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Industry News

Cenovus ramps up WCS crude-by-rail program as market conditions improve

S&P Global/Platts - February 9, 2021
Cenovus Energy resumed crude-by-rail shipments in the fourth quarter of 2020 as market conditions improved for moving Western Canadian Select crude from Alberta to refineries in the US and Canada, the company said Feb. 9 in its fourth quarter results statement. Rail is crucial in moving the heavy crude to markets to be refined given the dearth of pipeline capacity. But it is only economic if the price of Western Canadian Select is low enough to support the more expensive rail transportation mode.

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FMCSA Clearinghouse Records More Than 56,000 Truck Driver Violations in 2020

Transport Topics - February 2, 2021
More than 56,000 drug and alcohol violations were recorded last year in a database intended to track truck drivers' compliance history and prevent them from job-hopping in the event of a failed drug test. The number of driver violations reported rose by roughly 10,000 over the final two months of 2020, the first full year of operation for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse.

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U.S. Chemical Production Grows for Fourth Consecutive Month

October production includes gains in chlor-alkali, industrial gases, plastic resins, adhesives, fertilizers, more, according to ACC.

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Taman Bulk Terminal Loads First Sulphur Shipment – SeaNews

Taman Bulk Terminal has loaded its first shipment of sulphur. 38.5 tons of granulated sulphur produced by North Caspian Operating Company (NCOC) at the Kashagan oil field in Kazakhstan was loaded on board the 55 dwt Handymax bulker "Sealuck II".

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Want 200-Bu. Corn? You'll Need 34 Pounds Of Sulfur Per Acre.

(AgWeb, September 4, 2020)
Nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium get all of the publicity, but if there was an Academy Award for crop nutrients, sulfur would win best supporting actor. "A bushel of corn removes 0.08 lb. of sulfur in the grain and 0.09 lb. in the stalk—0.17 lb. total," explains Farm Journal Field Agronomist Ken Ferrie.

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Avoid Nutrient Deficiencies In Your Canola

(Grainnews, July 30, 2020)
Nutrient deficiencies in canola are rarely an issue for canola growers, but mobility and environmental issues can inhibit uptake. Having a good plan, though, goes a long way. Warren Ward, agronomy specialist, Canola Council of Canada, explains.

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Why cleaner air may be bad for your sourdough bread

(Reuters, July 16, 2020)
A decline in U.S. power plant emissions over the last 30 years means the air has less sulfur, a crucial nutrient for wheat and many other crops that researchers are now working to replace with fertilizer applications.

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US Department of Transportation Video

(YouTube, May 14, 2020)
US Department of Transportation releases video where Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao thanks the pipeline and hazardous material industries for their contributions to date in keeping the nation going during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Carriers that invested in scrubbers may find the cost higher than expected

(The Load Star, February 21, 2020)
Shipping lines that have invested in scrubber technology to comply with the IMO 2020 low-sulphur regulations may be forced to reconsider the wisdom of their investment, as fuel producers appear to be looking for ways to push prices up. Since the introduction of the legislation this year, the price differential between the now-outlawed high-sulphur fuel oil (HFSO) and low-sulphur fuel oil (LFSO) has been around $200 a tonne. However, the declining availability of HFSO is forcing its price up and causing headaches for shipowners.

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WoodMac: Impact of the new coronavirus on the zinc and lead markets

(African Mining Market, February 18, 2020)
As the dreadful humanitarian toll of the Covid-19 epidemic in China grows, the direct and indirect impact on the Chinese zinc and lead industries from efforts to control the spread of the disease is starting to be seen. The extended Lunar New Year holiday has ended, but return to work by millions of migrants has been slowed to a trickle. A combination of transport restrictions, quarantine periods, staffing shortages and a government-mandated staged return to work means that the normal post-holiday bounce back in economic activity will not happen.

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Is the mining industry about to clean up its act?

(Sustainability Times, February 13, 2020)
The fact that the world's largest mining companies have not been doing enough to reduce their carbon emissions has been an open secret at best, but a recent McKinsey report laid bare how far many of these firms are falling short. According to the company, industry majors like BHP, Anglo American and Rio Tinto – all of which are signatories to the Paris Pledge for Action – need to implement more assertive measures in order to prevent severe backlash from investors and consumers alike.

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Lithium-sulfur batteries could be cheaper & more energy dense

(CleanTechnica, February 11, 2020)
Sales of new electric vehicles have been surging, but there are constraints around battery and vehicle production. New EVs have ranges of about 200-300 miles (322-483 km) or so. Potentially, lithium-sulfur batteries could expand EV ranges considerably and cost less because sulfur is a more abundant material than cobalt. Transportation is a major generator of greenhouse gases, so many more EVs are needed. Lithium-sulfur batteries eventually could help speed up EV production and adoption.

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Full of vitriol: Chinese alliance to build major acid factory in Egypt

(Global Construction Review, January 10, 2020)
A Chinese industrial and construction consortium including China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC) has won an $848m contract to build and operate a large phosphoric and sulfuric acid factory in Egypt. Located near the Abu Tartour phosphate mine in the southwestern New Valley Governorate, the plant will boost Egypt’s standing as a major producer of the acids, which are used in fertilizers, food and beverage manufacture, electronics and other products.

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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

(Agriculture.com) - 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

(Agriculture.com) - 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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