Industry News

OPEC+ Shows Confidence in Economic Recovery With Oil-Supply Hike

(Bloomberg) - OPEC+ expressed growing confidence in the global economic recovery by agreeing to increase oil production gradually in the coming months.

Before Thursday’s meeting, the cartel had been widely expected to maintain its cautious stance by rolling over the current supply cuts, just as it did last month. Yet Saudi Arabia and its allies showed they are more convinced now that fuel demand is on a firmer footing after a yearlong beating from the coronavirus.

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Sulfur surprise in soybeans

( - If soybeans could talk, they’d tell you anti-pollution legislation works. These laws – first passed in the 1970s – squelched sulfur-containing acid rain fueled by industrial emissions. Applications of fertilizer containing sulfur (S) previously benefited only crops grown on sandy soils, as atmospheric S would leach through them.

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Now-resolved Suez Canal blockage shows value of Arctic shipping route, Russia says

( - While hundreds of ship and tankers were blocked from passing through the Suez Canal by a stranded container ship, Russia’s Energy Ministry wasted no time reminding the world of the Northern Sea Route, the 6,000-kilometer sea artery joining Europe and Asia through the Arctic said to lop days off conventional cargo passages.

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Canada finalizes critical minerals list

(CIM Magazine) Thirty-one: that is the number of minerals that Canada has identified as “critical minerals.” Addressing the virtual Prospector’s and Developer’s Association of Canada Convention on March 11, Canadian Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan read out the newly formed list and called critical minerals “essential to the economic and energy security.”

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Suez Canal Blocked After Giant Container Ship Gets Stuck

(The New York Times) CAIRO — Trying to convey the sheer scale of the nearly quarter-mile-long container ship that has been stuck in the Suez Canal since Tuesday evening, some news outlets compared it to the length of four soccer fields. Others simply called it gigantic. But the main thing to know was this: After powerful winds forced the ship aground on one of the canal’s banks, it was big enough to block nearly the entire width of the canal, producing a large traffic jam in one of the world’s most important maritime arteries.
Related Story:

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Canadian Pacific Railway acquires Kansas City Southern railway for $25 billion

(KTTN) The Associated Press reported Canadian Pacific Railway’s acquisition of Kansas City Southern is a $25 billion deal in cash and stock. The sale creates the first rail network linking the United States, Mexico, and Canada.
Railway officials say Kansas City, Missouri will be designated as the new U.S. headquarters for Canadian Pacific Kansas City, or CPKC. The combined company would operate about 20,000 miles of railway, employ 20,000 people and generate annual revenue of about $8.7 billion.

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ICL (ICL) Reports Acquisition of South American Plant Nutrition Business from Compass Minerals (CMP) for $402M

(Street Insider) ICL (NYSE: ICL), a leading global specialty minerals and specialty chemicals company, today announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Compass Minerals (NYSE: CMP) América do Sul S.A., which includes the South American Plant Nutrition business of Compass Minerals – after a planned carve-out of the existing water treatment and chemicals businesses – for approximately R$2,207 million (~US$402 million, based on a Brazilian real-to-U.S. dollar exchange rate of R$5.4951/US$1.00). This amount includes the assumption of approximately R$600 million (~US$109 million) of net debt and is subject to customary post-closing adjustments. In addition, the transaction includes an earnout of up to approximately R$88 million (~US$16 million).

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Refinery rained oil onto Virgin Islands community that awaits cleanup a month later

(Seattle Times) Two hours after midnight in this island paradise, a cloudy vapor rose from a massive oil refinery and floated over nearby homes as quietly as a ghost. The fine mist of oil and water from Limetree Bay Refining rained down on the community of Clifton Hill, showering the slick mix onto cars, gardens, rooftops and cisterns filled with rainwater that residents use for daily tasks.

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U.S. transport chief to testify on infrastructure push

(Reuters) - U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg will testify March 25 before a key U.S. House panel on the Biden administration's infrastructure push. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee chairman Peter DeFazio said Buttigieg will testify as lawmakers are working on a "transformational surface transportation reauthorization legislation". As a candidate, President Joe Biden pledged to invest $2 trillion in fixing highways, bridges and airports; building climate-resilient homes; wiring cities for broadband internet; encouraging the manufacturing of fuel-efficient cars and installing 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations.

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European companies announce more clean fuel projects

(S&P Platts) - Finnish refiner and clean fuels producer Neste has identified Rotterdam in the Netherlands as the most likely site for its new "world scale" renewable products refinery, it said March 15. Neste also said a final investment decision for the project will be made either by the end of this year or early in 2022. "Based on the thorough studies and calculations, the overall cost of the investment is significantly lower in Rotterdam. Our decision relies on ensuring our future competitiveness and our renewables growth strategy execution," said Neste President and CEO Peter Vanacker.

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In numbers: how mining came to be Australia's most profitable sector

(Mining Technology) - Mining remains Australia's single largest sector, and a bastion of stability and profitability amid the uncertain times of the Covid-19 pandemic. We investigate the statistics behind the industry's recent meteoric rise to see how it has secured such a position of dominance and stability.

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Phosphate Fertilizers from Morocco and Russia Injure U.S. Industry, says USITC

(United States International Trade Commission) - The United States International Trade Commission (USITC) today determined that a U.S. industry is materially injured by reason of imports of phosphate fertilizers from Morocco and Russia that the U.S. Department of Commerce (Commerce) has determined are subsidized by the governments of those countries.

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Turning point in a turnaround for Tengizchevroil LLP

(Engineer Live) - Kazakhstan, officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is the world’s largest landlocked country, and the ninth largest country in the world, with an area of 1,052,100 square miles. Between its most distant points, Kazakhstan measures about 1,820 miles east to west and 960 miles north to south. It is a transcontinental country largely located in Asia, but with the most western parts in Europe. Kazakhstan is the dominant nation of Central Asia economically, generating 60% of the region’s GDP, primarily through its oil and gas industry. It also has vast mineral resources.

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The copper rush

(Switzer Daily) - While investor interest in ‘battery metals’ has focused on lithium and graphite, copper has been the quiet achiever in terms of its role in the renewable energy revolution.
But with the copper price testing record highs set a decade ago, the credentials of the red metal are getting louder by the day.

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FRA Hazmat Tank Car Impact Test Research

(Railway Age) - Approximately one out of every four railroad freight cars in North America is a tank car, according to the Association of American Railroads, Railroad Facts, 2019 Edition (p. 38). Each year, such cars transport roughly 2 million shipments of hazardous materials (hazmat), carrying goods that are essential to North America’s economy, public health and quality of life.

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From the Farm: Applying sulfur to corn

(WCIA) - Many of us are too young to remember acid rain and the damage it did.  But it contained sulfuric acid from coal-fired power plants — and its absence means a shortfall of sulfur needed by crops.

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Maritec Advises Shipowners On How To Be IMO2020 Compliant Amid High Sulphur Warning

(Hellenic Shipping News) Singapore-based independent test and research facility Maritec is advising shipowners on how best to meet IMO 2020 fuel testing requirements following reports of excessive sulphur in some very low sulphur fuel oils.

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Battery metals are critical over the next decade, Roskill says

(The Northern Miner) The growing adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) is driving the increasing demand for lithium, nickel and cobalt – critical metals used as cathode materials for lithium-ion batteries in the automotive, energy and electronics industries. According to Deloitte's Electric Vehicle Trends, EV sales are forecast to grow from 2.5 million in 2020 to 11.2 million by 2025, and to 31.1 million by 2030. Analysts from Roskill, a commodity research firm and a leader in critical materials supply chains, provide an outlook on battery metals' markets over the next decade.

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Texas deep freeze hits energy sector, Houston ship channel shut

(Reuters) A deep freeze that hit Texas over the weekend wrought more havoc on the U.S. energy sector on Tuesday, curbing output in the largest U.S. oil field, knocking out a fifth of the nation’s refining capacity, and shutting a key shipping channel in Houston. (related article)

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REFINERY NEWS ROUNDUP: Companies report lower throughput in Europe

(S&P Global by Platts) Oil companies in Europe have reported lower throughput in the fourth quarter and 2020 as a whole, with many refineries continuing with run cuts in the first quarter of 2021.

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Member News

Activist Hedge Fund Grabs Two Seats On Exxon Mobil's Board Of Directors

(Texas Standard) - It’s another example of Big Oil being pushed toward renewable energy. But achieving net-zero carbon emission goals will still be a big challenge. Texas-based oil giant Exxon Mobil Corp. saw a major shakeup in the boardroom last week, with a new activist investor group called Engine No. 1 grabbing two spots on the company’s board of directors. The hedge fund has been targeting Exxon since December with its “Reenergize Exxon” campaign, pushing the company to rethink its business strategy in a time when green energy and climate activism is becoming increasingly mainstream.

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Shell to Let Shareholders Vote on Shift to Cleaner Energy

(WSJ) - LONDON-- Royal Dutch Shell PLC detailed a first-of-a-kind shareholder vote over its pivot away from oil, asking investors to endorse its energy transition strategy in a nonbinding vote next month.

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Rio Tinto achieves battery grade lithium production at Boron plant

(Investing News) - Rio Tinto has commenced production of battery-grade lithium from waste rock at a lithium demonstration plant at the Boron mine site in California, United States. The demonstration plant is the next step in scaling up a breakthrough lithium production process developed at Boron, to recover the critical mineral and extract additional value out of waste piles from over 90 years of mining at the operation.

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Mosaic, AgBiome collaborate to develop biological plant nutrition products

( - Ag input suppliers are betting big on microbial solutions for plant nutrition, and the Mosaic Company is one of the latest to enter the fray.
Last week, Mosaic – a producer and seller of phosphate and potash crop nutrients – entered into a strategic collaboration with AgBiome, a company with one of the world’s largest collections of diverse microbial communities. The goal is to discover, develop, and launch biological solutions to enhance soil fertility, the companies said in a press release.

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Two Mosaic Products Earn Enhanced Efficiency Fertilizer Designation

( - The Mosaic Company announces that two of its products, MicroEssentials and Sus-Terra fertilizer, are now labeled as Enhanced Efficiency Fertilizers (EEF) as defined by the Association of American Plant Food Control Officials (AAPFCO).

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Hempel Acquiring Wattyl Australia, New Zealand

(Coatings World) Hempel A/S said it signed a purchase agreement to acquire Wattyl – one of Australia and New Zealand's leading manufacturers of paint for the decorative and protective segments with a turnover of €150 million and 750 employees – from The Sherwin-Williams Company.

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Shell to License Tech for New Refinery

(Rig Zone) PT Pertamina Rosneft Pengolahan dan Petrokimia (PT PRPP) has signed a licensing and basic engineering agreement to apply Shell Catalysts and Technologies processes at a new refinery in Tuban, Java Timur, Indonesia, Shell (NYSE: RDS.A) reported Wednesday

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CSX, Union Pacific caution about bad winter weather

(Freight Waves) Bitter cold and strong winter storms could impact rail operations over the next several days, according to service advisories from several U.S. Class I railroads.

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U.S. Department of Commerce Issues Final Affirmative Countervailing Duty Determinations on Phosphate Fertilizer Imports from Morocco and Russia

Yahoo Finance - February 9, 2021
The U.S. Department of Commerce announced its final determination that phosphate fertilizer imports from Morocco and Russia are unfairly subsidized. Commerce calculated a subsidy rate of 19.97 percent for Moroccan producer OCP. In the Russia investigation, Commerce calculated rates of 9.19 percent and 47.05 percent for PhosAgro and EuroChem, respectively, and a rate of 17.2 percent for all other producers/exporters

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Oil May Not Be Chevron's Largest Business in 20 Years

CNN Business - February 8, 2021
While oil and gas will certainly be needed for decades to come, the oil and gas division may not be Chevron's top business in 20 years, although it will still be a very big part of the U.S. supermajor's operations, chief executive Michael Wirth told CNN Business in an interview published on Monday.

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