American countries to take similar measures, WR Grace chief financial officer Hudson La Force told analysts during the company’s 2013 first-quarter results conference call.

“If it comes to fruition, it will be a good thing, for both the industry and WR Grace,” he added.

The EPA last month proposed reducing the sulphur content of gasoline from 30 to 10 parts per million (ppm) by 2017, prompting immediate opposition from US refining and energy trade groups.

La Force also said that increased volumes of shale oil being processed at refineries will create some catalyst demand because the oil contains metals that will "eat up more catalyst" in treating it.

However, the overall impact of the relatively light shale oil on refining catalyst demand should be neutral, he said.

Earlier on Wednesday, WR Grace said that first-quarter sales in its catalyst technologies segment fell by 14.7% year-on-year because of lower rare earth surcharges, lost sales due to customer operational issues and delayed orders.

By: Stefan Baumgarten
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