September crude throughput in China dips to 17-month low

September crude throughput in China dips to 17-month low

MOSCOW (MRC) -- China's September crude oil throughput extended its downtrend to dip 0.7% from August to a 17-month low of 13.7 million b/d amid a slow down in the economy and product destocking activity, reported S&P Global with reference to data from the National Bureau of Statistics on Oct. 18.

The country's crude throughput was last lower at 13.16 million b/d in April 2020.

This led China's third-quarter 2021 throughput to average 13.83 million b/d, which was the lowest quarterly volume since Q2 2020 when it stood at 13.68 million b/d.

The weakness was more or less in line with the country's economic growth, with GDP expanding at a slower rate of 4.9% year on year in the quarter, from 7.9% in Q2. China's GDP growth in Q3 was also its weakest pace since its economy grew 4.9% in Q3 2020.

But the reduction in throughput looked to have outpaced the decline in demand, causing supply to tighten and push domestic oil product prices higher in September amid destocking activity.

On metric tons basis, the volume in September dropped 3.9% to 56.07 million mt from August and declined 2.6% from a year ago.

In the first nine months, China processed 14.15 million b/d, or 526.87 million mt, of crude oil, rising 6.6% year on year.

In the upstream sector, the country produced 4.06 million b/d of crude, the highest level since June 2016 when it stood at 4.08 million b/d.

China's crude production is expected to remain on the recovery path at a steady pace as the country ensures stable domestic energy supply.

During January-September, China's crude output was at 4.02 million b/d, or 149.84 million mt, growing 2.9% on a barrels per day basis.

As MRC informed earlier, China's crude oil imports fell 4.7% on the month to 10.03 million b/d in September, accrding to the latest data from the General Administration of Customs, or GAC, on Oct. 13. The reduction indicated weak momentum for imports for the rest of the year, analysts said.

We remind that China's oil consumption is likely to peak around 2026 at about 16 million barrels per day and that of natural gas by around 2040, said a top executive of Sinopec Corp. in September 2021.

We also remind that in August 2021, China Petroleum and Chemical Corp, also known as Sinopec, the world's petrochemical major, launched the first phase of the Gulei refining complex in Zhangzhou city in China’s southeastern Fujian province. The refining complex, a 50:50 joint venture between Sinopec’s Fujian Petrochemical Company Ltd and Taiwan Xuteng Investment Company Ltd, invested 27.8 billion yuan (USD4.28 billion) in the first phase. That will result in an 800,000 tonnes per annum ethylene plant, a 600,000 tonnes per annum styrene unit and seven other downstream petrochemical units, Sinopec said.

Ethylene and propylene are the main feedstocks for the production of polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), respectively.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 1,638,370 tonnes in the first eight months of 2021, up by 10% year on year. Shipments of all grades of ethylene polymers increased. At the same time, PP shipments to the Russian market were 989,570 tonnes in the first eight months of 2021, up by 30% year on year. Deliveries of homopolymer PP and block-copolymers of propylene (PP block copolymers) increased, whereas shipments of injection moulding PP random copolymers decreased significantly.

Oil prices go down off multi-year highs as US industrial output fell in September

Oil prices go down off multi-year highs as US industrial output fell in September

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Oil prices pulled back after touching multi-year highs on Monday, trading mixed as US industrial output for September fell, tempering early enthusiasm about demand, according to Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Production at US factories fell by the most in seven months in September as an ongoing global shortage of semiconductors depressed motor vehicle output, further evidence that supply constraints were hampering economic growth.

"The oil market started off with a lot of exuberance, but weak data on US industrial production caused people to lose confidence in demand, and China released data that intensified those worries," said Phil Flynn, senior analyst at Price Futures Group in New York.

Brent crude oil futures were down 20 cents or 0.24% at USD84.66 a barrel by 11:46 a.m. EST (15:46 GMT) after hitting USD86.04, their highest since October 2018.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were 17 cents higher, or 0.2%, at US82.46 a barrel, after hitting USD83.87, their highest since October 2014. Both contracts rose by at least 3% last week.

The early push higher on Monday came as market participants looked to easing restrictions after the COVID-19 pandemic and a colder winter in the northern hemisphere to boost demand.

"Easing restrictions around the world are likely to help the recovery in fuel consumption," analysts at ANZ Bank said in a note, adding gas-to-oil switching for power generation alone could boost demand by as much as 450,000 barrels per day in the fourth quarter.

Cold temperatures in the northern hemisphere are also expected to worsen an oil supply deficit, said Edward Moya, senior analyst at OANDA.

Chinese data showed third-quarter economic growth fell to its lowest level in a year hurt by power shortages, supply bottlenecks and sporadic COVID-19 outbreaks. China's daily crude processing rate in September also fell to its lowest level since May 2020 as a feedstock shortage and environmental inspections crippled operations at refineries, while independent refiners faced tightening crude import quotas.

Global trade has swiftly recovered from pandemic lows, Bank of America commodity strategist Warren Russell said in a note. Trade levels are up 13% year to date, and 4% higher than 2019 levels. The trade indicates rising crude demand as economies recover from the pandemic, the analysts said. "Financial assets like oil should perform strongly into 2021," the analysts said.

As MRC informed before, US commercial crude stocks fell 3.48 million barrels to 413.96 million barrels in the week ended Sept. 17, to more than 8% below the five-year average, Energy Information Administration data showed. Stocks were last lower Oct. 5, 2018.

We remind that in late August, 2021, US crude stocks dropped sharply while petroleum products supplied by refiners hit an all-time record despite the rise in coronavirus cases nationwide, the Energy Information Administration said. Crude inventories fell by 7.2 million barrels in the week to Aug. 27 to 425.4 million barrels, compared with analysts' expectations in a Reuters poll for a 3.1 million-barrel drop. Product supplied by refineries, a measure of demand, rose to 22.8 million barrels per day in the most recent week. That's a one-week record, and signals strength in consumption for diesel, gasoline and other fuels by consumers and exporters.

We also remind that US crude oil production is expected to fall by 160,000 barrels per day (bpd) in 2021 to 11.12 million bpd, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) said in a monthly report, a smaller decline than its previous forecast for a drop of 210,000 bpd.

Clariant and China National Congress on Catalysis solidify partnership to support catalytic research

Clariant and China National Congress on Catalysis solidify partnership to support catalytic research

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Clariant and China’s National Congress on Catalysis solidify partnership to support catalytic research, said the company.

As this year’s 20th National Congress on Catalysis of China (NCC) gets underway in Wuhan, Clariant has presented the 8th National Catalysis Achievement Award for outstanding R&D achievement in the field to Youchang Xie, Professor of Physical Chemistry at Beijing’s Peking University.

A key theme of the Congress this yr is catalytic science and technology for a green, low-carbon future. Professor Xie, who is also vice chairman of the Academic Committee of the State Key National Laboratory of Catalysis, is internationally recognized as playing an important role in the research and development of catalysts and adsorbents.

"Highly effective carbon monoxide adsorbents and separation technologies, based on his theory, have made China’s coal-based and broader chemical industries more environmentally friendly and resource-efficient,” said Marvin Estenfelder, Head of R&D at Clariant Catalysts. “As a key industry innovator and driver of sustainable chemical production, we are proud to recognize Professor Xie’s distinguished contributions to the field."

“I’m proud to receive this award as I have dedicated my professional life to chemical research and teaching, with a focus on catalysis. As sustainability becomes more important I am pleased to see innovations that drive greener production processes being implemented in the industry and I would like to thank the Catalysis Society of China and Clariant for presenting and supporting this prize,” said Xie.

Research will play an increasingly important role in the transition to carbon neutrality and Clariant’s sponsorship of this important award for three installments of the Congress – 2021, 2023, 2025 – builds on its existing research co-operations with top universities in China. Clariant Catalysts also recently opened a new, state-of-the-art R&D center, “One Clariant Campus”, in Shanghai, where a local team of researchers is dedicated to sustainable innovation.

All these initiatives support Clariant’s commitment to helping customers reach their sustainability targets by continually working to improve the efficiency of existing production processes in the chemical industry with novel approaches such as Power-to-X.

As MRC informed before, in October 2020, Clariant (Muttenz, Switzerland) announced the construction of a new state-of-the-art catalyst production site in China. This project represents a significant investment which further strengthens Clariant’s position in China and enhances its ability to support its customers in the country’s thriving petrochemicals industry.

The new facility will be primarily responsible for producing the Catofin catalyst for propane dehydrogenation, which is used in the production of olefins such as propylene. Thanks to its excellent reliability and productivity, Catofin delivers superior annual production output compared to alternative technologies, resulting in increased overall profitability for propylene producers, says the company. Construction at the Dushan Port Economic Development Zone in Jiaxing, Zhejiang Province was scheduled to commence in Q3 2020, and Clariant expects to be at full production capacity by 2022.

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

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PET consumption totalled 411,200 tonnes in the first six month of 2021, up by 12% year on year. Russian companies processed 62,910 tonnes in June, compared to 85,890 tonnes a month earlier.

Milliken acquires Encapsys LLC

Milliken acquires Encapsys LLC

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Milliken has acquired microencapsulation firm Encapsys from the Cypress Performance Group, the US specialty chemicals company announced in its press-release.

Encapsys makes technology to produce a polymeric shell around a core material at micron level to create capsules, used in applications across industries to improve sustainability of active materials.

Wisconsin-based Encapsys will be integrated into Milliken without interrupting services, including relationships with existing suppliers and customers.

“Encapsys brings a unique combination of innovation, science and technology to the Milliken team,” adds Cindy Boiter, executive vice president and president of Milliken’s Chemical Business. “Enhancing our portfolio of specialty chemicals with global reach, this acquisition will accelerate sustainable solutions for the markets and customers we serve.”

As Encapsys integrates into Milliken, daily operations will continue without interruption, including relationships with existing suppliers and customers. Headquartered in Appleton, Wis., Encapsys is a leader in microencapsulation technologies, which put a uniform polymeric shell around a core material at the micron level to create capsules. Microencapsulation has applications across industries and helps companies achieve more sustainable products by advancing responsible consumption and efficient delivery of active materials.

We also remind that at Hispack 2018 trade fair in Spain, Milliken Chemical showcased containers of NX UltraClear polypropylene (PP) made using its Millad NX 8000 clarifier, and highlighted why that material is the preferred solution for packaging.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, PP shipments to the Russian market were 841,990 tonnes in the first seven months of 2021, up by 29% year on year. Supply of propylene homopolymers (homopolymer PP) and block-copolymers of propylene (PP block copolymers) increased, whereas supply of statistical copolymers of propylene (PP random copolymers) subsided.

Milliken is an innovation company that has been exploring, discovering, and creating ways to enhance people’s lives since 1865. The company creates coatings, specialty chemicals, and advanced additive and colorant technologies that transform the way we experience products from automotive plastics to children's art supplies.

COVID-19 - News digest as of 19.10.2021

1. Asia Distillates-Jet margins drop but still near multi-month highs

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Asia's jet fuel refining margins slipped to USD13.42 a barrel on Friday, but were just 8 cents shy of a near two-year high reached in the previous week, reported Reuters with reference to Refinitiv data in Eikon. This came as oil prices hit a fresh three-year high on Friday, climbing above USD85 a barrel on forecasts of a supply deficit over the next few months as rocketing gas and coal prices stoke a switch to oil products. Asian refining margins for jet fuel have climbed in October to their highest levels since January 2020 as air travel demand recovers in Asia, according to analysts and Refinitiv data. Asia-Pacific nations, home to some of the world's strictest pandemic-related travel rules, are gradually easing border restrictions resulting in a surge in flight bookings and travel enquiries.