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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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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.

Chemical Week sustainability awards shortlist revealed

The finalists for Chemical Week’s inaugural Sustainability Awards have been revealed. Around 75 entries were received for the three categories. Each application was scored by a panel of 10 judges with 15 judges in total. Going through the applications, we came across excellent examples of how companies are incorporating sustainability into operations, product development, and strategic planning, underscoring the importance of the topic for the industry’s future.

Rethinking plastic packaging and recycling

When it comes to food and drink applications, recycled plastic has limited uses. Regulations forbid the use of post-consumer resin (PCR) in food & drink contact, as well as in hygiene and medical applications. However, brand owner Unilever and its partner SABIC have developed a solution and introduced it to some European markets. Their goal: prove that PCR can be transformed for use in food-contact applications safely.

IHS Markit PEPP 2020: COVID-19 reveals complexity of plastic waste issue

"The value proposition for plastic materials has been reemphasized in the consumer base," said Venetia Spencer, secretary general of the Polyolefin Circular Economy Platform (PCEP). "I think that people recognize the value of the product. They recognize the importance of food safety, of the application of plastics in personal protective equipment [PPE] and hygiene and medical applications. At the same time, the issue on end-of-use is still there."



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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.

Aramco, Sabic hit blue ammonia milestone for zero carbon project in Japan

Saudi Aramco says the production and shipment of blue ammonia has been successfully demonstrated for use in a zero-carbon power generation project in Japan fueled by hydrogen. Aramco and the Institute of Energy Economics, Japan (IEEJ), in partnership with Sabic, produced and shipped 40 metric tons of high-grade blue ammonia to Japan, with the support of the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry, Aramco says.

Soda ash demand feels the pinch from weak construction, automotive demand

Global soda ash consumption is forecast to drop in 2020 as demand for flat and container glass applications –the most important end-user segments— remains weak. However, demand from other important end-user sectors such as soap & detergents remains stable, and sodium bicarbonate demand is forecast to grow 2% in 2020.

Insulation foam applications drive MDI demand recovery, TDI recovery more subdued

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.



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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.

Shortlist revealed for Agrow's Crop Science Awards 2020

The finalists for Agrow's Crop Science Awards 2020, the 13th instalment of the coveted awards, have been revealed with the release of this year’s shortlist. Close to 100 entries were received for the 13 categories being run this year. Each application was scored by Agrow’s panel of 10 judges, enabling the Awards team to come up with the shortlist, which comprises 12 categories.

Naphtha discount deepens in Asia as arbitrage flows outpace demand

Discounts for Asia naphtha on both a delivered and FOB basis deepened as ample September arbitrage barrels and lower cracker run rates erode earlier strong underlying fundamentals, say market sources.

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