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COVID-19 - News digest as of 23.11.2020

November 23/2020

1. Imperial Oil to boost spending, slightly raise output amid volatile recovery

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Canada"s Imperial Oil , one of the country"s biggest crude producers and refiners, said that it would raise capital spending and production next year as a volatile recovery of energy demand continues, reported Reuters. Chief Executive Brad Corson said at the company�s virtual investor day presentation that a recovery in global energy demand looked to be �highly uncertain� and dependent on the spread of COVID-19. Pandemic travel restrictions have crushed fuel demand, depressing oil prices and forcing producers to cut costs and jobs.

2. Successful start-up of LAMINOL sulfur removal and recovery unit for Antwerp refinery

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Frames has supplied, and successfully commissioned, a hydrogen sulfide (H2S) removal unit, based on Frames� proprietary LAMINOL technology, to a refinery in Antwerp, Belgium, said Canplastics. With significantly lower cost of ownership than conventional caustic scrubbers and solid bed type H2S removal processes, the LAMINOL process is suitable for low to mid sulfur loads. Researching the most effective solution to comply with the refinery�s stringent flue gas SOX emission limits, various technologies were evaluated during the conceptual design phase, including flue gas treatment and caustic scrubbers. Frames� LAMINOL technology was selected as most effective, while meeting the refinery�s total cost of ownership requirements. Working to a fast track schedule, the modular H2S removal system was quickly installed and commissioned.

3. Crude oil futures edge lower on EIA data, pandemic concerns

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Crude oil futures ticked lower during morning trade in Asia Nov. 19, after data from the Energy Information Administration showed a small build in US commercial crude inventories, and as concerns over the uninhibited progression of the coronavirus pandemic festered in the market, reported S&P Global. At 10:26 am Singapore time (0226 GMT), ICE Brent January crude futures were down 9 cents/b (0.20%) from the Nov. 18 settle at USD44.25/b, while the NYMEX December light sweet crude contract was down 18 cents/b (0.43%) at USD41.64/b. Both ICE Brent January contract and December WTI contract rose on Nov. 18 after Pfizer and BioNtech said that a final analysis of clinical-trial data showed that their vaccine was 95% effective, and that they would submit an application for US regulatory authorization in the coming days.

4. Smart policy will drive sustainability - Dow CEO

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The chemical industry"s focus on sustainability has continued to strengthen despite disruptions caused by COVID-19, reported Chemweek with reference to Dow CEO Jim Fitterling. Speaking on 18 November at the Chemical Industry Financial Outlook and Sustainability Forum and Awards 2020, held online by Chemical Week, he said the industry has continued to develop its strategy and to set new targets for reducing plastic waste and carbon dioxide emissions. However, the transition to sustainability has a cost, and smart policy-making will be key to encouraging the necessary investment, he added. "I think a lot of people, their natural reaction would be we"ve been so focused on COVID that we forgot about plastics and we forgot about the climate," Fitterling observed. "My sense is that isn"t the case. We"ve seen much stronger engagement in Europe, much stronger engagement here (in the US) around the issues."

5. Oil prices rise on vaccine bullishness despite COVID-19 surge

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Crude oil prices rose Nov. 20 on news that the first COVID-19 vaccine doses could be available by the end of the year, but the reaction was tempered by rising coronavirus cases in North America and Europe and the fear of family gatherings during the upcoming US Thanksgiving holiday further escalating the pandemic, reported S&P Global. On the final day of trading for the NYMEX WTI December contract, front-month NYMEX WTI rose 52 cents to settle at USD42.42/b for the week while ICE January Brent jumped 76 cents to settle at USD44.96/b. "Crude prices are set for a third consecutive weekly gain on vaccine optimism, but the near-term outlook will likely prevent any significant moves higher as the likelihood of more lockdowns grows," said Edward Moya, senior market analyst with OANDA.

6. Chemical M&A market robust despite COVID-19

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Having face-to-face interaction as part of the M&A process is difficult during the pandemic, which has created a new norm in the M&A world, making due diligence �more critical than ever,� reported Chemweek with reference to Kevin Yttre, president and managing director at Grace Matthews. However, Yttre and Mukta Sharma, managing director/chemical consulting at IHS Markit, said during a discussion on Thursday at CW�s Chemical Industry Financial Outlook and Sustainability Forum and Awards 2020, held in a virtual format, that chemical companies could prefer M&A to investing in new projects in the current environment, due to the growth slowdown caused by COVID-19.
Author:Margaret Volkova
Tags:Asia, Europe, PP, PE, crude and gaz condensate, propylene, ethylene, petrochemistry, Dow, COVID-19, USA.
Category:General News
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