Top Middle East exporters seeing stronger demand for their crude from Asia

Top Middle East exporters seeing stronger demand for their crude from Asia

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Middle East crude oil exporters are re-building market share in the key Asia region, a trend likely to continue as the price advantage of local grades against those from the Atlantic Basin jumps to the most in eight years, reported Reuters.

Top Middle East exporters such as Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Kuwait are seeing increased demand for their crude from Asia, while producers in the United States, Europe and Africa are suffering declining interest.

This dynamic is being driven by the strong rally in the main price benchmarks for Atlantic Basin crudes, with Brent futures ending at USD84.55 a bbl on Monday, up 63.2% since the end of last yr, while West Texas Intermediate (WTI) finished at USD84.05, up 73.2% so far this year.

While key Middle East crude prices have also risen sharply this year, they are now priced at substantial discounts to the two main Atlantic Basin contracts. One measure of this is the Brent-Dubai Exchange for swaps, which rose to USD5.24 a bbl on Monday, the highest premium for Brent over Dubai since September 2013.

Effectively, this means any Asian-based refiner looking to buy oil today will be able to buy Middle East grades far cheaper than those from the United States, Africa or Europe. They will also enjoy cheaper freight costs given that the Middle East is a far shorter sea voyage than coming from the west coast of Africa, Europe's North Sea or the US Gulf.

Looking at physical spot prices for crude confirms the current dynamic, with Nigerian Bonny Light ending at USD85.35 a bbl on Monday, while Abu Dhabi's Murban finished at USD80.51, a discount of USD4.84, which is more than double the USD1.95 it was at the end of September.

The Middle East's share of Asia's imports rose to 61.6% in October, up from 59.1% in September and well above the 2021 low of just 54% in May, according to data compiled by Refinitiv Oil Research. In contrast, the share of crude from the West, which includes the Americas and Europe, dropped to 19% in October, the lowest this year and down from peak share of 28.8% in February. Africa's share of Asia's imports also dropped in October, slipping to 8.4%, also the lowest this yr and down from the peak share of 13.3% in April.

Top Middle East exporters have been increasing output in line with the agreement by the OPEC+ group to lift production by 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) each month from August to December. Saudi Arabia, the world's top exporter, boosted output by 100,000 bpd in October from September, while Iraq increased production by 70,000 bpd, the United Arab Emirates by 40,000 bpd and Kuwait by 30,000 bpd.

As MRC informed earlier, ExxonMobil Corp, one of the world's petrochemical major, is pursuing carbon capture storage (CCS) hubs across Asia and has started talks with some countries with potential storage options for carbon dioxide. One of Exxon's key projects is to build CCS hubs in Southeast Asia, similar to one being built in Houston, Texas, ExxonMobil Low Carbon Solutions President Joe Blommaert told Reuters.

We remind that ExxonMobil shut down at its cracker in Singapore for maintenance last year. Thus, the company halted operations at the cracker on September 14, 2020. The cracker remained off-line till end-October, 2020. Located at Jurong Island, Singapore, the cracker has an ethylene production capacity of 1 million mt/year and a propylene production capacity of 450,000 mt/year.

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.

ExxonMobil, Pertamina to evaluate CCS and hydrogen in Indonesia

ExxonMobil, Pertamina to evaluate CCS and hydrogen in Indonesia

MOSCOW (MRC) -- ExxonMobil and Pertamina, the state-owned energy company for Indonesia, signed an MOU to evaluate the potential for large-scale deployment of low-carbon technologies in Indonesia, said Reuters.

The companies have agreed to assess the potential for technologies such as CCUS and low-carbon hydrogen. By jointly examining subsurface data, the companies expect to identify geologic formations deep underground that could be suitable to safely store CO2, and the potential for safe, commercially viable utilization of CO2. The MOU strengthens a decades-long strategic partnership between ExxonMobil and Pertamina, and has the objective of advancing Indonesia’s net-zero ambitions.

"We are evaluating large-scale carbon capture and storage projects that have the potential to make the greatest impact in the highest-emitting sectors around the world, and there are opportunities in Indonesia and throughout Southeast Asia," said Joe Blommaert, president of ExxonMobil Low Carbon Solutions. "With well-designed policies and industry collaboration, we can move forward with reliable, safe and ready-to-deploy technologies at scale that can help governments achieve game-changing emissions reductions."

ExxonMobil established its Low Carbon Solutions business to commercialize low-emission technologies. It is initially focusing its carbon capture and storage efforts on point-source emissions, the process of capturing CO2 from industrial activity that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere, and injecting it into deep underground geologic formations for safe, secure and permanent storage. The business is also pursuing strategic investments in biofuels and hydrogen to bring those lower-emissions energy technologies to scale for hard-to-decarbonize sectors of the global economy.

ExxonMobil Low Carbon Solutions is evaluating several other carbon capture and storage projects around the world, including in Rotterdam, Netherlands; Normandy, France; LaBarge, Wyoming; and Houston, Texas. The company has an equity share in approximately one-fifth of global CO2 capture capacity and has captured approximately 40 percent of all the captured anthropogenic CO2 in the world.

The International Energy Agency projects that carbon capture and storage could mitigate up to 15% of global emissions by 2040, and the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates global decarbonization efforts could be twice as costly without its wide-scale deployment.

As per MRC, ExxonMobil plans to build its first, large-scale plastic waste advanced recycling facility in Baytown, Texas, and is expected to start operations by year-end 2022. By recycling plastic waste back into raw materials that can be used to make plastic and other valuable products, the technology could help address the challenge of plastic waste in the environment. A smaller, temporary facility, is already operational and producing commercial volumes of certified circular polymers that will be marketed by the end of this year to meet growing demand.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 1,396,960 tonnes in January-July 2021, up by 7% year on year. Shipments of all grades of ethylene polymers increased. At the same time, 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.

ExxonMobil is the largest non-government owned company in the energy industry and produces about 3% of the world"s oil and about 2% of the world"s energy.

Trinseo raises November prices for PC/ABS grades in the EMEA region

Trinseo raises November prices for PC/ABS grades in the EMEA region

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 all PULSE polycarbonate (PC)/ acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) in the EMEA region, according to the company's press release.

Effective November 1, 2021, or as existing contract terms allow, the contract and spot prices for the products stated above rose by EUR300 per metric ton.

The present price increase in response to unprecedented and escalating pressure from energy prices and apply to all current agreements and contracts for deliveries as of November 1, 2021 and are subject to further potential adjustments linked to fluctuating energy prices.

As MRC reported earlier, Trinseo also raised its prices for all PC grades in the EMEA region on November 1, 2021 by EUR300 per metric ton.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's consumption of PC granules (excluding imports and exports to Belarus) decreased by 14% and reached 62,000 tonnes in January-August 2021 against 72,100 tonnes in the same period of 2020.

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.

COVID-19 - News digest as of 02.11.2021

1. Eni income indicator Q3 exceeded forecasts

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Eni's chemical business managed by Versalis swung to a third-quarter adjusted operating profit of €25m from a loss of EUR53m in the same period of last year on the back of higher margins, said the company. Sales of petrochemical products were 1.03m tonnes in the third quarter, down by 7% year on year. Petrochemical product margins improved significantly on the back of "macroeconomic recovery, which mitigated competitive pressure, and contingent factors due to temporary supply shortages during the first half of the year", the company said in a statement. "The exceptionally strong products spread versus feedstocks recorded in the second quarter 2021 moderated in the third quarter as plants affected by contingent issues returned to normal activity", it said.


Crude oil futures continue rising in Asia as supply remains tight

Crude oil futures continue rising in Asia as supply remains tight

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Crude oil futures extended gains in mid-morning trade in Asia Nov. 2 after a bullish overnight session, as supply remained tight amid ongoing outages in Africa and ahead of the OPEC+ meeting on Nov. 4, reported S&P Global.

At 11:10 am Singapore time (0310 GMT), the ICE January Brent futures contract was up 21 cents/b (0.25%) from the previous close at USD84.92/b, while the NYMEX December light sweet crude contract rose 13 cents/b (0.15%) at USD84.18/b. Both benchmarks had settled higher by 0.5%-1.2% overnight.

Output from OPEC remains partially crippled after outages last month at Nigeria and Libya knocked out at least 100,000 b/d of supply.

While some analysts have voiced caution on the pace of the increase in oil prices, others have grown more bullish, citing the ongoing global energy crisis and years of underinvestment in capacity.

"Crude prices are rallying after OPEC+ failed to hit their production goals and both Kuwait and Iraq signaled they support keeping the gradual 400,000 b/d output plan intact," said OANDA senior market analyst Edward Moya.

Analysts from Bank of America said Nov. 1 that they expect crude prices to reach USD120/b by the end of June 2022.

ING analysts Warren Patterson and Wenyu Yao pointed to the widening backwardation in WTI time spreads in recent weeks, citing inventory levels in US storage hub Cushing, Oklahoma reaching critically low levels.

"The WTI prompt time spread continues to hold firm and in fact the spread hit an intraday high of USD1.88/b yesterday (Nov. 1). The strength in the WTI structure is largely due to the continued decline in inventories at the WTI delivery hub, Cushing," Patterson and Yao said.

Latest figures from the US Energy Information Administration had showed crude inventory levels at Cushing declining to 27.3 million barrels as of Oct. 22 -- a low not seen since October 2018. Investors will now be looking towards this week's inventory report from the EIA for guidance on the next move in prices.

OPEC+ ministers are set to meet on Nov. 4 to discuss the course of action for December, where output is expected to increase by 400,000 b/d, according to a July agreement. The coalition is under pressure from several consuming countries, including the US, Japan and India, to further ramp up its output to temper oil prices that have surged amid a global gas crisis, outages and a lack of oil investments due to climate change pledges.

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.