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INTERVIEW: Braskem to evaluate results of first carbon-neutral naphtha trade

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INTERVIEW: Braskem to evaluate results of first carbon-neutral naphtha trade

Highlights

Looking to get deeper understanding of carbon markets

Used carbon offsets from Verified Carbon Standard, REDD+ projects in Indonesia

Increasing production of bioplastics and recycled plastics

London — Brazilian petrochemicals producer Braskem will be looking to assess the full results of its carbon-neutral naphtha trade with Trafigura before embarking on more carbon offset programs, a senior official told S&P Global Platts on May 4.

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"We have done our first CO2 offset operation to evaluate the effectiveness of this approach on reducing our carbon footprint and to get a deeper understanding on how the carbon markets work," Hardi Schuck, Feedstocks, Chemicals and Global Chartering director at Braskem told S&P Global Platts in an interview.

"The continuity of the CO2 offset operations will depend on the achieved results and further analysis performed within the scope of Braskem's sustainable development strategy," he added.

On April 27, Braskem and commodity trading house Trafigura said they had completed the first carbon-neutral sale of a naphtha cargo.

The naphtha cargo loaded in late April from Corpus Christi in Texas, US, and is destined for Braskem's facility via the port of Aratu in Bahia, Brazil.

Data from Platts trade flow service cFlow showed that the tanker Minerva Oceania was carrying the naphtha cargo, and it was expected to reach Aratu on May 13.

Schuck refused to disclose the details of the pricing of these offsets, or the price of the naphtha cargo trade.

"The price is part of a commercial agreement with our supplier and we cannot disclose the values," he said.

NATURE-BASED CARBON OFFSETS

The emissions of this trade will be offset through a combination of efficiency measures along with some carbon offset programs, the companies said at the time.

Schuck said the "offsets are high-quality nature-based carbon offsets created by Verified Carbon Standard and from a REDD+ project in Indonesia."

REDD+ stands for projects that are aimed at reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries. Nature-based carbon offsets derive from projects that protect and restore natural ecosystems such as forests, grasslands and wetlands.

Such transactions are becoming more popular as more energy companies are committing to net zero targets.

Naphtha emits 68.02 kilograms of CO2 per MMBtu, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency.

BROADER ENVIRONMENTAL TARGETS

Carbons offsets are currently just one avenue for the Brazilian company, as it looks to reduce its carbon footprint.

"This is an additional initiative on top of others Braskem has been putting an effort on, such as renewable feedstocks, plastics recycling and energy efficiency," Schuck said.

Braskem's sustainable development strategy is currently based on three pillars, one of which involves the reduction of emissions from production processes by investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy sources.

"We have done this and since 2008 we have reduced the emissions of our production processes by more than 17%," added Schuck.

The company is also looking to invest in research and teaching on new products and processes that use renewable raw materials to create more ecofriendly plastics.

Braskem is also looking to "invest in the development of new technologies that make it possible to use CO2 as a raw material for the production of chemicals that can be used in our s production processes," he added.

GREEN PLASTICS

Braskem has recently expanded its production of bioplastics. It currently produces "I'm greenTM Polyethylene" as its branded from its plant in Triunfo, located in Brazil's Rio Grande do Sul state.

This green polyethylene, which is plastic produced from sugarcane, "captures approximately 3 mt of CO2 per mt of product", Schuck said.

Traditional polyethylene uses fossil sourced raw materials such as oil or natural gas.

"The plant has received an investment of $290 million and has annual production capacity of 200,000 tons of I'm greenTM Polyethylene," according to its website.

Trade in sustainable plastics, including recycled plastics and bioplastics that are made from bioethanol derived from a variety of natural raw materials like sugar beets and wheat, is gaining momentum as producers look to meet sustainability goals.