Linde signs MoU with China Power to develop green hydrogen energy in China

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Linde has announced today that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Beijing Green Hydrogen Technology Development Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of China Power International Development Ltd., to jointly promote the application and development of green hydrogen in China, according to Linde's press release.

Under the terms of the MoU both companies will collaborate on a variety of green hydrogen initiatives, including hydrogen technology research and development, and the implementation of green hydrogen mobility solutions during China's inaugural hosting of the 2022 Winter Olympics.

"Sustainability is a key priority for Linde and our mission is making our world more productive," said Sanjiv Lamba, Executive Vice President and CEO Asia Pacific, Linde. "Linde is a global leader in hydrogen technology and mobility solutions, and we look forward to collaborating with China Power to develop local green hydrogen and clean energy solutions to support China's energy transition."

"Linde is widely recognized for its sustainability agenda and is the industry leader in hydrogen technology and mobility solutions," said Mr. Tian Jun, Party Secretary, Chairman of the Board and President of China Power International Development Ltd. "We are delighted to partner with Linde to pilot the application of green hydrogen at the Winter Olympics, and work towards establishing a model for China's transition to clean energy."

Linde is a global leader in hydrogen. It has the largest liquid hydrogen capacity and distribution system in the world and has installed over 180 hydrogen refueling stations worldwide for cars, buses, trucks and trains. Linde operates 80 hydrogen electrolysis plants and the world's first high-purity hydrogen storage cavern.

As MRC informed before, in February 2020, Linde PLC received a contract to provide technology for PJSC Sibur Holding’s cracker at Amur gas chemical complex (GCC). GCC is an integrated 1.5 million tons per year polyethylene and polypropylene production complex to be built near Svobodny in Russia’s far-east Amur region. The contract was awarded to Linde under a consortium with Sibur subsidiary and project contractor NIPIgazpererabotka (Nipigaz). As per the agreement, Linde will deliver engineering, procurement, and site services based on its proprietary technology for the GCC’s cracker.

Ethylene and propylene are feedstocks for producing polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP).

According to MRC's DataScope report, PE imports to Russia dropped in January-June 2020 by 7% year on year to 328,000 tonnes. High density polyethylene (HDPE) accounted for the main decrease in imports. At the same time, PP imports into Russia rose in the first six months of 2020 by 21% year on year to 105,300 tonnes. Propylene homopolymer (homopolymer PP) accounted for the main increase in imports.

Linde is a leading global industrial gases and engineering company with 2019 sales of USD28 billion (EUR25 billion). The company serves a variety of end markets including chemicals & refining, food & beverage, electronics, healthcare, manufacturing and primary metals. Linde's industrial gases are used in countless applications, from life-saving oxygen for hospitals to high-purity & specialty gases for electronics manufacturing, hydrogen for clean fuels and much more. Linde also delivers state-of-the-art gas processing solutions to support customer expansion, efficiency improvements and emissions reductions.

Crude rises on weaker US dollar, GOP stimulus plan

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Crude prices edged higher July 27 as a weakened US dollar offset renewed demand growth concerns, reported S&P Global.

NYMEX September WTI settled up 31 cents at USD41.60/b, and ICE September Brent was up 7 cents on the day at USD43.41/b.

The US dollar was on pace to decline for a seventh straight session July 27 as the market waited for Congressional Republicans to announce a new round of federal stimulus spending expected to total around USD1 trillion. Front-month ICE US dollar index futures fell to around 93.66 in afternoon trading, on pace for the lowest close since September 2018. Oil prices and dollar strength are typically inversely correlated.

The GOP stimulus plan, details of which were released after the close of trading July 27, includes a second round of direct payments to US citizens, however it scales back federally funded unemployment assistance. A USD600 weekly unemployment stipend expired over the weekend.

The government spending, while adding pressure on US dollar strength, is likely to boost consumer spending and at a time when oil recovery outlooks appear to have stalled.

Flight tracking data provider by flightradar24 shows the seven-day moving average of total flights has trended lower since July 19, the longest down stretch since global flight traffic bottomed in mid-April.

Total product supplied for gasoline, a proxy for end user demand, has declined in the wake of the July 4 Independence Day holiday and was nearly 12% behind year-ago levels in the week ended July 17, according to US Energy Information Administration data.

NYMEX August ULSD settled 22 points lower at USD1.2541/gal, and August RBOB was down 1.01 cents at USD1.2747/gal.

WTI forward structure weakened amid uncertain demand outlooks. The contango in the front-to-sixth month NYEMX WTI contract opened to 97 cents/b, the widest since June 16.

US commercial crude stocks are expected to have fallen 1.2 million barrels to around 535.4 million barrels during the week ended July 24, analysts surveyed by S&P Global Platts said.

The draw comes as crude exports surged to 3.89 million b/d last week, according to data from cFlow, Platts trade-flow software. The cFlow figure marks a nearly 1 million b/d jump from an EIA-reported 2.99 million b/d during the week ended July 17.

Weekly US crude exports have risen above 3 million b/d just twice since late May as the market worked through a glut of crude in floating storage built up during the spring. But as the COVID-19 pandemic recedes in some regions global crude demand has begun to clear the backlog of crude on the water, possibly offering some support to exports going forward.

The amount of oil on idle tankers fell 20 million barrels last week to 344 million barrels, according to S&P Global Platts Analytics data, on pace for the first monthly decline February.

As MRC wrote before, refiner Irving Oil will lay off 6% of its global workforce due to economic challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic, according to the company's statement. The layoffs will affect 250 workers across its operations in Canada, the United States, Ireland and the UK.

Ethylene and propylene are feedstocks for producing polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP).

According to MRC's DataScope report, PE imports to Russia dropped in January-June 2020 by 7% year on year to 328,000 tonnes. High density polyethylene (HDPE) accounted for the main decrease in imports. At the same time, PP imports into Russia rose in the first six months of 2020 by 21% year on year to 105,300 tonnes. Propylene homopolymer (homopolymer PP) accounted for the main increase in imports.

Pandemic accelerates streamlining of new Dow

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Dow's restructuring plans were prompted by the difficult market conditions created by the COVID-19 pandemic, but they align with the company's long-term focus on streamlining operations and maximizing efficiency, reported Chemweek with reference to comments by executives during the company's earnings call on 23 July.

Dow intends to shed uncompetitive assets, lay off about 2,000 employees, and hold off on new capital projects.

"I don't expect us moving CapEx up until we get back to pre-COVID[-19]-type volume levels and margin levels," CEO Jim Fitterling said during the company's second-quarter earnings call. "And so that would mean probably a couple of years before you see us ramp back up into that kind of space."

Dow announced the restructuring and other cost-cutting measures along with its quarterly earnings, citing the prospect of a gradual and uneven recovery. "(We) will upsize our 2020 operating expense reduction target from USD350 million to USD500 million through additional structural cost interventions," Fitterling said in the earnings release. "We will also initiate a restructuring program during the quarter, targeting more than USD300 million in annualized EBITDA benefit by the end of 2021. This program includes a 6% reduction in Dow’s global workforce as well as actions to exit uncompetitive assets.”

The workforce reduction will cost about 2,000 jobs, president and CFO Howard Ungerleider told CW. The layoffs will be spread fairly evenly across businesses and geographies, he said, but they will be tilted toward assets and sites serving markets most challenged by the COVID-19 shutdowns and the recovery outlook.

"Automotive and construction have been hit pretty hard," Fitterling said during the call. "We're seeing people go back to construction sites, but on existing projects, and we're watching closely to see how new construction projects get permitted. And a fair amount of product that we sell goes into products that help support the construction market. On the consumer side, those demands and volumes look much better."

The asset shutdowns will be consistent with the direction Dow has taken since spinning out of DowDuPont in April 2019.

"[W]e had done some work here to take a look at the footprint of the company and where we wanted to be in a decade," said Fitterling. "And with this pandemic, I think it challenged us to take a look at which of these assets are struggling right now and may, for the long term, struggle to be competitive in any scenario, and that's what we're focusing in on. So it isn't a wholesale business unit - it's one-off assets here and there that are at the wrong end of the cost curve."

Ungerleider estimated that the shutdowns would result in a total charge in the range of USD700 million to USD1.3 billion, about USD300 million related to severance and the remainder related to asset actions or contract termination fees, most of it paid in 2021-22.

The sale of Dow's North American rail assets to Watco, announced on 6 July, and plans to divest other non-producing assets are unrelated to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ungerleider told CW. "As we thought about the new Dow and as we spun out of DowDuPont, we really felt strongly about having the best-owner mindset in everything we do, whether it's benchmarking our cost-structure or looking at all of our businesses and asking ourselves, are we the right owner? …We've got a chunk of assets that are not product-producing that have built up over time."

Watco paid USD310 million for the assets. "It's a 14-times multiple on EBITDA, so it really does release capital, and Watco is definitely the better owner," said Ungerleider. "We can take that money and reinvest it in product-producing assets or training for our people or new innovations for our customers. And so there will be more to come in that space."

As MRC wrote before, US-based materials science specialist Dow and Malaysia-based plastic stretch cling film producer Thong Guan has introduced a new range of bio-based polyethylene (bio-PE) cling film for Asia Pacific region. According to Dow, this marks a milestone in the region’s commercialisation of a plastics offering made from renewable feedstock, enabling industry providers to produce high-performance plastics while reducing carbon footprint.

According to MRC's DataScope report, PE imports to Russia dropped in January-June 2020 by 7% year on year to 328,000 tonnes. High density polyethylene (HDPE) accounted for the main decrease in imports.

The Dow Chemical Company is an American multinational chemical corporation headquartered in Midland, Michigan, United States. Dow is a large producer of plastics, including polystyrene (PS), polyurethane, polyethylene, polypropylene, and synthetic rubber.

Sumitomo Bakelite to Invest in new line to produce epoxy encapsulation materials for automotive

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Sumitomo Bakelite Co., Ltd. announced its intention to open a new manufacturing line to produce epoxy encapsulation composite materials for automotive applications at its Belgian production subsidiary, Vyncolit NV, said the company.

The investment will provide local manufacturing capacity for specialist encapsulation materials in the automotive and new mobility fields in Europe, with the company aiming to reach sales in the encapsulation compound market of ?12 billion (approximately USD111.6 million) by its 2025 fiscal year.

Due to the recent rapid adoption of electric (EV) and hybrid (HV) vehicles, coupled with increasingly complex IT systems in new mobility solutions, Sumitomo Bakelite is expanding its production capacity to meet the increasing demand for epoxy encapsulation materials in automotive applications. According to the company, local production capacity and prototyping facilities will enhance the automotive materials offering and the development of bespoke customer solutions. The new European production line will come online for industrial supply in early 2022, with a production capacity of several thousand tons per year.

"I am delighted to confirm that we will add dedicated epoxy encapsulation material production at our Ghent facility," said general manager and director of Vyncolit NV. “This new capacity, positioned close to our leading European customers, broadens our material portfolio and will allow us to tailor encapsulation solutions specifically for each customer."

As MRC informed earlier, Russia's output of chemical products rose in June 2020 by 2.6% year on year. However, production of basic chemicals increased year on year by 4.9% in the first six months of 2020. According to the Federal State Statistics Service of the Russian Federation, polymers in primary form accounted for the greatest increase in the output in January-June. Production of benzene was 106,000 tonnes in June 2020, compared to 110,000 tonnes a month earlier. Overall output of this product reached 721,000 tonnes over the stated period, up by 3.9% year on year.

Sumitomo Bakelite’s current epoxy portfolio covers a wide range of applications used in EVs including high-speed permanent magnet rotors, stator insulation and coil impregnation, which help weigh ratio and performance. The producer has been a key supplier of semiconductor encapsulation materials, used in the production of computers, smart-phones and servers. This will enable manufacturing of electronics in the automotive industry, such as overmoulding for small actuators, engine and transmission control units and power modules which allow for tamperproof packaging.

Huide starts trial of Fujian project

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Huide Science & Technology started trial operation of its first phase polyurethane (PU) and thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) project at Fuding in Fujian province, said the company.

The first phase can produce 100,000 tonnes/year of PU resin, 20,000 tonnes/year of TPU, 10,000 tonnes/year of modified PU compounds and 5,000 tonnes/year of waterborne PU.

After smooth operation of the first phase, the company will start construction of the second phase, which will have 30,000 tonnes/year of TPU, 10,000 tonnes/year of modified PU compounds and 5,000 tonnes/year of waterborne PU.

The second phase construction is expected to take one year to complete. The second phase will produce TPU, modified PU compounds, and waterborne PU at capacities of 30,000 tonnes/y, 10,000 tonnes/y, and 5000 tonnes/y, respectively.

As MRC informed earlier, China Oil HBP Science & Technology has clinched the bid for a natural gas processing plant project with an annual capacity of 1 billion cubic meters in the Kashagan Oilfield in Kazakhstan at a price of USD242 million.

Shanghai Huide Science & Technology Co.,Ltd manufactures specialty chemical products. The Company produces and sells polyurethane resins, polyester polyol, and other products. Shanghai Huide Science & Technology markets its products worldwide.