Egyptian refining, petrochemical firms FY 2018/19 plans

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The government will support state-owned companies working in the refining and petrochemicals sector to boost their production, Minister of Petroleum Tarek el-Molla said Thursday, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

During a meeting with the Alexandria Petroleum Company, Assiut Oil Refining Company (ASORC) and Egyptian Petrochemicals Company, heads of the companies presented their plans of production for fiscal year 2018/19.

Chairman of Alexandria Petroleum Company Medhat Bahgat said they plan to produce 99,000 tons of butange gas, 1.3 million tons of naphtha, 1.2 million tons of diesel, 1.4 million tons of fuel oil and 19,000 tons of asphalt.

The Alexandria-based company is planning two new projects to expand production and develop the facility.

As for ASORC, chairman of the company Nagy Kassab said they plan to refine one million ton of crude oil to produce 36,000 tons of butane, 520,000 tons of naphtha, one million ton of diesel, 2.3 million tons of fuel oil and 25,000 tons of jet fuel.

Chairman of Egyptian Petrochemicals Company plans to produce 90,000 tons of Polyvinyl chloride, 65,000 tons of sodium hydroxide and 15,000 tons of hydrochloric acid.

Egypt’s Petroleum Ministry aims to increase its annual production of gasoline, diesel, butane gas and jet fuel by 11.6 million tons in the next four years, at an investment of USD8.3 billion, boosting total production to around 28.5 million tons, up from the current 16.9 million tons.

This comes as part of the ministry’s plan to expand and develop refineries to boost domestic production of petroleum products, with the aim of filling the gap between production and consumption.

Under the plan, the ministry targets producing 3.113 million tons of gasoline, 6.603 million tons of diesel, 481,000 tons of butane gas and some 1.438 million tons of jet fuel. Developing the petrochemical industry will result in an improvement in plastics industry, fibers industry and other related industries.

By 2020, Egypt plans to produce more than three million tons of chemical products, under a 20-year national plan, which involves a range of products from ethylene and polyethylene to olefins and aromatics.

Invista to sell Apparel & Advanced Textile business to Shandong Ruyi

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Invista, a world leader in fibers, resins and chemical intermediates, has announced that it has agreed to sell its Apparel & Advanced Textiles business - one of its four major business units - to Shandong Ruyi Investment Holding, as per GV.

Completion of the transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory clearances from competition authorities. Closing is expected by mid-2018. The purchase price was not disclosed.

The transaction includes:

- Invista’s portfolio of apparel-focused fibres and brands including Lycra fibre, Lycra HyFit fibre, Coolmax fibre, Thermolite fibre and insulation, Elaspan fibre, Supplex fibre and Tactel fibre products;
- terathane polytetramethylene ether glycol (PTMEG), 1,4-butanediol (BDO), and tetrahydrofuran (THF) production;
- related manufacturing assets, research and development centres, and sales offices around the globe;
- all associated technical, operations, commercial and administrative staff (approximately 3,000 employees globally).

"The Apparel business has always been a strategic and valued part of our portfolio," said Jeff Gentry, Invista chairman and CEO. "We engaged the market because we want this business to be owned by the company that can create the greatest value for customers, employees and stockholders. In this case, we believe that Shandong Ruyi Investment Holding has the knowledge and capability that will enable this business to thrive the most and succeed over the long term."

Invista will retain ownership of its nylon, polyester, polyols and licensing businesses and related brands. This includes its nylon 6,6 intermediates business, its global nylon polymer and fibre portfolio, and brands including Stainmaster and Antron carpet fibres and Cordura fabric. Invista will also retain its intellectual property rights for BDO, THF and PTMEG technologies and will continue to license these technologies on a global basis.

"We look forward to intensifying our focus on the nylon value chain," Gentry said. "For nearly 80 years, we’ve delivered innovations to the nylon industry, including the most advanced adiponitrile technology in the marketplace. We have talented people with decades of know-how and you can count on Invista to continue building on this heritage of leadership and innovation."

As MRC reported before, in April 2016, Invista successfully started up a new 215,000-t/y hexamethylene diamine (HMD) facility at the Shanghai Chemical Industry Park in China. The HMD facility is part of an approximately USD1-billion project that includes a new 150,000-t/y nylon 6,6 plant and 300,000-t/y adiponitrile unit. All the plants are based on Invista's advanced technologies. Expected start-up of the remaining plants was not given.

Invista is one of the world's largest integrated producers of polymers and fibers, primarily for nylon, spandex and polyester applications. With a business presence in over 20 countries, Invista's global businesses deliver exceptional value for their customers through technology innovations, market insights and a powerful portfolio of global trademarks.

Ineos to challenge Scots fracking ban

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Petrochemical firm Ineos has launched a legal challenge to the Scottish government's effective ban on fracking, reported BBC News.

Ministers announced the prohibition in October 2017, and it was subsequently endorsed by a vote of MSPs. Ineos Shale has applied for a judicial review of the decision, citing "serious concerns" about its legitimacy.

The Scottish government argues that it took a "careful and considered approach" while coming to the decision, with "detailed assessment of evidence".

It first introduced a moratorium on fracking in 2015, while undertaking a series of reports and a public consultation on whether to give permission in future.

Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse told MSPs last year that this moratorium, enforced via planning powers, would continue "indefinitely" after consultations showed "overwhelming" opposition to fracking from the public.

Labour and the Greens called for the ban to be put down in legislation, but Mr Wheelhouse insisted that the existing method was "sufficiently robust", and ultimately only Conservative MSPs voted against the move.

The development was welcomed by environmental organisations, but slammed by business groups, with Ineos among the most vocal in its criticism.

Ineos, which operates the industrial processing plant in Grangemouth and which holds fracking exploration licences across 700 square miles of the country, said the government's decision was "a major blow to Scottish science and the engineering industry".

Ineos Shale Operations Manager Tom Pickering said the group had "no option" but to raise a legal challenge alongside business partner Reach.

He said: "We have serious concerns about the legitimacy of the ban and have therefore applied to the court to ask that it review the competency of the decision to introduce it."

"Ineos, Reach and other operators have invested significantly in unconventional development over the years, against a supportive regulatory and planning backdrop.

"If Scotland wants to continue to be considered as a serious place to do business, then it cannot simply remove the policy support that attracted that investment in the first place without proper procedures being followed and without the offer of appropriate financial compensation."

Mr Wheelhouse defended the government's approach to fracking. He said: "We have taken a careful and considered approach to arriving at our preferred policy on unconventional oil and gas in Scotland.

"The Scottish government's position was endorsed by the Scottish Parliament in October, subject to completion of a strategic environmental assessment, and follows detailed assessment of the evidence and consultation with the public."

Ineos contends that the studies actually showed that shale gas could be produced safely in Scotland, and pointed to findings that the industry could support up to 3,100 jobs.

During the Holyrood debate of the ban, Labour MSP Neil Findlay voiced strong criticism of Ineos, saying the firm was "not well known for philanthropic behaviour" and had been "holding the country to ransom" by threatening to move jobs.

And Green MSP Mark Ruskell accused the company of "throwing their toys out of the pram" with "a predictable and desperate attempt" to challenge the ban.

He said: "Scotland doesn't want or need fracking and Ineos should accept they lost the democratic debate in the Scottish Parliament - the evidence was there to ban fracking and that is what Holyrood has done."

As MRC wrote before, in November 2017, Ineos Shale acquired Total’s entire 40% interest in PEDLs 139 & 140, and a 30% interest in PEDL 273, 305 & 316 (being 60% of Total’s current 50% holding).

Ineos Group Limited is a privately owned multinational chemicals company consisting of 15 standalone business units, headquartered in Rolle, Switzerland and with its registered office in Lyndhurst, United Kingdom. It is the fourth largest chemicals company in the world measured by revenues (after BASF, Dow Chemical and LyondellBasell) and the largest privately owned company in the United Kingdom.

Innovative technology allows refiners to convert FCC off-gas olefins to high-octane gasolines

MOSCOW (MRC) – Koch-Glitsch and INVISTA Performance Technology (IPT), affiliates of Koch Industries, announced today a new partnership to offer innovative DTLprocess technology, allowing refineries to capture the value spread between replacement fuel costs and high-octane gasoline blend stock, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

DTL process technology converts light olefins, present in fluidized-bed catalytic cracking (FCC) off-gas, coker off-gas and other refinery streams, into high-octane gasoline blend stock, significantly increasing their value.

"Today’s market is looking for higher octane fuels, and this process allows refiners to deliver more of the high-value, high-octane fuels consumers seek,” said Christoph Ender, Koch-Glitsch vice-president of sales and marketing. “Through this partnership, we can provide our customers full-service project execution along with advanced technologies."

Commercially demonstrated in 12 refineries with another unit under construction, DTL technology uses proprietary catalysts that oligomerize and aromatize off-gas olefins, converting difficult to recover components such as ethylene, propylene and butylene into high-octane gasoline blend stock.

The technology delivers approximately 75 wt% C5+ liquid yields and 10 wt% LPG, which can be blended to the gasoline pool for increased gasoline production. This low CAPEX process has a small footprint and is integrated into the refinery downstream of the FCC gas plant using standard refinery equipment, such as fixed-bed reactors, absorption and separation columns and heterogenous catalysts. The unsaturated fuel gas leaving the FCC gas plant and other unsaturated gases blended as feed are diverted to the DTL process where it converts the stream into high-octane gasoline blend stock.

Additionally, DTL complements propylene producing FCC units — revamped or new — as it converts excess ethylene, butylene and any unrecovered propylene present in the fuel gas back to high-octane gasoline blend stock. This provides flexibility to refiners to take advantage of high propylene prices without worrying about excess fuel gas production.

U.S. senators from 12 states seek offshore drilling exemptions like Florida

MOSCOW (MRC) - Twenty-two Democratic U.S. senators from 12 states joined the chorus of local representatives seeking exemptions from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's newly proposed offshore drilling plan, after his surprise move on Tuesday to shield Florida, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Zinke surprised lawmakers, governors, and industry groups on Tuesday night by announcing that Florida would be removed from the Interior Department's proposal to open up over 90 percent of federal waters to oil and gas leasing. Zinke had met in Tallahasee, Florida's capital, with Republican Governor Rick Scott, who told the Interior chief that drilling puts his state's coastal tourism economy at risk. Scott is widely expected to challenge Democratic Senator Bill Nelson, who is up for re-election this year. The White House dismissed suggestions that Florida's exemption was a political favor to Scott. "I am not aware of any political favor that that would have been part of," spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters.

"Just like Florida, our states are unique with vibrant coastal economies," wrote the 22 senators, who include Jack Reed of Rhode Island, Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kamala Harris of California. "Providing all of our states with the same exemption from dangerous offshore oil and gas drilling would ensure that vital industries from tourism to recreation to fishing are not needlessly placed in harm’s way," they wrote.

Interior Department spokeswoman Heather Swift said Zinke intends to meet with every coastal governor affected by the agency's proposed offshore drilling plan, a process that could take a year.

Democrats are not alone in pressuring Zinke to exempt their states from drilling. South Carolina's Republican Governor Henry McMaster asked Zinke for an exemption, citing the value of his state's coastal tourist economy. Maine Governor Paul LePage, a Republican, and Alaska Governor Bill Walker, an independent, are the only coastal state governors who support the expansion of offshore drilling, with many of the rest seeking exemptions following the Florida decision. Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine on Thursday joined nine Democratic senators to introduce the New England Coastal Protection Act to ban offshore drilling off New England, citing the need to protect states' valuable fishery and tourism industries. And Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington state, the top Democrat on the Senate panel that oversees the Interior Department, said on Thursday that Zinke may have violated the local and public input requirements of the federal law dealing with federal offshore waters.