Sulphuric acid

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Sulphuric acid news

Houston, Freeport ports remain closed as millions lack power after Beryl

HOUSTON (ICIS)–The ports of Houston and Freeport in Texas remain mostly closed on Tuesday while millions remain without power following Hurricane Beryl's landfall at the start of the week. Port Houston said all of its terminals will remain closed on Tuesday. Port Freeport said the Freeport Harbor Channel is closed. Gates 4 and 14 are closed, while Gate 8 is opened. Freeport LNG Development had shut down its LNG operations at Freeport on July 7. It can export 15 million tonnes/year. Loadings for LNG tankers slowed considerably on 8 July due to rough seas and suspension of pilot services at Calcasieu Pass and Sabine Pass. Both are in Louisiana. The port of Corpus Christi is scheduled to reopen on Tuesday. It is the third largest oil-exporting port in the world, and it is home to Corpus Christi Liquefaction, a terminal that can export 15 million tonnes/year of liquefied natural gas (LNG). MILLIONS REMAIN WITHOUT POWERBeryl made landfall on Sunday in Matagorda, Texas, as a Category 1 hurricane, with maximum sustained windspeeds of 80 miles/hour (130 km/hour). So far, much of its effect on chemical operations has been by interrupting power. On late Tuesday morning, Texas reported more than 2.82 million outages, according to the website poweroutage.us, which keeps track of power outages in the US. CenterPoint Energy, the main electrical transmission and distribution company in Houston, said more than 1.76 million customers remain affected by outages. Entergy, the main one for eastern Texas, said on Monday evening that 247,000 customers remained without power. Texas-New Mexico Power, which handles the areas around Freeport and Galveston said it 73,220 customers are affected by outages. BERYL CAUSED SOME CHEM SHUTDOWNSElectrical outages and precautions had caused some chemical companies and refiners to shut down units. Enterprise Products said bad weather caused a trip to a propane dehydrogenation (PDH) unit in Mont Belvieu, Texas. Marathon Petroleum reported power loss and multiple unit shutdowns at its Galveston Bay refinery. Dow shut down its operations in Seadrift, Texas, as a precaution. In Baytown, ExxonMobil said it is continuing to assess the site for possible damage as it resumes normal operations. The company anticipated minimal impact to production. Formosa Plastics shut down its Olefins 1 unit at Port Comfort, Texas. Interoceanic Corporation (IOC) said its affiliate, PCI Nitrogen, has halted ammonium sulphate (AS) and sulphuric acid production at its facility in Pasadena, Texas. Phillips 66 reported an upset at its refinery in Sweeney, Texas. The refiner did not say if it shut down any unit. Personnel had returned it to normal operations. CITGO reduced operating rates at its refinery in Corpus Christi, Texas. BASF Total Petrochemical's cracker in Port Arthur, Texas, produced off-spec material because of a suspected lightning strike. LIMITED RAIL DISRUPTIONSOn Monday, BNSF said its Pearland intermodal facility in Houston remained closed.  WEATHER FORECASTIn the late morning, Beryl had degraded into a post tropical cyclone with maximum sustained winds of 30 miles/hour, according to the National Hurricane Center. It was in the northeastern part of the US state of Arkansas, and meteorologists expected it would continue traveling in that direction towards Canada. Thumbnail shows flooding caused by Beryl. Image by Reginald Mathalone/NurPhoto/Shutterstock

09-Jul-2024

Four Asia chemical majors in consortium to build green polyester supply chain

SINGAPORE (ICIS)–A consortium consisting of four Asian petrochemical producers have agreed to establish a sustainable polyester fiber supply chain. Japan's Mitsubishi Corp, South Korea’s SK geo centric, Thailand’s Indorama Ventures Ltd (IVL), and India Glycols along with three other companies are part of the consortium, the companies said in a joint statement on Thursday. Japanese sports apparel firm Goldwin is the project owner of the initiative, while Finnish refiner Neste is also part of the consortium alongside Japan-based engineering firm Chiyoda Corp. Financial details of the project were not disclosed. The project aims to utilize renewable and bio-based materials as well as materials produced via carbon capture and utilization (CCU) to manufacture polyester fibers for THE NORTH FACE brand in Japan. Outdoor apparel and equipment brand THE NORTH FACE is operated by Goldwin in Japan. "After that, the launch of further products and brands of Goldwin will be considered," Chiyoda said in the statement. The polyester fiber produced from the project is planned to be used by Goldwin for a part of THE NORTH FACE products, including sports uniforms in July this year. Chiyoda will supply CCU-based paraxylene (PX) to the supply chain, while Thai polyester producer IVL will contribute renewable CCU-based purified terephthalic acid (PTA). In March 2022, Chiyoda started producing carbon dioxide (CO2)-based PX at its pilot plant at the company's Koyasu Research Park in Kanagawa prefecture as part of a project linked with Japan's New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NED). SK geo centric and Neste will be supplying renewable PX and renewable naphtha, respectively. India Glycols, which produces monoethylene glycol (MEG), will supply bio-ethylene glycol made mainly from sugarcane. Toyobo MC Corporation (TMC) – a joint venture between Toyobo Co and Mitsubishi Corp – will be supplying renewable bio-CCU polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Details on supply volumes from each of the consortium partners were not disclosed. Thumbnail photo: A generic polyester clothing label (Sandvik/imageBROKER/Shutterstock)

04-Jul-2024

Latin America stories: weekly summary

SAO PAULO (ICIS)–Here are some of the stories from ICIS Latin America for the week ended on 14 June. NEWS  INSIGHT: Brazil, Mexico currencies take a hit, energy policy under Sheinbaum remains in spotlight The Mexican peso continued sliding this week as the new President Elect Claudia Sheinbaum’s Morena party achieved the "super-majority" investors feared, which could open the door to one-party constitutional reforms, while her energy policy remains on the spotlight. Argentina’s inflation down to 276% in May, first fall in 10 months Argentina’s annual rate of inflation fell in May to 276.4%, down from April’s 289.4%, the country’s statistical office, Indec said, the first fall since July 2023 and six months after President Javier Milei took office. Higher import tariffs one leg of wider plan to save Brazil’s besieged chemicals producers – Abiquim Proposals to sharply increase chemicals import tariffs are only one of the three aspects Brazil’s chemicals producers have proposed to the government to save their "besieged” operations, according to the CEO at trade group Abiquim. Mexico’s petchems supply flowing despite Altamira disruption, but industry crisis could continue The drought affecting the Altamira petrochemicals hub in Mexico’s state of Tamaulipas is not yet affecting the supply of chemicals, but the water restrictions for industrial players could continue, sources said this week. Brazilian pulp producer Suzano to acquire 15% stake in Austria’s Lenzing Brazilian pulp producer Suzano has agreed to acquire a 15% stake in Austrian cellulosic fibres company Lenzing for €230 million, paying €39.70/share, officials said on Wednesday. Brazil fertilizers interactive trade flow map January-May 2024 The Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade for Brazil has released fertilizer trade figures for January-May 2024. Future disruption to Panama Canal will depend on El Nino intensity – expert Despite arrangements put in place to make the Panama Canal fit for a changing climate, future disruption at the Americas key shipping route will depend on a variable no-one can predict: the intensity of future El Niño weather phenomenon, according to an expert at maritime services provider CB Fenton on Tuesday. Mexico’s chemicals output up 7.2% in April, manufacturing up nearly 4.0% Mexico’s chemicals output rose by 7.2% in April, year on year, well above the 3.8% increase in overall manufacturing activity, the country’s statistical office Inegi said on Tuesday. Chemical tanker prices rise as much as 75% since 2020 on lack of liquidity – expert Chemicals tanker prices have risen globally 30-75% in the past four years on a lack of liquidity, an expert at Chile-headquartered chemicals bulk operator Ultratank said on Tuesday. Brazil’s inflation up to 3.93% in May; prices rise sharply in floods-hit state Brazil’s annual rate of inflation rose in May to 3.93%, up from 3.69% in April, with notable price rises registered in food products, especially in the floods-hit state of Rio Grande do Sul, the country’s statistical office IBGE said on Tuesday. Closures of high-cost assets to accelerate in Europe, northeast Asia – ICIS Announcements of closures for high-cost assets, especially in Europe and northeast Asia, are likely to accelerate in coming quarters as the global petrochemicals industry is forced to rationalize, according to an ICIS analyst on Tuesday. Venezuela’s Pequiven, Turkey’s Yildirim mull petchems, ammonia facilities Venezuelan state-owned petrochemicals producer Pequiven has signed an agreement with Turkey’s conglomerate Yildirim to consider building petrochemicals and ammonia facilities in the country, according to the Venezuelan Ministry of Economy. Chile’s Petroquim navigating better than peers pressure from Asian material – exec Polypropylene (PP) producer Petroquim is also facing pressure from lower-priced material sent from Asia, but the company’s “dedicated” service to customers has kept its sales spared from a larger hit, according to the commercial manager at the Chilean company. PRICINGLatAm PP international prices steady to higher on squeezed margins, higher freight rates International polypropylene (PP) prices were assessed as stable to higher across Latin American countries because of higher freight costs and squeezed margins. LatAm PE international prices steady to up on higher offers from abroad International polyethylene (PE) prices were assessed as steady to higher across the region on the back of higher offers from abroad. Plant status: Alpek Polyester’s Altamira plants ceases operations due to water scarcity in Mexico Mexico’s chemicals producer Alpek has declared force majeure for purified terephthalate acid (PTA) out of its 1 million tonnes/year facilities in Altamira, state of Tamaulipas, on the back of the severe drought which has restricted water supplies to industrial companies. Stable PET prices in Mexico prevail amid supply challenges Throughout this week, polyethylene terephthalate (PET) prices have remained stable in Mexico, as per market observations. However, industry participants believe that this stability might not last long.

17-Jun-2024

Europe top stories: weekly summary

LONDON (ICIS)–Here are some of the top stories from ICIS Europe for the week ended 14 June. Steady demand keeps Europe butadiene prices firm, improved output but ongoing limitations European butadiene (BD) output may have improved with the resolution of a couple of unplanned outages in May but an ongoing turnaround in the Netherlands and some unplanned downtime in France, amid talk of other issues, is keeping spot availability constrained and spot pricing firm. ESA ’24: No easy fix for European spot sulphuric acid shortfall European sulphuric acid buyers are somewhat resigned as an ongoing shortage of spot acid continues – with little evidence in sight for any improvement in availability. Europe naphtha, Eurobob crack spreads suffer demand slump Northwest European open-specification naphtha (OSN) spot values recovered from losses sustained last week as upstream Brent crude prices rose. IPEX: Global spot index edges down on lower values across all regions The global spot ICIS Petrochemical Index (IPEX) fell by 0.7% in the week ending 7 June on losses across all regions, not least northwest Europe. Europe chems stocks, markets slump in wake of election upheaval Stocks markets in Europe slumped on Monday after EU parliamentary results pointed to a rise in prominence for Eurosceptic parties, with the announcement of a snap election in France and the resignation of the Belgian Prime Minister.

17-Jun-2024

Asia top stories – weekly summary

SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Here are the top stories from ICIS News Asia and the Middle East for the week ended 14 June 2024. INSIGHT: Asia petrochemical markets grapple with surging shipping costs By Nurluqman Suratman 14-Jun-24 13:54 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Spot prices of most petrochemicals in Asia have spiked on the back of surging freight and container costs, as logistics challenges which continue to dampen global commodities trades coincide with a seasonal uptick in demand. INSIGHT: China slams EU over EV tariffs; trade war brewing By Nurluqman Suratman 13-Jun-24 15:01 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China has slammed EU’s proposal to impose provisional tariffs on imports of Chinese electric vehicles (EVs), denouncing it as a "blatant act of protectionism”, raising concerns that a trade war between Asia’s biggest economy and a new western front is brewing. India Q3 fatty acids demand grows amid freight spikes, logistics woes By Helen Yan 12-Jun-24 13:54 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–India’s import demand for fatty acids has picked up, with buyers seeking to lock in third-quarter shipments amid soaring freight costs and logistics issues that have disrupted global trade flows. Asia naphtha could still be lifted by supply challenges By Li Peng Seng 10-Jun-24 09:55 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s naphtha intermonth spread has lost 42% of its value compared to a month ago as weak petrochemical margins weighed, but lingering concerns over arbitrage supplies coming to Asia could help limit the downside. INSIGHT: Asian petrochemical industry at crossroads amid supply glut – APIC By Nurluqman Suratman 10-Jun-24 16:54 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The Asian petrochemical industry is grappling with a multifaceted transition, marked by a persistent oversupply of petrochemicals, the urgent need to decarbonize, and the growing momentum of the circular economy. China price pressures to remain weak on persistent weak demand By Nurluqman Suratman 13-Jun-24 11:08 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China's consumer inflation rate is expected to remain weak in the near future on persistently weak domestic demand, raising worries about the risk of deflation as the nation's economic recovery struggles to gain traction.

17-Jun-2024

Mexico’s petchems supply flowing despite Altamira disruption, but industry crisis could continue

SAO PAULO (ICIS)–The drought affecting the Altamira petrochemicals hub in Mexico’s state of Tamaulipas is not yet affecting the supply of chemicals, but the water restrictions for industrial players could continue, sources said this week. The modest rainfall in the past few days has not resulted in any great improvement in water supplies, with households still suffering water restrictions. Supplies to industrial players will only resume when supply for households is normalized. Earlier this week, Mexico’s chemicals producer Alpek declared force majeure on supply of purified terephthalic acid (PTA) out of Altamira. The producer has the capacity to produce 1 million tonnes/year in two plants at the petrochemicals hub. Sources in the US PTA and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) markets have said they fear disruptions to supply if the crisis in Altamira continues. In May, the critical situation affecting water supply to residents in the area prompted authorities to halve water supply to industrial players, with many of them declaring force majeures thereafter. This week, a well-connected source in the Mexican petrochemicals industry limited the current crisis, for now, to production issues, with supplies of all materials still flowing. “What we are hearing in the market is not about shortages – for now, it is limited to a production problem,” the source said. “A lot of US product also comes to Mexico, so for now there is no supply problem as such. However, everything will depend on how long it takes for this to be resolved so industry can return to normal production.” Weather patterns developing normally, Mexico’s east coast should be entering the rainy and hurricane season soon, which could start to ease Altamira’s drought. However, with residents in the area still suffering water restrictions in their homes, normalization in water supplies to industrial players should still take some time. The light rain in the past few days, however, may already be starting to show positive effects. Last week, local media in Altamira reported how the Champayan lagoon, west of the city and a natural spot very much loved by the locals, had dried up overnight. On 11 June, residents woke up to a lagoon with water again. ELECTIONS STOLE FOCUS FROM DROUGHTMexico concluded on 2 June an electoral process which kept political parties’ focus away from the drought developing in Tamaulipas, said the source in Mexican petrochemicals. “Altamira is located in an area which doesn’t lack water. The drought became a perfect storm on the back of the authorities’ poor response. In an election year, instead of investing resources to reverse the drought situation months ago, those resources went to the electoral campaigns,” it said. “Having so much water in the area, they could have installed pumps in certain rivers to transfer water to other rivers, which could have solved the situation preventively. They are pumping water now, but now turned out to be too late for industrial players. In addition to the drought, the campaign had the greatest impact in the current crisis.” Last week, the government of Tamaulipas ordered that tanker trucks be sent to the south of the state from other municipalities not affected as harshly by the drought, as well as from other Mexican states. The trucks will not sort out the dire situation at industrial parks, however, because the water is being deployed to households only. The latest report by the public body in Mexico monitoring the drought, published on 5 June and covering up to 31 May, continued showing the state of Tamaulipas in the Gulf Coast as one of the hot spots suffering the current crisis. MEXICO DROUGHT MONITORTamaulipas (east) suffers ‘exceptional drought’ amid a nationwide crisis Color scale: Yellow, abnormally dry; light orange, moderate drought; orange, severe drought; red, extreme drought; brown, exceptional drought Source: Mexico’s National Water Commission, part of the National Meteorological Service. See more here, in Spanish Front page picture: The Port of Altamira, Mexico’s state of Tamaulipas Source: Altamira Municipality Focus article by Jonathan Lopez

13-Jun-2024

PODCAST: Methanol could play leading role in the low-carbon energy transition

BARCELONA (ICIS)–Methanol has long-term potential as a major player in the energy transition, especially for use as a marine fuel. Methanol mainly made from coal in China, natural gas elsewhere Used to make formaldehyde, acetic acid, in China mainly coal-based methanol to olefins (MTO) Q2 typically sees peak demand for Europe construction but subdued this year Concerns about overcapacity globally as new projects come onstream Use as marine fuel may be a big driver of growth long term Energy transition offers great opportunities In this Think Tank podcast, Will Beacham interviews ICIS senior editor Eashani Chavda and ICIS Insight editor Nigel Davis. Editor’s note: This podcast is an opinion piece. The views expressed are those of the presenter and interviewees, and do not necessarily represent those of ICIS. ICIS is organising regular updates to help the industry understand current market trends. Register here . Read the latest issue of ICIS Chemical Business. Read Paul Hodges and John Richardson's ICIS blogs.

11-Jun-2024

India’s GAIL to build $7.2bn Madhya Pradesh petrochemical complex

MUMBAI (ICIS)–State-owned GAIL (India) Ltd plans to invest Indian rupee (Rs) 600 billion ($7.2 billion) to build an ethane cracker and its derivative plants in Madhya Pradesh. The cracker will have a 1.5 million tonne/year capacity and will be set up at Ashta in the Sehore district of the state in central India, GAIL said in a regulatory disclosure to the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) on 10 June. GAIL did not provide product or capacity details of the ethylene derivatives it plans to produce at the complex. “Around 800 hectares of land shall be provided by the MP [Madhya Pradesh] Industrial Development Corporation, for which the state government has already initiated the process,” GAIL said. Project construction is expected to begin by February 2025, with commercial production likely in the financial year ending March 2031, it added. Investment on the project is still pending approval from GAIL management board, and the mode of financing yet to be decided. The Madhya Pradesh state government has approved the project and land will be allotted soon, state chief minister Mohan Yadav had said in a statement on 7 June. He said that “petrochemicals like linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE), high density polyethylene (HDPE), mono ethylene glycol (MEG) and propylene will be produced” at the site. The new project is part of GAIL’s initiative to enhance its petrochemical portfolio, a company source said. “The demand for petrochemicals is increasing in the country, led by expanding industrial, construction and manufacturing,” he said, citing an 8-9% annual growth rate in India’s polymer demand. In March 2024, GAIL had signed a tripartite agreement with Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) and Shell Energy India to explore opportunities for the import of ethane and other hydrocarbons at Shell Energy Terminal in Hazira in the western Gujarat state. Separately, the company recently announced plans to set up liquid pipeline for ethylene (C2), propylene (C3) from Vijaipur to Aurai in the northern Uttar Pradesh state. At Pata in the same state, GAIL will begin operations at the 60,000 tonne/year PP plant by December 2024. At Usar in the western Maharashtra state, GAIL expects to begin operations at its 500,000 tonne/year propane dehydrogenation unit (PDH) and 500,000 tonnes/year polypropylene (PP) line by April 2025; and its 50,000 tonne/year isopropylene project by December 2025. In the southern Karnataka state, the company expects to bring on line its 1.25m tonne/year purified terephthalic acid (PTA) plant in Mangalore by March 2025. GAIL had acquired JBF Petrochemicals in June 2023 which allowed it to add PTA to its existing petrochemical portfolio. ($1 = Rs83.49) Focus article by Priya Jestin

11-Jun-2024

Arianne Phosphate says adding phosphate to critical mineral list acknowledges its importance

HOUSTON (ICIS)–Canadian firm Arianne Phosphate announced that the government of Canada has added phosphate to the country’s critical mineral list, which it said acknowledges the fundamental importance and necessity of this mineral. The criteria for the Canadian critical mineral list are that the mineral is deemed essential to the nation’s economy and security, necessary for a transition to a sustainable low-carbon economy, can be a source for international allies and is a mineral whose supply is threatened. Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Jonathan Wilkinson said by updating the list Canada is taking a proactive step for its economy. “Investments in critical mineral projects create good jobs for workers, more avenues for Canadian innovation and lower emissions across the country – all part of our plan to build a cleaner Canada and a prosperous, sustainable economy,” said Wilkinson. Arianne Phosphate has been advancing on its Lac a Paul project in in Quebec’s Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region and said it is now fully permitted and shovel ready. It noted that it hosts the largest independent greenfield phosphate deposit where it can produce a very high-purity and low-contaminant phosphate concentrate, ideal for use in both fertilizer and technical-grade applications. This includes the production of purified phosphoric acid which is required for lithium-iron-phosphate batteries. “The addition of phosphate to the critical mineral list not only recognizes the importance of the mineral but, the challenges the west has in securing the necessary supplies,” said Brian Ostroff, Arianne Phosphate president. “We welcome the Canadian government’s decision to add phosphate to its list and, along with the Quebec government’s recent decision to do the same, believe this will be a significant driver for Arianne as we look to conclude our ongoing discussions with potential partners and financiers.” Ostroff said an operating Canadian-based phosphate mine, along with the construction of a downstream purified phosphoric acid facility, would help ease the increasing concern over supply and start to address future needs. Arianne is currently undergoing a prefeasibility study designed to review the potential for constructing a large-scale phosphoric acid plant in the Saguenay region. The facility would be able to convert high-purity igneous phosphate concentrate into a purified phosphoric acid for use in downstream applications. As currently envisioned, the facility would be capable of producing 350,000 tonnes of battery-grade purified phosphoric acid and over 200,000 tonnes of a secondary phosphoric acid for use in specialty fertilizers and animal feeds.

10-Jun-2024

Americas top stories: weekly summary

HOUSTON (ICIS)–Here are the top stories from ICIS News from the week ended 7 June. Celanese declares force majeure on acetic acid and VAM in Europe, Americas Celanese has declared force majeure on acetic acid and vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) in the "Western Hemisphere", which is understood to include the Americas and the Europe, Middle East and Africa region. Canada rail strike unlikely to begin before mid-to-late July, rail carrier CN says Rail carrier Canadian National (CN) estimates that a threatened rail strike in Canada is unlikely to begin before mid-to-late July, it said in an update on its website on Thursday. Mexico’s Altamira petchems force majeure declarations continue on severe drought Petrochemicals producers in the production hub of Altamira, in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, keep declaring force majeure as a severe drought halved water supplies to industrial players. Brazil’s Braskem expects operations at Triunfo to normalize in ‘coming days’ Braskem’s operations at Triunfo in floods-hit state of Rio Grande do Sul are still yet fully normalized, despite the plant having restarted more than two weeks ago, a spokesperson said to ICIS on Wednesday. Pace of China chemical capacity additions unsustainable – Huntsman CEO The blistering pace of chemical capacity additions in China is likely to tail off, as the current wave is the result of prior planning during better times, the CEO of Huntsman said. IPEX: Index down for first time this year on weak demand in all regions The ICIS Petrochemical Index (IPEX) was down 1.2% in May month on month, as weak downstream demand paved the way for price declines in all regions. Protectionism and tariffs a key concern for US chemicals – ACC execs The increasing trend towards protectionism and tariffs is a key concern for the US chemical industry, said executives at the American Chemistry Council (ACC). INSIGHT: Mexico’s emissions, energy policy and Pemex main challenges for new president Mexico’s new – and first female – president Claudia Sheinbaum will have to decide soon into her term whether she changes course in two key aspects: energy policy and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and the support for state-owned, indebted and underperforming energy major Pemex. Nylon recovery progressing but building and construction still weak – AdvanSix CEO AdvanSix continues to see a gradual recovery in nylon demand driven by automotive and packaging, but building and construction remains challenged, said the CEO of AdvanSix.

10-Jun-2024

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