Shell says Pernis oil refinery strike having significant impact

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Royal Dutch Shell said a strike over wages was having a significant impact at its 400,000 barrel per day Pernis oil refinery and the Moerdijk petrochemical plant, reported Reuters.

Dutch trade union FNV said on Monday production at Europe’s biggest refinery will be gradually reduced to 65% of capacity.

"The actions (are) significant in many ways, short-term and longer-term, and we are disappointed in the heaviness and size of the actions already from the start," a spokeswoman said.

"(The salaries of) those that register themselves as ‘actioners’ will be cut by a percentage I can’t specify further. Again, this is to support the majority of the workers that are work-willing and that are impacted by the actions as well."

The wage reductions will be implemented as early as this afternoon for as long as the strike continues, she said, declining to give more details.

As MRC wrote previously, in May 2018. China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) and Shell Nanhai B.V. (Shell) announced the official start-up of the second ethylene cracker at their Nanhai petrochemicals complex in Huizhou, Guangdong Province, China.

Royal Dutch Shell plc is incorporated in England and Wales, has its headquarters in The Hague and is listed on the London, Amsterdam, and New York stock exchanges. Shell companies have operations in more than 70 countries and territories with businesses including oil and gas exploration and production; production and marketing of liquefied natural gas and gas to liquids; manufacturing, marketing and shipping of oil products and chemicals and renewable energy projects.

David Castaneda is new CEO of Elix Polymers

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Elix Polymers, a Spain-based manufacturer of ABS resins and derivatives, has appointed David Castaneda as its new CEO, as per Canplastics.

Castaneda takes over for Wolfgang Doering, who stepped down at the end of March. In a statement, Elix said that Castaneda has more than 15 years of experience in the polymer and chemical industry, and he has held various senior management roles in operations, technology, and business development and innovation. He has worked for Elix for the past several years, the company said, and “has been part of the successful transformation of [Elix], leading the organization to the next level of operational excellence, and identifying business opportunities that have supported [our] growth and expansion."

Doering had been with Elix since 2012, and “made a significant contribution to the development of Elix under the ownership of Sun European Partners LLP,” the statement said. “This year, on Jan. 9, he led the first steps towards integrating Elix into the chemical group Sinochem International (Overseas) Pte. Ltd."

Elix is headquartered in Tarragona, Spain; it’s North American subsidiary, Elix Polymers Americas, is located in Weston, Fla.

As MRC informed earlier, ELIX Polymers, a thermoplastics manufacturer located in Tarragona's Poligono Sur industrial complex, has announced a new investment amounting to 4 million euros, whose objective is to optimize its ABS powder production facilities. The company expects to begin executing this new project in 2018, which it will continue to develop and consolidate throughout this year and 2019.

ELIX Polymers is one of the most important manufacturers of ABS resins and derivatives in Europe, with 40 years of experience in engineering plastics and an installed capacity of 180,000/year from their plant in Tarragona (Spain) to the world. The operation starts in 1975, when the Tarragona ABS and SAN production plant was inaugurated.

High oil supply disruptions set stage for next slump

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Global oil output is being hit by expanding US sanctions and other unplanned disruptions which, in an echo of market conditions around five years ago, are pushing prices higher in the short term but also setting the stage for the next slump, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Unplanned factors reduced global production by 2.8 million barrels per day in March, down from 3.3 Mbpd in February, but up from 1.8 Mbpd a year earlier, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Disruptions among members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) reached 2.49 Mbpd in March, double the same month last year. In recent months, OPEC and total disruptions have been running at the highest levels for almost three years and near some of the highest for a decade (“Short-Term Energy Outlook”, EIA, April 2019).

And the EIA figures do not include Venezuela, where output has been erratically declining and too variable to define a "normal" undisrupted level. Nor do they take into account the potential impact of renewed fighting in Libya, which could upset production and exports in the next few months if it intensifies.

The figures, therefore, understate the extent to which involuntary production cuts - actual and threatened - have caused the oil market to tighten in recent months.

Sanctions and unplanned problems can help make Saudi Arabia’s role as swing producer more effective by simplifying coordination with other producers and reducing the risk of cheating.

But unplanned problems can also cause the oil market to over-tighten temporarily, pushing prices higher and masking underlying imbalances between production and consumption, contributing to a subsequent slump.

The recent sudden tightening bears many similarities to events in 2013 and early 2014 - which paved the way for a slump in late 2014 and through 2015.

Talks with China to cut ethanol tariffs 'positive'

MOSCOW (MRC) -- US Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said that talks with China regarding reducing Beijing’s tariff on U.S. ethanol products were “positive” but cautioned the discussions were not over, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

"There have been conversations with China on reducing that tariff on ethanol, which would obviously be good for our domestic corn industry," he told reporters. "While things look positive, it’s never over till it’s over with the Chinese."

Beijing last summer imposed retaliatory tariffs of up to 70 percent on U.S. ethanol shipments, which made exports to the key market uneconomical. The United States and China have been embroiled in a tit-for-tat tariff battle since July 2018, roiling global financial markets and supply chains, and costing both of the world’s two largest economies billions of dollars.

U.S. officials are pressing China to make changes to address longstanding concerns over industrial subsidies, technology transfer and intellectual property rights.

The two sides wrapped up the latest round of talks in Washington late last week and will be resuming discussions this week remotely.

Perdue also added that he wanted the Environmental Protection Agency to more tightly control its use of small refinery waivers that exempt plants from their obligation to blend biofuels like corn-based ethanol under the Renewable Fuel Standard, and had discussed the matter with EPA chief Andrew Wheeler.

Carlyle agrees to buy 30% stake in Spainish Cepsa

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Private equity firm Carlyle Group LP has agreed to buy a 30% stake in Spanish oil and gas company Cepsa from an Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund in a USD3.6 billion deal including debt, reported Reutres with reference to Financial Times, citing people with knowledge of the transaction.

The sale gives the business a total enterprise value of USD12 billion, roughly the same price tag that Cepsa’s owner Abu Dhabi wealth fund Mubadala Investment Company sought ahead of a failed attempt at a stock market listing last year, the FT said.

Carlyle will have at least two board seats, and Musabbeh Al Kaabi, a senior executive at Mubadala, will remain as chairman, the newspaper said, citing sources.

As part of the agreement, Carlyle reserves the right to buy up to 40% of Cepsa, which is one of the largest privately-owned oil companies in Europe and has been under Mubadala ownership for the last three decades, the FT said.

Carlyle, Cepsa and Mubadala could not be immediately reached for a comment.

As MRC informed earlier, in May 2018, The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) announced it had signed a project development agreement with Cepsa of Spain for a new, world-scale Linear Alkylbenzene (LAB) facility in ADNOC’s refining and petrochemicals complex in Ruwais, UAE.