Media Focus on Multinational Corporations[2021.12.27]






ExxonMobil Starts Drilling at Block 10, Offshore Cyprus

U.S. oil major ExxonMobil has started drilling the Glaucus-2 well in Block 10, offshore Cyprus, to better understand the size of the giant Glaucus-1 gas discovery made in the block back in 2019.

The news was shared this week by the Cypriot Ministry of Energy, Trade, and Industry.

ExxonMobil is using the Stena Forth drillship for the operation. The U.S. firm is the operator of the block, with its partner being Qatar Energy.

The partnership discovered 5 to 8 trillion cubic feet of gas at the 'Glaucus – 1' well in 2019. This well was drilled using the Stena IceMax drillship

Also, the two companies earlier this month also signed an exploration and production sharing contract with Cyprus for the offshore Block 5 located southwest of the island.


Gazprom Sees Gas 2022 Export Price Up Six Percent

Gazprom PJSC’s 2022 budget took a typically prudent view of gas prices, despite record-high energy costs in its main export market and few signals Europe’s energy crunch is abating.

The Russian gas producer is basing its 2022 budget on what it calls a “conservative” export price of $296 per 1,000 cubic meters, according to a company presentation made to investors on Wednesday.

Gazprom has traditionally been cautious in its budget estimates, saying this helps mitigate the impact of volatile prices. In its budget for 2021, the company made a similarly reserved call on export prices, of $250/1,000 cm, that didn’t materialize. The gas producer’s average 2021 export price is actually much higher, at over $280/1,000 cm, according to Deputy Chief Executive Famil Sadygov.

Gazprom’s conservative 2022 budget comes as Europe, its main export market, buckles under a supply crunch that’s pushed benchmark gas contracts to break record after record in recent months. Constrained supplies from Russia mean the continent has to rely on its depleted storage sites, as nuclear outages throughout the continent mean more gas is needed to generate electricity. The outlook for Europe’s gas supply doesn’t look much better next year either.

The company sees an export price of $296/1,000 cm for all its foreign markets next year, including Europe, Turkey and other countries in Asia, according to the presentation seen by Bloomberg News. Gazprom’s 2022 budget envisions total exports of 227 billion cm, about 2% above the level the 2021 budget is based on.

Despite Gazprom’s caution on export-price estimates, the company still expects to report record earnings for this year and 2022 because of Europe’s gas crunch and the price rally that’s followed.


TotalEnergies partners with Oman on low-carbon natural gas projects

TotalEnergies has signed with the Ministry of Energy and Minerals of the Sultanate of Oman a series of agreements for the sustainable development of the country’s natural gas resources.

These agreements include:

The establishment of Marsa LNG, an integrated company between TotalEnergies (80%) and Oman National Oil Company, OQ (20%). Marsa LNG will produce natural gas from Block 10, with a view to subsequently develop a low-carbon LNG plant in Sohar, powered by solar electricity, for the production of LNG for bunker fuel.

A concession agreement for Block 10, to develop and produce natural gas from this block. Marsa LNG will hold a 33.19% interest in Block 10, together with its partners OQ and Shell Integrated Gas Oman B.V. (operator). TotalEnergies’ production from Block 10 is expected to reach approximately 24,000 boe/d in 2023.

A Gas Sales Agreement, under which Marsa LNG will sell natural gas from Block 10 to the Government of Sultanate of Oman, for a duration of 18 years or until the start-up of Marsa LNG plant.

“We are pleased to sign these agreements with the Sultanate of Oman and further develop our activities in the country while contributing to develop its energy sector in a more sustainable manner”, said Laurent Vivier, Senior Vice President Middle East and North Africa, Exploration and Production, at TotalEnergies.


BP to Buy Out US Pipeline Partnership in $723 Million Deal

BP will acquire the remaining stake in its U.S. pipelines partnership BP Midstream Partners LP that it doesn't already own in a more than $700 million deal, as the energy giant looks to simplify its structure.

BP created BP Midstream Partners as a master limited partnership (MLP) to own, operate, and buy mainly fee-based oil-transporting pipelines and storage assets. It made an offer in August to buy the remainder of BP Midstream.

'This transaction will deepen BP's interests in, and simplifies the ownership and governance structure of, midstream assets that support ... its fuels value chain in the United States,' BP said in a statement.

The oil and gas industry has financed billions in pipeline and storage products under tax-advantaged MLPs since the 1980s, but several pipeline companies have restructured in recent years after U.S. regulators said they will no longer be allowed to recover an income tax allowance.

U.S. refiner Phillips 66 unveiled a similar deal in October when it said it would buy the remaining units of Phillips 66 Partners for $3.4 billion.

General Motors

General Motors Announces Strategy To Electrify Everything

GM will expand EV technology beyond its own vehicle portfolio, including cars already on the road, boats, and airport vehicles.

General Motors today announced its strategy to offer EV technology beyond its own vehicle portfolio.

GM’s electrification components will be applied to EV conversion projects, commercial equipment, marine applications, and more. The automaker says this approach will enable it to expand its reach to a larger, more diverse group of commercial customers, driving growth beyond vehicle sales and enabling new business models.

“As companies across many industries look to reduce their environmental impact, GM is uniquely positioned to serve as a leader not only through exciting new EVs across our brands, but through additional technology applications, and we look forward to bringing customers – existing and new – along with us on our zero-emissions journey.”

Travis Hester, GM vice president of Electric Vehicle Growth Operations

General Motors estimates that the total addressable market for electrification components could reach $20 billion by 2030, as an increasing number of industries introduce their own emission reduction goals.

To get a big slice of that market, GM will begin introducing various EV component sets in four key areas: Chevy Performance and Aftermarket, GM Powered Solutions, Ground Support Equipment, and Marine Propulsion.

State Grid Jiangsu Electric Power Co Ltd.

China's largest single capacity offshore wind farm connected to power grid

NANJING -- China's largest offshore wind farm in terms of single-unit capacity off the eastern province of Jiangsu was connected to the power grid at full capacity on Saturday.

Electricity generated by 134 wind turbines in sea waters around 35 km from the city of Qidong was successfully transmitted to the power grid through undersea power cables, said the State Grid Jiangsu Electric Power Co Ltd.

The Qidong offshore wind power project has a total installed power generation capacity of 802 MW.

The project is expected to send to the power grid annually about 2.2 billion kWh of electricity, an amount equalling the annual consumption by 900,000 households.

As of Dec 22, the total installed capacity of wind farms off the coast of Jiangsu that are connected to the power grid had exceeded 10 GW.

The economic powerhouse province is undergoing the energy mix transition, planning to have 37 percent of its total installed capacity powered by new energy mainly including wind and solar.


Tencent launches project to improve skills in public health

Tencent Charity Foundation launched a project aimed at improving the professional skills of public health talent in collaboration with the Administrators Training Center of the National Health Commission, the Health Human Resources Development Center under the NHC, and other organizations and foundations.

The training project covers a new systematic curriculum, seminars, case analysis and practices. It will help expand the team of public health professionals systematically and improve scientific research and practice related to public health.


Tencent sharply reduces JD stake

Tencent Holdings Ltd is distributing most of its shares in JDa mega-tranche worth HK$127.69 billion ($16.37 billion)to shareholders, representing a virtual retreat from the nation's leading e-commerce company.

Following the transfer as a onetime dividend, the gaming and social media giant will see its stake in JD fall to 2.3 percent from around 17 percent, effectively losing its title as JD's top shareholder.

China Rare Earth Group

Leading rare earth asset companies merge

Aluminum Corp of China or Chinalco,China Minmetals Corp, and the local government of Ganzhou in East China's Jiangxi province have transferred some of their rare earth assets to create a new company called 'China Rare Earth Group Co Ltd'.

Directly under the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, China's State asset regulator, the new company also received assets from Grinm Group Co Ltd and China Iron & Steel Research Institute Group, both of which are leading rare earth-related technology research and development forces in the country.

According to a statement on Wednesday by China Minmetals Rare Earth Co Ltd, a subsidiary of China Minmetals Corp, shares owned by China Minmetals Corp in China Minmetals Rare Earth and its controlling share-holder China Minmetals Rare Earth Corp, will be transferred into the new enterprise.

Shares of Chinalco Rare Earth & Metals Co Ltd owed by Chinalco, and core rare earth assets of Ganzhou Rare Earth Group Co Ltd, which is headquartered in Ganzhou and directly owned by the city government, will also be transferred into the new enterprise.


BeiGene launches innovation center in Guangzhou

BeiGene, a global science-driven biotechnology company, launched an innovation center on Monday in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province, to enable scientists and entrepreneurs to accelerate development of highly differentiated, cutting-edge medical innovations.

The center, with an area of 39,948 square meters in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, features a comprehensive research infrastructure and professional management team.

China United Coalbed Methane Corp

China United Coalbed says daily gas output tops 14m cubic meters

China United Coalbed Methane Corp said on Monday the company's daily gas production exceeded for the first time 14 million cubic meters, up 40 percent year-on-year, ranking it as the leading coalbed methane company in the country.

The company said gas production is capable of meeting the demand of 28 million households, thanks to new discoveries of unconventional gas in the Qinshui basin in Shanxi province and Northwest China's Erdos basin. The company is a subsidiary of China National Offshore Oil Corp, the country's top offshore oil and gas driller.

The company has stepped up upstream production of coalbed methane, a form of natural gas extracted from coal beds, during the first half, with more efforts devoted to research and development, which in turn leads to higher efficiency of exploration development, it said.


CTCE strengthens landmark BRI railway in Indonesia

In building Southeast Asia's first high-speed railway in Indonesia, State-owned China Tiesiju Civil Engineering Group has successfully trained nearly 2,000 local technical staff in a bid to ensure the full operation of the railway in 2022.

Starting construction in June 2018, the 142.3-kilometer Jakarta-Bandung HSR is expected to reduce travel time from the current three hours to 40 minutes when it is put into operation next year.


Russia's Gazprom says it is not guilty of gas shortage in Western Europe

The shortage of natural gas in Western Europe is due to a lack of bids for its supply, not Gazprom's fault, Russian monopoly spokesman Alexei Kupriyanov said on December 25.

'All the accusations against Russia and Gazprom that we give little gas to the European market are completely unfounded, unacceptable and untrue,' Kupriyanov said on Russia 1 TV channel.


Lufthansa cancels 10 percent of its flights because of Omicron

Concerns over the Coronavirus version of Omicron have prompted German airline Lufthansa to cut its scheduled flights by about 10 per cent over the next few weeks, CEO Carsten Spor was quoted as saying in an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sontagszeitung.


Russia fines Google 87 million euros

A Moscow court has fined Google more than 7.2 billion rubles (87 million euros) for systematically refusing to remove information that Russia considers illegal, world news agencies reported.

This is the first such fine imposed in Russia.

This year, Russia has stepped up pressure on major technology companies.


Huawei folds P50 nicely in tech pocket

Huawei Technologies Co unveiled the P50 Pocket, its latest foldable handset, on Thursday.

Priced from 8,988 yuan ($1,411) in China, the model reflects Huawei's intent to sharpen its technical and foldable design capabilities, market insiders said.

Analysts said the P50 Pocket signifies two aspects. First, Huawei is well on its way to maintain a solid presence in the premium segment despite its recent troubles.

Second, Chinese smartphone makers are focusing on foldable smartphones to wrap up the year of intensified competition in the high-end market.


Baidu readies for imminent metaverse app launch

Chinese tech giant Baidu Inc has officially opened internal testing of the country's first metaverse-related app called Xirang for a designated group of users, as the company looks to leverage its artificial intelligence capabilities in the fast-growing metaverse field.

Baidu said Xirang will be open to all users on Monday when its annual flagship developers' conferenceBaidu Createalso China's first metaverse conference, will be held via its metaverse platform.

Translated as 'land of hope',Xirang will allow up to 100,000 people to take part in the three-dimensional virtual reality conference simultaneously.

The participants will be able to interact with others in their designated avatars, and immerse themselves in the city of the future with iconic architectural features like Shaolin Temple and Sanxingdui Museum.


Zee Entertainment and Sony Pictures merger deal completes

Leading media firms Sony Pictures Networks India Pvt Ltd (SPNI) and Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL) on Wednesday said they have signed agreements for merger.

The two companies said in their joint statement that 'Zeal and SPNI have entered into a merger agreement under which their liner network, digital assets, manufacturing operations and program library will be brought together.'

When the merger was announced in September, the two networks had said Sony would invest US$1.575 billion and hold a 52.93 percent stake in the new merged entity, with Zeel holding 47.07 percent.

Under this agreement, SPNI will have a cash surplus of about US$ 1.5 billion, the statement said.