SK expects massive US investment will also create jobs in Korea

SK expects massive US investment will also create jobs in Korea

SMOSCOW (MRC) -- SK Group announced an additional USD22 billion investment in the U.S. market, emphasizing that its plan will create decent jobs in both Korea and the U.S., said Koreantimes.

The second-largest conglomerate in Korea said Wednesday that the money will be used mainly to support the U.S. semiconductor, green energy and bioscience industries. Considering its previous announcement of investing $7 billion to build electric vehicle battery plants in Tennessee and Kentucky, SK Group will invest nearly USD30 billion in total in the world's largest economy.

In particular, USD15 billion will be invested in semiconductor R&D and construction of an advanced packaging and testing facility for the U.S. chip industry, while USD5 billion will be used for green energy sectors, including the construction of small modular reactors. The group will invest USD2 billion in cell and genetic therapies.

"Our countries fought side-by-side during the terrible conflict, and now we have worked side-by-side to build the technologies and infrastructures that will power the 21st century economy around the world," SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won told U.S. President Joe Biden at a teleconference at the White House, Tuesday (local time). "Our cooperation will make the supply chain in both our countries more resilient in critical technologies." Biden viewed SK Group's announcement as "historic," expecting its planned investments to increase its U.S. workforce to 20,000 workers from 4,000 by 2025.

"Today's announcement is also proof that America is back to working with our allies," the U.S. president said. "By uniting our skills and innovation, we will be able to manufacture the technologies that create the critical changes that are needed… for both our countries." Apologizing for not being able to meet with the chairman after having been diagnosed with COVID-19, Biden added jokingly that he will force Chey to have lunch with him in the Oval Office next time he visits.

Following their meeting, SK Group said in a statement that its 179 trillion won (USD136 billion) investment in the Korean market will also be made as planned by 2026, denying speculation that its planned investment in the U.S. will benefit American jobseekers only. Chey also told Biden that SK's commitment to growth and investment in Korea is "enduring."

SK Group noted that its investments in the semiconductor R&D will improve the technologies of SK hynix and the Korean chip industry. The conglomerate was also confident that its large-scale investment in the green energy sector will allow its subcontractors to enter the U.S. market, creating more jobs in both countries.

As per MRC, SK Capital Partners, LP, a private investment firm focused on the specialty materials, specialty chemicals, and pharmaceuticals sectors, announced the hiring of Asim Bhatia as Director, Business Development. Mr. Bhatia will be based in New York and brings nearly 25 years of strategic corporate development, M&A, investment banking, and corporate banking experience to SK Capital.

Cariflex began construction of polyisoprene latex plant

Cariflex began construction of polyisoprene latex plant

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The global market leader in polyisoprene rubber latex for medical end markets, Cariflex Pte. Ltd. (Cariflex), broke ground at a 6.1 hectares site in Jurong Island, Singapore, said the company.

Cariflex will be constructing the world's largest and Singapore's first polyisoprene latex plant on this site. Driven by a strong commitment to better serve its global customers in medical and consumer products, this investment represents the largest capacity expansion in Cariflex's existing accomplishments.

Cariflex moved its headquarters to Singapore in 2020 as a wholly owned subsidiary of DL Chemical Co., Ltd. DL Chemical Co., Ltd is a global petrochemical company and a part of DL Group [KRW 12.3T (USD10.8B) Revenue in 2021], a global developer, and Korea's first construction company established in 1939. DL Holdings is also the majority shareholder of DL E&C Co., Ltd, an affiliate company with expertise in civil engineering and construction and the lead contracting partner executing this project in Singapore.

"The full capacity potential of the Singapore plant will be delivered in two phases. The combined investment for the first phase and pre-investment of necessary infrastructures for the second phase is over US$350M. Pre-investing for the second phase will allow the additional capacity to rapidly and efficiently be made available in support of market growth. This will also continue to strengthen Cariflex's position as the number one supplier of polyisoprene latex with unmatched quality and diversity of supply sources," said Mr Jong-Hyun Kim, Chief Executive Officer of DL Chemical Co., Ltd.

Cariflex previously completed its latest major expansion in 2021, doubling its polyisoprene latex capacity at the Paulinia Facility, Brazil, with an investment of USD50m.

Orbia announces its second quarter 2022 earnings results

Orbia announces its second quarter 2022 earnings results

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Mexican producer Orbia reported a year-on-year decline in Q2 earnings from its Polymer Solutions business, which makes polyvinyl chloride (PVC), said the company.

Orbia had a robust second quarter and strong first half of the year, delivering double-digit revenue growth year-over-year across most business groups. Polymer Solutions delivered a strong quarter amidst rising input costs. Data Communications was bolstered by increased demand and higher pricing. Fluorinated Solutions delivered strong performance driven by recovery in global pricing.

Net revenues of USD2.7 billion, up 19%, with higher sales across all business groups with the exception of Building and Infrastructure.

EBITDA of USD609 million increased 9%, driven by higher sales and profitability in the Data Communications, Fluorinated Solutions and Precision Agriculture business groups.

Net majority income of USD266 million increased 38%, driven by higher revenues.

Operating cash flow of USD134 million, driven by strong EBITDA growth, partially offset by higher taxes paid and increased working capital.

As MRC reported earlier, Orbia Advance Corp. said that in view of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the global economy and capital markets, it had decided to pause its efforts to divest or seek an alternative strategy for its Vestolit vinyls business.

Orbia is a global leader in specialty products and innovative solutions spanning the precision agriculture, building and infrastructure, fluorinated products and technologies, polymer solutions and data communications verticals, with broad experience in corporate and operational finance. The company has commercial activities in more than 110 countries and operations in over 50, with global headquarters in Mexico City, Boston, Amsterdam and Tel Aviv.

S-Oil to collaborate with Saudi Aramco on low carbon energy R&D

S-Oil to collaborate with Saudi Aramco on low carbon energy R&D

MOSCOW (MRC) -- South Korean oil refiner S-Oil has signed four MOUs with Saudi Aramco to collaborate in the alternative energy business, including Thermal Crude to Chemicals (TC2C) technology, research and development (R&D) on the production of lower carbon future energy, and investment in venture capital, said Fuelsandlubes.

Saudi Aramco became the single largest shareholder of S-Oil in January 2015, following its acquisition of Hanjin Group’s stake in S-Oil. The two companies signed the memoranda of understanding during the ‘Saudi Arabia-Korea Investment Forum for Smart Innovation & Growth’ held in Riyadh, the capital city of Saudi Arabia.

Moving forward, S-Oil and Saudi Aramco are set to actively explore potential cooperation in building infrastructure to store, supply, and utilize competitive blue hydrogen and blue ammonia after bringing them into South Korea. The cooperation includes R&D on the import and supply of blue hydrogen and ammonia.

Moreover, both companies aim to pursue the production of hydrogen, the development of new carbon capture technology, plastic recycling technology as well as research on carbon neutral e-Fuel. Areas of cooperation include the potential joint investments into domestic venture companies specialized in new energy technology or decarbonization. "We articulated an ESG Roadmap and Green Initiative, to make sure our ESG practices not only serve the company well but also all our stakeholders and communities at large,” said Hussain A. Al-Qahtani, CEO of S-Oil, in his New Year speech.

Last year, the company bought a 20% stake in fuel cell venture company FCI to make inroads into the hydrogen business. Additionally, it participated in the clean hydrogen project consortium with Samsung C&T and Korea Southern Power Co., Ltd (KOSPO) to accelerate its hydrogen business in full swing. Moreover, S-OIL works on various fronts to secure a sizable amount of demand by switching into hydrogen fuel for its plant and putting hydrogen in the process of middle distillate cracking and desulfurization.

The MOUs also aim at enhancing the competitiveness of the company’s key business areas such as oil refining, petrochemical and lube base oil production. S-OIL is planning to apply TC2C, which is being developed and will be commercialized by Saudi Aramco for the first time, during phase 2 of its Shaheen petrochemical project. Saudi Aramco agreed to proactively collaborate for the successful completion of the project by providing its expertise in R&D of the olefin downstream process and petrochemical product. Final Investment Decision (FID) of the Shaheen project is expected this year, after completion of the Front End Engineering Design (FEED). If successfully completed, S-OIL will gain momentum to further pursue its growth strategies in the energy transition era by expanding beyond its vision of Oil to Chemicals.

As per MRC, Aramco is exploring further collaboration with Thailand’s national oil company PTT, as it expands its downstream presence in Asia. The two companies signed a memorandum of understanding at a ceremony in Bangkok on May 11. The companies aim to strengthen cooperation across crude oil sourcing and the marketing of refining and petrochemical products and LNG. Other potential areas of activity include blue and green hydrogen and various clean energy initiatives.

Saudi Aramco, officially the Saudi Arabian Oil Company, is a Saudi Arabian national oil and natural gas company based in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Saudi Aramco's value has been estimated at up to USD10 trillion in the Financial Times, making it the world"s most valuable company. Saudi Aramco has both the largest proven crude oil reserves, at more than 260 billion barrels, and largest daily oil production.

Refiners H1 exports hit all-time high of USD27.95 bil. on higher oil prices, demand recovery

Refiners H1 exports hit all-time high of USD27.95 bil. on higher oil prices, demand recovery

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The exports of petroleum products by major refiners in Korea hit a record high of USD27.95 billion in the first half of this year on the back of higher oil prices and strong demand recovery amid eased COVID-19 restrictions, said Koreatimes.

The outbound shipments by SK Energy, GS Caltex, S-Oil and Hyundai Oilbank represent a 97.6 percent increase from a year earlier and surpassed the previous record high of USD27.7 billion in 2012, according to a latest report by the Korea Petroleum Association. The robust growth came as the recent rise in global oil prices gave a boost to export unit prices, and the reopening of borders around the world after tight COVID-19 restrictions helped fuel demand for petroleum products, the report said.

The refiners in Korea also "strategically" diversified the regions to countries like Australia and the Philippines that experienced supply shortages amid the COVID-19-driven border controls, the report noted. The export volume rose 12.8 percent on-year to 220.9 million barrels in the January-June period, with the export unit prices of petroleum products jumping 75.3 percent to USD126.6 per barrel in the same period.

Diesel exports rose 8.8 percent to 92.9 million barrels, with its export value soaring 106.2 percent to USD12.56 billion due to the supply disruptions amid the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Exports of jet fuel also grew 40.1 percent to 35.27 million barrels, amounting to USD4.68 billion, up 171.3 percent from the previous year, boosted by strong global cargo demand amid the pandemic.

By country, Australia became the top buyer of Korean petroleum products, accounting for 16.2 percent in terms of export value, followed by Singapore with 12.2 percent, the United States at 9.3 percent, the Philippines at 9 percent and China with 8.6 percent, according to the report.

As per MRC, a sudden crash in global gasoline prices in the past two weeks has dented refiners' profits, pushing up inventories in key trading hubs around the world while looming exports from China and India also add to pressure on growing stockpiles. Refiners will be forced to cut gasoline output to safeguard themselves against losses and switch to producing more profitable fuels, traders say, but summer demand is also being hurt by high pump prices in the United States and Europe, and by instability and easing seasonal demand in some parts of Asia.