Vietnam crude oil imports to hit record as refinery gets ready to start

MOSCOW (MRC) — Vietnam's crude oil imports will soar to record highs in August as the country ramps up fuel refining at a time when local crude output is dwindling, said Reuters.

August will mark the first month on record in which Vietnam is a net importer of crude oil, according to shipping data in Thomson Reuters Eikon, with the trend set to continue in coming months as the Southeast Asian nation's refinery capacity grows.

The surge in overseas orders comes as Vietnam's 200,000 bpd Nghi Son refinery, its second such facility, prepares to produce liquefied petroleum gas, gasoline, diesel, kerosene and jet fuel, mainly for the domestic market, likely starting later this year or in early 2018.

With local oil production stalling, traders said the country of over 90 MM people and 6% annual economic growth would gradually increase its crude imports.

"We expect to send bigger and more frequent volumes of crude to Vietnam in the future. Vietnam is one of the key new centers of oil demand growth, and we wouldn't want to miss this opportunity," said a senior oil trading manager. He asked not to be identified as he was not allowed to discuss trading strategies.

Shipping data in Thomson Reuters Eikon shows that Vietnam will import around 100,000 bpd of crude in August, on three tankers, versus exports of 70,000 bpd. September tanker imports are scheduled at similar levels. Vietnam's orders are still small compared with Asian's top buyers, China and India, which import around 8 MMbpd and 4 MMbpd of crude respectively.

"But in an environment of oversupply, this incremental new demand is very welcome for crude suppliers," the trading manager said.

Repsol invests 5 MM Euros in Puertollano lubricants plant

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Repsol will invest 5 MM euros in its Puertollano lubricants plant as part of the company’s objective to increase sales in both domestic and international markets. Production will be increased until maximum capacity is reached, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The lubricants plant will produce between 115,000 tpy to 170,000 tpy, within the framework of the 2017–2021 strategic plan for the lubricants business. This is Repsol’s most international business, selling in more than 80 countries.

The new strategic plan for the lubricants sector of the company aims to double the total sales volume to 300,000 t, and quadruple it abroad. The main areas of growth will be in Asia and Latin America.

Of the 147,000 t of lubricants that Repsol sold in 2016, 115,000 t (nearly 80%) was produced in Puertollano, while the rest came from company’s 10 other factories in countries like China, Japan, Indonesia, and Malaysia.

To handle the expected increase in production, the Puertollano lubricants plant will begin operating 24 hours a day, and has increased its workforce to close to 75 people.

Repsol handles the entire process of manufacturing lubricants in Puertollano, from distilling the petroleum, to adding additives and the subsequent packaging. In addition, the company’s Technology Center conducts research to create products that are at the forefront of the sector and that meet the highest standards.

Tatneft to double TANEKO's refining capacity in 2017

MOSCOW (MRC) — Russian mid-sized oil producer Tatneft plans to double the capacity of its TANEKO oil refinery to 14 MMt this year, TANEKO General Director Leonid Alekhin told Reuters.

TANEKO, located in Russia's republic of Tatarstan in the Volga-Urals region, plans to launch its second crude oil distillation unit in the coming months, allowing it to boost the capacity, but actual refining volumes will be smaller, he added.

Next year, TANEKO will start to produce gasoline, with the output seen at 1 MMt, and plans to double its diesel output to 3 MMt, Tatneft documents and Reuters calculations showed.

In total, Tatneft plans to invest around USD3.4 B in TANEKO's upgrade in 2017–2025 and is also considering plans to build the third production line at the refinery at some point, according to Alekhin and the company's documents.

Output of products from polymers in Russia up 4% in the first seven months of 2017

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Russia's output of products from polymers decreased in July year on year by 2.9% despite the pressure of seasonal factors. However, this figure grew by 4% year on year in January-July 2017, reported MRC analysts.

According to the Russian Federal State Statistics Service, July production of plastic pipes, hoses and fittings rose to 60,900 tonnes from 52,200 tonnes a month earlier. Overall output of these products totalled 298,300 tonnes in the first seven months of 2017, down by 1.3% year on year.

Last month's production of unreinforced and non-combined films was 96,400 tonnes, compared to 94,000 tonnes in June. Output of films products grew in January-July 2017 by 7% year on year to 601,000 tonnes.

Last month's production of porous boards, sheets and polymer films was 26,300 tonnes, whereas this figure was 24,300 tonnes a months earlier. Total production of these polymer products increased by 2% year on year in the first seven months of 2016 to 147,800 tonnes.

July production of plastic door blocks fell to 86,100 sq m versus 96,800 sq m a month earlier. January-July production of these products reached 502,000 sq. m, down 7.5% year on year.

Output of chemical products in Russia grew by 6.5% in January-July 2017

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Overall output of chemicals increased in the first seven months of 2017 by 6.5% year on year, despite lower production in May and June, according to Rosstat.

According to the Federal Service of State Statistics, last month's production of basic chemicals grew by 0.9% year on year. However, the high growth rates in the first months of the year provided for the increase of 6.5% in the output of basic chemicals in January-July 2017.

July output of ethylene was 219,000 tonnes, compared to 257,000 tonnes a month earlier, lower production was caused by a scheduled shutdown for maintenance at Angarsk Polymers Plant and Gazprom neftekhim Salavat. Overall, over 1.74 m tonnes of this olefin were manufactured in the first seven month of 2017, up by 10.2% year on year.

Last month's production of benzene dropped to 99,000 tonnes from 106,000 tonnes in June, which was also caused by the outage at Angarsk Polymers Plant and Gazprom neftekhim Salavat. Overall output of this product exceeded 802,000 tonnes over the stated period, up by 10.3% year on year.

July production of sodium hydroxide (caustic soda) were 87,700 tonnes (100% of the basic substance) versus 103,000 tonnes a month earlier. The decrease in production was caused by the scheduled shutdowns for maintenance at Bashkir Soda Company and SayanskKhimPlast. Overall output of caustic soda grew to 705,500 tonnes in January-July 2017, up by 9.5% year on year.

Last month's production of mineral fertilizers was 1.77 mln tonnes (in terms of 100% nutrients) versus 1.93 mln tonnes in June. Nevertheless, Russian plants produced 12.73 mln tonnes of fertilizers in January-July 2017, up by 9.8% year on year. Production of all types of fertilizers increased, with potash fertilizers, the output of which grew by 16.9%, accounted for the greatest increase.