MOSCOW (MRC) -- The new coronavirus wave that has torn through Brazil in recent weeks has also affected its oil industry, according to unions and government data reviewed by Reuters, with infections among workers jumping and production taking a hit.
New COVID-19 cases among offshore oil workers rose to 46 on March 24 from 17 on March 3, based on a 15-day moving average, data from national oil regulator ANP showed.
Active cases are at their highest level since December at Brazil’s largest oil producer, state-run Petrobras, with 294 cases among employees as of Monday, according to Mines and Energy Ministry data.
Petroleo Brasileiro SA, as the firm is formally known, told Reuters it has adopted “rigorous measures” since the beginning of the pandemic to protect workers, carrying out some 650,000 COVID-19 tests among its workforce of roughly 46,000.
When employees are confined to enclosed spaces, as is common on offshore platforms, the company monitors them for 14 days prior to the beginning of their shift, Petrobras said. Still, those efforts have not insulated the company from a nationwide surge in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks.
As MRC informed before, Brazil's state-run oil company Petrobras is seeking 800 million reais (USD152 million) in compensation from engineering group Odebrecht in arbitration proceedings over its alleged violation of the shareholders agreement in petrochemical company Braskem.
We remind that Petrobras may need more than a year to divest its stake in Braskem, said Andrea Almeida, Petrobras CFO, in early July, 2020. She said during the company"s recent webinar that Petrobras plans to give more time for potential investors to make offers for the company"s assets, including for its refineries and stakes at its petrochemical and fuel distribution affiliates. The divestment of Petrobras"s stake in Braskem in 2020 would be desirable but "might not be possible" as the COVID-19 pandemic has changed market conditions, she said. The company plans to close part of its refinery sales in 2021. In December, Roberto Castello Branco, CEO of Petrobras, said that he wants to sell the company"s stake in Braskem within a year. Petrobras owns 32.15% of Braskem.
We also remind that Braskem is no longer pursuing a petrochemical project, which would have included an ethane cracker, in West Virginia. And the company is seeking to sell the land that would have housed the cracker. The project, announced in 2013, had been on Braskem's back burner for several years.
Ethylene and propylene are feedstocks for producing polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP).
According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 241,030 tonnes in January 2021 versus 217,890 tonnes a year earlier. Only shipments of low density polyethylene (LDPE) and high density polyethylene (HDPE) increased. At the same time, PP shipments to the Russian market reached 141,870 tonnes in January 2021 versus 123,520 tonnes a year earlier. Supply of homopolymer PP and PP block copolymers increased.