JX Nippon Oil to shut No. 2 fluid catalytic cracker in Japan

MOSCOW (MRC) -- JX Nippon Oil & Energy is in plans to shut its No. 2 fluid catalytic cracker (FCC) unit for a maintenance turnaround, as per Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in Japan informed that the company has scheduled to take the unit off-line this weekend. The unit is likely to remain shut until early-November 2016.

Located at Negishi in Japan, the unit has a propylene capacity of 90,000 mt/year.

As MRC reported earlier, in June 2016, Petronas and JX Nippon Oil & Energy signed an agreement for the sale and purchase of equity in Petronas LNG 9 Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Petronas. Under the agreement, JX NOE will acquire a 10% in-terest in PL9SB, which owns the ninth liquefied natural gas (LNG) liquefaction train within the Petronas LNG complex in Bintulu, Sarawak, Malaysia.

The 3.6-million-t/y state-of-the-art train, expected to begin commercial operations in the first quarter of 2017, will increase capacity at the Petronas LNG complex to 30-million t/y. The partnership aims to expand the LNG business even further and ensure a reliable supply of energy for their customers. A marketing support agreement was also signed.

The Nippon Oil Corporation, or NOC or Shin-Nisseki is a Japanese petroleum company. Its businesses include the exploration, importation, and refining of crude oil; the manufacture and sale of petroleum products, including olefines (ethylene, propylene) and aromatics.

Ex-oil traders win partial victory over BP in Canada refinery dispute

MOSCOW (MRC) -- A team of former Wall Street oil traders have won a partial victory in their continuing legal dispute with oil major BP over how to properly run a remote eastern Canadian refinery, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The legal fight stems from allegations leveled by BP that equity-backed NARL Refining violated its crude and product supply agreement when the refiner failed to maximize yields at the 115 Mbpd refinery in Come by Chance, Newfoundland.

Among other things, BP alleged that NARL ran the refinery at high rates when it was not economical in order to exploit a unique clause in their contract that allowed NARL to earn a higher profit on oil refined in excess of 90 Mbbl. The arbitration panel ruled late in August that NARL had no contractual obligation to run the refinery to the mutual benefit of both parties and tossed out that part of BP’s allegations.

"There are no words of any kind requiring to maximize refinery margins for the benefit of BP," the ruling says of the refiner, which is operated by SilverPeak Financial Partners, formed by a group of Wall Street veterans. However, the panel agreed to move forward with BP’s other allegation that NARL failed to provide required information, such as economic models, and to discuss possible crude slates, court documents show. Without that information, BP could not evaluate whether the refinery was running optimally.

Geoff Morrell, a senior vice president of US communications and external affairs at BP, said the arbitration process has a long way to go and the company is confident that it will prevail on the remaining issues.

Arbitration proceedings are typically private affairs, but the ruling was temporarily posted Thursday on a New York federal court website, before it was taken down at the request of BP. The judge overseeing the case has postponed any decisions on a related case brought by NARL until the arbitration proceedings have concluded.

As MRC informed earlier, 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. The project is estimated to cost USD45 B-USD65 B.


Williams Partners advances Gulf Connector LNG project

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company, LLC (Transco), a subsidiary of Williams Partners, filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) seeking authorization to construct a 475 MMcfd expansion in Texas and Louisiana to connect US natural gas supplies with global LNG markets, said Hydrocarbomprocessing.

Constructed in two phases, the Gulf Connector project is designed to deliver 75 MMcfd to Freeport LNG Development, L.P.’s liquefaction project by the second half of 2018, and 400 MMcfd to Cheniere Energy’s Corpus Christi liquefaction terminal in 2019. Pending appropriate regulatory approvals, construction on the first phase of the project will begin in the third quarter of 2017 in order to be placed into service during the second half of 2018.

Both of the liquefaction facilities are currently under construction. The Freeport LNG export terminal will have three liquefaction trains with expected aggregate export capacity of 15.3 MMtpy and is planned to commence operations in phases between September 2018 and August 2019. Cheniere Energy’s Corpus Christi liquefaction terminal is proposed to have up to five liquefaction trains (two of which are under construction) with expected aggregate nominal production capacity of up to 22.5 MMtpy of LNG. Trains one and two at the Corpus Christi liquefaction terminal are expected to reach substantial completion in 2019.

The Gulf Connector Project involves adding compression and making the natural gas flow bi-directional on a portion of the Transco system between Louisiana and South Texas. The project has been designed to provide incremental firm transportation from Transco’s Station 65 in St. Helena Parish, La. to mainline interconnects with proposed header pipelines in Wharton County, Texas and San Patricio County, Texas.

The project, included in Williams Partners’ 2016 and 2017 growth capital plan that includes USD1.3 B in 2016 and USD2.4 B in 2017 for Transco expansions and other interstate pipeline growth projects, is fully subscribed by Osaka Gas Trading & Export, LLC, whose affiliate is a limited partner of Freeport LNG Development, LP, and Corpus Christi Liquefaction, LLC, a subsidiary of Cheniere Energy. Both have executed long-term, firm transportation agreements with Transco.

Williams Partners is also building the Gulf Trace Project to serve Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass Liquefaction project in Cameron Parish, La., the first large-scale LNG export facility in operation in the continental United States. The Gulf Trace Project is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2017.

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.

Trinseo reports of changes in its Board of Directors

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Trinseo, a global materials solutions provider and manufacturer of plastics, latex binders and synthetic rubber, has announced that Philip R. Martens and Ruth Springham joined the company’s Board of Directors, effective September 1, 2016, as per the company's press release.

Phil Martens is the former CEO of Novelis, an USD11 billion aluminum producer based in the U.S. In 2013, Martens received the CEO of the Year award at the Platt Global Metals Awards. Prior to joining Novelis, Martens held various senior executive roles at ArvinMeritor and Ford Motor Company. Mr. Martens serves as Chairman of the Board of Graphic Packaging Holding Company, a leading provider of packaging solutions for a wide variety of products to food, beverage and other consumer products companies, where he has been director since November 2013. Additionally, he has been a director at Plexus Corporation (NASDAQ: PLXS) since November 2010. Mr. Martens holds an MBA from the University of Michigan and a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute.

Ruth Springham is a Director at Bain Capital Luxembourg, with responsibilities related to corporate governance and mergers and acquisitions. Prior to joining Bain Capital in 2004, she held management roles at Thomson Reuters and Eurostat. Ms. Springham holds a Master of Arts degree from the University of Glasgow. She is on the board of several Luxembourg-based fund complexes and holding companies.

"We are extremely pleased to welcome directors of Phil and Ruth’s caliber to the Trinseo Board of Directors," said Chris Pappas, president and CEO of Trinseo. "Phil has extensive senior executive experience at manufacturing companies with worldwide operations as well as significant public board experience. Ruth’s directorship experiences will provide Trinseo with ongoing corporate governance expertise. Phil and Ruth will be valuable additions to our continued development as an independent publicly traded company."

As MRC wrote previously, in September 2016, Trinseo and its affiliate companies in Europe announced price increases for all polystyrene (PS), acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) and acrylonitrile styrene copolymer (SAN) grades in Europe. Effective 2 September, or as existing contract terms allow, the September contract and spot prices for the products listed below increased as follows:

- STYRON general purpose polystyrene grades (GPPS), STYRON and STYRON A-TECH high impact polystyrene grades (HIPS) - by EUR25 per metric ton;
- MAGNUM ABS resins and TYRIL SAN resins - by EUR20 per metric ton.

Trinseo is a global materials company and manufacturer of plastics, latex and rubber. Trinseo's technology is used by customers in industries such as home appliances, automotive, building & construction, carpet, consumer electronics, consumer goods, electrical & lighting, medical, packaging, paper & paperboard, rubber goods and tires. Formerly known as Styron, Trinseo completed its renaming process in 1Q 2015. Trinseo had approximately USD4.0 billion in revenue in 2015, with 18 manufacturing sites around the world, and more than 2,200 employees.

SABIC says China petrochemical project to cost USD3-4 bln

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC) expects its coal-to-chemicals project in China with Shenhua Ningxia Coal Industry Group to cost USD3-4 blm, its acting CEO told Al Arabiya TV last Thursday, reported Reuters.

"The project is approximately USD3-4 bln and we expect it to be ready in 2020," Yousef al-Benyan said.

SABIC signed the agreement in May. The JV would be a "greenfield petrochemical complex" located in the Ningxia Hui Region of China and would help the Saudi company diversify its feedstock sources.

As MRC informed earlier, a decision on whether SABIC will go ahead with a JV with ExxonMobil will likely be made by Q2 2017, SABIC's acting chief executive said in August 2016.

Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic) ranks among the world's 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.