Formosa may not export spot diesel until Q4

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Taiwan's Formosa Petrochemical Corp may not export any diesel in the spot market until the fourth quarter of this year, potentially boosting margins for the fuel, reported Hydrocarbonprocessing with reference to industry sources.

The refiner has not exported any diesel in the spot market since January, while overall diesel exports from Taiwan have fallen by about 10%, according to the sources and trade data.

Formosa has had more refining unit shutdowns this year than last year, including planned maintenance at several units from mid-March to late April.

It also had an unexpected technical issue at a crude distillation unit in May, which forced the refiner to lower its operating rates and eventually shut the unit for maintenance in July.

Overall diesel exports from Taiwan, Asia's fifth largest diesel exporter, fell to about 19.7 MMbbl in the four months to end-April, down 10.1% from the same period last year, latest available government data shows.

This came despite a 4.8% decline in domestic demand for the fuel used in the marine, transportation and power generation sectors for the period.

Taiwan's monthly diesel exports in April were the lowest since at least January 2016, which is as far back as government data goes.

Taiwan’s only other exporter, CPC Corp, has kept its diesel export volumes steady, an industry source familiar with the matter said.

Formosa last sold two diesel cargoes totaling 600,000 bbl for loading in mid-January, a second industry source said.

"(Formosa) just committed to term liftings and sometimes had to allocate between months," the source said, referring to term volumes allocated to regular buyers every year.

Spot cargoes for overseas sales were only likely to resume after Formosa completed maintenance at its 80,000-bpd residue desulfurizer unit in October, he added. The unit removes sulfur from crude oil to make oil products like low sulfur diesel.

Formosa may have also allocated more term cargoes to one of its regular buyers due to demand, a third industry source said.

A Formosa spokesman could not be reached for comment.

As MRC informed before, Formosa Plastics Corporation, U.S.A., part of Formosa Petrochemical, will build a new, state-of- the-art polypropylene (PP) production line at its Point Comfort, Texas site. This will be the first new PP production to be built in the US in many years. It continues the company’s longstanding commitments to its customers, its employees and the communities in which it operates.

Formosa Petrochemical is involved primarily in the business of refining crude oil, selling refined petroleum products and producing and selling olefins (including ethylene, propylene, butadiene and BTX) from its naphtha cracking operations. Formosa Petrochemical is also the largest olefins producer in Taiwan and its olefins products are mostly sold to companies within the Formosa Group. Among the company's chemical products are paraxylene (PX), phenyl ethylene, acetone and pure terephthalic acid (PTA). The company's plastic products include acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) resins, polystyrene (PS), polypropylene (PP) and panlite (PC).

AkzoNobel makes double acquisition to strengthen leading global position in Performance Coatings

MOSCOW (MRC) -- AkzoNobel has today announced the acquisition of UK-based Flexcrete Technologies Ltd and an agreement to acquire French manufacturer Disa Technology (Disatech), said the company on its website.

The deals will further strengthen AkzoNobel’s global leadership position in supplying innovative industrial coatings and aerospace and automotive coatings.

Flexcrete Technologies manufactures products primarily used for the protection and repair of concrete substrates. The acquisition will allow AkzoNobel to expand its offering in several key industrial markets, including downstream oil and gas and chemical processing, commercial infrastructure, power, water and waste water, and mining and mineral processing.

Disatech supplies innovative adhesive films used in the aerospace, transportation and industrial equipment sectors. Headquartered in Limoges, the company specializes in the manufacture of self-adhesive vinyl, polyester and polycarbonate films used on aircraft, vehicles, agricultural machinery and other equipment, and is the leader in aerospace technical marking systems.

The deal will bring new technologies and services that complement AkzoNobel’s existing portfolio of coatings and films for aerospace and transport sectors.

Commenting on the agreements, AkzoNobel CEO Ton Buchner said: “Both acquisitions support our strategy of investing in growth and innovation and are strongly aligned with our growth strategy.

"They will expand our existing product and service offering, enabling us to deliver significant benefits to our customers. These deals also offer us great opportunities to pursue further coatings innovations in a number of our core markets."

The signed agreement between AkzoNobel and Disatech is subject to regulatory approvals.

Kavian Petrochemical to reach two million tons of ethylene output in 2018

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Kavian Petrochemical Corporation of Iran will be operating at full capacity to produce two million tons of ethylene in the next calendar year starting on 21 March 2018, according to ArabianOilandGas.

Ramezan Owladi, managing director, Kavian Petrochemical Corporation, said that the boost will come as new phases of the supergiant South Pars Gas Field are expected to come online during the current year, which means production of ethylene will be at its highest at Kavian Petrochemical plant next year.

Owladi added that the facility is currently operating at 60% of its nameplate capacity, which is rising and will hit full volume next year.

Owladi revealed that the facility's output will reach 1.3 million tons this year.

Kavian Petrochemical Corporation is the main supplier of ethylene to the West Ethylene Pipeline that delivers feedstock to petrochemical plants operating in western provinces of Iran.

As MRC reported earlier, Kavian started up the first of two 1-million-t/y trains at Assaluyeh in the Pars Special Economic Energy Zone in late 2012. And in late 2015, Kavian Petrochemical Co.'s second phase ethylene facility in Assaluyeh, Iran, came on-stream. But in May 2015, Marzieh Shahedaei, a director of Iran’s National Petrochemical Co., warned, however, that the plant’s ability to achieve its full design capacity of 2-million t/y would depend on the receipt of sufficient ethane feedstock from the delayed phases 15 and 16 of the South Pars gas field.

Sinopec upgrades 11 refineries to meet stricter fuel standards

MOSCOW (MRC) — China's Sinopec says on Monday the company has upgraded 11 refineries in North China to meet the stricter standards for fuel, Reuters.

The group's refineries in more than 26 northern China cities are ready to sell cleaner diesel and gasoline which meet the national six fuel standards, starting in September.

Sinopec said it invested about 300 B yuan between 2010 and 2016 to upgrade refining equipment and produce cleaner fuel.

The National Six allows a maximum sulfur content of 10 parts per million (ppm), and requires a lower level of other pollutants such as PAH (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon) compared with the national five standards.

As MRC informed earlier, Sinopec, the biggest integrated refining and chemical company in China, and The Linde Group, a world-leading industrial gases and engineering company, today announced that they have established a EUR 145 million joint venture to supply vital industrial gases to local customers from key industries such as petrochemical, steel and electronics, within the Ningbo Chemical Industrial Zone in China's Zhejiang province.

China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec Group) is a super-large petroleum and petrochemical enterprise group established in July 1998 on the basis of the former China Petrochemical Corporation. Sinopec Group's key business activities include the exploration and production of oil and natural gas, petrochemicals and other chemical products, oil refining.


Idemitsu: No plan to call shareholders' meeting on Showa Shell merger

MOSCOW (MRC) — Japan's Idemitsu Kosan Co said it had no plans to call a shareholders' meeting to vote on a merger with rival Showa Shell Sekiyu after the issuance of new shares, which would dilute the stake held by the refiner's founding family, said Reuters.

The issuance is for financial purposes and not to dilute the founding family's stake, a company spokesman said, adding that the company would continue to try to gain understanding from the founding family for the integration.

The founding family, which claims to control over one-third of the oil refiner, opposes the merger plan.

As MRC informed previously, in July 2015, Idemitsu signed an agreement to acquire Shell’s 33.24% stake in its Japanese venture Showa Shell Sekiyu KK for JPY 169 billion (approximately USD1.4 billion).

Idemitsu Kosan is a Japanese petroleum company. It owns and operates oil platforms, refineries and produces and sells petroleum, oils and petrochemical products. The company runs two petrochemical plants in Chiba and Tokuyama. The two naphtha crackers can produce up to 997,000 tonnes of ethylene per year.