Oil prices rise on concerns over tightening supply

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Oil prices gained on Wednesday after U.S. oil and fuel supplies tightened and as a warning from the Saudi energy minister to speculators raised the prospect of further OPEC+ output cuts, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Brent crude futures rose 86 cents, or 1.1%, to USD77.70 a barrel by 0007 GMT, while the U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude (WTI) gained 88 cents, or 1.2%, to USD73.79 a barrel. Industry data late Tuesday showed U.S. crude oil and fuel inventories fell sharply.

Crude inventories fell by about 6.8 million barrels in the week ended May 19, according to market sources citing American Petroleum Institute figures on Tuesday. Gasoline inventories dropped by about 6.4 million, while distillate inventories declined by about 1.8 million.

If data from the Energy Information Administration, due on Wednesday, confirm the API figures, U.S. gasoline inventories would have declined for the third straight week to their lowest pre-Memorial Day levels since 2014. The Memorial Day holiday, this year on May 29, traditionally marks the beginning of U.S. peak summer travel.

Meanwhile, production cuts by some OPEC+ members take effect this month. Fears of a supply squeeze mounted after Saudi Arabia's energy minister said he would keep short sellers - those betting that prices will fall - "ouching" and told them to "watch out."

Some investors took that as a signal that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies including Russia could consider further output cuts at a meeting on June 4.

Elsewhere, markets were still wary about U.S. debt ceiling discussions which in turn tempered oil price gains. Another round of debt ceiling talks ended on Tuesday with no signs of progress as the deadline to raise the government's USD31.4 T borrowing limit or risk default ticked closer.

We remind, 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. 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.


OxyChem to install new electrolyzers at Texas facility

MOSCOW (MRC) -- thyssenkrupp nucera is partnering with OxyChem to install the latest generation eBiTAC v7 electrolyzers to support the conversion of its Battleground plant in LaPorte, Texas, from the diaphragm to membrane chlor-alkali technology, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

"The fact that OxyChem has contracted us for the important retrofit of its large chlor-alkali plant makes us very pleased because it demonstrates the great trust and partnership, we have built with OxyChem through our chlor-alkali technology and service," says Dr. Werner Ponikwar, CEO and Chairman of the Executive Board of thyssenkrupp nucera AG & Co. KGaA.

thyssenkrupp nucera offers world-class technologies for highly efficient electrolysis plants and supports the conversion of OxyChem's Battleground plant diaphragm cells. Production and delivery will take approximately three years, and thyssenkrupp nucera will expand its manufacturing facilities to accommodate this significant supply agreement.

In this project, thyssenkrupp nucera was involved in the early stages of project development and supplied the basic design for the core of the chlor-alkali facility. The transformation of the chlor-alkali plant into membrane technology is scheduled to begin in 2023 and is expected to be finished by 2026.

We remind, OxyChem, the chemical division of Occidental Petroleum, will shutter its chlor-alkali plant in Niagara Falls because of poor market conditions and high costs to move products out via rail, reported S&P Global with reference to the company's statement on Aug. 19. "This decision was made due to unfavorable regional market conditions as well as unreasonable and continually escalating rail transportation costs," the company said in a statement.


Dow signs supply agreement for bio-plastic materials

MOSCOW (MRC) -- U.S. chemical maker Dow Inc said on Thursday it had signed a long-term supply agreement with bio-conversion company New Energy Blue for plastic materials made from corn residue, in a bid to move towards renewable energy sources for production, said Reuters.

"This collaboration can help redefine how we source raw materials for our products, allowing us to expand to include renewable feedstocks," said Dow Global Sustainability Director Manav Lahoti.

As part of the agreement, Dow will support the designing of New Energy's upcoming facility in Iowa, that is expected to process 275 kilotons of corn stalks and leaves per year to produce ethanol. Nearly half of this ethanol will be turned into bio-based ethylene feedstock for Dow products.

Ethylene, which is generally made from naphtha, is a basic feedstock for petrochemicals that are processed into products such as plastics.

Dow aims to reduce its fossil fuel sourcing for production and subsequent greenhouse gas emissions by using bio-plastic made from agricultural residues, the company said. The agreement also gives Dow similar commercial supply options for the next four future New Energy Blue projects.

In April, Dow announced a partnership with industrial gas maker Linde Plc (LIN.DE) for clean hydrogen and nitrogen supply for a proposed net-zero carbon emissions ethylene and derivatives complex in Canada.

We remind, Dow reported a net loss of USD73m for the first quarter (Q1) on a slump in volumes and sales prices in key segments and important geographies. Net sales for the largest US chemical company were down 22% at USD11,851m reflecting, Dow said, declines in all its operating segments driven by lower macroeconomic activity.


EU biodiesel imports hit rapeseed market

EU biodiesel imports hit rapeseed market

MOSCOW (MRC) -- An "abnormal" rise in imports of biodiesel classified as waste-based has hit rapeseed prices in Europe, vegetable oil industry group FEDIOL said, calling for an investigation into the authenticity of these biofuel imports, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Rapeseed is the European Union's main oilseed crop and rapeseed oil produced from crushing the crop is widely used in making biodiesel fuel. The EU has also encouraged the production of biodiesel made with waste oils and fat as part of targets for renewable energy use.

"The magnitude of biodiesel imports' growth is such that it raises questions as to the authenticity of their classification as originating from waste streams," FEDIOL said in a statement on Thursday. EU rapeseed oil prices have fallen by over 30% in the past five months, leading to a similar-sized fall in rapeseed prices, the group said.

"These trends cannot be explained by other market developments and are a signal that there is abnormal market behavior," it said. FEDIOL could not immediately provide more details on EU biodiesel imports.

Traders have cited talk of biodiesel imports as a factor in the sharp drop in rapeseed markets, though they have also stressed large rapeseed supplies in Europe and biofuel policy changes as pressuring prices after record highs last year following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

EU imports of vegetable oils, meanwhile, are down sharply this season, partly due to a shift away from using palm oil in biodiesel due to deforestation concerns.

We remind, Asian countries remain the lead destinations for Russian vacuum gasoil (VGO) and fuel oil exports after the European Union's embargo, traders said and Refinitiv data showed. "Pretty stable flows for refining and bunkering", one trader said. According to Refinitiv data, China and India, which became main importers of embargoed Russian oil, were respectively accounting for about 2.6 million tons and 2.1 million tons of exports of dirty oil products from Russian ports since the start of the year, buying fuel oil and VGO for further processing at their refineries.


Kazakhstan to send 100,000 tons of crude to Germany via Druzhba in May

Kazakhstan to send 100,000 tons of crude to Germany via Druzhba in May

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Kazakhstan's oil exports to Germany via Russia's Druzhba pipeline are expected to reach 100,000 tons in May, said Reuters.

That is up from 90,000 tons of Kazakh crude delivered to Germany via Druzhba in the entire February to April period, Reuters data shows. KazTransOil had planned to deliver 100,000 tons of crude to Germany in April, but only supplied 50,000 tons.

In February, it shipped 20,000 tons of crude to Germany via Druzhba, the first such shipment ever, replacing Russian supplies for German refineries. The European Union has pledged to stop buying Russian oil via maritime routes from Dec. 5 as part of wider sanctions over Ukraine.

The Soviet-built Druzhba pipeline remains exempt from sanctions, but Germany's refineries in Leuna and Schwedt, connected to the pipeline, have not ordered any Russian crude for this year.

Last year Russian oil pipeline operator Transneft said KazTransOil had requested an additional 1.2 million tons of capacity on the Druzhba pipeline for 2023 to facilitate extra oil shipments to Germany.

We remind, Sinopec and Kazakh state-owned oil and gas company KazMunayGaz have agreed key terms for a potential investment in a polyethylene plant in Kazakhstan's western Atyrau region. A final decision on the proposed investment will be made in 2024, the statement said. The agreement was signed on the sidelines of the ongoing China-Central Asia Summit in Xian in China's Shaanxi province, where China's president Xi Jinping is meeting with the leaders of five ex-Soviet countries to discuss enhanced cooperation in a range of fields, including energy.