PTTGC announces USD4 B 5-year investment plan for eastern Thailand

MOSCOW (MRC) -- PTT Global Chemical Pcl, Thailand’s largest petrochemical producer, on Tuesday announced a USD4 B investment plan over the next 5 yr in an industrial development on the eastern seaboard, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

It includes a polyols joint venture between PTTGC, Sanyo Chemical Industries and Toyota Tsusho Corp in Thailand’s eastern province of Rayong, it said.

The investment plan also includes a naphtha cracker plant at the existing PTTGC facility in Map Ta Phut which will put production capacity at 500,000 tpy for ethylene and 250,000 tpy for propylene.

PTTGC also signed an agreement with Japanese Kuraray Co and Sumitomo Corp to study the possibility of producing High-Heat Resistant Polyamide-9T and Hydrogenated Styenic Block Copolymer.

As MRC informed before, PTT is on track to start commercial operations at its new 400,000 mt/year metallocene C6 linear low density polyethylene (MLLDPE) plant at Map Ta Phut, Thailand, in the first quarter of 2018. PTT will start up the plant by the end of this year.

PTT Global Chemical is a leading player in the petrochemical industry and owns several petrochemical facilities with a combined capacity of 8.45 million tonnes a year.

China set for ethanol binge as Beijing pumps up renewable fuel drive

MOSCOW (MRC) — China's bold plan to blend renewable fuels into its gasoline supply within 3 yr will revolutionize its fledging biofuels industry, industry players said, likely spurring billions of dollars in investment in ethanol factories, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

On Wednesday, state media reported Beijing plans to roll out the use of a gasoline known as 'E10'—containing 10% ethanol—across the world's largest car market by 2020. It's the first formal timeline in a radical push that's part of a broader drive to clean up the environment.

The move doubles up as part of the government's effort to boost industrial demand for corn. Beijing must find a way to work off a stockpile of 200 MMt—so big it could feed China's 1.4 B people for more than a year—after decades of buying the crop to support farmers in a country haunted by post World War II famine.

"More money will now flow in, including from private and foreign investors," said Li Qiang, chairman of consultancy JC Intelligence Ltd, predicting boom times for ethanol. More than 10 new ethanol plants are planned in the northeastern cornbelt, according to JC Intelligence.

Most of those will go on line next year, adding 3 MMt of capacity, the consultancy predicts. Reuters estimates, based on industry officials' calculations, suggest an ethanol plant of average capacity—about 300,000 tpy—costs about USD153 MM to build.

While sceptics may question the feasibility of such a rapid rollout, Wednesday's news also comes days after Beijing said it is studying when to ban production and sale of cars using fossil fuels. It adds to potential headaches for the oil industry, which could lose a sizeable portion of the 150-MMt gasoline market worth 26.2 B yuan at current retail prices.

Korean GS Caltex says unsure when will restart fire-hit hydrocracker and aromatics unit

MOSCOW (MRC) -- GS Caltex, South Korea’s second-largest oil refiner, said on Monday that it was unsure when it would be able to restart a hydrocracker and aromatics unit after they were hit by fire last month, reported Reuters.

The refiner in August experienced two fires at its Yeosu refinery, southwest of Seoul, shutting its 66,000-bpd vacuum residue hydrocracker (VRHCR) and one of its petrochemical units.

"We are not sure of the timing, but we will resume operations when it’s deemed safe," a company spokesman said.

The 790,000-bpd facility will be able to keep churning out enough oil for domestic demand, but its exports may be crimped slightly, the spokesman added.

GS Caltex is equally owned by GS Energy Corp, a unit of GS Holdings and US oil major Chevron Corp.

As MRC informed before, in 2013, CB&I was awarded a contract by GS Caltex for the license, basic engineering and catalyst supply for a new paraxylene (PX) unit to be built in Yeosu, Korea. The unit will use the BP paraxylene technology, exclusively licensed by CB&I, and will have a world-scale design capacity. Start-up was expected in 2016.

Pemex expects Salina Cruz refinery to be back online in 3–4 weeks

MOSCOW (MRC) — Mexican state oil company Pemex expects Salina Cruz refinery, the country’s largest, to be up and running in three or four weeks once it has repaired the electrical system damaged by an earthquake last week, said Reuters.

Pemex’s refinery boss Carlos Murrieta said on the radio that the earthquake damaged the turbogenerators at Salina Cruz refinery, which lies near the epicenter of Thursday’s quake and can handle up to 330,000 bpd.

He said that he expected the southwestern refinery, which was shut down following the 8.1 magnitude quake, to be fully operational in three to four weeks.

Murrieta said that Mexico’s fuel needs were covered for two months as Pemex bought extra fuel shipments after hurricane Harvey interrupted fuel exports from the crucial US energy hub of Houston.

Magellan Midstream probes big Texas fuel spill during Harvey floods

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Magellan Midstream Partners LP said on Tuesday it was investigating the cause of a nearly 11,000-bbl gasoline spill from two above-ground fuel storage tanks at its Houston-area terminal in Texas during Hurricane Harvey, said Reuters.

The leak at the Galena Park terminal is the biggest spill reported so far relating to the storm, which unleashed record flooding in the state in late August, destroying homes and killing scores of people. The Environmental Protection Agency has said federal and state authorities responded to spills linked to Harvey at about a dozen industrial facilities.

"The exact cause of the tank failures is now under investigation," Magellan spokesman Bruce Heine said. He said the company believed it was related to the flooding. Magellan has cleaned up much of the spill, and recovered an undisclosed amount that escaped off the terminal's property into a nearby ditch and the Houston Ship Channel, Heine said.

"Clean-up activities at the facility are continuing and we are currently removing and replacing affected soil," he said. The spill occurred on Aug. 31, Heine said. Magellan had initially reported a smaller volume of gasoline spilled to state authorities, but adjusted its estimate upward after it was able to make a full assessment, he said.

"It's Magellan's long-term practice to conservatively report a product release to appropriate agencies and local authorities as soon as we become aware of a potential incident," he said, explaining the smaller initial estimate. "In other words, we do not wait until absolute confirmation, as we want to give the earliest possible notice."

Magellan has said that much of the rest of its infrastructure has returned to normal after the storm.