Saudi Arabia plans oil refinery, petchem plant in South Africa

MOSCOW (MRC) - Saudi Arabia plans to build an oil refinery and petrochemicals plant in South Africa as part of USD10 billion of investments in the country, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said after talks with his South African counterpart, as per Reuters.

The announcement is a much-needed vote of confidence in Africa’s most industrialized economy, where President Cyril Ramaphosa is trying to attract USD100 billion of new investments to rekindle growth.

The new refinery would reduce the need for refined product imports and cement Saudi Arabia’s dominant position in South Africa’s oil sector. The Gulf kingdom already supplies 40 percent of the crude oil consumed in South Africa.

“Saudi Aramco and South Africa’s Central Energy Fund are moving forward with the feasibility study and identifying the parameters of the project,” Falih told reporters in Pretoria, South Africa’s administrative capital. South African Energy Minister Jeff Radebe said a location for the refinery and petrochemicals plant would be finalized in the coming weeks. The capacity for the refinery is yet to be determined.

South Africa has talked about building an extra refinery for a decade, but it has struggled to agree with commercial terms with investors.

It has six refineries, four using crude oil and two synthetic fuel as feedstock. Royal Dutch Shell, BP, Total and Sasol are among major refinery operators.

Falih said Saudi Arabia had held discussions with Ramaphosa’s predecessor, Jacob Zuma, about building a refinery in South Africa but the proposed location was not attractive.

The two governments are now considering Richard’s Bay in KwaZulu-Natal province, home to South Africa’s major coal export terminal, among potential locations for the refinery.

State oil giant Saudi Aramco is also studying whether to use South African oil storage facilities in Saldanha Bay, while Saudi power firm Acwa Power is looking at investing in South Africa’s revamped renewable energy programme.

Oil refining capacity to grow at record pace this year - IEA

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Global oil refining capacity is set to increase at its fastest pace on record this year, possibly boosting stocks of products such as diesel, gasoline and marine fuel, reported Reuters with reference to the International Energy Agency.

Oil refining capacity will rise by 2.6 million barrels per day (bpd) and demand for refined products by around 1.1 million bpd, the IEA said in a monthly report.

It was not clear yet what that meant for margins, which slumped as the price of crude rose last year, said the Paris-based IEA, which coordinates the energy policies of industrialised countries.

"This (demand growth) utilises only half of the new capacity coming on stream. If refining margins are supported by accommodating crude prices, utilisation rates will not decline. This should mean that product stocks will increase," it said.

An increase in stocks of refined products could be "useful", the IEA said, ahead of the implementation next year of regulations by the International Maritime Organization to reduce sulphur content in shipping fuel.

Margins remain under pressure from rising oil throughput, which hit a historic high last month at 84.2 million bpd. Refineries will process 83.4 million bpd this year, compared with 82.2 million bpd last year, according to the agency.

"The global refining industry is facing a challenging 2019 ... If average crude prices continue moving higher for the third consecutive year, refining margins may decline to levels that force slowdown in some refining regions," the IEA said.

Neste Engineering Solutions’ PMC work continues successfully ‒ SOCARs fertilizer plant now inaugurated

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Neste Engineering Solutions has reached an important milestone with PMC (Project Management Consultant) project for SOCAR, the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic, in constructing a greenfield ammonia-urea fertilizer plant in Sumgayit, Azerbaijan, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The inauguration of the SOCAR carbamide complex took place on 16th of January 2019 and was held by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Mr. Ilham Aliyev. The start-up of the production plant is now done and production is in operation. This nitrogen fertilizer project belongs to the State Program on Reliable Food Supply of Population in the Republic of Azerbaijan for 2008?2015. The main product of this plant will be granulated urea fertilizer. “We are very happy that this project has reached another important milestone and the fertilizer plant has now been inaugurated. Our team in Azerbaijan has done a great job with this project, which is soon completed”, tells Patrick von Essen, Managing Director, Neste Engineering Solutions.

There were 2,500 to 2,700 people working on a daily basis at the project site covering over 25 hectares, the size of 60+ soccer fields. The plant itself consists of total 11,000 tons of steel structures. The new ammonia-urea complex is now in operation and it is estimated to produce 1,200 tons of ammonia and 2,000 tons of urea per day when completed.

Neste Engineering Solutions offer high quality technology and engineering services, including engineering, procurement, construction and project management services for the Oil & Gas, Petrochemicals and Bio-industries.

The State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) is involved in exploring oil and gas fields, producing, processing, and transporting oil, gas, and gas condensate, marketing petroleum and petrochemical products in domestic and international markets, and supplying natural gas to industry and the public in Azerbaijan. Three production divisions, one oil refineries and one gas processing plant, a deep water platform fabrication yard, two trusts, one institution, and 23 subdivisions are operating as corporate entities under SOCAR. SOCAR conducts various petroleum activities in countries such as Georgia, Turkey, Romania, Switzerland, Germany and Ukraine, including trading activities, mainly in Switzerland, Singapore and Nigeria.

PVC imports to Belarus down 4% in Jan-Nov 2018

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Imports of unmixed polyvinyl chloride (PVC) into Belarus dropped in the first eleven months of 2018 by 4% year on year to about 30,100 tonnes, according to MRC's DataScope report.

According to the statistical committee of the Republic of Belarus, local converters significantly reduced their purchasing of PVC in November 2018 under the pressure of seasonal factors. Total imports were 1,700 tonnes, compared to 2,600 tonnes a month earlier.

Thus, imports of unmixed PVC reached 30,100 tonnes in the first eleven months of 2018 versus 31,300 tonnes a year earlier, with local windows producers accounting for a decrease in demand.
Russian producers with the share of about 88% of the Belarusian market were the key suppliers of resin to Belarus over the stated period. Producers from Ukraine and Germany with the share of 6% and 4% were the second and third largest suppliers, respectively.


PE imports to Ukraine down by 1% in 2018

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Overall imports of polyethylene (PE) into the Ukrainian market dropped in 2018 by 1% year on year to 244,400 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 22,300 tonnes from 21,900 tonnes in November, with low density polyethylene (LDPE) and HDPE accounting for a slight increase in imports. Overall PE imports reached 244,400 tonnes in January-December 2018, compared to 247,600 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 increased to 9,000 tonnes from 7,300 in November, with injection moulding and blow moulding grade PE accounting for the reduction in shipments. Overall HDPE imports reached 79,300 tonnes in 2017, compared to 96,700 tonnes a year earlier. Fim grade and pipe grade HDPE accounted for the greatest decrease in imports, which was 53% and 12%, respectively.

December imports of low density polyethylene (LDPE) rose to 7,300 tonnes from 6,400 tonnes a month earlier, local companies increased their LDPE purchases in Russia. Overall LDPE imports reached 76,300 tonnes over the stated period, up by 10% year on year.

Last month's imports of linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) were 5,500 tonnes versus 6,600 tonnes in November, local producers of film products cut their purchasing. Last year's overall LLDPE imports grew to 73,700 tonnes from 66,100 tonnes a year earlier. Local films producers accounted for the main increase in imports.

Imports of other PE grades, including ethylene-vinyl-acetate (EVA), totalled 15,100 tonnes over the stated period, compared to 15,600 tonnes a year earlier.