Occidental shakes up CFO role, appoints Sunil Mathew

Occidental shakes up CFO role, appoints Sunil Mathew

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Oil and gas producer Occidental Petroleum said it has appointed company veteran Sunil Mathew as its new chief financial officer, a new executive in a span of three years, said Reuters.

Occidental overtime has been shuffling its finance head quite frequently and it has been a bit of a revolving door. The company in its recent filing did not provide a reason for the CFO change. The appointment, effective immediately, replaces Rob Peterson, who would now lead the company’s chemical division.

Peterson, who was the CFO since 2020, would transition into the role of executive vice president of essential chemistry at Occidental Chemical Corporation (OxyChem), a wholly-owned subsidiary.

The shale producer appointed Peterson in 2020, when it was struggling with a massive USD40 billion debt load from its purchase of rival Anadarko Petroleum that was considered an ill-timed bet and was widely criticized.

His predecessor, Cedric Burgher was there for three years and left after settling a long and bitter war with activist investor Carl Icahn over the Anadarko deal, giving the activist investor’s associates three seats on its board.

Mathew, 53, has been with the company since 2004. Prior to the new role, he was Occidental’s vice president of strategic planning and analysis.

We remind, Occidental and ADNOC announced that they will evaluate investment opportunities in Direct Air Capture (DAC) facilities and carbon dioxide (CO2) sequestration hubs in the United States and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as a pathway toward the development of carbon management platforms to accelerate the net-zero goals of both companies.


Most Russian fuel exports now pricing above G7-imposed price cap

Most Russian fuel exports now pricing above G7-imposed price cap

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Most Russian fuel exports from the Baltic and Black Sea regions are now pricing above a price cap set in February by a G7-led coalition designed to limit Moscow's revenues in the aftermath of its invasion of Ukraine, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The rise in Russian fuel prices comes as global prices for fuels from other origins soar amid strong demand and low inventory levels. The Group of Seven countries, the European Union and Australia set price caps for Russian diesel and other fuels to keep markets supplied while limiting Moscow's revenues after an EU ban on importing those fuels came into effect on February 5.

The EU ban bars EU vessels from carrying Russian-origin fuel unless the products are purchased at or below the price cap agreed by the coalition.

The coalition set a USD100 per barrel price cap on products that trade at a premium to crude, mainly diesel, and USD45 per barrel cap for products that trade at a discount, such as fuel oil and naphtha. The Argus data showed that prices for Russian origin diesel, gasoil, naphtha and fuel oil loading in the Black Sea and Baltic regions have exceeded those caps in recent weeks.

Russian origin gasoline continues to be priced below the USD100 a barrel cap, the data showed. At a press briefing last week, a senior U.S. Treasury official said Washington is confident that the price cap is working to squeeze Moscow's revenues and stabilize energy markets despite a recent upturn in prices.

Acting Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy Eric Van Nostrand said the cap was continuing to limit Russian revenues, while giving "non-coalition buyers additional leverage to negotiate prices down." Russia's Urals crude has also been trading above the coalition's imposed price cap of USD60 a barrel.

The Biden administration is poised to increase outreach to western trading houses, insurers and tanker owners to remind them to abide by the price cap, sources and exporters told Reuters. The administration is expected to use "soft" tactics, instead of widespread threats of harsh enforcement on potential violators as that could upend energy markets, they said.

The EU ban on Russian oil imports forced Moscow to reroute its oil product exports to new buyers in West Africa, Latin America and the Mideast Gulf, increasing journey times for fuels like diesel and fuel that would have been destined for European buyers.

We remind, Russia is considering limiting the number of companies allowed to export oil products in a bid to curb illegal exports of fuel intended for the domestic market. The Kommersant newspaper reported earlier that Russia was looking at creating a list of approved refiners to combat so-called "grey exports" of subsidised domestic fuel.


Petro Rabigh shifts to USD576mln losses in H1-23

Petro Rabigh shifts to USD576mln losses in H1-23

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Rabigh Refining and Petrochemical Company (Petro Rabigh) turned to net losses after Zakat and tax worth SAR 2.16 billion in the first half (H1) of 2023, versus net profits of SAR 2.10 billion in H1-22, said Zawya.

The revenues shrank by 33.35% to SAR 21.66 billion during January-June 2023 from SAR 32.50 billion a year earlier, according to the interim financial results.

Loss per share reached SAR 1.29 in H1-23, against earnings per share (EPS) of SAR 1.83 in H1-22.

The firm also shifted to net losses amounting to SAR 1.19 billion in the second quarter (Q2) of 2023, compared to net profits standing at SAR 1.38 billion in Q2-22.

Revenues dropped by 40.98% year-on-year (YoY) to SAR 10.68 billion in the three-month period that ended on 30 June 2023, compared to SAR 18.10 billion.

On a quarterly basis, the Q2-23 net losses enlarged by 24.07% from the SAR 964 million losses reported in Q1-23, while the revenues went down by 2.72% from SAR 10.98 billion.

As per MRC, Rabigh Refining and Petrochemical Co. (Petro Rabigh) has signed three memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with investors to set up manufacturing plants in the Rabigh PlusTech Park. The first MoU was inked with Pure Life Industries Middle East Co. to manufacture 80,000 water filters and flat ceramic membranes a year, the company said in a statement published on the Saudi stock exchange. The second MoU was signed with Saudi Top Co. to produce 50,000 tonnes of recycled polymer compounds per annum.


Around 60% of plastic in oceans is floating at the surface, say Dutch scientists

Around 60% of plastic in oceans is floating at the surface, say Dutch scientists

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Scientists from the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands developed a new numerical model to estimate the amount of plastic in the ocean, said Sustainableplastics.

They found that the largest fraction of plastic mass is located at the ocean surface, not just 1% as previously assumed.

Recent estimates of plastic entering our oceans are one to two orders of magnitude larger than the amount measured floating at the surface. What explains the discrepancy? Researchers from the University of Utrecht, Netherlands, have developed a 3D global marine mass budget model to address this question. They shared their findings in “Global mass of buoyant marine plastics dominated by large long-lived debris,” recently published in nature geoscience.

Their numerical model considered the time period between 1980 and 2020 and measured the amounts of plastic in surface water, beaches, and in the deep ocean. It used an array of variables, including the rate at which plastic washes ashore, breaks up into smaller pieces, and becomes covered in algae, making it heavier and sink to the bottom. The academics said their model stands out from other computer models because of the record number of measurements and observations included.

Results show that the largest fraction of plastic mass is located at the ocean surface, between 59% and 62%. This is in stark contrast with the widely held assumption that only 1% of the total amount of plastic in the oceans floats on the surface, supporting the theory that there is a ‘missing sink’ of marine plastic pollution.

The study found, instead, that the total amount of buoyant marine plastic litter is much higher than previous estimates, at around 3,000 kilotons to 3,400 kilotons. It also found that the majority of plastic mass is contained in large plastic items, around 90% to 98%, and that these constitute most of the total buoyant plastic mass.

We remind, the joint venture between ALPLA and PTT Global Chemical (GC) introduces Thailand's first food-grade rPET to the market, which is already being used for Thailand's first 100% rPET bottles.


All-PET bottle cap simplifies bottle recycling

All-PET bottle cap simplifies bottle recycling

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Of the vast amount of plastic packaging waste generated daily around the globe, PET bottles reportedly achieve one of the highest recycling rates in the industry, said Sustainableplastics.

Once collected, the bottles must be separated from their caps - usually made from PP or PE - prior to being further processed. While not all bottles are collected with their caps today, that is due to change as the various tethered caps regulations start going into effect next year.

Origin Materials, a California based manufacturer of carbon-negative materials, saw an opportunity.The company has created ‘all-PET’ bottle caps, making 100% recycled PET possible from cap to bottle to improve post-consumer recycling.

“We identified a global sustainability challenge and an opportunity to solve it,” said John Bissell, co-Founder and co-CEO of Origin Materials. “An all-PET bottle and cap and closure system is an obvious, necessary next step in beverage packaging and recycling. With our process, we can make caps from 100% recycled PET or 100% bio-based PET, unlocking important sustainability and potentially performance benefits for our customers."

The new patent-pending caps can be produced from any type of PET, from recycled PET to the 100% bio-based, carbon-negative virgin PET produced based on Origin’s technology at competitive cost.

In terms of material properties, PET also offers benefits over the use of conventional polyolefin materials, providing a better oxygen and CO2 barrier than either HDPE and PP.

The market for the new cap is potentially huge: according to, among others, Precedence Research, the global caps and closures market size was estimated at USD 65.41 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach over US$ 92.5 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 4.4% from 2021 to 2030.

The looming cap tethering mandates are likely to further increase the demand for Origin’s innovative caps and closures. Tethering mandates require that caps remain firmly attached to bottles after opening and during the product's life cycle, with the aim of reducing plastic litter on beaches and in the ocean.

Origin Materials has developed a technology platform that uses non-food, plant-based feedstocks. The main focus is on sustainably harvested wood, but agricultural waste, wood waste, and even old cardboard may be used. The platform catalytically converts C-6 cellulose into four isolated building-block chemicals in a process that sequesters carbon, the company says. One of these chemicals is CMF (chloromethyl furfural), which can be converted into bio-based paraxylene, one of the components needed to produce 100% bio-PET.

We remind, Origin Materials, a leading carbon negative materials company with a mission to enable the world’s transition to sustainable materials, and Husky Technologies, a pioneering technology provider enabling the delivery of essential needs to the global community, announced a milestone in the commercialization of PET (polyethylene terephthalate) incorporating the sustainable chemical FDCA (furandicarboxylic acid) for advanced packaging and other applications.