Merck to integrate sustainability further into its corporate strategy

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Merck KGaA has presented its new sustainability strategy, with which it aims to integrate sustainability more deeply as an essential component of its corporate strategy, according to Chemweek.

The main aims of the strategy are to develop sustainable science and technology, integrate sustainability into all the company's value chains by 2030, and achieve climate neutrality and reduce its resource consumption by 2040, Merck says. The company will report annually on the current implementation status of the strategy.

Merck says it wants the new strategy to contribute to the achievement of the United Nations sustainable development goals. It says it is integrating the topic of sustainability into its business strategies and will be taking the goals of the sustainability strategy into account when making business decisions. The company is also planning to link the variable pay of its board and senior management with progress made in achieving the three sustainability goals.

As MRC wrote previously, Merck KGaA has announced the opening its M Lab Collaboration Center in Shanghai, China. Merck Innovation Hub, the first in China, started in late 2019, with the company announcing a 100 million renminbi (USD14 million) seed fund injected into the China Innovation Hub.

Besides, Merck KGaA said in August, 2020, it plans to build an EUR18-million (USD20.6 million) laboratory facility at Buchs, Switzerland, to support its rapidly growing reference materials business. The facility will include laboratory and office space in a three-story, 1,125-square-meter building, Merck says. Completion of construction is scheduled for December 2021 and the move to the facility is planned for early 2022, the company says. Merck anticipates that about two dozen jobs will be created.

We remind that Russia's output of chemical products rose in September 2020 by 6.7% year on year. At the same time, production of basic chemicals increased by 6.1% year on year in the first nine months of 2020, according to Rosstat's data. According to the Federal State Statistics Service of the Russian Federation, polymers in primary form accounted for the greatest increase in the January-September output. Last month's production of primary polymers decreased to 852,000 tonnes from 888,000 tonnes in August due to shutdowns in Tomsk, Ufa and Kazan. Overall output of polymers in primary form totalled 7,480,000 tonnes over the stated period, up by 16.4% year on year.

Headquartered in Darmstadt, Germany, Merck opened an OLED application center in Pyeongtaek, Korea, in 2015. Merck Korea now has 11 operation sites and some 1,200 employees and operates businesses in functional materials, health care and life sciences. The functional materials business encompasses advance materials for information technology products such as displays and semiconductors. It also includes cosmetics and paints for automobiles.
Its health care business involves pharmaceuticals and medical devices for treatments of cancer, multiple sclerosis and infertility. The life sciences business deals in an extensive portfolio of over 300,000 products used for protein research, cell biology, antibodies, water purification and microbiome tests.

Solvay to offer employees financial reward for their efforts during COVID-19

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Solvay says it will devote up to EUR16.0 million (USD18.9 million) of the cash it generates this year to provide a "special reward" to all its non-executive employees worldwide in recognition of their efforts throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, said Chemweek.

The reward is on top of the company’s yearly bonuses and will be paid out before the end of the year, Solvay says. Solvay delivered record free cash flow of EUR801 million in the first nine months of 2020, and says this has allowed it to resume investments for the future, unlocking EUR60 million in capital expenditure, and enabled it to invest in its people.

"Our record cash generation over the past six quarters, and our efforts to cut costs and focus on what is essential, are thanks in large part to our employees who worked diligently from home or showed up every day onsite to make essential products, as all our plants remained operational throughout the crisis," says Ilham Kadri, CEO of Solvay.

Separately, Lanxess announced last week that it would pay a special bonus to employees for their commitment during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As MRC informed earlier, Solvay and Composites One have entered an exclusive negotiation period for the acquisition of Solvay’s Process Materials (PM) business by Composites One. The PM business provides a broad array of vacuum bagging materials including bagging films, breather fabrics, release films and fabrics, peel plies, sealant tapes plus valves and hoses. Additionally, the business is a leader in the manufacture of tailored consumable kits and hard and soft tooling.

As MRC informed earlier, Solvay SA said it will close two plants making composites for Airbus SE and Boeing Co. in a sign the deepening aerospace crisis is hitting suppliers of even the latest aircraft materials. The Belgian chemical maker is adding to savings achieved in the past year following the grounding of Boeing’s 737 Max. The latest measures from Solvay Chief Executive Officer Ilham Kadri will lead to about 570 job cuts, or 20% of the workforce in Solvay’s composites unit.

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

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 1,594,510 tonnes in the first nine months of 2020, up by 1% year on year. Only high denstiy polyethylene (HDPE) shipments increased. At the same time, PP shipments to the Russian market reached 880,130 tonnes in the nine months of 2020 (calculated using the formula: production minus exports plus imports, exluding producers' inventories as of 1 January, 2020). Supply increased exclusively of PP random copolymer.

Solvay S.A. is a Belgian chemical company, one of the largest in Europe and the world with a market share of 27%, is the second largest PVC producer and the fourth largest caustic soda producer in Europe. The company's activities are concentrated in two main areas - the chemical sector (plastics production) and the pharmaceutical sector.

SATORP sees 63% higher loss in Q3 2020

MOSCOW (MRC) -- SATORP, the parent company of Arabian Aramco Total Services Company, incurred net losses of SAR 804.4 million during the third quarter (Q3) of 2020, a year-on-year (YoY) rise of 62.8%, according to Chemweek.

The surge in quarterly loss resulted from a decrease in refining and petrochemical margins, driven by market conditions, according to a bourse disclosure on Monday.

Revenue for the July-September period of this year reached SAR 5.98 billion, down by 26.5% when compared to SAR 8.14 billion in the year-ago period.

In the first nine months of 2020, the company’s losses deepened by 95.8% on a yearly basis to SAR 1.79 billion.

As MRC informed earlier, in July, 2018, SATORP (Saudi Aramco Total Refining and Petrochemicals Company) selected Axens to evaluate, develop, and implement an Advanced Process Control (APC) system for its aromatics complex ParamaX producing high purity paraxylene (PX) and benzene.

PX is the main feedstock for the production of purified terephthalic acid (PTA), which, in its turn, is used to produce polyethylene terephthalate (PET). PET is used in the manufacturing of plastic bottles, films, packaging containers, in the textile and food industries.

According to MRC's ScanPlast, Russia's estimate PE consumption reached 52,71o tonnes in September 2020, down by 27% year on year. Overall PE consumption in Russia reached 530,750 tonnes in the first nine months of 2020, down by 22% year on year.

SATORP, located in Jubail, owns a 400,000-bpd refinery and petrochemicals units with a combined total of 1 MMtpy.

Indian Oil runs at full capacity on demand rebound

Indian Oil runs at full capacity on demand rebound

MOSCOW (MRC) -- India’s top refiner Indian Oil Corp has been operating at 100% capacity since early November as local fuel demand has recovered, its chairman S.M. Vaidya said, said Reuters.

IOC has been gradually raising crude runs at its plants, which plunged to about 39% at the beginning of April when a nationwide coronavirus lockdown hit fuel demand.

Along with its subsidiary Chennai Petroleum Corp, IOC controls about a third of the 5 MMbpd refining capacity in India, where fuel demand in October rose by 2.5%, its first year-on-year rise in eight months. IOC is operating at full capacity despite lower global refining margins as its “mandate” is to meet the local fuel demand, Vaidya told an oil industry conference on Thursday.

“Refining margins are very poor, in fact they are just not sustainable ... but we are also investing heavily in petrochemicals as a strategy to de-risk the business of low margins,” Vaidya said during the ADIPEC event. Like other Indian refiners, IOC normally operates its plants at more than installed capacity. Vaidya said the situation will return to normal in next quarter.

As MRC informed earlier, Indian Oil Corp. Ltd. (IOC) has approved the addition of a petrochemical and lube integration component to its previously announced and long-planned project that will expand crude oil processing capacity of its 13.7 million-tonne/year Koyali refinery at Vadodara in India’s western state of Gujarat.

As MRC informed earlier, IOC is expanding its petrochemical capacity by more than 70 per cent from its current 3.2 million tonnes a year. It is also on new technologies that reduces the cost of producing petrochemicals.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, PP shipments to the Russian market reached 767,2900 tonnes in the eight months of 2020 (calculated using the formula - production minus exports plus imports - and not counting producers' inventories as of 1 January, 2020). Supply increased exclusively of PP random copolymer.

Indian Oil Corporation Limited, or IndianOil, is an Indian state-owned oil and gas corporation with its headquarters in New Delhi, India.

COVID-19 - News digest as of 12.11.2020

1. Total production slammed by OPEC+ cuts, but finances show 'resilience' in Q3

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Total's oil and gas production dropped 11% on the year in the third quarter, to 2.72 million b/d of oil equivalent and it forecast full-year output below 2.9 million boe/d on the back of OPEC+ cuts, as its third-quarter results showed financial improvement Oct. 30, reported S&P Global. In a results statement, Total said its Q3 production had been affected by OPEC+ cuts in Angola, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Nigeria and the UAE as well as voluntary reductions in Canada and disruption in Libya, noting in particular the "reinforcement" of cuts by Nigeria. The company's liquids production was down 16% on the year at 1.44 million b/d, although it noted OPEC+ cuts were offset by increases from the UK's Culzean gas field, Norway's Johan Sverdrup, Brazil's Iara and Italy's Tempa Rossa.In the context of strong OPEC+ compliance and lower North American production, Total "anticipates full-year 2020 production below 2.9 million boe/d," compared with 3.01 million boe/d in 2019, it said. However, CEO Patrick Pouyanne noted a "more favorable" business environment, and the company highlighted its July sale of the UK's Lindsey refinery, as well as its conversion of the Grandpuits refinery to a "zero-oil" producer of biofuels and bioplastics. "The oil market environment remains uncertain and will depend notably on the speed of the global demand recovery, affected by the COVID-19 pandemic," Total said.