BP plc is seeking to divest its 50% holding in Shanghai SECCO Petrochemical Co. Ltd. (SECCO), a major petrochemicals joint venture (JV) with China Petroleum and Chemical Corp. (Sinopec) based at Caojing, China, according to Reuters, which cites people familiar with the matter.
BP has reportedly hired an investment bank to assist with the sale, which could raise $2–3 billion. SECCO is one of China’s largest petrochemical operations and includes a 1.3–million metric tons per year (MMt/y) naphtha cracker and many downstream units. BP tells CW that the company is “making no comment on this speculation.”
The move would represent the latest chapter in the narrowing of BP’s chemicals portfolio. In 2005, the company sold most of its petrochemical operations to Ineos Group Ltd. following a strategy review. BP retained only three differentiated main segments—purified terephthalic acid (PTA), para-xylene, and acetic acid—as well as a few other assets, including the stake in SECCO and two ethylene plants at Gelsenkirchen, Germany, with a combined capacity of 1 MMt/y. These plants formed part of the Ruhr Oel refinery JV with Rosneft (Moscow, Russia). The Gelsenkirchen assets have since been transferred to BP under a swap deal with Rosneft.
In addition to SECCO, BP has major PTA and acetic acid manufacturing assets in China. It commissioned last year the third phase of a PTA complex at its BP Zhuhai Chemical Co. Ltd. affiliate at Zhuhai. The plant, with a capacity of 1.3 MMt/y, increased the site’s overall PTA capacity to 2.7 MMt/y.
BP, in its second-quarter financial results, says that it plans to offload $3–5 billion worth of assets this year, of which $1.9 billion have been agreed on. BP recently agreed to sell its aromatics complex at Decatur, Alabama, to Indorama Ventures Ltd. (Bangkok, Thailand). BP says the divestment is in line with its worldwide petrochemical strategy that focuses on world-scale, low-cost facilities that use BP proprietary technology, including the production of PTA.
Analysts say BP is also likely to sell the petrochemical assets in Germany, which include a solvents production subsidiary, DHC Solvent Chemie GmbH.
By Natasha Alperowicz
Source: Chemical Week
France has launched an offshore green hydrogen production platform at the country’s Port of Saint-Nazaire this week, along with its first offshore wind farm. The hydrogen plant, which its operators say is the world’s first facility of its type, coincides with the launch of another “first of its kind” facility in Sweden dedicated to storing hydrogen in an underground lined rock cavern (LRC).
The project sets up the Hydrogen Valley in Rome, the first industrial-scale technological hub for the development of the national supply chain for the production, transport, storage and use of hydrogen for the decarbonization of industrial processes and for sustainable mobility.
At first glance, hydrogen seems to be the perfect solution to our energy needs. It doesn’t produce any carbon dioxide when used. It can store energy for long periods of time. It doesn’t leave behind hazardous waste materials, like nuclear does. And it doesn’t require large swathes of land to be flooded, like hydroelectricity. Seems too good to be true. So…what’s the catch?