Oil futures continued to linger around USD 106

(Plastemart) -- Oil futures eased at the end of last week, but continued to linger around USD 106 as political tensions continued to blaze in the Middle East. One of the latest developments in the Middle East crisis has seen members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), reportedly reach an agreement to take over enforcement of the United Nations-sanctioned no-fly zone over Libya.

Expectations of oil demand from Japan bouncing bounce back also provide some support to oil prices. However, Japanese oil imports are estimated at less than pre-quake levels of 4.2 mln bpd, while data suggests an extra 0.7-1.2 mln tons of extra oil on the market currently.


Asian suppliers actively entering HDPE markets of FSU

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Excessive offer of HDPE in the Asian market and price stability made the Asian companies turn their export stream. Now Asian material is actively offered in the markets of FSU, according to ICIS-MRC Price report. Last week the Chinese and South Korean companies offered HDPE for April delivery to the markets of FSU. The price offer was within the range of USD 1.380 - 1.420/mt, FOB. Also there are enough spot offers for North American HDPE re-exports from China.

Many market players refuse from such offers, despite a high level of prices from the part of European and Russian producers. The main argument of refusal is long-term logistics and
incomprehension of the situation in May when the first batches of HDPE are expected to arrive.


US propylene producers announced proposed increases of 10 cents/lb

(ICIS) -- US propylene producers announced proposed increases of 10 cents/lb (USD 220/tonne, EUR156/tonne) and 11 cents/lb for April, market sources said on Friday, citing tight supply and firm demand as the drivers behind the initiatives. The nominations represent an increase of around 15% from March, when polymer-grade propylene (PGP) settled at 72.50 cents/lb and chemical-grade propylene (CGP) at 71.00 cents/lb.

US producers were expected to push for an increase next month, following a jump in propylene spot prices in recent weeks.

Refinery-grade propylene (RGP) for March traded on Wednesday at 72.50 cents/lb, up from 60.00-62.00 cents/lb four weeks earlier, while PGP spot prices gained 7.50 cents/lb in the same period.

Propylene spot prices rose on the back of rising energy values, including a 30 cent/gal spike in the price of gasoline and an 8% increase in crude oil prices.


Japan nuclear crisis could increase demand for US natgas

(ICIS) -- The ongoing nuclear power disaster in Japan's tsunami-devastated north could in the long term increase US natural gas demand, creating feedstock issues for US petrochemical producers, a top industry official said on Sunday.

Jim Cooper, vice president for petrochemicals at the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association (NPRA), said that the unfolding crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power complex could chill recently improving support for a new US nuclear power expansion programme.

Citing the Japan nuclear power plant crisis, Cooper said that ⌠there is a chance that this could push more US utilities to natural gas rather than a nuclear option, and that is a concern.

US petrochemical producers and downstream chemical makers are heavily dependent on natural gas as a feedstock, and chemical companies along with a broad range of other US manufacturers also depend in large measure on natgas as an energy fuel. Anything that increases demand on domestic US natural gas could in turn raise availability and pricing issues for companies that use natgas as a feedstock.


Arbitral tribunal has ruled that the interim injunction issued to prevent BP's proposed transaction with Rosneft

(BP) -- BP announced today that an arbitral tribunal has ruled that the interim injunction issued to prevent BP's proposed transaction with Rosneft, which includes Arctic exploration and a share swap transaction, from proceeding should continue. BP will now apply for a determination whether the share swap may proceed on its own.

BP said it looks forward to finding a way to resolve its differences with its Russian partners to allow these important Russian Arctic developments to proceed in future.

BP has a long history as a leader in oil and gas exploration and the development of new technologies. BP intends to continue in that role for decades to come as the world looks to satisfy its increasing demand for secure, affordable energy supplies. BP has the scale and experience to use these new technologies to develop frontiers like the Russian Arctic.