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Versalis loss narrows on recovering PE margins, strengthening Asian recovery

February 24/2021

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Versalis, the chemicals subsidiary of Eni (Rome, Italy), has reported an adjusted operating loss of EUR45 million (USD54.5 million) for the fourth quarter, narrowing from a loss of EUR124 million a year earlier, said Chemweek.

The improvement was driven by stable sales volumes and recovering margins, particularly in the polyethylene business, it says. The loss also improves sequentially from EUR53 million in the third quarter of 2020. Strengthening economic recovery in Asia in the final part of the year, softening competitive pressures, and improved margins supported the segments recovery in the fourth quarter, which also benefitted from higher product availability, it says. The recovery in PE margins in the quarter was driven by higher demand and lower imports into Europe, it adds.

Petrochemical product sales volumes totaled 1.33 million metric tons in the fourth quarter, up 27% year on year (YOY), driven by higher volumes of intermediates due to better product availability, and higher demand for PE, elastomers, and styrenics, particularly in the appliance and packaging sector, Versalis says. Sales were also higher sequentially than the third-quarter total of 1.1 million metric tons. The average chemicals plant utilization rate also improved substantially, rising to 75%, up 9% both YOY and sequentially.

Margins improved mainly in the PE segment, with widening spreads versus ethylene, and also in styrenics/elastomers due to lower feedstock prices. In the fourth quarter and in the full year, the cracker margin reported an increase as a result of the reduction of the feedstock prices and positive exchange rate effects, it says.

For the full-year 2020, the chemicals business reported an adjusted operating loss of EUR229 million, narrowing from EUR268 million in 2019. Sales were up 1% from 2019 thanks to a positive performance in the intermediates, styrenics, and PE segments due to higher product demand, partly offset by a general reduction in elastomers volumes due to weaker demand in main end-markets, particularly the automotive sector, Versalis says.

Parent company Eni has also committed to the full decarbonization of all our products and processes to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, says Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi. The energy giant has upgraded its net-zero emission goals, targeting a 25% reduction by 2030 versus 2018 levels, and a 65% reduction by 2040.

Other targets include doubling existing biorefining capacity to around 2 million metric tons/year by 2024, then further expanding that capacity by a multiple of five by 2050. It will also increase its use of biogas, waste, and recycling final products. Eni says that its biorefineries will also be palm-oil free by 2023, with a growing input of feedstock coming from waste and residues that will account for approximately 80% of the total in 2024 versus 20% today."

As per MRC, Versalis S.p.A. (San Donato Milanese), the chemical company of Italian energy major Eni, has licensed to Enter Engineering Pte. Ltd. a Low-Density Polyethylene/Ethyl Vinyl Acetate (LDPE/EVA) swing unit to be built as part of a new Gas-to-Chemical Complex based on MTO-Methanol to Olefins technology to be located in the Karakul area in the Bukhara region of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

Ethylene and propylene are feedstocks for producing polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP).

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 2,220,640 tonnes in 2020, up by 2% year on year. Only shipments of low density polyethylene (LDPE) and high density polyethylene (HDPE) increased. At the same time, polypropylene (PP) shipments to the Russian market reached 1 240,000 tonnes in 2020 (calculated using the formula: production, minus exports, plus imports, excluding producers' inventories as of 1 January, 2020).

Eni is an Italian multinational oil and gas company headquartered in Rome. It has operations in in 79 countries, and is currently Italy's largest industrial company. The Italian government owns a 30.3% golden share in the company, 3.93% held through the state Treasury and 26.37% held through the Cassa depositi e prestiti. Another 39.40% of the shares are held by BNP Paribas.
Author:Anna Larionova
Tags:petroleum products, crude oil, PP, PE, Eni, Versalis.
Category:General News
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