Crude oil futures down in Asia as bearish sentiment dominates

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Crude oil futures were lower in mid-morning trade in Asia Nov. 18, extending losses following a sharp overnight tumble, as a draw in US oil inventories across the board failed to overcome rising bearish pressures on both the supply and demand side, reported S&P Global.

At 10:35 am Singapore time (0214 GMT), the ICE January Brent futures contract was down 30 cents/b (0.37%) from the previous close at US79.98/b, while the NYMEX December light sweet crude contract fell 68 cents/b (0.87%) at USD77.68/b. Both benchmarks had shed 2.6%-3% in value overnight.

"Oil prices took center stage in pulling the energy sector lower, as expectations of a coordinated release in oil supplies from the US and other countries drove some profit-taking," IG market strategist Yeap Jun Rong said.

Media reports indicated the US has asked multiple countries, including China, Japan and India, to tap on their oil reserves in a bid to counter surging energy prices.

While analysts have noted that such a move would be a short-term fix for rising oil prices, the news nonetheless brings back into focus inflationary pressures faced by major economies around the world.

Most recently, the UK reported Nov. 17 inflation rising by 4.2% on the year last month, a 10-year high. This comes on the back of the US reporting last week inflation reaching highs not seen in three decades.

COVID-19 cases also continue to be a point of concern, with several countries in Asia not seeing a let-up in caseload figures despite high vaccination numbers and some tightening lockdown restrictions further.

"Despite improving vaccination across the region, COVID-19 risks continue to be closely monitored," Yeap said.

"Singapore's daily new cases have jumped back to the 3,500 level yesterday (Nov. 17), likewise for South Korea with a new record in daily virus cases, while Beijing sees some tightening of restrictions despite fewer daily infections. That may put a cap on upside for now as markets look towards the next catalyst to lift sentiments," he added.

The bearish headlines overshadowed any upside from US Energy Information Administration data showing inventory draws across the board last week.

Total US commercial crude oil inventories declined 2.1 million barrels in the week ended Nov. 12 to 433 million barrels, the EIA said Nov. 17. Total US gasoline stocks slipped 710,000 barrels to 212 million barrels, while distillate stocks fell 820,000 barrels to 123.69 million barrels.

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, EIA said in a monthly report earlier this year, a smaller decline than its previous forecast for a drop of 210,000 bpd.

PVC imports to Belarus rise by 17.3% in Jan-Sep 2021

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Overall imports of unmixed polyvinyl chloride (PVC) into Belarus totalled 45,600 tonnes in the first nine months of 2021, up by 17.3% year on year, according to MRC's DataScope report.

According to the Statistics Committee of the Republic of Belarus, local converters were unable to fully replenish their PVC inventories in September 2021 due to the increased supply from the main suppliers-producers from Russia. September imports were 5,600 tonnes, whereas this figure was at 4,900 tonnes a month earlier.

Thus, imports of unmixed PVC reached 45,600 tonnes in January-September 2021, compared to 38,900 tonnes a year earlier.
As reported earlier, Russian producers with the share of about 92% of the Belarusian market were the key suppliers of resin to Belarus over the stated period. Producers from Germany with the share of over 7% were the second largest suppliers.


Olin Corporation announces leadership changes

Olin Corporation announces leadership changes

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Olin Corporation (Clayton, Missouri) has announced that Pat D. Dawson, Olin's Executive Vice President and President, Epoxy and International, will retire from Olin effective April 30, 2022, or an earlier mutually agreeable date, according to Street Insider.

Mr. Dawson will remain with Olin as an Executive Vice President until his retirement, focusing on business leadership transition activities and strategic business projects.

Mr. Damian Gumpel, Olin's current Vice President and President, Chlor Alkali Products and Vinyls will become its Vice President and President, Epoxy and Corporate Strategy, effective November 29, 2021. Damian will lead Olin's Epoxy and International operations, as well as Olin's Corporate Strategy activities, including mergers and acquisitions. Mr. Gumpel earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Texas - Austin and a Masters of Business Administration with Honors from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Olin further announced that it has hired Patrick M. Schumacher to serve as Vice President and President, Chlor Alkali Products and Vinyls, and Dana C. O'Brien to serve as Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, both effective November 29, 2021.

Patrick Schumacher most recently served as Senior Vice President for Prince Corporation where he led the sales organization and global mergers and acquisitions activities. Prior to his time at Prince Corporation, Mr. Schumacher worked at Celanese Corporation in various leadership positions. While at Celanese, he was a Senior Vice President of multiple business areas from 2018 to 2020, Vice President, Emulsion Polymers in 2018, and Vice President, Business and Strategy Development from 2014 to 2018. Prior to joining Celanese, Mr. Schumacher was Managing Director, Head of Chemicals M&A Practice at Blackstone Group, Senior Vice President at UBS Investment Bank, an Associate at Lehman Brothers and an Associate at Valuemetrics. Mr. Schumacher earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Finance from the University of Wisconsin and Master of Science in Finance degree from Boston College.

Dana O'Brien was most recently Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer at The Brink's Company. Prior to her time at The Brinks' Company, Ms. O'Brien was Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary at CenterPoint Energy from 2014 to 2019, Chief Legal Officer, Chief Compliance Officer at CEVA Logistics from 2007 to 2014, General Counsel, Chief Compliance Officer and Secretary at EGL, Inc. from 2005 to 2007, and held various legal roles at Quanta Services, Inc. from 1999 to 2005. Prior to transitioning to an in-house setting, Ms. O'Brien was an associate at Weil, Gotshal & Manges and a briefing attorney with the Supreme Court of Texas. Ms. O'Brien earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Trinity University and her Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Texas - Austin.

As MRC reported previously, Olin Corporation has recently announced that it plans to permanently shut down the remaining diaphragm-grade chlor-alkali capacity at its McIntosh, Alabama facility, by the end of third quarter 2022. The closure of approximately 200,000 electrochemical unit (ECU) tons is in addition to the 200,000 ECU tons shut down at McIntosh in first quarter 2021.

We remind that in July 2021, Olin Corporation entered into an agreement with ASHTA Chemicals, Inc. to purchase and sell the chlorine produced at ASHTA's Ashtabula, OH facility. Existing contracts will be honored for chlorine customers of both companies.

Olin Corporation is a leading vertically-integrated global manufacturer and distributor of chemical products and a leading US manufacturer of ammunition. The chemical products produced include chlorine and caustic soda, vinyls, epoxies, chlorinated organics, bleach, and hydrochloric acid.

Pembina looks for ethane opportunity from Dow project in Alberta

Pembina looks for ethane opportunity from Dow project in Alberta

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Canadian midstream energy firm Pembina Pipeline welcomes Dow’s recent announcement of plans for new petrochemicals production in Alberta province, said the company.

Dow plans a net-zero carbon emissions ethylene and derivates complex at its site in Fort Saskatchewan, northeast of Edmonton. A first phase of the project could start up as early as 2027, with capacities for 1.8m tonnes/year of ethylene and 1.65m tonnes/year of polyethylene (PE).

Pembina, which ranks as the leading shipper of ethane in Alberta, estimates that the Dow project will require more than 100,000 bbl/day of ethane feedstock, it said. The project “should have positive implications” for Pembina and other midstream energy firms as new infrastructure will be required for ethane extraction and transportation, it added.

As MRC wrote previously, Canadian midstream energy companies Pembina Pipeline and Inter Pipeline (IPL) are mulling the prospects of dehydrogenation/polypropylene (PDH/PP) production in Alberta province. On May 31, 2021, Pembina and Inter Pipeline entered into an agreement to create one of the largest and best positioned energy infrastructure companies in Canada. Together the companies' diversified and integrated asset base can support and grow an extensive value chain for natural gas, natural gas liquids and crude oil, from wellhead to end user, that far exceeds anything either company can do separately.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, PP shipments to the Russian market were 1,138,510 tonnes in the first nine months of 2021, up by 30% year on year. Supply of propylene homopolymer (homopolymer PP) and block-copolymers of propylene (PP block copolymers) increased, whereas supply of injection moulding PP random copolymers decreased significantly.

Pembina Pipeline has been a gas supplier to the North American power system for over 60 years. Pembina owns and operates pipelines that transport a variety of hydrocarbon fluids, including conventional and synthetic crude oil and others, produced in Western Canada and North Dakota.

Finnish Neste receives EUR88 mln to develop its green hydrogen and CCS project

Finnish Neste receives EUR88 mln to develop its green hydrogen and CCS project

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The EU Innovation Fund has given a positive grant decision of EUR88 million funding to Neste’s green hydrogen and CO2 capture and storage project, which aims to quickly and efficiently reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the Porvoo refinery in Finland, according to Hydrocarbon Engineering.

The project introduces carbon capture and storage (CCS) and electrolysis solutions that allow decarbonisation of production at the refinery. It is currently in the feasibility phase.

The project will strongly contribute to the reaching of both Finland’s and the EU’s climate targets and has a significant role in Neste’s target of carbon neutral production by 2035.

With this transformation project, a reduction of more than 4 million t of CO2 emissions can be achieved at the Porvoo refinery in the first 10 years of operation.

The company also aims to gather a network of leading European technology suppliers and R&D institutes, laying the foundation for a world-class European hub for renewable hydrogen and CO2 utilisation.

As MRC reported earlier, in July, 2021, Neste and LyondellBasell announced a long-term commercial agreement under which LyondellBasell will source Neste RE, a feedstock from Neste that has been produced from 100% renewable feedstock from bio-based sources, such as waste and residue oils and fats. This feedstock will be processed through the cracker at LyondellBasell’s Wesseling, Germany, plant into polymers and sold under the CirculenRenew brand name.

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 1,868,160 tonnes in the first nine months of 2021, up by 18% year on year. Shipments of all grades of ethylene polymers increased. At the same time, PP shipments to the Russian market were 1,138,510 tonnes in January-September 2021, up by 30% year on year. Supply of propylene homopolymer (homopolymer PP) and block-copolymers of propylene (PP block copolymers) increased, whereas supply of injection moulding statistical copolymers of propylene (PP random copolymers) decreased significantly.

Neste (Helsinki) creates solutions for combating climate change and accelerating a shift to a circular economy. The company refines waste, residues and innovative raw materials into renewable fuels and sustainable feedstock for plastics and other materials. The company is the world’s leading producer of renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel, developing chemical recycling to combat the plastic waste challenge. In 2020, Neste's revenue stood at EUR11.8 billion, with 94% of the company’s comparable operating profit coming from renewable products.