Shell to writedown USD400-MM Russian downstream assets

Shell to writedown USD400-MM Russian downstream assets

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Shell faces writedowns on USD400 MM in Russian downstream assets, it said, having announced USD3 B worth of other projects previously, according to Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The oil major announced on Feb. 28 that it would quit its ventures in Russia with Gazprom and related entities including the flagship Sakhalin 2 LNG plant and the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project.

"It is expected that these decisions ...will impact the carrying value of the related assets and lead to recognition of impairments in 2022," Shell said in its annual report on Thursday.

The downstream assets come on top of USD3 B mentioned in its Feb. 28 announcement, a company spokesperson said.

Shell's production from Russian oil and gas projects reached stood at 140,000 bpd of oil equivalent compared with around 2.2 MMbpd of oil equivalent total volumes for sale, according to its annual report and a spokesperson.

As MRC informed earlier, on February 27, Shell’s U.K. rival BP announced plans to shed its almost 20% stake in Rosneft, which is controlled by the Russian state. Norway’s Equinor said Monday that it would halt new investment in Russia and begin selling its holdings in the country.

We remind that Shell Chemicals expects its new petrochemical complex in southwest Pennsylvania to come online by the end of 2022, Royal Dutch Shell CFO Jessica Uhl said February 3, during the company's Q4 2021 earnings call.

Royal Dutch Shell plc is an Anglo-Dutch multinational oil and gas company headquartered in The Hague, Netherlands and with its registered office in London, United Kingdom. It is the biggest company in the world in terms of revenue and one of the six oil and gas "supermajors". Shell is vertically integrated and is active in every area of the oil and gas industry, including exploration and production, refining, distribution and marketing, petrochemicals, power generation and trading.

Petronas partners ENEOS for first commercial scale hydrogen-to-MCH project

Petronas partners ENEOS for first commercial scale hydrogen-to-MCH project

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Petronas Hydrogen Sdn Bhd and ENEOS Corporation (ENEOS) have signed a Joint Feasibility Study Agreement (JFSA) to advance the studies for a commercial hydrogen production and conversion project in Kerteh, Terengganu, said th company.

Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) said under the JFSA, both parties will pursue detailed technical and commercial feasibility studies for the production of low carbon hydrogen from Petronas’ existing facilities, production of green hydrogen from a new hydro-powered electrolyser facility, and hydrogen conversion into methylcyclohexane (MCH).

"The agreement is part of the long-term Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed last August for the development of a clean hydrogen supply chain between Malaysia and Japan," it said in a statement.

According to the statement, the facilities are projected to have a total hydrogen production and conversion capacity of up to 50,000 tonnes per annum by 2027 for export in MCH form to Japan, where the clean hydrogen will be distributed to Japanese industries through ENEOS’ refineries.

Through ENEOS, the hydrogen-to-MCH project has been selected as one of the Green Innovation Fund projects by the Japanese government -- a testament to the project's viability and competitiveness, which is a critical aspect in the development of the nascent clean hydrogen supply chain. The two trillion Japanese yen funding was introduced to support green research and development projects as well as facility developments to propel Japan’s ambitious decarbonisation plans, which include achieving the three million tonnes per annum clean hydrogen demand target by 2030.

Petronas and ENEOS are also exploring other hydrogen projects and technology opportunities, both domestically and internationally. Petronas said since 2020, it has entered into several strategic partnerships with international and domestic players to grow its hydrogen production capabilities and delivery networks, covering low-carbon and green hydrogen.

It had also announced the setting up of a new, independent entity that would focus on cleaner energy solutions and capture opportunities in the energy transition sphere alongside its core portfolio. Petronas said the entity will provide customers with lower carbon solutions through three initial core offerings – renewables, hydrogen and green mobility.

Recently, the Company announced that it will set up a new, independent entity focused fully on cleaner energy solutions and will capture opportunities in the energy transition alongside its core portfolio. The entity will provide customers with lower carbon solutions through three initial core offerings – renewables, hydrogen and green mobility.

As per MRC, Petronas Chemicals Aromatics shut down its paraxylene production facility at Kerteh, Malaysia in February for scheduled maintenance. This production facility with a capacity of 550,000 tonnes of paraxylene per year will be under repair for about 50 days.

Petronas is a Malaysian government-owned oil and gas and petrochemicals company and a Global Fortune 500 company. It currently operates and operates in markets in more than 60 countries.

Global plastic additives market to increase at 5.6% CAGR by 2027

Global plastic additives market to increase at 5.6% CAGR by 2027

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The global plastic additives market is estimated to grow from USD45,600 million in 2020 to USD 59,900 million by 2027, at a CAGR of 5.6%, according to SpecialChem.

Rising demand from the packaging sector is driving the growth of the plastic additives market.

Based on the application, the market is segmented into packaging, consumer goods, construction, automotive, flame retardants, others.

Packaging segment has largest market share during the forecast period polymers are widely used in the packaging and decoration of end-user items in the packaging industry.

Certain polymer features, such as lightweight, availability in a variety of colors, low reactivity, chemical, moisture and flame resistance, and so on, are driving the rising use of polymers in the packaging business.

The use of appropriate plastic additives helps to increased lifetime, appearance, thermal protection, clarity, reduced haze, and better mechanical qualities, all of which are critical elements in packaging.

Packaging is widely utilized for industrial and residential uses. Lifestyle changes and globalization have accelerated the growth of the packaging business, which has boosted the plastic additive market. The rising use of plastics in everyday applications is also driving the plastic additives market.

Roofing, storage containers, pipes, flame retardants, cables, electronics, toys, kitchenware, safety gear, cosmetic items, household products, seat belts, door panels, greenhouse films, and silage sheet are some of the main applications of plastic additives.

The COVID-19 epidemic in 2020 had a detrimental impact on the market. COVID-19 revealed a number of issues for a variety of businesses. The entire planet appears to have gone into lockdown in order to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Markets were hampered by uncertainty and limitations. Furthermore, the pandemic reduces investment and delays ongoing initiatives in all countries around the world.

Based on Region, the market was studied across Americas, Asia-Pacific, and Europe, Middle East & Africa. The Asia-Pacific region controlled most of the worldwide market. Due to low-cost raw materials and labor availability, China is one of the most profitable markets for plastic additives.

As MRC reported earlier, BASF, the world's petrochemical major, aims to display endless possibilities with innovative material solutions that improve energy efficiency, prolong product lifecycles, and enable recycling at CHINAPLAS 2022. Among the sustainable solutions to be shown at CHINAPLAS is IrgaCycle. Enabling recycling by improving the properties of recycled plastics is IrgaCycle, a new range of additive solutions that can help increase the percentage of recycled content in several end-use applications such as packaging, automotive & mobility, and building and construction.

We remind that Kraton Corporation has recently announced its CirKular+ performance enhancement series C2000 and C3000 have been approved as fully compatible with recycling of polypropylene (PP) containers in Europe.

Chinese refiners tap alternative payments to keep Russian oil flowing

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Chinese refiners are paying for Russian crude oil using cash transfers to maintain imports from Russia's Fast East, as banks shy away from financing the oil because of sanctions, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Global oil prices have soared to their highest in a decade as banks halted financing Russian oil after the U.S. and other countries ramped up sanctions on Moscow following its invasion of Ukraine. Spot crude premiums and freight rates also spiked, piling on buyers' costs. Several European and U.S. refiners have stopped buying Russian oil this week, even though Washington said Russian oil and gas are exempted from sanctions.

But Chinese buyers are looking to maintain purchases of ESPO Blend crude exported from Russia's Far East Kozmino port using other payment methods as they cannot secure letters of credit from banks, trade sources said. "For those done deals, payments are being sorted out with buyers doing Telegraphic Transfer as bank financing becomes very difficult," said a Singapore-based Chinese trading executive.

Telegraphic transfer, equivalent to cash pre-payment, requires buyers to transfer funds to sellers up front, a challenge for some cash-strapped independent refiners with each Aframax tanker-sized cargo now costing more than $85 MM, the sources said. Some sellers are providing open credit, but this raises their risk exposure. Sources said the cash settlements still need to go through the SWIFT messaging system to Russian banks which are not on the U.S. sanction list, said two trading executives with knowledge of the situation.

ESPO blend is popular among China's independent refiners because of its short voyage time from Russia, availability on a spot basis, and good fuel yield. Russia is the world's No. 2 crude exporter, with exports reaching 7.8 MMbpd in December, the International Energy Agency said.

Last year China imported 575,000 bpd of ESPO shipped by tankers, some 6% of total Chinese crude oil imports, with the majority processed by independent refiners, according to tanker tracker Vortexa Analytics.

State refining major Sinopec is a key buyer and trader of seaborne ESPO. Sinopec's trading vehicle Unipec, which rivals Vitol as the world's top oil trader, typically has large open credit lines with suppliers that allow the major to pay a month after a shipment is loaded.

Unipec has bought as many as eight ESPO cargoes for April loading, traders said. Sinopec did not immediately comment on how the firm pays for its purchases. One independent refiner who buys ESPO crude said the company can only use telegraphic transfer (TT) to pay for the oil, and that financing costs are now high because oil prices have surged and there is no longer a credit period for repayment.

As per MRC, U.S. President Joe Biden was expected to announce a ban on Russian oil and other energy imports on Tuesday in retaliation for the invasion of Ukraine. The White House said Biden was scheduled to announce actions at 10:45 a.m. (1545 GMT) on Tuesday against Russia over Ukraine, but did not specifically mention oil imports. Oil prices jumped on the news, with Benchmark Brent crude LCOc1 for May climbing by 5.4% to USD129.91 a bbl by 1345 GMT.

Westlake Chemical Corporation changes its name to Westlake Corporation

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Westlake Chemical Corporation, the world's petrochemical major, has officially changed its name to Westlake Corporation, according to SpecialChem.

Westlake is now organized under one unified brand name with two financial reporting segments: Housing & Infrastructure Products and Performance & Essential Materials.

“We have reached an important milestone in the history of our company,” said Westlake president and chief executive officer Albert Chao. “Our business portfolio has evolved over the last decade, particularly in the last year when we celebrated our 35th Anniversary.”

“Through a combination of strategic acquisitions and organic growth that has been fueled by market trends, particularly in the rapidly expanding housing and infrastructure sector, we have made significant progress in diversifying our businesses and broadening our product offering.

By changing our name, we will better represent the breadth of industries we serve, including housing and construction, automotive and consumer lifestyle, packaging and healthcare,” added Chao. The company’s two newly established reporting segments replace the former segments, olefins and vinyls. Performance & essential materials includes Westlake North American vinyls, Westlake North American chlor-alkali & derivatives, Westlake European & Asian chlorovinyls, Westlake olefins, Westlake polyethylene and Westlake epoxy.

Westlake completed a series of acquisitions during 2021, including LASCO Fittings, LLC, a manufacturer of injection-molded polyviyl chloride (PVC) fittings; Dimex LLC, a producer of post-industrial recycled plastic consumer and building products; and Boral Limited’s North American building products businesses, which include roofing, siding, trim, shutters, outdoor living products, decorative stone and windows.

These acquisitions have significantly enhanced the company’s position in the housing and infrastructure markets and have greatly expanded its overall product offering. In addition, Westlake recently closed the acquisition of the global epoxy business of Hexion Inc., a leading supplier of coatings and composites used in such high-growth applications as wind turbine blades and light-weight automotive structural components.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated consumption of unmixed PVC was about 999,300 tonnes in 2021, up by 7% year on year. The emulsion and suspension PVC market showed stronger demand, despite over a twofold price increase. December estimated SPVC consumption was 81,200 tonnes (excluding deliveries to the Republic of Belarus and the Republic of Kazakhstan) versus 74,690 tonnes a month earlier.

Westlake Chemical Corporation is an international manufacturer and supplier of petrochemicals, polymers and building products with headquarters in Houston, Texas. The company's range of products includes: ethylene, polyethylene, styrene, propylene, chlor-alkali and derivative products, PVC suspension and specialty resins, PVC Compounds, and PVC building products including siding, pipe, fittings and specialty components, windows, fence, deck and film.