ConocoPhillips to buy rest of Canada's Surmont oil site, bumping Suncor

ConocoPhillips to buy rest of Canada's Surmont oil site, bumping Suncor

MOSCOW (MRC) -- ConocoPhillips said on Friday it was buying the 50% stake in the Surmont oil facility held by TotalEnergies' Canadian subsidiary for about USD3 B, giving it full ownership and elbowing away rival Suncor Energy, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Canada's Alberta oil sands hold some of the world's largest crude reserves, which appeal to cash-flush producers looking to bolster production.

Suncor last month agreed to buy TotalEnergies’ Canadian operations for USD4.11 B, including Total's 50% stake in Surmont, which ConocoPhillips operates.

But ConocoPhillips, which held the other 50% stake, held right of first refusal to buy the rest of Surmont. Conoco's decision to exercise that right is a setback to Suncor's plans to boost its long-term bitumen supplies to replace its aging Base Mine.

Suncor, in a statement, said its deal with Total was conditional on ConocoPhillips waiving its right of first refusal, and it is now re-assessing the transaction. Conoco's pending decision had stirred speculation about whether it would exercise its option, but investors seemed to favor buying Surmont, given its returns, RBC Capital Markets said in a note.

Conoco shares eased, while Suncor stock was down 1.3%. ConocoPhillips expects the transaction to add about $600 MM of annual free cash flow in 2024.

The deal, expected to close in the second half of 2023, will be funded either through cash, short- and medium-term financing, or a combination, ConocoPhillips said.

We remind, ConocoPhillips posted significantly lower earnings in 1Q 2023 than in 1Q 2022 because because of declining oil prices, but still surpassed analysts' projections. The US firm announced a net profit of USD2.9 bn, a decline from USD5.8 bn in 1Q 2022. Earnings stood at USD2.38/share, an increase from USD4.39/share in 1Q 2022.

Arlanxeo plans Saudi Arabian SR production plant

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Synthetic rubber producer Arlanxeo, which is wholly owned by state-owned energy firm Aramco, has announced the planned construction of a world-class rubber facility in Jubail, Saudi Arabia, said Rubberjournalasia.

The 140 kiloton-per-annum (ktpa) plant will produce two high performance elastomers: Ultra High cis Polybutadiene (NdBR) and Lithium Butadiene Rubber (LiBR). The planned construction follows the final investment decision by Aramco and TotalEnergies to build a world scale petrochemical facility in Saudi Arabia (the Amiral complex).

Engineering, procurement, and construction contracts are scheduled to be awarded in the second half of 2023, with construction expected to commence in 2024, followed by commercial operations in 2027.

NdBR is predominately used in high performance tyres, particularly in the tread area, due to its proven ability to improve fuel economy, influence grip and increase tire durability. NdBR is part of Arlanxeo’s sustainability drive. LiBR is mainly used for plastic modification applications to improve the impact resistance of products such as those used in the food packaging and household appliances industry.

Olivier Thorel, Chairman of Arlanxeo’s Shareholders’ Committee and Senior Vice President of Chemicals at Aramco, said: “The planned construction of a 140 ktpa rubber plant in Saudi Arabia, integrated within Satorp’s butadiene facility, underscores ARLANXEO’s drive to grow in a competitive market. With ARLANXEO’s unparalleled expertise in developing, producing and marketing high-performance synthetic rubbers, the strategic rationale for the Project is clear and compelling.”

CEO Arlanxeo, Donald Chen, said: “Arlanxeo is delighted to announce the planned expansion of its asset base to Saudi Arabia. The project is an important part of our growth plans and is expected to reinforce Arlanxeo’s leadership position in high performance rubbers. This is the start of an exciting chapter for Arlanxeo and our employees, and we look forward to supplying our customers with reliable rubber from a world-class and highly competitive asset."

We remind, Arlanxeo (Maastricht, the Netherlands) announced the opening of a new polybutadiene (BR) production line in Brazil. The new production line supplements Arlanxeo’s existing production capacity in Brazil with an additional 65,000 metric tons per year (m.t./yr), and reinforces the company’s commitment to meeting customer demand for reliable, locally produced BR in Latin America.

Arlanxeo develops, produces and markets high-performance rubbers with a presence at more than 12 production sites in 9 countries and 7 innovation centres around the world. Its products are used in a wide range of applications: from the automotive and tyre industries to the electrical, construction, and oil and gas industries.

Wacker completes capacity expansion in China

Wacker completes capacity expansion in China

MOSCOW (MRC) -- WACKER has completed the capacity expansion measures for the produc-tion of vinyl-acetate-ethylene copolymer (VAE) dispersions and VAE dispersible polymer powders at WACKER’s Nanjing site in China, said the company.

“China is the world’s largest construction market, covering about 20 percent of global construction expenditure. Our VAE dispersions and dispersible powders enable us to supply the growing construction market in China with binders for various applications such as ceramic tile adhesives, waterproofing membranes or carpets. This capacity expansion in Nanjing strengthens our position as the global leader for vinyl-acetate-ethylene dispersions and polymer powders“, noted Christian Hartel, CEO of Wacker Chemie AG. What is more, China is already one of the world’s most important adhesive markets. “Our new plant is close to our customers, thereby supporting their growth even more effectively”, added Peter Summo, who heads the WACKER POLYMERS business division.

During the inauguration ceremony, Alvin Hu, President of WACKER China, stated that the expansion demonstrated WACKER’s strong focus on the market in China. “The capacity expansion project at the Nanjing site is a milestone for WACKER China. With the expansion, we have at the same time reserved sufficient space for subsequent production lines, allowing for the rapid construction of future expansion projects. It will not only meet increasing customer demand in China, but also provide WACKER with sufficient capacity for its long-term development in the region.”

WACKER’s Nanjing expansion corresponds to a total investment of more than US$ 100 million. The new production facilities more than double the annual capacity of VAE dispersions and VAE dispersible polymer powders on site. The VAE dispersions project is designed around an advanced dispersion-polymerization process and a safety control system that meets high standards, making the entire process cutting edge in this field. The new production line for VAE dispersible polymer powders adopts advanced spray-drying technology and features an advanced process control system (APC). The two new plants are the largest of their kind in the world. The Nanjing site is one of four production sites WACKER POLYMERS operates globally.

WACKER’s Nanjing expansion was launched at the end of 2020 and successfully completed after overcoming various challenges posed by the Corona pandemic during construction. Nearly two hundred guests attended the inauguration event, including government representatives, customers, and distributors.

We remind, WACKER chemical group headquartered in Munich, Germany, has acquired 100% of the shares of contract manufacturing company (CMO) ADL BioPharma. The shares were purchased from Kartesia, a financial investor with whom Wacker signed a corresponding agreement finalizing the transaction last week. Following Wacker's purchase of fermentation assets in the northern Spanish city of Leon in 2016, the chemical group now owns the entire site.

Nouryon signs its first power purchase agreement for an onsite solar project in the US

Nouryon signs its first power purchase agreement for an onsite solar project in the US

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Nouryon, a global specialty chemicals leader, announced today that it has signed a 30-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Convergent Energy and Power to supply 2-megawatt (MW) of solar power to Nouryon’s manufacturing site in Morris, IL, US, said the company.

The onsite solar field is expected to be operational in the second half of 2024. “We are pleased to sign our first onsite PPA in the US as part of our commitment to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions,” said Eduardo Nardinelli, Senior Vice President, South America & Global Carbon Business Leader. “We view this agreement as another step towards increasing our renewable energy footprint."

Nouryon aims to reduce its absolute Scopes 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030 compared to 2019 and aspires to be a net-zero organization by 2050. More information on the Company’s sustainability progress can be found in the full report, the ESG fact sheet and dedicated Sustainability section of the Company website.

Nouryon is a global, specialty chemicals leader. Markets and consumers worldwide rely on our essential solutions to manufacture everyday products, such as personal care, cleaning goods, paints and coatings, agriculture and food, pharmaceuticals, and building products. Furthermore, the dedication of approximately 7,900 employees with a shared commitment to our customers, business growth, safety, sustainability and innovation has resulted in a consistently strong financial performance. We operate in over 80 countries around the world with a portfolio of industry-leading brands.

We remind, Nouryon announced that it has commissioned a chlorine dioxide plant to modernize and expand the Arauco pulp mill in Chile. The project, called the MAPA project, is a USD2.35 billion pulp mill and is the largest industrial project in the Biobio region. The new plant adds 1.56 million tons per year of eucalyptus pulp capacity to Arauco’s footprint that will be supplied to its customers.

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.