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COVID-19 - News digest as of 19.02.2021

February 19/2021

1. Woodside aims to seal LNG plant stake sale ahead of USD11-B gas project go-ahead

MOSCOW (MRC) - Woodside Petroleum expects strong buyer interest in the sale of a share of a new production unit at its Pluto LNG plant, top executives said on Thursday, a precondition for a planned USD11 B expansion at its Scarborough gas and Pluto project, said Reuters. The renewed push by Australia"s biggest independent gas producer on the 8-MMtpy expansion project comes after last year"s COVID-19 induced collapse in oil and gas prices drove its underlying annual profit down 58% to USD447 MM. The result was well short of analysts" forecasts, which sent its shares down as much as 3.7% after the result was released on Thursday. Woodside is looking to sell a 50% stake in the new production unit, or train, at the Pluto LNG plant in Western Australia, which will be fed with gas from the Scarborough project. Selling a stake would be key to avoiding a capital raising or a credit downgrade.

2. Cloudy outlook for stalled jet fuel demand recovery

MOSCOW (MRC) - Hopes of a speedy aviation recovery this year have been knocked back by global travel restrictions after the emergence of new coronavirus variants and a slower than expected vaccination rollout, dimming the outlook for jet fuel demand and oil prices, said Reuters. Jet fuel suffered the biggest demand decline among oil products as aviation activity collapsed last year and is seen by market participants as one of the main factors influencing 2021 oil demand growth, given the lingering uncertainties. Almost 10% of total oil demand in OECD countries was for jet fuel in 2019, dropping to 6% in 2020, International Energy Agency (IEA) data shows. By comparison, gasoline demand remained around 30% in both 2019 and 2020.

3. Oil rises 1% as Texas freeze prompts U.S. production drop

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Oil climbed more than 1% on Wednesday as frigid Texas temperatures curtailed production in the largest US crude producing state, with the unusual cold weather expected to hamper output for days or even weeks, reported Reuters. Brent crude gained 72 cents, or 1.1%, to USD64.07 a barrel by 1:23 p.m. EST (1823 GMT) while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose USD0.73, or 1.2%, to USD60.78/bbl. Oil has been supported by OPEC+ supply curbs, Saudi Arabia"s additional cuts and hopes of a demand rebound due to COVID-19 vaccinations.

4. Grace loss widens on weak refinery catalysts demand

MOSCOW (MRC) -- W.R. Grace reports a fourth-quarter loss of USD43.5 million, down from a net loss of USD28.3 million in the year-ago quarter, as weak demand for transportation fuels amid the COVID-19 pandemic continues to suppress demand for the company�s refinery catalysts, reported Chemweek. Results include a a pre-tax non-cash pension mark-to-market adjustment of USD94.6 million. Adjusted earnings of USD0.88/share was down 32.8% YOY but beat the analysts� consensus estimate by two cents, as reported by Refinitiv (New York).  Net sales declined 6.8% YOY, to USD470.2 million

5. Crude oil futures gain on US inventory draw, shale supply disruption

MOSCOW (MRC) --The rally in crude oil futures prices gained momentum during midmorning trade in Asia Feb. 18, drawing strength from a large estimated draw in US crude inventory reported by the American Petroleum Institute for the week ended Feb. 12, and ongoing supply disruptions in US shale production due to freezing temperatures, reported S&P Global. At 11:04 am Singapore time (0304 GMT), the ICE April Brent contract was up USD1.12/b (1.74%) from the Feb. 17 settle at USD65.46/b while the NYMEX March light sweet crude contract was up 88 cents/b (1.44%) at USD62.03/b. API"s weekly crude oil inventory report estimated a 5.8 million barrel draw in the week ended Feb. 12, higher than analysts" expectations, contributed to the bullish sentiment in the market.
Author:Margaret Volkova
Tags:PP, PE, shale gas, medicina, crude and gaz condensate, gas processing, petrochemistry, W.R. Grace, COVID-19, Asia, USA.
Category:General News
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