Saudi Arabia to set up USD10 billion oil refinery in Pakistan

MOSCOW (MRC) - Saudi Arabia plans to set up a USD10 billion oil refinery in Pakistan’s deepwater port of Gwadar, the Saudi energy minister said on Saturday, speaking at the Indian Ocean port that is being developed with the help of China, as per Reuters.

"Saudi Arabia wants to make Pakistan’s economic development stable through establishing an oil refinery and partnership with Pakistan in the China Pakistan Economic Corridor," Saudi Energy Khalid al-Falih told reporters in Gwadar.

He said Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman would visit Pakistan in February to sign the agreement. The minister added that Saudi Arabia would also invest in other sectors.

"With setting up of an oil refinery in Gwadar, Saudi Arabia will become an important partner in CPEC," Pakistan Petroleum Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan said.

The Saudi news agency SPA earlier reported that Falih met Pakistan’s petroleum minister and Maritime Affairs Minister Ali Zaidi in Gwadar to discuss cooperation in refining, petrochemicals, mining and renewable energy.

It said Falih would finalize arrangements ahead of signing memorandums of understanding. Since the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan came to power in August, Pakistan has secured economic assistance packages from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and China.

In November, Pakistan extended talks with the International Monetary Fund as it seeks its 13th bailout since the late 1980s to deal with a looming balance of payments crisis.

The Pakistani prime minister’s office had said on Thursday that Islamabad expected to sign investment agreements with Saudi Arabia and the UAE in the coming weeks.

Alpek to purchase PET recycling plant in Indiana

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Alpek declared that one of its subsidiaries has entered into an agreement with Perpetual Recycling Solutions, LLC to take over PET recycling plant in Richmond, Indiana, USA, said the company.

The agreement is subject to customary conditions. The terms and conditions of the agreement will be revealed at a later stage. The agreement is expected to be concluded during the first quarter of 2019.

High quality recycled PET flake up to approximately 45,000 tons per year can be produced at the Perpetual PET recycling plant. Alpek’s food-grade PET recycling operations are located in Argentina and its fiber-grade PET recycling joint venture facility is operating in Fayetteville, North Carolina, USA. Acquisition of PET recycling plant in Richmond, Indiana will be complementing the production of the existing two facilities.

Operating two business segments: Polyester (PTA, PET and polyester fibers), and Plastics & Chemicals (polypropylene, expandable polystyrene, caprolactam, and other specialty and industrial chemicals), Alpek is an integrated producer of PTA and PET in North America. The company is the largest expandable polystyrene manufacturer in the Americas, and the only producer of caprolactam in Mexico.

Alpek also has one of the largest polypropylene facilities in North America. The Company has 26 plants spread over in the United States, Mexico, Canada, Brazil, Argentina and Chile and has more than 5,900 people. Alpek, a publicly traded company, is listed on the Mexican Stock Exchange.

During the year 2017, Alpek’s revenues stood at USD5.2 billion and EBITDA of USD384 million. Some of the highlights of Alpek include the leading position in America, consumer-oriented product portfolio, high-return investment projects, low-cost producer with leading technology, an experienced management team, and strong financial performance.

Grace licenses process technology for new PP production facility

MOSCOW (MRC) -- W. R. Grace & Co., the leading supplier of polyolefin catalyst technology and polypropylene (PP) process technology, has contracted to license its UNIPOL PP Process Technology to Hanwha Total Petrochemical Co., Ltd. for a new PP production facility in Daesan, South Korea, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

With a capacity of 400 kilotons per year, the PP line is expected to begin operations in 2021.

Hanwha Total Petrochemical is a 50/50 joint venture between Hanwha General Chemicals Co., Ltd. and Total S.A., the French integrated oil and gas company considered one of the world’s seven supermajor oil companies. Hanwha is South Korea’s leading producer of purified terephthalic acid (PTA), a primary component in many types of polyester. The joint venture’s Daesan petrochemical complex consists of 13 separate plants, producing polymers, base chemicals, and oil products.

Grace's gas-phase UNIPOL PP Process Technology provides the most advanced and broadest range of PP homopolymers and copolymers in the industry. As the simplest of all PP process technologies, with fewer moving parts and less equipment than any alternative, its reliable, stable, and predictable operation leads to lower capital investment cost as well as lower operating and maintenance costs.

Yu Byungchang, Vice President of Hanwha Total Petrochemical, said, "We are committed to providing high quality, differentiated products at competitive prices. Grace’s UNIPOL PP process and CONSISTA catalyst systems meet our strict requirements for quality and value, which help us continue to exceed the expectations of our customers."

Laura Schwinn, President of Grace’s Specialty Catalysts business segment, said, "Grace is pleased to be selected to provide our technology and catalysts to Hanwha Total Petrochemical and to help them offer the broad capability and most advanced resins that deliver significant value to their customers."

As MRC informed earlier, in April 2018, W. R. Grace & Co. completed the USD416 million acquisition of the Polyolefin Catalysts business of Albemarle Corporation. The acquired business primarily develops and manufactures proprietary and custom-manufactured single-site catalysts as well as metallocenes and activators used in the production of plastic resins. The transaction also includes a comprehensive series of highly optimized Ziegler-Natta catalysts for polyethylene production. The acquisition includes production plants in Baton Rouge, LA and Yeosu, South Korea; R&D and pilot plant capabilities; and an extensive portfolio of intellectual property.

A leader in polyolefin catalysts and licensing, Grace has the world’s broadest portfolio of polypropylene and polyethylene catalyst technologies used to produce thermoplastic resins for a variety of applications. A leading innovator and strategic partner to its customers, Grace supplies catalyst solutions for all polyolefin processes, as well as polypropylene process technology and process controls. Grace employs approximately 3,700 people in over 30 countries.

Ulsan PP awards EPC contract to SK E&C for new PP production facility in Ulsan

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Ulsan PP Co., a joint venture of SK Advanced and PolyMirae, has awarded an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to SK Engineering & Construction (SK E&C) for a polypropylene (PP) production plant in Ulsan, South Korea, as per Apic-online.

The new 400,000-t/y PP facility, which will utilize LyondellBasell's Spheripol technology, will be "one of the largest of its kind" in Asia, the companies noted. Construction will begin this quarter, with commercial operations expected to start in the first half of 2021.

SK E&C is an affiliate of SK Gas, which owns 45% of the shares in SK Advanced. The EPC contract is valued at around USD351-million.

PP produced at the new plant will be sold to customers in South Korea and exported throughout Asia and the world.

As MRC reported before, on November 2017, SK Advanced took off-stream its propane dehydrogenation (PDH) plant for a maintenance turnaround. The plant remained off-line for a period of around one month. Located in Ulsan, South Korea, the plant has a propylene production capacity of 600,000 mt/year.

SK Advanced, a joint venture of South Korea's largest LPG supplier SK Gas and Advanced Petrochemical Company (APC) of Saudi Arabia.

ExxonMobil Beaumont, Texas refinery restarts CDU, coker

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Exxon Mobil Corp’s 365,644 barrel-per-day (bpd) Beaumont, Texas, refinery restarted the small crude distillation unit (CDU) following a plantwide power outage on Saturday, reported Reuters with reference to sources familiar with plant operations.

In addition to the 110,000 bpd Crude A CDU, Exxon was restarting the 16,000 bpd alkylation unit and the 45,000 bpd coker, the sources said.

"Exxon Mobil continues to re-start units that were safely idled following an electrical fire that occurred," said company spokeswoman Sarah Nordin.

The fire in a transformer at the refinery’s co-generation plant on Saturday caused no injuries, the sources said.

The refinery’s return to full production would probably stretch into next week, the sources said.

Crude A is the smaller of two CDUs at the refinery doing the primary breakdown of crude oil into hydrocarbon feedstocks for all other units.

The coker converts residual crude oil from distillation units into hydrocarbon feedstock or petroleum coke, a coal substitute.

The alkylation unit converts refining byproducts into octane-boosting components that are blended into gasoline.

As MRC wrote before, 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.