Media Focus on Multinational Corporations[2022.06.27]







INEOS enters the Liquified Natural Gas LNG market with a 1.4 million ton per annum agreement with Sempra Infrastructure.

INEOS Energy has today signed a Heads-of-Agreement with Sempra Infrastructure for the potential supply of 1.4 million tonnes per annum of LNG from North America for 20 years.

LNG will be delivered free-on-board, from either the proposed Port Arthur LNG Phase 1 project or the Cameron LNG Phase 2 projects.

The long-term agreement marks INEOSentry into the global Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) market. The company is a first mover among European corporates as it secures competitive sources of energy to meet its own needs and those of its customers throughout the energy transition. INEOS intends to build partnerships with other industrial users of energy in Europe to help them access the same competitive sources of energy. It is the first market entrant to operate in this way in many years.

Brian Gilvary, Chairman INEOS Energy said, This agreement represents a major step forward in the INEOS Energy journey, at a time of significant transformation in the energy industry. Our entry into the global LNG market opens new opportunities to supply affordable, clean and reliable energy to the market. Long term supply from INEOS Energy will help alleviate the structural energy issues in Europe.

The Port Arthur LNG development project is a 13.5 Mtpa, fully permitted facility on a 3,000 acre site in Jefferson County, Texas. In addition, Sempra Infrastructure has signed an HOA with the Cameron LNG partners for the development of the proposed 6.75-Mtpa Cameron LNG Phase 2 project in Hackberry, Louisiana.

INEOS is committed to achieving net zero by 2050 across its operations. The company is working to decarbonise the supply chain through carbon capture and storage and provide optionality for alternative sources of energy such as its leadership in the production of hydrogen, as we develop them over time.

Ineos Group Ltd is a British multinational chemicals company headquartered and registered in London. As of 2021 it is the fourth largest chemical company in the world.

Sempra, based in San Diego, California, is an energy infrastructure company focused on connecting millions through the power of people, ideas and innovation.



BP Buys 41% Stake in Australian Wind, Solar, Hydrogen Mega-Project

BP plc has agreed to buy a 40.5% stake and become operator of an Australian renewable energy project that could become one of the world's biggest producers of green hydrogen, the global oil major said, without disclosing how much it paid.

The Asian Renewable Energy Hub (AREH) in outback Western Australia would develop up to 26 gigawatts (GW) of wind and solar power capacity which could be used to produce 1.6 million tonnes of green hydrogen hydrogen produced from renewable energy or 9 million tonnes a year of ammonia into which hydrogen is super chilled to allow its transport by ship.

The project fits with BP's push away from fossil fuels to clean energy and could advance its aim to grab a 10% share of the global hydrogen market, said Anja-Isabel Dotzenrath, BP's executive vice president of gas and low carbon energy.

BP expects hydrogen to account for 10% to 15% of global energy by 2050 and is looking into several other large-scale hydrogen and ammonia export hubs around the world, Dotzenrath told Reuters.

AREH 'will not be the last one, but this is a very, very important project for us and I hope a clear signal that we want to establish ourselves in that market', she said.


ConocoPhillips Earns Stake in Qatars $30 Billion LNG Expansion Project

QatarEnergy on Monday signed a deal with ConocoPhillips for the Gulf state's North Field East expansion, the world's largest LNG project, following agreements with TotalEnergies and Eni.

Qatar is partnering with international companies in the first and largest phase of the nearly $30 billion expansion that will boost Qatar's position as the world's top LNG exporter.

The companies will form a joint venture that will take a 12.5% stake in North Field East and ConocoPhillips will have a 25% stake in that joint venture.

The arrangement is similar to that announced with Eni on Sunday and implies a 3.12% stake in the overall North Field East project for ConocoPhillips.

QatarEnergy CEO Saad al-Kaabi said the partnerships with international companies would be effective for 27 years.

'That agreement is for 27 years. It is exactly the same for everybody that was going to be signing,' Kaabi said.

In all, the North Field Expansion plan includes six LNG trains that will ramp up Qatars liquefaction capacity from 77 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) to 126 MTPA by 2027.


BP signs 30-year contracts for deepwater gas blocks off Indonesia

Oil and gas giant BP has inked the 30-year production sharing contracts (PSCs) for two deepwater exploration blocks located offshore Indonesia.

The PSC signing between BP and the government of Indonesia for Agung l and Agung ll exploration blocks comes following the decision to award the two gas blocks to BP on the second round of the 2021 Oil and Gas Working Area Bid Round on 18 March 2022.

Nader Zaki, BP regional president Asia Pacific, commented: Our presence in Indonesia is now extended from the east in Papua Barat through our Tangguh LNG, the largest gas-producing field in Indonesia where we are also progressing one of our major CCUS projects, to the west in Aceh through our partnership in Andaman II, and now is complemented by adding Agung I and Agung II in East Java.

Tangguh is the largest gas-producing field in the country. According to BP, the field is currently contributing 20 per cent of national gas production, which will increase to more than 30 per cent once Tangguhs Train 3 starts up following the completion of the Tangguh Expansion Project.

BP also has a non-operated interest (30 per cent) in Andaman II PSC, an offshore deepwater exploration block in Aceh.

The Agung I Block covers an area of 6,656 square kilometres deepwater offshore Bali and East Java, while the Agung II Block is located in deepwater offshore of South Sulawesi, West Nusa Tenggara and East Java covering an area of 7,970 square kilometres. The area is underexplored with significant potential for gas resources, close to growing gas demand.

BPs executive vice president for gas & low carbon energy, Anja-Isabel Dotzenrath, said that BP is committed to continue growing its gas and low-carbon business in Indonesia.

Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways posts record financial results

Qatar Airways, the national airline of Qatar, said China continues to be a strategic market for the airline to rebuild its global network, and it looks forward to increasing its overall schedules to China as the border restrictions due to COVID-19 relax.

As Qatar will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup after China successfully hosted the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, and Qatar Airways will serve as the official carrier for the games, the airline said it would provide crucial connections between Qatar and China.

'Before the pandemic, China had become one of the driving forces in the global outbound tourism industry. We continue to remain optimistic about the market's enormous potential, thanks to local authorities' effective control measures during the latest COVID-19 flare-ups,' said Chan Cheong Eu, Qatar Airways senior manager for North Asia sales.

'Chinese customers can continue to rely on Qatar Airways' strong global network of 150 destinations when traveling to Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas,' Chan said.

Last Friday, Qatar Airways reported the strongest financial performance in history, which was 200 percent higher than its highest annual profit in history. In the most difficult period ever for the global airline industry, the company said it credits its positive results to its agile and successful strategy.

The profit is not only a record for Qatar Airways but also a record among all other global airlines that have released annual financial results, the carrier said.


Qualcomm deepens partnership with Chinese company PATEO

The US chip giant Qualcomm Technologies Inc is deepening relationship with Chinese internet of vehicles company PATEO in the automotive intelligent cockpit field.

Based on Qualcomm's 4th Generation Snapdragon cockpit platforms, Qualcomm and PATEO will expand their ties to develop solutions to support vehicle intelligence, smart car connectivity, service-oriented architecture, intelligent cockpit and multi-domain fusion-based central controller.

The move is aimed at facilitating the mass production of the next-generation PATEO Qinggan intelligent cockpit platform solution, offering the automotive industry a cutting-edge immersive intelligent driving and riding experience.

Founded in 2009 in Shanghai, PATEO said it possesses five core technologies of operating system, intelligent voice, hardware, map and cloud platform, and it is mainly engaged in the research and development and manufacturing of intelligent telematics system and providing subsequent supporting services.

Ying Yilun, founder & chairman of PATEO, said Qualcomm Technologies is the important driving force for the automotive digital transformation, and the partnership will provide the automotive industry a digitally advanced product to bring immersive, intelligent and next generation driving experiences.

Lei Xian, vice-president of sales and business development at the Qualcomm International (Shanghai) Co Ltd, said 'As a leading company in China's smart cockpit segment, PATEO's innovation capability is impressive.'

'The R&D experience and implementation achievements accumulated throughout our partnership provides us confidence in this cooperation. We believe that the brand-new intelligent cockpit platform solution that will be developed will usher in the development of the industry,' Lei said.


Microsoft eyes bigger China presence

Microsoft Corp is ratcheting up its efforts to tap into the burgeoning Chinese cloud computing market as the United States-based technology firm is scheduled to unveil new hybrid cloud capabilities in China in the second half.

In cloud computing, public cloud is delivered via the internet and shared across organizations. Private cloud is cloud computing that is dedicated solely to one organization. Hybrid cloud is a solution that uses both public and private clouds.

Microsoft's new hybrid cloud move comes after the company brought a new data center region online in China in March, which means its cloud computing capacity in the nation has been boosted twelvefold since 2014 amid rapid growth.

Li Ming, Azure China strategy lead and director of product marketing at Microsoft, said the company is dedicated to using its digital technologies to help both multinationals come to China and Chinese companies to go global, driving their digital transformation strategies.

Microsoft said its new hybrid cloud capabilities are based in part on existing Azure cloud services such as Azure Arcan important component of Microsoft's hybrid cloud strategy. Introduced in 2019, the service enables administrators to manage on-premises servers through the same interface that they use to orchestrate infrastructure resources in Microsoft's public cloud. For administrators, performing infrastructure maintenance tasks in a single, centralized interface can be more efficient than the traditional approach of using multiple tools.

Chris Tao, Azure business group leader at Microsoft China, said the hybrid cloud market in China has maintained a vigorous and rapid development trajectory.

Tao said the popularity of private cloud and hybrid cloud has always been an important feature in the Chinese market, which is quite different from other markets.


Universal theme park to resume operations

Universal Beijing Resort announced on Wednesday that it will gradually resume operations this weekend after a nearly two-month suspension due to the city's COVID-19 outbreak.

According to a plan released by the company, the resort will strictly control guest flow and strengthen epidemic control and prevention measures.

The Universal Studios Grand Hotel and Universal CityWalk Beijing will open to guests at noon on Friday and the theme park will open on Saturday.

The NUO Resort Hotel will reopen on July 1.

In the early stages, some venues or entertainment experiences will remain closed. They will reopen as appropriate, depending on the pandemic and related requirements.

All guests are required to provide a 72-hour negative nucleic acid test result. Reservations will be required.

The resort, which opened in September, includes a CityWalk, two hotels and the Universal Studios theme park.

It closed temporarily on May 1 because o the increasing number of COVID-19 cases that had been reported during the early days of Beijing's latest outbreak, which started on April 22.


Swire Coca-Cola pops with more plants across nation

Swire Coca-Cola Ltd, a bottler of Coca-Cola beverages, will continue to increase its investment in China and add 20 production lines, with its long-term confidence in the Chinese market remaining intact, given China's vibrant consumer market and increasing demand from the nation's shoppers.

The company plans to invest more than 5.5 billion yuan ($819 million) in plant infrastructure over the next five years and expand digital production lines in its 18 factories across the nation, said Karen So, managing director of Swire Coca-Cola, adding the company is always full of confidence in the development prospects in the Chinese market.

Swire Coca-Cola announced in January that it would invest 1.25 billion yuan to build a new production base in Guangdong province, including 12 beverage production lines, warehouses and support facilities, which is the largest single investment by the company in China so far.

Last year, it invested no less than 900 million yuan to build a new plant in Zhengzhou, capital of Henan province, which is expected to go into operation within two years, with an annual production capacity of up to 1 million metric tons.

The company will further accelerate digital upgrading in its manufacturing facilities and bolster the digitalization of China's beverage industry in collaboration with German conglomerate Siemens AG. The first digital production line of Swire Coca-Cola in China went into operation in Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang province, in March 2021.

'Over the next two years, we will install a manufacturing information system at 18 plants with nearly 100 production lines nationwide,' So said. The system can collect real-time data during production, undertake dynamic data analysis in efficiency and energy consumption, and help optimize production information monitoring and analysis.

'In the past two to three months, our sales from major channels like supermarkets, stores and restaurants have been affected by the COVID-19,' she said, noting they have seen very positive growth following the gradual resumption of work and production in Shanghai since June. 'We have strong confidence in the recovery of the Chinese market, and our long-term investment in China remains unchanged.'


BMW opens new factory in China

SHENYANG, June 23 (Xinhua) -- A new factory of BMW Group's joint venture in China opened Thursday in Shenyang, northeast China's Liaoning Province, with an investment totaling 15 billion yuan (about 2.2 billion U.S. dollars).

Plant Lydia of BMW Brilliance Automotive Ltd. (BBA), a joint venture between BMW and Chinese carmaker Brilliance China Automotive Holdings Ltd., will boost BMW's annual output in China to 830,000 vehicles, the automaker said. It is the biggest single investment of the German automaker in China.

Located in the Tiexi District of Shenyang, Plant Lydia covers a total area of 2.9 million square meters. It has ancillary facilities like a body shop, paint shop, final assembly lines, and a large data center.

The plant is covered with a gigabit 5G network to meet the bandwidth requirements for technologies like augmented reality (AR) and real-time video transmission.

'Plant Lydia is the first factory that BMW Group has planned and simulated completely in a virtual environment from the beginning of design,' said Zhang Tao, head of the factory. She added that, in the construction stage, she could simultaneously see the actual construction site and the construction effect shown via virtual reality.

Shenyang is BMW Group's largest production base worldwide. The total number of the group's employees in China has exceeded 28,000.


Amazon's brightly colored models of its Echo Dot speaker are designed for children.

Amazons Alexa might soon replicate the voice of family members - even if theyre dead.

The capability, unveiled at Amazons Re:Mars conference in Las Vegas, is in development and would allow the virtual assistant to mimic the voice of a specific person based on a less than a minute of provided recording.

Rohit Prasad, senior vice president and head scientist for Alexa, said at the event Wednesday that the desire behind the feature was to build greater trust in the interactions users have with Alexa by putting more human attributes of empathy and affect.

These attributes have become even more important during the ongoing pandemic when so many of us have lost ones that we love,Prasad said. While AI cant eliminate that pain of loss, it can definitely make their memories last.

In a video played by Amazon at the event, a young child asks Alexa, can Grandma finish reading me the Wizard of Oz?Alexa then acknowledges the request, and switches to another voice mimicking the childs grandmother. The voice assistant then continues to read the book in that same voice.

To create the feature, Prasad said the company had to learn how to make a high-quality voicewith a shorter recording, opposed to hours of recording in a studio. Amazon did not provide further details about the feature, which is bound to spark more privacy concerns and ethical questions about consent.


Airbus to set up China research center to boost innovation

NANJING -- Airbus will establish the Airbus China Research Center in Suzhou, East China's Jiangsu province, to strengthen the company's footprint and innovation partnerships in China, the company announced Friday.

Airbus and Suzhou Industrial Park signed a framework agreement on Friday on the establishment of the center. The new move by Airbus is aimed at reaffirming its long-term commitment to cooperating with and investing in China, according to Airbus China.

'China not only has a promising aviation market, but also has advanced technological advantages in many fields,' said George Xu, executive vice president of Airbus and chief executive officer of Airbus China.

'Airbus hopes to jointly contribute to the high-quality development of China's aviation industry by taking advantage of the high-quality business environment, unique industry chain and talent pool here,' Xu said.

The Airbus China Research Center is located in China's Yangtze River Delta, one of the country's economic hubs.

It will carry out research work on advanced technologies, such as hydrogen energy infrastructure, advanced manufacturing, and the aviation industry's upgrading with digitalization and intelligence. It is due to start operations in 2023, said the company.

Airbus also said it is committed to leading the decarbonization of the aerospace sector, and aims to develop the world's first zero-emission commercial aircraft by 2035, which is consistent with China's goal to peak its carbon emissions by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060.

Established in 1994, Suzhou Industrial Park has attracted a dozen high-tech enterprises in fields such as AI, biomedicine, nanotechnology and intelligent manufacturing.

In recent years, Suzhou has been striving to seize the strategic opportunities of the integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta and build a highland for its aerospace industry.

Suzhou seeks to gather more than 500 enterprises in the aerospace industry chain, with operating income reaching 60 billion yuan (about $9 billion) by 2023.

Exxon Mobil

Every new passenger car sold in the world will be electric by 2040, says Exxon Mobil CEO Darren Woods

Even Exxon Mobil thinks electric vehicles are the future.

The oil giant is predicting that by 2040, every new passenger car sold in the world will be electric, CEO Darren Woods told CNBCs David Faber in an interview. In 2021, just 9% of all passenger car sales were electric vehicles, including plug-in hybrids, according to market research company Canalys. That number is up 109% from 2020 says Canalys.

In light of its modeling, Woods said Exxon Mobil is evaluating how the decline in gasoline sales could impact its business. Exxon Mobil is one of the largest publicly traded international gas companies and a leader in the industry. Its website boasts that it is the largest refiner and marketer of petroleum products,as well as a chemicals company.

Woods, who spent a part of his career on the chemical side of the companys operations, says chemicals will be key to keeping the company profitable during the clean energy transition. The plastics that Exxon Mobil produces can be used in the manufacturing of electric vehicles.

ExxonMobils calculations predicted that oil demand in 2040 would be equivalent to what the world needed in 2013 or 2014. Woods explained to CNBC that the company was still profitable at that time.

Woods seemed unfazed by the prediction, saying that change will not make or break this business or this industry quite frankly.


McDonalds simplifies franchising policies to attract more diverse candidates

McDonalds is making changes to how it awards franchises in the hopes of attracting more diverse candidates, the latest shakeup in how the burger chains management oversees its franchisees.

Starting in 2023, the fast-food giant will evaluate every potential new operator equally. In the past, the spouses and children of current franchisees have been given preferential treatment.

Weve been doing a lot of thinking about how we continue to attract and retain the industrys best owner/operators individuals who represent the diverse communities we serve, bring a growth mindset and focus on executional excellence, while cultivating a positive work environment for restaurant teams,McDonalds U.S. President Joe Erlinger said in a message to franchisees that was viewed by CNBC.

McDonalds will also separate the process through which it renews franchisees20-year agreements from the assessment of whether the franchisee can operate additional restaurants. Additionally, Erlinger told U.S. franchisees that the company will incorporate its values more clearly into its standards for franchisees.

McDonalds declined to comment on the changes to CNBC.

The company recently came under pressure for a plan to roll out a new grading system early next year that rankled some franchisees, who have concerns about potentially alienating workers.

McDonalds has about 13,000 franchised locations in the United States. More than 1,750 locations were sold last year, in part because some operators chose to exit the franchise, according to Restaurant Business Online.

In December, McDonalds pledged to recruit more franchisees from diverse backgrounds, committing $250 million over the next five years to help those candidates finance a franchise. Its part of the companys broader attempts to embrace diversity at all ranks of the company.

Black franchisees, both current and former, have sued the chain in recent years, alleging racial discrimination. One of the suits was dismissed, while another resulted in a $33.5 million settlement from McDonalds.

The majority of the companys shareholders voted in favor of an independent civil rights audit in late May. The proposal was nonbinding, but the company said it has hired a third party to conduct a diversity assessment.


Disney tells employees it will provide comprehensive accessfor reproductive care

Disney sent an internal memo to employees Friday, assuring them it will help pay for pregnancy-related care if they have to travel to a different state in lieu of the Supreme Courts decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and undo 50 years of federally protected abortion rights.

Paul Richardson, chief human resources officer, and Pascale Thomas, vice president of enterprise benefits and well-being, signed the memo, which CNBC has obtained.

Read more: Political and corporate reactions to the abortion decision

Our company remains committed to removing barriers and providing comprehensive access to quality and affordable care for all of our employees, cast members and their families, including family planning and reproductive care, no matter where they live,Richardson and Thomas said in the memo.

In fact,they added, we have processes in place so that an employee who may be unable to access care in one location has affordable coverage for receiving similar levels of care in another location. This travel benefit covers medical situations related to cancer treatments, transplants, rare disease treatment and family planning (including pregnancy-related decisions).

Disney CEO Bob Chapek faced internal backlash for failing to immediately condemn Floridas controversial Dont Say Gaylegislation. That led to an about-face, in which Disney publicly avowed to help repeal the law after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, signed it in late March. The bungled attempt at communication led to Disney head of communications Geoff Morrell leaving the company after just three months.

Disney hasnt made a separate public statement on the Supreme Courts decision.


Emirates boss says travel demand unlikely to dissipate despite airport chaos

Emirates has said it doesnt see travel demand dissipating any time soon, even as the industry battles a string of challenges that have already sparked airport chaos ahead of the busy summer holiday season.

Tim Clark, president of the Dubai-based carrier and an airline veteran, said that he had never seen anythinglike the headwinds currently facing the industry. Yet, holidaymakers dont seem to be deterred from seizing newly resumed travel opportunities.

Its unlikely that, irrespective of impediment whether it be price, whether it be airport facilities that demand is going to dissipate in the short-term,Clark told CNBCs Dan Murphy at the International Air Transport Associations 78th Annual General Meeting in Doha, Qatar.

The airline industry has been hamstrung by a perfect storm of challenges, from labor shortages and supply disruptions to rising fuel prices, resulting in weeks of severe delays and cancellations across some of Europe and North Americas busiest airports.

On Saturday, more than 6,300 flights were delayed within, into or leaving the U.S., and 859 flights were canceled, according to the flight tracking platform FlightAware. Similarly, tens of thousands of flights have been disrupted across Europe in recent days, with 5,000 passengers at Londons Heathrow Airport expected to be hit by cancellations on Monday alone.

However, Clark said that passengers currently appear to be willing to pay the price both financial and otherwise for post-pandemic travel.

The airline community has had to raise its prices to cover off and mitigate the fuel price increase, which has been astronomical. But the demand remains resilient, and we dont see any slackening of that,he said.

How long that may last is anyones guess, Clark said. Rising inflationary pressures and a worsening cost of living crisis, as well as wider sociopolitical concerns as a result of the war in Ukraine, all spell further headwinds for the industry, he added.

Will demand taper or dilute over the next years as these major economic factors which are so adverse to our business, and the global economy remain in place? Or will those go down first? I dont know which its going to be,he said.

Clark urged greater industry collaboration and coordination to get through the summer travel peak, noting weve just got to muddle through this and focus on getting the job done, rather than beating each other up.

Still, he said he expects Emirates, hampered by two years of billion-dollar losses, including a $1.1 billion loss in 2021, expects to return to profitability in 2022.

At the moment Im pleased to say were making money,Clark said. Unless something else extraordinary happens, I think Emirates will be profitable in this financial year.


Volvo says it has started testing trucks with fuel cells powered by hydrogen

Volvo Trucks said Monday that it had begun to test vehicles that use fuel cells powered by hydrogen,with the Swedish firm claiming their range could extend to as much as 1,000 kilometers, or a little over 621 miles.

In a statement, Gothenburg-headquartered Volvo Trucks said refueling of the vehicles would take under 15 minutes. Customer pilots are set to begin in the next few years, with commercialization planned for the latter part of this decade.

Fuel cells for the vehicles will be provided by cellcentric, a joint venture with Daimler Truck that was established in March 2021.

Hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric trucks will be especially suitable for long distances and heavy, energy-demanding assignments,Roger Alm, president of Volvo Trucks, said.

Alongside hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, Volvo Trucks which is part of the Volvo Group has also developed battery-electric trucks.