Analysis: Strong refinery runs create risk of gasoline oversupply | S&P Global Platts mulls changes to Brent crude price assessment | Analysis: Offshore oil industry investments going up
September 25, 2018
AICHE SmartBrief
Business and technology news exclusively for chemical engineers
Business Update
Analysis: Strong refinery runs create risk of gasoline oversupply
US refiners stepped up activity in the past few months, counteracting a distillate deficit but also pushing gasoline supplies to 234 million barrels earlier this month, a record for this time of year, writes Reuters analyst John Kemp. To avoid a fuel glut, refineries might need to reduce crude processing for longer than usual during the fall maintenance season, Kemp adds.
Reuters (9/20) 
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S&P Global Platts mulls changes to Brent crude price assessment
S&P Global Platts is considering updating its Brent benchmark price assessment, currently backed by five North Sea crude grades, to include oil delivered to the Dutch city of Rotterdam. The agency also proposed incorporating grades from outside the North Sea region, naming WTI Midland, CPC Blend, Qua Iboe and Forcados as potential options.
BloombergQuint (India) (9/24) 
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Analysis: Offshore oil industry investments going up
Offshore oil investments are expected to increase next year as industry activity starts to return to 2014 levels while shale sector growth slows down, according to a Rystad Energy analysis. Sanctioned offshore projects increased 50% in 2017 and growth rates may hit 6% by 2022 as the industry plans to spend $100 billion over the next several years, said Audun Martinsen, who leads Rystad's oilfield service research.
Rigzone (9/20) 
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Roche to begin selling new circulating tumor DNA blood test
Roche to begin selling new circulating tumor DNA blood test
(Sebastien Bozon/Getty Images)
Roche Holding will begin marketing FoundationOne Liquid, a blood test from Foundation Medicine that can analyze the presence of 70 common gene mutations in a patient's blood sample from circulating tumor DNA that comes from solid tumors. The new assay also has features that can pinpoint which patients have a higher chance of benefiting from cancer immunotherapy.
Reuters (9/24) 
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Need a Process Design Software? Get your Free Trial Now!
User-friendly interface, integrated steady state and dynamic environment, built-in industry standards (that minimize literature search during sizing and equipment rating)…those who have tried UniSim Design, Honeywell’s top simulation software solutions for process design, have kept it. Judge for yourself.
Chemical Technology News
Liquid amines, carbon electrolytes make carbon dioxide solid
Liquid amines, carbon electrolytes make carbon dioxide solid
MIT researchers have developed a battery powered by a solid form of carbon dioxide, which one day could lead to commercially viable lithium-carbon dioxide batteries. Unlike similar past experiments, the MIT team developed a technique that doesn't require metal catalysts and instead relies on carbon electrolytes that work in tandem with liquid amines.
New Atlas (9/24) 
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Team creates batteries with a lithium sulfide material
Researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology report resorting to a doughnut-shaped active material within a lithium-sulfur battery that could prove to be an effective alternative to lithium-ion batteries, with higher energy density and lower production costs. The team turned to lithium-sulfide cathodes and graphite anodes to make the lithium-sulfur batteries more practical.
New Electronics (9/20) 
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Liquid Level Measurement with 80 GHz Radar
The newest radar sensors use the higher transmission frequency of 80 GHz. This allows these new sensors to go places they've never been used before, and 80 GHz radar is becoming the industry standard in process control for liquid level measurement. Learn more.
Energy, Sustainability & Safety
N.D. may ease rules on volatile gases in oil train shipments
North Dakota regulators may amend the state's oil conditioning regulations that require companies to remove volatile gases from oil before it's transported by rail. The proposed changes include removing the requirement to conduct quarterly vapor pressure tests.
The Bismarck Tribune (N.D.) (9/18) 
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Biological Engineering & Pharmaceuticals
Bacterial stains face a new foe
Bacterial stains face a new foe
Bacteria that coalesce in one place over time, such as the dark spots that appear in shower stalls, form a tough biofilm barrier against chemicals. Researchers at the University of Illinois have developed a method of attack using algae coated in nanosheets of manganese oxide that react with hydrogen peroxide to power through the tough biofilm and spread cleansing microbubbles to kill bacteria.
New Atlas (9/20) 
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Materials & Nanotechnology
Team crafts method for nanowire transfer
Researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology report development of a new, improved method for transferring nanowires to a flexible substrate. Using physical vapor deposition technology, the team was able to place nanowires on flexible substrates with a nanosacrificial layer and nanowires on a nanograting substrate.
New Electronics (9/17) 
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3D concrete sandwich panel could provide resilience
A type of 3D cementitious sandwich panel similar to one NASA has used in spacecraft construction for years could help provide resilience for homes during natural disasters. Austrian company EV Group has developed technology that could potentially make the panel, which consists of fire-retardant foam and wire mesh encased in concrete, suitable for mass production.
CNBC (9/22) 
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Education & Government Update
EPA details biofuels waiver program in transparency push
The Environmental Protection Agency has launched a data portal that enumerates small-refinery exemptions to the Renewable Fuel Standard, average weekly renewable identification number trading prices and weekly RIN transaction volumes. "Increasing transparency will improve implementation of the RFS and provide stakeholders and the regulated community the certainty and clarity they need to make important business and compliance decisions," said EPA acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler.
The Hill (9/20) 
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Interior Dept. revises rule on methane leaks on public land
The Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management formally rolled back an Obama-era regulation curbing methane leaks from oil and natural gas drilling on publicly owned land. The department says the move would save the industry up to $2.08 billion over a decade.
The Hill (9/18) 
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Institute News
Voting deadline for AIChE election is October 1
The deadline is imminent for AIChE's 2019 Board of Directors election. Paper ballots were mailed to AIChE Fellows, Senior Members and Members on Aug. 13. All ballots and electronic proxies are due by Oct. 1 at 11:59 PM Eastern. Read the candidates' platforms and cast your vote.
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Tomorrow's free webinar offers option for higher performance, lower cost bio process development
On Wednesday, Sept. 26, from 2:00-3:00 PM Eastern, this webinar explores novel key material and technologies being developed at 3M to dramatically simplify downstream purification processes through the Emphaze™ platform of single-use, advanced chromatography solutions. See how higher product purity during harvest enhances the performance of capture chromatography in ways that can abridge downstream polishing while providing superior performance of capture chromatography resin. The webinar is sponsored by 3M. Learn more.
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Career Focus
Negotiate salary when hired for a new job, experts say
Most employers expect to negotiate salary, so they leave a little wiggle room in the initial offer, executive Tammy Perkins states. A Glassdoor study found that the average US worker could be making $7,500 more per year if they had negotiated for a better salary, and that adds up to hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of a career.
Glassdoor (9/21) 
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