COVID-19 - News digest as of 18.01.2022

1. Crude oil prices up as global supply expected to remain tight

MOSCOW (MRC) - Oil prices rose on Monday with investors betting that global supply will remain tight, although restraint by major producers was partially offset by a rise in Libyan output, reported Reuters. Brent crude settled up 42 cents, or 0.5%, to USD86.48 a barrel. Earlier in the session, the contract touched its highest price since Oct. 3, 2018, at USD86.71. US West Texas Intermediate crude was up 53 cents, or 0.6%, at $84.35 after touching its highest price since Nov. 10 at USD84.78. Trade was subdued due to the US holiday honoring slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. Frantic oil buying, driven by supply outages and signs the Omicron coronavirus variant will not be as disruptive to fuel demand as previously feared, has pushed some crude grades to multi-year highs, suggesting the rally in Brent futures could be sustained for a while longer, traders said.

MRC

China 2021 refinery output up by 4.3% on strong fuel demand

MOSCOW (MRC) -- China's refinery output hit a fresh high in 2021, up 4.3% from a year earlier on robust fuel demand especially in the first half of the year, and as refiners ramped up processing to fill a supply gap after a hefty new tax closed loopholes in blending fuel imports, reported Reuters.

Total refinery throughput last year reached 703.55 MM tons, or 14.07 MMbpd, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed on Monday, roughly 620,000 bpd above the 2020 level.

December output was 58.73 MM tons, or about 13.83 MMbpd, down 2.1% on year, reversing a brief strong rebound in November when daily processing touched 14.51 MMbpd.

As MRC informed earlier, China's oil consumption is expected to keep growing for a decade on robust chemical demand, reaching a peak of about 780 MMtpy by 2030, according to a statement of a research institute affiliated with China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) in late December, 2021. In 2020, the research group, called the CNPC Economics & Technology Research Institute (ETRI), said that China's oil demand would peak at 730 MMtpy by around 2025.

We remind that the average utilisation rate at China's four state-owned refiners fell to a five-month low of 80.6% in October from 81.5% in September while independent refiners also maintained run rates at low levels due to feedstock shortage. These would likely lead the country's crude throughputs to extend the downward trend in October from the 17-month low of 13.7 million b/d, or 56.07 million mt, in September, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics.

The four state oil companies - Sinopec, PetroChina, CNOOC and Sinochem - plan to process a total 7.67 million b/d of crudes in October, against their nameplate capacity of 9.52 million b/d, Platts data showed. This compared with a planned throughput of 7.7 million b/d in September. In November, the state-run refiners plan to lift throughput from the low base in October to boost gasoil and gasoline supplies for meeting domestic demand, refining sources said.

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.
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thyssenkrupp rebrands electrolyser JV ahead of possible IPO

thyssenkrupp rebrands electrolyser JV ahead of possible IPO

MOSCOW (MRC) -- German industrial conglomerate thyssenkrupp AG is rebranding its chlor-alkali electrolysis joint venture with Italy's Industrie De Nora SpA ahead of a potential initial public offering (IPO) that would help finance further growth, said Renewablesnow.

Previously known as thyssenkrupp Uhde Chlorine Engineers, the business is now called thyssenkrupp Nucera. One of its specialities is the alkaline water electrolysis (AWE) technology for green hydrogen production, having more than 10 GW of electrolyser capacity installed to date. The JV generated revenues of EUR 319 million (USD 366m) in 2020/21 and targets a top line of between EUR 600 million and EUR 700 million by 2024/25.

As of December 31, 2021, the business’ order backlog for green hydrogen amounted to EUR 900 million, with two large projects included – a contract for a 2-GW-plus electrolysis plant at NEOM in Saudi Arabia and an order from Royal Dutch Shell tied to the 200-MW Hydrogen Holland I project in the port of Rotterdam.

“We are taking off from a strong position in the chlor-alkali market with best-in-class technology and a yearly gigawatt supply chain. It is our aim to become the number one technology leader for large-scale industrial green hydrogen production in the alkaline water electrolysis market,” said Denis Krude, CEO of Thyssenkrupp Nucera.

As announced previously, Thyssenkrupp plans a stock exchange listing for the particular business. Reuters quoted Volkmar Dinstuhl, CEO of Thyssenkrupp’s segment Multi Tracks, as saying today that an IPO of Thyssenkrupp Nucera could raise between EUR 500 million and EUR 600 million in proceeds.

The news agency also cited CEO Krude as saying that thyssenkrupp Nucera intends to invest EUR 200 million-300 million by 2024/25, including EUR 150 million-200 million in partnerships, production and smaller deals.

As per MRC, thyssenkrupp Uhde Thailand has been awarded a contract by a leading oleo and specialty chemicals producer in Asia for engineering services and proprietary equipment supply for an esterification plant. The plant will employ thyssenkrupp Uhde’s proprietary jet reactor technology and is designed for a batch size of 15 m3. Completion is planned within 2022. The main products are medium chain triglycerides used in the food and personal care industry.

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.

thyssenkrupp Uhde Chlorine Engineers offers world-leading technologies for high-efficiency electrolysis plants. The company, a Joint Venture with Industrie De Nora, has extensive in-depth knowledge in the engineering, procurement, and construction of electrochemical plants and a strong track record of more than 600 projects with a total rating of over 10 gigawatts already successfully installed. With its water electrolysis technology to produce green hydrogen, the company offers an innovative solution on an industrial scale for green value chains and an industry fueled by clean energy – a major step towards a climate-neutrality.
MRC

ADNOC comments following incident at Mussafah Fuel Depot

ADNOC comments following incident at Mussafah Fuel Depot

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company has activated business continuity plans to ensure continued supply of products to its local and international customers following an incident on its Mussafah fuel depot, said the company.

The company in an earlier statement that the incident at the fuel depot occurred at around 10:000 hours (06:00 GMT) on 17 January. The incident resulted in the outbreak of a fire and three workers were killed as a result, it said.

"We are working closely with the relevant authorities to determine the exact cause and a detailed investigation has commenced," ADNOC said. Yemen's Houthi rebels have claimed responsibility for the attack, which involved ballistic missiles and deployed armed drones, according to local media reports. The attack also resulted in a fire at Abu Dhabi’s main international airport, they said.

As per MRC, the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) has signed of a strategic partnership with Borealis AG that confirms a USD6.2 B (AED22 B) investment agreement between the companies to build the fourth Borouge facility - Borouge 4 - at the polyolefin manufacturing complex in Ruwais, United Arab Emirates (UAE), which will produce 1.4 MM tons of polyethylene (PE) per 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 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.
MRC

Crude oil prices up as global supply expected to remain tight

Crude oil prices up as global supply expected to remain tight

MOSCOW (MRC) - Oil prices rose on Monday with investors betting that global supply will remain tight, although restraint by major producers was partially offset by a rise in Libyan output, reported Reuters.

Brent crude settled up 42 cents, or 0.5%, to USD86.48 a barrel. Earlier in the session, the contract touched its highest price since Oct. 3, 2018, at USD86.71.

US West Texas Intermediate crude was up 53 cents, or 0.6%, at $84.35 after touching its highest price since Nov. 10 at USD84.78. Trade was subdued due to the US holiday honoring slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

Frantic oil buying, driven by supply outages and signs the Omicron coronavirus variant will not be as disruptive to fuel demand as previously feared, has pushed some crude grades to multi-year highs, suggesting the rally in Brent futures could be sustained for a while longer, traders said.

"The bullish sentiment is continuing as (producer group) OPEC+ is not providing enough supply to meet strong global demand," said Fujitomi Securities analyst Toshitaka Tazawa.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies including Russia, together known as OPEC+, are gradually relaxing output cuts implemented when demand collapsed in 2020. But many smaller producers cannot increase supply and others have been wary of pumping too much oil in case of renewed COVID-19 setbacks.

Meanwhile, Libya's total oil output is back to 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd), according to National Oil Corp. Libyan output was about 900,000 bpd last week owing to a blockade of western oilfields.

"Libya’s oil production had dropped to a good 700,000 bpd at the start of the year, which had played its part in the price rise," said Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch.

Concerns over supply constraints outweighed the news of China's possible oil release from reserves, said Fujitomi's Tazawa. Sources told Reuters that China plans to release oil reserves around the Lunar New Year holidays between Jan. 31 and Feb. 6 as part of a plan coordinated by the United States to reduce global prices.

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 was expected to fall by 160,000 barrels per day (bpd) in 2021 to 11.12 million bpd, EIA said in a monthly report earlier last year, a smaller decline than its previous forecast for a drop of 210,000 bpd.
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