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COVID-19 - News digest as of 16.02.2021

February 16/2021

1. Marathon Oil lays off 5% of workforce as part of cost-cut plans

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Marathon Oil Corp has laid off around 100 U.S. employees, or about 5% of its total workforce, a company spokeswoman told Reuters, days after the oil and gas producer cut salaries for top executives and board members, said Reuters. Although oil prices have raced back above the pre-pandemic level of $60 per barrel in recent months, producers are focusing on improving balance sheets instead of raising output, as demand forecasts hinge on vaccine rollouts. Marathon Oil's spokeswoman said the company's actions were part of its "commitment to continuously optimize our cost structure."

2. Asia distillates-gasoil cracks climb amid hopes for stronger demand

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Asian refining margins for 10 ppm gasoil rose on Monday, hovering close to multi-month highs touched last week, buoyed by expectations for firmer demand and tighter supplies in coming months, reported Reuters. Refining margins, also known as cracks, for 10 ppm gasoil climbed to USD7.34 per barrel over Dubai crude during Asian trading hours, compared with USD7.01 a barrel in the last trading session on Thursday. Cracks for the benchmark gasoil grade in Singapore have surged 22.7% so far this month, Refinitiv Eikon data showed. The regional gasoil market is expected to strengthen further as countries roll out wider vaccinations in coming days that would boost economic recovery and fuel demand, market watchers said. Cash differentials for gasoil with 10 ppm sulfur content were at a narrow premium of USD0.01/bbl to Singapore quotes, compared with a discount of $0.04/bbl on Thursday.

3. Japan quake knocks out 20% of country refining capacity

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Japanese refiners led by the biggest, Eneos Corp, shut down a fifth of the country's crude oil refining capacity after a powerful earthquake struck northeastern Japan knocking out power, bullet train lines and injuring more than 150 people, reported Reuters. They refinery shutdowns in the world's fourth-biggest oil importer are another potential hit after the pandemic led to the evaporation of crude demand over the last year. As much as 743,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil-processing capacity has been idled, nearly 22% of Japan's roughly 3.4 million bpd capacity.

4. US petroleum stocks nearing normal after wild 2020

MOSCOW (MRC) -- US petroleum inventories ended last year approaching normal levels, as excess crude and product stocks accumulated during the Saudi-Russian volume war and coronavirus lockdowns were absorbed successfully, reported Reuters. Total stocks of crude and products, excluding oil stored in the strategic petroleum reserve, ended the year 6% above the seasonal average for the previous five years, down from a surplus of 14% at the start of July. Excess petroleum inventories were still in the 74th percentile for all weeks since the start of 1995, on the high side, but down from a surplus in 92nd percentile at the middle of the year.

5. Crude oil futures strengthen amid demand recovery hopes, supply tightness

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Crude oil futures strengthened during mid-morning trade in Asia Feb. 15 as the demand outlook brightened on hopes that the coronavirus pandemic is abating and on expectations of an upcoming stimulus package from the US, reported S&P Global. The gains are also buoyed by the tightness in supply from OPEC+ production cuts and supplemented by disrupted production in the US. At 10:52 am Singapore time (0252 GMT), the ICE Brent April contract was up by USD1.26/b (2.01%) from the Feb. 12 settle to USD63.68/b, while the March NYMEX light sweet crude contract was up USD1.26/b (2.11%) to USD60.73/b. The progress made in combating the coronavirus pandemic globally contributed to the strong outlook for economic recovery across the broader financial markets, including oil.

6. POLYPLASTIC spent 2,4 million Rb on coronavirus prevention in 2020

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The total amount of R&P POLYPLASTICs expenditures for activities on protecting its employees from COVID-19 and resisting further spread of coronavirus in 2020 equaled to over 2.4 million Rubles, said the company. In total almost 1 400 pairs of gloves and 16 000 protection single use and reusable masks were purchased for the companys production plants. R&P POLYPLASTIC compensated the cost of COVID-19 test to their employees and purchased express-tests. Industrial premises were cleaned with special means of disinfection, all public areas were equipped with antibacterial gels and sanitizers. The cost of protective measures amounted to 1.8 million Rubles and in terms of equivalent amount for each worker 3 292 Rubles/person. The amount is comparable to similar costs of petrochemical industry giants.
Author:Margaret Volkova
Tags:crude and gaz condensate, medicine, petrochemistry, adhesives, Marathon, Polyplastics Co, COVID-19, Asia, USA, Japan.
Category:General News
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