Japan's Cosmo cuts annual profit forecast by 41% on inventory loss

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Japanese oil firm Cosmo Energy Holdings on Thursday cut its net profit estimate for the year to March 31 by 41%, blaming a hefty appraisal loss on its crude inventories and slumping prices of petrochemicals, reported Reuters.

It now forecasts an annual net profit of 8.5 billion yen (USD80 million), down from its May prediction of 14.5 billion yen.

"Our sales of key fuels, mainly gasoline, have steadily recovered from the COVID-19 crisis, but petrochemicals markets have deteriorated more than we had anticipated," Takayuki Uematsu, Cosmo's senior executive officer, told a news conference.

Cosmo also expects to book an appraisal loss of 15 billion yen on its inventories, the result of a lower-than-expected purchase cost of oil due to a reduction in Saudi Aramco's selling prices and cheaper freight.

Still, it plans to boost the run rate of its refineries to 94% in the October to March period from 76.4% in the April to September period to reflect higher demand.

Cosmo also said it aims to boost its wind power generation capacity to over 1 gigawatt (GW) by March 2031 from 263 megawatts (MW) now as it beefs up renewable energy in the light of the global transition to greener power.

"We want to become a leading company in the offshore wind power market," Uematsu said, citing a plan to develop 600 MW offshore wind farms by March 2031.

Japan's offshore power market is set to take off after the government last year brought in a law to encourage wind farm development. The Japan Wind Power Association predicts the country's offshore wind power installed capacity will grow to 10 GW in 2030.

Cosmo, which is currently developing one offshore and four onshore wind farms, plans to bid for at least three offshore wind projects for which the government will select an operator through an auction, Uematsu said.

As MRC wrote previously, in February 2019, Cepsa and Cosmo have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to study new business opportunities in the lubricants market, both in Spain and Japan and internationally. The agreement covers potential synergies in the production of lubricants and coolants, the exchange of technology and formulations, and the search for possible partnerships in the marketing of these products, to increase their efficiency.

We remind that Cepsa Quimica (Shanghai), a joint venture between Spanish petrochemical company CEPSA and Japanese Sumitomo Corp, shut its phenol and acetone plant in Shanghai for 5 days from December 10, 2019, due to the repair work on the gas pipeline in the Shanghai Caojing Chemical Industry Park, where the plant is located.
Phenol is the main feedstock for the production of bisphenol A (BPA), which, in its turn, is used to produce polycarbonate (PC).

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia;s estimated consumption of PC granules (excluding imports and exports to/from Belarus) rose in the first three quarters of 2020 by 32% year on year to 75,600 tonnes (57,200 tonnes a year earlier).

Cosmo Energy Holdings Co., Ltd. operates as a holding company. The Company, through its subsidiaries, imports, refines, and sells crude oil as well engages in the independent development of oil resources.

AVEVA to collaborate with Microsoft to provide cloud platform and domain expertise for industrial sector organizations

AVEVA to collaborate with Microsoft to provide cloud platform and domain expertise for industrial sector organizations

MOSCOW (MRC) -- AVEVA, a global leader in engineering and industrial software, announced that it will be extending its long-standing strategic collaboration with Microsoft to focus on accelerating digital transformation in the industrial sector, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

AVEVA will help maximize the value that customers can derive from the integration of AVEVA’s portfolio with Microsoft cloud services and especially Microsoft Azure (infrastructure, data and AI services), helping them achieve implementations quicker, connect teams more readily and drive growth opportunities throughout their integrated portfolio.

AVEVA’s key focus areas will revolve around cloud as well as transforming the workforce (connected worker) and building a common Asset Strategy (Asset Performance). Working with Microsoft, AVEVA will continue to focus on three key areas, already proven with customers including Total, Veolia and SCG Chemicals - platform integration, a multi-solution engagement approach, and a shared go-to-market strategy. The platform integration approach can help generate new ways to increase business value for customers.

Over the past few years, digital transformation has been changing the way the manufacturing and energy industries approach business sustainability while seeking robust technologies to run their operations efficiently. As the sector transitions to working differently in a digital-first new normal, AVEVA is collaborating with Microsoft to support its customer vison of creating profitable business outcomes that will enable them to thrive in today’s challenging macro environment. AVEVA may also explore opportunities to collaborate on environmental sustainability in the future.

AVEVA’s portfolio breadth, combined with Microsoft’s technology solutions, enables customers to deploy faster, reduce energy consumption, cut emissions, and share collaborative innovation, boosting efficiency for all. Unlocking new technology innovations and digital solutions like Azure AI services, such as Azure Cognitive Search, supports efficient energy management, successful workforce transformations, and helps realize process improvements.

Earlier this year, AVEVA became one of ten leading companies to collaborate with Microsoft to launch Microsoft Energy Core as part of a commitment towards capacity-building, empowering innovation, and driving prosperity and growth with a common goal to reshape the future of the energy industry and drive a positive impact in global communities.

In complex industries, integrating technology solutions has broad implications. With so much of the world’s economy becoming increasingly reliant on digital infrastructure, meeting the highest standards for these critical assets is vital to providing secure, safe and reliable critical services.

According to an AVEVA survey, 86% of organizations agree that digital transformation is a key component of their company’s strategic plan today. While almost all industrial companies know that cloud adoption is a key element of their digital transformation, a large portion did not have concrete plans to execute their cloud strategy before the pandemic. AVEVA is working with Microsoft to help customers explore new ways to leverage the value of cloud technologies as well as Azure AI, Azure Machine Learning and Big Data Analytics.

Steen Lomholt-Thomsen, chief revenue officer at AVEVA, said, “With so much of the world’s economy becoming reliant on digitization, meeting the highest standards for these critical deployments is no longer just a nice to have, it is an absolute necessity. The upshot of this pandemic is that it has forced entire sectors within industry to embrace innovative digital platforms available to facilitate a way of working that keeps both people connected and agile, and more importantly, safe. We are proud to be extending our relationship with Microsoft as we strive to make our joint contribution towards helping customers navigate the challenges and complexities that today’s volatile environment brings."

Deb Cupp, CVP WW Enterprise & Commercial Industries at Microsoft, commented, “With today’s economic resilience now tied so closely to digital infrastructures, it is important the industrial organizations adopt a scalable, stable, and harmonized framework to support their corporate strategies. Cloud technologies like Microsoft Azure will enable businesses to configure, provision and design the solution they need, when and where they need it. Our collaboration with AVEVA will empower industrial and manufacturing organizations to develop innovative solutions for our customers."

As MRC informed earlier, AVEVA, a global leader in engineering and industrial software, announced today that it has acquired production accounting software from South Korean based company MESEnter to complete AVEVA’s value chain optimization solution. MESEnter’s software offering, previously branded MES ENTER ErrorSolver and now rebranded AVEVA Production Accounting, has been proven and tested by major producers in the continuous process industries since 2005. It opens the opportunity to improve accuracy of planning models, manage operations performance, identify loss detection and faulty instrumentation and ultimately move operations towards a plant-wide reconciliation.

As MRC informed before, in February 2019, AVEVA announced a major update to its Monitoring, Control and Information Management portfolio, delivering edge-to-cloud integration and advanced visualization tools, along with seamless access to advanced applications and powerful analytics.

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.

LG Chem develops biodegradable new material

MOSCOW (MRC) -- LG Chem successfully developed a new biodegradable material that could realize mechanical properties equivalent to synthetic resins, according to GV.

Thus, LG Chem has recently developed a new material that significantly improved flexibility (elongation) and transparency compared to existing biodegradable materials through proprietary technologies and production processes.

The new material developed by LG Chem is said to be the only single biodegradable material with 100 % bio contents using corn-based glucose and crude glycerol and it is the only material in the world that manifested mechanical properties and transparency equivalent to synthetic resins such as PP (polypropylene).

In the case of existing biodegradable materials, other plastic materials or additives must be mixed to strengthen properties and flexibility, thus having constraints in properties and prices being different per supplier, but the new biodegradable material developed by LG Chem is a single homogenous material, thereby making it possible to achieve the quality desired by customers and properties for its specific use.

In particular, flexibility, which is a core factor, was improved by more than 20 times compared to existing biodegradable products, thus making it possible to maintain transparency even after processing and it is expected that the ripple effect in the eco-friendly packaging industry that normally uses biodegradable materials. Existing biodegradable material have been used as non-transparent packaging material products due to the nature of mixed materials.

In addition, as global disposable product usage regulations are becoming stricter especially focusing around the European Union, it is expected that it can be applied in many other fields such as plastic bags, air cap buffers, disposable cups, foaming products and mask felts, etc. where there is a growing demand for biodegradable materials. According to a market survey, the biodegradable materials market is expected to grow by 15 % a year from KRW 4.2 trillion in 2019 to KRW 9.7 trillion in 2025.

LG Chem was able to successfully develop new materials since it possessed proprietary platform technologies on core biodegradable materials. LG Chem possesses a total of 25 domestic and foreign patents such as for biodegradable polymers, composites, production method, etc. through preemptive patent applications.

Based on this, the LG Chem Future Technology Research Center conducted research on technologies to enhance the molecular weight of core biodegradable materials and to polymerize them, thus successfully developing new biodegradable materials with properties distinguishing itself from existing materials.

LG Chem recently received confirmation that over 90 % of the newly developed biodegradable material was decomposed within 120 days according to the industrial biodegradable certification standards of Europe from the German biodegradable materials international certification agency ‘DIN CERTCO’.

LG Chem plans to accelerate its entry into the biodegradable materials market based on new technologies it has procured while also expediting procurement of bio materials to expand its business. It is scheduled to conduct prototype evaluations for client companies in 2022 with the goal of mass production in 2025.

LG Chem CTO / President Kisu Ro said, “In a time where there is growing interest around the world on eco-friendly materials, it is very meaningful that we successfully developed biodegradable platform materials with proprietary technologies using 100% bio ingredients.” He added, “We will concentrate on R&D in the eco-friendly materials sector and become a leading company for a virtuous circulation of resources and for protecting the ecosystem.”

As MRC reported earlier, LG Chem, a South Korean petrochemical major, has shut down its naphtha cracker in Yeosu following a fire. The company said a fire broke out at its central control room at the Yosu cracker complex at around midnight local time (15:00 GMT) on 5 November. The country's largest chemical company said it was in the process of figuring out the cause of the fire. The facility can process about 1.2 million tonnes of ethylene per year (tpy).The cracker shutdown is expected to last at least three weeks.

According to MRC"s ScanPlast report, 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.

LG Chem Ltd., often referred to as LG Chemical, is the largest Korean chemical company and is headquartered in Seoul, South Korea. It has eight domestic factories and global network of 29 business locations in 15 countries. LG Chem is a manufacturer, supplier, and exporter of petrochemical goods, IT&E Materials and Energy Solutions.

COVID-19 - News digest as of 13.11.2020

1. 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.


Mitsui Chemicals income decreased on lower output in April-September

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Mitsui Chemicals' net income in the April to September period 2020 fell on the back of lower production amid poorer demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the producer said.

All business segments saw lower sales during the period as compared to the previous year, weighed by lower sales prices due to the fall in naphtha and other raw materials and fuel prices.

Naphtha cracker operating rates were lower than the same period of the previous fiscal year due to decreased demand of downstream products, which was impacted by coronavirus.

The company's polypropylene (PP) was affected by slowing demand for automotive products.

"It is still unclear as to when the pandemic will be contained, and the impact on the group’s performance is difficult to fully predict," the company said in a statement. "Depending on how the pandemic progresses, the group may possibly incur further losses from the third quarter onward," it added.

As MRC informed earlier, Mitsui Chemicals operated its naphtha cracker normally following a maintenance turnaround. Company resumed operations at the cracker on July 19, 2020. The cracker was shut for maintenance on June 11, 2020. Located in Osaka, Japan, the cracker has an ethylene capacity of 500,000 mt/year and a propylene capacity of 280,000 mt/year.

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.

Mitsui Chemicals is a leading manufacturer and supplier of value added specialty chemicals, plastics and materials for the automotive, healthcare, packaging, agricultural, building, and semiconductor and electronics markets. Mitsui Chemicals is a Japanese Chemicals company, a part of the Mitsui conglomerate. The company has a turnover of around 15 billion USD and has business interests in Japan, Europe, China, Southeast Asia and the USA. The company mainly deals in performance materials, petro and basic chemicals and functional polymeric materials.