Shell Q1 earnings down 56%

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Royal Dutch Shell said that its earnings for the first quarter fell by 56 percent compared with a year earlier, as improved performance in marketing and refining failed to offset the effects of the plunge in oil prices, said the company in its press release.

The Anglo-Dutch company’s profit, adjusted for inventory changes and one-time items, was USD3.2 billion, compared with USD7.3 billion in the same period a year earlier. Still, the results beat analysts’ consensus forecasts, and Shell’s shares rose about 1.5 percent in morning trading in London.

But analysts said that there was cause for concern in Shell’s results. In an indication of how quickly a drop in oil prices can erode margins, the company said that its earnings from finding and producing oil and gas were USD675 million for the quarter, compared with USD5.7 billion a year earlier.

Shell said that the price it received for oil in the first quarter was 52 percent lower than the same period in 2014, while the price of natural gas fell by 27 percent. The fall in prices directly cut USD4.7 billion from earnings.

As MRC informed earlier, Royal Dutch Shell has completed a revamp and upgrade of its Singapore ethane cracker. The project increased production for the 800,000-tpy ethylene plant on Bukom Island by 20%. The ethylene and olefins unit is also integrated with Shell’s 500,000-bpd refinery.

Royal Dutch Shell plc is an Anglo-Dutch multinational oil and gas company headquartered in The Hague, Netherlands and with its registered office in London, United Kingdom. It is the biggest company in the world in terms of revenue and one of the six oil and gas "supermajors". Shell is vertically integrated and is active in every area of the oil and gas industry, including exploration and production, refining, distribution and marketing, petrochemicals, power generation and trading.

ExxonMobil smashes expectations on earnings and revenues

MOSCOW (MRC) -- ExxonMobil posted Q1 earnings of USD4.9 billion, or USD1.17 per diluted share, down from USD9.1 billion a year earlier. But that topped the analyst forecast of USD3.64 billion, according to Bloomberg.

The company posted adjusted earnings per share of USD1.17, down 44% compared to the previous period, but much better than the forecast of USD0.82.

"ExxonMobil’s balanced portfolio delivered solid financial results in the quarter," said CEO Rex Tillerson in the statement. "Regardless of current market conditions, we remain focused on business fundamentals and competitive advantages that create long-term shareholder value."

Earnings on upstream operations, or those involving finding and drilling crude oil, were USD2.9 billion in the first quarter, down from USD4.9 billion a year ago.

US upstream operations posted a loss of USD52 million, down USD1.3 billion year-over-year. Oil-equivalent production increased 2.3% from the first quarter of 2014, with liquids up 6% and gas down 1.6%. Due to the oil crash, the company slashed its capital expenditures by over USD4 billion last month.

As MRC informed before, in early 2014, ExxonMobil officially opened its multi-billion dollar Singapore chemical plant expansion on Jurong Island, to serve growth markets in the Asia-Pacific region. The expansion included a second 1-million-t/y steam cracker, two 650,000-t/y polyethylene plants, a 450,000-t/y polypropylene plant, a 300,000-t/y specialty elastomers unit, an aromatics extraction facility to produce 340,000 t/y of benzene, and a 125,000-t/y oxo-alcohol expansion.

ExxonMobil is the largest non-government owned company in the energy industry and produces about 3% of the world's oil and about 2% of the world's energy.

Yibin Tianyuan to restart PVC plant in China

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Yibin Tianyuan is likely to restart a polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plant following maintenance turnaround, as per Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in China informed that the plant is planned to be restarted in mid-May 2015. It was shut in mid-April 2015.

Located in Sichuan province, China, the plant has a production capacity of 380,000 mt/year.

As MRC wrote previously, Shandong Dongyue is restarting its PVC plant following maintenance turnaround in early March 2015. It was shut on February 6, 2015. Located in Shandong province, China, the plant has a production capacity of 120,000 mt/year.

We also remind that Guangzhou Tosoh shut down its PVC plant in China for maintenance turnaround on February 27, 2015. It remained off-stream for around one month. Located in Guangzhou, China, the plant has a production capacity of 250,000 mt/year.

BASF says net profits down in Q1

MOSCOW (MRC) - Germany's BASF expects a slide in earnings at its Wintershall oil and gas unit brought on by lower oil prices to cancel out gains at its basic petrochemicals and crop protection businesses this year, said the company in its press release.

Crude oil prices have recovered from a six-year low reached earlier this year, but average prices over the first quarter were more than 45 percent below year-earlier levels.

The world's largest chemicals firm by sales on Thursday affirmed its forecast for 2015 operating profit to stagnate while sales will rise slightly.

Its earnings before interest and tax (EBIT), adjusted for one-off items, slipped 2 percent in the first quarter through March as an increase in its share price forced BASF to set aside more money for an employee incentive programme.

Adjusted EBIT came to 2.07 billion euros (USD2.3 billion), still slightly better than the 2.0 billion expected by analysts in a Reuters poll.

The company, whose products include car coatings, foam chemicals, catalytic converters and mining chemicals, said its revenues rose 2.8 percent to 20.1 billion euros, boosted by a weak euro that countered the effect of lower volumes in industrial chemicals.

Sales volumes were up 5 percent, lifted by demand for pesticides in western Europe and North America. Also, prices for agricultural products were up 4 percent.

"Contrary to what we've seen from Syngenta, Dow Chemical and DuPont," Morgan Stanley analysts said in a note, comparing BASF's results with those of rivals. "The best we've seen so far."

Quarterly net income fell 20 percent to 1.17 billion euros, below average expectations for 1.27 billion.

Shares in BASF were up 0.2 percent at 89.27 euros by 0858 GMT, in line with Germany's blue-chip DAX index.

As MRC informed earlier, in 2014, BASF posted sales of EUR74.3 billion and income from operations before special items of about EUR7.2 billion. The company is currently expanding its international activities with a particular focus on Asia.

BASF is the world’s leading chemical company. Its portfolio ranges from chemicals, plastics, performance products and crop protection products to oil and gas. BASF had sales of about EUR74 billion in 2013 and over 112,000 employees as of the end of the year.

Linde Q1 net profit rises by 0.9%

MOSCOW (MRC) -- German industrial gases producer Linde AG reported that first-quarter profit attributable to shareholders grew to 300 million euros from 290 million euros last year, with earnings per share growing to 1.61 euros from last year's 1.56 euros, said Nasdaq.

Earnings per share before non-recurring items was 1.69 euros. Linde said its starts the new financial year with increases in revenue and earnings as a result of positive exchange rate effects.

The company generated earnings before tax or EBT of 425 million euros, up from 422 million euros a year earlier.

Group revenue for the quarter increased 8.7 percent to 4.40 billion euros from the prior year's 4.05 billion euros, due to a weak euro. After adjusting for exchange rate effects, Group revenue edged down 0.8 percent.

Group operating profit for the quarter grew 9.0 percent to 1.01 billion euros from last year, due to currency movements. After adjusting for exchange rate effects, Group operating profit fell 1.2 percent.

Looking ahead to fiscal 2015, the group confirmed revenue forecast between 18.2 billion and 19.0 billion euros, and adjusted operating profit outlook between 4.1 billion and 4.3 billion euros.

As MRC informed earlier, Linde North America has completed installation of its air separation unit (ASU) and associated supporting facilities in La Porte, Texas. The ASU produces oxygen, nitrogen and argon and is part of the USD250 million Linde North America is investing at the site that also includes a new gasification train and ancillary equipment and facilities.

Linde North America is a member of The Linde Group. In the 2014 financial year, The Linde Group generated revenue of USD 17.9 bn (EUR 17.047 bn), making it the largest gases and engineering company in the world with approximately 65,500 employees working in more than 100 countries worldwide. The strategy of The Linde Group is geared towards long-term profitable growth and focuses on the expansion of its international business with forward-looking products and services.