Citgo Petroleum posts record USD1.28 B profit

MOSCOW (MRC) -- U.S. oil refiner Citgo Petroleum reported second quarter earnings that surged to USD1.28 B, the highest quarterly profit in its history, on higher crude processing volumes and stronger margins, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The results reflect a sharp turnaround after back-to-back annual losses in 2020 and 2021. Demand and prices for gasoline, diesel and jet fuel have soared this year on the U.S. recovery and global shortages caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The eighth largest U.S. refiner's three plants processed 776,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd), up from 732,000 bpd a year earlier, it said. It sold a record 130,000 barrels per day of unbranded gasoline to retailers, the company's parent posted on Twitter. Refinery utilization rates, a key measure of efficiency, rose to 101% from 95% in the first quarter this year, it said. The utilization rates topped those of rivals, some of whom also posted record earnings in the June quarter.

A spokesperson was not immediately available to comment on the tweets. A subsidiary of Venezuelan state-run oil firm PDVSA, Citgo is run by boards appointed by Juan Guaido, who Washington recognizes as Venezuela's legitimate leader.

The company last year returned to profitability after deep losses during the coronavirus pandemic. Its first quarter USD245 million profit was more than 10 times the year-ago level on higher processing volumes, higher exports and stronger margins.

On Thursday, Citgo said it was offering to buy USD286 million in notes due in 2024 and repay nearly $483 million of a term loan facility. Its net debt to capitalization ratio fell to 28% from 47%, its parent said. The debt reductions signaled that Citgo could soon resume paying dividends to its parent, a practice that was stopped after its 2019 split from state-run PDVSA and the naming of ad hoc boards that oversee Venezuela's foreign assets.

In a tweet, the ad hoc parent said the company's debt agreements required it to pay down debt "before being able to send dividends." Citgo ended the period with USD2.2 billion in cash and proceeds from an accounts receivable securitization, according to the PDVSA ad hoc Twitter posts.

Citgo is protected by U.S. executive orders from creditors trying to seize Venezuela's foreign assets. It would be willing to resume Venezuelan heavy crude imports if the U.S. government authorizes the flow, Citgo's CEO said in July. The crude imports are key to feeding its refineries' deep conversion units.

As per MRC, Citgo Petroleum is willing to resume imports of Venezuelan crude, suspended since 2019 by Washington's sanctions on its parent company PDVSA, if the U.S. government authorizes the flow. Since March, top U.S. and Venezuelan officials have been engaged in political negotiations that could lead to Washington easing oil trading sanctions that have hit the OPEC country's production and exports. OPEC and the French government, representing Europe, have called for Washington to allow Venezuelan and Iranian crude to flow to consuming nations that are struggling to replace Russian energy supplies during the war in Ukraine.

Stratasys buying Covestro additive manufacturing materials business

Stratasys buying Covestro additive manufacturing materials business

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Material supplier Covestro AG is selling its additive manufacturing materials business to additive manufacturing pioneer Stratasys Ltd. for approximately 43 million euros (USD43 million), said Canplastics.

The acquisition will include R&D facilities and activities; global development and sales teams across Europe, the U.S. and China; a portfolio of approximately 60 additive manufacturing materials; and extensive IP comprising hundreds of patents and patents pending.

Stratasys, which is based in Rehovot, Israel, is already a distributor of Covestro’s Somos resins and they are already available for Stratasys’ Neo and Origin One 3D printers.

“The acquisition of Covestro’s highly regarded Additive Manufacturing business positions us to further grow adoption of our newest technologies,” Stratasys CEO Yoav Zeif said in an Aug. 8 news release. “We will now have the ability to accelerate cutting-edge developments in 3D printing materials, and advance our strategy of providing the best and most complete polymer 3D printing portfolio in the industry.”

The deal is expected to close during the first quarter of 2023, and the majority of employees of Covestro’s additive manufacturing materials business will continue to be based at its sites in Geleen, Netherlands and Elgin, Ill.

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.

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).

Saudi Aramco unveils record USD48.4 bn profit in Q2

Saudi Aramco unveils record USD48.4 bn profit in Q2

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Saudi Aramco's second-quarter net profit surged to a record riyal (SR) 181.6bn (USD48bn), on the back of higher crude oil prices and sales volumes, said the company.

The quarterly earnings were the biggest since the energy giant’s initial public offering (IPO) in 2019. Aramco's overall hydrocarbon production totalled 13.6m barrels of oil equivalent per day in the second quarter, it said in a statement on 14 August.

The integration of petrochemicals major SABIC into Aramco is "progressing ahead of schedule and the company continues to capture synergies in multiple areas", the company said.

Aramco’s refining and petrochemical joint ventures with PETRONAS in Malaysia, namely, Pengerang Refining Company Sdn Bhd and Pengerang Petrochemical Sdn Bhd (collectively known as PRefChem), started operations in May and will reach full capacity of 300,000 barrels per day by the end of the year, it said.

"We expect oil demand to continue to grow for the rest of the decade, despite downward economic pressures on short-term global forecasts," Aramco president and CEO Amin Nasser said.

"But while there is a very real and present need to safeguard the security of energy supplies, climate goals remain critical, which is why Aramco is working to increase production from multiple energy sources -- including oil and gas, as well as renewables, and blue hydrogen," he added.

We remind, Saudi Arabian Oil Company (“Aramco”) inaugurated the Aramco Research Center at KAUST (ARC KAUST), which aims to accelerate the development of low-carbon solutions for the energy industry using advanced analytics. Strategically located within the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), the newly established research hub deploys artificial intelligence and machine learning to develop innovative ways to advance low-carbon solutions and enable a Circular Carbon Economy.

PetroChina, Sinopec to delist from NYSE

PetroChina, Sinopec to delist from NYSE

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Five major Chinese companies including two of the country's largest oil producers will delist from the New York Stock Exchange, said Ndtv.

Sinopec and PetroChina -- two of the world's biggest energy firms -- will apply for "voluntary delisting" of their American depositary shares, the companies said in separate statements. The Aluminum Corporation of China, also known as Chalco, as well as China Life Insurance and a Shanghai-based Sinopec subsidiary, announced similar moves on Friday.

The delisting plans come as tensions between Beijing and Washington climb over US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit last week to Taiwan, which China claims as part of its territory. Beijing has raged against the visit, staging unprecedented military drills around the self-ruled island and suspending cooperation with the United States on issues ranging from climate change to fighting drug smugglers.

The five companies are on a list of firms published by the US Securities and Exchange Commission that faced delisting from Wall Street if they did not comply with new audit requirements. All five companies said in separate statements that they expected to stop trading on the NYSE by early September.

The new requirements came into effect late last year, at a time when Chinese authorities were expressing reservations about China-based companies listing in the United States. The five companies on Friday all pointed to the costs of maintaining the US listings as well as the burden of complying with reporting obligations as factors behind the decision.

China's securities regulator on Friday said the moves were made by the companies "out of their own business considerations". The delistings "will not affect the companies' continued use of domestic and foreign capital markets for financing and development", the regulator said in a statement.

As per MRC, PetroChina Urumqi Petrochemical is planning to revamp and upgrade its refining facilities by adding some new refining as well as petrochemical units. A 450,000 tonne/year polypropylene (PP), a 300,000 tonne/year styrene monomer (SM), a 200,000 tonne/year polystyrene (PS), and a 1.2m tonne/year purified phthalate acid (PTA) unit will be installed as the petrochemical part. The refining part will mainly include a new 1.2m tonne/year solvent deasphalting (SDA), a 2.2m tonne/year fluid catalytic cracking (FCC), and a 1m tonne/year gas fractionation units.The company is seeking environment approval for proceeding the project.

Songwon doubles EBITDA and operating profit in Q2

Songwon doubles EBITDA and operating profit in Q2

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Songwon more than doubled its operating profit for the second quarter, benefiting from high demand, said the company.

The company’s earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) more than doubled to hit South Korean won (W) 62.9bn (USD48.2m), echoing the strength of the first quarter results. Songwon’s Industrial Chemicals segment increased revenue by almost 50%, as buyers benefited from favourable exchange rates in the region, and aimed to offset potential logistics issues from alternative suppliers.

Its key Polymer Stabilizers business recorded higher sales despite the negative impact from lockdowns in Asia and the war in Ukraine. Fuel and Lubricant Additives within this segment marked particular strength, as consumers bought ahead of typical patterns to ensure prompt deliveries of material.

Coatings also performed well due to high demand in the US, Europe and domestically due to ongoing industry recovery and the firm was able to pass down price increases to customers. The Performance Chemicals division also behaved similarly, with tin intermediate sales in line with maximum plant output and raw material prices for tin easing later in the quarter.

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) sales suffered from logistics constraints outside of Asia but remained profitable as increased pricing was accepted downstream. Songwon’s polyurethane (PU) businesses also reported an increase in revenue, despite lower sales volumes, as thermoplastic PU demand was strong in the wire and cable market across global markets. The South Korean firm is cautious on predicting how the company will perform in the second half of the year against inflationary pressure, macroeconomic volatility, and supply chain constraints.

As per MRC, in October 2021, Gazprom Neftekhim Salavat LLC (GNS) signed an agreement for the development of a basic design and a license agreement for the use of Songwon Industrial technology. The contract makes it possible to organize the production of superabsorbent polymers (SAP) based on acrylic acid at the enterprise. The new production will be a continuation of the chain of processing of acrylates into superabsorbent polymers. In the manufacture of products will be used its own raw materials - butanol and propylene.

Songwon Industrial Co., Ltd. - the second in the world in terms of production of polymer stabilizers. The company's product range includes polymer stabilizers, alkylphenols and alkylcresols, PVC stabilizers, plasticizers, organotin, polyurethanes, flocculants. The company's headquarters is located in Ulsan, Korea.