As competition for LNG grows between buyers in Asia and Europe, timely and transparent insights on global prices are increasingly essential. Facing a complex global market, International market players forward-looking intelligence to adjust to the realities of the newly interconnected global gas industry.
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The LNG landscape is being redefined. Competition from buyers in Asia and Europe is growing as new players enter the market, intensifying price volatility. ICIS supports your decision making by providing a comprehensive view of historic, current, and future global market conditions. Make confident trading and investment decisions with a range of trusted European gas price benchmarks including the ICIS TTF.
The ICIS TTF Early Day enables Asian market participants to trade with the same assurance and on the same terms as their European peers. ICIS transparent prices, now accessible at the end of the day in Asia will support market development, fostering liquidity and hedging opportunities for those operating in the LNG marketplace.
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New Price Assessment: ICIS TTF Early Day
As competition for LNG grows between buyers in Asia and Europe, timely and transparent insights on global prices are increasingly essential. Facing a complex global market, Asian companies need forward-looking intelligence to adjust to the realities of the newly interconnected international gas industry.
Now, ICIS is adding a new price assessment to make the ICIS TTF gas benchmark more reflective of Asian market trading. ICIS transparent prices, now accessible at the end of the day in Asia will support market development, fostering liquidity and hedging opportunities for those operating in the LNG marketplace.
The ICIS TTF Early Day enables Asian market participants to trade with the same assurance and on the same terms as their European peers.
Adapt to the new market realities with confidence and purpose using the ICIS TTF Early Day.
Speak to an ICIS expert to learn more.
US ADM to offer biologically enhanced fertilizer to farmers
HOUSTON (ICIS)–US agribusiness titan Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) and BiOWiSH Technologies announced ADM will offer a BiOWiSH fertilizer enhancement as an option to urea, phosphate and NPK blend volumes. The fertilizer enhancement is a blend of proprietary microbial cultures coated onto dry fertilizer or mixed with liquid fertilizers to create an enhanced efficiency fertilizer. It is specifically designed to optimise yield potential by improved nutrient uptake and to improve soil conditions for increased plant vigour. By using endophytic Bacillus to deliver soil nutrients to crops through the rhizophagy cycle, it creates a symbiotic relationship between the plant and soil microbes. The company said this unique mode of action is proven to achieve consistent desired results across a broad range of operating conditions, climates and environments at a low cost. ADM plans to offer it as an option to be coated onto dry fertilizers sold through several of its terminals for the 2023 season. “ADM is committed to delivering solutions that will enhance farmer profitability and help them sustainably meet growing demand for agricultural products. BiOWiSH is one of those solutions,” said Graig Whitehead, ADM director of biologicals and new technology. “It is an easy addition to a fertility programme for farmers looking to benefit from improved nutrient use efficiency and increased yield potential.”
Arianne Phosphate receives updated engineering study for Canada phosphate project
HOUSTON (ICIS)–Canadian firm Arianne Phosphate announced it has received an updated engineering study regarding the projected capital expenditure for its Lac a Paul phosphate project in Quebec, with the cost for the project now estimated to be approximately $1.55bn. Arianne said given recent uncertainties and cost overruns facing many mining construction projects it engaged in the study, which was undertaken in late 2022 and early 2023 by LCO Construction & Management Consultants. The study focused solely on the capital expenses as the construction, mining and transportation plans for Lac a Paul remain the same, as does Arianne’s statement of mineral reserves. The estimate also includes required infrastructure upgrades, including a hydroelectric transmission line from dam to site and a ship-loading facility on the north shore of the Saguenay river. “This report should go a long way towards dispelling the view that our CapEx has appreciated to the point of significantly diminishing our project,” said Brian Ostroff, president of Arianne. “While cost overruns due to inflationary pressures, supply chain issues and procurement have affected most projects and, investors now factor in cost increases of 50-100% into their models, a less than 30% increase from our last reported number should be most welcomed.” Ostroff said it is also worth highlighting that although the estimates are higher since the last report, the price of phosphate and the benefits of the US and Canada exchange rate have risen as well. Arianne anticipates that the mine will produce 3m tonnes a year of high-purity phosphate concentrate.
PODCAST: Power Foresight – Key takeaways of the electricity market design reform proposals
ICIS Director of Energy Analytics, Matteo Mazzoni and Matthew Jones, Lead Analyst, discuss the key takeaways of the electricity market design reform proposals.
HB Fuller to close plants in N America, Argentina
HOUSTON (ICIS)–HB Fuller plans to close a construction-adhesives plant in North America and exit a facility in Argentina, the US-based adhesives producer said on Thursday. HB Fuller did not specify the locations of the plants or when the actions should take place. The moves are part of a larger restructuring plan that HB Fuller started in the first quarter, said Celeste Mastin, CEO. She made her comments during an earnings conference call. That plan was in response to the need to restructure the company's Construction Adhesives business, she said. "We want to prepare our cost structure for lower volume demand throughout the year." That business swung to a first-quarter net operating loss. The company's fiscal first quarter ended on 4 March. Significant destocking in Construction Adhesives had started in the fourth quarter and continued in the first quarter, she said. It is uncertain when restocking should start and how significant it should be. Most of HB Fuller's construction business serves the nonresidential sector. In regards to the restructuring plan, HB Fuller expects that 40% of its benefits will be realised in Construction Adhesives. Overall, two-thirds of the plan's benefits will be related to cost of sales, and the remainder will be related to selling, general and administrative (SG&A) expenses, Mastin said. The cost of the plan is $15m-20m. The company is evaluating its manufacturing network, and Mastin left open the possibility of other plant shutdowns in other parts of HB Fuller's business. "We are looking at capacity plant by plant, technology by technology, line by line, with not just now but five year from now in mind," Mastin said. "As we complete that assessment, there is a possibility we'll end up shutting other plants." HB FULLER EXPECTS MILD GLOBAL RECESSIONLooking ahead, HB Fuller expects a mild global recession in 2023, and it is aligning costs with its current outlook for the economy, she said. Inflation is cooling, but Mastin noted that prices continue to rise for a meaningful proportion of the company's raw materials. As an adhesives producer, HB Fuller's raw materials include tackifying resins, polymers, synthetic rubber, plasticizers and vinyl acetate monomer (VAM). HB Fuller's other business segments are Engineering Adhesives and Hygiene, Health and Consumable Adhesives. Thumbnail shows glue, which is an adhesive. Image by Shutterstock.
Cheniere, Total LNG cargoes to boost Bulgaria’s April gas supply
LONDON (ICIS)–US LNG supplier Cheniere and France’s Total are set to boost Bulgarian gas volumes in April after winning supply contracts, according to a document released by Bulgarian energy regulator EWRC on 29 March. After organising a tender procedure for the whole of 2023, Bulgarian state supplier Bulgargaz concluded two contracts for the supply of liquefied natural gas (LNG) with traders for April, added EWRC. The contracts were concluded after a tender procedure with requirements for a minimum delivery price and a proposed method of payment. Cheniere secured two cargoes for April delivery via Greece’s Revithoussa terminal on 15 and 26 April. These were for 73,855cbm (500,000MWh) and 147,710cbm (1,000,000MWh) volumes respectively. Total also secured a 500,000MWh volume to be delivered to a Turkish LNG terminal. The delivery date is yet to be announced. On 23 February, Bulgargaz launched its first ever tender via a Turkish terminal for the April delivery of 47 million cubic meters (mcm) of gas. Bulgargaz booked three LNG unloading slots for 2023 at the Revithoussa terminal – two slots for 147,710cbm and one for 73,855cbm – Greek gas operator DESFA said on 1 February. Bulgarian gas supplies are guaranteed until the end of the year, all contracts have been signed, and volumes for injection in the underground storage facility in Chiren have been secured,” Bulgargaz’s executive director Denitsa Zlateva said in a statement on 29 March. “Daily requests vary between 40,000/MWh and 85,000/MWh, depending on the season and consumption. By guaranteeing and providing the gas, in its capacity as a public supplier, the company cannot risk buying natural gas on a daily basis on exchanges with a Day Ahead price index or in the Intra-Day,” Zlateva added. LNG OPTIONS Last year, Bulgargaz and Cheniere worked on an LNG supply deal after Russian gas supply to Bulgaria was cut in April 2022. Last October, the US company delivered one cargo (approximately 1,050,000MWh volume) to boost Bulgarian winter supply. Last September, Bulgargaz also issued a tender for the purchase of LNG for 2024-2034, to be delivered into either the Greek Revithoussa terminal or Turkish LNG terminals.
General Motors idles Sao Jose de Campos, Brazil plant on poor demand
SAO PAULO (ICIS)–General Motors (GM) has idled its Sao Jose de Campos, Brazil plant producing pick-up trucks from 27 March to 11 April to “adjust production” to current poor demand, the US automotive major said to ICIS on Thursday. General Motors operates three production plants in Brazil, two in the Sao Paulo state and one in Rio Grande do Sul. A spokesperson for General Motors did not specify how many employees at the Sao Jose de Campos – north of Sao Paulo city – site had been sent home for an extended Easter break. The plant in Sao Jose de Campos produces GM’s S10 pick-up truck. “The affected employees at the Sao Jose dos Campos plant will be in vacation, returning to work after the shutdown period. All other GM facilities in the region are operating normally,” said the spokesperson. They did not elaborate about demand levels and how this shutdown could affect 2023 production and sales forecasts. GM employs 17,500 workers in South America, according to the spokesperson. Globally, GM employs 167,000 workers, according to its website. DOWNTURNThe Brazilian automotive industry has entered a downturn as high interest rates are deterring consumers from big-ticket purchases, while it grapples with a persistent shortage for components. Earlier in March, Hyundai also said to ICIS it was idling one of its plants in Brazil. Press reports in local media said Stellantis – maker of brands such Fiat, Jeep, Peugeot e Citroen – had also idled some of its production in Brazil. Stellantis had not responded to a request for comment at the time of writing. While the GM spokesperson would not elaborate about the company’s forecasts for 2023, they referred to Brazil’s automotive trade group Anfavea’s forecasts, which expect an increase of 3% in sales, year on year. The trade group expects vehicle production to increase by 2.2% in 2023, year on year, to about 2.42m units, including light and heavy vehicles. The automotive industry is a key consumer of petrochemicals: the sector sells around 20% of the materials it produces to automobile manufacturers. A typical vehicle contains several chemical products such antifreeze and other fluids, catalysts, plastics, rubber tyres and hoses, upholstery fibres, coatings, and adhesives.
EU investigates PET anti-dumping allegations against China
LONDON (ICIS)–The European Commission announced the initiation of an anti-dumping investigation concerning imports of certain polyethylene terephthalate (PET) originating from China. The product subject to this investigation is PET with a viscosity of 78 ml/g or higher. The investigation of dumping and injury will cover the previous year, from 1 January 2022 to 31 December 2022. The examination of trends relevant for the assessment of injury will cover an expanded time-frame from 1 January 2019 to the end of the investigation period. According to the official journal of the European Union, all interested parties wishing to comment on the complaint have 37 days from 30 March 2023 in which to do so. Any requests for a hearing with regard to the initiation of the investigation must be submitted within 15 days of the 30 March 2023. Those wishing to submit information on the product scope must do so within 10 days of the date of 30 March 2023. The complaint, made on behalf of the Union industry of PET, was lodged on 14 February 2023. Market participants have been anticipating news of the investigation, as demand has been pitched against high costs in Europe at the start of 2023. PET resins can be broadly classified into bottle, fibre or film grade, named according to the downstream applications. Bottle grade resin is the most commonly traded form of PET resin and it is used in bottle and container packaging through blow moulding and thermoforming. Fibre grade resin goes into making polyester fibre, while film grade resin is used in electrical and flexible packaging applications. PET can be compounded with glass fibre for the production of engineering plastics. Thumbnail picture: A bottled water display in Hangzhou, China (source: Shutterstock)
ICIS March LBB eases slightly, remains consistent with recessionary conditions
HOUSTON (ICIS)–The ICIS leading business barometer (LBB) eased slightly in March, but conditions remain consistent with the US falling into a recession, Kevin Swift, ICIS senior economist for global chemicals, said. The cumulative decline in the barometer is down by 8.1% from its peak in February 2022, Swift said. Cumulative declines of 3% have signalled a recession in the past. Swift said he takes some encouragement from the fact that the index is stabilising. “Raw material and other input prices eased, as did selling prices,” Swift said. “In the wake of the banking turmoil, equity prices eased slightly, and inventory and other broader leading economic measures were mixed.” In March, the share of expanding indicators, known as diffusion, was 47%, the same as last month. 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 LBB are available back to January 1947. The ICIS LBB leads at US business cycle peaks by seven months on average and four months at business cycle troughs.
Highfield Resources granted remaining licence for Spain potash project plant
HOUSTON (ICIS)–Spanish fertilizer firm Highfield Resources announced that the remaining licence for the construction of the Muga Potash mine’s process plant has been granted by the local authorities. The company now has the required permits to begin the full-scale construction of Muga comprising the civil works, the process plant and the ramps. Highfield said that finalising the works around the mine gate area last year has given them a good head-start on the overall construction plan To expedite the process, Highfield said it requested an amendment to the licence to exclude a small parcel of public land that required a more extended process but this will not impact construction of the process plant. The company expects this parcel of land will be included in the licence as construction starts. Highfield now plans to finalise the financing strategy, the remaining construction contracts and all other preparatory work before starting construction in the second half of 2023. “I do not think I am exaggerating by saying that we all feel this licence closes a long permitting chapter for Highfield. I would like to thank all our stakeholders, staff and shareholders for their continued support. The company will now focus on building Muga as soon as possible,” said Ignacio Salazar, Highfield Resources CEO.
MEP committee votes to reject objection to RFNBO delegated act
LONDON(ICIS)–The European Parliament's Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) voted on 28 March to reject the motion to object the rules defining renewable hydrogen and renewable fuels of non-biological origin (RFNBO) as published in the European Commission’s delegated act on February 13 2023. The decision indicates that the delegated act will now progress to parliamentary level for final discussion and voting, but gives market participants an understanding that the act may soon finalised. The committee vote on the motion to object the delegated act for RFNBO occurred 28 March and was counted with 41 votes against, 22 votes in favour, and 4 abstentions. The rules for RFNBO have been considered the rules for producing renewable hydrogen, and apply to hydrogen produced within and outside of the EU. However, the specification of the act is to outline the conditions for hydrogen being used in transport should participants wish to claim that hydrogen as part of the targets set out in the Renewable Energy Directive recast (RED II). RED II currently indicates that 14% of final energy consumption in the transport sector should be renewable by 2030. This places large focus on RFNBO in order to meet this target. The changes that were put forward earlier this month were to allow for the setting up of conditions that would lead to responsible investment, with the priority areas that are difficult to decarbonise such as air travel and electrification. The delegated act regulations surrounds rules for counting electricity obtained from direct connection to an installation generating renewable electricity as fully renewable, general rules for counting electricity taken from the grid as fully renewable, and rules on additionality, temporal correlation and geographical correlation.
EU electricity proposals ‘not satisfactory’ to keep chemicals competitive – Spain’s Feique
SAO PAULO (ICIS)–The latest EU proposals to reform the electricity market fall short of guaranteeing the competitiveness of energy-intensive sectors such as chemicals, Spain’s trade group Feique said on Wednesday. Earlier in March, the EU published proposals to reform an electricity market which currently prioritises the highest-paid feedstock to set the final prices. As natural gas costs went through the roof after Russia invaded Ukraine, those prices have been prioritised in the final price for companies and households over other cheaper feedstocks such as renewables. On Wednesday, Feique said Spain’s chemicals industry – the fourth largest within the EU after Germany, France, and Italy – will continue to face up to a challenging energy costs picture in 2023, with the EU’s proposals falling short to address that. The trade group said Spain’s chemicals have four priorities when it comes to the electricity market: guarantee of supply, decarbonisation, “reasonable profitability” to promote investments in clean electricity generation and be able to enjoy “competitive and predictable” prices in the medium and long term. “The European Commission [the EU’s executive body] proposals to reform the electricity market do not give a satisfactory answer to any of those four points,” said Feique’s president, Teresa Rasero. “The eternal promise that an electrical system with greater renewable generation would promote better prices – because of their low variable costs – will never materialise as long as we maintain the current system.” Rasero is also the CEO of Air Liquide Spain, the industrial gases major’s subsidiary in the country. Feique said it supports price caps for electricity produced with nuclear, hydraulic, and renewable sources; Spain’s production capacity with those three energy sources combined would represent 150TWh/year, a volume equivalent to the “entire demand” for electricity from the country’s industrial sectors. DIRECT HELPThe trade group also demanded more ambitious subsidies to help companies currently struggling with high energy costs. While the EU is very meticulous in how state aid can be granted to private companies – arguing they could distort a free market – the extraordinary situation in 2022 prompted the 27-country bloc to allow some state aid for industrial players struggling with the cost of energy. The direct financial aid offered by the Spanish government so far "is very far from the effectiveness” of packages offered in other EU countries, said Feique. So far, subsidies in Spain have totalled €825m, according to figures by Feique, but the industry body believes the Spanish coalition cabinet led by Pedro Sanchez should approve larger amount to financially aid industry, “This situation contrasts with countries such Portugal, where gas consumption is much lower than in Spain, who have already granted €1bn in financial aid, or Germany, where the government has promised €25bn,” it said. “Proportionally, it would be necessary for Spain to reach the Portuguese aid level, which would equal to around €5bn.” ‘MORE AMBITIOUS’ INDUSTRIAL PLAN, CCS PUSHFeique also demanded a “more ambitious” industrial plan from the EU authorities than that presented earlier this year, the so-called Green Deal Industrial Plan (GDIP). The bloc was forced to respond to the US’ Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which since its passing in August 2022 has spurred green investments in chemicals and other industrial sectors on the back of generous tax breaks and other incentives. Apart from a “structural” reform in the electricity markets, Feique said the GDIP should include a “guaranteed framework” for stable and long-term establishment of renewable technologies that can act as substitutes for fossil fuels such hydrogen, methane, renewable gases, and “emission-neutral eco-fuels”. It added it is urgent to “review” the emission trading system in place to avoid “actions that distort” the price of carbon emissions. Feique concluded saying that without carbon, capture, utilisation, and storage (CCUS) technologies, Spain would not be able to meet its 2050 net-zero emissions target. “This is the only technological alternative that allows the removal of CO2 from the atmosphere directly or indirectly and would contribute significantly to reduce emissions in sectors with hard-to-abate emissions … where CO2 emissions are intrinsic to the production process,” said Feique. “In Spain’s case, hard-to-abate emissions from energy-intensive sectors in 2019 stood at 21.3m tonnes of CO2, representing 33% of the industry's emissions. Therefore, it is necessary to establish a Spanish roadmap for the real application of the CCUS technologies.” Feique confirmed on Wednesday sales in Spain’s chemicals industry rose strongly in 2022 on the back of higher selling prices, but it also said production had barely risen. Moreover, production in energy-intensive subsectors such as base chemicals fell sharply as the year went by (see graph), one of the reasons for Feique to demand from the EU and Spanish authorities urgent action on energy costs. Base chemicals hit hard by energy costs Subsector production evolution in Spain, 2022 – Front page picture: Spain’s Tarragona chemicals park in northeast’s Catalonia; archive image Source: Carlos Sanchez Pereyra/imageBROKER/Shutterstock Focus article by Jonathan Lopez
PODCAST: Soft MEK pricing across regions on weak consumption
LONDON (ICIS)–Global methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) prices have been softening on weak consumption amid an uncertain outlook for the second quarter, usually the peak of demand from the paints and coatings sectors. Europe report editor Nick Cleeve speaks to Asia-Pacific editor Julia Tan and US editor Larry Terry about MEK market conditions across regions. MEK’s main application is as a solvent, with half of global demand derived from the paints and coatings industry. MEK can also be used in rubber-based industrial cements, printing inks and in textile dyes.
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