ExxonMobil mulls major expansion of Beaumont refinery into nation largest

MOSCOW (MRC) -- ExxonMobil is studying a proposal to expand its 334,600-bpd refinery in Beaumont, Texas, into the largest in the US, as per Reuters.

According to the Reuters report, ExxonMobil has pulled together a group of experts at the plant to do more detailed studies on potentially adding a third crude distillation unit (CDU).

The new CDU could make the Beaumont refinery the largest in the US, with capacity rising to as much as 850,000 bpd, Reuters reported.

The expansion would cost several billion dollars and take several years to construct. ExxonMobil declined to comment on the report.

We remind that, as MRC informed previously, in November 2014, Foster Wheeler announced that a subsidiary of its global engineering and construction business had been awarded an engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contract by ExxonMobil Petroleum & Chemical (Esso) to upgrade its Antwerp refinery in Belgium.

ExxonMobil is the largest non-government owned company in the energy industry and produces about 3% of the world's oil and about 2% of the world's energy.

Gazprom Neft processes rising oil volumes in 2015 at Russian Omsk refinery

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Total refining volumes at Gazprom Neft's Omsk refinery have increased by 1.8% year-on-year in the 2015 first half to 10.62 million tons, reported Hydrocarbonprocessing with reference to the company's announcement.

Refining depth has increased to 93.19% (93.02% in 2014): on which basis (i.e., in terms of resource efficiency and technological effectiveness), the Omsk refinery is one of best-performing in the Russian refining sector, the company said.

Gasoline production increased by 5.2% during this period. Following reconstruction of the KT-1/1 mazut deep conversion complex, to be completed in late 2015, the factory will switch entirely to production of Euro-5 gasolines.

All of the diesel fuels produced at the Omsk refinery are already consistent with Euro-5 environmental standards, the company said. Euro-5 fuels are distinguished by their high purity and minimal pollutants.

The use of Euro-5 fuels allows a multiple reduction in emissions of sulfur compounds by vehicular traffic, in comparison with Euro-4 fuels.

As MRC reported earlier, in 2013, the St. Petersburg-headquartered Russian oil and gas company Gazprom Neft signed an agreement with France-based Total to form a joint venture to produce and sell modified bitumen and bitumen emulsions on the Russian market.

High margins lift Chevron downstream earnings

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Both US and international downstream earnings improved at Chevron, led by higher margins on the sales of refined products, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

In its earnings report issued Friday, Chevron said its US downstream operations earned USD731 million in the second quarter of 2015, compared with USD517 million a year earlier.

"The increase was due to higher margins on refined product sales, partially offset by the absence of a 2014 asset sale gain and lower earnings from the 50%-owned Chevron Phillips Chemical," the company said.

US refinery crude oil input of 916,000 bpd was up by 155,000 bpd from the year-ago period. That increase was largely due to the absence of major crude unit turnaround during the 2014 second quarter at the El Segundo refinery in California.

US refined product sales of 1.23 million bpd were up by 3% from a year ago, primarily reflecting higher gasoline sales. Branded gasoline sales of 535,000 bpd were up 2% from the 2014 period.

Meanwhile, international downstream operations at Chevron earned USD2.23 billion in the 2015 second quarter, compared with just USD204 million a year earlier. That increase was primarily due to a USD1.6-billion gain from the sale of the company's interest in Australian refiner Caltex. However, higher margins on refined product sales also contributed to the increase.

International refinery crude oil input of 774,000 bpd in the second quarter was down by 70,000 bpd from the year-ago period, due to the Caltex divestment.

Total refined product sales of 1.48 million bpd in the 2015 second quarter were down 69,000 bpd from the 2014 second quarter, again owing to the Caltex sale and accompanying reduction in gasoline and gas oil sales.

Overall, Chevron's net income during the second quarter fell to USD571 million from USD5.67 billion a year earlier, representing its lowest profit in more than 12 years and coming in well behind analyst estimates. Chevron's biggest business unit - oil and gas production - posted a loss, thus offsetting the strength in downstream earnings.

Earlier this week, Chevron said it would eliminate 1,500 jobs, or about 2.3% of its global staff, to help it cut spending by about USD1 billion.

As MRC reported earlier, in July 2014, Chevron Phillips Chemical (CPChem) received approval from its board of directors and obtained an environmental permit from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to expand normal alpha olefins (NAO) production capacity at its Cedar Bayou plant in Baytown, Texas. This investment will provide an additional 100,000 tpy of capacity. Construction completion is anticipated in July, 2015.

Chevron Corporation is an American multinational energy corporation. One of the successor companies of Standard Oil, it is headquartered in San Ramon, California, and active in more than 180 countries. Chevron is engaged in every aspect of the oil, natural gas, and geothermal energy industries, including hydrocarbon exploration and production; refining, marketing and transport; chemicals manufacturing and sales; and power generation. Chevron is one of the world's largest oil companies.

PTTGC took off-stream aromatics complex in Thailand

MOSCOW (MRC) -- PTT Global Chemical (PTTGC), Thailand's largest petrochemical maker, has taken off-stream its No.2 aromatics complex following a technical problem, as per Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in Thailand informed that the complex was shut along with an upstream reformer and condensate splitter on July 29, 2015. It is likely to remain off-stream for around 45 days.

Located at Rayong in Thailand, the complex has a PX capacity of 655,000 mt/year and benzene capacity of 355,000 mt/year.

As MRC reported before, PTTGC shut its high density polyethylene (HDPE) plant for maintenance turnaround in mid-June 2015. It remain off-stream for around 2 weeks. Located at Map Ta Phut in Thailand, the plant has a production capacity of 300,000 mt/year.

PTT Global Chemical is a leading player in the petrochemical industry and owns several petrochemical facilities with a combined capacity of 8.45 million tonnes a year.

SCG-Dow to shut down SM plant in Thailand for maintenance

MOSCOW (MRC) -- SCG-Dow Chemical is likely to take off-stream its styrene monomer (SM) plant for maintenance turnaround, reported Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in Thailand informed that the plant is planned to be taken off-stream in Q1, 2016. It is likely to remain off-stream for around one month.

Located in Thailand, the plant has a production capacity of 175,000 mt/year.

As MRC wrote before, in June 2015, Dow Chemical resumed ethylene production at its Plaquemine, Louisiana site. Outage at the light hydrocarbon unit No. 3, which has annual production of 725,000 mt, started in late May, and resulted in further tightening of the Louisiana ethylene market. "On June 11, our ethylene plant in Plaquemine, LA (LA-3) safely resumed operations," the source said.

The Dow Chemical Company is an American multinational chemical corporation headquartered in Midland, Michigan, United States. Dow is a large producer of plastics, including polystyrene (PS), polyurethane, polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), and synthetic rubber.