Riyadh, Tokyo to cooperate on energy security, hydrogen and ammonia

Riyadh, Tokyo to cooperate on energy security, hydrogen and ammonia

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Saudi Arabia said on Sunday it remains committed to securing oil supplies for Japan and will continue cooperating with Tokyo on clean hydrogen, ammonia and recycled carbon fuels, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The kingdom will keep supplying Saudi crude oil for Okinawa's government oil reserves in southern Japan, a statement posted on the energy ministry's website quoted Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman as saying. "We continue to guarantee oil supply to Japan and maintain our position as the most reliable partner," Prince Abdulaziz said. "Saudi is Japan's biggest oil exporter fulfilling 40% of its total needs."

The energy minister's comments came after Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida held meetings with Saudi leaders in the Saudi Red Sea city of Jeddah, where he arrived on Sunday as part of a Middle East tour. Kishida will also visit the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

Japan and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) also announced the resumption of talks on a free trade agreement, according to a statement issued on Sunday by the council, a union of six countries in the Gulf region including Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, and Bahrain.

Kishida and the GCC secretary general signed a joint statement to resume negotiations, which will mark the third such attempt by Japan and the GCC to ink a trade pact, with negotiations previously held in 2006 and 2007. The Saudi energy ministry said it signed agreements with the Japanese industry and trade ministry to develop clean hydrogen, production of ammonia and its derivatives and recycled carbon fuels.

The two countries signed 26 cooperation agreements during the visit, Saudi Arabia's Investment Minister Khalid al-Falih told state-run Al Ekhbariya television. According to Japan's Nikkei on Saturday, Kishida and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman are set to agree on rare earth resources cooperation and to jointly explore development projects in other countries.

A senior official at Japan's foreign ministry told reporters this week that Kishida plans to discuss energy markets during his trip, while also aiming to offer Japanese technologies for net zero transition.

We remind, the UAE is likely to see the emergence of a new petrochemicals firm if the ongoing negotiations between the Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. and Austrian energy firm OMV materialize. The two firms have announced that they are currently in talks on the possible creation of a new combined petrochemicals holding entity under their respective existing shareholdings in Borouge and Borealis respectively. The potential merger falls in line with ADNOC’s ongoing value creation and chemicals growth strategy, according to a statement.

mrchub.com

Iraq-Iran gas-for-oil barter would likely violate U.S. sanctions

Iraq-Iran gas-for-oil barter would likely violate U.S. sanctions

MOSCOW (MRC) -- A barter of Iranian natural gas for Iraqi oil as described by the Iraqi prime minister this week would likely violate U.S. sanctions on Tehran unless the U.S. issued a waiver permitting it, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani on Tuesday said Iraq would begin trading crude oil for Iranian gas to end recurring payment delays to Tehran due to required U.S. approval for such transactions. Sudani said Iran had cut gas exports to Iraq by more than half as of July 1 after Baghdad failed to secure U.S. approval to disburse owed funds, but Tehran had now agreed to resume gas exports in exchange for crude oil.

There are few details available about the potential barter, which could help defuse a political problem for Sudani since power cuts are unpopular during the sweltering Iraqi summer when temperatures can top 50 Celsius (122 Fahrenheit). However, three former U.S. officials said a barter would likely run afoul of U.S. sanctions.

"It would be a violation of U.S. sanctions to conduct this kind of a barter transaction with Iran absent a U.S. national security waiver being issued," said Richard Goldberg of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies think tank.

"This would be prohibited under the Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act, which prohibits any transaction related to energy with Iran," added Goldberg, who served on the Trump administration national security council staff.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken issued a 120-day waiver on March 21, a State Department official said, allowing Iraq to pay Iran only for electricity imports, not for natural gas to fuel Iraqi domestic power generation.

"The March 2023 waiver, granted by the Secretary, allows Iraq to purchase electricity from Iran. Nothing else," said the official on condition of anonymity. That waiver was announced by the State Department on March 31. There has been speculation the waiver might be amended to allow barter, an issue the official declined to address.

We remind, a fire that broke out in petroleum product reservoirs belonging to the Aftab Oil Refining company in an industrial zone in Iran's southern port city of Bandar Abbas has been extinguished. The official IRNA news agency said that "eight people have been injured due to the incident", while an investigation into the causes of the fire has been initiated.

mrchub.com

Oil supply disruptions boost prices

Oil supply disruptions boost prices

MOSCOW (MRC) -- A series of oil supply disruptions across the globe has helped push Brent crude prices above USD81 a barrel for the first time since April, said Reuters.

Forecasters expect OPEC+ supply cuts and ramped up demand from China to tighten markets despite some macroeconomic headwinds. Shell on July 13 said it had suspended loadings of Nigeria’s Forcados crude oil due to a potential leak at the export terminal.

Exports of the medium sweet grade, which was scheduled to ship 220,000 barrels per day (bpd) in July, were scuttled on Wednesday after workers saw fumes near the single buoy mooring that was loading oil onto a vessel, sources told Reuters.

Technical problems have beset Forcados, one of the largest crude oil streams from Africa's top exporter, on and off for several months.

Nigeria is expected to supply 1.23 million bpd of roughly 102.1 million bpd of projected global oil demand in 2023, according to the latest International Energy Agency (IEA) figures.

We remind, Russian oil exports from western ports are set to fall by some 100,000-200,000 barrels per day next month from July levels, a sign Moscow is making good on its pledge for fresh supply cuts in tandem with OPEC leader Saudi Arabia.

mrchub.com

Turkey increases fuel tax as it bolsters stretched budget

Turkey increases fuel tax as it bolsters stretched budget

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Turkey raised tax on petrol on Sunday to help to fund a 1.12 trillion lira (USD42.2 billion) increase to its 2023 budget after February's earthquakes and the May presidential election sent spending soaring, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The additional fuel tax will help with a budget deficit that jumped to 263.6 billion lira in the first five months of the year, up from 124.6 billion lira a year earlier, but it could also stoke inflation that had declined to 38.21% in June from a 24-year high of 85.51% last October.

The wider deficit was largely because of increased spending ahead of May elections, when President Tayyip Erdogan was elected for a third term, as well as on rebuilding work after the earthquakes in southern Turkey.

The earthquakes, which killed more than 50,000 people, are expected to cost Turkey more than USD100 billion in total.

We remind, Honeywell announced that SASA Polyester Sanayi A.S. will build the world’s largest Propane Dehydrogenation (PDH) unit in Yumurtal'k, Turkiye using the latest generation of Honeywell Oleflex technology. The facility will have the capacity to produce 1 million tons of propylene per year.

mrchub.com

Röhm inauguates new innovation centre

Röhm inauguates new innovation centre

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Chemical company Rohm has spent the past 18 months on, among other things, the construction of a new innovation centre at its site in Worms, Germany, said the company.

The project has now been finished and the new centre was festively opened during a ceremony attended by the managing partners of the Thelen Group, the real estate investor and general contractor for the project, and invited guests.

The new centre was built to house the company’s European research activities and consists of a laboratory building and a technical centre with pilot plants.

“Our innovation centre will become an incubator for future-oriented technologies in methacrylate chemistry, and will strengthen our leading position in Europe and beyond,” said CEO Michael Pack in his welcoming speech. Among the guests at the opening was the prime minister of Rhineland-Palatinate, Malu Dreyer.

Special attention was given to features to enhance the centre’s sustainability and energy efficiency. “We have achieved the highest energy efficiency standard possible,” said Wolfgang Thelen, Managing Partner of the Thelen Group. The photovoltaic system planned for both roofs covers a large part of the buildings’ electricity needs, and heating is supplied by heat pumps.

The innovation centre will create a further 100 jobs at the location. Employees working in research, development, and application technology will collaborate on the development and optimisation of innovative products, processes, and applications at the new Innovation Centre. Sustainability will be a major action field for the teams, driven by Rohm’s strategic goal to achieve climate-neutral production by 2050.

Rohm has also reinforced its research activities internationally, establishing research centres in China and the USA, that were also recently taken into operation.

We remind, in June 2023, Rohm signed the Sale and Purchase Agreement for the acquisition of Functional Forms, the polycarbonate-based films and sheet business unit of SABIC. Rohm, which is backed by global private equity firm Advent International, had already announced its intention to purchase the unit in December 2022.

mrchub.com