Saudi Aramco to boost oil loading capacity with reopened terminal

MOSCOW (MRC) -- State oil giant Saudi Aramco plans to launch its overhauled Muajjiz oil terminal on the Red Sea next year, lifting its total loading and export capacity to as much as 15 MMbpd, said Reuters, citing Saudi officials.

Located on the Red Sea, Muajjiz had been used as an export terminal for Iraqi crude through the Iraqi Pipeline in Saudi Arabia (IPSA), but it has not carried Iraqi crude since Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990.

The pipeline was confiscated by Saudi Arabia in 2001 as compensation for debts owed by Baghdad. Saudi Arabia had used the IPSA pipeline to transport gas to power plants in the west of the country for years before test opening it in 2012, giving Riyadh scope to export more of its crude should Iran try to block the Strait of Hormuz.

Saudi's arch-rival has in the past threatened to block the Hormuz shipping channel, through which 40 percent of the world's seaborne oil exports pass, in retaliation for sanctions placed on its crude exports by Western powers in 2012.

Bringing Muajjiz terminal online next year would boost the kingdom's total oil handling capacity to 15 MMbpd from 11.5 MMbpd currently, Mohammed al-Qahtani, Aramco's senior vice president for upstream, told Reuters in an interview at the company's headquarters in Dhahran.

The additional capacity from Muajjiz, which will be integrated into the Yanbu crude oil terminal, will accommodate the increased volumes of fuel oil and supplies of Arabian Heavy crude oil to the Yasref, Jazan, and Jiddah local refineries.

The move will boost Aramco's ability to meet its commitments to customers and maintain its export capability from the kingdom's west coast.

"Restoring operations at al-Muajjiz will offer Saudi Aramco more flexibility in terms of its crude oil and product sales, and traffic configuration out of the Red Sea without affecting its intense operations out of the Arabian Gulf, which are largely dedicated to the Asian markets," said Sadad al-Husseini, a former Aramco senior executive and now an energy consultant.

Saudi Arabia has three primary oil export terminals, including the port of Ras Tanura on the Gulf, with an average capacity of around 3.4 MMbpd and which handles most of Saudi Arabia's exports, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).

The Ras al-Ju'aymah facility on the Gulf has an average handling capacity of about 3 MMbpd and can accommodate the largest oil tankers for crude loadings.

The Yanbu terminal on the Red Sea, from which most of the remaining volumes are exported, has an average handling capacity of 1.3 MMbpd.

As MRC informed earlier, Saudi Arabian Oil Co. and Saudi Basic Industries Corp. are one step closer to building their first plant to process crude directly into chemicals, cutting out a link in the production chain from hydrocarbons to the finished products that go into plastics and other consumer goods.

Saudi Aramco is an integrated oil and chemicals company, a global leader in hydrocarbon production, refining processes and distribution, as well as one of the largest global oil exporters. It manages proven reserves of crude oil and condensate estimated at 261.1bn barrels, and produces 9.54 million bbl daily. Headquartered in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, the company employs over 61,000 staff in 77 countries.

Westlake Chemical Corp reports Q1 earnings per share USD1.06

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Westlake Chemical Partners LP reported Q1 EPS of USD0.35, USD0.08 worse than the analyst estimate of USD0.43, said Reuters.

Revenue for the quarter came in at USD277.45 million versus the consensus estimate of USD339.88 million.

Westlake Chemical -Olefins segment reported income from operations of USD179.8 million in q1 of 2017, an increase of USD30.6 million compared to USD149.2 million in Q1 of 2016.

Westlake Chemical Corp- Vinyls segment reported income from operations of USD71.4 million in Q1 of 2017, an increase of USD9.3 million

Westlake Chemical Corp- "We also remain focused on our integration activities and are on track to capture significant synergies in 2017".

As MRC informed earlier, in September 2016, Westlake Chemical Corp. completed its previously announced acquisition of Axiall Corp., Atlanta, to become the third-largest chloralkali producer and the second-largest polyvinyl chloride (PVC) producer in North America.

Westlake Chemical Corporation is a U.S. manufacturer and supplier of petrochemicals and polymers, headquartered in Houston, Texas. The range of company's products includes ethylene, polyethylene, styrene, propylene, caustics, polyvinyl chloride and plastic products. Westlake is one of the major ethylene producers in the US and its Calvert City operation is a large integrated PVC site.

Turkmenbashi GPP sold 33,500 tonnes of PP at Commodity Exchange of Turkmenistan in April

MOSCOW (MRC) -- In the export trades of Turkmenistan's State Commodity and Raw Materials Exchange, large quantities of polypropylene (PP) were sold for the second time in a month. This time, 25,000 tonnes of PP were sold, according to ICIS-MRC Price report.

On 28 April, Turkmenbashi Gas Processing Plant's second large lot of PP was sold in the export trades of the State Commodity and Raw Materials Exchange of Turkmenistan. 25,000 tonnes of polymer to be shipped within 11 months were put up for auction in the trades at the starting price of USD960/tonne FCA/FOB port of Turkmenbashi.

Demand for PP in the stock exchange was weak because of long delivery time. Only 13,500 tones of polymer out of 25,000 tonnes put up for auction were bought out in the trades. Russian companies purchased about 9,000 tonnes.

As reported earlier, on 14 April, Turkmenbashi Gas Processing Plant's 20,000 tonnes of PP were also put up for auction in the export trades of the State Commodity and Raw Materials Exchange of Turkmenistan. The put up for action PP was aimed for shipment within 9 months at the starting price of USD960/tonne FCA/FOB port of Turkmenbashi. All PP quantities were bought out in the trades.

Thus, about 33,500 tonnes of PP were sold in the export trades of Turkmenistan's State Commodity and Raw Materials Exchange at USD960/tonne FCA/FOB port of Turkmenbashi for the whole April.

PVC imports into Kazakhstan increased by 75% in Q1

MOSCOW (MRC) - Imports of unmixed polyvinyl chloride (PVC) into Kazakhstan slightly exceeded 9,600 tonnes in January-March 2017, up 75% compared with the same time a year earlier, according to MRC analysts.

Local companies significantly increased imports of unmixed PVC in March partially because of the seasonal factor, with imports exceeded 5,000 tonnes compared with 3,200 tonnes a month earlier. All 100% from them accounted for PVC from China. Total PVC imports into Kazakhstan exceeded 9,600 tonnes in Q1, compared with 5,500 tonnes year on year. In part, this increase in purchases was a result of the the resale of PVC in Russia.

The main suppliers of PVC in the local market were producers from China, with their share more than 98% from the total PVC imports into the country. The share of Russian PE did not exceed 2% in the local market.


PP unit construction completed by 70% in Azerbaijan

MOSCOW (MRC) -- A polypropylene unit of Azerbaijan’s SOCAR Polymer plant for the production of polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene (PE) has been constructed by 70%, SOCAR Polymer financial director Fuad Ahmadov said, reported Trend.

Ahmadov made the remarks during the conference titled "The 2nd SOCAR International Caspian and Central Asia Downstream Forum - Trading, Logistics, Refining, Petrochemicals" in Baku Apr. 27.

He added that a PE unit of the plant has been constructed by 26%.

Ahmadov said that the plant's PP unit will be put into operation in January-March 2018, while the PE unit - in July-September 2018.

He added that 25% of the plant's products will be supplied to the domestic market, while 70% - for export to Turkey, Europe and the CIS countries.

The total cost of the SOCAR Polymer project is USD750 million. The project is being implemented in the Sumgait Chemical Industrial Park.

At the first stage, the production capacity will reach 120,000 tons of PE and 180,000 tons of PP. By 2021, the total capacity can reach 570,000 tons of products.

As MRC wrote previously,SOCAR signed licensing agreements with Technip, Univation Technologies, Axens and Sinopec Tech as part of a project to establish the Gas Processing and Petrochemical Complex (GPC) in Azerbaijan, SOCAR said in a message posted on its website Dec. 20, 2016.

SOCAR, which is keen on expanding operations in the retail oil products market abroad, is involved in exploring oil and gas fields, producing, processing, and transporting oil, gas, and gas condensate, marketing petroleum and petrochemical products in the domestic and international markets, and supplying natural gas to industry and the public in Azerbaijan.

SOCAR Polymer is a subsidiary of the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR). The entity was formed at the end of 2013 to run investments at the Sumgait Chemical Industrial Park, a production park which intends to become a chemical hub in central Asia.