TonenGeneral refinery hit by fire, no injuries

MOSCOW (MRC) -- A fire broke out at TonenGeneral Sekiyu's Wakayama refinery in western Japan (Wakayama) on Sunday afternoon, but no one was injured and its 132,000-bpd crude distillation unit (CDU) remained operational, a company spokesman said, reported Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The fire, which struck a facility to make lubricant, had not yet been put out, a local fire department official said at around 1040 GMT.

"It (the CDU) is still running, although the operating rate has been lowered," the spokesman said.

It is too early to tell how the refinery's overall operation will be affected by the incident, he added.

The refinery suffered another fire at a crude oil storage tank on Wednesday, which caused no injuries and had no impact on its oil refining operations.

As MRC informed befire, TonenGeneral Sekiyu KK shut two paraxylene lines in Wakayama following the fire at the company's refinery at the same site. Besides, the benzene unit was also taken off-line as a result of the incident.

DuPont swings to profit in Q4 and beats earnings forecasts

MOSCOW (MRC) -- US DuPont booked a profit in Q4 after a year-earlier loss as sales dipped, said Reuters.

The U.S. chemicals giant reported diluted EPS in the quarter of USD0.29 after a loss of USD0.26 a year earlier.

Revenues fell 2% from a year earlier to USD5.21 bn in the quarter. Operating EPS almost doubled to USD0.51 from USD0.27.

Q4 performance materials operating earnings USD328 million versus USD281 million.

DuPont noted that its quarterly earnings in 2015 were weighed down by a significant restructuring cost.

DuPont expects to close its merger with US chemical major Dow Chemical in the first half of 2017 and added that, due to the merger, it would only be providing a financial outlook for the first quarter of this year.

DuPont is an American chemical company that was founded in July, 1802. The company manufactures a wide range of chemical products, leading extensive innovative research in this field. The company is the inventor of many unique plastics and other materials, including neoprene, nylon, Teflon, Kevlar, Mylar, Tyvek, etc. DuPont was the developer and main producer of Freon used in the production of refrigeration equipment.

Russia beats Saudi Arabia as Chinas top crude oil supplier in 2016

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Russia overtook Saudi Arabia in 2016 to became China's biggest crude oil supplier for the first year ever, customs data showed on Monday, boosted by robust demand from independent Chinese "teapot" refineries, said Reuters.

Russian shipments surged nearly a quarter over 2015 to about 1.05 MMbpd, the data showed, with Saudi Arabia coming in a close second with 1.02 MMbpd, up 0.9% in 2016 versus the previous year. China is the world's second-largest oil buyer and the fastest-growing major importer.

While Saudi Arabia counts China's state oil firms as backbone clients through long-term supply contracts, China's independent refineries - nicknamed "teapots" due to their smaller processing capacity -- saw Russia as a more flexible supplier.

For the teapot plants, authorized to import crude oil for the first time in late 2015, shipments from Russia's eastern ports are easier to process, coming in smaller cargo sizes at a closer proximity.

Russia may be able to maintain the top spot in 2017 as it expands exports of its East Siberian-Pacific Ocean (ESPO) pipeline blend crude. Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, is set to shoulder the lion's share of supply cuts agreed to last year by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-OPEC producers.

State-run Saudi Aramco is expected to look to a new refinery under state-run CNOOC to lift sales.

For December, Russia also held the top spot with supplies up 4.8% from the same month a year earlier at 1.19 MMbpd. Meanwhile Saudi sales dropped nearly 20% from a year earlier to 841,820 bpd, data from the Chinese General Administration of Customs showed.

Total crude oil imports in December hit a record as refiners stepped up purchases ahead of a deal by oil-producing countries to reduce supply and bolster prices.

For the whole of 2016, imports gained nearly 910,000 bpd over 2015, the strongest annual growth on record and mostly driven by teapot buying.

Third-largest supplier Angola shipped 13% more crude last year versus 2015, while No. 4 seller Iraq recorded similar growth.

China also boosted imports from South American producers last year, with growth of 37.6% from Brazil and 26% from Venezuela, the data showed.

Imports from Iran expanded nearly 18% last year to a record 624,260 bpd, as Chinese state oil firms started to lift barrels from their investments in Iranian oilfields in addition to term supply agreements.

Ministry of Industry postponed introduction of duties on imported LLDPE again

MOSCOW (MRC) - The Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade has once again refused to draw back the import duty on linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE).

Introduction of a duty was postponed until 2019, said participants of the meeting, which was held at the Ministry on Monday, 23 January. The next meeting of the government was held with the participation of all interested parties on the possible introduction of 6.5% import duty on linear polyethylene.

The participants of the meeting said the Ministry of Industry of the Russian Federation had once again refused to introduce import duty. The main reason is a significant dependence of local converters on imports of this type of polyethylene.

It is scheduled to return to this issue in 2019 in line with commissioning of new capacities for the production of linear polyethylene at the site Zapsibneftehim-2 (SIBUR). The project envisages introduction of a new production facility with capacity 1.5 mln tonnes per year of polyethylene, with 700,000-900,000 tonnes of them accounted for LLDPE.

Nizhnekamskneftekhim has brought up the issue of the introduction of 6.5% import duty on linear polyethylene many times. Company representatives said that they are ready to produce up to 200,000 tonnes of LLDPE, covering almost the entire demand in the Russian Federation.

A fee of 6.5% existed until 2010, but was cancelled because no company in Russia did not produce LLDPE.
Nizhnekamskneftekhim has been actively increasing LLDPE production since 2015 and this figure exceeded 73,500 tonnes in 2016.

As it was written earlier, Eurasian Economic Union separated linear polyethylene in the code - 3901 40 000 0 , which is a linear polyethylene with ethylene content of less than 95%, in Single Commodity Nomenclature of Foreign Trade from 1 January 2017.

PT Polytama took off-stream PP unit in Indonesia for maintenance

MOSCOW (MRC) -- PT Polytama Propindo has shut a polypropylene (PP) unit for a maintenance turnaround, reported Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in Indonesia informed that the unit was taken off-line on January 23, 2017. The planned maintenance is expected to remain in force until mid-February 2017.

Located in Balongan, Indonesia, the unit has a production capacity of 180,000 mt/year.

We remind that, as MRC informed earlier, in 2010, Chandra Asri, Dow Chemicals, Pertamina, Polytama and Try Polyta invested a total of USD1.12 bln in Indonesia as per an association of olefin and plastic industries. The projects planned by the five Indonesian petrochemical companies were expected to reduce a deficit in the supplies of petrochemical products.

PT Polytama Propindo was established in 1993 as a signifcant manufacturer of polypropylene resin (PP resin) in Indonesia. Polytama is taking a leading role in Indonesia's fast growing economy by utilizing the country wealth i.e. the secondary processing yield of oil and natural gas , through industrial manufacturing. The factory located in Balongan, Juntinyuat district, Indramayu-West Java, using one of the best technology in the world, the Spheripol technology of Montell (now LyondellBasell), with an installed capacity of 100,000 metric tons per year.

Two years later the construction of the factory was completed on July 27, 1995 and PT Polytama Propindo started the production (the product trade name: Masplene), the supply of raw material propylene with high purity from PERTAMINA refinery UP-VI (now RU-VI ) Balongan. In 1996, and the plant capacity grown to 180,000 tons per year. Response to the addition of propylene production capacity of PERTAMINA RU-VI in 2004, PT Polytama Propindo increased its capacity to 200,000 tons per year.