Kuwait Petroleum eyes stake in Indian Bina refinery

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Kuwait Petroleum International (KPI) is in talks to buy 24% of the Bina joint venture refinery in central India, two Indian and two foreign sources said, as the Middle East nation wants to increase its South Asian market share, reported Reuters.

Global oil producers are vying to gain entry into India’s expanding refining sector. The world’s third-biggest oil importer plans to raise its refining capacity by 77% to about 8.8 million barrels per day (bpd) by 2030 to meet rising fuel demand.

"Talks with KPI are at a preliminary stage," said one of the Indian sources. KPI is the international downstream unit of state-owned Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC).

The 120,000-bpd Bina plant is operated by Bharat Oman Refineries Ltd (BORL), a 50-50 joint venture between Oman Oil Co and state-run Bharat Petroleum Corp (BPCL.NS).

Kuwait Petroleum International Chief Executive Officer Nabil Bourisli said in April his company intends to sign a deal soon to buy a stake in an Indian refinery and petrochemical project and supply as much as 200,000 Mbpd of oil.
BPCL, Oman Oil and KPI did not respond to Reuters e-mails seeking comment on any discussions.

BPCL has funded an expansion of the Bina refinery to 156 Mbpd that is to be completed later this year. Oman Oil did not invest in the upgrade. BPCL has an option to convert its additional spending into equity that would raise its overall share in BORL to 74%.

Indian sources said BPCL would like to retain at least 50 percent in BORL, mirroring an equity structure for a planned west coast refining project co-financed by Saudi Aramco in which Indian and foreign ownership is evenly split.

Saudi Aramco last month signed a deal to buy a 50% stake in the USD44-billion planned project in Maharashtra, with an option to share a part of its equity with a new foreign partner. Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (ADNOC) may join Aramco for the project, sources said last month.

For Bina, the plan would be for BPCL to retain half of the refinery, while KPI and Oman Oil would share the remaining 50% stake, the Indian sources said.

An Oman Oil Co source said participation of KPI is one of the proposals being discussed among the three parties - BPCL, Oman Oil Co and KPI - but that nothing is finalized yet.

BORL has plans to double its expanded refining capacity to 310,000 bpd and build a petrochemical project.

BORL turned profitable for the first time in fiscal 2015/16, and since then has been posting double-digit gross refining margins. In 2016/17, BORL’s net profit more than doubled to 8.1 billion Indian rupees (USD121.91 million).

Oil from Kuwait accounted for about 6% of India’s overall imports in 2017/18.

As MRC wrote before, in late March 2018, KPI signed an agreement with an international firm for long-term supply of natural gas - liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Sinopec starts catalytic cracking unit construction at JV refinery with Kuwait

MOSCOW (MRC) -Sinopec has started the construction of a 4.2-million-tonnes per year catalytic cracking unit at the Sino-Kuwait Guangdong refinery project, said Reuters.

Sinopec expects to complete the cracking project in September.

The first phase of the Sino-Kuwait refinery has 10 million tonnes in crude refining capacity and 800,000 tonnes of ethylene annual production capacity.

As it was informed earlier, in October 2017, Sinopec and joint-venture partner Kuwait Petroleum Corp. (KPC) have let a contract to Kaji Technology Corp. of Japan to supply equipment for the long-planned Sino-Kuwait integrated refining and petrochemical complex now under construction on Donghai Island of Zhanjiang City in China’s Guangdong Province.

Originally planned as a USD9-billion complex that would be able to process 15 million tonnes/year of crude as well as 1 million tpy of ethylene, 460,000 tpy of polyethylene, and 750,000 tpy of polypropylene beginning in 2016, the delayed project’s USD5.1-billion first phase—which began construction on Dec. 20, 2016—will include a 10 million-tpy refinery and 800,000-tpy ethylene plant scheduled for startup in 2020

Bayer lowers outlook for 2018 in reaction to weak Q1 earnings

MOSCOW (MRC) -- German chemicals manufacturer Bayer has lowered its financial outlook for 2018 in reaction to unexpectedly weak earnings during the first quarter (Q1) of the year, said Xinhuanet.

Bayer recorded a decline in Q1 revenue by 5.6 percent to 9.14 billion euros (10.96 billion U.S. dollars) while operating profits fell by around five percent to 2.9 billion euros during the same period. As a consequence, the Leverkusen-based company now also expects to experience a slight decline in annual revenue, as well as annual earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBIDTA) in 2018.

Earlier, the Dax-listed company had informed shareholders that it expected to at least maintain the levels of revenue and EBIDTA achieved in 2017 throughout the current year.

Bayer explained on Thursday that the deterioration in its financial position was mainly due to adverse currency effects. Resulting higher costs associated with production, research, development, marketing and sales weighed on the company's performance across diverse divisions.

The company's business with pharmaceuticals, prescription free health products and agrochemicals were all considerably weaker in Q1 2018 compared to the same period last year. The pharmaceuticals unit hereby witnessed its first quarterly decline in nearly four years.

In spite of the disappointing quarterly earnings figures, chief executive officer (CEO) Werner Baumann said that his company was progressing successfully towards the achievement of its larger strategic goals. According to Baumann, Bayer had made "good progress" in the widely-publicized acquisition of U.S. agrochemical company Monsanto for 62.5 billion euros.

The CEO expressed confidence that the regulatory approval of U.S. antitrust authorities for the deal would be obtained shortly, enabling Bayer to finalize the merger with Monsanto by the end of the second quarter (Q2) of 2018. European Union (EU) competition authorities have recently given the greenlight to Bayer's sale of its own crop science unit to German chemical industry rival BASF, removing one significant potential obstacle to the conclusion of the Monsanto takeover.

Founded in 1863, is one of the world's largest chemicals manufacturers and employs over 99,000 staff across the world. The publicly-listed company recorded annual gross revenue of 35 billion euros in 2017.

Iraq signs contract with PowerChina, Norinco to build Fao oil refinery

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Iraq has signed a contract with two Chinese companies, PowerChina and Norinco International, to build an oil refinery at the port of Fao on the Gulf, an Iraqi oil official said, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The refinery in Fao will have the capacity to produce 300,000 barrels per day and will include a petrochemical plant, he told Reuters, saying the agreement was signed on Saturday in Iraq.

The Fao refinery south of Basra is one of several Iraq plans as it seeks by Iraq to become self-sufficient in oil products.

Iraq is OPEC's second-largest oil producer, after Saudi Arabia. Its refining capacity was curbed when Islamic State overran its largest oil processing plant in Baiji, north of Baghdad, in 2014.

Iraqi forces recaptured Baiji in 2015 but it sustained heavy damage in the fighting. The country now relies on the Doura refinery in Baghdad and the Shuaiba plant in the Basra region.

Keiyo Ethylene to shut naphtha cracker in Chiba for maintenance

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Keiyo Ethylene is in plans to take its naphtha cracker off-stream for a maintenance turnaround, as per Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in Japan informed that the cracker is likely to be shut for turnaround on May 13, 2018. The planned maintenance is expected to remain in force until early-July 2018.

Located at Ichihara in Chiba prefecture of Japan, the cracker has a production capacity of 740,000 mt/year.

As MRC informed before, Keiyo Monomer planned to take its vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) plant off-stream for a maintenance turnaround in February-March 2018. The exact date and duration of the shutdown could not be ascertained. Located in Chiba, Japan, the plant has a production capacity of 200,000 mt/year.

Founded in 1991, Keiyo Ethylene Co. Ltd. produces and sells petrochemical products. The Company produces ethylene, propylene, and other petrochemical products.