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Industry News

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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Mines push on as South Africa plays catch-up

(Mining Review) The South African mining sector is managing the Covid-19 pandemic remarkably well, but the country needs to do more if it wants mining to benefit from the looming demand peak in ‘green minerals’, according to Ralf Hennecke of BME.

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EGYPTIAN AND EAST AFRICAN MARKETS ADAPTING TO IMO 2020

(Bunker Spot) Speakers at Petrospot’s Maritime Week Africa conference said that the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) 0.50% global sulphur cap is bringing a ‘radical change’ to the bunker markets in Egypt and East Africa.

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Is a Dry Bulk Market Rebound Around the Corner?

(Hellenic Shipping News) with the Chinese New Year holidays in full swing, dry bulk market analysts are wondering whether the freight market will manage to regain its upwards momentum, once the Chinese economy gets back to work. In its latest weekly report, shipbroker Allied Shipbroking said that “throughout the pandemic, uncertainty has been found in abundance across all global markets including that of shipping. Given this, most have just focused on hoping for a market with less noise and volatility for 2021. In the dry bulk sector, it seems that a slightly more stable scene has started to emerge. Beginning with the freight market, monthly average returns in all dry size segments have experienced a rather “atypical” bullish January”.

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Nanotechnologies reduce friction and improve durability of materials

(Eurek Alert) "Thin films are solid state substances that can be only several atomic layers thick. Usually, their properties are considerably different from the properties of the original substances on the macroscale. The areas of their application keep expanding and include nanoelectronics, optoelectronics, spintronics, electro-, and photocatalysis, as well as such important fields of economics as space technologies and instrument building.

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India to overtake EU as world's third largest energy consumer by 2030: IEA

The Economic Times - February 10, 2021
India will overtake the European Union as the world's third-largest energy consumer by 2030, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Tuesday as it forecast India accounting for the biggest share of energy demand growth over the next two decades. In its India Energy Outlook 2021, IEA saw primary energy consumption almost doubling to 1,123 million tonnes of oil equivalent as the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) expands to USD 8.6 trillion by 2040.

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The Might of Metals in the Clean Energy Transition

GreenBiz - February 10, 2021
Metals. It isn't often that we -- most of us, anyway -- think about them. They are like water or packaged foods, things that appear out of a faucet or on a grocery store shelf as if by some magic inception. But there is a scientific beginning to metals. And it's something we ought to be thinking about, increasingly so. Here's why: Minerals are critical to the transition to clean, green energy. Copper supplies, for example, need to increase by as much as 6 percent per year to meet the goals laid out in the Paris Climate Agreement. Copper is needed for wind farms, solar panels and electric vehicles. Other metals supplies need to rise, too, in order to get companies and countries to their carbon neutrality goals -- phasing out fossil fuels.

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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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Member News

BP says Gulf of Mexico platforms resumed operations after storm Ida

(Reuters) - BP on Wednesday said all four of its offshore facilities in the Gulf of Mexico have resumed operations, having been brought back online and producing as of Sept. 12 post Hurricane Ida.

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Shell to launch Singapore's first fully-electric ferry service

(Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) has ordered at least three electric ferries in Singapore to replace the diesel boats it uses to transport employees and visitors between mainland Singapore and its oil refining and chemicals plant on Bukom island, it said.

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ExxonMobil renewable diesel process technology to enable high yields from bio-feedstocks

(Hydrocarbon Processing) - ExxonMobil Catalysts and Licensing LLC (“ExxonMobil”) has introduced ExxonMobil Renewable Diesel process technology (“EMRD”) to help meet the evolving needs for mobility, while utilizing renewable feedstock.

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Chevron, Gevo join hands to invest in sustainable aviation fuel

(Reuters) - U.S oil major Chevron Corp and renewable energy firm Gevo Inc will jointly invest in building and operating one or more facilities that would process corn to produce sustainable aviation fuel, the companies said on Thursday.

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BP, Macquarie study green hydrogen hub concept in Western Australia

(Reuters) - BP Plc (BP.L) said on Tuesday it was conducting a joint feasibility study with Australian lender Macquarie Group (MQG.AX) to produce green hydrogen at the oil giant's former refinery site near Perth in Western Australia.

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CSX Acquisition of Pan Am: Improved New England Rail Service Makes It Commendable

(Railway Age) - CSX has recently proposed to acquire Pan Am Railways. Although, as I explain below, I am usually critical of mergers, I believe this merger will substantially enhance the rail network in New England by bringing the region more directly into the national railroad network.

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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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