Higher oil prices help BP beat Q1 forecasts

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BP almost tripled its profits in the first three months of this year as the UK oil group benefited from higher oil prices to deliver better than-expected quarterly results, said The Financial Times.

Profits on an underlying replacement cost basis – the main measure watched by analysts – were USD1.5bn.

This was up from USD532m in the first quarter of 2016 and higher than the USD1.26bn consensus forecast by analysts.

The results added to evidence of recovery in the sector after an 80 per cent increase in oil prices from the 12-year lows recorded early last year. ExxonMobil and Chevron, the two biggest US oil groups, both last week beat market expectations with sharply higher first quarter earnings.

BP’s operating cash flow increased strongly to USD4.4bn, excluding expenses related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, from USD3bn in the same period last year. This helped BP keep its dividend steady at 10 cents per share despite a series of recent acquisitions to replenish its oil and gas reserves.

Production rose 5 per cent in the quarter to 3.5m barrels per day as BP began to benefit from the first of several new projects due to come on stream in coming months.

As MRC informed earlier, BP is seeking buyers for its 50% stake in Chinese petrochemicals joint venture SECCO, its largest investment in China, in a deal sources said could fetch USD2-USD3 B.

BP is a leading producer of oil and gas and produces enough energy annually to light nearly the entire country for a year. Employing about 17,000 people across the country, BP supports more than 170,000 additional jobs through all of its business activities.

Huajin Chemical plans to restart HDPE unit in China

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Huajin Chemical is likely brought on-stream its high density polyethylene (HDPE) unit in May 2017, as per Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in China informed that the company has planned to resume production at the unit on May 6, 2017. The unit was taken off-line for maintenance on April 19, 2017.

Located in Liaoning province, China, the HDPE unit has a production capacity of 300,000 mt/year.

As MRC informed before, in mid-February 2017, state oil giant Saudi Aramco signed a contract with Chinese oil refiner North Huajin Chemical Industries Group Corp to supply crude in 2017. The contract, the first between Aramco and Huajin, comes as Saudi Arabia attempts to regain its status as the top crude supplier to China, the world's second-largest oil consumer, this year after losing the top spot to Russia in 2016.

Liaoning Huajin Chemicals Group Corporation (Huajin Group), a subsidary group under China North Industries Group Corporation, which is invlolved in production of petrochemical products in the country. Since more than 30 years development, Huajin Group has formed three leading industries such as petro-chemicals, chemical fertilizers and road asphalt. The existing production capacity is respectively 7000KT/Y refinery plant, 1800KT/Y diesel, 700KT/Y ethylene, 1000KT/Y synthetic resin, 1500KT/Y urea, 1000KT/Y road asphalt, 200KT/Y lub oil. Huajin Group has more than 12, 000 employees with total assets of 33.5 billion yuan. Its annual sales revenue is over 40 billion yuan.

Profit leaps 80% at SABIC in Q1 as product prices improve

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Net profit at Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC), one of the world's biggest petrochemical producers, jumped 80 percent from a year earlier in the first quarter of 2017 on the back of higher sales prices for its products, said Reuters.

SABIC, which is majority state-owned, made a net profit of 5.24 billion riyals (USD1.40 billion) in the three months to March 31, up from 2.91 billion riyals in the year-earlier period, the company said in a bourse statement on Monday.

That was in line with the forecasts of analysts polled by Reuters, who had on average predicted that SABIC would make a quarterly profit of 5.35 billion riyals.

Gross sales for the first quarter totalled 36.95 billion riyals, up 10 percent from 33.47 billion riyals a year ago.

The company's results are closely tied to oil prices and global economic growth because its products - plastics, fertilisers and metals - are used extensively in construction, agriculture, industry and consumer goods manufacturing.

Like other Saudi companies, SABIC began reporting its results under international IFRS accounting standards this year, so some of its figures for the first quarter of 2016 were restated. Last year, it reported a net profit of 3.41 billion riyals for the quarter.

As MRC informed earlier, ExxonMobil Chemical Company and SABIC each announced the selection of a site in San Patricio County, Texas for potential development of a jointly owned petrochemical complex on the US Gulf Coast.

SABIC ranks among the world's top petrochemical companies, and is among the worldпїЅs market leaders in the production of polyethylene, polypropylene, advanced thermoplastics, glycols, methanol and fertilizers. Sabic manufactures on a global scale in Saudi Arabia, the Americas, Europe and Asia Pacific. The company operates in more than 50 countries across the world with 40,000 employees worldwide.

Burning less oil at home will help Saudi exports and Aramco IPO

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Saudi Arabia is likely to reduce the amount of oil it burns to generate power this summer as the kingdom hikes domestic energy prices and uses more natural gas in power stations, industry sources said, reported Reuters.

Burning less crude at home means the world's top oil exporter may not need to push output to the record high of 10.67 MMbpd reached in July last year, even if the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other producers end supply curbs in June.

It may also make the sale of a 5% stake in Saudi Aramco more attractive to investors because the national energy giant will have more crude to export, if needed, and can sell fuel at higher prices to the domestic market.

"Now we are using more and more natural gas, and with the reforms in electricity prices, crude burning will go down," said a Saudi-based industry source. "This summer you will see less crude burning."

As MRC informed before, in June 2016, Saudi Arabian Oil Co. and Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (Sabic) became 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. The state-owned companies signed an agreement to study such a project to be located in Saudi Arabia. A joint venture is possible if the companies decide to move ahead after the study is completed. Oil companies normally refine crude into transportation fuels including gasoline and diesel and leave byproducts such as naphtha to be processed separately into chemicals.

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.