Thai refiner IRPC quarterly profit more than doubles on rising oil prices

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Thai oil refiner IRPC Pcl's net profit more than doubled in the third quarter as the subsidiary of energy giant PTT Group benefited from rising oil prices and higher margins on its chemical products, reported Reuters.

Temporary shutdowns at US refineries after hurricanes on the East Coast and regional maintenance shutdowns also pushed product prices higher, the company said in a statement.

Its net profit surged 149% in July-September from a year earlier to 3.25 B baht (USD98 MM), beating a forecast of 2.56 B baht in a Reuters survey of four analysts and helped by 1.1 B baht in gains on its oil stocks as oil prices improved.

Net sales surged 26% to 52.3 B baht and average product prices increased 4%, while its average profit margin was 5.73%, up from 2.86% a year ago.

Market gross refining margins (GRM), or the difference between the price of crude oil and the value of products was at USD15.05/bbl, up USD2.55 from the same period last year on better petroleum and petrochemical product spreads.

IRPC, a PTT Plc subsidiary, booked a total market GRM of 9.3 B baht, up from 7.1 B baht a year earlier.

It said it expects oil prices to be in the range of USD52/bbl-USD58/bbl in the next quarter.

As MRC informed before, on 3 February, 2017, IRPC took its cracker off-stream for a maintenance turnaround. Located at Map Ta Phut in Thailand, the cracker has an ethylene capacity of 360,000 mt/year and propylene capacity of 312,000 mt/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.

Asian imports of Iranian oil hit highest in 6 mos

MOSCOW (MRC) — Imports of Iranian crude by major buyers in Asia rose in September for a third straight month to their highest since March, boosted by a surge in purchases in China and South Korea, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

China, India, South Korea and Japan imported slightly more than 1.9 MMbpd last month, up 5.1% from a year earlier, government and ship-tracking data showed. Their imports rose nearly 20% from August.

Still, purchases from the Asian buyers remain below highs that were hit earlier this year and last year as Tehran ramped up exports following the lifting of economic sanctions, after it had agreed to constraints on its disputed nuclear program.

Imports by the Asian buyers, which take the bulk of Iran's oil exports, are likely to fall in coming weeks as shipments bound for the region have dropped below 1.5 MMbpd for October, a person with knowledge of the Middle Eastern nation's tanker loading schedules told Reuters.

Chinese imports from Iran in September rose nearly 60% from a year ago to about 784,000 bpd, down from August when China imported the highest monthly amount since 2006, according to data on Reuters Eikon. South Korea's imports rose by nearly a quarter to just over 504,000 bpd, a five-month high. India's imports fell by a third to 415,400 bpd.

Imports to Japan, which announced official figures on Tuesday, were down by more than 30% at a bit less than 216,000 bpd.

Lotos gets first delivery of crude oil from US

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Poland’s state-run refiner, Lotos, got its first shipment of crude oil from the United States on Thursday, part of its wider plan to diversify oil supplies and reduce reliance on Russian deliveries, reported Reuters.

The tanker carrying 600,000 bbl of domestic sweet crude, equivalent to around 80,000 t, departed from Freeport, Texas, on Oct. 19 and arrived in the Polish city of Gdansk on Thursday, Lotos said.

As MRC informed before, in early September 2017, Lotos, Poland’s second biggest oil refiner, said that it had received its first crude oil cargo from Canada. The cargo of 100,000 t, equivalent to almost 700,000 bbl of Canadian Hibernia oil, arrived in Poland on 3 September aboard the Minerva Lisa tanker, Lotos said.

State-run Lotos, like bigger rival PKN Orlen, refines mostly Russian oil but is aiming to diversify its supplies. Currently around 25% of the oil it refines comes from sources other than Russia.

Saudi Kayan to shut cracker in Saudi Arabia for turnaround

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Saudi Kayan, part of Sabic, is likely to commence maintenance at its cracker at Al-Jubail, according to Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in Saudi Arabia informed that the company has schedule turnaround at the cracker in mid-November 2017. The cracker is slated to remain under maintenance until end-December 2017.

Located at Al-Jubail in Saudi Arabia, the cracker has a production capacity of 1.5 million mt/year.

As MRC reported earlier, in February 2016, Saudi Kayan Petrochemical Co. awarded Taiwan's CTCI Corp. a contract worth USD94.5 million (SAR 354.4 million) to build a new cracker at its complex in Jubail Industrial City. Under the deal, CTCI was to manage the engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) for the project, which is located in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Kayan Petrochemical Company is a manufacturing affiliate of the Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic, 35%). Saudi Kayan is the fifth-largest petrochemical manufacturer by market value in Saudi Arabia.

Wacker breaks ground on new polymer powder plant in South Korea

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Wacker Chemie AG is expanding its existing production plants for dispersions and dispersible polymer powders in South Korea, as per the company's press release.

With the mayor of Ulsan Gi-Hyeon Kim and numerous customers in attendance, Wacker Executive Board member Dr. Christian Hartel, head of Wacker Polymers Peter Summo and head of Wacker Korea Dal-Ho Cho celebrated the official start of construction on the major project during a symbolic ground-breaking ceremony.

The Group is building a new spray dryer for dispersible polymer powders at its Ulsan site, which will have a total capacity of 80,000 metric tons per year. The Munich-based chemicals company is also constructing an additional reactor for dispersions based on vinyl acetate-ethylene copolymer (EVA), which are needed as the raw material for the spray dryer to produce dispersible polymer powders.

Ulsan’s plant complex, which covers the entire production chain from VAE dispersions to dispersible polymer powders, will be one of the largest of its kind in the world. Investments will total around EUR60 million and production is scheduled to start in the first quarter of 2019.

With the expansion, Wacker is meeting the increasing demand for its high-quality binders, which are particularly needed in the constantly growing construction industry in South Korea and Southeast Asia. "Our existing production facilities in Ulsan provide the ideal setting for the expansion. With this new capacity, we will be able to support our customers right across Asia in a more targeted way by offering them products tailored to their specific requirements," said Christian Hartel, the WACKER Executive Board member responsible for Asia, at the ground-breaking ceremony. According to him, the expansion will also guarantee shorter delivery routes and times.

"We can see that our construction polymers, in particular, which make resource-efficient housebuilding possible, are in demand in this region like never before,” added Peter Summo, head of WACKER POLYMERS, during the festivities. “With our investment, we are ensuring that we will be able to securely meet future market growth in the region, too."

As MRC wrote before, in 2013, Wacker Chemie AG officially launched its new production plant for EVA dispersions at its Ulsan site in South Korea. The additional 40,000 tonnes from the second reactor line increases the site's EVA-dispersion capacity to a total of 90,000 tonnes per year. The production capacity of the site had, thus, almost doubled, making the plant complex one of the biggest of its kind in South Korea.

Wacker Chemie AG is a worldwide operating company in the chemical business, founded 1914. The company is controlled by the Wacker-family holding more than 50 percent of the shares. The corporation is operating more than 25 production sites in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. The product range includes silicone rubbers, polymer products like ethylene vinyl acetate redispersible polymer powder, chemical materials, polysilicon and wafers for semiconductor industry.