SASOL Opts out of its Iranian joint venture, selling all shares

MOSCOW (MRC) -- South African petrochemicals producer Sasol (Johannesburg) recently sold all of its shares in its Iranian joint venture, Arya Sasol Polymer Company, said Plasteurope.

According to a company media release, the shares, with a book value of ZAR 2.3 bn (EUR 169m) were purchased by Main Street 1095, a South African subsidiary of an Iranian investor. According to's database, Polyglobe, Sasol has a gas-based ethylene production facility in Assaluyeh, located along the Persian Gulf, with a capacity of 1m t/y as well as a downstream polymerisation facility with a capacity of 300,000 t/y of both LDPE and HDPE.

With the 16 August transaction of sales now complete, the South Africans say they now no longer have any investments in Iran. Since the end of 2011, the petrochemical company had constantly leaked plans concerning its intention to divest of its investments in the country, which its Iranian partners denied each time. In the end, the pressure to dissolve its business interests in the Islamic Republic was apparently too much. At the beginning of 2013, the American not-for-profit, high-profile advocacy group, "United Against Nuclear Iran" (UANI, New York) allegedly put mounting pressure on the South African company stating it would have difficulties realising any plans to make a stake in the US shale gas revolution in terms of building any local production facilities. With its Persian exit now official, the road to the US shale gas boom appears to be free of any road blocks.

As MRC wrote, French engineering giant Technip has formed an alliance with South African company Sasol covering the latter's future gas-to-liquids projects. The front-end engineering alliance also allows for Technip participation during the execution stage of future GTL projects.

Sasol Limited is an integrated energy and chemical company that began in Sasolburg, South Africa in 1950. It develops and commercialises technologies and builds and operates world-scale facilities to produce a range of product streams including liquid fuels, chemicals.


BP and Reliance make deep-water find

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Indian Reliance Industries and UK supermajor BP have made a deep-water gas condensate discovery in the Cauvery basin, off India's east coast, said Upstreamonline.

The discovery was made in the CYIIID5-S1 well, on Block CY-DWN-2001/2, which was drilled to a total depth of 5731 metres, in a water depth of 1743 metres, to explore Mesozoic-aged reservoirs.

Preliminary evaluation of well data and fluid samples indicated the well intersected a gross hydrocarbon column of 143 meters in the reservoir interval.

A drill stem test was carried out and the well flowed at a rate of 35.2 million cubic feet of gas per day and 413 barrels per day of condensate, on a 20.6 millimetre choke.

The Government of India and India's Directorate General of Hydrocarbons have been notified of the discovery, which has been named D-56.

Mike Daly, BP's vice president of exploration, commented: "Following the discovery on block KG D6 announced in May, it’s another demonstration of the potential of the resource base that we anticipated when BP entered the original transaction with (Reliance) in 2011."

In May BP, Reliance and Niko Resources announced in late May that they had made a “significant gas and condensate discovery” at their Krisha Godavari D6 deep-water block off eastern India.

Spud in March, the KGD6-MJ1 probe was drilled in a water depths of 1024 metres to a total depth of 4509 metres.

It aimed to explore the prospectivity of a Mesozoic Synrift Clastic reservoir lying more than 2000 metres below the already producing reservoirs in the D1-D3 gas fields.

The well hit a gross gas and condensate column of about 155 metres in Mesezoic reservoirs. On a drill stem test, the well – now named discovery D-55 - flowed 30.6 million standard cubic feet per day and liquid rate of 2121 barrels a day with a choke of 36/64".

As MRC wrote before, the engineering work under this contract is for the construction of offsites and utilities facilities, according to Jacobs officials. Officials did not disclose the contract value. The new cracker complex is part of a major expansion of Reliance’s petrochemical capacities at Jamnagar and other sites in India.


Sechin takes first Rosneft stake

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Rosneft chief executive Igor Sechin is looking to cash in on his company’s expected profitability by acquiring his first shareholding in the Russian state-owned oil giant, said Upstreamonline.

Former energy czar Sechin, a long-time ally of President Vladimir Putin and seen by some Kremlin-watchers as the second most powerful man in the country, bought a 0.0075% share in the company reported to be worth USD5.5 million.

A Rosneft spokeswoman told Reuters that Sechin had invested his bonus to buy the shares. "It is a part of the company's corporate culture; executives believe in the growth of the company's value and are interested in the result personally," she added.

Sechin has masterminded strategy at Rosneft since becoming the company's chairman in 2004. Under the 52-year-old's leadership it has become the world's largest listed oil company by output, with a market value of USD73.2 billion.

In his most recent coup, Rosneft bought TNK-BP for USD55 billion in Russia's largest takeover. He has also struck strategic exploration deals with ExxonMobil, Eni and Statoil, mainly focused on the Arctic.

As part of the TNK-BP deal, British supermajor BP raised its stake in Rosneft to nearly 20%.The state owns 69.5% through holding company Rosneftegaz that is also chaired by Sechin.

As MRC wrote before, Russian state oil major Rosneft offered to buy out small shareholders in TNK-BP Holding but said it would pay less for the stock than the price at the time of the takeover in March. Chief executive Igor Sechin said that Rosneft was not a "charity fund" when it bought TNK-BP and did not intend to buy out minority shareholders, raising complaints from them and questions from international investors about corporate governance in Russia.

Naphtha crackers restarted by Daqing Petrochemical

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Daqing Petrochemical has restarted two naphtha crackers following maintenance turnaround, said Apic-online.

A source in China informed that the crackers restarted on August 20, 2013. Located in Heilongjiang povince, China, the crackers have production capacities of 600,000 mt/year each.

As MRC wrote earlier, Daqing Petrochemical, a subsidiary of CNPC, is expected to start up two new PE production lines, an LLDPE line with a capacity of 250,000 tpa and an HDPE line with a capacity of 300,000 tpa, by late August or early September.

Daqing Petrochemical Company is a regional branch company of Petro-China Company Limited. It is a giant-scale petrochemical complex producing oil products, chemicals, fertilizers and chemical fiber with the major raw materials of crude oil, light hydrocarbon and natural gas from Daqing oilfield.

Titan restores full runs at Pasir Gudang naphtha crackers in Malaysia

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Malaysia-based Lotte Chemical Titan has fully restored operations at its 720,000 tpa naphtha cracking complex in Pasir Gudang following an outage in early August, as per Plastemart.

A 440,000 tpa cracker was restarted around mid-August, while the smaller 280,000 tpa unit resumed operations earlier this week.

Japan’s JX Nippon Oil's 404,000 tpa cracker located at Kawasaki remains shut following an outage around 18 August. The unit is not expected to resume operations anytime before end August. The naphtha feedstock market has been under pressure recently as North Asian buyers now have the option of purchasing cheaper alternative liquefied petroleum feedstock to replace a small portion of the light fuel.

We remind that, as MRC reported earlier, Japan's Toray Industries Inc. plans to invest RM1 billion in Malaysia and achieve 1.8 times sales increase by 2020.

Titan is owned by South Korea's top ethylene maker Lotte Chemical. It operates the two crackers out of Pasir Gudang. It imports naphtha to produce petrochemicals.