LyondellBasell Houston refinery restoring production after steam loss

MOSCOW (MRC) -- LyondellBasell Industries, one of the world's largest plastics, chemical and refining companies, was restoring production at its 263 Mbpd Houston refinery after a midday power interruption robbed the plant of steam supply last week, as per Reuters.

"Operations impacted by the power interruption from the external electrical and steam supplier have resumed," Lyondell spokeswoman Faye Eson said in an emailed statement.

A single turbine producing steam was restarted mid-afternoon by supplier Calpine Corp., said a Calpine spokesman.

Three Gulf Coast market sources said the refinery's two crude distillation units were operating at mininum levels, and a plan was being developed to restart the 90 Mbpd gasoline-producing fluidic catalytic cracking unit over the weekend.

Each of the two CDUs was operating between 80 Mbpd and 90 Mbpd. The larger of the two crude units has a capacity of 147 Mbpd, while the smaller unit’s capacity is 120 Mbpd.

The timing of the FCCU's return may depend on the restart of a second steam-producing turbine, so the unit has redundant supply, according to the sources.

Eson said no injuries were reported at the refinery due to the loss of steam, which powers turbines, compressors, and for the flare system.

A thick plume of black smoke, visible 10 miles away, streamed from the refinery for about two hours after the steam loss.

Before the steam loss, the refinery had been at reduced production levels since Wednesday, when the 42 Mbpd coking unit was shut to replace piping in the unit that may be subject to corrosion, the sources said.

Thursday was the second time this month Lyondell had to contend with an unplanned interruption.

A power outage at the sulfur recovery complex earlier in the month triggered 12 hours of flaring at the refinery that released 592,500 pounds of sulfur dioxide, according to a regulatory notice.

CDUs do the initial refining of crude oil coming into the refinery and provide feedstock for all other units. Cokers boost the yield of refinable material taken from barrel of oil and convert residual crude to petroleum coke.

As MRC wrote previously, in mid-May 2016, LyondellBasell declared a force majeure on linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) following unexpected mechanical issues at plants in Texas and Illinois. The La Porte plant has an annual LLDPE capacity of 355,166 mt/year and the Morris facility has an annual LLDPE capacity of 295,292 mt/year.

LyondellBasell is one of the world’s largest plastics, chemical and refining companies and a member of the S&P 500. LyondellBasell manufactures products at 56 sites in 19 countries. LyondellBasell products and technologies are used to make items that improve the quality of life for people around the world including packaging, electronics, automotive parts, home furnishings, construction materials and biofuels.

ExxonMobil defends handling of Torrance refinery outage

MOSCOW (MRC) -- ExxonMobil is defending its handling of an outage at its Los Angeles refinery following a blast in February 2015 after a prominent trading company told a state commission that the process had lacked transparency, reported Reuters.

Speaking before a committee of the California Energy Commission on Tuesday, Brad Lucas, a West Coast trader for Vitol, said that lack of information about the restart of the refinery made it difficult to time cargo deliveries into the West Coast market.

Lucas said at the meeting that, "In my opinion, there was a lack of transparency with what was going on with Torrance."

He said Exxon kept saying the Torrance refinery would come back online "next month".

The explosion at Exxon Mobil's 149 Mbpd Torrance refinery, which provides about 10% of California's gasoline supply, knocked a gasoline-producing unit offline for more than a year.

The higher prices created an incentive for traders to import fuel into California, but only if they could gauge when prices might fall after a refinery restart.

"ExxonMobil is committed to the highest standards of business conduct and rejects these allegations," ExxonMobil said in an emailed statement on Thursday. "We have operated responsibly and in strict compliance with all laws."

Vitol said in a statement Friday "there was a lack of clarity regarding the restart date for the refinery," but added that it had "never suggested the lack of clarity was the responsibility of ExxonMobil, nor that ExxonMobil mislead the market."

The meeting by the Commission's Petroleum Market Advisory Committee was to discuss gasoline price volatility and policy alternatives to mitigate price spikes.

PBF Energy acquired the Torrance facility from Exxon on July 1.

As MRC informed before, ExxonMobil’s refinery in Torrance, California suffered a setback on 20 June, when a 300-ton crane collapsed while moving debris at 9:30 A.M. PT. Three workers suffered minor injuries during the accident. No reports have been issued of damage to the refinery itself. The refinery’s flare system was activated to ensure the safety of refinery workers when operations were halted, and the Torrance Fire Department was onsite to prevent the possibility of a fire or vapor leak.

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.

AESSEAL obtains 5-year service agreement with Sabic Geleen in the Netherlands

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Sabic has awarded AESSEAL a 5-year managed reliability contract for their mechanical seals and seal support systems at the Geleen petrochemical complex in the Netherlands, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The fixed fee contract is based on the mechanical seal reliability strategy set by Sabic across all of its sites. This includes the supply and repair of the mechanical seals used on over 600 rotating equipment assets.

As MRC informed earlier, SABIC is modifying its Wilton cracker in the UK to enable it to use ethane feedstock imported from the US. The company is aiming to complete the project by 2016.

Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic) ranks among the worldпїЅs top petrochemical companies. The company is among the worldпїЅs market leaders in the production of polyethylene, polypropylene and other advanced thermoplastics, glycols, methanol and fertilizers

Green Panel defers approval for Indian Oil Corp Styrene project

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOCL)'s proposed setting up of Styrene and Ethylene recovery units in the existing Panipat Naphtha Cracker Complex (PNCC) at an investment outlay of Rs 593 crore has been deferred by a green panel appointed by the Centre, said Indianexpress.

The panel has deferred its decision on granting environment clearance for want of more information. "The Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) examined the IOCL’s proposal in the recent meeting. After detailed deliberation, the Committee sought additional information," a senior Environment Ministry official said. The EAC has asked IOCL to provide reasons for high carbon monoxide (CO) in ambient air and measure sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions from the existing unit and any additional SO2 emission from the proposed unit.

Presently, there is no Styrene producer in the country and entire quantity is imported by Indian Synthetic Rubber Limited (ISRL). Since IOCL is a 50% equity holder of ISRL, the proposed project will ensure steady supply of Styrene to the Styrene Butadiene Rubber (SBR) unit of ISRL. The proposal has been deferred till the desired information is submitted and site visit is conducted by the sub-committee of EAC.

The Panipat Naphtha Cracker Complex (PNCC) processes naphtha to produce ethylene and propylene streams for polymer units and Pyrolysis gasoline stream as by-product. Pyrolysis Gasoline is a feedstock for production of high purity Styrene. As per the proposal, IOCL will set up a standalone unit at PNCC with a capacity to recover 20 kilo tonnes per annum (KTA) Styrene using Pyrolysis Gasoline as a feedstock. The Styrene recovered from here would be supplied to the Styrene Butadiene Rubber (SBR) plant at the same location.

SBR, which has an installed capacity of 120 KTA, at present uses Butadiene from PNCC as major feed stock along with 25 KTA of Styrene. IOCL has also proposed another unit – Ethylene Recovery Unit (ERU), inside the PNCC to extract Ethylene (18.8 KTA), Ethane (73.6 KTA) and Propylene (12 KTA) from off gas of Panipat Refinery. Panipat Refinery, which was set up in 1998, is the seventh refinery belonging to IOCL and is one of South East Asia’s largest integrated petrochemical plants.

As MRC informed earlier, India's largest refiner and oil marketing company Indian Oil Corporation's Rs 34,555-crore 15 million tonnes per annum Paradip Refinery will be commissioned in phases from March 2015 onwards.

Indian Oil Corporation Limited, or IndianOil, is an Indian state-owned oil and gas corporation with its headquarters in New Delhi, India.

ExxonMobil delays shutdown of Baton Rouge refinery

MOSCOW (MRC) -- ExxonMobil Corp. put off plans to shut its Baton Rouge, Louisiana refinery after it managed to start a LPG processing unit in the adjoining chemical plant, sources familiar with plant operations said, reported Reuters.

"Contrary to some reports, the ExxonMobil Baton Rouge Complex is operating," company spokesman Todd Spitler said in an email. "It is our practice not to comment on specific unit operations at our facilities. We do expect to meet contractual commitments."

Normally, the 502 Mbpd Baton Rouge refinery sends LPG to the Sorrento, Louisiana Storage Facility where it is kept underground in salt dome caverns until needed. Flooding forced the closure of the facility, said the sources, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.

The floods, centered on the Baton Rouge area, have claimed at least 11 lives and forced thousands of people from their homes.

Last week, Exxon shut a 110 Mbpd crude distillation unit at the refinery to reduce LPG production and the company was prepared to shut the refinery if the chemical plant unit could not be started, the sources said.

The chemical plant unit will process the LPG produced by the refinery, the sources said. The refinery's production level is down to about 60% of capacity.

In addition to the chemical plant unit shut last week, Exxon cut production on a 210 Mbpd CDU in half for maintenance planned prior to the floods, the sources said.

Two other CDUs at the refinery have a combined capacity of 180 Mbpd. The CDUs do the initial refining of crude oil coming into a refinery and provide feedstock for all other units.

As MRC informed previously, in February 2016, US petrochemical producer ExxonMobil Chemical completed the start up process of its 820,000 m tpa ethylene complex in Beaumont, Texas. The Beaumont complex has two equal-sized steam cracking units with total combined ethylene capacity of 820,000 mtpa.

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