Japan gasoline prices hit record high

Japan gasoline prices hit record high

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Japan's nationwide average retail price of regular gasoline rose by 1.9 yen to a record high 185.6 yen (USD1.27) per liter over the week to Aug. 28, marking the 15th consecutive weekly increase, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The previous record was 185.10 yen per liter, in August 2008. Gasoline prices have been rising steadily in Japan due to the weaker yen and higher global oil prices. The government said last week it may extend support given the persistent price hikes.

The government is considering extending until year-end fuel subsidies to keep gasoline prices below 180 yen a liter, three people with direct knowledge of the matter said on Tuesday.

We remind, Sumitomo Chemical has achieved groundbreaking success in pioneering production technology for ultra-fin -а-alumina, set to start mass production from September this year with its recently established manufacturing capabilities at its Ehime Works. Collaborating with its customers, the Company will create new markets in the ICT, energy-saving and life science fields through technological innovations in inorganic materials. In FY2025 the company seeks to achieve a 30% increase in sales revenue in its ultrahigh purity alumina business compared to FY2023.

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N American weekly chemical railcar traffic rises 3.4%

N American weekly chemical railcar traffic rises 3.4%

MOSCOW (MRC) -- North American chemical railcar traffic rose 3.4% year on year to 46,174 loadings in the week ended 26 August, led by a 12.2% increase in Canada, according to the latest freight rail data of Association of American Railroads.

For the first 34 weeks of 2023 ended 26 August, North American chemical rail traffic was down 2.2% year on year to 1,538,612 - with the US down 3.6% to 1,057,632 loadings.

In the US, chemical railcar loadings represent about 20% of chemical transportation by tonnage, with trucks, barges and pipelines carrying the rest. In Canada, chemical producers rely on rail to ship more than 70% of their products, with some exclusively using rail.

We remind, North American chemical railcar traffic rose 1.8% year on year to 46,721 loadings in the week ended 19 August. A 7.5% increase in Canada, where industry is still working off backlogs from the 1-13 July strike at west coast ports, more than offset declines in the US and Mexico.

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Russia does not rule out oil export cuts in October

Russia does not rule out oil export cuts in October

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said on Wednesday that Russia may extend oil export cuts to the month of October and has fully met its obligations to reduce supply in August, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, led by Russia, began limiting output late last year to bolster the market and in June extended the supply curbs into 2024. Russia said separately that it would cut oil exports by 500,000 barrels per day, or around 5% of its output, in August and by 300,000 bpd in September.

Novak said on Wednesday that Russia may extend the cuts into October, though it was too early to say definitively.
"We will see. We are now monitoring the situation and evaluating the market together with our colleagues from other countries. We will proceed from what the market will demand," Novak replied to a question about the extension of export cuts into October. "We stick to our obligations (in August) in full," he added.

Saudi Arabia is also extending a voluntary oil output cut of one million barrels per day for another month to include September and has said the reduction could be extended beyond that or deepened. Interfax news agency also quoted Novak as saying that Russia is reducing exports from the average level in May and June.

Separately, Russian news agencies cited Novak as saying that authorities are reviewing Russian oil producer Lukoil's plan to buy back shares from foreign shareholders. Interfax said last week, citing unnamed sources, that Lukoil was asking Russian authorities for permission to buy back up to 25% of its shares from foreign investors at a discount of at least 50%.

We remind, spot discounts for Russian crude for September loading have started to deepen as India, a key customer of Moscow, reduces purchases due to high prices and maintenance outages at some refineries. India is the top buyer for Russian Urals crude this year and slowing demand from the world's third-largest importer could push more supply to China instead. Spot discounts for September loading of Russia's flagship grade Urals for delivery at Indian ports have widened to about USD6 per barrel from an average USD5 for August, the trade sources said.

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Solvay publishes first half 2023 figures for SpecialtyCo and EssentialCo

Solvay publishes first half 2023 figures for SpecialtyCo and EssentialCo

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Solvay announced that it has published on its website the first half 2023 figures in respect of SpecialtyCo and EssentialCo., said the company.

This information is made available in connection with the projected Partial Demerger. More specifically it contains:
- H1 2023 Unaudited Condensed Interim Combined Financial Statements for SpecialtyCo, available here
- H1 2023 Unaudited pro forma Financial Information for EssentialCo.

The contemplated separation of Solvay is subject to general market conditions and customary closing conditions, including final approval by the Board of Directors of Solvay SA, consent of certain financing providers and shareholder approval at an extraordinary general meeting, and is expected to be completed in December 2023. There can be no assurance, however, regarding the ultimate timing of the separation or that the separation will actually be completed. Solvay SA and Specialty Holdco Belgium SRL (“SpecialtyCo”) will keep the market informed if and when appropriate.

This press release is for informational purposes only and is not intended to, and does not, constitute an offer or invitation to sell or solicitation of an offer to subscribe for or buy, or an invitation to purchase or subscribe for, any securities of Solvay SA or SpecialtyCo, any part of the business or assets described herein, or any other interests or the solicitation of any vote or approval in any jurisdiction in connection with the transactions described herein or otherwise, nor shall there be any sale, issuance or transfer of securities in any jurisdiction in contravention of applicable law. This press release should not be construed in any manner as a recommendation to any reader thereof.

We remind, Solvay, a leader of high-performance and sustainable polyamide 6.6 polymers, continues to drive innovation in its portfolio with the introduction of a new, specialized grade of Rhodianyl, made of 100% pre-consumer recycled polyamide, which is produced at its Santo Andre plant in Brazil.

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PetroChina reports record interim net profit on refining surge

PetroChina reports record interim net profit on refining surge

MOSCOW (MRC) -- State-owned energy giant PetroChina reported a record-high net profit for the first half of the year, driven by increased oil and gas output and resurgent refined fuel sales, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Net profit attributable to shareholders was 85.3 billion yuan ($11.70 billion), up 4.5% on the same period last year, according to a filing with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on Wednesday. Total revenue was down 8.3% to 1.48 trillion yuan, due to a sustained fall in global oil prices after an initial spike in the immediate aftermath of Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

The company reported realized crude oil prices of $74.15 per barrel, having slid 21.7% on the average for the same period last year.

However, PetroChina's total crude oil and natural gas equivalent output was 893.8 million barrels, representing a 5.8% increase on last year, supporting a 3.7% increase in operating profit for the group's upstream segment.

Domestic crude output rose 1.2%, whilst the development of key projects in Central Asia and the Middle East saw overseas crude production leap 27.8% over the period.

Total domestic refinery throughput for the first half was 673 million barrels, a 12.6% increase on last year when extensive COVID-19 lockdowns hammered demand for refined fuel products in the country. The group previously announced aims to raise crude throughput to 1.29 billion barrels this year, up 6.6% from 2022.

Operating profit from the group's sales segment jumped 28.4% on last year. Total sales volume of gasoline, kerosene and diesel for the period increased 12.9% to 80.7 million metric tons, with domestic sales accounting for around 74% of this.

While domestic demand for transport fuels such as kerosene and gasoline has rebounded with the removal of travel restrictions, the group saw weaker earnings from petrochemical products such as polypropylene, amid a glut of domestic supply.

Capex for the first half was 85.1 billion yuan, down 7.8% on last year. PetroChina had previously set a capex target of 243.5 billion yuan for 2023, which would represent an 11% drop on last year.

We remind, Petrochina Guangxi has entered into a license agreement with Grace to use its Unipol PP technology for its new 400 kilotons per annum single reactor line in China. With this move, Petrochina Guangxi aims to deliver higher value PP products to the local market. Grace has announced the signing of a new license with Petrochina Guangxi to develop a 400-kilotons per annum single reactor line using its Unipol PP technology.

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