Iraq extends bid deadline for Diwaniya oil refinery project

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Iraq extended the deadline for foreign companies and investors to bid for the construction of a 70,000-barrels-per-day oil refinery in Diwaniya, south of Baghdad, reported Hydrocarbonprocessing with reference to the oil ministry.

Documents for the bidding process will now be available until Sept. 2 and the bidding will close on Oct. 30, the ministry said in a statement.

Bidding documents provide for two investment models - build-own-operate and build-operate-transfer, it said.

The refinery is one of several oil-processing projects offered by Iraq as part of its plan to become self-sufficient in oil products.

As MRC wrote before, in the first half of May 2018, Iraq signed a contract with two Chinese companies, PowerChina and Norinco International, to build an oil refinery at the port of Fao on the Gulf. The refinery in Fao will have the capacity to produce 300,000 barrels per day and will include a petrochemical plant.

Reliance offers more naphtha but non-petchem grade

MOSCOW (MRC) - India’s Reliance Industries is looking to sell more naphtha, bringing its total naphtha exports through tenders for August lifting at 185,000 tonnes, traders said, the highest monthly spot volumes offered by the company since February, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

However, some 60 percent of the August volumes were considered off-specification as the grade does not meet the requirements of the petrochemical industry standard, the traders added.

It is unclear why Reliance’s naphtha contains more oxygenates than usual. Reliance officials were not available for immediate comment.

Reliance had offered the long-range tanker size cargo for end-August loading from Sikka Port in western India through a tender which closes on Wednesday.

But the cargo contains 100 parts per million (ppm) of total oxygenates, twice the acceptable amount for making petrochemicals.

The fuel, however, could still be used but only if buyers have the means to lower the oxygenates levels.

Reliance, which operates the world’s biggest refining complex at Jamnagar in western India, has already sold one such cargo with 100 ppm oxygenates to Vitol for early August loading at discounts to Middle East quotes on a free-on-board (FOB) basis.

PVC imports into Kazakhstan increased by 18% in January-May

MOSCOW (MRC) - Imports of unmixed polyvinyl chloride (PVC) into Kazakhstan increased to about 22,000 tonnes in January-May 2018, up 18% compared with the same time a year earlier, according to MRC analysts.

There was a slight increase in demand for PVC in May from local companies. May imports of unmixed PVC amounted to 4,200 tonnes against 7,300 tonnes a month earlier.
Thus, overall imports of PVC to Kazakhstan totalled 22,000 tonnes in January-May 2018, compared to 18,600 tonnes a year earlier. Due to the geographical position, the main suppliers of PVC to Kazakhstan were Chinese producers, with the share of about 90% of the local market over the stated period.

The second largest supplier of PVC is Russia, during the period under review, Russian PVC supplies reached 2,200 tonnes.

Jizzakh petroleum to build new refinery in Uzbekistan

MOSCOW (MRC) – Honeywell announced that Jizzakh Petroleum JV LLC will use Honeywell UOP technologies to build a new refinery capable of processing 5 million tons per year of crude oil to produce clean-burning gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The refinery is being built in the Jizzakh region of Eastern Uzbekistan.

Honeywell UOP will provide licensing and basic engineering design services to Jizzakh Petroleum for CCR Platforming™, Par-Isom™, Distillate Unionfining™, Unicracking™ and Merox™ processes. When completed, the refinery will produce 3.7 million tons per year of Euro V-quality motor fuels, 700,000 tons per year aviation fuel and 500,000 tons per year of other products, including LPG and bitumen.

"Jizzakh Petroleum is building this refinery to increase production of high-quality motor fuels and meet growing domestic demand for those fuels,” said John Gugel, president of Honeywell UOP. “The company chose Honeywell UOP due to the suitability of its technologies and its experience working in the region."

The Jizzakh refinery is part of the Uzbekistan government’s multi-year development plan to achieve national energy independence and increase the country’s export potential. With 33 million people, Uzbekistan is the most populous country in Central Asia.

Honeywell UOP’s CCR Platforming process converts low-quality naphtha to high-octane blending components for gasoline and a feed for aromatics production. Its Unicracking process provides deep refining of crude oil feedstocks, which enables it to produce transportation fuels that adhere to more stringent emissions regulations from a wider range of feedstocks than has previously been possible.

The UOP Par-Isom™ process upgrades light naphtha into high-value isomerate for gasoline blending, and the UOP Merox process treats jet fuel and LPG to meet product specifications. UOP distillate Unionfining is a middle distillates hydrotreating process that removes contaminants from feed streams.

The Jizzakh Refinery is a project of Jizzakh Petroleum JV LLC, a joint venture of JSC Uzbekneftegaz and Gas Project Development Central Asia (a subsidiary of Gazprom International).

Valero and Marathon beat profit estimates as refining margins rise

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Two of the biggest independent oil refiners in the United States beat Wall Street profit estimates as greater processing of cheap, light crude from West Texas helped boost margins, reported Reuters.

Shares of Findlay, Ohio-based Marathon Petroleum gained as much as 7 percent to USD79.43, while those of San Antonio, Texas-based Valero Energy Corp rose 4 percent to touch USD113.53.

Most refiners in the United States process heavy crude from countries such as Venezuela or Canada into diesel, gasoline and other products, but the U.S. shale revolution has added millions of barrels of very light crude to the supply mix.

After reporting a doubling of profit in the second quarter, Marathon Petroleum Chief Executive Officer Gary Heminger said business prospects should hold up "given strong global demand, wider crude differentials, and the changing dynamics of the low-sulfur fuel market."

The company said it plans to run 32 percent West Texas crude at its refineries in the third quarter, up from 23 percent a year earlier.

"As we look at our optionality and crude slate, we see opportunities to maximize usage of WTI crude," Heminger said on a post-earnings call with analysts.

Valero Energy CEO Joe Gorder said the refiner processed near record volumes of light crude in the second quarter.

Marathon’s earnings beat estimates by 24 cents, while rival Valero posted a profit of USD2.15 per share, ahead of estimate of USD1.98.

Marathon’s refining and marketing margin jumped 36 percent, while those for Valero rose 14 percent.

Margins were boosted by a discount on crude prices in Midland, Texas, which widened by nearly USD10 a barrel against the benchmark during the second quarter, as production in the Permian surged beyond pipeline capacity. Lower tax rates also helped.

Strong crack spreads - the margin on turning crude oil into diesel, gasoline and other products - also spurred utilization rates, or the extent to which refineries are running at full capacity without downtime.

Marathon operated its refineries at near full capacity in the quarter, while Valero ran at 93 percent and expects it to scale up to 95 percent in the current quarter.

The rise in margins was also helped by wider differentials between Western Canada Select, the benchmark for heavy crude found in Canada’s oil sands, and U.S. crude as a result of supply bottlenecks in Canada.

Revenue rose 22 percent at Marathon, while it surged 39 percent at Valero.

Profit at Valero jumped 54.2 percent from a year earlier, also helped by a drop in biofuel blending costs to USD131 million from USD255 million a year earlier, mainly due to lower Renewable Identification Number (RIN) prices.

RINs, which are renewable fuel credits, are used to comply with the country's biofuels requirements. A surge in waivers to refiners seeking exemptions here from the law under President Donald Trump's administration has sent the price of biofuels compliance credits to five-year lows.