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.

Hurricane Harvey caused US Gulf Coast refinery runs to drop - EIA

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Hurricane Harvey has caused substantial disruptions to crude oil and petroleum product supply chains and increased petroleum product prices, according to Hydrocarbonprocessing.

For the week ending Sept. 1, gross inputs to refineries in the US Gulf Coast fell by 3.2 MMbpd, or 34%, from the previous week, the largest drop since Hurricanes Gustav and Ike in 2008. Weekly refinery utilization in the region fell from 96% to 63%, while other areas of the country remained virtually unchanged.

Just over half of all US refinery capacity is located in the US Gulf Coast (defined as Petroleum Administration for Defense District 3). Texas, where Harvey made landfall, represents 31% of all US refinery capacity, based on data from January 2017. These refineries supply petroleum products to domestic markets on the Gulf Coast, East Coast and Midwest, as well as to international markets.

The Gulf Coast region is also a key storage area for crude oil and petroleum products. As of March 2017, 49% of total US working crude oil storage capacity and more than 40% of working storage capacity for both motor gasoline and diesel fuel were located in the Gulf Coast region.

Refinery operations are largely dependent on a supply of crude oil and feedstocks, electricity, safe working conditions, workforce availability, and outlets for production. As a result of Hurricane Harvey, many refineries in the region either reduced runs or shut down in its aftermath.

Many crude oil and petroleum product pipelines were also affected by the hurricane, including the Colonial Pipeline system. Colonial connects 29 refineries and 267 distribution terminals and carries up to 2.5 MMbpd of gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel from Houston to as far north as New York Harbor. Colonial typically operates at or near full capacity, but as a result of Hurricane Harvey and the decreased supply of petroleum products available to ship, Colonial Pipeline briefly curtailed operations and shipped products intermittently before resuming operations at reduced rates of flow on Sept. 6.

As supplies were disrupted, the East Coast drew down inventories of motor gasoline. East Coast total motor gasoline inventories in the week ending Sept. 1 fell by 2.2 MMbbl, or 3.5%, compared with the previous week. Almost all of this drawdown occurred in the Lower Atlantic region, which stretches from Virginia to Florida. This weekly drop in inventories was smaller than the drop that occurred following a previous outage of the Colonial Pipeline in September 2016, when Lower Atlantic gasoline inventories fell by nearly 6 MMbbl.

As MRC informed before, on 4 September 2017, the US Gulf Coast moved closer to recovery from Hurricane Harvey when the biggest American fuel system restarts a key segment shut down by devastating rains and officials weigh how to pay for billions of dollars in damage.

EPA says no volatile chemicals found in water near Arkema plant in Texas

MOSCOW (MRC) — Water samples collected after an Arkema chemical plant in Crosby, Texas caught fire following a power outage due to Tropical Storm Harvey contained no volatile chemicals, the US Environmental Protection Agency said Friday, said Reuters.

The Arkema plant experienced a series of fires as a result of sensitive organic chemicals that rose to dangerous temperatures after the facility lost power due to storm flooding.

People in a 1.5-mi radius around the plant, located about 20 mi northwest of Houston, were evacuated after company officials said an explosion or large fire was likely because the organic peroxides used to make plastics and other products could not stay cool enough.

The EPA, in its statement, said that no “volatile organic chemicals or semi-volatile organic chemicals were detected in the surface water runoff samples,” which were collected on Sept. 1.

The investigation, which involves the US Chemical Safety Board, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and other state, federal and local agencies, is ongoing.

The first explosion took place on Aug. 31, several days after Harvey hit. The storm dropped several feet of rain in the Houston area.

Solvay partners with the World Alliance for Efficient Solutions

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Solvay is joining the World Alliance for Efficient Solutions, created by Solar Impulse founder Bertrand Piccard, to promote efficient technologies, processes and systems that help improve the quality of life on earth, as per the company's press release.

The Alliance members consist of start-ups, companies, institutions and organizations.

"Solvay’s joining of the Alliance, naturally flows from our 13-year partnership with Solar Impulse when we provided a variety of break-through technologies essential to the plane’s success. This Alliance will show again how collaboration and open innovation will turn visions into daily applications for a more sustainable planet and growth," said Jean-Pierre Clamadieu, CEO of Solvay.

Solar Impulse flew around the world day and night on solar energy, with many Solvay innovations, including in batteries and lightweighting materials, on board. Following its succes, the World Alliance for Efficient Solutions was created by the Solar Impulse Foundation, which fully administers and funds the Alliance thanks to partners and private donors.

As MRC wrote previously, in late December 2016, Solvay completed the sale of its 70.59% stake in Solvay Indupa to Brazilian chemical group Unipar Carbocloro, following the approval earlier this month of the Brazilian antitrust authority CADE.

Besides, earlier, in July 2016, Solvay completed the divestment of its shareholding in Inovyn (London), bringing to an end Solvay's chlorvinyls joint venture with Ineos. Solvay received exit cash proceeds amounting to EUR335 million (USD370.7 million). The dissolution of the jv follows regulatory clearances from the relevant authorities. Inovyn was formed on 1 July 2015 as a jv between Ineos and SolVin, a subsidiary of Solvay. Solvay and Ineos signaled their decision to end their chlorvinyls jv in March last year.

Solvay, with a market share 27%, is the second largest PVC manufacturer in Europe, after Kerling with 29% of the market. Solvay is headquartered in Brussels with about 30,900 employees spread across 53 countries. It generated pro forma net sales of EUR12.4 bn in 2015, with 90% made from activities where it ranks among the world’s top 3 players.