Gazprom says board recommends record dividend

Gazprom says board recommends record dividend

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Russian gas giant Gazprom said on Thursday its board was recommending a dividend of 52.53 roubles per share on its 2021 results, up from 12.55 roubles for the previous year, said Reuters.

It said the total payout will amount to 1.244 trillion roubles (USD20.10 billion), or 50% of adjusted group net income, adding that this was a record high in Russian stock market history.

The 50% ratio was the same as before, but the payout was higher because of record earnings last year on the back of high oil and gas prices.

After a volatile session in expectation of the dividend announcement, Gazprom’s shares were up 9.4% on the news.

Gazprom said an annual general meeting of shareholders is due to approve the dividend on June 30. It set July 20 as the deadline for the list of eligible shareholders.

A number of Russian companies, including the country’s largest lender Sberbank, have decided or were instructed by the government not pay dividends, amid sweeping Western sanctions imposed after Moscow sent its troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24.

As per MRC, the Spanish oil and gas company Repsol sold shares in the Russian projects Evrotek-Yugra and ASB Geo to Gazprom Neft and its subsidiary Gazpromneft Service. The sole shareholder of Evrotek-Yugra JSC was Gazprom Neft's subsidiary Gazpromneft-Service LLC, the shareholders of ASB Geo LLC were Gazprom Neft and Gazpromneft Service itself on a parity basis. The change occurred on January 21 and February 17, respectively.

We remind, Gazprom has not booked additional gas transit capacity for exports to Europe via Velke Kapusany on the Slovakia-Ukraine border for June, auction results showed, although it already has some capacity booked under an existing deal. In total, 70.4 MMcm3 per day of capacity was on offer at the auction. Under its existing supply contract, Gazprom automatically has gas transit capacity booked, which means gas will continue to flow in June. However, the company can book additional capacity if it needs it, an industry source said.

PJSC Gazprom is a Russian energy company engaged in exploration, production, transportation, storage, processing and sale of gas, gas condensate and oil, as well as production and sale of heat and electricity. The largest company in Russia, the largest gas company in the world, owns the longest gas transmission system (over 160,000 km). It is the world leader in the industry.

Total reduced Russian crude intake in German Leuna refinery

Total reduced Russian crude intake in German Leuna refinery

MOSCOW (MRC) -- French oil major TotalEnergies' (TTEF.PA) Leuna refinery in eastern Germany is reducing its intake of Russian crude oil via the Druzhba pipeline as it has started working on a supply solution via the Polish port of Gdansk, said Reuters citing Chief Executive Patrick Pouyanne.

Druzhba feeds not just Leuna but also the PCK Schwedt refinery, majority-owned by Russia's Rosneft. Poyanne said Russian oil use in May had fallen to filling 555,000 tons of refinery capacity at the plant, down from 900,000 tons last October, and 800,000 tons in February.

"In December 2022, we will have 450,0000 tons left from the contracts that we have to honor - unless sanctions are taken in the meantime - and it will be zero from 2023 onwards," said Poyanne. European companies and governments are trying to wean themselves off Russian supplies to avoid breaching sanctions and suffering reputational damage.

TotalEnergies had reserved transport capacities of around 700,000 tons from Gdansk to Leuna, accepting this would add to costs, Poyanne said. The oil would mostly come from the North Sea but globally operating TotalEnergies may also be able to bring in supplies from Africa or elsewhere, he said.

It was also in discussion with the German government about cooperating on supply options arising for Schwedt in order to try to source its missing 100,000 or 200,000 tons that way, he added, without elaborating. German economy minister Robert Habeck is working on solutions for Schwedt, whose other shareholders are Shell and ENI, which include use of national oil reserves and using the German port of Rostock and possibly Gdansk.

Habeck is also preparing for change of control at Schwedt, with one option being expropriation, as a new legislative amendment makes it easier for the government to take over supply-critical assets to prevent disruptions.

As per MRC, New Hope Energy has announced plans to build a chemical recycling facility in Texas, in conjunction with a partial offtake agreement with TotalEnergies. Similar to New Hope Energy’s original facility in Tyler, Texas, this new facility will utilise Lummus Technologies pyrolysis process technology and will be able to process 310,000 tonnes/year of mixed plastic waste. New Hope Energy will target mixed plastic waste feedstock from material recovery facility (MRF) mixed plastic bales, among other sources. The plant is expected to be online in 2025.

MRC also reminds, TotalEnergies and ENEOS hasve announced a collaboration to jointly conduct a feasibility study to assess the production of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in ENEOS' Negishi refinery in Yokohama city, Japan.

Covestro launches a new production line for Desmodur 15 prepolymers

Covestro launches a new production line for Desmodur 15 prepolymers

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Covestro launches the production of Desmodur 15 prepolymers at its Spanish site of Barcelona. With this new production line, the company addresses the growing demand for its high-performance elastomers and can serve an ever wider range of very demanding applications, said the company.

"With this strategic investment, Covestro aims to further enlarge the capacity and improve the reliability of its global supply of Desmodur 15 based products," says Philip Bahke, Head of Operations at Covestro Elastomers.

"On top of addressing our customers’ demand, Covestro's Barcelona site has been operating entirely on renewable energy since the beginning of 2022," says Sucheta Govil, Chief Commercial Officer at Covestro. "This approach is part of our ambition to reduce our environmental impact while offering our customers greater access to our solutions and specialties products."

"We are opening the new production unit for our Desmodur® 15 prepolymers in Barcelona in parallel to the ongoing expansion of our NDI capacities in the Asia-Pacific region with the Map Ta Phut plant in Thailand," explains Thomas Braig, Head of Covestro Elastomers. "This new production unit will help us to support our customers’ growth in the cast polyurethanes high-end applications segment." The abbreviation NDI stands for naphthylene diisocyanate.

"Thanks to this new production line, our Vulkollan® licensees, as Desmodur 15 prepolymers processors, will be able to further develop their business," explains Abdel Arhzaf, Head of NDI-Vulkollan. "Through these investments, we intend to support the demand for ultra-high-performance elastomers used for superior applications as e.g. in the material handling industry and also for a growing number of engineering applications."

Combining the highest mechanical characteristics with dynamic load-bearing capacity, elastomers based on Desmodur 15 prepolymers are not only one of the most powerful cast polyurethanes in the market, they are also as easy to process as conventional prepolymers.

As per MRC, Covestro is expanding its production capacities for thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) Films in the Platilon range, as well as the associated infrastructure and logistics and schedules to complete the new facilities as early as the end of 2023.

We remind that Covestro closed the sale of its European polycarbonates (PC) sheets business to the Munich-based Serafin Group effective January 2, 2020. This includes key management and sales functions throughout Europe as well as production sites in Belgium and Italy.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's overall consumption of PC granules (excluding exports from Belarus) totalled 7,800 tonnes in January 2022, down by 4% year on year (8,100 tonnes a year earlier).

Covestro (formerly Bayer MaterialScience) is an independent subgroup within Bayer. It was created as part of the restructuring of Bayer AG from the former business group Bayer Polymers, with certain of its activities being spun off to Lanxess AG. Covestro manufactures and develops materials such as coatings, adhesives and sealants, polycarbonates (CDs, DVDs), polyurethanes (automotive seating, insulation for refrigerating appliances) etc. With 2021 sales of EUR 15.9 billion, Covestro has 50 production sites worldwide and employs approximately 17,900 people (calculated as full-time equivalents).

Wacker aims to increase global silicone capacity

Wacker aims to increase global silicone capacity

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Wacker Chemie AG is accelerating the expansion of its production capacities. Investment projects to this end are either in the planning stage or are nearing completion, said the company.

Significant capacity expansions for liquid silicone rubber (LSR) will be available in the second half of this year, and will come into full effect in 2023. Increasing production volumes for high con¬sistency rubber (HCR) are also scheduled. With expansion measures at several other sites, Wacker will gradually in¬crease its capacities for HCR and LSR grades significantly in the next few years. Over EUR100 million have been earmarked for this capacity boost.

The scheduled investments are in line with Wacker new growth targets announced in March. The company intends to increase growth in its chemical divisions by focusing on product specialties. “Wacker returned to a growth trajectory last year. We finished 2021 with record sales and strong earnings – despite headwinds from raw material and energy prices. We want to maintain this momentum and are charting our course for accelerated growth going forward. This is also true for our specialty chemicals business”, says Wacker CEO Christian Hartel.

The availability of liquid and high consistency silicone rubber will benefit from several expansion measures in the next years. Wacker expects additional LSR capacities in the second half of this year due to several capacity expansions at its production site in Burghausen, Germany, which will be complete at the end of the year. New capacities will also be installed at WACKER’s US-based production site in Adrian, Michigan, to better serve the North and Central Americas market locally from next year onwards.

Substantial capacity expansions are also planned for high consistency rubber grades, starting with Wacker new production site in Panagarh, India, which will start production shortly. Additional HCR capacities will be available early next year at the company’s sites in the Czech Republic (Pilzen) and in Japan (Tsukuba). Pilzen produces ready-to-use SILMIX silicone compounds for key industries; Tsukuba, Japan, which produces silicone emulsions, too, supplies high-consistency and room-temperature vulcanizing silicone rubber as well as LSR.

As per MRC, Wacker Chemie AG is moving forward with “Shape the Future,” its efficiency program initiated last November. The Munich-based chemical company has recenly announced that company management and employee representatives have agreed on a framework for the planned job cutbacks.

As MRC reported earlier, Wacker Chemie operates a 90 ktpa EVA compounding plant at the Ulsan site, consisting of two lines. The second line with a capacity of 40 thousand tons of products per year was launched in 2013.

Wacker Chemie manufactures and markets EVA dispersions under the VINNAPAS brand name. VINNAPAS polymer dispersions are used in a wide range of industries: for the production of complex thermal insulation systems, building and tile adhesives, plaster, building mixtures and mortars, cement sealing slurries and nonwovens.

PPG commits to setting science-based targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

PPG commits to setting science-based targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

MOSCOW (MRC) -- PPG announced that it has committed to setting near-term company-wide emission reductions in line with climate science through the Science Based Target initiative (SBTi), which is an organization that helps companies define their decarbonization strategy and reduce the impacts of climate change, said the company.

PPG has an existing goal to reduce GHG emissions intensity by 15% by 2025 from a 2017 baseline, achieving a 9.7% reduction in 2021. The company has long reported emissions intensity from its own operations (Scope 1 emissions) and purchased electricity, steam, heating and cooling (Scope 2 emissions) and plans to unveil its new 2030 goals over the coming months. Moving forward, PPG is prioritizing evaluating indirect emissions that are from sources outside of the organization that PPG does not own or control, including raw materials, use of sold products, and product end-of-life (Scope 3 emissions).

"In this critical moment for climate change, we are committed to further evaluating and reducing emissions throughout our value chain,” said Diane Kappas, PPG vice president, Global Sustainability. “We are working across our organization to define additional actions we can take to help prevent the earth from warming more than 1.5 degrees Celsius. Following our validation work with SBTi and an emissions analysis, we intend to announce new, aggressive 2030 goals that will define our decarbonization strategy to help protect the planet for current and future generations."

PPG also released its 2021 Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Report, which details advancements in its sustainable innovations, board governance of ESG, efforts to reach its 2025 sustainability goals and further actions to support customers’ sustainability goals.

We remind that in June 2021, PPG announced an expansion of its coatings manufacturing capacity in Europe for packaging applications. The investments at sites in The Netherlands and Poland will support growing customer demand in the region for the latest generation of coatings for aluminum and steel cans used in packaging for beverage, food and personal care items. The projects include a further expansion of the company’s location in Tiel, The Netherlands, which will increase the plant’s production capacity for PPG INNOVEL non-BPA internal coatings for beverage cans by 30%. Expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2022, the project follows a 50% expansion completed at the end of 2020.

PPG is a leading supplier of powder coatings to the automotive, transportation, appliance, furniture and other markets. The company expanded the business with its 2020 acquisition of Alpha Coating Technologies, which manufactures powder coatings for light industrial applications and heat-sensitive substrates, and its 2021 acquisition of Worwag, which makes liquid, powder and film coatings for industrial and automotive applications. PPG recently agreed to acquire the powder coatings business of Arsonsisi, including a manufacturing plant in Verbania, Italy.