Crude oil futures down in Asia amid weak economic data in China and announcement of release of state oil product reserves

Crude oil futures down in Asia amid weak economic data in China and announcement of release of state oil product reserves

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Crude oil futures dipped in mid-morning trade in Asia Nov. 1 following weak economic data out of China and Beijing's announcement that it would release state oil product reserves to the domestic market, reported S&P Global.

At 11:01 am Singapore time (0301 GMT), the ICE January Brent futures contract was down 23 cents/b (0.27%) from the previous close at US83.49/b, while the NYMEX December light sweet crude contract fell 41 cents/b (0.49%) at USD83.16/b.

"Oil markets got off to a rocky start after weak weekend official China PMI releases," said OANDA senior market analyst Jeffrey Halley.

China's manufacturing PMI fell to 49.2 in October from 49.6 in September -- its second straight month of decline, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed Oct. 31. Any number below 50 indicates a contraction of activity.

IG market strategist Yeap Jun Rong said the figures underscored the fragility of the global economic recovery underway.

"PMI figures out of China over the weekend continue to highlight the weakness in economic conditions. A confluence of risk factors continues to be reflected on the Chinese economy, such as the global supply chain shortages and ongoing energy crisis," Yeap said.

China's National Food and Strategic Reserves Administration said Oct. 31. that it will release state oil product reserves to the domestic market to offset a supply shortage and stabilize prices in certain regions. The announcement shows the government's efforts to ensure domestic supplies and to control inflation by capping energy prices. It did not announce the volume to be released or targeted regions.

Latest Commitments of Traders data from the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission showed investors have turned sour on the outlook for oil prices, with speculative net longs in the NYMEX oil contract posting its first decline in four weeks as of Oct. 26. Speculative net longs in the NYMEX contract fell by 5,992 lots to 340,844 in the week to Oct. 26, CFTC data showed.

OANDA's Halley said oil prices will struggle to trade higher this week amid a slew of key dates and economic releases, including an OPEC+ meeting on Nov. 4 and a meeting of the US Federal Reserve's Open Market Committee on Nov. 3.

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.

Novvia Group acquires packaging distributor Fox Valley Containers

Novvia Group acquires packaging distributor Fox Valley Containers

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Global rigid container and life sciences packaging distributor Novvia Group has acquired Fox Valley Containers Inc., a distributor of plastic, metal, corrugated, and glass packaging products, said Canplastics.

The financial terms of the private transaction were not disclosed. Headquartered in Crystal Lake, Ill., Fox Valley is a distributor of cans, pails, drums, bottles, jars, and other rigid packaging products. The company has five warehouse locations throughout the Upper U.S. Midwest.

The existing Fox Valley management team will remain in place to drive the company’s next phase of growth, Novvia officials said in an Oct. 25 news release.

"Fox Valley has long enjoyed a leading reputation in its markets, and we are thrilled to welcome the company’s employees, customers, and suppliers to the Novvia family,” said Sarah Macdonald, CEO of Novvia. “Our partnership with Fox Valley represents the latest step in Novvia’s ongoing effort to continually augment our capabilities in order to deliver a world-class value proposition to our customers."

As it was informed earlier, a group of U.S.-based packaging suppliers all owned by private equity firm Kelso & Co. have united to form a new holding company called the Novvia Group. The companies – Inmark, C.L. Smith, Silver Spur and Container Supply – will serve as a new national stocking distributor for both domestic and international customers.

According to ICIS-MRC Price report, in Russia, October prices of Nizhnekamskneftekhim's GPPS were in the range of Rb152,750-163,700/tonne CPT Moscow, including VAT, and HIPS prices were at Rb156,750-167,700/tonne CPT Moscow, including VAT. Penoplex contracted its GPPS quantities at Rb169,000-171,000/tonne CPT Moscow, including VAT, in October, whereas last week's prices of Gazprom neftekhim Salavat's GPPS were heard at Rb152,500-156,500/tonne CPT Moscow, including VAT.

Novvia is headquartered in St. Louis, Mo.

BASF Introduces more efficient catalysts for isopropyl alcohol producers

BASF Introduces more efficient catalysts for isopropyl alcohol producers

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BASF, the world's petrochemical major, has recently introduced a range of new catalysts which. The new offer includes catalysts to produce isopropyl alcohol (IPA) more efficiently, a crucial ingredient in hand sanitizers, a much-needed consumer product during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Hydrocarbonprocessing.

BASF’s high-performance oxo alcohol catalyst Ni 3354 E combines high activity with exceptionally high selectivity. The catalyst has been tested and qualified to produce IPA through hydrogenation of acetone. Ni 3354 E allows IPA producers to operate at high throughput rates and temperatures without a drop in selectivity thus increasing productivity.

BASF also qualified chromium-free copper extrudate catalysts as Cu 0560 E to further broaden its hydrogenation catalyst offering, enabling IPA producers to select the most suitable product solution for process requirements.

Additionally, BASF introduced O4-204, a new catalyst for n-butane based maleic anhydride production. Compared to previous product generations, O4-204 offers highest selectivity towards maleic anhydride while allowing a longer catalyst on-stream time, which makes the process more cost-effective. The product benefits have already been demonstrated in commercial use. The market for maleic anhydride is strongly growing in China driven by an increasing demand for polybutylene adipate terephthalate (PBAT), which is used predominantly as biodegradable packaging material.

BASF will launch the next generation of its selective hydrogenation catalysts by the end of 2021. Through an innovative lightweight alumina support, the amount of catalyst required for processing unsaturated C3-, C4- and PYGAS streams can be reduced by up to 40% giving steam crackers and refineries the chance to enhance their efficiency and counterbalance increasing palladium market prices during their next refill. As intensive pilot scale tests confirm, precious metal expenses can be improved by 25% in many hydrogenation units. These new E 15x light catalysts complete BASF’s selective hydrogenation portfolio with the well-established E 15x series and the recently launched sulfur resistant E 15x S, being installed in two world-scale units in the upcoming months.

“Our recent innovations support BASF’s strategy to help our customers to be more successful by emphasizing our commitment to provide sustainable and efficient solutions,” says Dr. Detlef Ruff, Senior Vice President, Process Catalysts, at BASF.

As MRC wrote before, BASF is strengthening its global catalyst development and helping customers to bring new products faster to the market. As part of this strategy, BASF is building a new pilot plant center at its Ludwigshafen site.

Plasticizers are substances introduced into a polymer material to make it elastic and plastic during processing and operation. In particular, plasticizers are used for the production of polyvinyl chloride (PVC). The share of plasticizers used for the production of PVC products is about 80%.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's overall production of unmixed PVC totalled 746,700 tonnes in the nine months of 2021, up by 4% year on year. All producers increased their output.

BASF is the leading chemical company. It produces a wide range of chemicals, for example solvents, amines, resins, glues, electronic-grade chemicals, industrial gases, basic petrochemicals and inorganic chemicals. The most important customers for this segment are the pharmaceutical, construction, textile and automotive industries.

Belarusian refineries lose US80 mln because of European Union sanctions

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Belarusian oil refineries have lost USD80 million due to European Union sanctions, Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Nazarov was quoted as saying last week, reported Reuters.

State news agency Belta also quoted him as telling parliament that despite the sanctions, local refineries would process 16.8 million tonnes of oil this year, an increase of 0.5 million tonnes compared with 2020.

The European Union in June banned companies from doing business with Belarusian oil products as a part of wide-ranging economic sanctions on Belarus, cutting one of the top fuel suppliers in Eastern Europe from the market.

As MRC informed previously, in 2015, the US Treasury Department suspended sanctions against nine Belarusian companies and issued a license to cooperate with them, which was renewed annually.

Earlier it was also reported that at the beginning of 2020, the state concern Belneftekhim approved a strategy for the development of the petrochemical complex for the period until 2030. Among the priority projects is the construction of a new pyrolysis unit at Polymir. The corporate publication of the concern noted that "an ethylene-propylene unit will be built at the Polymir plant, this will allow to fully provide the existing production with raw materials." The capacity of pyrolysis, as well as the timing of its construction, are not given. The development plan of the petrochemical complex of the Republic of Bashkortostan also includes a project for the production of ABS plastics, which is planned to be implemented on the basis of the Naftan oil refinery. In addition, it is planned to launch polycarbonate production capacity at the refinery.

OJSC "Naftan" is one of the largest oil refineries in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Commissioned in 1963, the enterprise was incorporated in 2002. The state share in OJSC "Naftan" is 99.83%, the rest of the shares belong to the individual employees of the enterprise. In 2008, a large petrochemical enterprise Polymir was included in Naftan. Naftan produces more than 70 types of products, including various types of fuel, lubricating oils and bitumen, aromatic hydrocarbons and petrochemical products. The company exports 70% of its products, mainly to the CIS countries and the European Union.

AdvanSix Q3 earnings increased on firm pricing

AdvanSix Q3 earnings increased on firm pricing

MOSCOW (MRC) -- AdvanSix’ third-quarter net income swung to a USD43.9m profit on the back of strong pricing and volumes amid tight industry supply, said the company.

Raw material pricing pass-through increased by 22% year on year during the quarter following rising prices for benzene and propylene, the raw materials for key feedstock cumene.

Improved demand for ammonium sulphate, nylon and caprolactam drove an 8% increase in sales volumes.
Planned plant turnarounds are expected to impact full-year profits by USD30m.

“"Our performance was supported by strong pricing and volume improvement including continued contributions from differentiated products amid favourable end-market conditions and tight industry supply,” said CEO Erin Kane.

Strong chemical intermediates demand is expected to continue but supply and demand for acetone in North America are likely to become better balanced.

North American nylon market conditions are expected to remain tight for the foreseeable future, while agricultural sector fundamentals are forecast to stay strong through the 2022 planting season.

“We continued to execute well in the third quarter while supporting our customers to successfully navigate
the current set of industry dynamics," said Erin Kane, president and CEO of AdvanSix. "Our performance
was supported by strong pricing and volume improvement including continued contributions from differentiated products amid favorable end market conditions and tight industry supply. Our earnings results were above the high-end of the outlook we provided at our September 28th Investor Day driven primarily by better-than-expected pricing, net of raw material costs, as well as the timing of ammonium sulfate sales."

We remind that AdvanSix, a new resin and chemical division of Honeywell, completed a planned turnaround at its phenol and acetone plant in Frankford, PA, USA. The maintenance works at the plant with a capacity of 1.1 billion pounds of phenol per year (about 500,000 tons per year) and 608 million pounds of acetone per year (308,400 tons per year) began at the end of March 2017 and was expected to take 2 -3 weeks. This plant is the third largest producer of phenol and acetone in North America. AdvanSix uses cumene derived from benzene and propylene to produce phenol and acetone.

Phenol is the main feedstock component for the production of bisphenol A (BPA), which, in its turn, is used to produce polycarbonate (PC).

According to MRC's ScanPlast, the total consumption of PC granulate in Russia decreased in January - August 2021 (excluding imports and exports to Belarus) by 14% compared to the same period last year and amounted to 62,000 tonnes against 72,100 tonnes a year earlier.