Oman Oil, ORPIC merge downstream businesses

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Oman Oil Co and Oman Oil Refineries and Petroleum Industries Co (ORPRIC) have merged their downstream businesses and appointed a new group chief executive as part of plans to integrate the two companies, reported Reuters with reference to ORPIC's statement posted on its twitter account.

Musab al-Mahruqi will take over as group chief executive effective Dec. 2 and oversee the integration of the management and assets of the two companies, the statement said.

Al-Mahruqi was chief executive of ORPIC between 2010 and 2016 and led Oman’s first large-scale corporate integration between 2010-2012, it said. He earlier worked at Oman Oil.

Reuters reported in May that Oman was working with consultancy McKinsey & Co to integrate its refining and petrochemical companies into one entity, citing a senior Omani official and a financial source.

In recent years, Gulf countries have looked at ways to reform their oil firms, including through privatization, to make them more efficient during a period of low oil prices.

Oman has been considering a wide range of privatizations for several years.

As MRC informed previously, in March 2017, ORPIC announced plans to raise capacity of its polypropylene (PP) plant to 340,000 tpa of high quality PP from 200,000 tpa.

ORPIC (Oman Oil Refineries and Petroleum Industries Company) is one of the leading companies in Oman and has two refineries in that country, in Sohar and Muscat. ORPIC is owned by the Government of the Sultanate of Oman and Oman Oil Company SAOC, the trading company created by the Government of the Sultanate of Oman for managing investments in the energy sector.

Trinity Energy firm to build refinery in South Sudan

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Trinity Energy subsidiary A&A Oil and Gas Ltd has been awarded a licence to build a 50,000 bpd refinery near the Paloich oilfield, around 350 km from the border with Ethiopia, said Yourpetrochemicalnews.

Preliminary feasibility studies have been carried out by Amec Foster Wheeler and Engineers India Ltd (EIL).

East Africa imports roughly 15 million tpy of petroleum products mostly from Asian refineries.

Trinity is planning to build a modular 25,000 bpd facility that can be quickly scaled up the capacity in multiples of 25,000 bpd.

The facility is expected to produce an initial 2.5 million tpy of petroleum products, ramping up to 10 million tpy over a period of 5 years. The output will target high growth export markets in Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania.

Construction is tabbed to begin in Q1 2019, with private equity providing part of the finance for the unit.

Chinese firm Peiyang Chemical Engineering Co. (PCC) will carry out EPC work and will establish a workshop to fabricate major components for the refinery.

South Sudanese oil production is expected to reach 300,000 bpd by Q3 2019.

Trinity Energy is also in negotiations with technology companies to build a product pipeline to Ethiopia.

SABIC expands its PP portfolio with new impact copolymer

MOSCOW (MRC) -- SABIC, a global leader in the chemical industry, has announced the launch of a new impact copolymer (ICP) grade - SABIC PP PPA20 - targeted at demanding home appliances as well as high-end cosmetics, furniture and other household consumer goods, as per the company's press release.

Apart from its high gloss feature that enables production of aesthetically appealing surfaces, the new compound is developed to offer well-balanced mechanical properties and easy processability, making it a promising alternative to incumbent ABS materials in these markets.

By 2050, the global population will grow to over 9 billion, with metropolitan areas expanding over-proportionally. Smart cities will be the home of an increasing middle class with a global spending power expected to reach USD20 trillion already by 2020, and a wealth of connective electrical and electronic appliances will form a new generation of smart consumer devices. We are firmly committed to meeting the needs of the home appliances industry for healthier and more sustainable as well as cost-efficient material solutions enabling manufacturers to benefit from this enormous market potential.

New SABIC PP PPA20 polymer is aimed to provide a combination of high gloss, high scratch resistance and low stress whitening over regular impact copolymers together with balanced impact strength and stiffness. In comparison with other, potentially more costly and overdesigned solutions - high-gloss SABIC PP PPA20 is engineered to deliver comparable optical properties and scratch resistance along with superior processability. In many application cases, it can offer brand owners, molders and OEMs a significant cost and energy savings potential based on its lower density, higher flow and faster crystallization than currently used materials resulting in potentially shorter cycle times. Further energy savings may be leveraged as the material eliminates the need for pre-drying and can be injection molded at lower mold and barrel temperatures versus ABS.

Low density and high flow also open conceivable new material and weight saving design opportunities for more resource-efficient and waste-reducing products, such as from sleek housings with lower wall-thicknesses. However, the more important advantage for consumers may be the phthalate-free polymer technology of SABIC PP PPA20, which answers the need for improved consumer health safety in - for instance - food contact appliances.

Targeted applications of SABIC’s new high-gloss impact copolymer span from household appliances and food storage containers to toys and furniture. Typical examples include coffee makers, steam irons, vacuum cleaners, personal hygiene appliances and aesthetic fascia for white goods, such as washing machines and refrigerators.

SABIC PP PPA20 addresses the needs of designers and molders in these markets for aesthetic as well as cost-efficient and more sustainable materials with higher performance characteristics for functional innovation and enhanced consumer experience. This advanced high-gloss impact copolymer polypropylene is outstanding proof of our dedicated market and customer focus as we reach into new application possibilities for profitable partnerships and mutual growth.

Already available in the Europe, Middle East and Africa regions, SABIC PP PPA20 is to be phased in commercially in the Americas in 2019.

As MRC reported previously, in November 2017, plastics-maker Sabic developed new materials for customers producing LED automotive lighting parts. LEXAN HF4010SR resin was one of the new offerings. This polycarbonate (PC) material can make it possible for customers to develop complex headlight bezels with enhanced aesthetics. Sabic also added new grades to its existing LEXAN XHT resin line, which can offer improved flow at high temperatures compared to other high-heat polycarbonate materials available today.

BP agrees to supply crude to St. Croix refinery

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BP Plc’s trading arm has entered a tolling agreement with the owners of an idled oil refinery in St. Croix, US Virgin Islands, cementing plans to bring the plant back online six years after it was idled by previous owners, reported Reuters with reference to the company.

Under BP’s tolling agreement with Limetree Bay Refining LLC, owner of the idled Hovensa refinery, BP will supply the facility with crude and sell its products, low-sulfur fuels that will meet an International Maritime Organization mandate in 2020, it said in a statement.

BP declined to comment further. Limetree did not respond to requests for comment.

Limetree, owned by private equity firm ArcLight Capital Partners LLC, is investing USD1.5 billion to bring the Hovensa refinery, one of the largest such facilities in the world, back online by late 2019, with plans to process 200,000 barrels per day (bpd).

It aims to produce low-sulfur fuels that satisfy the International Maritime Organization rule calling for large vessels to switch by 2020 to fuels containing no more than 0.5 percent sulfur from 3.5 percent. The rule is widely expected to spur new demand for the distillates the refinery would produce.

Limetree’s facility has more than 1,100 construction workers on site and has brought online 25 million barrels of crude storage capacity.

As MRC wrote earlier, British oil and gas company BP will increase investment in the United States after the lowering of tax rates under President Donald Trump, Chief Executive Bob Dudley said in early February 2018. BP invested USD90 billion in the United States over the past decade, excluding USD65 billion in fines and clean up costs over the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, making it the country's biggest investor in the energy sector.

PE imports to Ukraine down by 2% in Jan-Oct 2018

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Imports of polyethylene (PE) into the Ukrainian market dropped in the first ten months of 2018 by 2% year on year to 200,200 tonnes. At the same time, only the high density polyethylene (HDPE) and ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) segments accounted for a reduction in imports, according to MRC's DataScope report.

Last month's PE imports to Ukraine rose to 21,100 tonnes from 16,500 tonnes in September, with HDPE accounting for the main increase in purchases. Overall PE imports reached 200,200 tonnes in January-October 2018, compared to 204,500 tonnes a year earlier. Imports of HDPE and EVA decreased, whereas demand for other ethylene polymers increased noticeably.

The structure of PE imports by grades looked the following way over the stated period.

Last month's HDPE imports grew to 8,200 tonnes from 4,900 in September, all PE grades accounted for the increase in shipments. Overall HDPE imports reached 63,100 tonnes in the first ten months of 2018, compared to 81,500 tonnes a year earlier. Film grade HDPE accounted for the greatest reduction in imports (about 56%), which was caused by the resumption of the local production.

October imports of low density polyethylene (LDPE) rose to 5,600 tonnes from 4,500 tonnes a month earlier, local companies increased their LDPE purchases in Russia. Overall LDPE imports reached 62,600 tonnes over the stated period, up by 13% year on year.

Last month's imports of linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) were 6,200 tonnes versus 5,800 tonnes in September, local producers of film products raised their purchasing. Overall LLDPE imports grew to 61,600 tonnes in January-October 2018 versus 54,300 tonnes a year earlier. Local films producers accounted for the main increase in imports.

Imports of other PE grades, including EVA, totalled 12,700 tonnes over the stated period, compared to 13,200 tonnes a year earlier.