Vietnam Axes USD538-MM oil refinery project due to delays

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Vietnam has decided to scrap a USD538-million oil refinery project in the country's southern region after investors failed to start construction around eight years after they received the licence, a provincial government official said on Friday, said Reuters.

The Mekong Delta-based Can Tho refinery, licensed in 2008 to process 2 MMt of crude oil annually, has now been cancelled, Nguyen Van Hong, director of Can Tho city's Planning and Investment Department, told Reuters.

Initially, the license was handed to a venture between Semtech Limited BVI and a Vietnamese firm, Vien Dong Investment and Trading Co, but Semtech later pulled out, according to a Can Tho municipal authority report.

Razeedland Plaza Sdn Bhd, a unit of Brunei's SGB Refinery Petrochemical Corporation Sdn Bhd, replaced Semtech but still failed to implement the project, the report said.

The Can Tho refinery's cancellation is the second in Vietnam this year, after authorities in the central region scrapped a USD20-billion refinery and petrochemicals plant with Thai oil company PTT in July due to delays.

Vietnam, Asia's third-largest holder of crude oil reserves after China and India, has only one refinery, the 130,500-bpd Dung Quat plant that has been running at 107 percent of its capacity.

State oil and gas group PetroVietnam has been building the second oil refinery, the USD7.5-billion 200,000-bpd Nghi Son plant which is due to start operation in July 2017, but construction of this has also been facing delays.

We remind that, as MRC wrote before, Vietnam Polystyrene had expanded the production capacity of its expandable polystyrene (EPS) plant by 50,000 mt/year by end-April 2014. Located in Vietnam, the plant has a production capacity of 40,000 mt/year.

Lotte Chemical considers raising Yeosu naphtha cracking center capacity

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Lotte Chemical Corp said on Friday it's considering raising output capacity at its Yeosu naphtha cracking center, confirming comments by South Korea's energy ministry, as Seoul urges petrochemical firms to boost competitiveness amid growing competition from China, reported Reuters.

A Lotte Chemical spokesman said the company is considering the expansion, but no specifics have been decided. The unit currently has a total capacity of 1 MMtpy of ethylene.

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said in a statement on Friday that Lotte Chemical was considering the move with an aim to begin construction in first-half 2017, without saying by how much it might raise capacity.

In October, as MRC informed before, LG Chem Ltd, South Korea's largest chemical company, said it would invest about USD260 million to increase production capacity of its Daesan plant by 230,000 tpy to 1.27 MMtpy of ethylene by 2019.

South Korean Lotte Chemical is a global petrochemical company, established in 1976. It produces low density polyethylene (LDPE), high density polyethylene (HDPE), linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE), polypropylene (PP), functional resins, styrene monomer (SM), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), etc.

Saudi Aramco to supply more oil to Asia in January sources say

MOSCOW (MRC) -- State oil giant Saudi Aramco has agreed to supply some customers in Asia with incremental crude that will load in January, as it holds to a strategy of maintaining market share, three sources with knowledge of the matter said on Friday, reported Reuters.

The decision by the world's top exporter to give extra oil came weeks before Saudi Aramco was due to notify customers of their monthly supply allocation. For January supplies, allocations would have been made only around Jan. 10.

By exercising flexibility to meet customers' demand, Saudi Arabia is signaling that it won't budge on market share even as it works with members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to finalize plans for a production cut at their Nov. 30 meeting, the sources said.

"We're going into winter so we need lighter grades," said an official with a North Asian refiner who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

"It's just as usual. There is no indication of a change in their behavior (in giving additional supplies," he said.

Saudi Aramco could not be immediately reached for comment as its office is closed for weekend.

As MRC informed previously, in 2014, Saudi Aramco announced that its downstream investments would exceed USD100 billion over the next decade, as global demand for oil rises by a quarter in the next 25 years.

Aramco's refining capacity would be between 8 million to 10 million barrels a day (bpd) in the coming years, a figure exceeding the goal cited by Aramco in 2012 of 8 million bpd. The increased demand will primarily com from high demand growth markets of the Far East and from the Middle East. Aramco is also looking to grow within the petrochemicals sector with two major projects. Aramco has a joint venture with Dow Chemical Co to build the USD20 billion Sadara petrochemical complex in Jubail that is due to come on stream in H2-2015 is also expanding its petrochemical complex called PetroRabigh that it jointly owns with Sumitomo Chemical. This will take total chemicals participate production capacity to over 15 mln tpa.

Saudi Aramco, officially the Saudi Arabian Oil Company, is a Saudi Arabian national oil and natural gas company based in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Saudi Aramco's value has been estimated at up to USD10 trillion in the Financial Times, making it the world's most valuable company. Saudi Aramco has both the largest proven crude oil reserves, at more than 260 billion barrels, and largest daily oil production.

Fire reported at Reliance Jamnagar FCC unit

MOSCOW (MRC) -- A flash fire was reported at fluid catalytic cracking unit (FCCU) of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL?s) Jamnagar refinery this morning, as per Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in India informed that a flash fire broke out on Thursday morning at the unit which was under a maintenance turnaround in the domestic tariff area (DTA) refinery site.

Though the fire was doused immediately, it has resulted in injuries to 8 workers. Operations at the refinery remain uninterrupted.

Located at Jamnagar, Gujarat, the refinery has a crude processing capacity of 660,000 bpd.

We remind that, as MRC informed earlier, in April 2015, RIL successfully put into operation two plants in Dahej, Gujarat, India. The first is a polyethylene terephthalate (PET) resin plant, which consists of two lines with a combined manufacturing capacity of 650 KTA. This is one of the largest bottle-grade PET resin capacity at a single location globally, and consolidates Reliance’s position as a leading PET resin producer with a global capacity of 1.15 MMTPA. PET resin from the new capacity would find application in packaging for water, carbonated soft drinks, pharmaceuticals and other food and beverages.

The second facility is a new PTA plant that provides a capacity of 1,150 KTA. With the commissioning of this plant, also built with Invista technology, Reliance’s total PTA capacity will increase to 3.2 MMTPA, and its global capacity share will rise to 4%.

Reliance Industries is one of the world's largest producers of polymers. The company's polymer production in 2010-11 (polypropylene, polyethylene and polyvinyl chloride) made 4,094 kilo tonnes.

Taiwan CPC buys crude before startup of new refining units

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Taiwanese refiner CPC Corp has purchased spot crude to prepare for the start-up of new refining units expected in the first quarter, three trade sources said, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The refiner had bought three 500,000-barrel cargoes of Upper Zakum crude for loading in December and has purchased at least a 500,000-barrel cargo each of Upper Zakum and Oman crude to be lifted in January, they said.

CPC planned to start trial runs at its new 150,000-bpd crude distillation unit (CDU) at its Talin refinery in January, the sources said.

Other new units at the site, which includes two hydrotreaters with a total capacity of 70,000 bpd, and a 50,000 bpd condensate splitter, could commence trial operations a month later, they said.

The splitter will be processing South Pars condensate to be supplied by the National Iranian Oil Company under a term agreement, one of the sources said.

CPC's spokesman could not be immediately reached for comment.

As MRC informed before, CPC Corp shut down a residue fluid catalytic cracker (RFCC) for a maintenance on 31 March 2016. The unit was slated to remain shut for a period of around 60-70 days. Located in Taoyuan, Taiwan, the RFCC has a propylene production capacity of 100,000 mt/year.

CPC Corporation, Taiwan, is engaged in the exploration, production, refining, procurement, transportation, storage, and marketing of oil and gas. The company provides fuel oil, including automotive unleaded gasoline and diesel fuel, low-sulfur fuel oil, marine distillate fuels, marine residual fuels, and aviation fuel; petrochemicals, such as ethylene, propylene, butadiene, benzene, para-xylene, and ortho-xylene; liquefied petroleum gas products comprising liquefied petroleum gas, propane, butane, and a propane/butane mixture; lubricants, motor oil, industrial oil, grease, and marilube oil; SNC products, including petroleum ether, naphtha, toluene, xylene, crude octene, methyl alcohol, normal paraffin, viscosity-graded asphalt cement, and sulfur; and natural gas.