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COVID-19 - News digest as of 18.01.2021

January 18/2021

1. Global chemicals output climbs for sixth month

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Data collected and tabulated by the American Chemistry Council (ACC) show that global chemicals production rose 1.9% in November, up from 1.7% in October and extending the recovery that began in June. During November, chemical production grew in all regions except the Former Soviet Union (FSU), said Hydrocarbonprocessing. Headline global production was up 3.7% year-over-year (Y/Y) on a three-month moving average (3MMA) basis and is now 2.9% above the pre-COVID peak last December. Global output stood at 122.0 percent of its average 2012 levels. During November, global capacity rose 0.1% and was up 2.2% Y/Y. With improving production, capacity utilization in the global chemical industry rose 1.5 points to 82.9%. This is up from 81.7% in October and the pre-COVID peak in December 2019, but below the long-term (1987-2017) average of 86.5%.

2. Crude falls as COVID-19 concerns take center stage after outbreak in China

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Crude oil futures tumbled during the mid-morning trade in Asia Jan. 18, as rising coronavirus cases in China raised fresh demand-side concerns, while the spread of mutated strains of the virus also weighed down sentiment in the market, reported S&P Global. At 11:10 am Singapore time (0310 GMT), the ICE Brent March contract was down 45 cents/b (0.82%) from the Jan. 15 settle to USD54.65/b, while the February NYMEX light sweet crude contract was down 38 cents/b (0.73%) to $51.98/b. The Brent marker had fallen 1.59% in the week ended Jan. 15 to USD55.10/b, whereas the NYMEX light sweet crude marker had ticked up 0.23% to USD52.36/b. The fall in oil futures comes as a jump in coronavirus cases in China threatened to derail crude's demand recovery.

3. Ineos reschedules Antwerp olefins project, cracker to precede PDH unit

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Ineos says it is rescheduling its EUR5-billion ($6 billion) olefins project at Antwerp, Belgium, and will build the planned complexs ethane cracker before its propane dehydrogenation (PDH) plant, according to Chemweek. When it announced the project in January 2019, Ineos said the PDH unit and cracker would be built at the same time with the PDH facility due onstream a year ahead of the cracker. The decision reflects anticipated demand for ethylene relative to propylene, Ineos says. There is a growing need for ethylene, and it makes more sense for us to build the cracker first and then the PDH unit, the company says in a statement. We are simply rephasing the project. Ineos confirms that work on the planned complex, called Project One, is "continuing." Ineos has not provided details of the revised schedule. The company updated CW in mid-2020 on the Antwerp project and said it was at the front-end engineering and design (FEED) phase with a final investment decision expected in 2021. The company awarded a FEED contract to SK Engineering & Construction for the 750,000-metric tons/year PDH unit, which will use Lummus Catofin technology.

4. US EPA eyes extending refinery biofuel deadlines, no action on waivers

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The US Environmental Protection Agency said it would propose to extend deadlines for refiners to prove compliance with biofuel laws, but signaled it would not decide on a slew of pending waiver requests submitted by the industry, reported Reuters. The agencys proposal represented mixed news for refiners hard hit by slumping energy demand during the coronavirus pandemic and eager to sidestep regulatory costs associated with US biofuel blending policy. It also marks one of the last actions from President Donald Trumps EPA before he leaves office on Jan. 20. The agency said it is proposing to extend the compliance deadline for 2019 biofuel blending obligations to Nov. 30, 2021, and an associated deadline for submission of attest engagement reports to June 1, 2022. The EPA is also proposing to extend the 2020 deadlines to Jan. 31, 2022, and June 1, 2022.
Author:Margaret Volkova
Tags:Asia, Europe, PP, PE, crude and gaz condensate, propylene, ethylene, petrochemistry, Ineos, COVID-19, China, USA.
Category:General News
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