MEGlobal to supply only minimum contract volumes of MEG to Asian customers

MOSCOW (MRC) -- MEGlobal will immediately start supplying monoethylene glycol (MEG) to Asian customers at minimum contract volumes for an unspecified period due to a supply shortage, the producer said in a note to clients Thursday, as per Apic-online.

Implementation of the measures in the Asian region would include the Middle East, Turkey, India and Pakistan markets.

MEGlobal is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Kuwait's petrochemicals major Equate Petrochemical, which has MEG facilities at Shuaiba in Kuwait.

Equate will be conducting a major turnaround lasting 30-40 days at its "bigger unit" in Kuwait during the fourth quarter, which will result in a loss of MEG production of 70,000-100,000 mt, a company source said.

Equate's MEG capacity in Kuwait has a nameplate capacity of 1.2 million mt/year.

Adding to the supply woes is the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey on the US Gulf Coast, which has meant its US facilities have been closed, the company source added. As a result, the MEG supply from MEGlobal will be significantly affected in the fourth quarter.

"In fact, our major supply partner in the USGC has declared force majeure to MEGlobal," the note said.

As MRC reported before, MEGlobal plans to construct a new world-scale MEG manufacturing facility at Dow’s Oyster Creek site in Freeport, Texas. The new Oyster Creek MEG facility will be owned by MEGlobal and is the company’s first manufacturing unit in the US. The new MEGlobal plant will create 1,400 construction jobs at the project’s peak, and the company will employ approximately 50 new workers when it goes on stream in mid-2019.

MEG is used in a number of market applications, including polyester fibers, polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles and packaging, antifreeze and coolants, paints, resins, deicing fluids, heat transfer fluids and construction materials.

Established in 1995, Equate Petrochemical Company is an international joint venture between Petrochemical Industries Company (PIC), The Dow Chemical Company (Dow), Boubyan Petrochemical Company (BPC) and Qurain Petrochemical Industries Company (QPIC). Commencing production in 1997, Equate is the single operator of a fully integrated world-scale manufacturing facility producing over 5 million tons annually of high-quality petrochemical products which are marketed throughout the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Europe.

EPA chief says ready to further relax fuel standards due to hurricanes

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The US Environmental Protection Agency is preparing for Hurricane Irma's landfall on the US East Coast by securing vulnerable toxic waste sites and easing gasoline standards to ensure steady fuel supplies, its chief told Reuters on Thursday.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt declined to say whether he believed claims by scientists that the second powerful storm to affect the United States in two weeks may have a link to warmer air and water temperatures resulting from climate change.

"The most we can do is help people in these areas by monitoring drinking water and respond to real and tangible issues," he said in a brief telephone interview.

Hurricane Irma is expected to make landfall in Florida as early as Friday after slamming Caribbean islands with 185 mph winds, only days after Hurricane Harvey triggered record flooding in Texas that killed scores of people.

The EPA said has issued waivers on certain federal requirements for the sale, production and blending of gasoline to avoid supply shortfalls in the aftermath of Harvey and as Hurricane Irma approaches Florida.

Pruitt said he spoke with Florida Governor Rick Scott about potentially issuing more waivers on gasoline requirements if the need arises after Irma.

"EPA will grant additional waivers if requested," he said.

He said the agency is also evaluating 80 Superfund toxic waste sites from Florida to North Carolina to identify those at risk of flooding.

The EPA has yet to finish assessing the impact of Harvey on Texas Superfund sites - heavily contaminated former industrial zones - amid widespread flooding. On Saturday, the agency said 13 sites were flooded or damaged, but the full impact on surrounding areas was not immediately clear.

Pruitt said the agency is also continuing to seek additional information about explosions last week at French chemical company Arkema's flooded plant in Crosby, Texas, which sickened more than a dozen law enforcement personnel and prompted an evacuation of the surrounding area.

As MRC wrote previously, hurricane Harvey, which had killed more than 40 people and brought record flooding to the oil heartland of Texas, paralyzed a quarter of the US refining industry. Harvey, downgraded to a tropical storm and losing steam as it moved inland, shut at least 4.4 MMbpd of refining capacity in the USA.

UN mulls US push for N.Korea oil embargo, textile export ban

MOSCOW (MRC) — The United States wants the United Nations Security Council to impose an oil embargo on North Korea, ban the country's exports of textiles and the hiring of North Korean laborers abroad, and subject leader Kim Jong Un to an asset freeze and travel ban, according to a draft resolution seen by Reuters .

The US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, has said she wants the 15-member council to vote on Monday on the draft resolution to impose new sanctions over North Korea's sixth and largest nuclear test. However, Russia's UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia has said a Monday vote may be "a little premature."

It was not immediately clear if the draft resolution had the support of North Korean ally China. Russian President Vladimir Putin insisted on Wednesday that resolving the North Korean nuclear crisis was impossible with sanctions and pressure alone.

A UN resolution needs nine votes in favor and no vetoes by the United States, Britain, France, Russia or China to pass. US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Wednesday that if the Security Council did not act, he had an executive order prepared to send to President Donald Trump that would "authorize me to stop doing trade and put sanctions on anybody that does trade with North Korea.

"The president will consider that at the appropriate time once he gives the UN time to act," Mnuchin told reporters. Since 2006, the Security Council has unanimously adopted eight resolutions ratcheting up sanctions on North Korea over its ballistic missile and nuclear programs. Haley said the incremental approach had not worked and a diplomatic solution could only be reached by imposing the strongest sanctions.

The new draft UN resolution would ban exports to North Korea of crude oil, condensate, refined petroleum products and natural gas liquids.

China supplies most of North Korea's crude. According to South Korean data, Beijing supplies roughly 500,000 tpy of crude oil. It also exports 200,000 tpy of oil products, according to UN data. Russia's exports of crude oil to North Korea are about 40,000 tpy.

California regulator approves funding for ClearSign refinery demonstration

MOSCOW (MRC) -- ClearSign Combustion Corporation, a provider of industrial combustion technologies that deliver reduction of pollutant emissions, announced unanimous approval for funding by the Board of the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) during their Sept, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

1 meeting to demonstrate ClearSign's Duplex products within the Torrance Refinery. The collaborative project, which includes shared funding by the air district, ClearSign, and the Torrance Refinery, will demonstrate ClearSign's Duplex technology as a best available control technology (BACT) candidate to achieve ultra-low emissions levels in refinery process heaters and boilers. The project, as approved, is slated to span one year.

Duplex has significantly lower operating expenses than competitive technologies, such as selective catalytic reduction (SCR) and achieves record low emissions without GHG pollution, the company stated in a press release.

There are eight active refineries in the South Coast Air district. A key element of its regulatory mandate, SCAQMD is committed to supporting emerging technologies that reduce criteria pollutants including NOx, CO, and greenhouse gases. ClearSign is a development company whose mission is the design, development and supply of combustion control platforms that reduce emissions while increasing operational efficiency of industrial process heaters.

Santos and Origin support Australian manufacturing through new gas supply agreement with Qenos

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Santos announced that, together with Origin, it had signed a new agreement continuing its support for the manufacturing industry through the supply of ethane gas to Qenos, Australia’s sole producer of polyethylene and a leading supplier of world class polymers, said Yourpetrochemicalnews.

Under the agreement, Santos and Origin will supply an estimated 27 petajoules to Qenos for the remainder of 2017 until the end of 2019.

The ethane is processed at the Santos-operated Moomba gas plant and piped to Qenos’ operations at Botany Bay in Sydney for use as a feedstock in the manufacture of polyethylene. The polyethylene produced by Qenos is used across a range of industries and applications, including consumer and industrial packaging, water conservation, waste management and agriculture.

Santos Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Kevin Gallagher said he was pleased Santos could continue to provide ethane to the New South Wales manufacturer.

"The Cooper Basin has been supplying ethane to Qenos for over 20 years, and I am delighted we have been able to agree new supply arrangements with the company and reinforce our support for Australia’s manufacturing industry,” he said.

"The agreement also highlights the point that gas is not only a clean, reliable energy source, it is a critical constituent in a range of manufactured products."