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KBR technology selected for green ammonia project in Chile
KBR technology selected for green ammonia project in Chile
HOUSTON (ICIS)–Global engineering firm KBR announced their green ammonia technology, branded as K-GreeN, has been selected by project partner Enaex for the recently revealed HyEx green ammonia project in Chile. It is planned that through the HyEx project that technologies for having stable green ammonia plant operations during the fluctuation of renewable energy from photovoltaic power plant will be studied. The construction site will be in Tocopilla which is within the Antofagasta Region and it planned that the ammonia plant will have an annual production rate of 18,000 short tons. Schedule completion is currently set for 2025 with Japanese firm Toyo Engineering Corporation (TOYO) and global ammonia marketer Mitsui also involved in the project which recently announced that a feasibility study had been funded for HyEx. “We are thrilled to be part of this project that will demonstrate Chile’s potential to harness renewable energy for green ammonia production,” said Doug Kelly, KBR president, Technology. “The innovative concepts that will be incorporated in this project will achieve industrial scale production of green ammonia using renewable energy from photovoltaic and wind power.” Since 1943, KBR said it has licensed and designed over 250 grassroot ammonia plants worldwide.
HYDROGEN POLICY: UK government announces guidance for low
      carbon hydrogen production
HYDROGEN POLICY: UK government announces guidance for low carbon hydrogen production
LONDON (ICIS)–The UK government has published guidelines for hydrogen producers seeking to produce hydrogen using fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage (CCS). The guidelines cover those who produce hydrogen and aim to use it within the same installation or project, and for projects that aim to export and sell the hydrogen to third parties.  The CO2 associated with the hydrogen’s production should also be transported by pipeline or other means and stored in permanent underground geological storage facility or used as a product itself. The guidelines have been developed between environmental regulators (Environment Agency, Natural Resources Wales, Northern Ireland Environmental Agency, Scottish Environment Protection Agency) and industry stakeholders. The guidance for production is relevant for “large-scale industrial plants” that are either new hydrogen plants or retrofits of existing plants that are typically greater than 100tonnes/day of hydrogen production capacity, equal to 140MW capacity at a lower heating value. However, the UK government said that “smaller plants should use this guidance until further guidance is available.” The guidance says that an overall CO2 emissions capture rates from hydrogen production should be “at least 95%” for an average performance over an extended period. For steam methane reforming, the regulators expect that more than 95% of CO2 can be removed from the reformer flue gases, or that the plant is designed such that hydrogen is used as the fuel gas for the reformer or there is CO2 removal prior to the hydrogen purification. For autothermal reforming and partial oxidation, which use an air separation unit, heat recovery is encouraged and that heat to be used within the rest of the hydrogen production process. The guidelines also suggested that hydrogen producers should consider purifying hydrogen using a pressure swing absorption process. Other sections of the guidelines surrounded waste, water usage and disposal, monitoring of processes, unplanned emissions and accidents, noise and odour.
INSIGHT: US IRA to accelerate hydrogen, CCS projects
INSIGHT: US IRA to accelerate hydrogen, CCS projects
NEW YORK (ICIS)–The US Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which was signed into law in August 2022, will accelerate the development of hydrogen and carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects, which in many cases will go together. “There’s a lot of activity in this [low carbon] space – a lot of interest particularly with the IRA here in the US, but more generally around the world. I think [there’s] a real focus on low-carbon opportunities,” said Darren Woods, CEO of ExxonMobil, on the company’s Q4 earnings conference call in late January. He added that the IRA “further reinforces” its commitment to hydrogen and CCS. US-based ExxonMobil in December boosted its planned investments in its Low Carbon Solutions business to $17bn from 2022-2027 – up from $15bn in its prior plan. ExxonMobil in January awarded a FEED (front end engineering and design) contract to build what it calls the world’s largest low-carbon hydrogen facility at its site in Baytown, Texas. The project would produce 1 billion cubic feet (bcf)/day of blue hydrogen (with carbon capture) and also offer CCS for third-party CO2 emitters. The CCS project would be able to store up to 10m tonnes/year of CO2. For ExxonMobil’s Baytown olefins complex, the project could cut CO2 emissions by 30% if hydrogen is used to fuel cracker furnaces instead of natural gas. A final investment decision (FID) is expected in 2024 with start-up planned for 2027-2028. The Baytown project would be an initial contribution to a cross-industry supported Houston CCS hub which could capture and store 50m tonnes/year of CO2 by 2030 and 100m tonnes by 2040. US-based Chevron, which is also building low-carbon businesses such as hydrogen and CCS, sees the IRA potentially de-risking investments to some extent. “The IRA will probably accelerate some activity in the US, there’s no doubt. Hopefully, what that does is allow technologies to be de-risked, the cost of technologies to be reduced and the attractiveness of these investments to improve,” said Mike Wirth, CEO of Chevron, on the company’s Q4 earnings conference call. While the IRA doesn’t necessarily change Chevron’s long-term view on how it builds those businesses, “it does, perhaps, change the trajectory at which some of those businesses become more economically viable”, he added. UK-based BP sees increased incentives for CCS in the IRA supporting its greater use in the power sector, as well as in industry and to produce blue hydrogen. Source: BP Energy Outlook 2023 With the IRA and other incentives, the company sees US CCS deployment reaching over 100m tonnes/year by 2035 and close to 400m tonnes/year by 2050, according to BP chief economist Spencer Dale, in BP’s Energy Outlook 2023. Ultimately, it will take tens or more likely, hundreds of billions of dollars of investment in hydrogen and CCS to decarbonise not just the chemical industry, but all energy-intensive manufacturing sectors in the US. “What we start to see, with the IRA, is an increase in the price on CO2. That’s been raised to $85/tonne for the CO2,” said Dow CEO Fitterling in an interview with ICIS in November. The IRA increases the 45Q tax credits from up to $35/tonne for captured CO2 used in enhanced oil recovery (EOR) or in certain industrial applications, and up to $50/tonne for CO2 in secure geological storage, to $60/tonne and $85/tonne, respectively, according to US law firm Gibson Dunn. “That actually helps quite a lot as an incentive to capture the CO2, but what we have to do now is build the carbon capture hubs and the hydrogen hubs to make that happen,” said Fitterling. The Dow CEO said it would take between 6-8 hydrogen/carbon capture hubs in strategic locations to decarbonise as much as 85% of the entire chemical industry in the US, citing an analysis done with the American Chemistry Council (ACC). “And in the IRA, both the funding and the price on carbon help us get there,” he added. Along with hydrogen and CCS, which represents blue hydrogen, there will be greater investment in US green hydrogen, driven by the IRA. Green hydrogen involves electrolysis of water using renewable power. BP sees US low-carbon hydrogen usage increasing to 4m tonnes/year in 2030 and 26m tonnes/year by 2050. Source: BP Energy Outlook 2023 “The hydrogen incentives [in the IRA] are especially supportive of green hydrogen, which accounts for around 60% of US low-carbon hydrogen in 2050, compared with around 25% in [BP’s previous outlook in 2022],” said Dale. Source: BP Energy Outlook 2023 Insight article by Joseph Chang Thumbnail shows hydrogen. Image by Shutterstock.
More than 2,000 dead in Turkey, Syria earthquake as toll
      continues to rise
More than 2,000 dead in Turkey, Syria earthquake as toll continues to rise
LONDON (ICIS)–More than 2,000 people are believed to have died after a massive earthquake hit southeastern Turkey and parts of Syria, with oil, gas and power still cut off to parts of the affected area. In its latest update on the disaster, Turkey’s Ministry of Interior Disaster and Emergency Management (AFAD) estimated that 1,498 people have died in the affected areas, with Kahramanmaras and Gazientep among the worst-hit areas. Syria’s health agency estimates deaths at 430, with organisations in the northwest of the country, where the government does not have control, reportedly assessing the death count in the region at 380 so far, meaning that at least 2,300 people have died in the two countries. The escalating death count comes after a 7.7 magnitude earthquake occurred in Kahramanmaras province in the early hours of Monday morning, followed by a second 7.6 magnitude earthquake at 13:24 local time (10:24 GMT). Official estimates of the magnitude of the first earthquake have shifted through the day. – As a result of the disaster, natural gas can not currently be supplied into the Hatay and Kirikhan regions, and deliveries to inlet stations in parts of Gazientep province have been halted as a precautionary measure. 27 urban centres in the affected regions in Turkey are still currently without access to electricity, according to AFAD, and flows of crude oil along pipelines operated by state firm BOTAS have been halted into parts of the region. Gazientep is an industrial hub in the southeast and the heart of Turkey’s textile industry and a major plastics consumer. Chemicals produced in the affected regions include soda ash, polyester fibres and polymers, fertilizer and polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Several chemicals players in the region have stated that there has been no direct impact from the earthquakes yet, but this could evolve in terms of production and demand as the disruption continues to make itself felt. Gazientep is a major consumer of polymers. Electricity has been cut off for 27 of the municipalities affected by the earthquake and aftershocks, according to AFAD, with natural gas flows cut off to inlet stations at Nurdagi and Islahiye in Gazientep province. Some crude oil flows along pipelines operated by state company BOTAS have also been suspended, according to AFAD. Natural gas transmission lines have been damaged in Gazientep, Hatay and Kahramanmaras provinces, according to a statement from BOTAK. Electricity supply to Adanas is continuing, with a local source stating that power may be restored to Gazientep later today. Nearly 3,000 buildings in Turkey have been demolished either for safety reasons or as part of recovery efforts, according to AFAD. Kahramanmaraş and Hatay airports are currently closed to flights due to damage. Update: Adds latest death toll and other developments. Additional reporting by Nurluqman Suratman and Samantha Wright, infographics by Miguel Rodriguez-Fernandez and Yashas Mudumbai. Thumbnail picture: Collapsed buildings in Diyarbakir, southeastern Turkey Source: Ahmet Yukus/Depo Photos via ZUMA Press Wire/Shutterstock
Americas top stories: weekly summary
Americas top stories: weekly summary
HOUSTON (ICIS)–Here are the top stories from ICIS News from the week ended 3 February. US lifts ban on palm oil, derivative products from Malaysian Sime Darby Plantation US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) on Friday lifted a two-year ban on imports of palm oil products from Malaysia’s Sime Darby Plantation Berhad (SDP), after findings that Sime Darby, its subsidiaries, and joint ventures no longer produce palm oil and derivative products using forced labour. US January ethylene contracts fall on lower production costs US January ethylene contract prices settled at a decrease as lower production costs counter-balanced slightly higher spot values. US Fed raises rates by 1/4 point as pace of hikes slows The US Federal Reserve raised its benchmark federal funds rate by a quarter of a point to 4.50-4.75 on Wednesday, lower than the half-point increase in December and in line with market expectations amid continued strong employment data and easing inflation.
Global IPEX up 1.5% in January on price rises in NE Asia and
      the US Gulf
Global IPEX up 1.5% in January on price rises in NE Asia and the US Gulf
LONDON (ICIS)–The ICIS Petrochemical Index (IPEX) rose by 1.5% month on month in January, as chemical prices went up in the US Gulf and, especially, northeast Asia. The northwest Europe index posted the only decrease compared with December, down by 0.2%. The decline was driven by lower butadiene, ethylene and propylene monthly contract prices. The northeast Asia IPEX was 7.1% higher month on month, with butadiene,  polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and benzene in particular pushing the index up. Ethylene and propylene were the only commodities in the region to see a price fall. Monthly chemical values in the US Gulf went up by 1.4% on the back of strong propylene and polypropylene (PP) increases. Among commodities included in the global IPEX, paraxylene (PX) contract prices in northwest Europe and the US Gulf are the only ones yet to settle. The Global IPEX index for January is down by 12.1% year on year. The ICIS petrochemical index tracks the movement of prices for the 12 major petrochemicals and polymers: ethylene, propylene, butadiene, benzene, toluene, paraxylene (PX), polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), styrene, polystyrene (PS), methanol and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) with the regional indexes weighted by capacity. The IPEX values are related to a January 2000 base of 100. IPEX values are subject to change retrospectively as monthly contract prices are settled.
Turkey earthquake official death toll rises to over 900, some
      crude, gas flows halted
Turkey earthquake official death toll rises to over 900, some crude, gas flows halted
LONDON (ICIS)–Over 900 people have died and thousands are injured in the wake of an earthquake that hit southeastern Turkey in the early hours of Monday morning, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is reported to have said. Natural gas deliveries to parts of the affected area and some crude pipeline flows have been halted. The quake has also affected Syria, with combined deaths in the two countries reportedly standing at over 1,200. The magnitude 7.4 earthquake hit the city Kahramanmaras at 04:17 local time (01:17 GMT), with the death toll so far centred there and in nearby Gazientep, an industrial hub and the heart of Turkey’s textile industry and major plastics consumer. Chemicals produced in the affected region include soda ash, polyester fibres and polymers, fertilizer and polyethylene terephthalate (PET). – Electricity has been cut off for 27 of the municipalities affected by the earthquake and aftershocks, according to AFAD, with natural gas flows cut off to inlet stations at Nurdagi and Islahiye in Gazientep province. Some crude oil flows along pipelines operated by state company BOTAS have also been suspended, according to AFAD. Natural gas transmission lines have been damaged in Gazientep, Hatay and Kahramanmaras provinces, according to a statement from BOTAK. Electricity supply to Adanas is continuing, with a local source stating that power may be restored to Gazientep later today. Additional reporting by Nurluqman Suratman and Samantha Wright Infographics by Miguel Rodriguez-Fernandez and Yashas Mudumbai Update: adds latest official death count. Front page picture: Collapsed buildings in Diyarbakir, southeast Turkey Source: Ahmet Yukus/Depo Photos via ZUMA Press Wire/Shutterstock
PODCAST: Europe PET and R-PET face major market-changing
      regulatory challenges
PODCAST: Europe PET and R-PET face major market-changing regulatory challenges
LONDON (ICIS)–The European polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and recycled PET (R-PET) industry met at the Petcore Annual Conference in Brussels on 1-2 February 2023 to discuss the regulatory challenges facing the industry in light of the European Commission’s Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR), and changes to regulation 2022/1616 in regards to food contact material. ICIS senior editor Matt Tudball talks to ICIS lead analyst for plastics recycling Helen McGeough about what these pieces of regulation mean for the PET and R-PET industries, and why they are generating so much concern within the market. Overview of the topics discussed during the conference Impact of PPWR Impact of changes to regulation EU 2022/1616 on R-PET market
Turkey earthquake official death toll nears 300, some crude,
      gas flows halted
Turkey earthquake official death toll nears 300, some crude, gas flows halted
LONDON (ICIS)–At least 284 people have died and thousands are injured in the wake of an earthquake that hit southeastern Turkey in the early hours of Monday morning, with natural gas deliveries to parts of the affected area and some crude pipeline flows halted. The official death toll as of 10:00 local time was 284, according to Turkey’s Ministry of Interior Disaster and Emergency Management (AFAD), with over 2,300 recorded injured so far. The quake has also affected Syria, with combined deaths in the two countries standing at 650, according to Syrian state media. The magnitude 7.4 earthquake hit the city Kahramanmaras at 04:17 local time (01:17 GMT), with the death toll so far centred there and in nearby Gazientep, an industrial hub and the heart of Turkey’s textile industry and major plastics consumer. Chemicals produced in the affected region include soda ash, polyester fibres and polymers, fertilizer and polyethylene terephthalate. – Electricity has been cut off for 27 of the municipalities affected by the earthquake and aftershocks, according to AFAD, with natural gas flows cut off to inlet stations at Nurdagi and Islahiye in Gazientep province. Some crude oil flows along pipelines operated by state company BOTAS have also been suspended, according to AFAD. Natural gas transmission lines have been damaged in Gazientep, Hatay and Kahramanmaras provinces, according to a statement from BOTAK. Electricity supply to Adanas is continuing, with a local source stating that power may be restored to Gazientep later today. Additional reporting by Nurluqman Suratman and Samantha Wright, infographics by Miguel Rodriguez-Fernandez and Yashas Mudumbai. Thumbnail picture: Collapsed buildings in Diyarbakir, southeastern Turkey Source: Ahmet Yukus/Depo Photos via ZUMA Press Wire/Shutterstock
Europe top stories: weekly summary
Europe top stories: weekly summary
LONDON (ICIS)–Here are some of the top stories from ICIS Europe for the week ended 3 February. INSIGHT: EU ban on Russian refined products will tighten market BARCELONA (ICIS)–The impending EU ban on refined oil products from Russia will force the country to cut refinery operating rates and tighten the global market, but a wave of new capacity should help restore balance from the second half of 2023. Austria’s OMV chemicals, materials Q4 operating profit sinks on margins, demand OMV’s fourth-quarter (Q4) clean operating result for its Chemicals & Materials division sank 89%, year on year, to €57m on weaker margins and demand, the Austrian energy and petrochemicals major said on Thursday. €250bn of redirected EU funds for net zero projects in Green Deal Industrial Plan €250bn of funds from the EU’s REPower emergency energy crisis support mechanism can be redirected to member states to support investment in net zero industries, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Wednesday. UK chemicals sales fall sharply, firms face ‘adverse impact’ of government policy – trade group UK chemical companies’ sales fell sharply between the third and the fourth quarter as half reported a fall in demand and exports, trade group Chemical Industries Association (CIA) said on Wednesday. UK growth expected lower on stretched consumer, eurozone growth revised up – IMF Growth domestic product (GDP) in the UK will fall by 0.6% in 2023 compared with 2022 as companies and households face tighter monetary conditions and elevated energy prices, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Tuesday. Spanish chemical industry in good health, EU funds helped to alleviate crisis – trade union The Spanish chemical industry has resisted the onslaught caused by the energy crisis in Europe, with producers benefiting from the ‘Iberian exception’ which has lowered their input costs, according to an industry executive at the country’s main trade union CCOO.
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