South Korean truckers vote to return to work, ending strike for minimum wage protections

South Korean truckers vote to return to work, ending strike for minimum wage protections

MOSCOW (MRC) -- As their walkout entered its third week, South Korean truckers realised their bid to widen and make permanent a government scheme on minimum freight rates was failing as public support waned and President Yoon Suk-yeol refused to budge.

Many businesses prepared for the strike, which began Nov. 24, and were ready to weather short-term pain. And as the government increased pressure - including unprecedented "start work" orders - some of the 25,000 striking truckers headed back to work this week, facing the prospect of not only lost income but lost jobs, drivers told Reuters.

On Friday, the Cargo Truckers Solidarity Union said that 62% of union members voted to call off the strike to return to work but that the union would continue its minimum wage campaign.

"The game is over. It is so sad that all we could do is stop our cars, but nothing has changed," said Kang Myung-gil, a container truck driver who came back to work on Monday after a two-week walkout.

"The union fell into a trap that the government buried," said Kang, who is not a union driver, referring to the government narrative that the strike is devastating the country's economy. "Then, we, living day by day, just have to accept the reality and move on."

This summer, an eight-day strike by truckers delayed cargo shipments from cars to cement across Asia's fourth-largest economy before it ended with each side claiming it had won concessions.

But this time, the government rejected the union's bid to expand minimum protections to other kinds of cargo, including oil tankers, package delivery trucks and auto carries, saying drivers are already well-paid. The government has said it would only extend the current wage programme for three more years.

We remind, the South Korean government expanded on Thursday its return-to-work order to more cargo truckers who serve the steel and petrochemical industries, amid the mounting economic cost of the truckers’ strike. The expansion of the return-to-work order was decided on Thursday morning during an extraordinary meeting of the country’s executive branch, citing “serious” damage to the economy.

Azelis expands with acquisition in Australia and New Zealand

Azelis expands with acquisition in Australia and New Zealand

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Azelis has agreed to acquire Chemiplas Agencies, a distributor of specialty chemicals, plastic raw materials and ingredients in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands, said the company.

Chemiplas has about 100 employees who serve more than 1,900 companies from headquarters in Auckland, New Zealand and six other offices across Australia and New Zealand.

“This acquisition is another illustration of our strong commitment to continued growth in the Asia Pacific region, and is an important milestone in our strategic vision of becoming a market leader in Australia and New Zealand,” Hans Joachim Muller, CEO of Belgium-based Azelis, said in a statement this week.

The transaction is expected to close before the end of Q1 2023. The acquisition price was not disclosed.

We remind, Azelis has acquired Chemcolour, a leading supplier of specialty chemicals and food ingredients in Australia and New Zealand, for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition strengthens Azelis’ presence in the region and positions it among the top distributors in the two countries. Australia and New Zealand are wealthy countries, rich in natural resources with growing populations, said Azelis’ CEO, Hans Joachim Muller, adding that Chemcolour is a great platform to extend agreements with its existing, global principal suppliers.

Ineos and Sinopec Agree Fourth Venture in China

Ineos and Sinopec Agree Fourth Venture in China

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Ineos has agreed a fourth joint venture with Sinopec that will see it take a 50% share in the Tianjin Nangang project, which is currently underway and due to go on stream at the end of 2023, said Chemanager-online.

“This latest joint venture with Sinopec significantly expands Ineos’ petrochemical production and business footprint in China. It is a further example of the close relationship and growing collaboration between Sinopec and Ineos,” said Ineos chairman and CEO Jim Ratcliffe.

Ma Yongsheng, chairman of Sinopec added that the decision to enter into another joint venture is driven by the companies’ dual goals of reducing carbon emissions and managing the energy transition within their businesses, from refining all the way through petrochemicals. “Sinopec will give Ineos a significant local presence and Ineos will contribute its technological and operational expertise, which will create a win-win for the cooperative development of both companies,” he said.

The project at Tianjin comprises a 1.2 million t/y ethane cracker and derivative plants. These include units for 300,000 t/y ABS and 500,000 t/y HDPE, which the partners had previously announced in July as two separate joint ventures.

The Terluran ABS plant is the second of three such plants that Ineos has agreed to build and operate in China in partnership with Sinopec. A first plant with capacity of 600,00 t/y is currently under construction in Ningbo and due on stream by end 2023. The location for a third ABS plant has still to be decided.

We remind, INEOS Enterprises has completed the acquisition of ASHTA Chemicals Inc, from Bigshire Mexico S. de R.L. de C.V. The deal, consists of a 100ktpa Potassium Hydroxide (KOH)/65 kte Chlorine plant.

Amcor inks 5-yr deal with ExxonMobil to purchase certified-circular polyethylene material

Amcor inks 5-yr deal with ExxonMobil to purchase certified-circular polyethylene material

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Amcor, a global leader in developing and producing responsible packaging solutions, has announced a five-year deal with ExxonMobil to purchase certified-circular polyethylene material in support of its target to achieve 30% recycled material across its portfolio by 2030, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The volume of material will increase incrementally each year and is expected to reach 100,000 metric tpy at the end of the 5-yr period.

Made possible by ExxonMobil’s Exxtend technology for advanced recycling, Amcor intends to leverage this material across its global portfolio, with a particular focus on the healthcare and food industries, which are required to meet stringent safety requirements for recycled plastic. The agreement expands upon Amcor’s initial purchase of certified-circular polyethylene material from ExxonMobil earlier this year.

Amcor is already delivering a variety of solutions containing recycled content to customers around the world, including Mondelez International who has made the switch to 30% food-grade recycled packaging for its Cadbury Dairy Milk, Caramilk and Old Gold family blocks in Australia.

We remind, Amcor plc is tripling the company's recycled content target. The company, in conjunction with the release of a new sustainability report, revealed Nov. 17 the new goal is 30 percent — up from the previous 10 percent — by 2030.

ExxonMobil to invest USD17 bn in lower-emissions efforts

ExxonMobil to invest USD17 bn in lower-emissions efforts

MOSCOW (MRC) -- ExxonMobil announced its corporate plan for the next five years, with a sizeable increase in investments aimed at emission reductions and accretive lower-emission initiatives, including its Low Carbon Solutions business.

The corporate plan through 2027 maintains annual capital expenditures at USD20-USD25 billion, while growing lower-emissions investments to approximately USD17 billion. This disciplined approach prioritizes high-return, low-cost-of-supply assets in the Upstream and Product Solutions businesses and supports efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions intensity from operated assets, as well as those emitted from other companies.

“Our five-year plan is expected to drive leading business outcomes and is a continuation of the path that has delivered industry-leading results in 2022,” said Darren Woods, chairman and chief executive officer. “We view our success as an ‘and’ equation, one in which we can produce the energy and products society needs – and – be a leader in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from our own operations and also those from other companies. The corporate plan we’re laying out today reflects that view, and the results we’ve seen to date demonstrate that we’re on the right course.”

Investments in 2023 are expected to be in the range of USD23 billion to $25 billion to help increase supply to meet global demand. The company also remains on track to deliver a total of approximately $9 billion in structural cost reductions by year-end 2023 versus 2019.

Upstream earnings potential is expected to double by 2027 versus 2019, resulting from investments in high-return, low-cost-of-supply projects. More than 70% of capital investments will be deployed in strategic developments in the U.S. Permian Basin, Guyana, Brazil, and LNG projects around the world. By 2027, Upstream production is expected to grow by 500,000 oil-equivalent barrels per day to 4.2 million oil-equivalent barrels per day with more than 50% of the total to come from these key growth areas. Approximately 90% of Upstream investments that bring on new oil and flowing gas production are expected to have returns greater than 10% at prices less than or equal to USD35 per barrel, while also reducing Upstream operated greenhouse gas emissions intensity by 40-50% through 2030, compared to 2016 levels.

Near-term Upstream investments are projected to keep production at approximately 3.7 million barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2023 assuming a USD60 per barrel Brent price, offsetting the impact of strategic portfolio divestments and the expropriation of Sakhalin-1 in Russia.

We remind, ExxonMobil today announced the successful startup of its new polypropylene production unit at the Polyolefins Plant in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The unit increases polypropylene production capacity along the Gulf Coast by 450,000 metric tons per year, meeting growing demand for high-performance, lightweight and durable plastics, particularly for automotive parts that can improve fuel efficiency and reduce vehicle emissions. Polypropylene, a polymer with several applications, is also used to improve the safety and efficiency of everyday products like medical masks and food packaging.