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COVID-19 - News digest as of 17.03.2021

March 17/2021

1. European Council endorses EU sustainable chemicals strategy

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The European Council has endorsed the EU's chemicals strategy for sustainability, adopted by the EU Commission in October 2020, reported Chemweek. The council has directed the commission to implement the actions laid down in the strategy, including targeted amendments to streamline EU chemicals legislation, substituting and minimizing substances of concern, and phasing out the most harmful chemicals for non-essential societal uses. The chemicals strategy is an essential part of the EU Green Deal and its zero-pollution ambition, as well as a key component in the EU recovery plan from the COVID-19 crisis.

2. Petrochemicals to de-risk Indian refiners conventional fuels businesses

MOSCOW (MRC) -- India is becoming one of the worlds largest economies, driving consumer trends that affect chemical consumption - a massive, opening market. Meanwhile, changes resulting from the energy transition are driving new investment patterns in the country, with an increased focus on petrochemical opportunities, reported Chemweek. New government regulations are enabling this change, driving India toward a basket of energy sources and refinery/petrochemical integration. The India forum, held on Friday during IHS Markits World Petrochemical Conference (WPC) 2021, being held in a virtual format, moderated by Ravi Narayanaswamy, vice president/business development at IHS Markit, addressed these themes as well as the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the lessons learned, and what the future holds for the post-COVID world. Some of the habits formed during the pandemic, for example the working-from-home culture, will result in a lesser commute, leading to lesser demand, he said.

3. Crude oil down as inventories and COVID vaccine halt threaten demand

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Oil prices fell for a third day, as a recovery in demand was threatened by rising US inventories and moves by Germany, France and some other European states to suspend the use of a major coronavirus vaccine, reported Reuters. Brent was down USD1.11 cents, or 1.6%, at USD67.77 a barrel by 1325 GMT. U.S. crude fell USD1.17, or 1.7%, at USD64.22. Germany, France and Italy said they would suspend the use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine after reports about possible serious side effects, although the World Health Organization said there was no established link to the vaccine.

4. Pandemic impacts olefins, feedstocks, project schedules

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on olefins markets around the world has seen demand for some feedstocks suffer while others have surged, with the collapse in oil prices also causing normally feedstock-advantaged regions such as the Middle East to stall or potentially cancel new projects, according to Chemweek with reference to IHS Markit experts at the World Petrochemical Conference (WPC) 2021, being held in an online format. COVID cut into US liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) production and saw US export growth take a short-term pause, according to Walt Hart, vice president/global natural gas liquids at IHS Markit, speaking in a panel discussion on olefins, feedstocks, and derivatives. LPG production should begin to grow again, however, with US exports to remain the largest in the world, he says. LPG demand remained relatively strong throughout the COVID crisis, he said.

5. Wacker swings to profit despite sales dip on lower volumes, prices

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Wacker Chemie reports net profit for 2020 of EUR202.3 million (USD241.2 million), swinging from a net loss of EUR629.6 million, despite a 4.8% decline in sales to EUR4.69 billion due to the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on volumes and prices, reported Chemweek. The loss in 2019, as noted in a financial update provided by the company in February, was mainly the result of an impairment charge of EUR760.0 million that Wacker recognized related to its polysilicon production facilities that year, it says. EBITDA declined 14.9% year on year to 666.3 million, while EBIT of EUR262.8 million compared with a loss of EUR536.3 million in 2019.
Author:Margaret Volkova
Tags:Asia, Europe, PP, PE, EVA, crude and gaz condensate, propylene, copolymer, ethylene, compounding, gas processing, petrochemistry, Wacker, COVID-19, USA, South Korea.
Category:General News
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