ExxonMobil, BP and ConocoPhillips decide not to invest in Alaska LNG

MOSCOW (MRC) -- ExxonMobil and its partners BP and ConocoPhillips have decided not to move forward with their JV, Alaska LNG, as they believe that current market conditions make the project unprofitable, reported The Wall Street Journal.

The project is estimated to cost USD45 B-USD65 B.

The Alaskan state government, which already owns a 25% stake in the project, bought from TransCanada Corp., are still looking to move the project forward.

In a statement, Governor Bill Walker said, "I was very pleased to see that there remains a strong potential for an economically viable Alaska LNG project, even at USD45 /bbl oil prices…" He also stated that, "Alternate ideas such as third party investors, project financing and other advantages resulting from a state led project could make the difference."

An ExxonMobil spokesman stated that the company has no interest in further development of the project, which they see as, "transitioning to a state project."

We remind that, as MRC informed previously, in mid-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. "Operations are normal and we anticipate no impact to production," spokesman Todd Spitler said in confirming market reports of a successful restart. The unit shut January 21 after an area wide power outage. The startup process started within a week of the outage. The Beaumont cracker has an ethylene capacity of 900,000 tonnes/year.

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 uses Intergraph SmartPlant to create engineering data management system

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Intergraph SmartPlant for Owner Operators technology is now used by Gazprom Neft, one of the largest oil companies in Russia, to integrate engineering data management systems during major construction projects and the operation of oil refining sites, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

A pilot project for integrating SmartPlant is currently being implemented. In 2015, Intergraph Process, Power & Marine, together with Gazprom Neft specialists, implemented the first part of the pilot project called "Engineering data management system for oil refining sites."

This engineering information database, based on Intergraph SmartPlant technology, will allow reduction of the data and document transfer management costs during the entire life cycle of oil refining assets. The benefits of the system include the ability to reduce time spent on searching for information, enhanced security and an ability to centralize engineering project data to provide access to all employees involved. Later, the database will support timely and informed decision making processes at Gazprom Neft’s industrial sites.

We remind that, as MRC informed previously, in late 2012, Gazprom Neft and a Russian petrochemicals producer SIBUR with a head office in Moscow will collaborate in the polymer road materials production and marketing. SIBUR will deliver styrene-butadiene-styrene (SBS) polymers to the facilities of Gazprom Neft. The materials are applied in the polymer-bitumen binders (PBB) manufacturing to improve the quality characteristics of the road surface and extend its service life.

Williams names 3 directors amid fight with activist Corvex

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Pipeline company Williams Cos Inc (WMB.N) added three new directors to its board on Monday as it works to fend off an attempt by activist hedge fund Corvex Management to replace all of the company's directors, said Reuters.

Williams said on Monday it appointed Pioneer Natural Resources Co (PXD.N) CEO Scott Sheffield, PPL Corp (PPL.N) CEO William Spence and former American Midstream Partners (AMID.N) CEO Stephen Bergstrom as directors, effective immediately, increasing the size of its board to 10 directors.

Corvex, run by Carl Icahn protege Keith Meister, nominated a slate of 10 directors last week, after assailing the quality of Williams' current directors. Meister was previously a Williams director, but resigned in June, along with five other directors, after failing to oust Williams CEO Alan Armstrong.

The resignations came after the collapse of Williams' more than USD20 billion agreement to be sold to Energy Transfer Equity LP ETE.N. - a deal that Corvex had backed. Meister promised at the time of the collapse that he would continue to pressure the company, despite no longer being on the board. Corvex is Williams' fourth-largest shareholder.

Last week, Meister announced his plan to replace Williams' board, just days ahead of last Thursday's director nomination deadline for the Nov. 23 annual shareholder meeting.

In a move to meet that deadline, Meister nominated 10 of his employees as placeholder directors, who will then resign if elected, to be replaced by a slate of directors made up of industry veterans that he recruits ahead of the meeting.

Meister declined to comment on Williams' new directors. "To be determined is whether the group announced today will meet Corvex’s approval and can thus lighten the hedge fund’s own recruitment burden," said Don Bilson, head of event-driven research at Gordon Haskett.

Williams had announced its plan to name new directors to its board before Meister said he would campaign to have the company's board replaced.

As MRC wrote before, in late November 2014, Williams Olefins extended its October ethylene force majeure allocation at its Geismar, Louisiana plant, keeping its sales allocation for November at 0%.

Williams, headquartered in Tulsa, Okla., is one of the leading energy infrastructure companies in North America. It owns controlling interests in both Williams Partners L.P. and Access Midstream Partners, L.P. through its ownership of 100% of the general partner of each partnership. Additionally, Williams owns approximately 66% and 50% of the limited partner units of Williams Partners L.P. and Access Midstream Partners, L.P., respectively. On June 15, 2014 Williams proposed the merger of Williams Partners and Access Midstream Partners. The proposed merger has been approved by boards of each partnership and is expected to close in early 2015.

Profit of Chinese Sinopec slumps 21.6% in first half 2016

MOSCOW (MRC) -- China Petroleum and Chemical Corp. (Sinopec) said its net profit fell 21.6% in the first half of 2016, hurt by a steep decline in international oil prices, reported Reuters.

The state-controlled energy firm, Asia's largest refiner, said in a separate statement that Dai Houliang had replaced Li Chunguang as company president and become vice chairman of the board. It said Chunguang had resigned due to his age.

During the first six months of the year, Sinopec posted a net profit of USD2.98 B, down from USD3.8 B a year earlier. Sinopec's peers PetroChina and CNOOC Ltd., both heavy on upstream oil and gas production, were hit badly by falls in crude oil and natural gas prices.

Sinopec's operating income in the first half was USD5.26 B, according to IFRS accounting standard, 13.3% lower than a year ago.

The refiner said its oil and gas output fell 6% in the first six months on-year, with crude oil production down 11.4%, as it was forced to cut output at loss-making fields.

While fuel demand growth in China, the world's second-largest consumer, moderated along with the broader economy, domestic competition heated up after more than a dozen independent refineries were allowed to import crude oil for the first time since late 2015.

As these independents boosted refinery throughput, state majors came under pressure to reduce operations.
Sinopec said its first-half refinery operations fell 2.51% on-year. The firm, however, boosted total domestic refined fuel sales by 3.1%.

"China's economic growth is expected to be steady in the second half of 2016, which will drive the growth of domestic demand for refined oil products and petrochemical products," the company said in a statement,
It added, however, that over-supply in the international oil market is likely to persist and international oil prices will remain low.

"The consumption mix of oil products shall continue to change, and demand for chemical products shall be gradually going for more high-end products," the company said.

As MRC said earlier, Russian petrochemical company Sibur is in talks with shareholder Sinopec about investing in a planned gas chemical plant in Russia's Far East, said Reuters in April 2016, citing Sibur boss Dmitry Konov. Sibur plans to buy gas from fields which Russia's Gazprom will develop in Eastern Siberia. In December, Sinopec paid USD1.338 billion for a 10% stake in Sibur and said it planned to acquire an additional 10% within three years.

Sinopec Corp. is one of the largest scale integrated energy and chemical company with upstream, midstream and downstream operations. Its principal business includes: exploring, developing, producing and trading crude oil and natural gas; producing, storing, transporting and distributing and marketing petroleum products, petrochemical products, synthetic fiber, fertilizer and other chemical products. Its refining capacity and ethylene capacity rank No.2 and No.4 globally. Sinopec listed in Hong Kong, New York, London and Shanghai in August 2001. Sinopec Group, the parent company of Sinopec Corp., is ranked the 5th in Fortune Global 500 in 2012.

Shell and government of Gibraltar sign LNG supply agreement

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Her Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar and Shell have signed an agreement for the supply of LNG for use in power generation in Gibraltar, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

This agreement includes the construction of a small regasification unit that will receive, store and re-gasify the LNG arriving by ship for use in Gibraltar’s adjacent gas-fired power plant, which is already under construction.

The regasification unit will be operated by Gasnor, a 100% Shell-owned subsidiary with over ten years of operational experience in LNG for marine and small-scale LNG in North Western Europe. The LNG will be stored before being warmed up to its original gaseous state and then piped to the power plant. The unit will also include a berth for a small LNG carrier that will supply the LNG at night, minimizing disruption to the neighboring port, airport and housing estates. There is also potential for LNG bunkering operations in the future, following the appropriate environmental assessments and safeguards.

Following the recent approval of a robust Environmental Impact Assessment report, construction of the regasification unit is planned to start towards the end of 2016 with commissioning and first delivery of LNG expected to take place ahead of the start-up of the power plant, expected during the second half of 2017.

The regasification unit’s five double wall stainless steel tanks will have a capacity of 1000 m? each. The LNG will be warmed to a gaseous state in a controlled way by using the heat from the power plant’s cooling system, responding to the power plant’s demands.

As MRC informed earlier, in December 2015, Shell declared force majeure on base chemical products, effective 1 Dec., due to "a technical issue with the ethylene cracker complex" at Pulau Bukom, Singapore.

Royal Dutch Shell plc is an Anglo-Dutch multinational oil and gas company headquartered in The Hague, Netherlands and with its registered office in London, United Kingdom. It is the biggest company in the world in terms of revenue and one of the six oil and gas "supermajors". Shell is vertically integrated and is active in every area of the oil and gas industry, including exploration and production, refining, distribution and marketing, petrochemicals, power generation and trading.