Ineos sticks with 2-4 week Forties pipeline repair estimate, assessing damage

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Repairing Britain's Forties crude oil pipeline in the North Sea is still expected to take two to four weeks, operator Ineos said on Monday, as assessment continues a week after it was closed down, reported Reuters.

The system, which carries around 450,000 bpd of Forties crude to Britain, along with a third of the UK's total offshore natural gas output, has been closed since last Monday after a routine inspection revealed a crack in an onshore section of the pipe.

"We are currently monitoring the pipeline and working through some of the solutions for repair," spokesman Richard Longden said, adding the crack had not grown in the last week.

Ineos on Dec 13 was forced to declare force majeure on deliveries of Forties crude oil, natural gas and condensate, suspending its contractual obligations to customers due to circumstances beyond its control.

The privately-owned chemicals company based in Switzerland bought the pipeline system from BP in late October.

It has told clients it expects any repair work to take between two and four weeks, an estimate that has not changed in the last week.

Forties is the biggest of the five North Sea crudes that underpin Brent, a benchmark for oil trading in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

Brent crude oil futures were up around 0.25% on the day at USD63.39/bbl by 1132 GMT, having touched USD65 following the outage last week, the highest since mid-2015.

As MRC informed before, Ineos Group Ltd. is considering expansion of its plants in USA to take advantage of low-cost natural-gas liquids as feedstock for ethylene production. The company is likely to add 250 mln-1 bln lbs of annual ethylene production at its Chocolate Bayou site south of Houston, Dennis Seith, chief executive officer of the company’s U.S. olefins and polymers unit, said in March 2016. Additional polypropylene and alpha-olefins capacity may be added at the site.

PetroRabigh restarts LLDPE unit

MOSCOW (MRC) -- PetroRabigh, a joint venture between Saudi Aramco and Japan's Sumitomo Chemical, has brought on-stream its No.2 linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) unit following a prolong shutdown, as per Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in Saudi Arabia informed that the company has resumed operations at the unit early last week. The plant was taken off-stream for maintenance in early-October 2017.

Located in Jubail, Saudi Arabia, the No. 2 unit has a LLDPE production capacity of 350,000 mt/year.

As MRC wrote previously, PetroRabigh took off-stream its LLDPE plant in Saudi Arabia for maintenance from March 16 to late March 2016.

Located in Rabigh, Saudi Arabia, the LLDPE plant has a production capacity of 600,000 mt/year.

PetroRabigh, a joint venture between Saudi Aramco and Japan's Sumitomo Chemical, has an annual output capacity of 18 million tonnes of refined products and 2.4 million tonnes of petrochemicals. Thus, the complex currently has a cracker to produce 1.3-million t/y of ethylene and 900,000 t/y of propylene, as well as downstream production of polyethylene, polypropylene, propylene oxide, ethylene glycol and butene-1.

PE imports to Ukraine down by 5% in January-November 2017

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Overall imports of polyethylene (PE) into the Ukrainian market dropped in the first eleven months of 2017 by 5% year on year to 225,700 tonnes. The greatest increase in demand occurred for high density polyethylene (HDPE), according to MRC DataScope.

Last month's PE imports grew to 21,100 tonnes from 19,100 tons in October, local companies increased their purchasing of linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) and high density polyethylene (HDPE). Overall PE imports decreased to 225,700 tonnes in January-October 2017, compared to 238,700 tonnes a year earlier, on lower demand for HDPE, while demand for other ethylene polymers increased.

Structure of PE imports over the reported period was as follows.

Last month's imports of HDPE into the Ukrainian market increased, and some local companies actively built up additional stocks of film HDPE.
November HDPE imports into the country were about 7,900 tonnes, compared with 6,900 tonnes in October. Overall HDPE imports reached 89,400 tonnes in the first eleven months of 2017, compared to 112,900 tonnes a year earlier. The most reduction in imports accounted in the film HDPE, resulting from the resumption of local production.

November LDPE imports into Ukraine remained practically steady from the October's levels, totalling about 6,000 tonnes. Overall LDPE imports exceeded 61,400 tonnes over the stated period, up by 2% year on year.

Last month's LLDPE imports were 6,300 tonnes, compared to 4,300 tonnes in October, with stretch films producers accounting for an increase in demand. Overall LLDPE imports grew to 60,600 tonnes in January-November 2017 from 53,400 tonnes a year earlier. The main increase in demand occurred for the local producers of the film production.

Imports of other PE grades, including ethylene-vinyl-acetate (EVA), totalled 14,200 tonnes over the stated period, compared to 12,100 tonnes a year earlier.


CTCI awarded contract for Petronas RAPID project

MOSCOW (MRC) -- With years of cultivation and development in the Malaysia hydrocarbon market, CTCI contracted RAPID P1 RFCC Project of PETRONAS in 2014 with a contract value of USD1 B. The strong innovative technological expertise and project execution capability of CTCI in the P1 Project has won the owner’s recognition and trust, which led PETRONAS to once again commission CTCI for the RAPID Package 28B EPCC of Euro 5 Mogas CNHT2, Isomerization, TAME and Tankage Project this November, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The contract signing ceremony has been held successfully in Kuala Lumpur.

PETRONAS Malaysia’s fully integrated oil and gas embarked on the Pengerang Integrated Complex (PIC) which comprises of the Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development (RAPID) and associated facilities. The project has attracted much attention from major international EPC contractors vying for the bid. By securing the Package 28B contract, CTCI becomes the only EPC contractor to win two refinery contracts within the PIC.

CTCI has established the CTCI Engineering & Construction Sdn. Bhd. in Malaysia back in 1983, aiming to explore and cultivate the local hydrocarbon market and get hold of the business opportunities of power plant constructions. Once the new project is delivered, the plant will produce high quality gasoline product in compliance with the stringent EURO-5 emissions standard, striking a balance between economic development and environmental protection in Malaysia.

As MRC wrote previously, in January 2017, Malaysia's state oil firm Petroliam Nasional Berhad said its new USD27 billion refining and petrochemical complex project in the southeast Asian country is on track for start-up in 2019.

Among others, Petronas plans to build a C6-based metallocene linear LDPE plant and a low density polyethylene (LDPE)/ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) swing plant at its greenfield integrated refinery and petrochemical complex in southern Johor state by mid-2019. The proposed metallocene LLDPE will have a capacity of 350,000 tpa, while the LDPE/EVA will have a capacity of about 150,000 tpa. The two plants are part of Petronas' planned Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development project in Pengerang at Johor.

Petronas, short for Petroliam Nasional Berhad, is a Malaysian oil and gas company wholly owned by the Government of Malaysia. The Group is engaged in a wide spectrum of petroleum activities, including upstream exploration and production of oil and gas to downstream oil refining; marketing and distribution of petroleum products; trading; gas processing and liquefaction; gas transmission pipeline network operations; marketing of liquefied natural gas; petrochemical manufacturing and marketing; shipping; automotive engineering; and property investment.

India increases petcoke import tax in blow to US refiners

MOSCOW (MRC) -- India has raised the effective import duty on petroleum coke to 10% from 2.5%, according to a government order, days after the government told a court it was in favor of curbing the use of the dirty-burning fuel, reported Reuters.

The duty has gone up after the government ended an exemption to tax payable on importing the fuel that emits 11% more greenhouse gases than coal and also releases several times more sulfur dioxide, which causes lung diseases.

The Supreme Court in October banned the use of petroleum coke, better known as petcoke, in and around New Delhi in a bid to clean up the air in one of the world’s most polluted cities.

The court this week allowed petcoke’s use as feedstock by the cement industry in the region as it hears a plea to ban its import across the country.

India is the world’s biggest consumer of petcoke, with most of that coming from refineries in the United States. Local producers include Indian Oil Corp, Reliance Industries and Bharat Petroleum Corp.

The move could lead to higher prices charged by local petcoke suppliers.

The move is also expected to raise imports of coal by companies that use petcoke as a fuel, not feedstock, such as textile firms.

A country-wide import ban would require replacing 14 MMt of petcoke a year with 24 MMt to 31 MMt of coal, according to industry calculations, most of which would have to be imported.