Brazil police make arrests in investigation of Petrobras subsidiary

MOSCOW (MRC) — Brazilian police detained six people as part of an investigation into suspected bribery at a unit of state oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA, prosecutors said on Tuesday, in the latest development in a corruption scandal, said Reuters.

Police carried out eight search warrants related to the scheme. Prosecutors say illegal payments were made by a contractor to a manager of Transpetro, a subsidiary of Petrobras, as the company is commonly known.

Transpetro did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Prosecutors say the payments to the unnamed manager, which totaled 7 MM reais (USD2.15 MM), occurred between 2009 and 2014. According to investigators, part of those bribes were then passed to Brazil's leftist Workers' Party.

The investigation unveiled on Tuesday follows revelations of a separate alleged scheme involving Transpetro and the Brazilian Democracy Movement Party (PMDB) of President Michel Temer.

In September, a Brazilian prosecutor charged six current and former PMDB senators of unduly receiving 864 MM reais in bribes, generating losses of 5.5 B reais at Petrobras and 113 MM reais at the Transpetro subsidiary.

As part of the most recent investigation, police said the arrests are taking place in the states of Sao Paulo, Santa Catarina, Sergipe, and Bahia.

Eni asks for seizure order to be lifted to avoid refinery shutdown

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Italy's Eni has asked a judge to lift a court order seizing measurement devices that is threatening to shut down its refineries in Italy, a spokesman for the oil major said, reported Reuters.

Measurement devices at Eni's refineries and oil-product storage facilities across Italy were seized by tax police earlier this week as part of a tax evasion probe.

"We presented a request on Thursday. We are waiting for a reply," an Eni spokesman said in an emailed comment on the effort to have the seizure order lifted.

Prosecutors allege the devices were manipulated in such a way that Eni marketed more refining products than were recorded, in a scheme involving tax evasion worth about 10 million euros (USD12 million).

Eni, which has denied any wrongdoing, said the seizure order could lead to the total shutdown of its refining and fuel supply activities.

"We are talking of 10 million euros which is peanuts compared with the kind of damage deriving from a stop in refinery production, bringing the country to a standstill," a trading source said.

State-controlled Eni is Italy's biggest refiner with five wholly-owned refineries and a series of depots across the country to transport and store oil products onshore.

It has one of the country's largest petrol pump networks but also supplies fuel to other pump distributors.

As MRC informed before, in September 2017, China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and Eni signed cooperation agreement in order to cooperate in oil & gas exploration and production, gas and LNG value chain opportunities, trading and logistics opportunities, refining and petrochemicals.

Eni is an Italian multinational oil and gas company headquartered in Rome. It has operations in in 79 countries, and is currently Italy's largest industrial company with a market capitalization of EUR68 billion (USD 90 billion), as of August 14, 2013. The Italian government owns a 30.3% golden share in the company, 3.93% held through the state Treasury and 26.37% held through the Cassa depositi e prestiti. Another 39.40% of the shares are held by BNP Paribas.

LyondellBasell and SUEZ purchase European plastics recycling company

MOSCOW (MRC) -- LyondellBasell, one of the world's largest plastics, chemical and refining companies, has announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to purchase a 50% stake in Quality Circular Polymers (QCP), a high standard plastics recycling company in Sittard-Geleen, Netherlands, as per the company's press release.

Under the terms of the agreement, LyondellBasell will be a 50/50 partner in QCP with SUEZ, a French company specialized in water and waste management.

This transaction marks the first time that a major plastics and chemicals company partners with a leader in resource management to contribute to circular economy objectives.

"As the circular economy increases in prominence and importance, we believe that demand for recycled materials will continue to grow," LyondellBasell CEO Bob Patel and SUEZ CEO Jean-Louis Chaussade said in a joint statement. "This acquisition combines LyondellBasell's European market presence and technical capabilities with SUEZ's ability to collect and recover waste into new materials. We believe that this new venture will provide a strategic platform for future sustainable growth."

QCP was founded in 2014. Its Sittard-Geleen facility, near Maastricht, is capable of converting consumer waste into 35,000 tons of polypropylene (PP) and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) per year starting in 2018.

LyondellBasell will market QCP materials following the completion of the transaction, which is subject to regulatory approval. LyondellBasell and SUEZ are seeking to secure regulatory approval by the end of this year.

As MRC reported earlier, in August 2016, LyondellBasell made the final investment decision to build an HDPE plant on the US Gulf Coast. The plant will have an annual capacity of 1.1 billion pounds (500,000 metric tons) and will be the first commercial plant to employ LyondellBasell's new proprietary Hyperzone PE technology. The start-up of the new plant is scheduled for 2019.

LyondellBasell is one of the largest plastics, chemicals and refining companies in the world. Driven by its 13,000 employees around the globe, LyondellBasell produces materials and products that are key to advancing solutions to modern challenges like enhancing food safety through lightweight and flexible packaging, protecting the purity of water supplies through stronger and more versatile pipes, and improving the safety, comfort and fuel efficiency of many of the cars and trucks on the road. LyondellBasell sells products into approximately 100 countries and is the world's largest licensor of polyolefin and polypropylene technologies.

With 90,000 people on five continents, SUEZ is a world leader in smart and sustainable resource management. We provide water and waste management solutions that enable cities and industries to optimize their resource management and strengthen their environmental and economic performances, in line with regulatory standards. To meet increasing demands to overcome resource quality and scarcity challenges, SUEZ is fully engaged in the resource revolution. With the full potential of digital technologies and innovative solutions, the Group recovers 17 million tons of waste per year and produces 3.9 million tons of secondary raw materials and 7 TWh of local renewable energy. It also secures water resources, delivering wastewater treatment services to 58 million people and reusing 882 million m3 of wastewater. SUEZ generated total revenues of EUR15.3 billion in 2016.

Quality Circular Polymers (QCP) manufactures polymers of high and consistent quality based on used plastics. Reliable supply, integration, leading technologies and innovative recipes enable QCP to push the circular plastics industry to the next level.

PP production in Russia rose by 2% in first ten months of 2017

MOSCOW (MRC) - Production of polypropylene (PP) in Russia grew to about 1.158 tonne in first ten months of this year, up 2% year on year, compared to the same period of 2016. The greatest increase in production was shown by SIBUR Tobolsk and Tomskneftekhim, according to MRC ScanPlast.

October PP production in the country increased to 108,000 tonnes, compared with 90,100 tonnes in September; Ufaorgsintez and SIBUR Tobolsk increased their capacity utilisation. In general, in January-October PP production in the Russian Federation approached the level of 1.158 tonnes against 1.130 tonnes a year earlier, the greatest increase in production showed SIBUR Tobolsk and Tomskneftekhim, while Neftekhimiya, Stavrolen and Nizhnekamskneftekhim lowered production indicators.

Structure of PP production over the reported period looked as follows.

The largest producer of PP in Russia - Tobolsk-Polymer (SIBUR) in October produced about 46,900 tonnes against 25,600 tonnes in September (because of technical problems, the enterprise stayed almost two weeks in September). SIBUR Tobolsk's PP production exceeded 418,000 tonnes in January-October 2017, up 12% year on year. Such a major increase in the output was caused by the absence of the plant's shutdown for a scheduled maintenance this year.

Nizhnekamskneftekhim decreased capacity utilisation in October, total polypropylene production had decreased to 14,200 tonnes against 16,000 tonnes in September. The producer's PP production in January-October decreased by 3% from last year's level to 175,300 tonnes.

Omsk Poliom (Titan) in October produced about 13,400 tonnes compared to 18,000 tonnes a month earlier; the decrease in production volumes was a result of the shutdown at the end of the month for preventive maintenance. Total PP production at the plant over the reported period was about 174,400 tonnes, up 4% year on year.

Tomskneftekhim increased production volumes in October, and the final production of propylene polymers was 11,400 tonnes against 10,200 tonnes in September. Total PP production at Tomskneftekhim over the reported period reached 116,400 tonnes, compared with 105,900 tonnes year on year.

Ufaorgsintez's PP production in October reached about 10,400 tonnes against 6,800 tonnes in September (in the middle of the month the enterprise shut its capacity for 12-day maintenance works). The producer's PP output at Ufaorgsintez increased to 102,300 tonnes in January-October 2017 compared with 101,000 tonnes year on year.

Neftekhimiya (Kapotnya) decreased capacity utilisation in October, total polypropylene production had decreased to 10,600 tonnes against 11,800 tonnes in September. The producer's PP output in the ten months of the year reached 86,700 tonnes, up 20% year on year. A low indicator of the current year was a result of a long scheduled maintenance works in March-April.

Stavrolen (LUKOIL) only at the end of last month resumed production of polypropylene after a long scheduled maintenance works, which began on 6 September. The company produced more than 1,000 tonnes of PP in just a few remaining days of October. Overall PP production at the plant reached 85,000 tonnes in January-October, down 8% year on year.


Ineos shale gas sites: Anti-fracking protest injunctions continued

MOSCOW (MRC) -- An injunction prohibiting trespass and obstruction at an energy firm's shale gas exploration sites has been continued by a High Court judge, said BBC.

Anti-fracking groups had challenged orders granted in July covering activities at Ineos's sites. Mr Justice Morgan said an order was needed as the sites faced an "imminent and real" risk of interference.

However, he said the firm had not "demonstrated a need" to make a specific order against harassment. Ineos is the biggest owner of shale gas licences in the UK with exploration rights in Cheshire, Merseyside, Yorkshire, the East Midlands and Scotland.

The injunctions, which were previously extended in September, were originally brought to stop protest tactics such as walking and lying in front of lorries. Speaking at a hearing in October, the energy firm's representative Alan Maclean QC said shale gas extraction was "a contentious issue", but its merits were not for a court to determine.

However, arguing for one of the protesters, lawyer Rosa Curling said a "right to protest" was a "fundamental aspect of peaceful political action in our society".

Delivering his judgement, Mr Justice Morgan said the firm's activities were "lawful" and the protesters' "means of putting pressure on Ineos involve unlawful behaviour on their part, including criminal acts".

He added if such activities were "restrained, as I hold that they can be, by an order which is clear and precise", there was not a need to make a requested order against harassment.