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COVID-19 - News digest as of 15.02.2021

February 15/2021

1. U.S. expected to return to being a net petroleum importer in 2021 and 2022

MOSCOW (MRC) -- More petroleum (including crude oil and refined products) was exported from the United States in 2020 than was imported. U.S. net imports (gross imports minus gross exports) of petroleum declined from 670,000 barrels per day (bpd) in 2019 to an estimated -700,000 bpd in 2020, said Hydrocarbonprocessing. The U.S. Energy Information Administrations (EIA) February 2021 Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) estimates that 2020 marked the first year that the United States was a net petroleum exporter on an annual basis. Declining net imports of crude oil primarily drove this change from being a net importer to a net exporter. In 2021 and 2022, EIA expects the United States to return to being a net petroleum importer, averaging 230,000 bpd in 2021 and 550,000 bpd in 2022. The STEO model forecasts petroleum trade in terms of net imports rather than gross imports and gross exports. In 2020, 81% of the decline in net imports of petroleum was crude oil. EIA expects that increasing crude oil imports will drive the growth in net petroleum imports in 2021 and 2022 and more than offset declines in refined product net imports.

2. Australian refinery closure adds to litany of energy, climate failures

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The closure of one of Australia's last remaining oil refineries, carbon border taxes in Europe and a proposal for the world's biggest battery storage plant may seem unrelated at first glance, said Hydrocarbonprocessing. But they all speak to the ongoing failure of Australia's conservative government to produce a coherent energy and climate change policy, one that gains public and business sector support and recognizes the reality of a changing world. It's no secret that many leading members of Prime Minister Scott Morrison's Liberal-National coalition government are in favor of ongoing, and increased, use of fossil fuels over renewable alternatives. But it seems the federal government can't even get a fossil fuel policy that works, and the closure of the Exxon Mobil oil refinery in Melbourne is a case in point. The U.S. oil major announced on Wednesday that it plans to shut its 90,000 barrels per day Altona refinery in Australia's second-largest city and convert the 72-year-old plant to an import and storage terminal.

3. Mitsui Chemicals reports higher profit on lower sales, raises forecast

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Mitsui Chemicals has registered 6.4% growth in net profit for the fiscal first nine months ended 31 December, to Yen 33 billion (USD313 million), compared with ?31 billion in the year-ago period. Operating income fell 6% year on year (YOY) to Yen 51.9 billion on net sales of Yen 857.4 billion, down 15% YOY, according to Chemweek. Selling prices decreased in line with lower costs of naphtha and other raw materials, the company adds. Mitsui's mobility unit registered a 41.0% YOY decline in operating income to Yen 19.5 billion, with a 21.4% decline in sales to ?220.8 billion. The segment was hurt by poor demand for cars. The company says the elastomers, performance compounds, overseas polypropylene (PP) compounds, and solutions businesses performed weakly because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Sales were healthy in performance polymers, and demand for information communication technology products was solid.

4. Crude rally extends as COVID-19 vaccine rollouts boost demand outlooks

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Crude futures climbed to fresh 13-month highs Feb. 12 as oil demand outlooks improved amid signs of progress on US COVID-19 vaccination distribution and a coronavirus stimulus package, reported S&P Global. NYMEX March WTI settled up USD1.23 at USD59.47/b and ICE April Brent climbed USD1.30 to USD62.44/b. President Joe Biden announced late Feb. 11 that the US has secured deals to buy 200 million more COVID-19 vaccines from producers Moderna and Pfizer, boosting optimism that a rapid rollout of doses will lead to a robust oil demand recovery in the second half of the year. "The crude demand outlook looks like it could get its best-case scenario as Americans who want a COVID[-19] vaccine will be able to get it by April," OANDA senior market analyst Edward Moya said in a note. "WTI crude is having an amazing February and given the strength heading into a long weekend, it seems energy traders are hesitant on scaling back." Meanwhile, the president's USD1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill continued to advance through Congress, with the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee passing a USD940 billion portion of the package that included a third round of direct relief payments totaling USD1,400.
Author:Margaret Volkova
Tags:Asia, PP, PE, crude and gaz condensate, propylene, ethylene, medicine, petrochemistry, packaging, Exxon Mobil, Mitsui, COVID-19, Australia, USA, Japan.
Category:General News
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