Qatar to merge LNG producers Qatargas and RasGas

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Qatar will merge state-owned liquefied natural gas producers Qatargas and RasGas Co Ltd, the chief executive of Qatar Petroleum (QP) said on Sunday, in the Gulf state's latest reaction to lower energy prices, said Reuters.

The more-than-two-year slump in oil prices has forced Gulf countries to reduce state spending and consider consolidations as a way to cut costs: among the biggest being Abu Dhabi's merging of Mubadala and International Petroleum Development Co.

While Qatar is more focused on gas than oil, it too has been forced into reorganizations, with QP already going through a process that reduced staffing and earmarked a number of assets for divestment.

The tie-up of Qatargas and RasGas, Qatar's number one and two LNG producers respectively, has been talked about for a number of years stretching back before the oil price reduction.

At a news conference, QP CEO Saad al-Kaabi said that behind the announcement was an element of wanting to cut costs.

The transition, which will result in a single company called Qatargas, will take around 12 months to complete and will begin before the end of this year.

Once the new structure is in place, some areas of the business could see job cuts, although the operational side of the plants will not be affected, Kaabi said.

A Doha-based energy analyst said the move was in line with QP's recent cost cutting but also had other benefits. "Arguably the reasons for having two firms -- to deal with western and eastern markets and also to encourage some competition during the rollout phase of LNG facilities -- are no longer relevant," he said.

Qatargas is the largest LNG-producing company in the world, with an annual output capacity of 42 MMtpy, according to its website. While QP owns a majority stake, global energy firms including Total, Mitsui & Co and ConocoPhillips also possess small stakeholdings.

RasGas has a production capacity of about 37 MMtpy, according to its website. It is a 70/30% joint venture between QP and Exxon Mobil.

Linde starts up carbon dioxide plant in Texas

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Linde North America announced the start-up of its new carbon dioxide (CO2) plant in Fort Worth, Texas, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The 250 tpd plant is supplying CO2 for food and beverage producers, chemical manufactures as well as a variety of industrial companies in Texas.

This project represents yet another Linde investment in Texas, where the company recently started up a large air separation unit (ASU) and is adding new neon production capacity to meet growing customer demand.

"We are proud to bring this new plant online as part of Linde's continued commitment to meet customer needs in the Americas," said Pat Murphy, President, Linde Americas. "This new plant enhances our ability to provide a reliable supply of CO2 to a variety of expanding markets in Texas, including food, beverage and chemicals. The plant has the capacity to satisfy our customers' short- and long-term requirements."

The plant design includes the most sophisticated technology for both quality and energy efficiency. It is designed to capture CO2 emissions from a by-product source that would otherwise be vented into the atmosphere. Linde purifies and liquefies the CO2 for delivery to customers.

Linde recently announced plans for a new neon recovery unit in La Porte that will add 40 million liters annually to Linde's neon supply, primarily to support customers in the semiconductor lithography and laser vision correction markets. This plant is part of a USD250 million investment in La Porte for a state-of-the-art air separation unit (ASU) that also includes a gasification train and supporting equipment and facilities.

As MRC informed earlier, Linde agreed to revive talks with U.S. rival Praxair to create a USD65 billion industrial gases giant which will have its main operations run from Connecticut.

RINA services awarded Chevron, ExxonMobil Indonesian gas contracts

MOSCOW (MRC) -- PT RINA Indonesia, in consortium with PT Depriwangga, has been awarded two contracts to provide quality assurance services for offshore and onshore projects in Indonesia, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The first, awarded by Chevron Indonesia, is to provide inspection services as part of the offshore Bangka Field development project. The second is to provide quality assurance and engineering services for ExxonMobil Cepu Limited (EMCL), a subsidiary of ExxonMobil, for the development of its onshore Cepu Block.

The Bangka Field is located approximately 70 km offshore at East Kalimantan in water depths of 3,200 ft. The field comprises two stacked upper slope channel complexes, known as the Upper Channel and Lower Channel reservoirs both containing gas-condensate. Chevron Indonesia is creating "Bangka hubs" which are located in the Makassar Strait, Indonesia.

Chevron is developing the field as two subsea wells connected via a single flexible flowline to the existing West Seno Floating Production Unit (FPU), which is located approximately 20 km south of the field. RINA Indonesia will provide QA/QC inspection services for material and component fabrication, installation, testing, pre-commissioning and commissioning activities.

In addition, the company will perform third party expediting services for various materials and equipment purchased domestically and globally for the project. The 12-month contract has an estimated value of USD1.3 million.

The contract awarded by ExxonMobil Cepu Ltd. (EMCL) for the Cepu Gas Drilling Program comprises services for land drilling and completion program for six wells in the Jambaran Tiung Biru field with four new and two re-entry wells and a further optional two new and one re-entry wells in the Kedung Keris field. The contract, which was awarded to PT RINA Indonesia and PT Depriwangga, is valued at USD3 million and covers QA and QE for drilling equipment and tools, OCTG, drilling tubulars supporting equipment and materials. The contract is expected to run for three years with work carried out at various facilities and bases located throughout Indonesia and worldwide.

"RINA Services is a strong company that can support major oil companies throughout the world," said Andrea Bombardi, Chief Commercial Officer Energy & Infrastructure, RINA Services. "We are delighted to be providing services to our US key clients, Chevron and ExxonMobil on these two prestigious projects. The Bangka Field development is the company’s second deep water project in Indonesia, the first being the Jangkrik Complex Project, and builds on the success of RINA with US oil majors and in this region."

Sadara Chemical inks 20 year agreement with Saudi Rufayah Chemicals Co

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Sadara Chemical, a USD20 billion petrochemical joint venture between national oil giant Saudi Aramco and Dow Chemical, has signed a 20-year agreement with Saudi Rufayah Chemicals Co (RCC), said Reuters.

Under the deal, RCC, a Saudi downstream firm will use the aromatics concentrate (Pygas) and Pyoil supplied by Sadara for its new chemical complex planned for the PlasChem Park in Jubail.

Saudi Arabia is trying to develop its downstream industry to produce diversified products near its petrochemical facilities.

Aramco is building its Rabigh PlusTech Park at PetroRabigh, a joint venture with Japan's Sumitomo Chemical on the Red Sea coast.

Sadara did not give a value for the supply agreement in a statement. The complex, due to be on stream in December 2020 and developed by RCC, is expected to have a total investment of about USD500 million.

RCC plans to produce 12 downstream products with production capacity exceeding 350,000 tonnes per year of products including hydrocarbon resin, isoprene, pure DCPD, aromatic solvents, premium wash oils and other products.

Sadara said in August it started its facility on the Gulf coast of Saudi Arabia, the first mixed-feed cracker in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, which can process both ethane and naphtha.

The Sadara complex, comprising 26 integrated facilities, is the largest petrochemical facility to be built in a single phase. All facilities are scheduled to be commissioned by the end of 2017.

As MRC wrote earlier, in June 2015, Sadara Chemical Co. signed a 20-year supply agreement with Energy Chemicals Sources Co. (ECSC), a new joint venture of Halliburton and The Industrialization & Energy Services Co. (TAQA), to supply feedstock to ECSC's planned chemical production facility to be built in Jubail.

Sadara is building a world-scale, fully integrated chemicals complex in Jubail Industrial City 2, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The complex will be comprised of 26 manufacturing units, will possess flexible cracking capabilities and is expected to produce more than 3 million metric tons of high-value performance plastics and specialty chemical products. The first production units are expected to come on-line in the second half of 2015, with full production starting in mid-2016.

Lotte Chemical to expand ethylene output capacity

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Lotte Chemical Co., a major chemicals firm here, said Monday that it plans to increase ethylene output capacity in South Korea to meet growing demand, reported KoreaTimes.

Lotte Chemical plans to jack up the annual output capacity of its plant in Yeosu by 200,000 tons to 1.2 million tons by the end of 2018.

The company said it would spend a total of 300 billion won (USD257 million) on the facility expansion.

When the output expansion is completed, Lotte Chemical’s annual ethylene output in South Korea will rise to 2.3 million tons.

Lotte Chemical also operates plants in Malaysia, the U.S. and other countries.

When its overseas output of ethylene is counted, the company will have an annual production capacity of 4.5 million tons by 2018, becoming the No. 1 ethylene producer in the country, it said.

As MRC informed before, in 2015, Lotte Chemical Corp announced that the petrochemical firm would expand its naphtha cracking centre in Malaysia at a cost of 300 billion Korean won (USD257 million). With the mechanical completion of the expansion scheduled in the second-half of 2017, Lotte Chemical Titan (M) Sdn. Bhd. will have ethylene production capacity of 812,000 tonnes per year (tpy), up 92,000 tpy from the current size, the company said in a quarterly earnings statement.

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.