U.S. probes fertilizer, synthetic rubber imports for dumping; Pemex petrochemical production declines in second quarter; Braskem Idesa sees greater ethane flows in Mexico; S&P would divest Opis if needed for approval for IHS merger

News Briefs

Fertilizer. Image courtesy of Samuel Faber/Pixabay

U.S. probes fertilizer, rubber imports for dumping

The U.S. International Trade Comission said on Aug. 13 2021 in two separate releases that it would look further into possible dumping in the U.S. of foreign-made synthetic rubber and fertilizers.

In one release the ITC said that there is a reasonable indication that a U.S. industry is “materially injured” by urea ammonium nitrate solutions imports from Russia, and Trinidad and Tobago.

A separate release said there is reasonable indication that a U.S. industry is materially injured by acrylonitrile-butadiene rubber (NBR) imports from France, South Korea, and Mexico that like fertilizers “are allegedly sold in the United States at less than fair value.”

Investigations of imports of synthetic rubber will continue with “its preliminary antidumping duty determinations due on or about Dec. 7.”

As for fertilizers, there will be probes with preliminary countervailing duty determinations on Sept. 23 and antidumping duty determinations on Dec. 7.

In the case of fertilizers, CF Industries from Chicago had asked for the dumping investigations.

“The first half also saw a continued demonstration of the harm the UAN industry in the U.S. faces from subsidized and dumped imports from Russia and Trinidad,” CF Industries sales vicepresident Bert Frost said on Aug. 10 while discussing earnings.

Pemex petrochemical production declines in second quarter

State oil and refining company Pemex reported on July 28 total hydrocarbon production for the second quarter of 2021 of 2.47 million barrels per day, a 3.7% on-year increase.

The petrochemical production during the second quarter was 330,000 tonnes, a decrease of 8.2% from a year earlier.

Petrochemical products imports into Mexico fell 60% in the second quarter from a year earlier. Pemex imported 62,000 tonnes of petrochemical products.

The Mexican state oil company now works on the upgrading of six existing refineries in Mexico, as well as on the construction of the new Dos Bocas refinery.

Pemex closed in May negotiations to buy a stake of just over 50% from Shell in the Deer Park refinery in a $596-million transaction. The acquisition will close in the last quarter and is subject to U.S. approval.

The company’s ethane derivatives production fell by 50,000 tonnes “due to problems in auxiliary services at Morelos and Cangrejera petrochemical complexes,” Pemex said.

Methane derivatives production increased by 27,000 tonnes as a result “of the stable operation of the ammonia VI plant,” the company said in comments filed along with the earnings.

Braskem Idesa sees greater ethane flows from Pemex

Braskem officials said on Aug. 6 during the company’s second quarter 2021 earnings call that its venture Braskem Idesa in Veracruz, Mexico, received more ethane from Pemex in June.

The ethylene and polyethylene complex, which has faced problems in obtaining ethane, said that there was a higher supply from Pemex in June.

However, an unscheduled shutdown “due to isolated instability and power supply to Braskem Idesa” prevented more production, said on Aug.  6 Rosana Avolio, Braskem’s director for investor relations.

“The sales volume for the quarter was 155,000 tonnes, a growth of 50% when compared to the first quarter,” she said.

“And the capacity utilization rate stood at 58% in line with the prior quarter,” she added.

S&P divests Opis as it works to get approval for IHS Markit merger

S&P Global and IHS Markit may divest IHS Markit’s OPIS (Oil Price Information Services) if needed to obtain regulator’s approval for their planned merger, S&P’s CEO Douglas Peterson said on July 29.

News Corp announced on Aug. 2 it had entered into an agreement to buy OPIS for $1.15 billion in cash.

“We're engaged with the antitrust regulators and have proposed a divestiture of INFO's OPIS and coal businesses based on that feedback,” Peterson had said during the second quarter earnings call.

OPIS provides information on pricing of energy commodities. S&P’s Platts also provides pricing of commodities including energy and petrochemicals.

“But we don't really see any major roadblocks coming up in our way, but we do continue to track the environment very closely. And we do continue to expect that the transaction will close in the fourth quarter,” Peterson said, according to a transcript by Motley Fool.

The S&P Global/IHS  “merger is really about combining two very complementary businesses,” he said.

“Employees from both companies are working together on numerous integration planning work streams,” Peterson added.

S&P Global and IHS Markit announced on Nov. 30 a merger that will result in S&P Global owning 67.8% of the new company, with Peterson taking charge of a combined operation.

The transaction valued IHS Markit at $44 billion. The merged organization will benefit from $680 million in “run-rate cost synergies” within five years. IHS Markit bought OPIS in 2016.

IHS Markit’s OPIS provides spot coverage of markets including petrochemicals as well as news and analysis. OPIS had bought in 2015 LCI Energy to boost gas coverage and Navx, for retail fuel pricing.

By Reuters Events Downstream