Meridian signs letter of intent for Davis Refinery start-up services

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Meridian Energy Group, Inc., the leading developer of innovative and environmentally-compliant oil refining facilities, has announced that the company has signed a Letter of Intent with GATE Energy, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Meridian announced that GATE Energy has been selected to provide commissioning and start-up services to the Davis Refinery team during development and execution of the 49,500 bpd Davis Refinery located in Belfield, North Dakota. This LOI comes only weeks after Meridian has begun Civil Construction of the Davis Refinery. The Davis Refinery will commence construction in 2019 and will be fully operational in 2020.

GATE Energy is a family of companies that provide scalable, fit-for-purpose services for the energy sector including engineering, commissioning, field services, operations services and maintenance staffing services.

Steven Guy, President of Commissioning at GATE Energy said, "This award solidifies GATE Energy as best-in-class provider of commissioning services. With our back-to-back commissioning services awards we’ve earned for upstream projects, we’re extremely excited to now be an integral part of the first US greenfield refinery project in almost 40 years.

Lance Medlin, EVP of Projects at Meridian, remarked, “Meridian’s selection of GATE Energy as the Owners Commissioning and Start-Up team is the result of lengthy technical workshops and collaborations. GATE Energy will provide personnel for development planning and execution as well as their GATE Completion System (GCS), which will ensure the safe and efficient execution of the Davis Refinery."

As MRC reported earlier, in May 2018, Meridian Energy Group announced that it had signed a letter of intent with a leading specialty engineering, procurement and construction solutions provider based in Houston, Texas, to initially complete a front end engineering and design (FEED) study for the Davis Refinery in Belfield, North Dakota.

Glencore completes sale of Rosneft stake to Qatar

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Global diversified miner Glencore has completed the sale of its 14.16% stake in Russian integrated energy company Rosneft to a wholly-owned subsidiary of Qatar Investment Fund (QIA) for EUR3.7-billion, as per MiningWeekly.

Glencore now holds a direct equity stake in Rosneft of 0.57% and QIA holds a direct equity stake in Rosneft of 18.93%.

The Glencore-QIA consortium agreed to jointly acquire a 19.5% stake in Rosneft in December 2016, which helped the Russian government to meet a target for privatisation proceeds. They then cut a deal to sell most of those shares on to Chinese conglomerate CEFC, but in May this year the deal collapsed and QIA stepped in to buy the consortium’s stake.

A deal Glencore struck to buy 220 000 bbl/d of crude from Rosneft remains in place.

As MRC wrote before, in early September 2018, South Africa’s competition watchdog approved Glencore’sroughly USD900 million bid for Chevron’s local and Botswana assets on Thursday, bolstering its chances of scuppering a rival bid from China’s Sinopec.

PP imports in Russia grew by 21% in January-August

MOSCOW (MRC) - Russia's imports of polypropylene (PP) grew to about 131,500 tonne in first eight months of this year, up 21% year on year, compared to the same period of 2017. Supply of all grades of PP increased, according to a MRC's DataScope report.

Russian companies slightly reduced their PP imports in August, which were 17,100 tonnes versus 18,200 tonnes a month earlier, shipments of pipe PP random copolymer decreased. In general, PP imports into Russia were about 131,500 tonnes in January-August 2018, compared with 108,600 tonnes year on year. The import for all grades of propylene polymers increased, the greatest increase in supplies accounted on homopolymer PP.

Overall, the structure of PP imports by grades looked the following way over the stated period.

August imports of homopolymer PP increased to 6,300 tonnes against 5,900 tonnes a month earlier, shipments of homopolymer PP raffia from Turkmenistan increased. Overall imports of homopolymer PP reached 47,900 tonnes in the first eight months of 2018, compared to 37,200 a year earlier.

August imports of PP block copolymers in Russia were about 4,000 tonnes against 3,800 tonnes in July. Local companies increased their purchasing of PP block copolymer for extrusion injection moulding in Europe.

Imports of PP block copolymers into Russia rose to 32,200 tonnes in the first eight months of 2018, compared to 28,900 tonnes a year earlier.
Russia's imports of PP random copolymers in August were about 3,000 tonnes against 4,300 tonnes a month earlier, the devaluation of the rouble against the euro forced local producers of pressure pipes to reduce the volume of polymer purchases in Europe. Overall imports of this grade of propylene copolymers were 24,200 tonnes in the first eight months of 2018, compared to 19,300 tonnes a year earlier, with imports of pipe grade propylene copolymers accounting for more than a two-fold increase.

Imports of other propylene polymers for the reported period increased to about 27,100 tonnes compared with 23,300 tonnes in the same time a year earlier.


ExxonMobil eyes upgrading UK refinery for more than USD650 million

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Exxon Mobil Corp is planning to spend more than 500 million pounds (USD650 million) to upgrade the UK’s largest oil refinery, Fawley, on England’s south coast, reported Reuters with reference to a spokesman.

The project at the 270,000 barrel per day refinery - representing a fifth of British refining capacity - still needs a final investment decision which is not expected before the second quarter of next year, Exxon said.

The planned upgrade, which would include building a new hydrotreater and a new hydrogen plant, would reduce Britain’s reliance on diesel imports.

"ExxonMobil is considering significant upgrades at its Fawley site to help meet demand in the UK market for high quality fuels," Exxon said in a statement.

"If approved, the project, which is expected to involve an investment of hundreds of millions of pounds, will ... allow the site to process a wider selection of crude oils, and will help secure future employment for 1,000 employees at the site."

A spokesman confirmed a report in the Financial Times that the investment, if finalised, would amount to more than 500 million pounds.

The upgrade will allow the refinery to refine heavier, sourer barrels into ultra-low sulfur diesel, the FT reported.

As MRC wrote earlier, in October 2017, ExxonMobil Chemical Company commenced production on the first of two new 650,000 tons-per-year high-performance polyethylene (PE) lines at its plastics plant in Mont Belvieu, Texas. The full project, part of the company’s multi-billion dollar expansion project in the Baytown area and ExxonMobil’s broader Growing the Gulf expansion initiative, will increase the plant’s polyethylene capacity by approximately 1.3 million tons per year.

ExxonMobil is the largest non-government owned company in the energy industry and produces about 3% of the world's oil and about 2% of the world's energy.

BPCL to skip Iran oil purchases in October

MOSCOW (MRC) -- India’s state-run Bharat Petroleum Corp (BPCL) will skip the purchase of Iranian oil in October due to a turnaround at its plants, reported Reuters with reference to a source privy to the plan.

The refiner will, however, lift 1 million barrels of Iranian oil this month, said the source, who did not wish to be identified.

There was no immediate response from BPCL on Reuters’ email seeking comments.

BPCL has changed a crude mix for its 240,000 barrels per day (bpd) Mumbai refinery after shutting down the fire-hit hydrocracker unit last month to optimize its processing and output of refined products, said the source.

The hydrocracker unit will remain shut for at least another two months.

The refiner’s 120,000 bpd Bina refinery in central India is also shut down for about 45 days from mid-August.

As MRC informed previously, BPCL plans to build a USD3 billion petrochemical unit to serve the Mumbai region, a company official said, to profit from the country's expected surge in demand for petrochemicals as its economy expands. BPCL's expansion is part of a national plan to spend USD35 billion on petrochemical production in order to meet the expected increase in consumption of the chemicals for products including plastics, paints and adhesives. India currently only produces about 20 million tonnes a year of petrochemicals, less than the 40 million tonnes of demand expected for the 2017/18 financial year.