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COVID-19 - News digest as of 19.06.2020

June 19/2020

1. Russian oil refineries cut gasoline output to 15-year low in May

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Russian oil refineries cut gasoline output to a 15-year low of 2.477 million tons in May amid a global deal to curb crude supplies and coronavirus-related lockdowns, energy ministry data and Reuters calculations showed. They also showed that volumes of primary oil processing REF-RU-TPUT declined to a seven-year low of 21 million tons last month. Demand for fuel has been dented by the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns to combat it.

2. Lockdowns, uncertainty weigh on recovery, says CEO Huntsman

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Peter Huntsman, CEO of Huntsman, is more bearish on the global economy than at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Resurgent growth in China shows light at the end of the tunnel, but lockdowns and uncertainty continue to hinder recovery in the US and Europe, reported Chemweek. "Demand probably has come back a bit slower than I had anticipated," he says. "Frankly, I"ve been rather disappointed with the prolonged nature of these lockdowns. This is just my personal opinion. I think that this entire lockdown situation has become politicized in many parts of the world, particularly in the United States."

3. Sasol revamp to cut jobs

MOSCOW (MRC) -- South Africa"s Sasol plans to cut jobs and end West African oil operations as part of a business revamp, the petrochemicals producer said on Thursday, adding it had also agreed a deal with lenders to relax borrowing rules, said Engineeringnews. Sasol has been reviewing its business as it struggles with high debt levels, falling oil and chemical prices and lower global demand due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The company, the world"s top producer of motor fuel from coal, said the review had identified chemicals and energy as the focus areas for its future business.

4. Crude oil futures slide as concerns of demand recovery persist

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Crude oil futures were marginally lower in mid-morning trade in Asia June 16 amid persistent concerns over demand recovery, reported S&P Global. At 10:17 am Singapore time, on 16 June, ICE Brent August crude futures was 26 cents/b (0.65%) lower from June 15"s settle at USD39.46/b, while the NYMEX July light sweet crude contract was 25 cents/b (0.67%) lower at USD36.87/b. Sentiment took a risk-off tone in Asia trading, despite prices settling higher on June 15 during the US trading hours, amid news of additional economic support by the Federal Reserve. "A full recovery to early March levels will need continued supply discipline, demand recovery, and time to work off US inventories and spare capacity," Axicorp chief global markets strategist Stephen Innes said in a June 16 note. Concerns over a second wave of COVID-19 infections amid easing lockdowns continued to cloud the demand outlook.

5. Reliance cuts pay of executives in oil-and-gas division

MOSCOW (MRC) -- India�s Reliance Industries has cut the pay of some top oil-and-gas division employees by up to 50%, according to six sources and a letter seen by Reuters, as it battles lower profitability because of the coronavirus epidemic, reported Hydrocarbonprocessing. Reliance, headed by India�s richest man, Mukesh Ambani,  has decided that employees earning more than 1.5 million rupees (USD20,000) a year will face a 10% salary cut, while the cuts will be 30% to 50% for senior executives, the sources said. The pay cuts were cited in a company note to employees.

6. Saudi Aramco chemical business helps combat COVID-19 pandemic

MOSCOW (MRC) -- As the world continues to struggle with the Covid-19 pandemic, the protective equipment is being utilized by both healthcare professionals and citizens alike. A range of products including respirators, surgical & respiratory masks, gloves, protective gowns, face shields, syringes, shoes, and many others has been vital to the fight against a hyperactive contagion. And Saudi Aramco has joined an array of industry players in supporting the effort to combat the Covid virus, according to Hydrocarbonprocessing. In regions around the world, Aramco has donated medical supplies, protective masks, gloves, PPE suits, and sanitizers, and has provided both remote and in-person medical services.

7. Crude futures pare back overnight gains amid fresh COVID-19 outbreaks

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Crude oil futures were trading lower in mid-morning trade in Asia June 17, after settling higher overnight, as reports of fresh COVID-19 outbreaks continued to weigh on hopes of economic recovery, reported S&P Global. At 10 am Singapore time (0200 GMT), ICE Brent August crude futures were down 64 cents/b (1.56%) from the June 16 settle at USD40.32/b, while the NYMEX July light sweet crude contract was 78 cents/b (2.03%) lower at USD37.60/b. Both benchmarks had settled more than USD1.20/b higher June 16 after the release of bullish demand projections by the International Energy Agency and stronger-than-expected US retail sales data for May. "However, the rally was capped by concerns about a second wave of COVID-19 cases. Beijing shut its schools and lifted its emergency response to level two to contain a new outbreak," ANZ analysts said in a June 17 note.
Author:Margaret Volkova
Tags:PP, PE, crude and gaz condensate, propylene, ethylene, petrochemistry, Huntsman, Reliance Industries, Sasol, Saudi Aramco, COVID-19, China, Rossiya, Saudi Arabia, USA, South Africa.
Category:General News
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