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ICIS leading business barometer falls for second month in May
ICIS leading business barometer falls for second month in May
HOUSTON (ICIS)–The ICIS leading business barometer (LBB) fell for the second consecutive month in May, getting closer to indicating a recession. The barometer reached 131.4 in May, down from 132.5 in April and 133.0 in March. A recession call would occur if the barometer fell for three consecutive months and if its cumulative decline reached 3%. So far, the barometer has fallen for two consecutive months and the May figure is down by 1.2% from March. Year on year, the May LBB rose by 2.5%, a much slower rate than in previous months. Uncertainty in stock markets caused the decline. That uncertainty reflected monetary policy at the Federal Reserve and geopolitical events. “In summary, the latest reading indicates that business activity will appreciably slow,” said Kevin Swift, ICIS senior economist. Issues facing companies including lingering supply-chain bottlenecks, capacity constraints in several industries and widespread labour shortages, he said. “Uncertainty about the future is very high due to tightening Federal Reserve policy, the war in Ukraine and the surge in energy costs.” The share of expanding indicators, called diffusion, fell to 53% from 65% in May. Among the indicators rising were production-related ones for materials and other industries sensitive to cyclical fluctuations. Trends appear to be positive for construction-related materials, materials used in other durable goods, and materials used in packaging and for consumer and institutional applications. Performance chemistry for industry rose. Inventory and other broader leading economic measures increased. Selling prices as well as costs for raw materials and other inputs increased. Equity prices were mixed. The ICIS LBB is derived from 17 indicators relating to the production of materials and other industries sensitive to cyclical fluctuations; raw material and input prices; selling prices; hours worked; relative equity prices; industry sales-to-inventories; and several broader economic leading economic measures. Monthly data on the ICIS leading business barometer are available back to January 1947. The ICIS leading business barometer leads at US business cycle peaks by seven months on average and four months at business cycle troughs. The following chart shows the LBB.
INTERVIEW: High energy prices to boost sustainability
      megatrend – Covestro CFO
INTERVIEW: High energy prices to boost sustainability megatrend – Covestro CFO
NEW YORK (ICIS)–Germany-based Covestro sees higher oil and gas prices driving not only the energy transition to electric vehicles (EVs) and renewable power but also greater use of insulation to enhance energy efficiency, making it well positioned to capitalise on these trends, its chief financial officer (CFO) said. “Energy prices going up in the mid-to-long term is a positive for us as energy efficiency programmes become more important. MDI [methylene diphenyl diisocyanate] is the best insulation used in refrigerators and buildings, and EVs use 3-5 times more polycarbonate (PC) versus traditional cars,” said Covestro CFO Thomas Toepfer in an interview with ICIS in New York. Covestro also produces polyurethane coatings and composites for wind turbine blades to make them lower cost and more durable, he noted. “If we can increase the lifetime of an offshore wind turbine by 2-3 years, there is a huge difference in investment returns,” said Toepfer. PC is used in EV battery packaging systems for thermal management as well as electric powertrain parts and other light-weighting applications. “The move to renewable energy, EVs and energy efficiency is helpful because we provide the products that enable this transition. It is a growth multiplier for our business,” said Toepfer. ENERGY IMPACT AND DEMANDCovestro, like all chemicals producers in Europe, is experiencing higher energy and raw materials costs, especially after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. However, in Q1 it was able to pass on over 90% of these costs to customers on strong demand, and it sees demand momentum carrying into Q2, he pointed out. Potential EU sanctions on oil imports from Russia would have minimal impact on the company as it buys key raw materials such as toluene and benzene on world markets, he said. “On the Russian gas question, it is much less on the agenda politically but if this is curtailed in Germany the entire industry would be affected, including Covestro. German policy does not support this because the economic impact would be very negative,” said Toepfer. For 2022, Covestro expects energy costs to jump to €1.5bn-2bn from €1.0bn in 2021 but the CFO sees this as manageable amid solid demand growth. “In Q1 over 90% of these costs were passed on. As long as there is demand strength, and that’s what we see, there will be a flow-through,” said Toepfer. Aside from China, which has been hampered by COVID lockdowns, demand growth is generally strong in Europe and North America as well as the rest of Asia, he noted. Covestro in early May took down its 2022 guidance for earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) by €500m to €2.0bn-2.5bn, on the China lockdowns, higher energy and raw materials costs and lower global economic growth projections. “About 50% of this was due to the China effect, and the other half linked to lower GDP projections. But as of the beginning of Q2, we’re not seeing margins going down so the momentum is continuing,” said Toepfer. AUTOMOTIVE OUTLOOKHowever, pockets of demand weakness include automotive, which continues to be constrained by the semiconductor shortage, as well as the furniture market in North America, which was one area cited by US big-box retailers in contributing to massive inventory build-ups in Q1. Automotive weakness is more supply driven, and could set the stage for a stronger 2023 and 2024, he said. “If you want to buy a new car in Germany, the waiting time can be one year. In the US it can be several months, and they are charging above list price which is pretty extraordinary. So the growth rate [this year] will be lower than initially expected but pent-up demand is building up, so 2023 and 2024 could be strong years,” said Toepfer. Thus far, it is “difficult to tell” when auto supply-chain issues will ease, as many expected this in 2022 and it is not happening so far, he added. On overall logistics and supply-chain constraints, Covestro is far less impacted than many other chemicals companies as it primarily produces for local markets, the executive said. “We are producing in regions for the regions, not depending much on ocean freight, so our local-for-local strategy is potentially much more successful during these times,” said Toepfer. Interview article by Joseph Chang
NOAA eyes busy Atlantic hurricane season amid La Niña, warmer
      ocean temperatures
NOAA eyes busy Atlantic hurricane season amid La Niña, warmer ocean temperatures
HOUSTON (ICIS)–The 2022 Atlantic hurricane season is likely to produce an above-average number of storms because of an ongoing La Niña and warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). NOAA forecasters are predicting between 14-21 named storms this season. A storm is named once it has sustained winds of 39 miles/hour (63 km/hour). Of those, six to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including three to six major hurricanes with winds of 111 mph or higher. NOAA said if its projections hold, this would be the seventh season in a row of above-average hurricane activity. The 2021 season produced 21 named storms, including seven hurricanes of which four were major hurricanes. Only two hurricanes made landfall in the US during the 2021 season, but one of them caused damage that is still impacting chemical markets today. Hurricane Ida  hit the central Louisiana coast as a category 4 hurricane on 29 August, bringing with it strong winds and flooding to the area which impacted chemical plants in the region. Ida tightened US chemical and polymer markets, including the chlor-alkali chain all the way through polyvinyl chloride (PVC), methylene diphenyl disocyanate (MDI) styrene, linear alpha olefins (LAO), phthalic anhydride (PA) and butanediol (BDO). During a La Niña weather pattern, hurricane activity in the central and eastern Pacific basins is suppressed and enhanced in the Atlantic basin. Hurricanes and tropical storms can disrupt the North American petrochemical industry, because many of the nation’s plants and refineries are along the US Gulf Coast in the states of Texas and Louisiana. Also, oil and gas production is concentrated in the Gulf of Mexico. Even the threat of a major storm can disrupt oil and natural gas supplies because companies often evacuate US Gulf platforms as a precaution. Petrochemical markets are already tight because of problems caused by logistical constraints and the busy hurricane season 2021. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from 1 June through 30 November.
INSIGHT: France setting the pace for PET chemical recycling
      in Europe
INSIGHT: France setting the pace for PET chemical recycling in Europe
LONDON (ICIS)–France is continuing to lead the way in the development of the polyethylene terephthalate chemical recycling industry in Europe, with a spate of new facility announcements set to build out capacity in the country. Chemical recycling increasingly seen as the route to large-scale plastic waste recycling French plant supply can help consumer brands reach recycled plastic content targets Key challenge to overcome remains collection and sorting of suitable feedstocks France will have three polyethylene terephthalate (PET) chemical recycling facilities opening by 2025, aiming to become the leader in new recycling technologies in Europe. Announcements from Eastman, Loop Industries and Carbios highlight not only the opportunities but also the challenges still facing the recycling industry. Namely, feedstocks. The announcements point to positive progression within the chemical recycling sector for PET, but also raises questions around Europe’s – and the world’s – ability to provide these new facilities with the material they need. Any new venture that requires plastic waste as a feedstock makes the established but supply constrained mechanical recycling sector nervous – especially if they view the new capacities as competition for raw materials. Source: ICIS Chemical Recycling Supply Tracker, 2022 NEW FACILITY INVESTMENTSLoop Industries announced that it has selected Port-Jerome-sur-Seine, in Normandy, as the site for a 70,000 tonne PET chemical recycling facility as part of the company’s partnership with Suez, with a projected investment of €250m. The plant will take in waste plastic feedstock, transported down the Seine River from the Paris region, and will use Loop’s proprietary depolymerisation technology, Infinite Loop, to break down the PET and polyester waste into its base monomers. This will be used to produce 100% R-PET resin and polyester fibre. Construction is expected to begin in 2023, with commissioning taking place 18 months later, though it remains unclear if the plant will reach commercial scale by 2025 to meet the EU’s target for 25% recycled content in all PET beverage bottles by 2025. US chemicals major Eastman also announced plans to invest up to $1bn in a hard-to-recycle PET waste methanolysis-based chemical recycling facility in France. These feedstocks include all types of PET packaging, carpets, and apparel. The facility would use Eastman’s polyester renewal technology via a methanolysis depolymerisation unit to chemically recycle up to 160,000 tonnes/year of PET waste that is currently incinerated. The total output capacity of the facility was not stated, as it is dependent on yields from the waste PET inputted. The plant it slated to be operational by 2025. Carbios and Indorama Ventures (IVL) have announced a joint venture to build an enzymatic-based PET chemical recycling plant at IVL’s PET production site in Longlaville, Meurthe-et-Moselle. The plant is expected to be operational in 2025 and will have a slated post-consumer PET waste input capacity of 50,000 tonnes/year. The investment is estimated at €150m for Carbios’ core technology, which includes the integration of an additional purification stage. A further €50m is reserved for the infrastructure preparation of the site. A feasibility study will be conducted for the industrialisation of Carbios’ technology on the IVL production site. The plant will use Carbios’ C-ZYME enzymatic recycling technology, referred to by Carbios as ‘bio-recycling’. Enzymatic recycling is also known as enzymatic hydrolysis and is a form of chemical recycling. Carbios’ recycling technology uses an enzyme capable of depolymerising PET, which is then purified before being repolymerised back into PET. The joint venture follows the set-up of a demonstration plant in Clermont-Ferrand that was established to essentially prove the process, which would support not only the build of a plant, but also others that are running under licensing agreements. THE QUESTION OF FEEDSTOCKS Chemical recycling requires waste to be sorted to specific grades, as certain contaminants can prove harmful to the process, such as high levels of polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Such grades of waste would be required at high volumes due to the low yields currently seen in chemical recycling processes. This is a new ask of the waste collectors/sorters, which requires much attention in terms of improving qualities and meeting end user specifications, as well as expansion of sorting capacities across the region. There are indications of investment in sorting in France, in particular. However, with other recycling projects announced for the market, it may not be enough in the near term. Reacting to news of the announcements, mechanical recycler sources in Europe expressed concerns about what type of material will be used as feedstock for the two sites, both of which state they will use either plastic waste or hard-to-recycle PET. The biggest concern from the mechanical side is whether the new facilities would look to compete for existing feedstocks. However, recyclers may rest slightly easier after both Loop and Eastman confirmed to ICIS they intend their individual sites to be complementary to the mechanical recycling process. “As Loop’s technology can recycle all manner of coloured and contaminated PET, often containing additives, dyes and other polymers, as well as polyester fiber, we present a solution that is complementary to mechanical recyclers,” Loop’s director for marketing communications Stephanie Corrente said in an email to ICIS. The partnership with waste manager Suez also helps with supply, as Suez will be able to provide waste input that would ‘otherwise have no sustainable afterlife through current recycling methods. Corrente added. Eastman are also keen to ensure its new site does not encroach on the mechanical sector. Replying to a comment ICIS posted on Linkedin, Eastman said “our view is that mechanical recycling and molecular [chemical] recycling can and must complement each other to truly solve the global issue of material waste. Both technologies have a critical role. “We will be focusing on those hard-to-recycle waste streams that currently have little value and are lost through either incineration or landfill. Eastman’s CEO has stated that agreements to secure plastic waste feedstocks and government incentives, as well as the location of the site will be made in the coming months. So, we have yet to see how government supports the advancement of feedstock availability for chemical recycling. It is unclear which PET waste feedstocks the Carbios/IVL plant will secure; the technology can process waste polyester textiles as well as packaging.  It remains to be seen if the process competes for existing mechanical recycling feedstocks or establishes alternative streams of difficult-to-recycle PET to expand the recycle coverage for all types of PET waste. PLENTIFUL END MARKETS Eastman and Loop Industries have stated the R-PET material will support major global consumer brands based in France, such as Danone, L’Oreal and L’Occitane, to meet their recycled plastic content commitments. As well as support France in its development of a circular economy. Eastman also stated it had letters of intent for multi-year supply agreements for the plant output have been made with LVMH Beauty, The Estée Lauder Companies, Clarins, Procter & Gamble, L’Oreal and Danone. The company stated that this will represent around $200bn in annual sales for the plant. THE FUTUREThe fact these three projects are located in France is not a coincidence. Barbara Pompili, France’s Minister for Ecological Transition, said the Eastman investment “demonstrates our country’s willingness to embrace innovative technologies that will help us achieve our ecological and economic ambitions, by revolutionising our country’s plastics recycling capacities.” Agnes Pannier-Runacher, French Delegate Minister for Industry, added that the Eastman project will allow France to position itself as a European leader in new technologies for recycling and recovering plastic waste. “This investment is the result of the ambitious approach to industrial reconquest led by the Government since 2017, which has enabled France to become the most attractive country in Europe from 2018 onward for industrial projects,” Pannier-Runacher said. It is unsurprising these companies have been able to secure support from the French government with such investments as France looks to achieve its ambitions. These developments fit with the objectives of the main regulation in France, the 2020 Circular Economy Law, “loi Agec”. Objectives include reaching 100% recycled plastic by 2025 and a proportion of 5% re-used plastic by 2023, increasing to 10% in 2027.Its objectives also include reducing the number of single-use plastic bottles on the market by 50% by 2030. Overall, France is advanced in its waste management strategy compared to other markets in Europe. It encourages investment and innovation and uses a range of regulation and mechanisms to deliver on the ambitions. There are many lessons to be learned from this approach. At present the operating capacities of chemical recycling plants remains low in comparison to mechanical recycling, and Europe has a lower capacity in comparison to some regions such as Asia Pacific and North America at less than 100,000 tonnes/year. Capacities are projected to rise rapidly, given the announced projects and assuming adequate volumes and qualities of feedstocks can be sourced to feed those plants. Insight article by Helen McGeough and Matt Tudball.
EU should develop strategic reserves of key raw materials -
      Cefic exec
EU should develop strategic reserves of key raw materials – Cefic exec
LONDON (ICIS)—The European Commission should look to increase storage capacity for key raw materials to build up resilience in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine crisis, an executive director for the Europe-wide chemicals trade group Cefic said on Tuesday. With numerous vulnerabilities in EU supply lines exposed as a result of the war in Ukraine and ensuing sanctions levied on Russia, policymakers should move to develop strategic stores of vital raw materials in the style of oil and gas reserves, according to Frans Stokman, Cefic’s executive director for petrochemicals. Addressing supply issues and sourcing for key products and investing in greater capacity to stockpile reserves are key to improving resilience along value chains within the EU, he added. “I think it’s about short term, medium term and long term [planning],” he said, speaking at a Cefic event on Tuesday. “We need to identify the key bottlenecks for these key products in the crisis mode; it means that we need to look at logistics, we need storage, and we need to look at creating strategic storage like we do with oil and other strategic reserves … That means we need storage capacity.” VULNERABILITIES The three months since Russian forces first invaded Ukraine have exposed the vulnerabilities in European supply chains, with the highest-profile being natural gas, where the EU relies on Russia for almost half of its imports. An increasingly total prohibition on purchasing materials from Russia and the increasing strain the conflict has placed on supply chains has highlighted wider interdependencies. Russia stands as the EU chemicals sector’s fourth-largest export market and fifth-largest source of imports, according to Stokman. The EU is extremely exposed to the loss of orthoxylene (OX) and paraxylene (PX) supplies from Russia, according to Cefic data, as well as a huge swathe of fertilizer chemicals, which make up nearly half of the 20 chemicals products where the EU is most exposed to supply shocks from Russia. Oscar Guinea, a senior economist at the European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE), estimated that chemicals make up around a quarter of the 233 products that the think tank classifies the EU as having a high import dependency on, meaning that over 75% of the inputs are sourced from outside the 27-country bloc. “The question is: what can the EU European firms do to lower this dependency?” he said. “Three general strategies, which have pros and cons: you can stockpile these goods for which you have dependencies; you can produce these goods domestically; or you can diversify your sources of supply so you are not dependent on a particular company or geography.” NEW SUPPLY LINES Hubert Gambs, deputy director general at DG Grow, an entity within the  European Commission, said the EU’s executive body’s priorities for manufacturing at present include large-scale deployment of renewable energy, prioritising access to raw materials, and strengthening supply chains. Part of the plan to accomplish this envisages the development of greater domestic manufacturing capacity, as well as brokering new strategic partnerships. The Commission agreed a new trade agreement with Canada in mid-2021, as well as a partnership with Ukraine on raw materials and battery technology that has stalled in the wake of the war. Negotiations are expected to begin with Namibian lawmakers on a sustainable raw materials partnership and talks with representatives of other African countries may also be in the pipeline, said Gambs. The new renewable energy targets set out by the Commission last week also place a greater focus on establishing partnerships on raw materials, he said. “Part of the [REPowerEU] package… strengthens our mandate to establish these mutually beneficial raw material value chain partnerships,” said Gambs. The need to strike new deals should not lead to a replication or past over-reliance on a particular country or source for a raw material. “The EU needs to avoid replicating dependencies of the past,” he said. Focus article by Tom Brown
PODCAST: Europe propylene market drowns, faltering demand
      signals broader economic woes
PODCAST: Europe propylene market drowns, faltering demand signals broader economic woes
BARCELONA (ICIS)–Europe’s propylene market is in disarray, with massive oversupply and faltering demand signalling trouble for the broader economy. Extreme oversupply in Europe propylene markets Sellers desperate to off load volumes Europe spot propylene trading at 15-30% discount to contract price Five Europe crackers in planned maintenance, unplanned outages elsewhere Weakness in downstream demand on top of unplanned outages High inventories in Europe polypropylene (PP) China economy is frozen with 30% in lockdown Global economy may enter severe downturn Three horsemen of the apocalypse – war, pandemic, potential famine In this Think Tank podcast, Will Beacham interviews ICIS senior editor, olefins Nel Weddle, ICIS senior consultant Asia John Richardson and Paul Hodges, chairman of New Normal Consulting. Editor’s note: This podcast is an opinion piece. The views expressed are those of the presenter and interviewees, and do not necessarily represent those of ICIS. ICIS is organising regular updates to help the industry understand current market trends. Register here . Read the latest issue of ICIS Chemical Business. Read Paul Hodges and John Richardson’s ICIS blogs.
EU mulls mandatory recycling targets for construction,
      automotive, and packaging
EU mulls mandatory recycling targets for construction, automotive, and packaging
LONDON (ICIS)–The European Commission is considering extending mandatory recycled content targets to the construction and automotive sectors as well as the packaging sector, a representative for the EU’s executive body confirmed this week. “The Commission will come with proposals for mandatory recycled content in the areas of packaging, vehicles, and construction products. This will provide further demand and stimulation for the market of recycled plastics,” said Aurel Ciobanu-Dordea, director general for environment at the Commission. He was speaking at the ICIS Global Plastics Recycling Policy summit, which runs on 23-25 May. These measures would be in addition to the Commission’s existing requirements that polyethylene terephthalate (PET) beverage bottles contain a minimum of 25% recycled PET (R-PET) by 2025, and that all beverage bottles contain a minimum of 30% recycled content by 2030. The Commission will not focus on building infrastructure but rather in tightening rules and restrictions to make better use of current infrastructure, Ciobanu-Dordea said during the question and answer (Q&A) session of his presentation. “We will create the conditions through more detailed harmonisation for the member states … Probably some technology innovations will be necessary, but we are not betting necessarily on building up more infrastructure, scaling up significantly the infrastructure, but using more effectively the infrastructure that exists currently,” he said. “[With rules that are] more precise and detailed, but sometime also they will be perceived as more restrictive.” Shortages of sufficient collection and sorting capacity to meet demand for ambitious sustainability targets – particularly from the packaging sector – are regularly cited by market players as the biggest bottleneck for recycled polymers. Feedstock waste bale availability is currently limited across all three of the major recycled polymers: R-PET, recycled polyethylene (R-PE), and recycled polypropylene (R-PP). Along with energy and transport costs, shortages and high prices of waste bales have driven recycled polyolefin values to record highs in Europe. This has led to a growing disconnect between virgin and recycled polyolefin prices, a disconnect which has existed in the R-PET food-grade pellet market for more than a decade. – “In the presentation, the EU commission highlighted the key failure in recycling is the fragmentation of collection practices and infrastructure, highlighting any actions that drive harmonisation in the recycling sector can only aid the progress in plastics circularity,” said Helen McGeough, Senior Analyst for Plastic Recycling at ICIS. “With the ICIS Mechanical Recycling Supply Tracker recording output of total R-PET, R-PP and R-PE in Europe running at 58% of installed capacity, improved feedstock quantities and qualities are essential to not only improve the efficiency of existing recycling but drive investment for new capacities,” she added. – Waste bale shortages and high prices of recycled polymer flakes and pellets have led waste managers and recyclers to explore the use of mixed plastic waste to make up shortfalls, particularly for non-packaging applications such as construction. Many non-packaging applications can handle lower quality grades than packaging, and are widening the types of grades they use as the packaging sector increasingly captures share of mono-material grades. Historically due to higher wastage loss than monosorted material, and the higher difficulty/cost of sorting mixed plastic waste, using mixed plastic waste (particularly mixed polyolefins) was not previously economically viable, but this has now changed. As a result, more and more waste managers have been using mixed polyolefin grades captively, and sorting material, leaving less available on the merchant market. As chemical recycling capacity scales, mixed plastic waste is expected to further tighten, as the pyrolysis process – the dominant form of chemical recycling in Europe – typically uses mixed plastic waste grades as feedstock. – DRS FOR ALL Despite not planning to significantly scale current infrastructure, the European Commission is considering mandating all EU countries to introduce deposit return schemes (DRS). Under DRS systems, buyers pay a deposit on their packaging at the point of collection. The buyers later drops off the packaging at a deposit return point – where it is typically sorted at the point of entry into the system – and are then given their deposit back. The advantages of DRS systems are that they typically result in higher collection rates, because they incentivise the consumer, and typically result in lower contamination because material is typically sorted at point of entry. Nevertheless, DRS systems rely on the deposit fee being high enough to incentivise the customer and have the potential to disrupt well-functioning kerbside collection schemes, and in which some countries and companies have invested heavily. Front page picture: A DRS machine in Vienna; archive image Source: APA-PictureDesk GmbH/Shutterstock  Focus article by Mark Victory  ICIS has launched a new mixed plastic waste pricing service covering European prices for mixed-polyolefins waste bales, reject refuse-derived fuel (RDF) bales and reject materials recovery facility (MRF) bales. Along with this, the new service covers emerging trends in the chemical and mechanical recycling markets, as well as the burn-for-energy sector. To subscribe to the new pricing service, or for further information, please contact
Germany’s chemicals Q1 sales up on higher pricing, but
      producers in recession mood - VCI
Germany’s chemicals Q1 sales up on higher pricing, but producers in recession mood – VCI
MADRID (ICIS)–Germany’s chemicals first-quarter (Q1) sales rose nearly 8% on the back of higher selling prices but supply chain woes and material shortages have caused a “recession mood” among companies, the country’s chemicals trade group VCI said on Tuesday. Overall production – including pharmaceuticals – rose compared with the fourth quarter and year on year, but, in a worrying sign for the petrochemicals sector, production excluding pharma decreased in both measures. Capacity utilisation also decreased from the fourth quarter and stands well below its historic average (see bottom graph). Germany chemicals (change in %) Q1 2022 vs Q4 2021 Q1 2022 vs Q1 2021 Production 1.3 2.8 – Excluding pharmaceuticals -1.1 -1.6 Producer prices 6.7 21.6 Total sales 7.8 28.4 – Domestic 9.8 36.2 – Foreign 6.6 23.7 Q1 2022 Q4 2021 Capacity utilisation (includes pharma) 80.9 81.5 “In Q1 2022, chemical companies struggled with supply chain bottlenecks and sharply rising energy and raw materials costs. These problems were exacerbated by the war in Ukraine,” said VCI. “Therefore, many businesses are in a recession mood. Possible shortages of gas and oil are a particular cause for concern.” Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the EU has moved to sanction important sectors of the Russian economy, and sanctions on crude oil are already on the cards for later in the year. The VCI has said in the past such a measure would put a strain on the petrochemicals industry, especially via potentially higher naphtha costs, a key raw material for the industry. Chemicals and pharmaceutical companies employed as of 31 March 473,200 workers, sharply lower than the 530,000 it employed by the end of 2021. – OUTLOOK CANCELLEDVCI said due to the “unpredictable consequences” of the war in Ukraine, as well as China’s lockdowns to contain the pandemic, it was impossible to issue a forecast for 2022. “Nothing is left of the anticipated upswing after the Coronavirus winter. The perspectives for our industry are getting ever bleaker due to rising energy and raw materials costs,” said VCI president Christian Kullmann, who is also CEO at producer Evonik. “Moreover, due to disrupted supply chains our industrial customers are cutting back on production and ordering fewer chemicals. A gas embargo or a stop of gas supplies from Russia would have further devastating effects.” FINAL 2021 FIGURESVCI also published on Tuesday final production and sales figures for 2021, which consolidated the German chemicals industry as the largest in Europe by a wide margin, with nearly €230bn in sales, including pharmaceuticals. France’s chemicals industry comes second, with €97.2bn in sales in 2021, according to the country’s chemicals trade group France Chimie. Spain’s chemicals sales stood at €77.2bn in 2021, according to the country’s trade group FEIQUE. Italy’s trade group Federchimica is yet to release 2021 sales figures; in 2020, the country sold chemicals worth €51bn, according to the Europe-wide trade group Cefic. Germany chemicals 2021 Compared with 2020 (change in %) Sales €227.1bn 19.2 – Domestic €87.6bn 21.1 – Foreign €139.5bn 18.0 Number of employees 473,194 1.9 Production 5.3 – Excluding pharma 5.1 Producer prices 9.3 Front page picture: Chemicals park in Marl, in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia Source: Hans Blossey/imageBROKER/Shutterstock
PODCAST: Tight supply dominates Europe R-PET market
PODCAST: Tight supply dominates Europe R-PET market
BARCELONA–Supply shortages have pushed prices up in Europe’s recycled polyethylene terephthalate (R-PET) market amid a mixed demand picture. Supply shortages drive higher prices for R-PET in Europe in the short term Bale prices rise amid constrained availability, limited relief expected in summer Mixed picture for beverage demand with more travel versus rising inflation and lower disposable incomes Brand commitment to recycled content remains strong but content rates reassessed Listen to ICIS analysts Helen McGeough, Carolina Perujo Holland and Egor Dementev discuss latest market conditions in Europe’s recycled PET markets.
Updated at 10:45 GMT on 20 May with updated maps and graphs plus latest news. Please scroll down to see headlines. The war in Ukraine caused oil price volatility which has increased as surging COVID-19 cases in China led to fresh lockdowns which have hit demand. China is the world’s second biggest economy and largest oil importer. India is facing a more severe shortage of fertilizers and edible oil amid wide-ranging trade disruptions as the Ukraine war rages on, with financial sanctions tightening on Russia. Europe’s energy challenge is immense and put into stark relief by the response to Russia’s war in Ukraine. Cutting the ties that bind EU and non-EU nations to Russian gas and oil will be extremely painful this year and in years to come: the actions proposed by the European Commission put that into context. This topic page examines the impact of the Ukraine conflict on oil, gas, fertilizer and chemical markets. Image credit Vadim Ghirda/AP/Shutterstock Europe’s energy markets witnessed a year of record prices and extreme volatility in 2021. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has led to more difficult conditions for global markets in 2022. GAS SUMMARY Gas storage low in Europe, winter demand 30% higher than rest of year Record shipments of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Europe so far in 2022 LNG could ease Europe shortages if Russia supplies cut Europe LNG processing operating at full capacity On 27 April Russia suspended gas deliveries to Poland and Bulgaria AMMONIA SUMMARY Russia supplies 20% of global seaborne ammonia market Disrupted supply has pushed up fertilizer and food prices OIL SUMMARY Friendship oil pipeline flows through Ukraine Russian oil feeds around a quarter of Europe demand Europe seeks to end reliance on Russian crude oil CHEMICALS SUMMARY High Europe gas and electricity prices force price hikes, energy surcharges Volatile oil and feedstock prices dent chemical producer margins Elevated oil prices dent consumer confidence and demand Europe is heavily reliant on Russian gas and exposed to disruptions in supply,  but Russia is also an important oil exporter and a supplier of fossil fuel products, which find their way to international markets via Ukraine’s ports. Any interruptions in supplies caused either by cyber or physical attacks or sanctions in response to them could send shockwaves across the global economy, lifting the cost of living, impacting industrial and agricultural production and potentially leading to social unrest. ICIS has taken a broader perspective, asking how vulnerable energy and energy-related supplies are to disruptions, what contingency plans are put in place and what could be expected in the upcoming weeks. How vulnerable are energy and energy-related Russian supplies to disruptions? Europe depends for close to 40% of its annual gas consumption on Russian supplies, imported via four routes – Ukraine, Belarus-Poland as well as the Nord Stream 1 and TurkStream corridors linking Russia to Germany and Turkey via the Baltic and Black Sea, respectively. Overall Russian pipeline supplies were limited throughout 2021, and since the beginning of this year producer Gazprom has shipped only one-third of the gas that it was expected to deliver to European consumers via Ukraine as part of a five-year transit agreement. On 27 April Russia banned exports of gas to Poland and Bulgaria. European petrochemicals players could face even higher gas prices as a result. If the conflict escalates, Ukraine transit pipelines may come under attack but disruptions could be limited because the infrastructure has been built to grant flexibility, allowing the operator to reroute flows away from potentially damaged segments. AMMONIA IMPACT The Togliatti-Azot pipeline, the world’s longest ammonia pipeline stretching 2,471km from the Togliatti Azot plant in Russian Samara Oblast to the Ukrainian Black Sea port of Yuzhny, could be caught up in the cross-fire. Russian ammonia supplies account for around 20% of the global seaborne merchant ammonia market each month. Around two thirds of those volumes are exported via Yuzhny, with the rest reaching European and global markets via Baltic ports. Ammonia is a prime material for fertilizers, so curtailments could potentially lead to higher food prices and shortages. Ammonia market players are scrambling to cover positions and assess options as the Russian invasion of Ukraine saw loadings at the key export hub of Yuzhny halted with immediate effect. Russian nitrogen fertilizer major Togliatti confirmed the suspension of the transit of ammonia to the Black Sea port via pipeline to ensure the safety of people living in the vicinity of the lengthy conduit. The Samara Oblast-based giant also confirmed the shut down of four of its seven ammonia units, with the other three plants operating at reduced rates. OIL PIPELINES VULNERABLE Supplies on the world’s longest oil pipeline, the Friendship (Druzhba) pipeline, could be threatened if the conflict leads to tough sanctions. The pipeline carries oil from central Russia 4,000km west to Ukraine and Belarus and runs close to the Belarus-Ukraine border. Russia exports around 5m bbl/day, of which half are exported to Europe, including via this pipeline. Russian oil accounts for about a quarter of Europe’s consumption, with the Druzhba pipeline carrying close to 1m bbl/day. Should sanctions be imposed and exports hindered, Europe will need to secure alternative cargoes from the global market. Europe consumed most exports of Urals, Russia’s biggest export grade, in 2021 after Saudi Arabia boosted market share in China. Almost 10m tonnes of Urals went through Rotterdam in the first half of last year, up 2m tonnes on 2020. Germany stands most exposed because it gets 25% of its oil from Russia. CHEMICALS IMPACT Gas and electricity are important components in the production costs of many chemicals. Surging gas and feedstock prices in Europe have caused big hikes in contract and spot prices. Europe is now at a competitive disadvantage to other regions and some customers are seeking new sources of lower-priced supply, especially from Asia and the Middle East. The conflict in Ukraine has pushed European gas prices back up to record levels, so some chemical producers may consider ceasing production, or adding further energy surcharges. Rising oil prices since late 2021 have already put chemical margins under pressure, and this has continued into 2022. As oil and naphtha prices soared, margins for ethylene production based on naphtha went nagative for the first time ICIS record began. The are now are swinging wildy in tandem with oil price movements. Chemical producers are struggling to pass on increasing naphtha feedstock and energy costs, especially in Europe. Elevated oil prices also dent downstream consumer confidence and spending. What contingency plans are being put in place? US and European officials have been planning for backup LNG supplies. Exports of LNG from Algeria, Qatar, the US and even Australia have been discussed as alternatives. Although Europe imported a record 11bn cubic metres (bcm) of LNG in January alone, half of which were sourced in the US, much of future supplies would depend on price as well as supply and processing capacity. Europe is proposing to replace 100bn cubic metres (m3) of Russian gas with alternative supplies by the end of the year. “In this scenario, there would be huge problems unless Europe gets it act together. I estimate that even with new liquified natural gas (LNG) supplies from the US, Norway, and Qatar plus energy efficiency measures and more use of renewables, Europe would still be short by 30-40bn m3,” said ICIS senior energy editor, Aura Sabadus. You will find more infographics at Statista If the Asian premium were to increase, LNG cargoes would head in that direction, even as seasonal European winter gas demand is on average 30% higher than the rest of the year. Supply disruptions caused by escalating tensions may lead to a price rebound, incentivising more LNG to return to Europe. However, European import terminals are already operating at nameplate capacity. A record of 5,000GWh/day was reached in mid-January, according to EU data. Even if more LNG were to reach European terminals, countries in central and eastern Europe which rely on Russian flows shipped via Ukraine, would struggle to secure imported LNG. For oil markets, in case of an attack but no international sanctions, the worst-case scenario would be for approximately 240,000 bbl/day of lost Russian exports via Ukraine. There are other seaborne routes, including the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossiysk. ICIS publishes May oil price forecast The crude price has switched from being driven by supply, to driven by demand in recent weeks. China’s future oil demand growth is under question, with lockdowns ongoing in many cities. Furthermore, the IMF has downgraded global GDP growth for 2022 by 0.8%, whilst the US Fed is expected to raise interest rates by 0.5% in May; these will inevitably reduce oil demand growth for the remainder of the year. The EU may impose direct sanctions on Russian crude oil sales later this year. The exact details of the sanctions are still unclear, but it is likely that the sanctions will be implemented in a phased manner over the course of 2022.  The phased nature of the sanctions does mean that the overall impact on prices will be much more muted than previously expected, as it will give Russia time to find alternative buyers of the crude such as India, and therefore Russia’s overall exports will be negatively impacted, but much less so than if the sanctions were due to be implemented immediately. Nevertheless, if the oil sanctions are implemented, this will be a bullish move and is accounted for in the ICIS base case forecast, where the May Dated BFOE price is expected to average at $111/bbl. Europe is managing to significantly reduce its purchases of Russian crude – Germany, for instance, has halved its imports of Russian crude. But overall, Russian crude exports have largely returned to pre-crisis levels, as India substantially increases its Russian import volumes to take advantage of extremely large discounts (-$38/bbl). New oil supply is due on the market in May as the US and other allies release ~1.3 million barrels per day for 6 months, providing the market with much needed supply over the medium term. However, ICIS anticipates a strong summer driving season in the West, pushing prices to over $120/bbl in late summer. Crude prices are expected to fall considerably from these levels in winter 2022/2023 as a combination of high energy costs, high inflation and higher interest rates leads to lower economic growth and less overall oil demand. ICIS expects crude prices to fall below $100/bbl in early 2023. Ukraine conflict threatens Europe oil and chemicals production With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, sanctions could cut supplies of crude oil through the Druzhba pipeline, threatening oil refinery operations and chemicals production at installations in Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Poland and the former East Germany. Russian oil supplies up to a quarter of Europe’s crude imports, with refineries in central and eastern Europe, which are attached to the Druzhba pipeline, particularly reliant on these supplies. Any interruption to these supplies could force refineries to reduce operating rates unless they can find alternative supplies. Analysis of the ICIS Supply & Demand database shows that the countries Druzhba runs through, except for Germany, are reliant on Russian crude oil for more than half of their imports, led by Slovakia which obtained 96% of its supplies from Russia in 2021. Chemical production downstream of refineries in these countries could be impacted by any reduction in operating rates. The ICIS data forecast that for 2022, 2.79m tonnes of ethylene (11% of total European capacity) and 2.34m tonnes of propylene (12% of total European capacity) are reliant on refineries located along the Druzhba pipeline. While some alternative sources of crude oil could be sourced, it is unlikely normal levels of operations could be maintained. Michael Connolly, ICIS Principal Analyst Refining said: “Although many have built alternate sources, keeping full operating rates would be difficult for them as they rely on a consistent and reliable source of crude. Most refiners in Europe are aware of the risk of Russian crude and over the past 5-10 years have tried to reduce their dependence, or at least to build some capability to have an alternate supply – it doesn’t mean they would be unaffected, but there should be a little bit of resilience, depending on the site.” Connolly explained that some land-locked refineries along the Druzhba pipeline have built pipelines to the coast, allowing alternative sources of crude oil to be sourced. However, these pipelines may not have capacity to feed the whole refinery. A spokesperson for Grupa LOTOS said: “The LOTOS refinery has dealt with suspended supplies by land before. Due to the contamination of Russian oil with chlorines, PERN, the state-owned operator of transmission and storage infrastructure, had to completely discontinue the transmission of crude oil from the eastern direction between 24 April and 9 June 2019.” He added that scheduling of oil supplies by sea helped to secure volumes sufficient to maintain an unchanged level of throughput and maximise fuel production. TotalEnergies and PKN Orlen declined to comment while MOL and PCK have not yet replied to requests for comment. A ban or restrictions on exports of Russian crude oil is one amongst many possible sanctions against Russia in the event of an invasion or incursion into Ukraine. Russia claims it has withdrawn some military forces from the border with Ukraine but the US White House say there is no evidence of this happening. Base oils buyers are switching from Russian to European sourcing amid fears of sanctions against these products. European polymer markets are also seeing some impact. A regional polymer seller said: “What we do see, making the market a bit murky, is Russian suppliers eliminating European stock … fire-selling their stocks particularly in eastern Europe and this is putting pressure on prices.” UKRAINE CHEMICALS UNDER THREAT With Russian forces advancing across Ukraine, chemical and fertiliser facilities may be threatened by physical damage, interrupted power and gas supplies or logistics disruption. Kalush cracker closed Karpatnaftohkhim’s cracker at Kalush has been closed down because of the imposition of martial law in Ukraine. It has capacity (tonnes/year) of 250,000 (ethylene); 117,000 (propylene) 110,000 (LLDPE), 300,000 (PVC), 100,000 (benzene). Black Sea export hub closed  Ammonia market players have scrambled to cover positions and assess options as the Russian invasion of Ukraine saw loadings at the key export hub of Yuzhny halted with immediate effect. Russian nitrogen fertilizer major Togliatti confirmed the suspension of the transit of ammonia to the Black Sea port via pipeline to ensure the safety of people living in the vicinity of the lengthy conduit. The Samara Oblast-based giant also confirmed the shut down of four of its seven ammonia units, with the other three plants operating at reduced rates. Russia export disruptions to shift global trade flows, future capacities threatened Disruptions to Russia’s chemicals and polymers exports will change trade flows, particularly to Europe and Asia, as international sanctions, lack of logistics and even “self-sanctions” limit volumes. While Russia’s capacities are relatively small on a global scale, they can still have a significant impact on regional markets if these exports are disrupted. Key Russia exports include methanol, polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), styrene and paraxylene (PX). Russia has increased exports of high density polyethylene (HDPE) and polypropylene (PP) in particular in 2020 and 2021 as new capacity started up from SIBUR’s ZapSibNeftekhim complex in Tobolsk in 2020. LATEST HEADLINES VR Group’s Russia-Finland rail closure hits Russian methanol exporters By Eashani Chavda 23-May-22 09:54 LONDON (ICIS)–Finnish railway company VR Group is preparing a plan to stop the transport of goods between Russia and Finland and has begun to terminate contracts, in yet another blow to the Russian methanol market. US economists ratchet up inflation expectations – survey By Stefan Baumgarten 23-May-22 09:00 HOUSTON (ICIS)–US inflation is set to be worse than previously expected, according to a panel of 53 economists in the National Association of Business Economists’ (NABE) May outlook survey. France’s GRTgaz considering direct export capacity to Germany By Andrea Battaglia 23-May-22 08:43 LONDON (ICIS)–French gas exports to Germany could increase as a project to allow physical exit flows at the Obeirgailbach-Medelsheim point is currently being looked into, French transmission system operator GRTgaz confirmed. German business sentiment up in May; outlook flat By Morgan Condon 23-May-22 05:11 LONDON (ICIS)–Business sentiment in Germany improved in May, but the outlook is flat, according to the Ifo research institute. INSIGHT: War drives up China toluene exports as pandemic weighs on local demand By Veronica Zhang 23-May-22 04:20 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China toluene market prices have soared since May, with few prompt deals done as export demand surged on the Russia-Ukraine crisis and local demands were curbed by Covid-19 pandemic. Germany’s economy could begin recovering by year end – institute By Stefan Baumgarten 20-May-22 13:57 LONDON (ICIS)–Germany’s economy could begin to recover by the turn of the year – if there are no additional impacts from geopolitical conflicts, and if the sharp rise in energy and raw material prices moderates, the country’s IW Institute of the German Economy said in its spring 2022 forecast. US gas supply crunch could ease by ’23 – trade group By Ruth Liao 20-May-22 13:10 HOUSTON (ICIS)–Tightening US natural gas supply that has not kept up pace with rising demand has been a driving factor for the Henry Hub futures benchmark, although increased supply is expected to re-balance the US market into 2023, according to an American Gas Association (AGA) market webinar. Germany’s producer prices rise at record pace, chems up 29.5% By Stefan Baumgarten 20-May-22 11:11 LONDON (ICIS)–Producer prices in Germany rose at a record 33.5% year on year in April amid Ukraine war impacts and high energy prices, in particular for natural gas, the country’s federal statistics agency reported. Russia’s Gazprom halts gas supply to Finland By ICIS Editorial 20-May-22 11:02 LONDON (ICIS)–Russian gas supplier Gazprom Export informed Finnish gas importer Gasum on Friday that contracted supplies would be halted at 7am local time on 21 May. Clariant eyes strong first-half 2022 despite headwinds By Morgan Condon 20-May-22 06:04 LONDON (ICIS)–Clariant is making gains towards its 2025 financial targets, driven by a strong first half of 2022, CEO Conrad Keijzer asserted at its delayed 2021 financial results announcement. Potash offers slip from all-time highs amid reduced demand; supply concerns continue By Andy Hemphill 20-May-22 17:59 LONDON (ICIS)–Offer pricing in the global muriate of potash (MOP) fertilizer market has slipped slightly from all-time highs, necessitated by buyer resistance to high-priced tonnes and reduced demand in some nations. Urea market weak despite high-volume Indian purchase By Deepika Thapliyal 20-May-22 17:27 LONDON (ICIS)–The urea market outlook remains weak despite India buying nearly 1.7m tonnes, as there is no major demand anywhere else. Asia oleochem players mull over Indonesia’s latest palm oil DMO policy By Helen Yan 20-May-22 17:19 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s oleochemical market players are mulling over the latest news that Indonesia will reimpose its domestic market obligation (DMO) policy on palm oil. Asia PBT market softens on weak demand, economic uncertainty By Clive Ong 20-May-22 16:02 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The Asian polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) market remains under downward pressure on prevailing weak demand. Some participants anticipate further potential weakness in the near term as demand showed little pick-up. Asia biodiesel sentiment bearish on weak buying appetite By Felicia Loo 20-May-22 15:55 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The southeast Asian palm methyl ester (PME) biodiesel market was down on bearish sentiment and weak demand from major buyers Europe and China. Asian fatty alcohol players retreat as CPO falls on export ban removal By Helen Yan 20-May-22 12:42 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s fatty alcohols buyers and sellers are holding off any bids and offers in the near term due to declining crude palm oil (CPO) prices, after the Indonesian authorities announced on Thursday that it will lift the palm oil export ban on 23 May. Asia BDO under pressure as tepid demand persists, economic uncertainty By Clive Ong 20-May-22 12:17 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The Asian butanediol (BDO) market remains under downward pressure from prevailing soft demand in the region. Buying momentum could remain slow in the near term from economic headwinds from the Ukraine conflict and Russian sanctions, as well as the lockdown in China which looks set to ease. US gas supply crunch could ease by 2023 – trade association By Ruth Liao 20-May-22 09:03 HOUSTON (ICIS)–Tightening US natural gas supply that has not kept up pace with rising demand has been a driving factor for the Henry Hub futures benchmark, although increased supply is expected to re-balance the US market into 2023, according to an American Gas Association market webinar on 19 May. CRUDE SUMMARY: Global economic concerns make for volatile session By Barney Gray 19-May-22 14:08 LONDON (ICIS)–Oil prices rebounded during a volatile session even as global economic concerns weighed on sentiment. Bullish factors such as Shanghai’s planned easing of coronavirus restrictions and a tightening supply balance provided upside. Limited pool of FSRUs available for European LNG import projects By Yasmin Yonan 19-May-22 11:49 LONDON (ICIS)–Following European commitments to phase out Russian gas there has been increased demand for Floating Storage and Regasification Units (FSRUs) to facilitate LNG supply. EU governing bodies reach agreement on new gas storage targets By Diane Elijah 19-May-22 15:13 LONDON (ICIS)–On 19 May, the European Parliament and the Council of the EU announced they provisionally agreed on new gas storage targets mandating that storage facilities in the EU27 be 80% full by 1 November 2022 and 90% full the following years. To enter into force, the new rules must be formally adopted by the parliament and the council and then published in the official journal of the EU. ICIS calculated that shippers in the EU27 will need to inject 42.4 billion cubic metres (bcm) in storage between 19 May and 1 November to refill stocks to 80% of their capacity by 1 November. This is the target that they must achieve. Asian PX market split between strong US octane demand, negative Chinese PTA marginsBy Samuel Wong 19-May-22 18:39 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asian paraxylene (PX) prices were supported by a strong gasoline market in the US, coupled with firm demand for octane blendstocks. Mideast polyols demand weakens, upstream PO declines By Damini Dabholkar 19-May-22 18:22 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Prices of polyols were softer this week, on account of weaker demand and lower upstream prices. Overall, the outlook is bearish as supply in Asia remains ample and demand in the Middle East has weakened significantly after the Eid holiday. Philippines’ central bank hikes policy interest rate by 25bpsBy Pearl Bantillo 19-May-22 18:26 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The Philippines’ central bank hiked its policy interest rate on Thursday by 25 basis points (bps), following a rebound in economic activity and amid elevated inflationary pressures. GLM COMMENT: Europe and Asia’s changing LNG price relationshipBy Edward Cox 19-May-22 17:28 LONDON (ICIS)–East Asian spot LNG has almost always been priced at a premium to the ICIS TTF given the former’s high dependency on LNG and with Europe able to tap into more domestic gas production and pipeline imports. Japan Apr chemical exports rise 8.5%, total exports up 12.5% By Nurluqman Suratman 19-May-22 13:24 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Japan’s chemical exports rose by 8.5% year on year to yen (Y) 1,036bn in April but overall trade remained at a deficit following a jump in imports, official data showed on Thursday. CRUDE SUMMARY: A mixed bag of market drivers moves crude lower By Barney Gray 18-May-22 14:12 LONDON (ICIS)–Crude prices dipped in afternoon trading on Wednesday. The easing of Chinese coronavirus restrictions gave rise to hopes of a demand boost and reports of reduced Russian production in April were balanced by news that the US is planning to relax sanctions against Venezuela. European Commission ramps up renewables targets to phase out Russia energy dependence By Tom Brown 18-May-22 12:04 LONDON (ICIS)–The European Commission on Wednesday set out new targets for renewable power development, decarbonising road transport and improving energy efficiency as the EU seeks to wean itself off of Russian oil and gas supplies. Rotterdam coal rises amid ongoing geopolitical uncertainty By David Battista 18-May-22 11:43 LONDON (ICIS)–The front-year Rotterdam coal price gained nearly $19/tonne between 10 and 17 May, due to ongoing uncertainty in the wider energy complex amid fallout from the Russian war in Ukraine. Finland could struggle to meet demand should Russian supplies stop By Daniel Muir 18-May-22 11:02 LONDON (ICIS)–Russian gas supplies to Finland could end as soon as 20 May, according to Finnish state-owned energy company Gasum, which could lead to shortages in the summer. EU revises its transition targets to cut reliance on Russian gas By Diane Elijah 18-May-22 10:58 LONDON (ICIS)–The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, on 18 May presented the EU’s strategy to phase-out its reliance on Russian gas. Operating costs for LNG vessels rise on Ukraine war By Hal Brown 18-May-22 10:14 LONDON (ICIS)–Operating expenses (OPEX) are rising for LNG vessels crewed by Russians and Ukrainians. Austrian gas storage rules target dependence on Russia By Ed Martin 18-May-22 10:02 LONDON (ICIS)–The Austrian government is seeking to rapidly implement a raft of new storage regulations aimed at boosting security of supply and reducing dependence on Russian gas. CropEnergies warns Germany on plans to reduce biofuels production By Stefan Baumgarten 18-May-22 08:54 LONDON (ICIS)–Germany must not reduce the use of biofuels from arable crops, the CEO of biofuels producer CropEnergies said on Wednesday, adding his voice to the country’s latest “fuel-versus-food” debate. INSIGHT: Europe refineries and chemicals would be hit by Russia oil, products ban By Will Beacham 18-May-22 07:14 BARCELONA (ICIS)–European oil refineries and downstream chemical plants will come under increasing financial pressure from higher logistics costs and crude oil prices if a proposed ban on Russian oil and refined products comes into force later this year. CRUDE SUMMARY: Oil price bounces after weekly downtrend By Barney Gray 13-May-22 15:47 ONDON (ICIS) – Oil prices enjoyed a bounce on Friday but ended the day down week on week as bearish sentiment continued to weigh on demand. In its May report, the IEA forecast that world oil demand growth will slow from 4.4m bbl/day in Q1 to 1.9m bbl/day in Q2 and will ease back to growth of less than 0.5m bbl/day in the second half of the year. For the full year, demand is now expected to increase by 1.8m bbl/day to 99.4m bbl/day. Germany’s biofuels industry wary amid new fuel-vs-food debate By Stefan Baumgarten 13-May-22 14:22 LONDON (ICIS)–Germany’s biofuels industry is watching closely as rising food prices have sparked a new “fuel-vs-food” debate and may even bring an end to racing on the country’s highways (“Autobahn”) without speed limit. US PVC gets inquiries from Ukraine after two months of silence By Bill Bowen 13-May-22 12:59 HOUSTON (ICIS)–US suppliers of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) are getting inquiries from plastics processors in Ukraine, a surprise development in a war-torn market that has been almost completely silent in recent weeks. Germany’s raw material price index falls month on month By Stefan Baumgarten 13-May-22 11:37 LONDON (ICIS)–Germany’s raw material price index fell 12.0% month on month in April, following a sharp March increase amid the Ukraine war, Hamburgisches WeltWirtschafts Institut (HWWI) said. Ukraine starts landmark commercial electricity exports to Moldova By Aura Sabadus 13-May-22 09:45 LONDON (ICIS)–Ukrainian electricity company Ukrhydroenergo started landmark commercial exports to Moldova on 12 May, less than two months after both countries synchronised with the European power grid, the Ukrainian electricity transmission system operator Ukrenergo confirmed. Chemicals production in EU, eurozone fell in March in wake of Ukraine invasion By Morgan Condon 13-May-22 07:46 LONDON (ICIS)–Chemicals production fell in the EU and eurozone in March compared to the previous month, according to the latest data from the EU’s statistical agency Eurostat. UK plastics export ban on Russia not likely to impact producers – trade group By Tom Brown 13-May-22 07:16 LONDON (ICIS)–The British Plastics Federation (BPF) on Friday backed the UK government’s plans to ban exports of plastics and chemicals and impose import tariffs on certain products to Russia. Asia petrochemical supplies rise as China exports grow amid weak yuan By Fanny Zhang 13-May-22 16:13 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s petrochemical markets are being weighed down by growing supply, with China exporting more products – spurred by the weak yuan and poor domestic demand amid lockdowns. INSIGHT: Indonesia consumer demand at risk; may not prolong CPO export ban By Pearl Bantillo 13-May-22 12:00 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Indonesia’s consumer demand recovery is being threatened by elevated commodity prices, with April inflation exceeding the 3% mark, while the government has taken to banning exports of crude palm oil (CPO) and its derivatives to ease surging prices of domestic cooking oil. Asia fatty acids remain soft on China lockdowns and Indonesia export ban uncertainty By Helen Yan 13-May-22 15:05 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s fatty acids market is likely to remain soft in the near term, due to the economic slowdown in China and the expected removal of Indonesia’s export ban on crude palm oil (CPO) sometime in May. Asia’s BD spot discussions see uptick on prompt demand, but outlook still clouded By Ai Teng Lim 13-May-22 14:49 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Discussions in Asia’s spot butadiene (BD) market took a bullish turn this week, as buying interest for prompt delivery supplies picked up alongside some production hiccups. Gazprom faces $12bn bill and penalties if it fails to pay for Ukraine transit – CEOs By Aura Sabadus 11-May-22 14:25 LONDON (ICIS)–Russia’s Gazprom could face a $12bn bill related to an old arbitration claim and additional multi-million dollar penalties if it refuses to pay for the gas transiting Ukraine to Europe. CRUDE SUMMARY: Oil rallies on improved sentiment after early-week losses By Barney Gray 11-May-22 14:10 LONDON (ICIS)–Oil prices recovered ground on Wednesday as the EU sought unanimous support over its decision to ban Russian oil imports. INSIGHT: Can US, global economies avoid recession amid a whirlwind of headwinds? By Joseph Chang 11-May-22 12:10 NEW YORK (ICIS)–Can the US and major economies around the world avoid a recession in the face of what can only be called a whirlwind of headwinds? Europe naphtha refinery margins stay pressured, but gasoline spikes to multiyear highs By Shruti Salwan 11-May-22 11:59 LONDON (ICIS)–European naphtha market fundamentals remain exceptionally weak amid improved availability and weakening feedstock demand capping any major upsides posed by falling ICE Brent crude oil futures and high gasoline refinery margins. Second FSRU will double the Netherlands’ LNG regas capacity by Q3 ’22 By Victoria Tchen 11-May-22 11:37 LONDON (ICIS)–Dutch gas infrastructure company Gasunie announced on 10 May it has signed a five-year binding contract for the lease of a floating storage regasification unit (FSRU) from US LNG company New Fortress Energy. Council of the EU agrees position on new gas storage rules By Diane Elijah 11-May-22 11:16 LONDON (ICIS)–On 11 May, the Council of the EU adopted its position on the new EU gas storage rules . This means negotiations with the European Parliament to agree on the final text of the new rules can now start. Bulgaria holds LNG supply talks with US; expects deliveries from 1 June By Luka Dimitrov 11-May-22 11:06 LONDON (ICIS)–Importing US LNG could bring cheaper gas prices for Bulgarian consumers than signing a new long-term pipeline contract with Russian state supplier Gazprom. Germany introduces law to speed up LNG project development as pivot away from Russian gas gathers pace By Arlind Neziri 11-May-22 10:55 LONDON (ICIS)–The German government on Tuesday announced it was introducing the LNG Acceleration Act as it continues its push to diversify its supply away from Russian gas. Austria to buy up to 1.4bcm of gas with federal funds to build strategic stocks By Edward Martin 11-May-22 10:42 LONDON (ICIS)–Austrian operator Gas Grid Management (AGGM) on 10 May launched a tender to procure 12.6TWh – or roughly 1.2-1.4 billion cubic metres (bcm) depending on calorific value – of gas with federal funding. PCK Schwedt faces uncertain future as Germany moves to ban Russian oil By Stefan Baumgarten 11-May-22 10:28 LONDON (ICIS)–Germany’s PCK Schwedt refinery faces an uncertain future as the nation firmly supports the proposed EU embargo on Russian oil. US natural gas futures scale to historic highs in volatile trading By Ruth Liao 11-May-22 09:26 HOUSTON (ICIS)–Uncertainty on timing of supply has driven the volatility in US gas futures, as the Henry Hub front-month contract soared to new historic highs on 5 May, only to crash lower for two sessions and rebound. UK targets chems, plastics trade in latest Russia sanctions By Tom Brown 11-May-22 08:32 LONDON (ICIS)–The UK’s latest round of sanctions on trade with Russia targets chemicals trade flows, with export bans and import tariffs announced this week. PODCAST: Ban on Russian crude, products would disadvantage Europe refiners, chemicals By Will Beacham 11-May-22 08:22 BARCELONA (ICIS)–A ban on Russian imports of oil and refined products in Europe would increase logistics costs and exclude refineries and integrated chemical producers from deeply discounted crude oil. Russia declines to reroute Sokhranivka gas flows after Ukraine’s force majeure By Aura Sabadus 11-May-22 06:11 LONDON (ICIS)–The European benchmark ICIS TTF firmed at the open on 11 May as natural gas flows from Russia to Ukraine over the Sokhranivka border point ceased, following the 10 May declaration of force majeure by grid operator GTSOU. China petrochemicals stay soft in April; demand concerns remain By Yvonne Shi 10-May-22 16:44 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s petrochemical markets remained soft in April, weighed down by COVID-related lockdowns which will continue to dampen demand in the near term. Asian polyacetal spot discussions stable amid mixed demand outlook By Ai Teng Lim 10-May-22 13:37 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Discussions for Asian exports of polyacetals (POM) have been rangebound this week, but it remains to be seen how the regional demand-supply balance may shift if various geopolitical issues, like the Russia-Ukraine turmoil and the COVID-19 lockdowns in China, stretch longer than expected. Asia naphtha market contango deepens, China lockdowns curb demand By Melanie Wee 10-May-22 12:45 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia naphtha markets are under pressure from downbeat demand amid persistent lockdowns in China, exacerbated by poor downstream margins. CRUDE SUMMARY: Oil price rallies further as tight supply concerns mount By Barney Gray 06-May-22 14:06 LONDON (ICIS)–Oil prices continued their rally on Friday as worries over global economic growth were trumped by tighter supply concerns. Outlook for ammonium sulphate remains bright through Q2 – AdvanSix By Al Greenwood 06-May-22 13:27 HOUSTON (ICIS)–The outlook for ammonium sulphate should remain bright through the peak of the demand season in the second quarter, the CEO of US producer AdvanSix said. EU gas strategy to be presented in the second half of May By Diane Elijah 06-May-22 13:03 LONDON (ICIS)–The European Commission plans to adopt its REPowerEU strategy to end the EU’s reliance on Russian fossil fuels on 18 May, subject to confirmation nearer the time, a spokesperson for the commission told ICIS. CRUDE SUMMARY: Oil price gains on proposed EU embargo on Russian crude By Barney Gray 06-May-22 09:03 LONDON (ICIS)–Oil prices consolidated gains on Thursday as further details emerged regarding the EU proposed ban on Russian crude. INSIGHT: Ukraine war hurts Europe chemicals, alters patterns of trade By Will Beacham 06-May-22 08:29 BARCELONA (ICIS)–Europe’s chemical industry faces multiple headwinds which could see it lose out to other regions, and lead to more sourcing from further afield by downstream customers and distributors. France likely to remain net power importer until nuclear availability rises substantially By Karishma Sadanandan 06-May-22 15:33 LONDON (ICIS)–France is unlikely to regain its status as a net exporter of power until such a time as nuclear availability rises closer to historic seasonal norms. SE Asia biodiesel sales weak on poor demand By Felicia Loo 06-May-22 14:46 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The southeast Asian palm methyl ester (PME) biodiesel market remained in weak demand territory, amid poor uptake from Europe and China. Germany’s Evonik Q1 net income rises amid higher selling prices By Nurluqman Suratman 06-May-22 14:16 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Evonik’s net income rose by around 69% year on year in the first quarter of this year amid higher selling prices at its performance materials and specialty additives businesses, the German specialty chemicals maker said on Friday. Asia glycerine gains on demand; arbitrage window to Europe opens By Helen Yan 06-May-22 14:04 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s spot glycerine prices increased on the back of improving demand, with the arbitrage window to Europe expected to remain open in the near term. Trinseo expects Q2 earnings to resemble Q1 By Al Greenwood 06-May-22 09:54 HOUSTON (ICIS)–US-based styrenics and engineered materials producer Trinseo expects its second-quarter earnings to be similar to those in the first quarter, the CEO said on Thursday. China’s propylene market in stalemate on strong costs, weak demand By Yi Liang 06-May-22 13:35 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Propylene prices in China’s Shandong province fluctuated in a narrow range in late April on cost pressures and bearish downstream demand, after rallying from the recent low seen on 17 March, alongside the crude slumps. INSIGHT: Crude-led inflation surge sparks global monetary tightening By Nurluqman Suratman and Pearl Bantillo 05-May-22 18:01 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Strong crude prices amid the Russia-Ukraine war have been fuelling unprecedented spikes in inflation, which major economies around the world set out to tame by raising interest rates, some more aggressively than others, while a few are hoping to wait it out as much as possible. China’s PP futures surge 2.51% on rising crude futures By Zhibo Xiao 05-May-22 15:59 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s polypropylene (PP) futures prices rose by 2.51% on Thursday on the back of rising crude futures values. British gas NBP prompt to deliver below May ’22 on oversupply risk By Kaja Sillett 05-May-22 13:00 LONDON (ICIS)–LNG arrivals, mild forecasts and high storage fullness should see British gas prompt products remain below front-month indications at the NBP through the rest of May, after flipping beneath in April. Shell Q1 chemicals earnings rise 49.6% despite lower sale volumes By Nurluqman Suratman 05-May-22 14:53 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Shell’s chemicals and products unit posted a 17.7% year-on-year increase in its first-quarter adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), despite lower chemical sales volumes, the energy firm said on Thursday. S Korea’s Kumho Petrochemical Q1 net profit falls 22%; sales up 19% By Pearl Bantillo 04-May-22 17:42 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–South Korean synthetic rubber giant Kumho Petrochemical reported on Wednesday a 22% year-on-year decline in first-quarter net profit despite a double-digit sales growth. Philippines’ Petron Q1 profit surges; petrochemical sales up 30% By Pearl Bantillo 04-May-22 13:54 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Petron’s first-quarter net profit more than doubled year on year to pesos (Ps) 3.6bn ($69m) on the back of strong crude prices, the Philippines’ sole refiner said on Wednesday. Oil rises more than $1/bbl on supply worries; China woes cap gainsBy Nurluqman Suratman 04-May-22 12:54 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Oil prices rose by more than $1/bbl on Wednesday on concerns over tight supply after industry data showed a drop in US crude and fuel inventories last week, but worries over poor manufacturing data from China capped gains. Methanex stands to benefit from market impacts of Ukraine war By Stefan Baumgarten 28-Apr-22 15:22 TORONTO (ICIS)–Methanex is benefiting from the market-related impacts of the ongoing Ukraine war and the sanctions imposed on Russia, the CEO of the Canada-based international methanol producer said on Thursday. Thai SCG Q1 net profit falls 41% on chemical margin squeeze By Pearl Bantillo 28-Apr-22 14:59 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Thai conglomerate Siam Cement Group’s (SCG) first-quarter net profit declined by 41% year on year on squeezed chemical margins due to high feedstock cost amid weak China demand. Asia biodiesel buy/sell gap widens on CPO price surge By Felicia Loo 28-Apr-22 16:45 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s palm methyl ester (PME) biodiesel faces a gaping buy/sell gap, a trend expected to persist after Indonesia announced its ban on feedstock crude palm oil exports. Asia palm shipping market cautious after Indonesia’s export ban By Luffy Wu 28-Apr-22 16:25 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The Asia palm shipping market is taking a cautious stance after Indonesia announced an export ban from 28 April on domestic cooking oil and refined, bleached and deodorised (RBD) palm olein, with an extension of the ban to crude palm oil (CPO). Tight fuel ethanol supply to SE Asia persists; spot prices firm By Bonnie Yin 28-Apr-22 16:24 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Import supply of fuel ethanol in southeast (SE) Asia tightened on limited feedstock availability and improved demand from other regions, with market indications higher. Asia Group II base oils supply short in Q2, China demand stifled on lockdowns By Matthew Chong 28-Apr-22 15:12 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s Group II base oils supply is expected to remain tight for the rest of the second quarter on reduced production. Asia’s soap noodles to see upward pressure as Indonesia extends export ban to CPO By Helen Yan 28-Apr-22 13:22 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s soap noodles market is expected to see upward price pressure in the near term following the announcement by Indonesian authorities on 27 April, to extend the export ban on cooking oil to include crude palm oil (CPO) exports. Asia SBR spot discussions may waver with increased China exports By Ai Teng Lim 28-Apr-22 09:24 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asian spot import prices for styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) are losing some ground as more, and competitively-priced, materials emerged from China. Europe petchems face higher gas prices as Gazprom halts supplies to Poland, Bulgaria By Jonathan Lopez 27-Apr-22 11:50 MADRID (ICIS)–European petrochemicals players could face even higher gas prices after Russia’s state-owned Gazprom said it was halting deliveries to Poland and Bulgaria. Natural gas prices shot up nearly 20% in European morning trading after Russia demanded its gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria are paid for in roubles (Rb) instead of US dollars. Bulgaria’s gas supply also to be halted from Russia, following Poland By Ruth Liao, Aura Sabadus 27-Apr-22 03:22 HOUSTON AND LONDON (ICIS)-Bulgaria’s gas supply from Russian producer Gazprom will be suspended starting 27 April, according to a statement from the country’s energy minister on 26 April. This follows earlier news from Poland’s PGNiG that Gazprom was also suspending its volumes through the Yamal pipeline. The Bulgarian energy minister’s statement said state company Bulgargaz and Bulgarian Energy Holding (BEH) found that the Russian decree to pay in roubles was not in line with their expiring contract and posed significant risks to the country. The statement said the ministry of energy, BEH and transporter Bulgartransgaz have taken measures to make alternative gas supply arrangements and no restrictive measures would be required for the country’s consumption. Asia’s volatile supply conditions for caustic soda may persist amid China lockdowns By Jonathan Chou 27-Apr-22 15:20 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s supply conditions for liquid caustic soda could remain unpredictable in the near term amid uncertain supply conditions caused by continued lockdowns in China. France’s Air Liquide Q1 revenue rises 29.1% on surge in energy prices By Nurluqman Suratman 27-Apr-22 15:20 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Air Liquide’s revenue rose by 29% year on year in the first quarter of this year, reflecting the sharp rise in energy prices contractually passed on to Large Industries customers, the French industrial gases and services firm said on Wednesday. Japan’s Toyota FY2021 global output surges, domestic production slumps By Nurluqman Suratman 27-Apr-22 15:05 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Japan’s automaker Toyota on Wednesday said that its worldwide production surged to 8.57m units in the year ending 31 March 2022 but domestic output slumped to a 45-year low. Norway’s Yara Q1 net income surges on higher prices By Nurluqman Suratman 27-Apr-22 14:47 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Yara’s net income surged to $947m in the first quarter of this year, reflecting higher selling prices which more than offset higher natural gas costs, the Norwegian fertilizer major said on Wednesday. Indonesia’s ban on RBD palm olein to see limited impact on oleochemical market By Helen Yan 27-Apr-22 12:25 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Indonesia’s ban on domestic cooking oil and refined, bleached and deodorised (RBD) palm olein is expected to have limited impact on the oleochemical market as players adopt a wait-and-see stance. INSIGHT: China PP exports to rise in May on new start-ups, stronger US dollar By Lucy Shuai 27-Apr-22 12:00 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s polypropylene (PP) imports and exports both fell in the first quarter of 2022. The volume of imports may remain low, but exports are likely to rise in the near term. Asia MPG sentiment to weaken further amid sellers’ competition By Jasmine Khoo 27-Apr-22 11:34 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asian market sentiment for monopropylene glycol (MPG) in May is poised to weaken from a persistently widening gap between Chinese origin industrial-grade propylene glycol (PGI) cargoes and those of other regional origin. China’s April Group II base oils imports expected to slump on negative margins By Whitney Shi 26-Apr-22 18:20 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s Group II base oils imports started to drop in March and are expected to fall sharply in April, in response to deeper negative import margins from March-April. SE Asia-China methanol arbitrage window opens, demand uncertain By Keven Zhang 26-Apr-22 13:42 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Losses in the key China market exerted downward pressure on methanol prices in southeast Asia, as the arbitrage window between the two regions opened. Northeast Asia Power Play: The struggle between nuclear, coal and gas generation at record LNG prices By Alex Siow 26-Apr-22 12:44 In the face of record high LNG spot prices – and strong prices across commodities – ICIS have noticed that the three major baseload fuel of nuclear, coal and LNG seemed to be struggling to meet demand. In Japan and South Korea, the much-needed additional nuclear generation, has again been delayed while gas and coal ability to respond is limited. Global EDC supply may stay tight despite rising Asian availability By Jonathan Chou 26-Apr-22 12:29 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–While spot ethylene dichloride (EDC) supply within Asia may increase, availability from the US and Europe is expected to remain curtailed due to an ongoing force majeure declaration and higher production costs respectively. Netherlands working on Russian fuel independence by end of 2022 By Arlind Neziri 25-Apr-22 11:27 LONDON (ICIS)–The Dutch government is working on making the Netherlands independent from Russian fossil fuels by the end of 2022, according to a 22 April announcement. Oil flows ongoing despite Bryansk explosions – trader By Richard Price 25-Apr-22 07:08 LONDON (ICIS)–Explosions shook two oil facilities in the western Russian city of Bryansk early on Monday, home to a section of the Druzhba pipeline – a key export route for Russian crude headed to Europe. German regulator begins gas consumption survey to prepare for supply shortages By Eduardo Escajadillo 22-Apr-22 12:39 LONDON (ICIS)–The German Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) is to start gathering data from grid operators and large consumers in the THE market area, as a part of the first early warning level of the country’s gas emergency plan , the regulator announced on 21 April. UK grid constraints could limit export potential to Europe By Rob Dalton 22-Apr-22 12:29 LONDON (ICIS)–UK grid and export constraints could limit the country’s ability to maximise its potential as an LNG import location for onward supply to Europe this summer, as the continent strives to meet EU-proposed storage obligations by autumn. Danish storage to lean on tight German supply By Daniel Muir 22-Apr-22 11:49 LONDON (ICIS)–Danish gas stores may be facing a 175mcm gap going into gas winter, according to ICIS analysis. India market softens on Russian supplies, China lockdown By Keven Zhang 22-Apr-22 07:22 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Trades for methanol into India were concluded at lower levels, with extensive volumes of Russian spot cargoes arriving in May. Eurozone manufacturing nearly stalls in April as war worsens bottlenecks By Jonathan Lopez 22-Apr-22 05:56 MADRID (ICIS)–Manufacturing activity across the eurozone nearly stalled in April as supply chain bottlenecks worsened because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, according to the S&P Global PMI index. INSIGHT: Upstream, energy volatility drives demise of the quarterly contract By Will Beacham 22-Apr-22 05:26 BARCELONA (ICIS)–A large scale switch from quarterly to monthly contracts is under discussion in Europe, driven by extreme volatility in upstream feedstock and energy costs. China firms eyed as Shell markets its share in Sakhalin-2 LNG project By Roman Kazmin 22-Apr-22 15:55 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The share of Shell’s stake in the Sakhalin Energy Sakhalin-2 LNG project in the Russian far east could be sold to Chinese energy companies, a Moscow-based source confirmed to ICIS on 22 April. Asia PBT demand tepid, margins stay tight By Clive Ong 22-Apr-22 11:52 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The Asian polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) market remains under downward pressure with demand on the wane, while sellers expect limited improvement in margins for the near term. US PPG Q1 income falls on higher costs, supply chain disruptions and geopolitical impacts By Adam Yanelli 21-Apr-22 16:26 HOUSTON (ICIS)–US PPG saw a decrease in year-on-year income for Q1 on higher costs, ongoing supply chains constraints, the initial impacts from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and increasing COVID-19 restrictions in China, the paints and coatings producer said on Thursday. INTERVIEW: Chemicals M&A activity to slow on Russia/Ukraine war, inflation impact – banker By Joseph Chang 21-Apr-22 15:48 NEW YORK (ICIS)–Chemicals mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity in 2022 will likely slow from the strong pace in 2021 on heightened energy volatility and economic uncertainty from the Russia/Ukraine war along with higher interest rates and other factors, an investment banker said on Thursday. INSIGHT: Early US chem earnings show resilience amid war By Al Greenwood 21-Apr-22 11:10 HOUSTON (ICIS)–US chemical earnings covering the first months of 2022 have shown resilience, and companies have seen demand hold up despite inflation and the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Dutch AkzoNobel Q1 profit shrinks 29% amid supply chain disruptions By Pearl Bantillo 21-Apr-22 15:17 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–AkzoNobel’s first-quarter net profit fell by 29% year on year as sales volumes dipped 7% due to continued supply constraints, with negative impact from the Russia-Ukraine war and COVID-19 restrictions in China Indian NBR import discussions gain on supply constraints By Ai Teng Lim 21-Apr-22 15:50 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Indian import discussions for acrylonitrile-butadiene-rubber (NBR) are gaining ground, as cargo availabilities of deep-sea origin dwindle, prompting buyers with concrete requirements to raise bids and secure replacement volumes from Asia. China’s offshore oil giant CNOOC shares gain 28% at Shanghai debut By Fanny Zhang 21-Apr-22 16:39 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The share price of China’s biggest offshore oil producer, CNOOC, gained 27.7% over their initial public offering (IPO) of yuan (CNY) 10.8/share at their debut on China’s A-share market, in contrast to a 2.3% slump in the Shanghai composite index on Thursday. INSIGHT: Will growing US LNG exports erode petchem feedstock advantage? By Joseph Chang 20-Apr-22 14:18 NEW YORK (ICIS)–It was back in 2013 at the start of the US liquefied natural gas (LNG) building boom when several US chemical and other manufacturing company executives came out against exports, arguing that the country would be shipping away its feedstock advantage overseas. CRUDE SUMMARY: Oil prices volatile as demand concerns dominate sentiment By Barney Gray 20-Apr-22 14:11 LONDON (ICIS)–Oil prices were in negative territory for most of Wednesday, spurred by weak demand signals from the US Energy Information Agency (EIA) offsetting bullish supply indicators. However, a late rally left crude prices comparatively flat on the day. ICIS VIEW: UK can become key LNG conduit for continent but faces capacity restrictions By Rob Dalton 20-Apr-22 10:58 LONDON (ICIS)–The UK has emerged as a strong contender to be a key supplier of gas to mainland Europe this summer as infrastructure constraints combine with new EU storage obligations and favourable locational spreads. Russia eases restrictions on fertilizer exports By Deepika Thapliyal 20-Apr-22 10:00 LONDON (ICIS)–In Russia, the government has eased restrictions on fertilizer exports by raising export quotas for producers by nearly 700,000 tonnes until 31 May, according to a resolution signed by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin. Germany on track to meet gas storage targets with current injection rates By Arlind Neziri 20-Apr-22 09:55 LONDON (ICIS)–Current German gas injection rates, which have seen fullness rise four percentage points this month to 26%, could lead to Germany meeting its mandated storage targets in August and October, if sustained. Germany’s producer prices jump 30.9% in March on Ukraine war impact By Stefan Baumgarten 20-Apr-22 09:04 LONDON (ICIS)–Producer prices in Germany rose 30.9% year on year in March, the highest increase since 1949 when the country’s statistical agency began tracking the data, it said. Russia’s petchems, crude and LPG export duties down in May By Sergei Blagov 20-Apr-22 06:09 MOSCOW (ICIS)–Russia’s export duties levied on some petrochemicals products and crude oil will decrease in May. EU car sales fall in March as war in Ukraine impacts auto production By Morgan Condon 20-Apr-22 06:08 LONDON (ICIS)–Car sales in the EU fell in March and for the first quarter overall compared to the previous year, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) said. France’s chemicals sales up 6% in 2021 but slowdown expected on energy costs, geopolitical woes By Jonathan Lopez 20-Apr-22 05:49 MADRID (ICIS)–France’s chemicals sales – including pharmaceuticals – rose by 6% in 2021, year on year, to €69bn, the country’s trade group France Chimie said . Malaysia exports more palm oil in Q1 on sunflower oil disruption By Helen Yan 20-Apr-22 03:35 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Supply disruption of edible vegetable sunflower oil due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict and restrictions on palm oil exports to the US have seen Malaysia diversifying and increasing its palm oil exports to other countries and regions. CRUDE SUMMARY: Crude plummets on fears of lower growth forecasts By Cecilia Barreiro 19-Apr-22 14:08 LONDON (ICIS) – Oil prices eroded from Monday’s rally on concerns over demand growth after the IMF said the global economy will strongly decelerate in 2022 because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. These projections were enough to offset bullish pressures stemming from a wave of closures at Libya’s oilfields and the reopening of China’s manufacturing plants across Shanghai. Germany’s Henkel prepares Russia exit amid growing pressure on firms to leave By Stefan Baumgarten 19-Apr-22 12:32 LONDON (ICIS)–Henkel is preparing to exit its business in Russia, where it employs about 2,500 people, the Germany-based international adhesives and detergents major said. Gazprom’s gas production stable, European piped exports drop in Q1 2022 By Diane Elijah 19-Apr-22 10:28 LONDON (ICIS)–Russian producer Gazprom’s gas production between 1 January and 15 April amounted to 155.9 billion cubic metres (bcm), or 1.3% more than in the same period last year, the state-controlled company announced on its Telegram channel. INSIGHT: Record natgas prices are raising costs for US chemical producers By Al Greenwood 19-Apr-22 10:26 HOUSTON (ICIS)–Prices for natural gas are hitting highs not seen since 2008, raising feedstock and energy costs for petrochemical producers. Russian coal ban puts bullish pressure on German gas Cal ‘23 By Eduardo Escajadillo 19-Apr-22 10:12 LONDON (ICIS)–The EU ban on Russian coal imports may support the Calendar Year 2023 contract on the German THE hub, ICIS analysis shows. Baltic states look to LNG in push to diversify from Russian gas supply By Daniel Muir 19-Apr-22 10:04 LONDON (ICIS)–Latvia, Estonia and Finland would have to collectively replace around 3.4 billion cubic metres (bcm)/year of Russian piped gas if they were to eliminate Russian imports. Poland-Belarus border paraffin wax prices up, deliveries from Russia drying up By Cameron Birch 19-Apr-22 10:03 LONDON (ICIS)–Spot prices for semi-refined paraffin wax at the Poland-Belarus border were assessed higher by triple digits amid continued strong levels of demand and a worsening supply picture. Supply chain woes to worsen, high food prices potentially ‘tragic’ – ICIS economist By Jonathan Lopez 19-Apr-22 15:05 MADRID (ICIS)–The war in Ukraine is set to worsen supply chain woes for the rest of 2022 while the hike in food prices as fertilizers values rocket could have “tragic” consequences in emerging countries, according to an economist at ICIS. Kevin Swift, Senior Economist for Global Chemicals at ICIS, said the EU’s proximity to Russia puts the 27-country bloc at high risk of an energy crisis if supplies of crude oil or natural gas were to be halted. Europe, developing economies to bear brunt of Ukraine war hit – IMF By Jonathan Lopez 19-Apr-22 15:00 MADRID (ICIS)–European and developing economies are to bear the brunt of the economic hit caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as the world economy yet again experiences “a major shock”, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Tuesday. In its April World Economic Outlook (WEO) projections, the IMF sharply reduced its global GDP growth forecast for 2022 by 0.8 percentage points to 3.6%; the world economy grew by 6.1% in 2021. US gas futures surge on supply concerns By Ruth Liao 18-Apr-22 23:18 HOUSTON (ICIS)–The US gas futures front-month contract continued to gain upward momentum, as the May ’22 contract on the NYMEX broke through $8.00/MMBtu on Monday during intraday trading. The NYMEX front month settled at $7.82/MMBtu, buoyed by supply concerns mainly from limited upstream growth and facing multi-year lows in storage levels. Germany bets on floating LNG import terminals, environmentalists sceptical By Stefan Baumgarten 15-Apr-22 09:21 LONDON (ICIS)–Germany’s government is seeking to rent floating liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminals to quickly move away from Russian gas – but critics warn of a lack of transparency and environmental impacts. US natural gas reaches new record high on tight supply By Fauzeya Rahman 14-Apr-22 17:47 HOUSTON (ICIS)–US natural gas prices reached new multi-year highs on Thursday as tight production coupled with April weather-driven demand boosted the Henry Hub benchmark. US oil, natgas drillers add rigs as energy prices continue to soar By Adam Yanelli 14-Apr-22 15:22 HOUSTON (ICIS)–US oil and natural gas drillers each added two new wells this week amid volatile energy markets boosted by supply concerns. CRUDE SUMMARY: Oil prices up on Russian rhetoric By Barney Gray 14-Apr-22 14:11 LONDON (ICIS)–Crude prices were up as the impending loss of up to 3m bbl/day of Russian output in May offset bearish factors. Europe plans to increase regasification capacity as it pivots away from Russian gas By Hal Brown 14-Apr-22 11:11 LONDON (ICIS)–Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Europe has announced its intention to develop an additional LNG import capacity of around 33mtpa with reports of new projects coming through regularly. Tightening supply may limit European gas storage injections in April By Gretchen Ransow 14-Apr-22 11:06 LONDON (ICIS)–Constrained Norwegian supply and limited wind generation are likely to cap storage injections in the latter part of April. France issues demand side response rules to mitigate potential gas supply disruptions By Andrea Battaglia 14-Apr-22 11:03 LONDON (ICIS)–The French transmission system operator could ask large gas consumers with consumption exceeding 5GWh per year – roughly 0.5million cubic metres (mcm), including gas-fired power plants and industrial consumers, to reduce or fully halt their gas consumption in case of extreme supply tightness, according to a new law decree published on 8 April. France’s new LNG project could curb interest in MidCat pipeline By Andrea Battaglia 14-Apr-22 10:59 LONDON (ICIS)–As Europe seeks ways to reduce its dependence on Russian gas, political leaders in France and Spain recently mulled a revival of the Midi-Catalunia (MidCat) pipeline project, aiming to increase the interconnection capacity of the Iberian Peninsula. EU calls for full embargo of Russian energy, fast-tracks adoption of new storage rules By Diane Elijah 14-Apr-22 10:26 LONDON (ICIS)–The European Parliament called for additional sanctions against Russia including an immediate full embargo on Russian oil, coal, gas and nuclear fuel, in a non-binding resolution adopted with a vast majority on 7 April. Europe’s gas-to-coal switch profitable despite Russian coal ban By Raymond Shi 14-Apr-22 10:15 LONDON (ICIS)–Europe’s clean dark spreads are likely to remain profitable enough to encourage gas-to-coal fuel switching in the medium term, despite an incoming blanket ban on coal imports from Russia. US New Fortress plans US Gulf Fast LNG project By Fauzeya Rahman 14-Apr-22 09:58 HOUSTON (ICIS)–US developer New Fortress wants to build a 2.8mtpa offshore LNG export plant in the US Gulf and start operations by the first quarter of 2023. Covestro’s Steilemann warns of consequences of embargo on Russian gas By Nigel Davis 14-Apr-22 09:29 LONDON (ICIS)–An immediate embargo on natural gas from Russia would be short-sighted and threaten entire production and supply chains and thousands of jobs, Covestro CEO and VCI president elect, Markus Steilemann, has warned. Asia’s PBT holds steady while demand remains tepid By Clive Ong 14-Apr-22 17:14 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The Asian polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) market was stable amid thin trade. Demand in Asia remains soft with uncertainty expected to stay elevated in the near term. NE Asia ethylene downcast; China demand to stay weak By Yeow Pei Lin 14-Apr-22 12:03 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Northeast Asia’s spot ethylene prices fell for a second week, hobbled by deeper downstream output cuts in China amid COVID-related logistic bottlenecks. India March exports hit record high; fertilizer imports up eightfold By Priya Jestin 14-Apr-22 16:19 MUMBAI (ICIS)–India’s exports in March rose 19.8% year on year to $42.2bn – exceeding the $40bn mark for the first time – on continued increase in demand for its engineering goods and petroleum products. Singapore tightens monetary policy as inflation threatens economy By Nurluqman Suratman 14-Apr-22 14:01 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) will allow the Singapore dollar to appreciate against a basket of trade-weighted currencies to tackle rising domestic inflation, which threatens economic growth this year. Singapore Q1 GDP moderates to 3.4% amid manufacturing slowdown By Nurluqman Suratman 14-Apr-22 10:46 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Singapore’s economy grew by 3.4% year on year in the first quarter, moderating from the 6.1% expansion in the fourth quarter of 2021, amid a slowdown in manufacturing, official advance estimates showed on Thursday. US natgas rises to just under $7.00/MMBtu on supply concerns By Ruth Liao 13-Apr-22 17:07 HOUSTON (ICIS)–US gas futures soared nearly 5% higher on Wednesday amid supply concerns, as the Henry Hub front-month contract briefly crossed over the $7.00/MMBtu mark during trading before settling just below. US crude futures surge $3.65/bbl on supply concerns By Ignacio Sotolongo 13-Apr-22 15:12 HOUSTON (ICIS)–NYMEX WTI crude futures for May delivery extended the previous session’s rally and recouped all of the previous week’s losses, settling at $104.25/bbl, up $3.65, as the loss of Russian oil exports due to sanctions will start impacting global supplies in May. CRUDE SUMMARY: Oil prices continue firming on the loss of Russian crude supplies in May By Barney Gray 13-Apr-22 14:22 LONDON (ICIS)–A demonstrable lack of progress in ending the Russia-Ukraine war has offset bearish US inventory data, as the market braces itself for the loss of up to 3m bbl/day from Russia in May. Grupa Azoty unaffected by EU sanctions on stakeholder – company By Will Conroy 13-Apr-22 10:35 LONDON (ICIS)–Poland’s Grupa Azoty on Tuesday said in a statement that sanctions imposed by the EU and other western powers on Russian oligarch Viatcheslav Kantor, who indirectly owns 19.82% of the company, are not expected to have an impact on its operations. Crude demand hit by China lockdowns, Russian supply to be 1.5m bbl/day lower in April – IEA By Jonathan Lopez 13-Apr-22 10:15 MADRID (ICIS)–Severe lockdowns implemented in China to contain the spread of the pandemic are set to reduce global crude oil demand this year, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said. Canada’s central bank hikes key rate as Ukraine war accelerates inflation By Stefan Baumgarten 13-Apr-22 10:08 TORONTO (ICIS)–Canada’s central bank on Wednesday raised its target for the overnight lending rate by 50 basis points, to 1.0% from 0.5%, and said rates would need to be further increased to curb rising inflation. German institutes slash GDP forecast, Russian gas halt would spark recession By Stefan Baumgarten 13-Apr-22 08:38 LONDON (ICIS)–Leading German economic research institutes have slashed their 2022 forecast for the country’s economic growth – and are warning that a sudden interruption of Russian gas supplies would lead to a recession. Russia’s naphtha exports down sharply in March as buyers turn away – IEA By Jonathan Lopez 13-Apr-22 06:51 MADRID (ICIS)–Petrochemicals companies in Europe and most major markets shunned naphtha from Russia during March, as sanctions against the country were announced, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said. Asia MEG discussions slip to lowest in 2022 as demand deteriorates By Judith Wang 13-Apr-22 17:45 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s monoethylene glycol (MEG) discussions slipped to their lowest levels since the beginning of the year, as downstream demand deteriorated amid further operation cuts from major polyester producers. Affordability could derail the role of gas in India’s energy transition By Joachim Moxon 13-Apr-22 16:5 Winter is over, but the start of spring has brought little relief to a stretched global LNG market. In late January, ICIS assessments for delivery to India briefly touched below $20/MMBtu for March delivery and this now seems as low as it will get for spot prices in 2022. Asia naphtha jumps on crude oil gains; shrugs off thin demand By Melanie Wee 13-Apr-22 13:28 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s naphtha prices jumped on Wednesday, tracking crude gains, but the market is poised for volatility against a backdrop of cautious demand as supply concerns loom. US crude futures surge $6.31/bbl on OPEC warning By Ignacio Sotolongo 12-Apr-22 16:09 HOUSTON (ICIS)–NYMEX WTI crude futures for May delivery settled at $100.60/bbl, up $6.31, in response to OPEC’s monthly report warning that Russian oil and gas exports will be impossible to replace if sanctions for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine target energy. US to allow sales E15 gasoline this summer to help reduce gasoline prices By Adam Yanelli 12-Apr-22 15:51 HOUSTON (ICIS)–The US plans to increase domestic fuel supplies by authorizing E15 gasoline – gasoline blended with 15% ethanol – to be sold this summer. German chems can cope without Russian coal – VCI By Stefan Baumgarten 12-Apr-22 11:49 LONDON (ICIS)–Germany’s chemical industry can cope without supplies of coal from Russia, chemical producers’ trade group VCI said. Gas-to-coal fuel switching to remain profitable despite Russian coal import ban By Raymond Shi 12-Apr-22 10:33 LONDON (ICIS)–Clean dark spreads are likely to remain profitable enough to encourage gas-to-coal fuel switching in the medium term, despite an incoming blanket ban on coal imports from Russia. Russian urea exports to Brazil halve in Q1 By Deepika Thapliyal 12-Apr-22 10:23 LONDON (ICIS)–In Brazil, imports of urea from Russia declined 53% in the first quarter, while total imports were at over 1.6m tonnes, down 17% from nearly 2m tonnes in the same period of 2021, according to the ICIS Supply and Demand Database. Germany’s March chem wholesale prices jump 40.1% on war impact By Stefan Baumgarten 12-Apr-22 09:51 LONDON (ICIS)–Chemical wholesale prices in Germany kept rising sharply in March – 40.1% year on year and 6.7% month on month – according to the latest data from the country’s federal statistics agency. Ukraine crisis to hit global growth but refinery margins soar in March – OPEC By Tom Brown 12-Apr-22 08:59 LONDON ICIS)–OPEC on Tuesday revised down global GDP growth expectations for the year from 4.2% to 3.9% on the back of the invasion of Ukraine, while a growing supply-demand imbalance drove refinery margins to the highest levels since the pandemic last month, according to the group. PODCAST: Europe buyers look to Asia as logistics crisis persists By Will Beacham 12-Apr-22 08:05 BARCELONA (ICIS)–Downstream customers in Europe are seeking new supplies of chemicals from Asia as they avoid high prices and Russian material, but the global logistics crisis may persist for the rest of the year. Most European urea imports up in 2021; Russian imports to fall on sanctions By Deepika Thapliyal 12-Apr-22 07:00 LONDON (ICIS)–Urea imports rose for most European countries in 2021 despite prices being at record highs, except for some including Spain and the UK, which saw slight year-on-year declines. German economic sentiment sinks further in April, stagflation on the horizon – Zew By Tom Brown 12-Apr-22 06:21 LONDON (ICIS)–Expectations for Germany’s economic growth sank further in April compared to the previous month, with the assessment of future prospects falling further and expectations that the next half-year could see the country descend into stagflation, institute Zew said. Demand slowdown weighs on Asia polyester talks; outlook bearish By Judith Wang 12-Apr-22 16:48 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The overall demand slowdown in China has weighed on polyester discussions, while major polyester producers in China are cutting operations amid rising inventories and a bearish market outlook. China petrochemicals supply chain struggles amid pandemic curbs By Fanny Zhang 12-Apr-22 14:33 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s entire petrochemical supply chain is facing strong headwinds due to tough pandemic-related restrictions in place at various production hubs, including Shanghai. Oil rises more than $2/bbl on OPEC tight supply warning By Nurluqman Suratman 12-Apr-22 13:21 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Oil prices rose more than $2/bbl on Tuesday, reversing sharp losses in the previous session, after OPEC warned it would not be able to replace supply lost from Russia due to sanctions. China March vehicle markets slump; sales down 11.7% on year By Fanny Zhang 12-Apr-22 11:59 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s vehicle markets took hits from increasing outbreaks of COVID-19 in March, with sales down by 11.7% year on year to 2.23m and production losing 9.1% to 2.24m units, official industrial data showed on Monday. US gas futures rise nearly 6%, hit highest level since 2008 By Ruth Liao 11-Apr-22 17:21 HOUSTON (ICIS)–US natural gas futures on the NYMEX scaled higher to $6.64/MMBtu on Monday, the highest front-month settlement for the Henry Hub benchmark since October 2008. US crude futures slide $3.97/bbl on length liquidation By Ignacio Sotolongo 11-Apr-22 15:13 HOUSTON (ICIS)–NYMEX WTI crude futures for May delivery settled at $94.29/bbl, down $3.97/bbl, on market sentiment that the co-ordinated effort by members of the International Energy Agency (IEA) to release barrels from strategic petroleum reserves will help alleviate the loss of Russian barrels. BASF projects Q1 profit drop on Wintershall Dea Nord Stream 2 loan write-downs By Tom Brown 11-Apr-22 11:02 LONDON (ICIS)–BASF’s first-quarter net income is likely to fall substantially year on year, largely on the back of impairments related to its Wintershall Dea oil and gas joint venture unit, particularly on loans to the presently-halted Nord Stream 2 pipeline, the Germany-based firm said. OGE plans construction of pipeline link for Wilhelmshaven LNG terminal By Eduardo Escajadillo 11-Apr-22 10:59 LONDON (ICIS)–Germany’s Open Grid Europe (OGE) intends to complete the connection line for the floating storage regasification unit (FSRU) at Wilhelmshaven by the end of 2022, the company announced over the weekend. North Sea oil market slump challenges tight supply narrative By Richard Price 11-Apr-22 10:00 LONDON (ICIS)–Crude oil’s meteoric rise to $140/bbl after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine pointed to the tightest market in decades. However, signals in the physical market and newly emerging demand concerns have seen sentiment reshape. The reality is that Russian crude has still been finding its way into the European refining ecosystem, but these volumes should wane throughout April. Dow acquires stake in LNG import terminal in Stade, Germany By Jonathan Lopez 11-Apr-22 09:51 MADRID (ICIS)–Dow has acquired a stake in Hanseatic Energy Hub GmbH (HEH), a consortium building a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal on its Stade facilities in Germany, the US chemicals major said. Suspended German coal phase-out could save 2bcm of gas in 2023 By ICIS Editorial 11-Apr-22 09:09 LONDON (ICIS)–Suspending Germany’s coal phase out by two years would limit demand for natural gas by 2 billion cubic metres (bcm) in 2023, according to ICIS modelling. Russia among top three urea exporters to the US in January-February By Deepika Thapliyal 11-Apr-22 08:17 LONDON (ICIS)–In the US, urea imports were at 870,551 tonnes in January-February, up 16% from 749,060 tonnes in the same period of 2021, according to the ICIS Supply and Demand Database. INEOS calls on UK government to allow test fracking site By Tom Brown 11-Apr-22 07:02 LONDON (ICIS)–INEOS has requested that the UK government allow it to develop a shale gas test site in the country, a year and a half after writing down the value of its exploration assets in the space after the country declared a moratorium on fracking. March IPEX up 8.6% on firming prices in northeast Asia, US Gulf By Miguel Rodriguez Fernandez 11-Apr-22 18:14 LONDON (ICIS)–The ICIS Petrochemical Index (IPEX) rose by 8.6% month on month in March, as rising feedstock crude oil and energy prices pushed petrochemicals and plastics prices higher globally. Asian MEK soars to new high on US, Europe demand By Julia Tan 11-Apr-22 17:46 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asian methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) import markets continued to soar to new highs in the week ended 8 April, as demand from the US and Europe kept trading levels high and selling pressure low despite tepid demand from Asia. China March petrochemicals track crude gains; lockdowns keep output low By Yvonne Shi 11-Apr-22 15:51 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s petrochemical markets mainly tracked crude gains in March, with additional upward pressure from tighter supply on reduced local production due to pandemic-related lockdowns. Topic Page by Aura Sabadus and Will Beacham. Additional reporting by  Richard Ewing and Sophie Udubasceanu. Maps and graphs by Yashas Mudumbai.
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