Nigeria gives NNPC green light to acquire a 20% stake in Dangote oil refinery

Nigeria gives NNPC green light to acquire a 20% stake in Dangote oil refinery

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Nigeria has given its state oil firm the green light to acquire a 20% stake in Dangote's oil refinery for USD2.76 billion, reported Reuters with reference to junior oil minister Timipre Sylva's statement.

The 650,000-barrel-per-day oil refinery, owned by Africa's richest man Aliko Dangote, is under construction in Lagos, the biggest city in the most fuel-consuming nation in the region. The refinery is scheduled for commissioning by January.

Sylva said the government approved the Nigerian National Petroleum Corp's (NNPC) acquisition at a Cabinet meeting, he told reporters in Abuja, adding that the country also awarded contracts for the modernisation of two state-owned refineries.

The has said the NNPC's move to work with private companies was in line with safeguarding the country's energy security and would not undercut plans to rehabilitate its own refineries.

The NNPC said in June it had signed term sheets with Dangote Group for the stake in its USD19 billion oil refinery and is in talks with banks to borrow to buy the stake but would require government approval of the plan. The Dangote Group has previously said NNPC and three other firms had approached it regarding a stake purchase, to be able to secure crude supply agreements.

Nigeria, Africa's biggest crude oil exporter, imports virtually all its fuel due to moribund state refineries, which has prompted NNPC's interest in Dangote's oil refinery.

In March, Nigeria approved US1.5 billion of spending on the modernisation of the Port Harcourt oil refinery and awarded a contract to Italy's Tecnimont. Sylva said 15% of the contract sum has been paid and work has started in Port Harcourt. He added that the Cabinet approved contract awards for the upgrade of the Warri and Kaduna refineries to Saipem SpA and Saipem Contracting Ltd for USD1.484 billion.

As MRC informed before, Africa's largest oil refinery will deliver its fuels to Nigerian consumers via roads and sea ports, and will effectively replace all of Nigeria's fuel imports once fully operational. The 650,000 barrel-per-day Dangote oil refinery is under construction in Lagos, the biggest city in the most fuel-consuming nation in the region, which absorbed 266,000 barrels of petroleum products per day as of 2015. Congested ports and dilapidated roads led some to expect that the company would build a pipeline or other method of getting its fuel to consumers.

The Dangote group is also eyeing ethanol production at its sugar and molasses plant in Adamawa state, and has facilities at the refinery to blend ethanol with fuel if needed. Edwin said they are also already considering expanding plastics and petrochemical productions at the refinery, which will make polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) when it begins production.

Ethylene and propylene are the main feedstocks for the production of PE and PP, respectively.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 953,400 tonnes in the first five months of 2021, which virtually corresponded to the same figure a year earlier. High density polyethylene (HDPE) shipments decreased. At the same time, PP shipments to the Russian market were 607,8900 tonnes in January-May 2021, up by 33% year on year. Shipments of homopolymer PP and PP block copolymers increased, whereas deliveries of PP random copolymers decreased.

Trinseo raises August MMA prices in Europe

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Trinseo, a global materials company and manufacturer of plastics, latex binders, and synthetic rubber, and its affiliate companies in Europe, have announced a price increase for Methyl Methacrylate (MMA) in Europe, according to the company's press release as of August 3.

Effective August 1, 2021, or as existing contract terms allow, the company's price for MMA monomer grew by EUR300/tonne.

The company also raised its July MMA prices in the region by the same amount.

As MRC reported earlier, in May, 2021, Trinseo announced the closing of the previously announced transaction to acquire Arkema’s polymethyl methacrylates (PMMA) business. PMMA is a transparent and rigid resin with a wide range of end uses that augments Trinseo’s existing offerings across several end markets including automotive, building and construction, medical and consumer electronics.

The main application, consuming approximately 75% MMA, is in the production of polymethyl methacrylate acrylic plastics (PMMA). Methyl methacrylate is also used to produce methyl methacrylate-butadiene-styrene copolymer (MBS), used as a modifier for polyvinyl chloride (PVC).

According to ICIS-MRC Price report, negotiations over August contract prices of Russian PVC in the domestic market continued through the week; some producers further raised their prices. Some converters hesitated to confirm the new prices for Russian PVC.

Trinseo is a global materials company and manufacturer of plastics, latex and rubber. Trinseo's technology is used by customers in industries such as home appliances, automotive, building & construction, carpet, consumer electronics, consumer goods, electrical & lighting, medical, packaging, paper & paperboard, rubber goods and tires. Formerly known as Styron, Trinseo completed its renaming process in 1Q 2015. Trinseo had approximately USD3.0 billion in net sales in 2020, with 17 manufacturing sites around the world, and approximately 2,600 employees.

Evonik posts strong earnings for H1 2021 and raises outlook for 2021

Evonik posts strong earnings for H1 2021 and raises outlook for 2021

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Evonik has raised its outlook for 2021 after posting strong earnings in the first half. Demand for Evonik products increased significantly worldwide with sales prices also rising, as per the company's press release.

"We have emerged out of the crisis stronger than before and have made substantial gains in the first half," said Christian Kullmann, chairman of the board of management. "This positive dynamic will continue into the second half. Therefore, we are confident about raising our outlook. From today’s perspective we will even end up in the upper part of the range.”

For 2021 Evonik now expects adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (adjusted EBITDA) of between EUR2.3 billion and EUR2.4 billion for the full year. Previously the range was EUR2.1 billion to EUR2.3 billion. The outlook for sales is now EUR13 billion to EUR14.5 billion, up from a previously expected EUR12 billion to EUR14 billion. Last year Evonik posted adjusted EBITDA of EUR1.91 billion and sales of EUR12.2 billion.

In the second quarter, adjusted EBITDA rose 42% to EUR649 million compared with the prior-year quarter. Even compared with the pre-corona second quarter of 2019, adjusted EBITDA gained, growing 15%. The main drivers were all three growth divisions - Specialty Additives, Nutrition & Care and Smart Materials, which demonstrated their resilience despite higher raw-material costs.

Sales at the company gained 29% to EUR3.64 billion in the second quarter compared with the same quarter in 2020. Adjusted net income increased 58 percent to EUR253 million with adjusted earnings per share rising from EUR0.34 to EUR0.54.

As a result of the improved business performance, free cash flow increased year-on-year to USD101 million, despite the expected increase in net working capital and higher tax payments. As a result, free cash flow reached a record level of USD413 million in the first half of the year.

Specialty Additives: The division's sales rose 23 percent to EUR922 million in the second quarter. Additives for polyurethane foams, for example for the construction industry or durable goods such as mattresses and refrigerators, saw significantly higher demand with sales rising strongly compared to the corona-related weaker quarter last year. Additives for the coatings industry also recorded significant sales growth in all regions. Good demand for renewable energy products continued. The business with additives for the automotive industry also increased significantly year-on-year. Adjusted EBITDA increased by 20 percent to EUR242 million.

Smart Materials: The division's sales improved by 35% to EUR975 million in the second quarter. High-performance polymers saw a significant increase in demand from the auto industry. Polyamide 12 powders for 3D printing and membranes for efficient gas treatment were also in high demand. The tire silica business benefited from a strong upturn in demand compared to the corona-related weaker quarter last year. Active oxygen products recorded good volume demand both in the specialty business and in the classic hydrogen peroxide business. The catalysts business benefited from the first-time inclusion of Porocel, which was acquired in November 2020. Adjusted EBITDA rose 73 percent to EUR176 million at the division.

Performance Materials: The division's sales rose by 62 percent to EUR708 million in the second quarter. Sales of C4 products increased significantly with increasing demand and strongly improved selling prices. The superabsorbent business continues to be affected by a difficult market environment. Adjusted EBITDA rose from EUR12 million to EUR99 million in the quarter.

As MRC informed earlier, in February, 2020, Dow and Evonik entered into an exclusive technology partnership. Together, they plan to bring a unique method for directly synthesizing propylene glycol (PG) from propylene and hydrogen peroxide to market maturity.

Propylene is the main feedstock for the production of polypropylene (PP).

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, PP shipments to the Russian market were 607,8900 tonnes in January-May 2021, up by 33% year on year. Shipments of homopolymer PP and PP block copolymers increased, whereas deliveries of PP random copolymers decreased.

Evonik is one of the world leaders in specialty chemicals. The focus on more specialty businesses, customer-oriented innovative prowess and a trustful and performance-oriented corporate culture form the heart of Evonik’s corporate strategy. They are the lever for profitable growth and a sustained increase in the value of the company. Evonik benefits specifically from its customer proximity and leading market positions. Evonik is active in over 100 countries around the world with more than 33,000 employees.

BASF and Sinopec to further expand their Verbund site in Nanjing

BASF and Sinopec to further expand their Verbund site in Nanjing

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BASF and SINOPEC, the world's petrochemical majors, will further expand their Verbund site operated by BASF-YPC Co., Ltd. (BASF-YPC), a 50-50 joint venture of both companies in Nanjing, China, according to BASF's press release.

It includes the capacity expansion of several downstream chemical plants, including a new tert-butyl acrylate plant to support the growing Chinese market.

The partners will expand the production capacities of propionic acid, propionic aldehyde, ethyleneamines, ethanolamines and purified ethylene oxide, and build a new tert-butyl acrylate plant. The tert-butyl acrylate plant will be an extension to the downstream using acrylic acid and isobutene of the existing Verbund as feedstock, which marks the first time this advanced production technology is applied outside of Germany. The expanded and new plants are planned to come on stream in 2023.

“This is a substantial step forward since the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in 2018 to further strengthen our long-term partnership with SINOPEC,” said Dr. Stephan Kothrade, President and Chairman of BASF Greater China. “With the envisioned investment bundle, we will introduce state-of-the-art technologies and use the Verbund advantages to the fullest.”

Propionic acid (PA) is used as a mold inhibitor for the preservation of food and feed grains. It offers strong economic and ecological benefits over preservation through drying or storage in air-tight silos. It is also used in the production of pharmaceuticals, crop protection agents, solvents and thermoplastics.

Ethyleneamines (EEA) and Ethanolamines (EOA) are intermediates used in the manufacture of crop protection agents, surfactants for personal and home care products, process chemicals for gas treatment, lubricants and cement additives, paper chemicals, and active pharmaceutical ingredients.

Propionic aldehyde (PALD) is an intermediate used as key raw material for propionic acid and n-propanol production. It is mainly used in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals, insecticides, fragrances and plastics.

Tert-butyl acrylate (TBA) is an acrylic acid ester for manufacturing polymers and is used as a feedstock for syntheses. As a specialty chemical it is used in paper sizing and emulsion applications.

Purified ethylene oxide (PEO) is a raw material for industrial applications and is often used in synthesis processes of chemical industry. It is used in the manufacturing of ethanolamines, glycol ethers and surfactants for washing and cleaning agents.

As MRC wrote before, in September 2020, BASF-YPC Co., Ltd. (BYC), a 50-50 joint venture between BASF and SINOPEC, expanded the production capacity of neopentylglycol (NPG) at the state-of-the-art Verbund site in Nanjing, China. The plant was established in 2015 with an annual capacity of 40,000 metric tons. With the completion of the expansion in August 2020, the annual capacity reached 80,000 metric tons.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, PP shipments to the Russian market were 607,8900 tonnes in January-May 2021, up by 33% year on year. Shipments of homopolymer PP and PP block copolymers increased, whereas deliveries of PP random copolymers decreased.

BASF-YPC Company Limited (BASF-YPC) is a 50-50 joint venture between BASF and Sinopec, founded in 2000, with a total investment of approximately USD5.5 billion. The integrated petrochemical site produces about three million tons of high-quality chemicals and polymers for the Chinese market annually. The products serve the rapid-growing demand in multiple industries, including agriculture, construction, electronics, pharmaceutical, hygiene, automotive and chemical manufacturing. All BASF-YPC plants are interconnected in order to use products, by-products and energy in the most efficient way, to save cost and to minimize the environmental impact. BASF-YPC posted sales of approximately CNY 19.6 billion in 2019 and employed 1,942 people as of the end of the year.

China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec Group) is a super-large petroleum and petrochemical enterprise group established in July 1998 on the basis of the former China Petrochemical Corporation. Sinopec Group's key business activities include the exploration and production of oil and natural gas, petrochemicals and other chemical products, oil refining.

COVID-19 - News digest as of 06.08.2021

1. OxyChem sees continued strong demand for PVC and caustic soda in H2 2021

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Occidental Petroleum sees continued strong demand for construction staple polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and caustic soda through the rest of 2021, driven largely by tight supply, homebuilding growth and continued global economic recovery from COVID-19 fallout, reported S&P Global with reference to CFO Robert Peterson's statement Aug. 4. Peterson said the company sees domestic PVC demand up 16% from Q2 2020, and up 13% from pre-pandemic 2019, he said during the company's Q2 2021 earnings call.