Poland freezes Russian Kantor's shares in Grupa Azoty

Poland freezes Russian Kantor's shares in Grupa Azoty

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Poland has appointed a temporary administrator to take control of a stake in fertilizer maker Grupa Azoty owned by Russian oligarch Vyacheslav Kantor, as per Reuters.

Minister of Development and Technology Waldemar Buda said on Tuesday. “There is no room for capital linked to Russian authorities in Poland,” Buda told a news conference.

Kantor owns a 19.82% stake in Grupa Azoty, making him the second largest shareholder after the Polish state which owns a 33% stake.

We remind, PKN Orlen on Wednesday announced a deal potentially worth an estimated zloty (Zl) 18bn (USD4.4bn) to supply fellow Polish state-owned firm Grupa Azoty companies with natural gas. Orlen and Azoty agreed on a supply contract covering the period running from 1 October this year to the end of September 2026, with an option for a one-year extension, Orlen added.

Grupa Azoty specializes in producing structural plastics, nitrogen, and compound fertilizers. The group is one of the largest chemical holdings in Europe and a major producer of polyamides.

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Johnson Matthey to build a new production plant in China for catalyst-coated membranes

Johnson Matthey to build a new production plant in China for catalyst-coated membranes

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Johnson Matthey plc (JMa global leader in sustainable technologies, has signed an investment agreement with the Jiading District in Shanghai to help accelerate the hydrogen economy in China, said Chemengonline.

At a signing ceremony in Sonning, UK today, JM and the Shanghai Jiading District announced plans to build a new catalyst coated membrane (CCM) production facility, providing CCM production capability for multiple proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell applications and PEM electrolyzers.

The facility which will have an initial capacity of up to 5GW, will occupy 22,000m2 in the Jiading district of Shanghai, in a designated Hydrogen industrial zone and is due to be operational in 2025. It will have potential to expand further in line with customer demand.

The investment, which is backed by customer demand, is part of JM’s ? 1.1 billion global stated capital expernditure for the three years to 2024/25 and will include government support and incentives.

Dr Mark Su, President of Greater China at Johnson Matthey, said: “This is a landmark investment for our business as we build our footprint in the US, Europe and now China, cementing our presence in all three major hydrogen markets. We are excited to expand our businesses whilst creating and scaling the low carbon solutions that will help China achieve carbon neutrality by 2060."

The new production facility will enable Johnson Matthey to supply existing Chinese and international customers with locally produced CCMs, and in addition there is a strong pipeline of further customer interest across both fuel cell and renewable (green) hydrogen technologies.

Ms. Gao Xiang, Mayor of Jiading District, said: “Jiading District is a famous international automobile city and one of the earliest areas in China to develop a hydrogen industry. With the help of companies like Johnson Matthey, we are able to actively build a hydrogen technologies innovation hub and a national fuel cell vehicle demonstration city. This investment agreement plays to both parties’ strengths and is a win-win cooperation."

CCMs are key performance defining components in fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV). China has said it aims to have 1 million hydrogen-powered vehicles on its road by 2030.

We remind, Johnson Matthey (JM), a global leader in sustainable technologies, has taken the next major step in its plans to commercialise technologies to enable production of zero carbon ‘green’ hydrogen, announcing new manufacturing capacity for the production of catalyst coated membranes.

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IEA trims 2023 oil demand forecast on economic headwinds

IEA trims 2023 oil demand forecast on economic headwinds

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Oil demand is set to hit a record high this year but economic headwinds and interest rate hikes mean the increase will be slightly less than anticipated, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

While demand is expected to reach 102.1 million barrels per day (bpd), the Paris-based energy watchdog lowered its forecast for growth of the first time this year, by 220,000 barrels per day (bpd), to 2.2 million bpd.

"World oil demand is coming under pressure from the challenging economic environment, not least because of the dramatic tightening of monetary policy in many advanced and developing countries," the IEA said in its monthly oil report.

China is due to make up more than two-thirds of this year's demand growth as its post-pandemic economic rebound is set to gain pace, especially later in the year, the IEA said, adding that demand in developed countries and especially Europe remains subdued.

Oil demand growth is set to halve next year to 1.1 million bpd, the IEA said, reflecting vehicle electrification and energy efficiency.

We remind, Oil benchmark Brent futures breached USD80 a barrel for the first time since May on Wednesday after U.S. inflation data suggested the interest rate hike cycle in the world's biggest economy is set to finally cool. Data released on Wednesday showed U.S. consumer prices rose modestly in June and registered their smallest annual increase in more than two years as inflation continued to subside.

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Brent oil hovers above USD80 as U.S inflation eases

Brent oil hovers above USD80 as U.S inflation eases

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Global oil benchmark Brent hovered above USD80 a barrel on Thursday after U.S. inflation data implied interest rates in the world's biggest economy are close to their peak, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Data released on Wednesday showed U.S. consumer prices rose modestly in June and registered their smallest annual increase in more than two years as inflation continued to subside. Markets expect one more interest rate rise before the U.S. rate-hiking cycle peaks. Higher rates can slow economic growth and reduce oil demand.

Oil prices have rallied by around 12% in two weeks, primarily in response to supply cuts from top producers Saudi Arabia and Russia, said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at OANDA. "Some profit-taking at these levels wouldn't be hugely surprising and may have come sooner if not for the U.S. consumer price inflation data," he said.

Brent crude futures were up 20 cents to USD80.31 per barrel by 1135 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were up 11 cents at USD75.86. The futures contract structure of the global benchmark Brent indicates the market is tightening and that OPEC could be succeeding in its mission to support the market.

The premium of a front month Brent contract to a six-month February 2024 contract rose to USD2.64 a barrel on Wednesday. At the end of the June, the front month contract was at a discount to the six month contract.

In the latest insights on the supply-demand balance, a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) on Thursday predicted oil demand would hit a record high this year, but that broader economic headwinds and interest rate hikes meant the increase would be slightly less than previously anticipated.

Meanwhile, an OPEC report also published on Thursday, maintained an upbeat world oil demand outlook despite economic headwinds. It raised its growth forecast for 2023 and predicted only a slight slowdown in 2024 with China and India expected to continue to drive the expansion in fuel use.

In China, however, momentum in the post-pandemic recovery slowed with exports contracting last month at their fastest pace since the onset of the pandemic three years ago, the country's Customs Bureau showed on Thursday.

We remind, Oil benchmark Brent futures breached USD80 a barrel for the first time since May on Wednesday after U.S. inflation data suggested the interest rate hike cycle in the world's biggest economy is set to finally cool. Data released on Wednesday showed U.S. consumer prices rose modestly in June and registered their smallest annual increase in more than two years as inflation continued to subside.

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Saudi Arabia imports record Russian fuel oil in June as trade grows

Saudi Arabia imports record Russian fuel oil in June as trade grows

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Saudi Arabia imported record volumes of discounted Russian fuel oil in June, a near 10-fold annual increase to meet summer power generation demand and maintain crude exports despite OPEC+ production cuts, according to traders, analysts and Kpler data, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

For Russia, its growing oil trade with the world's biggest exporter enables it to keep output flowing to global buyers despite Western sanctions that have shut its access to key markets including Europe. Saudi Arabia imported a record 910,000 metric tons (193,000 barrels per day) of fuel oil from Russia in June, data from analytics firm Kpler showed.

The kingdom has ramped up fuel oil imports from Russia this year following the European Union's ban on Russian products. Saudi's Russian fuel oil imports hit 2.86 million metric tons for the first half of 2023, exceeding the 1.63 million metric tons for all of 2022, the data showed. Saudi Arabia's energy ministry did not respond to a Reuters query. State oil giant Saudi Aramco declined to comment.

The predominantly high-sulfur fuel oil (HSFO) cargoes from Russia mostly end up at Saudi oil-fired power plants, said Royston Huan, fuel oil and feedstocks analyst at consultancy Energy Aspects. Saudi Arabia said this month it would extend an extra 1 million barrels per day output cut for a second month in August to support prices as part of a pact between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies including Russia, a group known as OPEC+.

"We believe there is a linkage to the cuts, as Saudi Arabia will be incentivized to prioritize their crude exports, therefore prioritizing fuel oil utilities burn over crude oil burn," Huan said. Traders and analysts said the OPEC kingpin has been importing cheap Russian fuel oil as well as diesel and ramping up exports in order to generate higher profits.

Saudi Arabia is forecast to boost fuel oil exports to 1.2 million metric tons in July, up from 750,000 metric tons in June, Kpler data showed, as margins for the fuel strengthened. Asia's HSFO crack - the margin for refiners from producing the residue fuel from Dubai crude - is at a discount of $7.83 a barrel on Wednesday, up nearly 50% from the start of the second quarter, based on Refinitiv data.

"The recent strength in HSFO cracks were likely due to concerns of tighter HSFO availability after Saudi extended their 1 million bpd voluntary cuts," analysts from consultancy FGE said in an email.

We remind, Oil benchmark Brent futures breached $80 a barrel for the first time since May on Wednesday after U.S. inflation data suggested the interest rate hike cycle in the world's biggest economy is set to finally cool. Data released on Wednesday showed U.S. consumer prices rose modestly in June and registered their smallest annual increase in more than two years as inflation continued to subside.

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