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COVID-19 - News digest as of 23.07.2020

July 23/2020

1. AkzoNobel profits, sales fall on sharply lower demand

MOSCOW (MRC) -- AkzoNobel says that its net profit in the second quarter of 2020 dropped 44% year on year (YOY), to EUR129 million (USD149 million), said Chemweek. Sales went down 19%, to 1.98 billion from EUR2.45 billion in the same period of the previous year. The fall in sales, which dragged profits down, is mainly due to the impact of COVID-19 on end-market demand that resulted in 18% lower volumes YOY, the company says. EBITDA fell 25% YOY, to EUR297 million, the company says. Margin-management and cost-saving programs were able partly to offset the negative effect of lower demand, the company says. AkzoNobel announced preliminary results last week.

2. Total, Exxon demobilize PNG LNG expansion workers due to COVID-19

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Oil and gas companies Total and ExxonMobil have idled workers at the troubled Papua New Guinea LNG expansion project due to the COVID-19 pandemic, project partner Oil Search said July 21 in its earnings statement, said S&P Global. The lower staffing is part of a reduction in Oil Search's global workforce of around 34% by year end as part of its restructuring and cost cuts. This signals further complications at the project that has already been delayed due to disagreements between the new Papua New Guinea government and the project partners.

3. Crude edges lower as surprise build in US crude stocks deflates rally

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Crude oil futures edged lower in mid-morning trade in Asia July 22 after an unexpected build in US crude inventories derailed an overnight rally on COVID-19 vaccine hopes and a stimulus package agreement in Europe, said S&P Global. At 10:19 am Singapore time (0219 GMT), ICE Brent September crude futures were down 26 cents/b (0.59%) from the July 21 settle at $44.06/b, while the new front-month NYMEX September light sweet crude contract was 27 cents/b (0.64%) lower at USD41.65/b.

4. Stepan beats estimates on disinfectants demand

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Stepan reports second-quarter net income if USD35.8 million, 18.6% higher year-on-year (YOY), as strong demand for cleaning and disinfectant products due to COVID-19 more than offset weakness in construction and oilfield markets, said Chemweek. Adjusted earnings of USD1.65/share was 10.0% higher YOY and handily beat the analysts consensus estimate of USD1.20/share, as reported by Refinitiv (New York). Net sales decreased 2.6% YOY, to USD460.5 million. Surfactant operating income increased 51% YOY, to USD48.5 million, on sales up 6%, to USD332.3 million. The increase was primarily attributable to a 10% increase in global Surfactant volume and an improved product mix. The sales volume growth was principally due to higher demand in the global consumer product end markets driven by increased demand cleaning and disinfection products as a result of COVID-19, and a USD5.0 million operating income improvement in Mexico.

5. Russian share of Europe oil market under threat as exports hit 20-year lows

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Russian oil exports to Europe are set to hit their lowest levels in two decades in July, with an output cut deal prompting other suppliers to fill the gap left by Moscow, reported Reuters with reference to data from traders and Refinitiv Eikon. Russia is set to slash seaborne Urals supplies to Europe to 3.8 million tonnes (900,000 barrels per day) next month, its lowest since 1999, when President Vladimir Putin first came to power as prime minister. This is a shock for everyone ... Even the American oil is currently more profitable to refine ... Requests for oil supplies from the United States have increased, a trading source said. Light oil flows from the United States to Europe were close to 3 million tonnes in both May and June, just 1 million tonnes lower than a record high in March, Refinitiv Eikon data shows. Supplies from the United States to Europe remain ample despite oil production decrease in the US by 2.1 million bpd from March, as oil prices have plummeted due to overproduction and the fallout from the coronavirus crisis.

6. Crude oil futures slip on rising coronavirus infections worldwide

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Crude oil futures traded lower during mid-morning trade in Asia July 20 as rising coronavirus infections worldwide weighed market sentiment down, reported S&P Global. At 10:30 am Singapore time (0230 GMT), ICE Brent September crude futures were down 24 cents/b (0.49%) from the July 17 settle at USD42.90/b, while the NYMEX August light sweet crude contract was down by 20 cents/b (0.46%) at USD40.39/b.

7.Versalis starts the production of Invix, bioethanol-based disinfectant at Crescentino

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Versalis, Eni's chemical company, has launched a new line to produce liquid hand disinfectant marketed under the brand name Invix at its plant in Crescentino (Vercelli, Piedmont), to meet the growing demand as a result of the current health situation across the nation, said the company. The disinfectant, which has been developed based on the formulation provided by the World Health Organization and authorized by the Italian Ministry of Health, is a medical device, the active substance of which is ethanol obtained from vegetable raw materials. The bio-ethanol is produced at the Crescentino plant, designed to process residual biomasses, which has been adapted to temporarily use corn glucose syrup as a raw material to cope with the health emergency.
Author:Margaret Volkova
Tags:Asia, Europe, crude and gaz condensate, petrochemistry, adhesives, paints and coatings, Akzo Nobel Functional Chemicals BV, Exxon Mobil, Total Petrochemicals, Versalis, COVID-19, Russia, USA.
Category:General News
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