Brazil senator to probe sale of Petrobras refinery to Mubadala

Brazil senator to probe sale of Petrobras refinery to Mubadala

MOSCOW (MRC) -- A Brazilian senator called on Thursday for a Congressional investigation into the sale of a Petrobras refinery to United Arab Emirates' Mubadala Capital, citing a suspected link to jewelry given to former President Jair Bolsonaro, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The RLAM refinery in the state of Bahia was sold in 2021 to Mubadala's Acelen unit along with its logistical assets for USD1.8 B.

Senator Omar Aziz, who chairs the Senate committee on governance and consumer protection, said on Twitter that "any violation of federal interests, any relation to the attempt to smuggle in the jewels, or any act that created advantages in this sale" would be taken to courts to punish those involved.

The senator said his committee would first ask Petrobras, formally known as Petroleo Brasileiro S.A., to provide documents on how the refinery deal was priced.

On Wednesday, Brazil's oil workers union FUP said it had asked public prosecutors to investigate any link between the refinery sale to Bolsonaro's alleged attempt to bring a USD3.2-MM gift of jewelry into the country in 2021 without declaring it. Customs officials seized the jewels found in the backpack of a government aide.

The gift by Saudi Arabia's king to Bolsonaro and his wife Michelle Bolsonaro was not from the United Arab Emirates, but the union pointed out that two countries are geographically close and that the former president had said in a recent interview that the gift was settled in the Emirates.

FUP added that the Institute for Strategic Studies in Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels (Ineep) estimated the refinery to be worth USD3 B to USD4 B, about double the price it was sold for.

We remind, Petrobras said on Tuesday it will reduce gasoline and diesel prices at its refineries from Wednesday, a move that will likely offset the resumption of federal taxes levied on fuels. Shares in the company dropped sharply after the news, trading down more than 3% by midday and making Petrobras one of the biggest fallers on the local benchmark stock index Bovespa , which slipped 0.5%. The price cut comes as the government announced on Monday it was set to resume the collection of taxes on fuels, ending a waiver set by former President Jair Bolsonaro last year - a measure that will boost government revenues but is seen as upsetting the middle class.

New Talara refinery will be 100% operational in three months

New Talara refinery will be 100% operational in three months

MOSCOW (MRC) -- In a press conference with members of the Association of Foreign Press in Peru (APEP), the Chairman of the Board of Petroperu, Carlos Vives Suarez, reported that Petroperu has all the corresponding permits for the gradual and progressive start-up period of the New Refinery Talara (NRT) which has been carried out satisfactorily, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Likewise, it was specified that the start-up of the conversion units has begun this month to later start the same with the deep conversion units. "So far everything has been surmountable within the stipulated deadlines, it is expected that the plant will operate at 100% between May and June," he said.

It is important to mention that between June and October the integral warranty tests will be carried out with a 100% load in the entire refining complex with the participation of the licensing companies and contractors (Tecnicas Reunidas and Cobra), as has been carried out in the gradual and progressive startup of each of the units.

The NRT conversion units will give Petroperu greater profitability, which added to a recomposition process in the hydrocarbon purchase scheme, will allow greater competitiveness in the market. In this sense, the EBIDTA estimated for the year 2023 is $500 MM,” said Cristina Fung, General Manager of the company.

Regarding the start of operations in Block 192, it was specified that -since this facility has been paralyzed since February 2020- there is hard work to be done to rehabilitate the field, however, production is expected to begin during the first quarter of 2024.

"It should be noted that Lot 192 has reserves of 127 MMb, so it is a priority for Petroperu to value this important resource," he said, adding that operational production projections are estimated at 10,500 barrels of crude oil per day.

On the other hand, the official specified that the preparation of a sustainability plan for the North Peruvian Pipeline is already underway, which includes social and operational components, one of them being the closing of social gaps in the communities in charge of the State. "This is how, hand in hand with the Executive, we have been working to close the gaps, which will significantly help improve the quality of life of the communities surrounding the North Peruvian Pipeline," he added.

Parallel to this, the incorporation of Petroperu in the lots in the northwestern part of the country, located in Talara, is being coordinated with the Ministry of Energy and Mines and Perupetro, which will strengthen Petroperu's participation in oil exploitation activities.

Finally, it was reported that the company has been carrying out the necessary actions to strengthen its governance, as well as ensure its financial and operational sustainability, which is how it was recently able to sign a contract with the prestigious international specialized consultant Arthur D. Little LLC in consortium with Columbus HB Latam Inc. to carry out the service for preparing the Restructuring Plan, which must be presented before July 31 of this year.

We remind, workers striking over proposed changes to France's pension system continued to block fuel deliveries and reduce electricity production at several sites on Thursday. About 7% of French refueling stations lacked at least one product as of Wednesday, but "there is no supply problem for service stations and the situation is improving", said Olivier Gantois, president of the French Union for Petroleum, Energy and Mobility Industries UFIP.

Saudi oil giant Aramco posts record USD161 billion profit for 2022

Saudi oil giant Aramco posts record USD161 billion profit for 2022

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Saudi Arabia’s state-controlled oil giant Aramco on Sunday reported a record net income of USD161.1 billion for 2022 — the largest annual profit ever achieved by an oil and gas company, said Cnbc.

Aramco said net income increased 46.5 percent over the year, from USD110 billion in 2021. Free cash flow also reached a record USD148.5 billion in 2022, compared with USD107.5 billion in 2021.

“This is probably the highest net income ever recorded in the corporate world,” Aramco CEO Amin Nasser said on a Sunday earnings call. The results are nearly triple the profit that oil major ExxonMobil posted for 2022, bolstered by soaring oil and gas prices through last year, along with higher sale volumes and improved margins for refined products.

Oil and gas prices surged at the start of 2022, with western sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine steadily tightening access to Moscow’s supplies, particularly seaborne crude and oil products. Oil prices have since pulled back more than 25% year-on-year, with hot inflation and rising interest rates overshadowing a more bullish demand outlook from China. Brent and WTI prices fell 6% last week alone. Brent last traded at around USD80 dollars per barrel.

“We are cautiously optimistic,” Nasser said. “If you consider China opening up, the pickup in jet fuels and the very limited spare capacity, we are cautiously optimistic in the short to mid-term [that] markets will remain tightly balanced.”

Aramco raised its fourth-quarter dividend by 4% to USD19.5 billion, to be paid in the first quarter of 2023. Aramco also said it would issue bonus shares to eligible shareholders as a result. “We’re aiming to sustain [the dividend] at this level,” Aramco Chief Financial Officer Ziad Al-Murshed told the earnings call. “We have the financial strength to go through the ups and downs of the cycle."

We remind, Saudi Aramco has agreed to take a minority stake in a new powertrain engine company that French car maker Renault SA and China's Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd plan to set up jointly, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.
A report in January said that Aramco has been involved in advanced discussions to take a stake of up to 20% in a previously announced but still-unnamed Geely-Renault powertrain company that would develop and supply internal combustion engines (ICE) and hybrid technologies.

Guanghui Energy builds up carbon capture, utilisation and storage demonstration project in China

Guanghui Energy builds up carbon capture, utilisation and storage demonstration project in China

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Guanghui Energy has completed mechanical construction of a 100,000 tonne/year carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) demonstration project at Xinjiang, the company said.

The project has thus entered the stage of start-up and trial operation. It takes gaseous CO2 from the company’s coal-to-methanol plant, then compress, purify and liquify the gas to liquids for pipe transporting to oilfields for oil extraction.

This Demo project is estimated to help to cut CO2 emission by 100,000 tonnes each year and lift oil productions by 20%.

The company has targeted to establish a 3m tonne/year CCUS facility in Xinjiang.

We remind, QatarEnergy and Chevron Phillips Chemical Company (CPChem) marked the groundbreaking of the Golden Triangle Polymers Plant in Orange County, in Texas, U.S., marking the beginning of construction of the USD8.5-B world-scale petrochemical facility. The landmark event was attended by Senior QatarEnergy Executives as well as Mr. Bruce Chinn, the President and CEO of Chevron Phillips Chemical, Mr. Mark Lashier, the President and CEO of Phillips 66, in addition to several local elected and appointed officials.

Evonik expands production capacity for DL-methionine in Singapore

Evonik expands production capacity for DL-methionine in Singapore

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Evonik is expanding its capacity to produce MetAMINO (DL-methionine) on Jurong Island, Singapore, by 40,000 metric tons to around 340,000 metric tons per year, said the company.

The high double-digit million euro investment in this further technological development is to reach target capacity by the third quarter of 2024. The planned process optimization measures will improve the carbon footprint of MetAMINO® produced in Singapore by six percent.

"Increasing capacity for MetAMINO production in Singapore is another important step in the consistent implementation of our global methionine asset strategy, further improving supply security for our customers in Asia," says Dr. Gaetano Blanda, head of Animal Nutrition business line. "In the face of fragile supply chains, our strategy of producing MetAMINO® in three different regions of the world has proven its value to our customers."

At the core of the methionine strategy are the three production hubs in Singapore, Mobile (Alabama, USA) and Antwerp (Belgium). All three of Evonik's world-scale plants are based on best-in-class technologies and are designed to grow with the expanding global market through modular expansions.

Evonik's methionine plants in Singapore, which came on stream in 2014 and 2019, were already the largest production complex for DL-methionine in the world, with an annual capacity of around 300,000 metric tons of MetAMINO®. "The additional capacity of 40,000 metric tons is primarily intended to accompany the growth of our customers in Asia and continue to offer the highest product quality and security of supply – now even more sustainably," says Noel Kim, head of Region Asia for Evonik Animal Nutrition.

The company has succeeded in maintaining its technology and cost leadership in DL-methionine for decades by continuously optimizing its processes and equipment: "We are particularly proud of the highly innovative new processes that are now being implemented in Singapore", says Dr. Jan-Olaf Barth, head of Evonik's Essential Nutrition product line. "For example, we are taking another major step toward process efficiency and reducing our carbon footprint by implementing an electrolysis unit for green hydrogen supply and various energy integration measures."

These technological adjustments are an important building block in the sustainability strategy of the Nutrition & Care division. The carbon footprint of the additional volume will be reduced by 50 percent thanks to process improvement measures. This reduces the carbon footprint of the entire MetAMINO production in Singapore by six percent.

We remind, Evonik's coating additives business line is launching two new wetting agents, TEGO Wet 290 and TEGO Wet 296. Both can be used for various substrates such as wood, plastic, and metal surfaces. The main areas of application are waterborne automotive and wood coatings. The two wetting agents improve wetting and anti-cratering properties and enhance flow and leveling.