Crudie oil prices posts biggest annual gain since at least 2016 on global economic recovery from COVID-19 slump

Crudie oil prices posts biggest annual gain since at least 2016 on global economic recovery from COVID-19 slump

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Oil prices fell in late December but were set to post their biggest annual gains since at least 2016, spurred by the global economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic slump and producer restraint, even as infections reached record highs worldwide, reported Reuters.

Brent crude futures settled down USD1.75, or 2.2%, at USD77.78 a bbl. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures dropped USD1.78, or 2.31%, to USD75.21 a bbl.

Brent ended the year up 50.5%, its biggest gain since 2016, while WTI posted a 55.5% gain, the strongest performance for the benchmark contract since 2009, when prices soared more than 70%.

Both contracts touched their 2021 peak in October, with Brent at $86.70 a bbl, the highest since 2018, and WTI at $85.41 a bbl, the highest since 2014.

"This year was a story of global recovery for petroleum products," said John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital Management in New York.

"The oil market continues to be highly reactive to developments on the pandemic front - we're not out of the woods yet, but we are close to pre-pandemic demand levels."

Global oil prices are expected to rise further next year as jet fuel demand catches up.

"We've had Delta and Omicron and all manner of lockdowns and travel restrictions, but demand for oil has remained relatively firm," said Australian brokerage firm CommSec's Chief Economist Craig James.

"You can attribute that to the effects of stimulus supporting demand and restrictions on supply."

However, after rising for several straight days, oil prices stalled on December, 31, as COVID-19 cases soared to new pandemic highs across the globe, from Australia to the US, stoked by the highly transmissible Omicron coronavirus variant.

US health experts warned Americans to prepare for severe disruptions in coming weeks, with infection rates likely to worsen amid increased holiday travel, New Year celebrations and school reopenings following winter breaks.

A Reuters survey of 35 economists and analysts forecast Brent crude would average USD73.57 a bbl in 2022, about 2% lower than the USD75.33 consensus in November.

It is the first reduction in the 2022 price forecast since the August poll.

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.

ExxonMobil signals return to annual profit for 2021 on stronger oil and gas prices

ExxonMobil signals return to annual profit for 2021 on stronger oil and gas prices

MOSCOW (MRC) -- ExxonMobil Corp has signaled a return to annual profit for 2021 as stronger oil and gas prices drove a gain of up to USD1.9 B in operating profits that exceeded one-time charges, reported Reuters.

The largest US oil producer issued a snapshot of final quarter results that showed it expects sequentially higher profit from oil and gas production. Operating profits in refining and chemicals will be flat to lower, a securities filing showed. Official results are due out Feb. 1.

In 2020, Exxon suffered a historic USD22.4 B loss on writedowns from falling oil prices and lower refining margins. Cost cuts coupled with energy price gains have allowed it to pay down debt and plot a share buyback program next year.

Analysts forecast an adjusted profit of USD1.76 per share for the quarter, according to Refinitiv IBES data, compared to 3 cents a share excluding writedowns a year-ago.

The regulatory filing signaled one-time charges for asset impairments and contractual costs could lower oil and gas earnings by up to USD1.2 B. It did not provide details on the production assets affected.

Exxon also said lower margins in chemicals could lower results by USD600 MM-USD800 MM, compared to the USD2.14 B third-quarter chemicals profit. Refining margins could stay flat or drop by USD200 MM compared to the USD1.23 B profit the previous quarter.

Offsetting the negative impacts, Exxon signaled mark-to-market gains of up to USD1.1 B for oil and gas and in refined products. It also said proceeds from asset sales including its U.K. North Sea assets could deliver up to USD500 MM.

The rosier outlook allowed Exxon to extend planned a USD20-25 B per year outlay on new projects through 2027, including USD2.5 B per year on carbon reductions, the company has said, adding it expects to double its pre-pandemic annual profit by 2025, the company has said. About 60% of its spending will be in key growth areas of US shale, Guyana, Brazil, LNG, and chemical products.

As MRC informed before, ExxonMobil said on Dec. 27, its Baytown, Texas, refinery continued to operate at reduced rates following a fire on Dec. 23, and that the unit involved remained shut down. The company has not yet determined the cause of the fire, but said it was continuing to empty the unit so it could safely enter the facility and assess what impact it would have on production. A filing with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality said the fire occurred at the facility's hydro desulfurization unit 1.

Exxon's Baytown facility is home to a chemical plant, an olefins plant and the country's fourth-biggest oil refinery, with capacity to process 560,500 bpd of crude.

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 2,265,290 tonnes in the first eleven months of 2021, up by 14% year on year. Shipments of all grades of ethylene polymers increased. At the same time, PP shipments to the Russian market were 1,363,850 tonnes in January-November, 2021, up by 25% year on year. Supply of homopolymer PP and block-copolymers of propylene (PP block copolymers) increased, whereas supply of injection moulding PP random copolymers decreased significantly.

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.

MRC team wishes Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Dear readers of MRC!

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

We wish you the New 2022 Year to be successful for you personally and for the business as well.

All of MRC staff join in saying "thank you" and wishing you a happy holiday and prosperous new year.

On this special day, we wish you happiness, prosperity and success, hoping that we continue our association through many more wonderful years ahead!

Best wishes,

MRC staff.

COVID-19 - News digest as of 30.12.2021

1. Crude oil prices rise on lower US oil inventories and concerns that rising coronavirus cases might reduce demand

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Oil prices rose on Wednesday, after government data showed US crude and fuel inventories fell last week, offsetting concerns that rising coronavirus cases might reduce demand, reported Reuters. Brent crude rose 29 cents to settle at USD79.23 a barrel. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose 58 cents to settle at USD76.56 a barrel. In the United States, the average number of daily confirmed coronavirus cases hit a record high of 258,312 over the last seven days, a Reuters tally on Wednesday found. Both oil futures contracts earlier traded at their highest in a month after US government data showed lower oil inventories.


LLDPE production rose by 15% in January-November in Russia

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Russia's overall linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) production totalled 5,531,000 tonnes in the first eleven months of 2021, up by 15% year on year. ZapSibNeftekhim accounted for the main increase in the output, according to MRC's ScanPlast report.

November total LLDPE production in Russia increased to 58,600 tonnes, whereas this figure was at 35,600 tonnes a month earlier, all producers decreased their capacity utilisation in October. Thus, overall LLDPE output reached 5,531,000 tonnes in January-November 2021, compared to 4,2829,000 tonnes a year earlier. All producers raised their output of LLDPE, but ZapSibNeftekhim accounted for the greatest increase in production.

Structure of PE production over the reported period looked as follows.

November LLDPE production at ZapSibNeftekhim's facilities reached 32,300 tonnes against 18,400 tonnes a month earlier. In general, the total output of linear polyethylene at the Tobolsk plant reached the level of 304,900 tonnes in January-November, up 20% year on year.

Last month, LLDPE production at the facilities of Nizhnekamskneftekhim increased to 17,900 tonnes against 13,700 tonnes in October, the Nizhnekamsk producer stopped production in October for a short turnaround. Thus, overall production of this PE grade totalled 205,400 tonnes over the stated period, up by 4% year on year.

Kazanorgsintez for eleven months of this year produced 42,800 tonnes of linear polyethylene against 30,800 tonnes a year earlier.