The United States expands its role as worlds leading ethane exporter

MOSCOW (MRC) -- U.S. exports of ethane have increased from nearly nothing in 2013 to an average of 260,000 barrels per day through the first 10 months of 2018, accounting for about one-sixth of U.S. hydrocarbon gas liquids exports, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Ethane is a key feedstock for petrochemical manufacturing. The United States became the world’s top exporter of ethane in 2015, surpassing Norway, the only other country to ship ethane internationally. In 2014 and 2015, all U.S. ethane shipments went to Canada, but in 2018 the United States sent ethane to 10 countries.

U.S. production of ethane, which is separated from raw natural gas at processing plants, increased along with development of U.S. natural gas shale resources. U.S. ethane production grew 74%, from an average of 1.0 million b/d in 2012 to 1.7 million b/d in the 10-month period from January to October 2018. During the same period, ethane consumed in the United States increased from 0.9 million to 1.5 million b/d, primarily because of new sources of demand and new infrastructure that allows ethane to reach consumers.

The U.S. petrochemical industry, responding to greater feedstock availability and consequent lower prices of ethane on the domestic market, added capacity at existing plants and built new petrochemical steam crackers, resulting in an estimated USD200 billion dollars of new investment across the country.

Since early 2014, when the United States first exported ethane by pipeline to Canada, further infrastructure additions have enabled exports of ethane to grow and expand their geographic reach. Two more pipelines to Canada, as well as two marine terminals capable of shipping super-cooled ethane overseas, entered service in early 2018. Altogether, current U.S. export capacity totals nearly 450,000 b/d, and the United States now supplies ethane to Brazil, Canada, India, Mexico, Norway, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

Recent completion of the Utopia pipeline—from Ohio to Ontario—has facilitated more ethane exports to Canada, and ethane exports are expected to grow, along with the capacity of the Canadian petrochemical industry to process the ethane into ethylene at the Sarnia, Ontario hub. Additional export facilities in the United States are also either under construction or being planned. Exports of ethane from Marcus Hook are likely to increase once the Mariner East 2 pipeline, which will deliver ethane to the terminal, is complete.

Energy Transfer Partners, parent company of Sunoco Logistics, is planning to build its second ethane export terminal along the Gulf Coast in Nederland, Texas. The Orbit Ethane Export Terminal, planned for completion in late 2020, will have the capacity to export 175,000 b/d of ethane overseas, with 150,000 b/d of that capacity already committed to Satellite Petrochemicals of China for its two newly built petrochemical crackers.

PBF Energy battling fire at crude unit of Delaware refinery

MOSCOW (MRC) -- PBF Energy Inc said a fire occurred around noon Sunday at its 175,000 barrel-per-day crude unit at its Delaware City, Delaware refinery, reported Reuters.

There were no injuries, a PBF spokesman said. The company did not say what caused the fire or the extent of the damage.

The Delaware City Volunteer Fire Company said firefighters were still working to extinguish the blaze.

As MRC wrote previously, on 10 January 2019, there was a fire at HollyFrontier Corp’s 39,330 barrel-per-day (bpd) Woods Cross, Utah, refinery, which was extinguished by noon MST(1900 GMT). The company did not expect a material impact to operations at the refinery from the fire, which started around 10 a.m. MST in the 8,000-bpd reformer unit.

Q4 earnings outlook for Olin

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Analysts expect Olin earnings of 34 cents per share. Revenue will likely be around USD1.71 billion, according to the consensus estimate, said Benzinga.

If the company were to post earnings inline with the consensus estimate when it reports Monday, EPS would be up 6.25 percent. Revenue would be up 5.56 percent from the year-ago period. Here's how the Olin's reported EPS has stacked up against analyst estimates in the past.

Over the last 52-week period, shares are down 35.09 percent. Given that these returns are generally negative, long-term shareholders won't be happy going into this earnings release. Long-term shareholders are already enjoying 12-month gains prior to the announcement.

Analysts have adjusted their estimates higher for EPS and revenues over the past 90 days. Analysts seem to have settled on a Neutral rating with Olin. The strength of this rating has risen over the past three months.

Bedrock Automation and Wood partner to advance Open Secure Automation

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Bedrock Automation, the maker of the world’s most secure open industrial control system (ICS), has established a partnership agreement with Wood, a globally recognized integration provider, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Under the agreement, Wood automation & control will deliver Bedrock Open Secure Automation (OSA®) to its clients in the energy and industrial markets. Wood has active membership in The Open Process Automation™ Forum, which is focused on the development of a standards-based, open, secure, interoperable process control architecture.

"This partnership centers on combining our diverse capabilities and innovative solutions in automation with Bedrock’s OSA® technology to bring open and secure systems to our clients, advancing our position as a world-leading automation provider and bringing greater cyber protection to our client’s projects,” said Jeff Shannon, Senior Manager of Strategy and Development in Wood’s automation & control group.

Wood’s automation and control group is a system-independent integrator comprised of over 1,400 automation professionals, with access to over 5,000 technical experts that provide full engineering, consulting, procurement, and construction services to customers around the world. Wood’s core automation experience spans the full spectrum from small integration projects to main automation contractor programs for large, multi-EPC projects, including a diverse portfolio of vertical markets. The company’s expertise extends across the full spectrum of hardware, including instrumentation, programmable logic controllers (PLC), distributed control systems (DCS), logic solvers and higher-level applications.

"We are delighted with this new partnership, which is another significant step forward in delivering Open Secure Automation to everyone. Bedrock’s focus will be to work with Wood – applying the vast knowledge and expertise of both companies to deliver secure and open control systems technology,” said Robert Bergman, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development, Bedrock Automation.

Trinseo raises February prices of PS and copolymers in Europe

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Trinseo, a global materials company and manufacturer of plastics, latex binders and synthetic rubber, and its affiliate companies in Europe have announced a price increase for all polystyrene (PS), acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) and acrylonitrile-styrene copolymer (SAN) grades, said the producer on its site.

Effective February 1, 2019, or as existing contract terms allow, the contract and spot prices for the products listed below rose as follows:

- STYRON general purpose polystyrene grades (GPPS) - by EUR45 per metric ton;
- STYRON and STYRON A-TECH high impact polystyrene grades (HIPS) - by EUR45 per metric ton;
- MAGNUM ABS resins - by EUR30 per metric ton;
- TYRIL SAN resins - by EUR35 per metric ton.

As MRC informed before, Trinseo last increased its prices for all PS grades on 1 January 2019. Thus, January prices for the said products grew, as stated below:

- STYRON GPPS grades - by EUR15 per metric ton;
- STYRON and STYRON A-Tech HIPS grades - by EUR15 per metric ton.

Trinseo is a global materials company and manufacturer of plastics, latex and rubber. Trinseo's technology is used by customers in industries such as home appliances, automotive, building & construction, carpet, consumer electronics, consumer goods, electrical & lighting, medical, packaging, paper & paperboard, rubber goods and tires. Formerly known as Styron, Trinseo completed its renaming process in 1Q 2015. Trinseo had approximately USD4.4 billion in net sales in 2017, with 16 manufacturing sites around the world, and approximately 2,200 employees.