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COVID-19 - News digest as of 12.02.2021

February 12/2021

1. Evonik expands lipids production to support Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Evonik Industries says it is expanding its partnership with BioNTech (Mainz, Germany) to increase supply security for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and is investing in a short-term production expansion for specialty lipids, essential for messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) COVID-19 vaccines, reported Chemweek. The company says that "commercial lipid quantities" are to be produced at Evonik�s Hanau and Dossenheim, Germany, sites as early as the second half of 2021. Further details have not been disclosed. "The pandemic requires decisive action," says Christian Kullmann, chairman of Evonik. "We are therefore doing everything possible to supply our partners with the critical lipids they need. At the same time, we are expanding our production capacity and competencies along the entire value chain."

2. Gail petchem business swings to operating profit

MOSCOW (MRC) -- State-owned gas utility GAIL India Ltd on Wednesday reported a 170 per cent jump in its fourth-quarter net profit, as lower corporate tax rate offset lower petrochemical and natural gas prices, said Chemweek. Net profit in January-March 2020 at Rs 3,018.20 crore, or Rs 6.69 per share, was 169 per cent higher than Rs 1,122.23 crore, or Rs 2.49 a share, net profit in the corresponding quarter a year ago, GAIL Chairman and Managing Director Manoj Jain told reporters here. Jain said the company opted for lower corporate tax rates offered by the government to firms willing to forego exemptions. The lower tax rate offset a dip in petrochemical, liquid hydrocarbon and natural gas prices. Besides, leading to a dip in energy prices, the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic and the ensuing lockdown to contain its spread also evaporated demand after industries shut down. Jain said natural gas demand fell by up to 30 per cent in April as industries shut down and city gas operations comprising of mainly CNG sales saw a slump with vehicles going off road. The demand has since returned to near normal after lifting of the restrictions. "Except for CNG, we are near normal," he said adding that pre-COVID-19 levels for CNG sales are expected in two months.

3. Total eyes stable oil, gas output in 2021 after OPEC+ cuts hit Q4 production

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Total expects to hold its oil and gas production flat in 2021, after OPEC+ cuts, field declines, and asset sales saw its output shrink 9% year on year in the fourth quarter, reported S&P Global with reference to the French energy major"s statement on Feb. 9. Reporting stronger than expected fourth-quarter earnings, Total said its production averaged 2.84 million b/d of oil equivalent in the period. With production volumes in Libya now recovering, however, Total said it expects production to be stable this year compared with 2020, when it pumped an average of 2.87 million boe/d. Underlining plans to accelerate its transformation into an integrated energy company, Total said it plans to change its name to TotalEnergies to reflect its ambition to transition to carbon neutrality.

4. Crude retreats as demand uncertainty prompts profit-taking

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Crude oil futures settled lower Feb. 11, retreating from 13-month highs as traders booked profits amid mixed demand outlooks, reported S&P Global. NYMEX March WTI settled 44 cents lower at USD58.24/b, and ICE April Brent declined 36 cents to USD61.11/b. The International Energy Agency on Feb. 11 pointed to a tightening oil market this year, despite lowering its estimate of the recovery in global oil demand and seeing improving non-OPEC supply growth. The Paris-based agency predicts global oil demand will grow by 5.4 million b/d in 2021 to reach 96.4 million b/d, noting this would be around 60% of the volume lost to the pandemic in 2020. This is the fourth straight month the IEA has lowered its demand outlook, given the challenges the world is having in reining in COVID-19, as it shifted its optimism to the second half of the year.
Author:Margaret Volkova
Tags:Europe, crude and gaz condensate, medicine, petrochemistry, adhesives, Evonik, Gail India Ltd, Total Petrochemicals, COVID-19, India, USA.
Category:General News
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