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COVID-19 - News digest as of 09.10.2020

October 09/2020

1. European Court of Auditors warns that EU risks not meeting its plastic recycling targets for 2025, 2030

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The European Court of Auditors (ECA), which audits the EU's finances, says in a recent review there is a significant risk that the EU will not meet its plastic packaging recycling targets for 2025 and 2030, said Chemweek. ECA notes that the EU's 2018 update of its legal framework for plastic recycling reflects the EU’s increased ambitions and could help boost recycling capacity, but says the scale of the challenge facing the EU member states should not be underestimated. The auditors call for new and more accurate recycling reporting rules and a tightening of plastic waste export rules. Concerted action is needed to get the EU to where it wants to be in 5–10 years’ time, ECA says. According to the review, packaging alone, such as yogurt pots or water bottles, accounts for about 40% of plastic use and more than 60% of plastic waste generated in the EU. However, packaging has the lowest recycling rate in the EU at slightly more than 40%, ECA says. The European Commission’s plastics strategy, adopted in 2018, included an update of its 1994 Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive and doubled the EU's recycling target to 50% by 2025 with a goal of 55% by 2030. Reaching these targets would be a significant step toward achieving the EU’s circular economy goals, the auditors say. "To meet its new recycling targets for plastic packaging, the EU must reverse the current situation, whereby we incinerate more than we recycle. This is a daunting challenge,” says Samo Jereb, the ECA member responsible for the review. “By resuscitating single-use habits amid sanitary concerns, the [COVID-19] pandemic shows that plastics will continue to be a mainstay of our economies, but also an ever-growing environmental threat."

2.Australian Ampol may shut oil refinery despite national security push

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Ampol Ltd is considering closing its Lytton oil refinery, one of Australia's four refineries, as it has racked up big losses because of a coronavirus-driven slump in fuel demand and competition from huge Asian plants, reported Reuters. Ampol, formerly known as Caltex Australia, may close Lytton despite a recent offer from the Australian government of incentives worth AD2.3 billion (USD1.6 billion) to the industry to keep the country’s refineries open for the sake of national security.

3. OMV petchem margin declines, refining margins tank

MOSCOW (MRC) -- OMV (Vienna, Austria) says its petrochemical net margin declined 15% year on year (YOY) in the third quarter ended 30 September, while its refining margin indicator plunged 84% YOY, reported Chemweek. In a trading update ahead of the company’s third-quarter results, due to be released on 29 October, OMV says its ethylene/propylene net margin fell to EUR375/metric ton (USD441/metric ton) from EUR441/metric ton a year earlier. The third-quarter petchem margin is also down from EUR393/metric ton in the second quarter of this year. The company calculates the petchem net margin based on West European contract prices, with naphtha as the feedstock.

4. Vinnolit to permanently shut its PVC plant in Schkopau

MOSCOW (MRC) -- European PVC producer Vinnolit has decided to close its 50,000 tons/year polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plant in Schkopau, Germany due to the lack of profitability and the lack of long-term competitiveness of the location in the current environment, reported NCT with reference to the company's press release. Vinnolit expects provisions worth around EUR29 million to be incurred in the third quarter in reference to the closure, the press release said.

5. India gasoline sales jump to pre-covid levels in September, diesel improves

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Indian state refiners’ annual gasoline sales rose to pre-COVID levels in September and a fall in diesel sales slowed, as the loosening of lockdown restrictions boosted energy consumption and economic activity, provisional industry data showed, said Hydrocarbonprocessing. Last month, gasoline sales by state refiners saw their first annual growth since March, underpinned by a gradual lifting of coronavirus curbs even as India suffers one of the highest infection rates in the world. India’s fuel consumption- a proxy for oil demand- was hard hit by a nation-wide lockdown imposed in March to stem the spread of Covid-19.

6. Stolt-Nielsen's profits rise, tanker market momentum builds

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Stolt-Nielsen has reported net profit of USD29.2 million for the third quarter, a substantial improvement on net profit of USD3.4 million in the prior-year period and USD3.6 million in the second quarter, despite sales that declined over 8% year on year (YOY) to USD474.0 million, according to Chemweek. The improved result was mainly driven by healthy volumes, lower fuel prices in its tankers and tank containers businesses, and lower overall administrative and general expenses, it says. “We are cautiously optimistic that the momentum of a strengthening chemical tanker market will continue,” says CEO Niels Stolt-Nielsen. “Longer term, the favorable supply/demand outlook should provide a good foundation for continued improved results at Stolt Tankers,” he says. For its Stolthaven tank terminals business, the company expects to see healthy demand in most regions, he says. Stolt’s tank containers business is also seeing “signs of improvement, particularly in Asia,” after a seasonally slow third quarter, he adds. While the global economic outlook remains uncertain, the company is also cautiously optimistic about the fourth quarter and beyond, based on the contract portfolio it has secured across its three logistics businesses, according to Stolt-Nielsen. The COVID-19 pandemic is still impacting scheduling in its tankers business, “necessitating costly rerouting of ships in order to make overdue crew changes,” he says. The company was able to secure five modern 26,000-deadweight metric ton stainless-steel chemical tankers in the secondhand market “at a very attractive price,” he notes. The tankers are expected to be delivered starting in December.
Author:Margaret Volkova
Tags:Europe, PVC, PP, PE, crude and gaz condensate, propylene, ethylene, petrochemistry, recikling, OMV, Vinnolit, COVID-19, Australia, USA.
Category:General News
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