Tumble in spot premiums for February-loading cargoes spurs Asia refiners to purchase Mideast oil

Tumble in spot premiums for February-loading cargoes spurs Asia refiners to purchase Mideast oil

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Indian and Chinese oil buyers are snapping up Middle East crude after spot premiums for February-loading cargoes slumped by more than half to three-month lows on improved supplies to Asia, reported Reuters.

The drop in crude differentials, also seen in some European and African crudes, comes as forecasters such as OPEC predict a supply surplus in 2022. Still, views differ on the extent and Goldman Sachs said on Friday average demand will still hit a record next year.

Easing concerns about the impact of the new coronavirus variant Omicron on Asia's fuel demand are also supporting Asian refiners' margins, trade sources said.

"It's quite a busy week as demand all came out," a Singapore-based analyst with a trading firm said.

Supplies to Asia are improving as pricing differences in crude grades make Atlantic Basin crudes become more attractive.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and their allies have also agreed to continue ramping up output by 400,000 bpd in January.

The slide in spot premiums comes after they hit multi-year highs for January-loading cargoes.

India's Reliance Industries Ltd snapped up 4 MM bbl of Abu Dhabi Das supplies this week, while top refiner Indian Oil Corp has bought 3 MM bbl of Upper Zakum and Basra Heavy crude.

Fuel demand from the world's third-largest oil importer and consumer is robust as industrial activity picks up. Gasoil sales, which account for about two-fifths of India's overall refined fuel consumption, jumped nearly 18% in the first half of December from the same period in November.

In China, Rongsheng Petrochemical, the trading arm of top private refiner Zhejiang Petrochemical, bought 8 MM bbl of Abu Dhabi and Oman crude for February-March loading, on top of 1 MM bbl of February-loading Abu Dhabi's Upper Zakum last week. The refiner also purchased at least 2 MM bbl of Emirati and Iraqi crude for delivery between February or March and December.

Another mega Chinese refiner, Hengli Petrochemical, took three of four Qatari al-Shaheen crude cargoes in Qatar Energy's tender while the remaining cargo went to Japan's top refiner ENEOS Holdings.

But there has been less appetite from Chinese independent refiners which have been hit by restrictions on import quotas, increasing scrutiny on tax evasion and probes into unapproved refining units in Shandong province. That has caused spot premiums for Russian ESPO crude to slip to four-month lows.

As MRC wrote previously, Reliance Industries (RIL) has taken off-stream one of its polypropylene (PP) plants in Jamnagar, India for a scheduled maintenance. Thus, this unit with an annual capacity of 400,000 tons/year of PP was shut on 5 August 2021 and will remain idle for approximately one month.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, PP shipments to the Russian market were 1,226,530 tonnes in January-October 2021, up by 26% year on year. Supply of propylene homopolymers (homopolymer PP) and block-copolymers of propylene (PP block copolymers) increased, whereas supply of injection moulding stat-copolymers of propylene (PP random copolymers) decreased significantly.

Aker bp acquires oil and gas business of Lundin Energy through statutory merger

Aker bp acquires oil and gas business of Lundin Energy through statutory merger

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Aker BP has announced its proposed acquisition of the oil and gas business of Lundin Energy, through a statutory merger, as per bp's press release.

This combination would create the largest exploration and production company focused exclusively on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.

Bernard Looney, bp chief executive said: “We welcome and support this proposed acquisition, which will strengthen and significantly enhance the long-term future of Aker BP and our continuing relationship with Aker.

“The combination of Aker BP and Lundin Energy’s Norwegian oil and gas business will create a world-scale independent oil and gas company with a leading position in very high-quality, resilient resources with best-in-class CO2 emissions intensity.

bp currently holds a 27.9% interest in Aker BP. Following the merger this would be expected to become a 15.9% interest in the combined company.

As MRC reported earlier, in October, 2021, BP announced plans for a USD269 million investment in three projects at its Cherry Point Refinery in Washington state, aimed at improving the refinery's efficiency, reducing its carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and increasing its renewable diesel production capability. The investment is aligned with bp's aims to be net zero across its operations by 2050 or sooner and to reduce the carbon intensity of the products it sells by 50% by 2050 or sooner.

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 2,047,100 tonnes in the first ten months of 2021, up by 17% year on year. Shipments of all grades of ethylene polymers increased. At the same time, PP shipments to the Russian market were 1,226,530 tonnes in January-October 2021, up by 26% year on year. Supply of propylene homopolymers (homopolymer PP) and block-copolymers of propylene (PP block copolymers) increased, whereas supply of injection moulding stat-copolymers of propylene (PP random copolymers) decreased significantly.

BP is one of the world's largest oil and gas companies, serving millions of customers every day in around 80 countries, and employing around 85,000 people. BP's business segments are Upstream (oil and gas exploration & production), and Downstream (refining & marketing). Through these activities, BP provides fuel for transportation; energy for heat and light; services for motorists; and petrochemicals products for plastics, textiles and food packaging. It has strong positions in many of the world"s hydrocarbon basins and strong market positions in key economies.

Crude oil prices go down after a three-day rally, focus shifts to next OPEC+ move

Crude oil prices go down after a three-day rally, focus shifts to next OPEC+ move

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Brent crude futures snapped a three-day rally on Friday in light trading before the Christmas holidays, but the benchmark ended the week higher, with the market focusing on next steps by OPEC+ and the impact of the Omicron variant, report Reuters.

Brent crude futures settled 71 cents lower at USD76.14 a barrel at the early close of 1300 GMT, rising by about 3% on the week.

US markets are closed on Friday for the Christmas holiday.

Oil prices have recovered this week as fears over the impact of the highly infectious Omicron variant on the global economy receded, with early data suggesting it causes a milder level of illness.

"The omicron-is-mild rally could well continue into January now, but reality will bite in February I believe, as the end of the Fed taper moves into sight," OANDA analyst Jeffrey Halley said.

The US Federal Reserve said last week it would end its pandemic-era bond purchases in March, paving the way for three interest rate increases that most Fed policymakers now believe will be needed next year.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies including Russia, known as OPEC+, will meet on 4 January to decide whether to go ahead with a 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) production increase in February.

Russia believes oil prices are unlikely to change significantly next year with demand recovering to pre-pandemic levels only by the end of 2022, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said on Friday.

Some investors remained cautious amid surging infection cases.

Omicron advanced across the world on Thursday, with health experts warning the battle against the COVID-19 variant was far from over despite two drugmakers saying their vaccines protected against it and despite signs it carried a lower risk of hospitalisation.

Coronavirus infections have soared wherever the variant has spread, triggering new restrictions in many countries, including Italy and Greece, and record numbers of new cases.

Global oil demand roared back in 2021 as the world began to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, and overall world consumption potentially could hit a new record in 2022 - despite efforts to bring down fossil fuel consumption to mitigate climate change.

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.

Wittmann Group changed brand strategy

Wittmann Group changed  brand strategy

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The Austria-based machinery and equipment maker is dropping the Battenfeld brand name from its injection molding machinery, said Canplastics.

In a move designed to highlight its goal of offering complete plastics processing solutions, Austria-based Wittmann Group is dropping the Battenfeld brand name from its injection molding machinery.

In a Dec. 23 news release, company officials said the branding change will start on Jan. 1, 2022, and is expected to completed by the K 2022 trade fair in October. There will be no changes in the organization of the companies within the Wittmann Group, the statement continued, and all company names will be left unaltered by the brand strategy change.

"With the integration of Battenfeld machines into the extended product portfolio of the Wittmann Group [in 2008], the company has so far consistently pursued a two-brand strategy in its external appearance: Wittmann for all products around injection molding machines and Wittmann Battenfeld for injection molding machines and injection molding processes,” the company said. “To highlight the significance of the injection molding machine for the future development of the company, the brand name Wittmann Battenfeld was originally chosen, preferred and used deliberately in communication."

But in recent years, the company said, the organization has shifted to being able to offer “complete solutions from a single source”. “In due consideration of this development, the ‘one-stop-shop’ advantage is now to be given special emphasis by a uniform brand designation and colour scheme for the entire product range,” it said. “This is why the Wittmann Group has decided to use the Wittmann logo for all of its advertising activities and product lines in future."

As it was written before, Wittmann Group is adding some needed pace to its production plant in Mosonmagyarovar, Hungary, after purchasing the neighbouring company building. With this acquisition, Wittmann Hungary’s production area will be expanded from 12,000 square meters to a total of 15,000 square meters.

We remind, Wittmann Group has acquired FarragTech GmbH, a manufacturer of products that use compressed air for resin drying and mold cooling. The financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

Wittmann is represented in Canada by Wittmann Battenfeld Canada Inc., which is headquartered in Richmond Hill, Ont.

Novatek, Uniper ink blue ammonia, hydrogen supply deal

Novatek, Uniper ink blue ammonia, hydrogen supply deal

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Novatek and Uniper signed a term sheet on the long-term supply of large volumes of low-carbon ammonia, said the company.

These supplies will be delivered to Uniper’s markets in Germany and North-West Europe. Novatek is developing a major low-carbon ammonia production facility on the Yamal Peninsula in northwestern Siberia, making use of the vast local gas reserves. Carbon dioxide formed during the natural gas-to-hydrogen production process will be captured and stored using a highly efficient underground storage infrastructure (CCS).

Uniper is planning an ammonia import terminal in Wilhelmshaven which will be equipped with a storage facility and a cracker operating with green power. The imported low-carbon ammonia can thus be transformed into gaseous hydrogen – and it will be fed into the future German hydrogen pipeline system. Low-carbon ammonia can also be supplied directly as a feedstock and as a fuel. Modern technology, beneficial geologic parameters and highly optimized production and logistics will help drive the carbon footprint of the supplied ammonia well below the threshold of the EU Taxonomy.

Klaus-Dieter Maubach, CEO of Uniper: "This project would cover a significant share of the low carbon hydrogen demand in Germany. Uniper is committed to reaching carbon neutrality in its European Generation business by 2035. Decarbonized and low-carbon gases such as hydrogen will play a major role in achieving these goals. Germany, like many other heavily industrialized countries, will rely on hydrogen imports, as the demand for hydrogen will exceed domestic production capacities. Hence, we actively set up global collaborations and partnerships and plan Wilhelmshaven as a major hydrogen hub. I firmly believe that Novatek, which has already developed a state-of-the-art LNG facility on Yamal, will deliver one of the world’s most efficient and cleanest ammonia export projects providing Europe with ammonia and hydrogen featuring a carbon footprint below the EU Taxonomy threshold."

As per MRC, in January2021, Uniper and Novatek signed a MoU to jointly investigate the potential for Novatek supply Blue and Green Hydrogen to Uniper’s power stations and markets in Russia and North West Europe. Blue Hydrogen can be produced from natural gas, accompanied with the CO2 capture and storage in geological underground formations, while Green Hydrogen is produced by using renewable energy.

Gazprom, NOVATEK and SIBUR have found an alternative route for the supply of condensate for processing from the fields of the monopoly in the Nadym-Pur-Taz region. Gazprom, forced to reduce production after the accident at the condensate preparation plant in Urengoy, agreed to redirect 85 thousand tons of raw materials per month to the Purovsky plant of NOVATEK.

Uniper is a leading international energy company, has around 12,000 employees, and operates in more than 40 countries. The company plans for its power generation business in Europe to be carbon-neutral by 2035. Uniper’s roughly 35 GW of installed generation capacity make it one of the world‘s largest electricity producers.