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COVID-19 - News digest as of 27.07.2020

July 27/2020

1. Dow swings to loss, announces 6% workforce cut

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Dow reports a second-quarter net loss of USD217 million, down from income of USD90 million in the year-ago period, reported Chemweek. Sales totaled USD8.354 billion, down 24% year-over-year (YOY) from USD11.014 billion. COVID-19 lockdowns cut into demand and low energy values weighed on prices, says the company. Citing the prospect of a gradual and irregular recovery, Dow says it will soon begin a restructuring program aimed at USD300 million in annualized EBITDA benefit by the end of 2021. Measures include a 6% reduction in the companys global workforce and plans to exit uncompetitive assets.

2. PTT moves closer to decision on Ohio petrochemical plant with storage deal

MOSCOW (MRC) -- State-owned Thai oil and gas company PTT Pcl said its U.S. unit took a step forward on its proposed chemical plant in Ohio that will turn ethane into plastics with an agreement to develop a natural gas liquids storage facility, reported Reuters. PTT Global Chemical America (PTTGCA) signed an agreement with Energy Storage Ventures LLC to build a facility to store and transport natural gas liquids (NGL) for PTTGCA"s proposed complex. Our impending partnership ... brings us one step closer to a final investment decision," PTTGCA President and Chief Executive Toasaporn Boonyapipat said in a statement on Wednesday. In June, PTTGCA said it delayed making a final investment decision to build the ethane cracker, which analysts estimate will cost USD5.7 billion, from the first half of 2020 to the first half of 2021 due to the coronavirus.

3. S-Oil reports substantial rise in petchem operating profit

MOSCOW (MRC) -- S-Oil, the South Korean refiner controlled by Saudi Aramco, said demand for oil products will steadily increase in the current quarter as restrictions stemming from the Covid-19 pandemic are eased and economies around the world are revived, said Chemweek. Global oil product demand reached its nadir in April, running at more than 20pc below pre-pandemic levels, then began its recovery from the crisis in May, S-Oil said. Demand, which bounced back to 10pc below December"s level in June, will continuously recover through the July-September quarter, the company said.

4. Oil edges lower as US stimulus hopes offset US-China tensions

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Crude prices inched lower on 22 July as the market balanced talks of further US stimulus spending supported against rising US crude production and heightened US-China tensions, reported S&P Global. NYMEX September WTI settled 2 cents lower at USD41.90/b and ICE September Brent gave back 3 cents to settle at USD44.29/b. Oil prices pulled off morning lows following reports that Senate Republicans are considering an at least partial extension of the enhanced unemployment benefits that expire this month. "We are seeing a bit of a rally on optimism that Congress can get some kind of short-term deal done to put money in the hands of consumers," Price Futures Group senior market analyst Phil Flynn said. "The theory being that those consumers will then put some of that money into their gas tanks and that should help those gasoline demand numbers." NYMEX August RBOB settled up 31 points at USD1.2828/gal while August ULSD settled 93 points lower at USD1.2707/gal. Oil futures came under pressure early in the session amid concerns that rising US-China tensions could threaten the Phase One trade deal between the two countries. The US State Department early July 22 ordered Beijing to close its Houston, Texas consulate within 72 hours, according to media reports. The move marked an escalation of the already strained US-China relations after months of US President Donald Trump chiding Beijing for its handling of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak and blaming China for the global spread of the disease.

5. Equinor beats earnings forecasts as refinery and trading shines

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Equinor reported a drop in second-quarter operating profit but a strong performance from its refinery and trading business helped to counter a coronavirus-led slump in oil and gas prices allowing the group to beat forecasts, said Hydrocarbonprocessing. The Norwegian oil and gas company reported an 89% slump in adjusted earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) to USD350 million (274.7 million pounds) in the April-June quarter, compared with USD3.15 billion in the year-ago period.

6. Dow restarts Texas, Argentina plants shut due to pandemic

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Dow Chemical restarted three polyethylene (PE) plants it shut in April on improving demand after widespread economic shocks in April and May, reported S&P Global with reference to a company spokeswoman"s confirmation July 23. "Based on current demand, the polyethylene production units have restarted," spokeswoman Ashley Mendoza said in an email. The company confirmed in late April it had shut PE units in Freeport and Seadrift, Texas, and another in Bahia Blanca, Argentina, as well as two elastomers units in Plaquemine, Louisiana, in response to lower demand amid the global spread of the coronavirus pandemic. The shutdowns represented about 10% of the company"s global capacity for packaging and specialty plastics.
Author:Margaret Volkova
Tags:Europe, PP, PE, crude and gaz condensate, propylene, elastomer, ethylene, car components, Dow, Equinor, PTT Chemical, S-Oil, COVID-19, Argentina, China, USA, South Korea.
Category:General News
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