Media Focus on Multinational Corporations [2023.03.13]






BASF to invest in citral plant in China

Chemical giant BASF announced on Tuesday that it will invest in a new citral plant as part of its site in Zhanjiang, Guangdong province, as well as in menthol and linalool plants at its site in Ludwigshafen, Germany.

'These plants are expected to come on stream from 2026 onward,' BASF said in a news release.

The investment is driven by a growing demand in the global flavor and fragrance market, and BASF's strong commitment to sustainability, it said.

The investment will expand and diversify BASF's aroma ingredient value chain footprint in Germany and Malaysia and support customers growth opportunities, the news release said.

The citral plant in China will strengthen BASF's position in key growth regions and increase production of a broad range of aroma ingredients and downstream products globally. With the investment, BASF's annual citral output will increase to 118,000 metric tons, it said.

'The expansion of our global production network benefits our customers in the flavor and fragrance industry by further strengthening supply security. Investing in Zhanjiang is also a significant step toward sustainable production and addressing our customers' demands for products with a lower carbon footprint,' said Thilo Bischoff, senior vice-president of BASF Aroma Ingredients.

The full integration of the new plants into the sites in China and Germany will enable BASF to use optimize resources and create synergies efficiently.

At the Zhanjiang site, BASF will further accelerate its plan to power the entire site with renewable electricity, aiming to achieve 100 percent by 2025.

The company will also implement advanced automation and process technologies for optimal plant operations at the site to reduce energy consumption and emissions.

'The BASF Zhanjiang Verbund site is set to be a role model for sustainable production, which was a key decision factor in the location of the new citral plant,' Bischoff said.



LinkedIn aims to assist Chinese companies' global presence

LinkedIn, a California-based professional networking platform provider, is impressed by Chinese companies' globalization efforts and it aims to assist more domestic companies to increase their global presence.

Lu Jian, president of LinkedIn China, said the global development of Chinese businesses has entered a new era. Businesses from intelligent manufacturing and new energy sectors are bringing new dynamics with technology and business model innovation.

'Many global brands born in China have adopted brand-first awareness and have successfully established global influence. Some Chinese businesses developing globally have started to integrate with local markets, rooted in the local culture, and even greatly promoted the development of local economies,' Lu said

After digesting the annual Government Work Report delivered at the two sessions on Sunday, he said China has done a good job in expanding international economic and trade cooperation to deliver mutually beneficial outcomes over the past five years.

Given the uncertainties in the global business environment, Chinese companies seeking global development are also facing evolving challenges, which put forward new requirements on their capabilities and competitive advantages in all dimensions, from global strategy formulation to local organization and talent team building, from brand marketing to operation compliance, Lu said.

Specifically, he suggested companies to continue to improve their talent management and training model around two key words: 'flexibility' and 'skills'.

Meanwhile, on the brand side, the improvement of digital marketing capabilities is a key strategy for Chinese companies to achieve steady progress in overseas markets, Lu added.


China Unicom

China Unicom plans to spin off its unit for listing

China Unicom announced to spin off its subsidiary, China Unicom Smart Connection, to list it on the Science and Technology Innovative Board, or the STAR Market, on the evening of March 8, the ChinaFund reported on Wednesday.

Such a move comes as more central State-owned enterprises have taken on spin-off listings since the provisions on the domestic listing of subsidiaries of listed companies were released by China Securities Regulatory Commission in 2019.

Since its foundation in 2015, CUSC has always focused on the Internet of Vehicles and has developed three major business segments: Internet of vehicles connectivity, IoV operation, and innovative applications for the evolving demand of IoT and derivative business.

The operating revenue of CUSC in 2022 amounted to 809 million yuan ($116.06 million), an increase of 235 million yuan from 574 million yuan in 2021.

While the company's net profit from 2020 to 2022 stood at 75 million yuan, 117 million yuan and 100 million yuan, respectively.

China Unicom recorded a nine-year high of 354.9 billion yuan in its operating revenue in 2022, with an 8.3 percent year-on-year growth rate, according to its 2022 annual report released on Wednesday.

China's first company spun off from central SOEs and listed on the STAR Market at the Shanghai Stock Exchange was the China Railway Construction Heavy Industry Co Ltd, which was a subsidiary of China Railway Construction Co Ltd.

China Railway Construction Corp Ltd was established in 2007 and its major business includes the design, development and manufacture of rail transportation equipment and other equipment.

China Railway Group Ltd spun off its wholly-owned rail transportation power supply equipment company, China Railway High-Speed Electrification Equipment Co Ltd, to list on Shanghai's STAR Market in October 2021.

China Communications Construction announced in December its plans to restructure and list its subsidiaries to further enhance the core competitiveness of the design business.


Sino Biopharm

Sino Biopharm continues global growth

China's pharmaceutical conglomerate Sino Biopharmaceutical Limited, or Sino.

Biopharm, announced on Thursday the acquisition of Nasdaq-listed United Kingdom based biotech F-star Therapeutics, marking a latest move in Sino Biopharm's on-going global growth.

Approved by regulatory agencies including the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, the acquisition was completed with $161 million in cash, the Hong Kong-listed company claimed.

Theresa Tse, chairwoman of Sino Biopharm, said that through F- star's world-leading platform, Sino Biopharm hopes to develop more innovative drugs with good efficacy and high accessibility as soon as possible, to benefit cancer patients in China and around the world.

She also said that leveraging on Sino Biopharm's innovative medicine development and commercialization platforms, the company will continue to actively cooperate with multinational pharmaceutical companies and overseas biotech enterprises, with an open, equal and mutually beneficial attitude, to better meet unfulfilled clinical needs.



CNOOC completes process modules project

China National Offshore Oil Corp, the nation's top offshore oil and gas driller, has delivered its last two modules constructed in Qingdao, East China's Shandong province, and built for Shell-led LNG Canada, which marks the completion of the project of 35 process modules, the company said.

CNOOC attributed the completion of the process modules to the use of integrated construction solutions, which is a rare case globally. The modules will be shipped to the project site in British Columbia, Canada, for on-site installation, it said.

The success of the construction illustrates that the country's technical capability in integrated joint construction of a supersized liquified natural gas modular plant ranks tops in the world, it said.

Each module is 37 meters tall and weighs 5,465 metric tons. It is mainly responsible for the pretreatment of raw material gas, said the company.

According to CNOOC, the first phase of the project includes building two liquefaction trains with a capacity of 14 million tons per year. When completed and put into operation, it will supply high-quality clean energy to Asia.

Zhuang Hongchang, the project manager with CNOOC, said the company is responsible for building 35 process modules for the project, including 19 core modules. The project is composed of more than 770,000 structural components and weighs nearly 179,000 tons.

One of the largest energy investment projects in Canada, LNG Canada is the world's first integrated constructed LNG plant constructed by China. It is designed with four production lines. The first phase of the project includes two production lines, the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council said.

An analyst said when put into operation, the project will supply high-quality LNG to Asia and help diversify China's natural gas import channels.

China has seen continuous upstream investment and production commitment in recent years and the Qingdao facility is proof that China has the capacity to build and assemble a world-class advanced LNG modular plant, said Li Ziyue, an analyst with BloombergNEF.

The company delivered the 118-meter tall floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) facility called the Penguin, an offshore oil and gas processing plant, in December, which is the heaviest cylinder-shaped FPSO unit built in China to date, with a storage capacity of 400,000 barrels.

Since 2010, the company has completed several international large-scale LNG modular construction projects such as Gorgon and Ichthys LNG projects in Australia and delivered core modules for the Yamal LNG project, the world's first polar LNG plant, in August 2017, it said.



Honeywell helps provide solutions for Guangdong Petrochemical project

Honeywell announced on Wednesday that it has provided a series of products, process equipment and technical solutions for the aromatics complex in the refining and chemical project of China National Petroleum Corp's Guangdong branch.

The complex, successfully put into production in February, is the world's largest single-series aromatics complex licensed by Honeywell UOP so far.

'The project is one of China's most important large-scale, integrated and low-carbon petrochemical projects and will become a demonstration project of sustainable development,' said Shi Wencai, vice president and general manager, Honeywell UOP China.

'We are glad to cooperate with Guangdong Petrochemical to deploy a series of innovative technologies and ready-now solutions of Honeywell UOP in this world-class project. Honeywell is committed to supporting customers in the refining and chemical industry to achieve sustainability goals.'



Mitsubishi Corporation invests in Swedish Biofuels

Swedish Biofuels AB announced an investment by Mitsubishi Corporation to jointly accelerate commercial deployment of clean renewable fuels using Swedish Biofuels advanced alcohol to jet (ATJ) technology, said the company.

The technology produces fully formulated sustainable aviation fuel (FFSAF) from a variety of biogenic feedstocks. Swedish Biofuels FFSAF is different from other SAFs, as it is not a blend component but ready-to-use, real jet fuel. The FFSAF has been tested successfully by engine manufacturers under US DARPA, US FAA and Swedish FMV programmes.

Swedish Biofuels is now leading the way with the world's first advanced ATJ technology, targeting the complete replacement of fossil jet fuel by FFSAF.

Swedish Biofuels MD, Dr Angelica Hull, stated that the company is honoured by Mitsubishi Corporation's investment decision, which provides an exceptional strategic partnership for Swedish Biofuels, including access to feedstock, sales support, marketing and commercial operations. With this partnership, the company expects to accelerate the deployment of its advanced ATJ technology in its home market and beyond.



BP and Baker Hughes team up to enhance asset performance

U.S. oilfield services provider Baker Hughes has joined forces with BP, a UK-headquartered energy giant, to further define and develop its new integrated suite of solutions for asset performance management and process optimisation.

Baker Hughes revealed on Monday, 6 March 2023, that it would collaborate with BP on building out Cordant functionality and roadmap to deliver more intelligent operations to help simplify operations and enhance decision-making to improve asset availability, manage risk and lower emissions.

According to Baker Hughes, Cordant enables the standardisation of asset health and strategy by integrating operational data within a probabilistic model, simultaneously optimising the resource and cost structure without negatively impacting plant availability or production output.

Gordon Birrell, executive vice president Production and Operations at BP, remarked: BP continues to invest in technologies and solutions to safely deliver secure, affordable, lower carbon energy. Our assetsreliability and operational efficiency are key to our resilient hydrocarbon strategy.

With our long-standing relationship with Baker Hughes and installed base of its equipment, software, and services, it was a natural choice to collaborate on the development of Cordant, and work together to improve reliability, efficiency and lower the emissions of our assets.

As part of the collaboration, BP will deploy OnePM, a Cordant asset strategy solution in select locations across its Gulf of Mexico production assets, where Baker Hughes currently has an install base of rotating equipment, controls, and associated digital services. The two players plan to look for opportunities to expand this collaboration across other regions in the future.

Ganesh Ramaswamy, executive vice president Industrial and Energy Technology at Baker Hughes, commented: Faced with mounting pressures to balance cost, efficiency and sustainability, asset owners and operators are looking to digital solutions to deliver more intelligent operations.

Our collaboration with BP in the development of Cordant will help define new use cases, build out functionality, and accelerate the journey towards more efficient and sustainable operations.

Cordant, which was launched at the Baker Hughes Annual Meeting 2023 in January, leverages Baker Hughescapabilities and combines existing digital offerings for hardware, software, and services capabilities into one integrated and simplified user interface.

This came after Baker Hughes unveiled a simplified organisational structure and management team changes in September 2022 to enhance profitability and position the firm for further growth, taking into consideration the energy trilemma of energy security, sustainability and affordability.



TotalEnergies expands renewable footprint in Poland

Energy giant TotalEnergies bought biogas producer Polska Grupa Biogazowa (PGB) as well as some solar power projects in Poland, the French company said as it further expands its footprint in the country.

The takeover of PGB, a company that employs 130 people at 17 sites across Poland, was completed in February, TotalEnergies said, adding the move would add a total power production capacity of 166 gigawatt hours (GWh) to its portfolio.

TotalEnergies also said it had acquired six Polish solar projects from a company called FFKM112.



Shell makes another deepwater oil discovery offshore Namibia

UK-headquartered energy giant Shell has made a new oil discovery in an exploration well offshore Namibia with Northern Oceans Deepsea Bollsta semi-submersible drilling rig. This is the third oil discovery in Namibia since February 2022.

The light oil discovery was made in the Jonker-1X deepwater exploration well in the PEL-39 exploration license, which is located 270 km offshore Namibia. The drilling operations started in December 2022 and were safely concluded in recent days, according to QatarEnergy, which is one of Shells partners in this licence.

The PEL-39 exploration license is held by a consortium comprised of Shell (operator with a 45 per cent interest), QatarEnergy (45 per cent working interest), and the National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia (NAMCOR) (10 per cent working interest).

Commenting on this announcement, Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, Minister of State for Energy Affairs, President and CEO of QatarEnergy, remarked: We are pleased with this encouraging discovery, which is our third in Namibia. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate our partners Shell and NAMCOR, and to congratulate and thank the government of the Republic of Namibia, which has been very supportive of this exploration effort.

QatarEnergy explained that the Jonker-1X well was drilled to a total depth of 6,168 metres in a water depth of 2,210 metres. Qatars energy giant highlights that the acquired data is being evaluated while a further appraisal is planned to determine the size and recoverable potential of the discovery.

As a reminder, Shell hired the Deepsea Bollsta semi-submersible rig in August 2022 and Odfjell Drilling, as the operations manager, moved to reactivate the rig for the beginning of operations in 4Q 2022 while Northern Ocean carried out a private placement to raise gross proceeds of about $40 million to fund the reactivation. Offshore Energy reported in November 2022 that the rig was on its way to Namibia to embark on the drilling assignment with the oil major.

The 2020-built Deepsea Bollsta sixth-generation semi-submersible rig is of Moss CS60E design and can accommodate 140 people. The rig can carry out operations in both benign and harsh environments at water depths of up to 3,000 metres.

This discovery follows two similar announcements by QatarEnergy in February 2022 of oil discoveries in the Graff-1 well and in the Venus-1X prospect, both located in the Orange Basin offshore Namibia. In addition to the PEL-39 exploration license, QatarEnergy also holds interests in PEL-56 (30 per cent) and PEL-91 (28.33 per cent) offshore Namibia, covering a total area of 28,327 km2.

Furthermore, Shell already made an oil discovery on its acreage in the Orange Basin in Namibia, following the drilling of the Graff-1 deepwater well in Block 2913A. The well was drilled using the Valaris DS-10 drillship and announced as a discovery in February 2022. In the months following the discovery, the focus was on performing extensive laboratory analyses to gain a better understanding of the reservoir quality and potential flow rates achievable.

On the other hand, the ultra-deepwater Venus-1X exploration well was spud at the beginning of December 2021, using the Maersk Voyager drillship. The Venus discovery was made by TotalEnergies. This is a light oil and associated gas field, located in the Orange Basin, approximately 290 kilometres off the coast of southern Namibia, and in a water depth of approximately 3,000 metres.




Eni announces that it has achieved the closing for the acquisition of BP business in Algeria, regarding the two gas-producing concessions In Amenas and In Salah, which are jointly operated with Sonatrach and Equinor.

The operation was announced in early September, with the aim of contributing to Europes gas needs and strengthening Enis presence in Algeria.

Eni has been present in Algeria since 1981. Following this operation and the development programs already underway in the Berkine basin Enis equity production in Algeria will rise to approximately 130,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2023, further confirming the companys position as the main international energy company operating in the country.


Saudi Aramco

Saudi Aramco Hikes Oil Prices Once Again

Saudi Aramco raised the official selling price for the crude oil it exports to Asia and Europe for yet another month, with the flagship Arab Light to sell in April for $0.50 more than in March.

The price hike for Arab Heavy was even more pronounced, at $2.50 per barrel, moving the crude blend from a discount to the Oman/Dubai average to a premium.

In a report, Reuters noted that the price hikes come as several new refineries in Saudi Arabia are set to soon begin operating, and this would shrink the amount of crude available for exports.

This is the second consecutive month with higher prices for Saudi crude. Last months hike came as a surprise as it was the first time in six months that Aramco had hiked prices for its crude. The March price hike also came amid falling crude oil prices on international markets, which was what made the move surprising, along with the fact that a month ago Aramco had reduced prices.

Yet now, despite continued concern for the state of the global economy, It is beginning to return to normal operation, eyeing economic growth of 5% this year, which has motivated a return of optimism among oil bulls.

Oil prices, meanwhile, started the week with a decline. One reason for this was the fact that analysts had expected to set itself a higher growth target for the year. Another was the anticipation of a testimony Feds chairman Jerome Powell will be delivering to Congress later this week, in which he will signal if there will be further rate hikes this year.

'Crude remains in a tug-of-war between optimism over the reopening and nervousness over a hawkish Fed hurting the U.S. economy,' energy analyst Vandana Hari told Reuters.



Chevron, Talos to triple the size of Texas carbon capture project

Oil producers Chevron Corp and Talos Energy Inc on Monday said they have tripled the size of a proposed carbon capture and storage hub for the Gulf Coast.

Their joint venture, which includes Carbonvert Inc, plans to collect and bury greenhouse gases from clients in the petrochemical, cement, steel and other industrial businesses along the Texas coast. The cost of the acquisition was not disclosed.

The so-called Bayou Bend hub is one of Chevron's top global bets for carbon capture, utilization and sequestration (CCUS), a potentially multi-trillion dollar market by 2050.

'The market is huge,' Chevron's vice president for CCUS, Chris Powers, told reporters at the CERAWeek energy conference by S&P. 'In order to meet the ambitions of the Paris Agreement, we are going to do CCUS at massive scale, with multiple hubs like this.'

The first injection is expected for around 2026. Timing will depend on the regulatory process and clients needs, said Robin Fielder, chief sustainability officer for Talos.

The group will start to seek long-term customers, including those looking to use CCUS associated with hydrogen production, the executives said.

The venture added nearly 100,000 onshore acres (405 square kilometers) to its existing 40,000 acre site. The expanded area could store more than 1 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases.

The trio said the deal positions their Bayou Bend hub as a storage site for carbon emitted by hard to abate industries in the region, one of the largest industrial corridors in the United States.

Chevron is investing $10 billion through 2028 in its Low Carbon ventures including CCUS and hydrogen fuel. The company is investing in technologies to allow hydrogen transportation, including through ammonia, the company's vice president of hydrogen Austin Knight said during the conference.

While technology for hydrogen production already exists, for transportation in a large scale the technology is still in the early stages, he said.



Chevron and JERA sign MoU to explore carbon capture and storage projects in U.S. and Australia

Chevron New Energies (Chevron), a division of Chevron U.S.A. Inc., and JERA Co. Inc. (JERA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that provides a framework for their collaboration on carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects located in the U.S. and Australia. This MoU has the potential to expand the significant liquid natural gas (LNG) relationship that Chevron and JERA have today, and further demonstrates the commitment and dedication both companies have to advancing lower carbon solutions.

This MoU furthers the collaboration between the companies in the lower carbon space, following the November 2022 announcement of their collaboration on the potential co-development of lower carbon fuel in Australia and the study of liquid organic hydrogen carriers (LOHC) in the U.S.

We have a long-standing LNG relationship with JERA that continues to progress, with the intent of bringing affordable, reliable and ever-cleaner solutions to our customers,said Chris Powers, Vice President of Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage at Chevron. We have deep experience and capability in subsurface and are actively developing CCS projects around the world. We understand that without long-term relationships like the one we have with JERA, we wouldnt be able to develop these resources and move at the pace we have been moving to further our energy transition goals.

Gaku Takagi, Executive Officer, Head of the Resource Procurement & Investment Division of JERA, said, Under its 'JERA Zero CO2 Emissions 2050' objective, JERA has been working to reduce CO2 emissions from its domestic and overseas businesses to zero by 2050. JERA and Chevron have worked together to bring stable and reliable LNG to our customers over the years, and this CCS collaboration further demonstrates our strong commitment to advance lower carbon solutions. Chevron brings significant expertise and experience in the CCS business, so we look forward to working together as we aim to transition to a decarbonized society.