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COVID-19 - News digest as of 17.07.2020

July 17/2020

1. Total refining margin sinks to six-year low as sales slump, crude rebounds

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Total, Europe"s biggest refiner, saw its average refining margin slump to the lowest level in six years during the second quarter when demand for fuels collapsed due to COVID-19 lockdowns while oil prices began to recover, reported S&P Global. Total"s "variable cost margin" for its European refineries in the second quarter fell to USD14.30/mt or about USD1.95/b, down from USD26.30/mt in the previous quarter and USD27.60/mt in the year-earlier period, it said July 15 in a trading statement.

2. NNPC fired 850 workers, many from refineries

MOSCOW (MRC) --  The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has fired 850 workers, many of them from refineries, amidst the coronavirus pandemic, an oil union said, said Hydrocarbonprocessing. The workers are both skilled and unskilled contractors, including technicians who helped maintain Nigeria�s oil refineries, said Lumumba Okugbawa, general secretary of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, speaking on the phone. The NNPC did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Layoffs in Nigeria�s oil sector are a tense issue, with frequent stand-offs between the NNPC and unions. Nigeria is dependent on crude sales to prop up its struggling economy, now at risk of its worst recession in four decades due to the coronavirus and the pandemic tanking global oil prices.

3. PPG results tumble on COVID-19 impacts, but beat estimates

MOSCOW (MRC) -- PPG Industries today reported second-quarter net income from continuing operations down 63.3% year-on-year (YOY), to $99 million, on net sales down 25%, to USD3.0 billion, said Chemweek. Adjusted net income declined tk% YOY, to USD235 million, or 99 cents/share, ahead of analysts� consensus estimate of 71 cents/share, as reported by Refinitiv (New York, New York). Selling prices were up 2% YOY, but volumes fell 24%. �The lower sales volumes reflect the negative economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,� PPG says.

4. Fuel demand shock threatens future of Australian oil refineries

MOSCOW (MRC) -- A coronavirus-driven collapse in fuel demand is threatening Australia�s oil refining industry, just as supply chain disruptions wrought by the pandemic have focused the government on the need to shore up fuel security, reported Reuters. Already dependent on imports for more than half its fuel needs after the closure of four refineries since 2003, industry and analysts say at least one of the country�s four remaining refineries could close unless the government steps in. Pandemic lockdowns decimated demand for gasoline, jet fuel, diesel and shipping fuel, hitting refiners that only recently enjoyed a return to profitability after years in the red.

5. Crude futures in Asia lower ahead of OPEC+ production cut talks

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Crude oil futures were lower in mid-morning trade in Asia July 13 ahead of mid-week deliberations by OPEC+ over whether to maintain its current supply cut for another month, and as several countries reported a sharp rise in coronavirus infections, reported S&P Global. At 11:04 am Singapore time (0304 GMT), ICE Brent September crude futures were down 44 cents/b (1.02%) from the July 10 settle at USD42.80/b, while the NYMEX August light sweet crude contract was 43 cents/b (1.06%) lower at USD40.12/b.
Author:Margaret Volkova
Tags:Asia, Europe, crude and gaz condensate, petrochemistry, PPG, Total Petrochemicals, COVID-19, Australia, Nigeria, USA.
Category:General News
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