Czechs take next step to eliminate Russian oil from Polish-owned refineries

Czechs take next step to eliminate Russian oil from Polish-owned refineries

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The Czech Republic can cover its oil needs through shipments via the Transalpine Pipeline (TAL) pipeline from 2025, Prime Minister Petr Fiala said on Tuesday after the country signed a deal to boost capacity along the link, said Reuters.

The Czech government is looking to eliminate all dependence on Russian oil in the coming years, and thus end its exemptions from a European Union ban on imports from Moscow last year.

Czech refineries are owned by Polish state-controlled refiner PKN Orlen, which said in April it terminated a contract for Russian oil supplies for its Polish refineries.

Polish government and PKN Orlen officials met with the Czech Industry Ministry in Prague on Tuesday and said they would work to eliminate Russian oil from PKN-owned refineries in the Czech Republic.

Speaking separately outside of Prague at an oil storage facility for strategic reserves, Czech prime minister Fiala said an agreement just signed between state-owned pipeline operator MERO and the TAL pipeline company to boost capacity along the TAL by up to 4 million tons would enable it to cut off dependence on Russia from 2025. "It is significant milestone," Fiala said.

The Czech Republic won TAL shareholder approval last year to upgrade the link, which runs from Italy to Germany and hooks up to the IKL pipeline from Germany to the Czech Republic. The central European country needs about 7-8 million tons of oil annually, which has been split roughly between shipments coming via TAL and the Druzhba pipeline from Russia.

The EU banned shipments of Russian oil from December 2022, but exempted Druzhba pipeline supplies to refineries in Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. "Our common goal is to diversify crude oil deliveries as quickly as possible in order to completely eliminate Russian oil as we already did in Poland," Polish Deputy Prime Minister Jacek Sasin said alongside PKN Orlen Chief Executive Daniel Obajtek after meeting with Czech Industry Minister Jozef Sikela.

PKN said separately it was preparing to reconfigure technology at its Litvinov refinery, which is dependent on Russian crude, to take non-Russian supplies.

PKN Orlen is also open to cooperation on oil and gas supplies as well as cooperation in nuclear power with the Czech Republic, Obajtek said. He also stressed that tax issues, including windfall taxes, could hurt investments in Unipetrol assets, which include the two Czech refineries and petrol stations.

"Our investments also depend on the regulatory approach by the Czech state, we cannot invest in places where tax regulations are suffocating for our investment," Obajtek said.

We remnd, India's oil imports from Russia rose to a fresh record high in April, further reducing the share of Middle Eastern and African grades to their lowest level in at least 22 years. Refiners in India, the world's third-biggest oil importer and consumer, are on a Russian oil-buying binge after some countries shunned purchases from Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine in February last year.

Oil rises on supply outlook, Saudi speculator warning

Oil rises on supply outlook, Saudi speculator warning

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Oil rose on Tuesday supported by optimism the U.S. would avoid a debt default, a tighter market outlook and a warning from the Saudi energy minister to speculators that raised the prospect of further OPEC+ cuts to support the market, said Reuters.

The gains added to a rally on Monday, when crude gained a tailwind from a 2.8% increase in U.S. gasoline futures ahead of the Memorial Day holiday on May 29 which traditionally marks the start of the peak summer demand season.

On the U.S. debt ceiling, White House and congressional Republican negotiators will meet again on Tuesday to resolve a impasse over raising the USD31.4 trillion debt limit, with the nation facing the risk of default in as little as nine days.

Brent crude was up 89 cents, or 1.2%, at USD76.88 a barrel by 1218 GMT while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude gained 95 cents, or 1.3%, to USD73.00.

"The rally is the combination of tentative hopes of resolving the debt ceiling conundrum and the comments from the Saudi energy minister," said Tamas Varga of oil broker PVM.

"The market will now see an increased chance of further production cuts at the next OPEC+ meeting, whether justified or not."

Several members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies including Russia, known as OPEC+, in May began voluntary production cuts which as well as higher U.S. gasoline demand are also expected to tighten supply.

OPEC+ meets again on June 4, and Saudi Arabia's energy minister said on Tuesday he would keep short sellers - those betting that prices will fall - "ouching" and told them to "watch out".

"With the Saudi energy minister once again telling speculators to 'watch out' some (short sellers) may have second thoughts," Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank, said in emailed comments to Reuters.

Also coming onto the radar is the latest U.S. inventory data, which analysts expect to show a small rise in crude stocks. The first of the week's two reports, from the American Petroleum Institute, is out at 2030 GMT.

We remind, oil prices dipped as traders warily watched for signs of progress on talks to raise the U.S. debt ceiling, after surging in the previous session on optimism over U.S. fuel demand. Brent crude futures slipped 76 cents, or 1%, to USD76.20 a barrel by 1333 GMT. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude was down 66 cents, or 0.9%, at USD72.17 a barrel. A sharp plunge in U.S. gasoline inventories due to demand surging to the highest levels since 2021, and optimism surrounding negotiations over the U.S. debt ceiling, helped the main crude benchmarks settle more than USD2 higher.

Berry, Peel Plastics, ExxonMobil Collaborate to use certified-circular content in Pet food packaging

Berry, Peel Plastics, ExxonMobil Collaborate to use certified-circular content in Pet food packaging

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Berry Global Group, Inc., Peel Plastic Products Ltd., and ExxonMobil are working together to integrate International Sustainability and Carbon Certificate (ISCC) PLUS certified-circular plastics into pet food packaging for household brand names, said Packworld.

The collaboration leverages ExxonMobil’s ExxtendTM technology for advanced recycling, which processes plastic waste and attributes it to new plastic for food-grade packaging through a mass balance approach.

“With the promise of advanced recycling, we can change what is traditionally considered waste and transform it into innovative products made to be remade – accelerating the shift to a circular economy,” said Wesley Porter, Business Development Director – Sustainability and Innovation, Berry Global. “Working across the plastics value chain to increase the use of recycled and certified-circular content helps keep precious resources in use instead of becoming waste in our environment.”

Advanced recycling technology helps capture the value of plastics that currently go unrecycled, like snack wrappers, food pouches, and plastic toys. Unlike other recycling technologies, the resulting circular plastics are identical to those made from conventional feedstock and can be used in contact-sensitive, food-grade packaging solutions.

“We’re committed to building a brighter future for plastic packaging and designing circularity into our solutions plays an integral role in doing so. We’re extremely excited to be at the forefront of this innovative approach, enabling us to offer circular packaging solutions to our partners in the pet food industry,” said Mark Liberman, VP Sales and Marketing for Peel Plastics.

Berry matched Peel Plastics’ desire for sustainability benefits across its Think Green portfolio using ExxonMobil’s Exxtend technology for advanced recycling. In addition to industry-leading access to certified-circular resins, Berry’s manufacturing expertise enables it to deliver plastic films that are ready for circular resin integration.

We remind, Berry Global Group, Inc. is the first plastic packaging manufacturer in Europe to supply The Coca-Cola Company with a lightweight, tethered closure for its carbonated soft drinks in PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles. Bolstered by the European Union (EU) Single-Use Plastics Directive, Berry’s new tethered closure for Coca-Cola is designed to remain intact with the bottle – making it less likely to be littered and more likely to be recycled.

BPCL to add petrochemical capacity at Bina refinery

BPCL to add petrochemical capacity at Bina refinery

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd. (BPCL) has approved a project to add petrochemical production capacity at its 7.8-million tonne/year (tpy) refinery at Bina, Madya Pradesh, India, said Ogi.

At a meeting of the company’s board on May 15, BPCL approved an investment of 490 billion rupees (nearly $6 billion) for an ethylene cracker project at the Bina refinery that, alongside a cracker, would include the addition of other downstream petrochemical plants as well as an expansion of the refinery, the operator said in separate regulatory filings to BSE Ltd. and the National Stock Exchange of India Ltd.

While the operator has yet to reveal further details regarding either the capacities and types of the proposed cracker and downstream units or the precise nature of the planned refinery expansion, BPCL told investors in a December 2022 presentation that it planned to invest 380 billion rupees to add about 2.8 million tpy of petrochemical production capacity to its refining operations between 2022-27.

We remind, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) is India’s second-largest government-owned downstream oil producer after ONGC. The company plans to set up 240-MW of renewable power capacity at Rs 600 crore this fiscal year. Sukhmal Jain, the Marketing Director of BPCL, said that the firm would soon build up solar and wind power facilities.

Air Products’ Board of Directors extends Seifi Ghasemi’s term as Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Air Products’ Board of Directors extends Seifi Ghasemi’s term as Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Air Products’ Board of Directors today announced an amendment to the employment agreement with Air Products’ chairman, president and chief executive officer, Seifi Ghasemi, further extending his term, said the company.

The Company has entered into a new amended agreement that will initially extend Ghasemi’s employment term to September 30, 2028. On September 30, 2024 and each year thereafter, the contract term will automatically renew to be a five-year term unless either party terminates the agreement at the latest, four years ahead of its then expiration date.

Commenting on the Board’s action, Edward L. Monser, lead director, said, “Since becoming Air Products’ Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer nearly nine years ago, Seifi has led the company’s transformation into the world’s most profitable industrial gases company. He is a model for creating shareholder value while building an inclusive culture where employees act with integrity, commitment and purpose. The Board’s action to extend Seifi’s employment agreement while maintaining our strong focus on his succession provides clarity and certainty for years to come and reflects our continued confidence in his ability to deliver.”

Ghasemi said, “It has been an honor and a privilege for me to work alongside the dedicated, talented and motivated team at Air Products. Working together over the past nine years, we have increased the market capitalization of Air Products from about $20 billion to more than $60 billion. Air Products has a tremendous growth strategy, underpinned by our core industrial gas business and by being the leader in the production and distribution of low- and zero-carbon hydrogen that will help to decarbonize the world. I do look forward to working with our outstanding team at Air Products to innovate, continue to serve our customers and create additional shareholder value for many years to come.”

We remind, the Board of Directors of Air Products declared a quarterly dividend of USD1.75 per share of common stock. The dividend is payable on August 14, 2023 to shareholders of record at the close of business on July 3, 2023.