Major traders, banks cut business ties with Russia-backed Indian refiner

Major traders, banks cut business ties with Russia-backed Indian refiner

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Many global oil traders and banks have stopped dealing with Indian refiner Nayara Energy, a Rosneft affiliate, as they are worried about Western sanctions over Russia's invasion of Ukraine, two people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

Nayara per se has not been sanctioned as part of the international response to what Russia calls its "special military action" against Ukraine but sanctions are in place against Rosneft. The Russian energy giant owns about 49% of Nayara which is India's second-largest private refiner, while Kesani Enterprises Co Ltd, a consortium led by Trafigura Group and Russia's UCP Investment Group, holds 49.13%.

Most trading firms including Vitol and Glencore as well as producers in Canada, Latin America and Europe have declined to directly sell crude to Nayara, according to one of the people. The sources were not authorized to speak to the media and declined to be identified.

They said Nayara was now dependent on state-run Middle Eastern producers, Chinese traders, companies supplying Russian oil as well as local crude oil producers for its 400,000 barrels per day Vadinar refinery in western Gujarat state. "It is increasingly becoming difficult for the company," said one of the sources, adding that it has been unable to hedge for cracks and inventory.

Companies that have declined to deal with Nayara include Phillips 66, Occidental Petroleum Corp, Cepsa , Equinor, Gunvor, Koch, Petrogal, Respsol, Shell, Suncor Energy, Ecopetrol and TotalEnergies, the second person said. Banks and other firms that have refused to work on new hedging positions for Nayara include Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, BNP Paribas, JPMorgan, France's Engie as well as the core banking units of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, they said.

The trading firms, companies and banks either declined to comment or did not respond to Reuters emails seeking comment. Nayara, which accounts for 8% of India's refining capacity, said it had longstanding relationships with its suppliers, works with a diverse set of suppliers and has appropriate contracts for the purchase of crude oil.

"Apart from honoring the long- and shorter-term contracts, our suppliers are also offering, and we pick up crudes on a spot basis on competitive terms," it said in an emailed statement. Nayara has been a key buyer of Russian oil, snapping up the discounted product shunned by some western companies and countries. The higher intake of Russian oil and improved product cracks helped Nayara's quarterly profit climb to a record 35.6 billion Indian rupees (USD446 million) in April-June.

Those results, however, mask concerns about its operating environment. Some foreign banks and India’s HDFC Bank have stopped offering trade credits for oil imports, banking and industry sources told Reuters in April.

India's CARE Ratings has also placed Nayara's long-term ratings on 'credit watch with negative implications' due to sanctions against Moscow. Some of Nayara's top management officials including its chief financial officer have left the company since Western nations began to impose sanctions on Russia. The company has not elaborated on the reasons for the departures.

As per MRC, U.S. crude oil refineries plan to keep running near full throttle this quarter, according to executives and estimates, as refiners set aside worries about recession and sliding retail prices to deliver more fuel. The operating levels will keep U.S. gasoline prices below their spring highs while providing strong earnings to refiners, analysts said. Many aim to run at rates similar to the second quarter's 94% average utilization rate.

Clean Fuel refinery expansion will reduce Thailand energy dependence

Clean Fuel refinery expansion will reduce Thailand energy dependence

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Thailoil's ongoing expansion and upgrading works at its Laemchabang plant (Chonburi province, approximately 125km from Bangkok) will enable the state-owned oil company to increase its crude oil processing capacity from 275,000 bpd to an estimated 400,000 bpd upon completion in 2023, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

These expansion works have required an estimated investment of USD4.8bn since project approval in 2018, to upgrade from a light crude processing plant to include, among others, a crude distillation unit (CDU), a hydrogen manufacturing unit, and an energy recovery unit (ERU). This latter unit will generate up to 250MW of electricity and 175 tons of steam per hour, which will cover the energy needs of the rest of the plant.

Part of the plant expansion work, also known as the Clean Fuel Project, involves the installation of new pre-assembled rack modules (PAR). STP&I, a publicly owned company specialising in the design and construction of steel structures, sought Sarens' collaboration for the lifting and assembly of various PAR units of between 104 and 392 tons at the new Thailoil facilities.

For this operation, Sarens chose its Terex-Demag CC6800 crane, a crawler crane model with a maximum load capacity of 1250 tons, which had to be adapted with the manufacture of a multi lug spreader bar arrangement to ensure safe lifting operations for the two heaviest modules of 380.7 and 391.9 tons. Both modules had different lug points, which needed to be fixed to the crane to prevent unwanted movement or detachment during the process.

Once operational in 2023, this plant will enable Thailand to become a major crude oil processing hub in Asia, improving the quality of fuels consumed in the country, increasing energy independence from third countries, while reducing the environmental footprint of cargo ships transporting processed crude oil from those countries to Thailand.

Sarens has more than 60 years of international experience in the development and installation of strategically important projects. In the energy sector, Sarens has been directly involved in the expansion of the S-Oil plant in Ulsan, South Korea, in the construction of the Petroperu refinery in Talara (Peru), and in the Skikda refinery in Algeria.

We remind, U.S. crude oil refineries plan to keep running near full throttle this quarter, according to executives and estimates, as refiners set aside worries about recession and sliding retail prices to deliver more fuel. The operating levels will keep U.S. gasoline prices below their spring highs while providing strong earnings to refiners, analysts said. Many aim to run at rates similar to the second quarter's 94% average utilization rate. "Refiners will continue to run hard in Q3," Tudor, Pickering, Holt refining analyst Matthew Blair said in a note this week, adding he would not be surprised "if Q3 runs weren't higher" than June given past conservative forecasts.

Chennai Petroleum board approves refinery JV with IOC and seed equity investors

Chennai Petroleum board approves refinery JV with IOC and seed equity investors

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Chennai Petroleum Corporation Ltd, (CPCL), belonging to Indian Oil Corporation Ltd, said on August 23 its board of directors has approved the proposal for the formation of a joint venture company for implementing the refinery and petrochemical complex, said Business-standard.

The nine million tonne per annum (MTPA) refinery project at Cauvery Basin Refinery, Nagapattinam district, Tamil Nadu, is being set up at an estimated investment of Rs 31,580 crore.

The investors include Chennai Petroleum Corporation, Indian Oil Corporation and other seed equity investors, namely Axis Bank, HDFC Life Insurance Company, ICICI Bank, ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Company and SBI Life Insurance Company.

Also Read: 22 entities, including Indian Hotels and DLF, show interest in The Ashok Hotel’s monetisation. Further, the board of directors of the company has accorded approval for equity investment of up to Rs 2,570 crore in the joint venture, towards CPCL's contribution of 25 percent.

IOC and its subsidiary Chennai Petroleum Corporation will hold 25 percent each in the proposed 9 MTPA refinery, the remaining 50 percent will be held by a strategic or financial partner.

Earlier it was reported that Indian Oil Corp Ltd (IOC), the second largest petrochemical producer in India with a share of 16%, plans to close the production of polyethylene in Panipat (Panipat, India) in mid-September for scheduled repairs. This enterprise with a capacity of 350 thousand tons of LDL and 300 thousand tons of HDPE per year will be closed for approximately 65 days. According to an official statement from IOCL, the plant will be closed as part of scheduled maintenance of the petrochemical complex in Panipat.

Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) is an Indian state oil and gas corporation headquartered in New Delhi.

INEOS supplies Covestro with mass-balanced raw materials for polycarbonate plastics

INEOS supplies Covestro with mass-balanced raw materials for polycarbonate plastics

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Covestro will now be supplied with the two mass-balanced raw materials phenol and acetone from INEOS’ INVIRIDIS product range, said the company.

Covestro uses these CO2-reduced products to manufacture its high-performance polycarbonate plastic. It is used in headlights and other automotive parts, but also in housings for electronic devices, light guides and lenses, medical devices, and many other high-value applications.

"By switching to mass-balanced renewable raw materials, we aim to significantly reduce our indirect emissions in the supply chain and offer products with a reduced carbon footprint," says Sucheta Govil, Chief Commercial Officer of Covestro. "In doing so, we’re helping our customers to meet their climate goals and advance the transition to a circular economy."

Lily Wang, global head of the Engineering Plastics segment, emphasizes the further benefits for customers: "We offer them a drop-in solution that they can quickly and easily integrate into existing production processes without requiring any technical changes. The products show the same good quality as their fossil-based counterparts." As part of the CQ family of circular intelligent solutions, Covestro offers them under the names Makrolon® RE, Bayblend® RE, Makroblend® RE, and Apec RE. With its new CQ concept, Covestro highlights the alternative raw material basis in products and thus gives a clear indication to customers who are looking for such products.

INVIRIDIS™ brand phenol and acetone are produced from bio-attributed cumene at INEOS’ Gladbeck and Antwerp sites – without competing with the food supply. Both sites are certified according to the internationally recognized ISCC PLUS as well as the RSB standard. The raw materials have a lower carbon footprint than petroleum-based products.

Certification by ISCC PLUS and RSB underlines INEOS’ strong commitment to working with the bioeconomy and reflects the strong sustainability of INVIRIDIS™.

Gordon Adams, Business Director of INEOS Phenol, said, "As part of our sustainability strategy, we have developed these more sustainable phenol and acetone products, which we have named INVIRIDIS™. This new product range provides our customers with drop-in product options that meet their stringent quality and performance requirements. At the same time, we’re moving the industry toward a more climate-friendly economy for phenol and acetone without compromising its unique product attributes."

As per MRC, INEOS and Sinopec have signed three back-to-back deals worth a combined value of USD7bn.
These landmark agreements are expected to generate a combined turnover of around USD10bn from 7 million tonnes of capacity. The three agreements will significantly reshape Ineos’ petrochemicals production and technology in China.

INEOS is a global chemicals company making the raw materials and energy used for everyday life. Its products make an indispensable contribution to society by providing the most sustainable options for a wide range of societal needs. For example, preservation of food and clean water; construction of wind turbines, solar panels and other renewable technologies; for construction of lighter and more fuel-efficient vehicles and aircraft; for medical devices and applications; for clothing and apparel; and for insulation and other industrial and home applications.

Covestro is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of high-quality polymer materials and their components. With its innovative products, processes and methods, the company helps enhance sustainability and the quality of life in many areas. Covestro supplies customers around the world in key industries such as mobility, building and living, as well as the electrical and electronics sector. In addition, polymers from Covestro are also used in sectors such as sports and leisure, cosmetics and health, as well as in the chemical industry itself.

Dow Chemical cuts global polyethylene production by 15%

Dow Chemical cuts global polyethylene production by 15%

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Dow is cutting global polyethylene (PE) production rates by 15%, said S&P.

“Given continued global logistics constraints, including port and rail congestion in the US Gulf Coast and dynamic conditions in Europe, Dow is reducing operating rates across our polyethylene assets, resulting in temporarily lowering 15% of our global polyethylene nameplate capacity,” says the letter, dated 24 August.

The letter says Dow expects the cutbacks to help balance high inventories at key global ports and packaging warehouses, particularly in the US Gulf Coast during August and September, the months when strong hurricanes are most likely to strike the region. Hurricane season, which lasts from June to November, has been quiet so far this year, although the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicted an above-average number of storms.

Dow did not respond to a request for comment. The company is the second-largest PE producer in the world, with a total of 9.8 million mt/year (MMt/y) of capacity, according to Platts petrochemical analytics. ExxonMobil is largest, with 10.6 MMt/y of capacity.

With global resin demand softening and logistics already a challenge, US polymer producers have been expected to reduce rates. PE prices have nosedived in recent months both in the US and globally, as have prices for polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and polypropylene (PP), which are used to make the more durable plastics used in construction and the automotive industry.

Asian polymer exports have meanwhile ramped up, in part because domestic demand has not rebounded following the COVID-related shutdowns of early 2022, but also because freight rates out of the region have fallen back from record-highs. US prices have retreated to compete, but logistical problems at ports have impeded outflows just as domestic demand slowed.

European ports have also seen clogs emerge, slowing imports, while demand in the region has waned amid recession fears and record-high energy costs exacerbated by Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine. “Dow’s notification made it official, but everybody already knew,” a US PE source says.

“This is a very defensive and well thought-out plan to prevent additional price and margin erosion,” says Rob Stier, senior lead of global petrochemical analytics at S&P Global Commodity Insights. “We’re quickly approaching a global net-zero margin environment where supply rationalization like Dow just did is going to be required for the foreseeable future, and all it will do is provide a temporary reduction in price and margin pressure.”

The duration of the rate cuts will depend on how long it takes for European market dynamic as well as jammed-up US and European logistics to normalize, Dow’s letter says.

Europe-based INEOS’s US division gave an early view several months ago of what was to come. In mid-April, the company declared force majeure on polymers produced at all of its US manufacturing sites in anticipation of a cutback in rail shipments resulting from congestion and backlogs. INEOS has five US manufacturing sites with a total of 1.25 MMt/y of HDPE capacity and 1.43 MMt/y of PP capacity.

As per MRC, Dow has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Chinese food and beverage firm Want-Want for zero-solvent emissions and to develop a circular economy for flexible packaging, said the company.

We remind, Dow, recycler KW Plastics of Troy, Alabama; molder Core Technology Molding Corp. of Greensboro, North Carolina; and sustainable golf company Evolve Golf of Wilmington, North Carolina, collaborated to reuse high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic mesh fencing from the previous year’s GLBI in the form of 20,000 ball markers and 5,500 divot tools for this year’s event.