U.S. factory activity slows to two-year low as clouds gather over economy

U.S. factory activity slows to two-year low as clouds gather over economy

MOSCOW (MRC) -- U.S. manufacturing activity slowed more than expected in June, with a measure of new orders contracting for the first time in two years, signs that the economy was cooling amid aggressive monetary policy tightening by the Federal Reserve, said Reuters.

"The June Manufacturing PMI registered 53 percent, down 3.1 percentage points from the reading of 56.1 percent in May. This figure indicates expansion in the overall economy for the 25th month in a row after a contraction in April and May 2020. This is the lowest Manufacturing PMI® reading since June 2020, when it registered 52.4 percent. The New Orders Index reading of 49.2 percent is 5.9 percentage points lower than the 55.1 percent recorded in May. The Production Index reading of 54.9 percent is a 0.7-percentage point increase compared to May's figure of 54.2 percent. The Prices Index registered 78.5 percent, down 3.7 percentage points compared to the May figure of 82.2 percent. The Backlog of Orders Index registered 53.2 percent, 5.5 percentage points below the May reading of 58.7 percent. The Employment Index contracted for a second straight month at 47.3 percent, 2.3 percentage points lower than the 49.6 percent recorded in May. The Supplier Deliveries Index reading of 57.3 percent is 8.4 percentage points lower than the May figure of 65.7 percent. The Inventories Index registered 56 percent, 0.1 percentage point higher than the May reading of 55.9 percent. The New Export Orders Index reading of 50.7 percent is down 2.2 percentage points compared to May's figure of 52.9 percent. The Imports Index climbed into expansion territory, up 2 percentage points to 50.7 percent from 48.7 percent in May."

"All of the six biggest manufacturing industries — Computer & Electronic Products; Machinery; Transportation Equipment; Petroleum & Coal Products; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; and Chemical Products — registered moderate-to-strong growth in June.

We remind, analysts expected Manufacturing PMI to be flat from its ugly preliminary print of 52.4 and saw ISM Manufacturing dropping to 54.5 from 56.1 - both still comfortably in expansion (above 50) despite the collapse in US macro data relative to expectations. BUT... things improved intra-month for Manufacturing PMI - rising to 52.7 final from 52.4 preliminary - but still notably below April's 57.0 print. ISM Manufacturing was worse, falling to 53.0 from 56.1 (below the 54.5 expectations).
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China port group launches major pipeline in oil hub Shandong

China port group launches major pipeline in oil hub Shandong

MOSCOW (MRC) -- China's Yantai Port Group started on Monday pumping oil into a newly expanded crude oil pipeline that connects the port of Yantai to a group of independent refineries in the country's refining hub Shandong, said Reuters.

The 370-kilometer (229.91 mile) pipeline, with an annual transport capacity of 20 MMt (400,000 barrels per day), is solely invested by Yantai Port Group, a unit of provincial government-backed Shandong Port Group.

The new line, linking Yantai with city of Weifang, adds to an existing parallel 650-km pipeline connecting Yantai with Zibo, bringing total transport capacity to 40 MMt annually, or 800,000 bpd.

About ten independent refineries are linked to the two pipelines, according to Shandong-based commodities consultancy JLC. As part of commodities logistics operations, Yantai Port also operates a 300,000-tonnage crude oil terminal and a 3.6 MMcm3 (23 million barrels) crude oil tank farm. Yantai is also China's largest port for fertiliser and bauxite, according to the group's website.

As per MRC, China's Ministry of Commerce has released 52.56 million mt (385.26 million barrels) of crude import quotas to 35 qualifying independent and non-major state-owned refineries in the second batch for 2022. However, the higher second batch this year brought up total crude import quotas for 2022 by only 4.9% to 159.96 million mt as of June 28, from 152.44 million mt last year. The independent refinery sources said they were less anxious about this second batch than the one last year, because most of them had sufficient quotas in hand amid low throughput during the previous months.
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Strike ends at Exxon refinery in France

Strike ends at Exxon refinery in France

MOSCOW (MRC) -- A workers' strike at Exxon Mobil's Esso refinery in Fos-sur-Mer in southern France stopped on Saturday and the halted units are being restarted, said Reuters.

"We're doing everything to ensure that operations and supplies resume at the earliest so that we can serve our clients as soon as possible," said Esso spokeswoman Catherine Lebrun. The strike resulted in the refinery being temporarily shutdown on Friday.

Exxon's Fos site has a refining capacity of 7 million tonnes per year, which corresponds to about 10% of national capacity, according to the company. The walkouts at Esso started on June 28, with workers demanding higher wages to cover inflation. They were part of wider union efforts this week that have hit other energy companies such as state-owned electric power utility EDF .

Lebrun added that talks between management and all related parties led to the ending of the strike, without specifying that any deal had been struck. Next week, the government is due to introduce new legislation aimed at boosting the purchasing power of families.

As per MRC, ExxonMobil, Grieg Edge, North Ammonia, and GreenH have signed a memorandum of understanding to study potential production and distribution of green hydrogen and ammonia for lower-emission marine fuels at ExxonMobil’s Slagen terminal in Norway.

As per MRC, ExxonMobil expects to add approximately 20,000 bpd of light, heavy and extra-heavy lubricant base stocks when upgrades at its Singapore integrated refining and petrochemical complex are complete in 2025.
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Equinor halts some Mongstad gasoline production, evacuates workers after leak

Equinor halts some Mongstad gasoline production, evacuates workers after leak

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Equinor is inspecting damage at a reformer at its 226,000 barrel per day (bpd) Mongstad refinery after a fire on Sunday and it is too soon to say when the unit will be operational, said Reuters.

The fire at the oil refinery on Norway's west coast was extinguished early on Sunday, with the main part of the refinery still in operation. "It was in a reformer," an Equinor spokesman told Reuters by email, adding that there was no estimate yet on when the unit could be restarted.

"We are doing inspections to get an overview ... we will investigate to clarify what caused the fire." The reformer makes reformate, which is commonly used as an octane booster in gasoline.

The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) has launched an investigation into the fire, the authority said separately. "The fire is thought to have started on a flange," PSA said in a statement, referring to equipment commonly used to connect pipes.

Mongstad is Equinor's largest and Norway's only refinery. The wider Mongstad area contains refinery operations, a terminal for crude oil exports and other facilities.

As MRC informed earlier, Equinor's Board of Directors has recently decided to stop new investments into Russia, and to start the process of exiting Equinor’s Russian Joint Ventures (JV). At the end of 2021 Equinor had USD 1.2 billion in non-current assets in Russia. The company expects that the decision to start the process of exiting JVs in Russia will impact the book value of Equinor’s Russian assets and lead to impairments.
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Inter Pipeline successfully commissions Heartland polypropylene facility

Inter Pipeline successfully commissions Heartland polypropylene facility

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Canada’s Inter Pipeline Ltd. has started production at a new C$4.3 billion (USD3.3 billion) petrochemical plant in Alberta, a key milestone for a project that was at the center of a takeover battle for the company last year, said the company.

The unit of Brookfield Infrastructure Partners LP commissioned its Heartland polypropylene plant and began initial production in late June, according to a statement from the company. The remainder of the plant, including the propane dehydrogenation facility, is on schedule to start operation and begin commercial production in the third quarter.

The Heartland project faced cost overruns and delays due to the Covid-19 pandemic, putting pressure on Inter Pipeline’s stock and helping to make it vulnerable to an unsolicited takeover bid from Brookfield.

The Calgary-based energy infrastructure company launched a strategic review, including seeking potential partners for Heartland, and secured a higher offer from Pembina Pipeline Corp. But Brookfield sweetened its bid and eventually prevailed in a CD8.6 billion deal.

The Alberta plant will convert locally-produced propane into 525,000 metric tons a year of polypropylene, a polymer used to manufacture items including food packaging, textiles, health-care products and medical supplies, the company said. Inter Pipeline has secured contracts for 70% of the plant’s output for an average of nine years, according to the release.

As per MRC, Brookfield Infrastructure Partners’ fourth offer for Inter Pipeline Ltd. has convinced the embattled pipeline company to abandon a friendly deal with rival Pembina Pipeline Corp. in favour of the Toronto-based asset manager. IPL’s move comes after Brookfield Infrastructure Partners earlier this month raised its hostile bid for IPL, and as two shareholder advisory firms advised IPL shareholders against the merger deal with Pembina. Instead of pursuing the merger with Pembina, IPL will now engage with Brookfield “to reach a mutually agreeable transaction”, it said in a filing late on Monday.

Inter Pipeline Ltd is a multinational oil transportation and infrastructure limited company that ranks among North America's leading natural gas production and processing companies. It is one of the top 100 companies in Alberta in terms of earnings and assets.

Pembina Pipeline has been a gas supplier to the North American power system for over 60 years. Pembina owns and operates pipelines that transport a variety of hydrocarbon fluids, including conventional and synthetic crude oil and others, produced in Western Canada and North Dakota.

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