China November refinery runs rise year-on-year, but ease from record as sales slow

MOSCOW (MRC) -- China’s November refinery throughput rose from a year earlier, heading for an annual record, official data indicated on Friday, although the runs eased from highs touched in the previous two months as product inventories swelled and sales slowed, reported Reuters.

Refineries in November processed 50.46 million tonnes of crude oil, or 12.28 million barrels per day, up 2.9 percent from the same month last year, according to Reuters calculations based on data from the National Bureau of Statistics.

The daily crude processing rates, however, came off 12.43 million bpd in October and a record of 12.49 million bpd in September, the statistics data showed.

The fall from the September-October peaks came as the government lowered prices for gasoline and diesel in November to track a steep drop in global crude prices, and to counter a sharp slowdown in local sales that started in mid-October.

"China’s state planner lowered gasoline and diesel prices three times in November. Both teapots and state refiners were under pressure to sell products to meet their annual sales target," said Han Cong, products analyst with consultancy JLC.

She added that private refiners’ utilization rates fell to 63.22 percent in the first week of December from 65.71 percent at the start of November, further indication of the pressure plants are under to scale back operations amid slowing sales.

Still, for the first 11 months, refinery output gained 7.2 percent to 554.48 million tonnes, or 12.12 million bpd, on track for an annual record.

The slowing domestic products sales have also prompted state refiners to seek additional fuel export quotas to release some of the glut.

Crude throughput is still expected to increase over last year levels in December as a new refinery starts up.

China’s private refiner Hengli Petrochemical said on Wednesday it plans test operations at its 400,000-bpd refinery in Dalian on Dec. 15, which is likely to be reflected more fully in the country’s refinery output in January.

China’s November natural gas production rose 10 percent to a record of 14.3 billion cubic meters (bcm), the data showed, to cope with heating demand that typically starts every year from around mid-November.

China ramped up both domestic output and imports to meet rising demand from households as the government switched another 3 million households to gas heating this winter.

For January-November, gas output was up 6.6 percent from a year ago at 143.8 bcm.

China is expected to consume 270 bcm of gas this year, the chairwoman of Beijing Gas, the dominant gas distributor in China’s capital, said on Thursday. That represents a rise of 12.5 percent, in line with an earlier estimate by consultancy SIA Energy.

China’s crude oil output in November fell 1.3 percent from the same month last year, and was down 1.6 percent versus a year earlier for the first 11 months, the data showed.

KBR first PurifierPlus ammonia process based plant commissioned

MOSCOW (MRC) -- KBR, Inc. announced that it has fully commissioned its first PurifierPlus™ ammonia process based greenfield plant at PT Panca Amara Utama (PAU) in Sulawesi, Indonesia, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

KBR's new PurifierPlus™ ammonia process provides plant owners with the most energy efficient, low installed cost and the most reliable ammonia technology with enhanced environmental compliance.

The total installed cost of the PurifierPlus™ technology is typical 10-15% less than other technologies and it allows for a smaller plot plan footprint, achieving a 25%-35% reduction compared to a conventional ammonia plant.

In addition to PurifierPlus™ technology, KBR is also providing its proprietary Ammonia InSite® digitalization technology, which maximizes operational performance and profitability of ammonia plants with five applications focused on production management, energy efficiency, maintenance, reliability, and environmental compliance. The online real-time system includes performance diagnostics and analytics, benchmarking, predictability of outcomes, and prevention of unplanned downtime, along with support from KBR experts.

"I am pleased to announce that the first PurifierPlus™ based greenfield project has been successfully commissioned at PAU and is currently operating at 110% of design capacity," said John Derbyshire, KBR President, Technology. "Our PurifierPlus™ technology delivers our clients the lowest total installed cost for ammonia plant projects in the industry while at the same time providing state-of the-art energy and environmental performance. The compact plant design and the InSite system provide additional cost and performance benefits making it a highly attractive technology solution for our clients."

PT Panca Amara Utama (PAU) has set up this 700,000 metric tons per annum (MTPA) capacity greenfield ammonia plant in Batui District, Banggai Regency, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia. The project represents a commitment to prioritize local manufacturing to convert the country's natural resources into industrial products, and support the development of the manufacturing sector in Eastern Indonesia. PAU will be the first ammonia plant in Sulawesi and the second privately-owned plant in Indonesia.

Fire breaks out at Manguinhos refinery in Rio de Janeiro

MOSCOW (MRC) - A fire broke out at the Manguinhos oil refinery in Rio de Janeiro, according to the local fire department, and television footage showed extensive plumes of smoke and fire spewing into the air, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Firemen were called at 1:40 p.m. local time, the department said. About 90 minutes later the fire had subsided, but authorities continued to work to put it out completely, according to the department.

Refit, the company that operates the refinery, said in a statement that no one was injured in the fire. It did not say if the fire would impact its output. The company's shares fell more than 6 percent to 3.08 reais ($0.79) on the news.

Refit said the fire started at a truck loading area. "The priority was making sure the fire did not spread to areas of greater risk, such as the storage and production areas," it.

Borouge begins construction of 5th UAE polypropylene unit

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Borouge, a joint venture between Abu Dhabi National Oil Company and Austria’s Borealis, has started construction of a fifth polypropylene (PP) unit in the United Arab Emirates, reported Reuters with reference to the company.

The new unit at the Borouge 3 plant will have a capacity of 480,000 tonnes a year and boost Borouge’s production capacity by more than 255 percent, it said.

It is expected to go online in the third quarter of 2021, the company said.

As MRC informed previously, in H1 September 2018, Borouge PP Plant EPCBorouge signed the Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) contract with Maire Tecnimont Group for building its fifth PP plant with a capacity of 480,000 t/y in Ruwais to increase production capacity of PP by 25% to 2.24 million tonnes t/y. This opens up new opportunities to integrate with the local industries. The new PP5 plant will be added to the existing Borouge 3 plants in Ruwais scheduled to be commissioned in Q3 2021.

Borealis is a leading provider of innovative solutions in the fields of polyolefins, base chemicals and fertilizers. With headquarters in Vienna, Austria, Borealis currently employs around 6,500 and operates in over 120 countries.

Alfa Laval to divest major part of its Greenhouse activity, to the LU-VE Group

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Alfa Laval – a world leader in heat transfer, centrifugal separation and fluid handling – has signed an umbrella agreement with the LU-VE Group to sell parts of its air heat exchanger business, related to commercial/industrial air heat exchangers, currently placed in the Greenhouse division. The closing of the agreement is expected during first half of 2019, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The product group commercial/industrial air heat exchangers represent the major part of today’s Greenhouse. It was moved there in 2016, along with a few other selected product groups, to give it the best possible conditions to improve its performance. The strategy has proven to be successful and the air heat exchanger business reported revenues of more than SEK 1 billion during the last twelve months.

"This business has made big improvements in the last two years both in terms of growth and profitability,” says Tom Erixon, President and CEO of the Alfa Laval Group. “However, we concluded it would have even better opportunities to continue developing under the ownership of the LU-VE Group."

The President of LU-VE, Iginio Liberali, says: “Alfa Laval’s commercial/industrial air heat exchangers will fit perfectly into the strategic design of growth and qualification of the LU-VE Group. With the acquisition, the Group will be among the three largest global operators in the sector. It will reinforce our capability to offer services and components of high quality and reliability."

The agreement to divest the commercial/industrial air heat exchanger business to LU?VE Group will affect about 400 employees, mainly based at the production sites in Italy, Finland and India, and the purpose is to transfer the employees to the LU-VE Group as per closing date of the transaction.

Alfa Laval will continue to supply air heat exchangers (such as Alfa Laval ACE, Alfa Laval Niagara and Alfa Laval OLMI) for heavy process industry applications and other types of heat exchangers (such as brazed heat exchangers) for the HVAC and refrigeration industry.