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COVID-19 - News digest as of 20.10.2020

October 20/2020

1. Facing wave of closures, oil refiners turn to biofuels

MOSCOW (MRC) -- European and U.S. oil refineries face a wave of closures due to plateauing fuel demand, tightening environmental rules and overseas competition, prompting some owners to opt for an easier alternative - converting plants to produce biofuels, said Hydrocarbonprocessing. The shock of the coronavirus epidemic crushed global oil demand and as some producers, including, say it might never recover to pre-crisis levels, the need to close refineries has accelerated. The International Energy Agency (IEA) said in a recent report that by 2030 around 14% of current refining capacity in advanced economies faces the risk of lower utilization or closure."

2. Trinseo expects Q3 net income of USD102-109 million

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Trinseo (Berwyn, Pennsylvania) today issued preliminary third-quarter financial results, estimating net income of USD102-109 million, versus a net loss of USD128 million in the second quarter and net income of USD22 million in the third quarter of 2019, said Chemweek. The company puts adjusted earnings per share of USD2.76-2.94, well ahead of the average analyst estimate of 69 cents, as compiled by Refinitiv (New York). Trinseo expects adjusted EBITDA of USD100-104 million, up sequentially from a loss of USD8 million up year-over-year (YOY) from USD88 million. Volumes were comparable, YOY, and margins improved YOY in most segments. Frank Bozich, president and CEO, says strong market conditions have continued into the fourth quarter. "We observed a strong recovery in demand in the third quarter, most notably in automotive, construction, and appliance applications, says Bozich. This demand recovery supplemented continued strength in packaging, protective sheeting, and consumer electronics, which had been more resilient through the COVID-19 pandemic. The momentum in demand recovery has thus far extended into October and we are hopeful that it will continue throughout the quarter."

3. Clariant re-launches pigments unit sale, with multiple bidders

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Clariant is relaunching the sale of its pigments unit, after putting the auction on hold as the coronavirus pandemic engulfed the world and disrupted talks with prospective buyers, reported Reuters with reference to the Swiss specialty chemicals company's statement. The Muttenz-based company is expected to send out information packages to prospective buyers of the unit this month, and people familiar with the preparations added that buyout groups including PAI, Lone Star, Triton and SK Capital are expected to express interest. The potential bidders declined to comment or were not immediately available for comment.

4. Saudi Aramco, SABIC to reassess plans for Yanbu crude to chemicals complex

MOSOW (MRC) -- Saudi Aramco and Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) have decided to reevaluate their crude-oil-to-chemicals project in Yanbu on the kingdom's west coast, reported S&P Global with reference to an Oct. 18 statement on the Tadawul stock exchange, as they slash spending due to low prices. The USD20 billion project may be downsized to use Aramco's existing facilities in the port city, instead of building a new plant, the statement posted by SABIC said. "Both parties intend to re-evaluate the scope of the crude-oil-to-chemicals (COTC) complex project and study the integration of Saudi Aramco's existing refineries in Yanbu with a world-scale mixed feed steam cracker and downstream olefin derivative units," the statement said. The COTC project was announced in November 2017, before Aramco announced it intended to acquire a majority stake of SABIC. At the time, the project was intended to process 400,000 b/d of crude oil, to produce about 9 million mt/yr of chemicals and base oils, after entering commercial operation in 2025. In 2018, the project management and front-end engineering contracts were awarded to Wood and KBR, respectively. It was part of an ambitious downstream push by Aramco to double its crude processing capacity to create outlets for its crude oil. But Aramco, the world's biggest company, has been severely hit by the oil price downturn and diminishing demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

5. Crude oil futures fall on bearish US export data, escalating coronavirus restrictions

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Crude futures fell during mid-morning Asian trade Oct. 16, extending overnight losses, as a decline in US exports and escalating coronavirus restrictions overshadowed the large draw in US crude inventories, reported S&P Global. At 10.45 am Singapore time (0245 GMT), ICE Brent December crude futures were down 30 cents/b (0.7%) from the Oct. 15 settle to USD42.86/b, while the NYMEX November light sweet crude contract was down 26 cents/b (0.63%) at USD40.70 /b. Both international crude markets had dipped 0.37% and 0.19% to settle at USD43.16/b and USD40.96/b, respectively, on Oct. 15.
Author:Margaret Volkova
Tags:bioplastics, pigments, PP, PS, PE, crude and gaz condensate, petrochemistry, adhesives, paints and coatings, Clariant International, Sabic, Saudi Aramco, Trinseo (Styron), COVID-19.
Category:General News
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