Iran denies oil on tanker seized by Indonesia belongs to Tehran

Iran denies oil on tanker seized by Indonesia belongs to Tehran

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Iran said the oil cargo of an Iranian-flagged supertanker seized by Indonesia last week does not belong to Tehran, said Reuters.

A statement from Iran's oil ministry did not identify the owner of the cargo of MT Arman 114, an Iranian-flagged supertanker suspected of involvement in the illegal transshipment of crude oil, which Indonesia's coast guard said on July 11 it had seized.

"Published news linking the cargo of this ship to... Iran have no validity and this is done with the aim of creating a negative atmosphere against our country," Iran's oil ministry statement said, without elaborating.

On Thursday the commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards' navy said Iran would retaliate against any oil company unloading Iranian oil from a seized tanker currently anchored outside the port of Houston, amid heightened tensions between Tehran and Washington.

We remind, 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. 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.

Venezuela will not halt productive oil operations amid contract disputes

Venezuela will not halt productive oil operations amid contract disputes

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Venezuela is not willing to halt productive operations during contract audits that have led to the arrest of businessmen and officials, and to disputes with customers and partners of state company PDVSA, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

In June, a contract between PDVSA and Maroil Trading, a Geneva-based company owned by Venezuelan tycoon Wilmer Ruperti, became entangled in a dispute over payments, triggering the suspension of most exports of petroleum coke from the South American country.

Earlier this year, contracts with some crude oil buyers were also temporarily suspended while PDVSA reviewed billions of dollars of late payments and pending invoices. Shipments have resumed with new contract terms and customers. "Our goal is to explore, produce, refine and export every product we can," Oil Minister Pedro Tellechea told journalists on the sidelines of a conference in Caracas.

"We are not willing to paralyze a productive process, which would slow down Venezuela's growth. On the contrary, we are here to encourage that growth," he added. PDVSA this month also authorized two term contracts to export this year up to 1.6 million tons of petcoke, an oil byproduct mostly used to fuel cement kilns in countries from France to China.

Investigations related to the review of unpaid bills have been transferred to the office of Venezuela's General Attorney, Tellechea said. Venezuela maintains "a good relationship" with Ruperti and is open to registering new buyers for the petcoke PDVSA produces as long as they fulfill requirements, complete an administrative process and offer competitive prices, the minister added.

A lawyer representing Maroil told Reuters earlier this month the company had not faced legal action from its customers amid delays to ship intended cargoes, and that it was in talks with PDVSA over the contract dispute. Tellechea also said the country does not currently have suspended contracts, but did not elaborate on the status of exports.

We remind, the sudden suspension of a Venezuelan contract that had boosted its exports of petroleum coke has led to a bottleneck of tankers waiting to load and sent customers scrambling for alternative supplies, according to sources and data. A 2017 contract between Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA and Geneva-based Maroil Trading helped the country's exports of the oil byproduct to grow seven-fold between 2021 and 2022. But the deal was suspended last month amid a dispute over accounts receivable and the extension of the contract.

Russia is not ruling out quotas on fuel exports, deputy PM says

Russia is not ruling out quotas on fuel exports, deputy PM says

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Russia is not ruling out introducing quotas on the export of oil products to stabilize gasoline prices, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said on Friday, according to state media, as gasoline wholesale prices hit an all-time high, said Reuters.

"In principle, it is being considered. But there are other proposals too. We need to weigh the pros and cons," he replied to a question on possible quotas for oil products exports, the RIA news agency reported.

He added that some refineries had postponed planned maintenance to a later date to meet rising demand. An increase in production at refineries could facilitate Russia's pledge to cut crude oil exports by 500,000 barrels per day in August in order to prop up the global oil market.

Average gasoline prices at Saint-Petersburg International Mercantile Exchange (SPIMEX) rose on Wednesday by 1.8% to 62,653 roubles (USD694.5) per ton, reaching a new all-time high. Retail fuel prices have been relatively stable as they are being regulated by the state.

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. OPEC and major producers including Russia, together known as OPEC+, have been cutting supply since November to support prices. Moscow this month pledged to cut exports by 500,000 bpd in August, while Saudi Arabia extended its 1 million bpd output cuts.

Shell seeks to exit petrochemicals in Singapore

Shell seeks to exit petrochemicals in Singapore

MOSCOW (MRC) -- As Shell proceeds with its Energy Transition initiative that will see it become more of a natural gas giant than an oil major, its petrochemical assets in Singapore have come under the spotlight, with talk of divestiture, “repurposing,” or even closure if a suitable buyer or buyers cannot be found, said Plasticstoday.

Shell operates or has stakes in multiple petrochemical plants producing ethylene, propylene, butadiene, styrene, benzene, polyols that can be used to make polyurethanes, and ethylene glycol, among other products. It also has an equity stake in The Polyolefin Company (TPC), a leading regional producer of polypropylene (PP), low-density polyethylene (LDPE), and ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA). TPC is particularly strong in random copolymer and terpolymer grades of PP for sealant film applications and solar module encapsulant film grades of EVA.

Shell is targeting net zero emissions by 2050 and, like other petrochemical and plastics suppliers, it sees reducing its dependence on these two energy-intensive product groups as a way to shrink its carbon footprint. The company’s Energy Transition Campus Amsterdam was launched in July 2022, creating opportunities for others to join in finding solutions to the world’s energy challenges. One such project is a collaboration between Shell and Dow to electrify steam cracking furnaces with renewable energy. Steam cracking is one of the most carbon-intensive processes in petrochemical production. E-cracking furnaces operated using renewable electricity have the potential to reduce Scope 1 emissions from steam cracking by up to 90%.

The issues with petrochemical and plastics operations in Singapore, however, are the space restrictions and unfavorable wind patterns that give the city-state little scope to establish renewable energy resources such as wind and solar. There had been talk of transmission of solar-generated electricity from Australia to Singapore over a distance of 2,800 miles, but the project collapsed. An exit from petrochemicals and plastics in Singapore, thus, appears to be the easiest solution.

We remind, Shell (London) has agreed to pay nearly USD 10 mn (EUR 9.3 mn) for breaking emissions rules at its Monaca polyethylene complex in the US state of Pennsylvania, according to the office of governor Josh Shapiro, which said the resin maker had formally acknowledged the violations.

BASF China boss Kamieth leads race for new CEO

BASF China boss Kamieth leads race for new CEO

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BASF SE board member Markus Kamieth is leading the race to succeed Martin Brudermuller as BASF chairman, according to Reuters.

BASF chief technology officer Melanie Maas-Brunner is still a possible candidate alongside Kamieth, according to an anonymous source, Reuters said. BASF’s supervisory board will pick a successor at the beginning of October at the earliest, it said.

Kamieth is responsible for the company’s catalysts, coatings, dispersions and resins and performance chemicals divisions, as well as for the Greater China, South and East Asia, ASEAN and Australia and New Zealand regions and is closely associated with BASF’s EUR10 billion investment project at Zhanjiang, China.

“Kamieth is said to be the clear favorite for the post and is backed by Brudermuller, after Saori Dubourg, who headed BASF’s European business, left the company in February,” said the Financial Times report, citing people familiar with the matter.

A BASF spokesperson, quoted by Reuters, said there has been no decision yet on Brudermuller’s succession. Brudermuller has been chairman of BASF since 2018 and his contract ends in about May 2024. He was also re-elected president of Cefic for another two-year term in October 2022. Brudermuller started his first term as president of Cefic in October 2020.

Earlier this month, BASF cut its full-year guidance because of lower-than-expected demand. BASF will publish its second-quarter results on July 28.

We remind, BASF celebrated the opening of Europe’s first co-located center of battery material production and battery recycling in Schwarzheide, Germany. The inauguration of a state-of-the-art production facility for high-performance cathode active materials and the unveiling ceremony for a battery recycling plant for the production of black mass represent important steps toward closing the loop for the European battery value chain – from the collection of used batteries and the recovery of mineral raw materials to their use in the production of new battery materials. Major step in Europe to participate in the rapidly growing global battery market.