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WPC 2020: Isolationism possible in the battle against global challenges

The world could retreat into increased isolationism as global solutions and organizations struggle in the battle against global challenges and nations face inwards, says Carlos Pascual, senior vice president/global energy & international affairs at IHS Markit, in his speech at WPC 2020 Online. “We are likely to see in the near-future a retreat to isolationism. That isolationism will have an impact throughout international institutions,” Pascual says.

WPC 2020: Climate pressure will force new energy strategies

Global energy markets are on the cusp of change as companies under pressure from diminishing returns, shareholder climate resolutions, and demand destruction is forced to adapt.

WPC 2020: Downcycle with a difference for p-xylene, PTA

The para-xylene (p-xylene) business has changed dramatically in the past year, with almost record-high margins turning sharply negative during the period, particularly in Asia. This has been caused by a slowdown in p-xylene demand growth linked to a weaker downstream polyester industry, and large p-xylene capacity additions in China in 2019, according to Duncan Clark, vice president/aromatics and fibers at IHS Markit.

Standardization: The next step in lowering capital costs?

The standardization of plant design could deliver projects faster, and therefore at a lower cost, says David Gaertner, vice president/global petrochemical business at Schneider Electric. The adoption of standardization could enhance the positive impact modularization, and digital tools are already having on efficiencies and lowering capital costs.

Latin America struggles with slow growth

Several factors are putting a damper on the growth of Latin America’s petrochemical industry in the new decade—slowing economic growth, policy uncertainty, and trade tensions. The region’s economic forecast is mixed, and regional governments have limited options to drive domestic/private demand.



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Save our Seas 2.0 Act clears Senate

The Save our Seas 2.0 Act (S.1982), a bipartisan bill building upon the important environmental safeguards made in the Save Our Seas Act, was passed by the US Senate on Monday. Having passed the House of Representatives in October, the bill now heads to President Trump for approval.

Shell, Nexus sign supply deal for liquid feedstock from plastic waste for Norco cracker

Shell and Nexus Fuels (Atlanta, Georgia) have agreed a four-year supply deal for 60,000 metric tons in total of pyrolysis liquid, chemically recycled by Nexus from plastic waste, to be used as feedstock to produce chemical products at Shell’s plant in Norco, Louisiana.

Report: Chemical recycling is developing quickly, clear political framework needed to boost investment

According to a new report on chemical recycling by Nova-Institute (Hürth, Germany), a private and independent research institute, 30 million metric tons (MMt) of plastic waste are generated annually in Europe, of which about 29 MMt are collected, meaning that 1 MMt of waste plastics per year are lost from the waste stream.

Lummus establishes business targeting circular economy, energy transition solutions

Lummus Technology has formed a new business that will focus on circular economy and energy transition solutions, including plastic waste recycling and the processing of renewable biobased feedstocks for the production of chemicals, polymers, and fuels.

European Court of Auditors warns that EU risks not meeting its plastic recycling targets for 2025, 2030

The European Court of Auditors (ECA), which audits the EU's finances, says in a recent review there is a significant risk that the EU will not meet its plastic packaging recycling targets for 2025 and 2030. The auditors call for new and more accurate recycling reporting rules and a tightening of plastic waste export rules. Concerted action is needed to get the EU to where it wants to be in 5–10 years’ time, ECA says.

Total to convert Grandpuits refinery into bioplastics, recycling, biofuels plant

Total says it will invest more than €500 million ($584 million) converting its Grandpuits refinery in France into a facility for the production of bioplastics and biofuels, and for the chemical recycling of plastics. Oil refining at the facility will stop in the first quarter of 2021, with the storage of petroleum products to cease in 2023, it says. The conversion will be complete by 2024, Total says.



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Strong TDI demand boosts December toluene contract price in Europe

The European toluene contract price for December settled at $454/metric ton on Tuesday, rising $93/metric ton, or 26%, month on month amid stronger demand and tighter supply, according to sources and IHS Markit data.

Grupa Azoty schedule for PDH/PP project slides into 2023

The scheduled start-up of Grupa Azoty’s (Tarnów, Poland) Polimery Police propane dehydrogenation (PDH) and polypropylene (PP) project at Police, Poland, has been delayed to the first quarter of 2023 owing to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

World Methanol Conference: Methanol demand to lag GDP growth for next 10 years

Worldwide demand for methanol is forecast to expand at rates below GDP growth for the first time, says Mike Nash, vice president/syngas chemicals at IHS Markit. Speaking on Tuesday in a panel session at the 38th World Methanol Conference, being held by IHS Markit in a virtual format, Nash said that global methanol demand is predicted to grow on average 2.8%/year during the next 10 years, lagging world GDP growth of 3.2%/year.

Project launched to build green methanol, hydrogen plants in Belgium

A new €140-million ($166-million) project to produce green methanol and hydrogen at Ghent, Belgium, has been unveiled by a consortium of 10 private- and public-sector partners.

Borealis commissions naphtha storage cavern in Porvoo, Finland

Borealis has commissioned an 80,000 cubic meter naphtha storage cavern in Porvoo, Finland, saying the new facility will allow it to access feedstock for its integrated petrochemical production complex from a wider range of sources.

European chlorine output falls in August, stocks of caustic soda rise

Monthly chlorine production in Europe fell 7.5% year on year (YOY) in August to 768,719 metric tons, with daily output of 24,797 metric tons also down 3.5% compared with July’s equivalent figure of 25,686 metric tons, according to latest figures from Euro Chlor, the European chlor-alkali industry association.



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US LPG imports to NW Europe plunge as lockdowns hit feedstock demand

Imports of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) into northwest Europe from the US plunged by 75% in November month on month, as a second wave of new COVID-19 infections sent feedstock buyers running for cover.

Clariant's cellulosic ethanol project in Romania on track despite COVID-19

Clariant says that despite the challenging environment caused by COVID-19, it is making good progress with construction of a cellulosic ethanol plant on a 10-hectare area at Podari in southwestern Romania. Construction started in September 2018 and once operational, the plant will process approximately 250,000 metric tons of straw at full capacity, to produce 50,000 metric tons/year of cellulosic ethanol, the company says.

ASF could cost China up to $120 billion, claims Asian Development Bank

China will lose $50-120 billion as a result of African swine fever (ASF) outbreaks and related culls, according to the Asian Development Bank (ADB). An additional $5-10bn could be lost in countries such as Vietnam and Cambodia – taking total losses in the Greater Mekong region to as much as $130bn.

GPCA: Gulf fertilizer industry playing vital role during pandemic

The agri-nutrients industry in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries supports the food supply of 5% of the world’s population, or 350 million people across the globe, according to a new report published by the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA; Dubai). The report also says that during the last five decades, the portion of the global population supported by fertilizers manufactured by GCC producers has increased 33 times, from about 9 million in 1970 to 350 million currently.

Asia naphtha gloom may lift as cracker growth, LPG winter use boost demand

The Asian naphtha market has bowed to the reality of a supply overhang as the highest arbitrage inflow since June overwhelms November demand, but the gloom is set to lift shortly following an imminent demand increase and diversion of more costly liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) to meet winter needs, market participants say.

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