Borealis awards Jacobs FEED contract for PDH plant in Belgium

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. has been awarded a contract to complete a front end engineering design (FEED) study for a propane dehydrogenation (PDH) plant located at the existing Borealis production site in Kallo, Belgium, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The contract award follows the successful completion of the feasibility study for the plant. When complete, the new PDH plant will have a targeted annual production capacity of 740 kilotons, making it one of the largest and most efficient facilities in the world.

As part of the FEED study, Jacobs is preparing the basic design package for both the inside battery limit areas as well as the outside battery limit areas of the new PDH plant. The FEED phase is scheduled for completion by mid-2018.

As MRC informed earlier, in April 2016, Borealis AG and PAO Gazprom, the world's gas major, signed a Memorandum of Understanding. The document reflects the parties' interest in evaluating opportunities to develop joint gas chemical projects in Russia.

Borealis is a leading provider of innovative solutions in the fields of polyolefins, base chemicals and fertilizers. With headquarters in Vienna, Austria, Borealis currently employs around 6,500 and operates in over 120 countries.

Saudi Arabia converts Aramco into joint-stock company ahead of historic IPO

MOSCOW (MRC) - Saudi Arabia has changed the status of its national oil giant Aramco to a joint-stock company as of Jan. 1, in a key step for an initial public offering (IPO) planned for later this year, said Reuters.

The sale of up to 5 percent of Saudi Aramco, expected to go ahead in the second half of 2018, is a centerpiece of Vision 2030, an ambitious reform plan to reduce the dependence of the Saudi economy on oil. The plan is championed by Saudi crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.

The change, which was published in a cabinet decree in the kingdom’s official bulletin on Friday, is a requirement for local companies in Saudi Arabia ahead of listing, a senior Aramco source, who declined to be named, told Reuters.

"As a customary step in the preparation process for a Saudi IPO, Saudi Aramco has converted to a joint stock company," the source said.

"This establishes the framework to allow future investors to hold shares in the company alongside its shareholder, the government." But it is an important step as it shows the IPO process, which could be the biggest in history raising up to USD100 billion, is moving ahead despite market speculation it could be delayed or totally shelved.

Prince Mohammad told Reuters in October it was still on track for 2018. Aramco has a fully paid capital of 60 billion riyals (USD16.00 billion) divided into 200 billion ordinary shares, according to the company’s bylaws published in the official bulletin.

The firm’s board will have 11 members and the power to list the company in domestic and international markets, it said. The government will propose 6 members of Aramco’s board, but shareholders with a more than 0.1 percent stake will have the right to propose a member to the general assembly.

Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemical unexpectedly shut HDPE plant in China

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemical has taken off-stream a high density polyethylene (HDPE) plant, reported Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in China informed that the company has taken off-line its plant on January 2, 2018 owing to technical issues. Further details of duration of shutdown could not be ascertained.

Located at Shanghai in China, the plant has a production capacity of 250,000 mt/year.

As MRC informed previously, on 8 March, 2016, Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemical undertook an emergency shutdown at its low density polyethylene (LDPE) unit in China, owing to a technical glitch. It remained off-line for around 2 days. Located at Shanghai in China, the company operates two LDPE units with a production capacity of 100,000 mt/year each.

China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation, or Sinopec Limited is a Chinese oil and gas company based in Beijing, China. It is listed in Hong Kong and also trades in Shanghai and New York . Sinopec is the worlds fifth biggest company by revenue.

PE imports into Kazakhstan increased by 27% in January-November 2017

MOSCOW (MRC) - Imports of polyethylene (PE) in Kazakhstan increased by 27% in the eleven months of 2017 compared to the same period of 2016 and amounted to about 112,000 tonnes. Shipments of all PE grades increased, according to MRC DataScope.

November PE imports to Kazakhstan rose to 12,000 tonnes from 8,500 tonnes a month earlier, local companies significantly increased their purchasing of high density polyethylene (HDPE) in Russia and Uzbekistan. Total PE imports into the country were about 112,000 tonnes in January - November 2017, compared with 87,900 tonnes in the same time a year earlier. Purchasing of all PE grades rose, with HDPE accounting for the greatest increase. The structure of PE imports by grades looked the following way over the stated period.
November HDPE imports to Kazakhstan grew to 9,600 tonnes from 6,600 a month earlier. Local companies managed to increase PE purchasing in Russia after several months of severe restrictions from local producers because of shutdowns for maintenance, as well as increased delivery from Uzbekistan. Thus, overall HDPE imports reached 86,000 tonnes in the first eleven months of 2017, up by 31% year on year.

November purchases of LDPE by local companies increased to 1,700 tonnes from 1,700 tonnes in October, Russian producers raised their shipments slightly. Overall LDPE imports into Kazakhstan totalled about 19,700 tonnes over the stated period, up by 13% year on year.

Purchasing of linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) by local companies was 6,300 tonnes in the first eleven months of 2017, compared to 4,800 tonnes a month earlier.


Oil falls from 2015 highs as rally runs out of steam

MOSCOW (MRC) — Oil prices fell on Wednesday after hitting a near two-and-a-half year high in the previous session as analysts said the rally was gradually running out of steam despite supply outages in Libya and the North Sea, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Brent crude futures dropped to USD66.27/bbl, down 1.15%, or 75 cents, at 1321 GMT after breaking through USD67 for the first time since May 2015 the previous day.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at USD59.53 a barrel, down 44 cents from their last settlement. WTI broke through $60/bbl for the first time since June 2015 in the previous session.

"This could now be the fourth year in a row when the period around the turn of the year offers a good opportunity to start fading the market," JBC Energy said in a note. JBC said it believed the market will gradually realize it had overshot: "We would have to argue that sometime over the course of January we will see a major turnaround."

It said prices could fall below $60/bbl sometime in February and could even test USD55/bbl. On Tuesday, Libya lost around 90 Mbpd of crude oil supplies from a blast on a pipeline feeding Es Sider port.

Repair of the pipeline could take about one week but will not have a major impact on exports, the head of Libyan state oil firm NOC told Reuters on Wednesday. The Libyan outage added to supply disruptions of recent weeks, which also included the closure of Britain's largest Forties pipeline.

On Wednesday, Forties was pumping at half its normal capacity and its operator was pledging to resume full flows in early January. The Forties and Libyan outages, which together amount to around 500 Mbpd, are relatively small in a global context of both production and demand approaching 100 MMbpd.

"The net global impact of the (Libyan) pipeline explosion is relatively small and we will not blow out of proportion the impact of the incident on the supply and demand picture," said Olivier Jakob from Swiss-based Petromatrix. He said the market could be supported by a US cold spell and expectations of greater heating oil consumption.

Oil markets have tightened significantly over the past year thanks to voluntary supply restraint led the Middle East-dominated Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-OPEC Russia.

Data from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) shows that following rampant oversupply in 2015, global oil markets gradually came into balance by 2016 and started to show a slight supply deficit this year. EIA data implies a slight supply shortfall of 180 Mbpd for 1Q 2018.

A major factor countering efforts by OPEC and Russia efforts to prop up prices is US oil production, which has soared more than 16% since mid-2016 and is fast approaching 10 MMbpd.