ExxonMobil ships Group II Base Stocks from Rotterdam Refinery

MOSCOW (MRC) -– ExxonMobil Basestocks has announced the commercial readiness of its EHC 50 and EHC 120 base stocks, following the on-time completion of the Rotterdam refinery expansion project, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The Rotterdam refinery is the first world-scale producer of Group II base stocks in Europe, making ExxonMobil the only Group I and II base stocks producer with significant manufacturing assets in the US, Europe and Asia-Pacific.

"By continuously growing our manufacturing network, we are strengthening our global supply capability, and providing customers with an efficient and robust product offer," said Nick Berthiaux, Vice President, Basestocks & Specialties. "Seeing the first shipment of our EHC base stocks gives us all great satisfaction, and reaffirms that our offer is unique, differentiated and valued by the market we serve."

Start up of EHC production at the Rotterdam refinery has begun following the completion of the USD1 billion hydrocracker expansion project in the fourth quarter of 2018. The project also increases the production of ultra-low sulfur diesel and improves the refinery’s energy efficiency by five percent.

Base stocks storage capacity at the Rotterdam refinery was increased with the expansion, helping ensure improved supply reliability, and ExxonMobil’s expanded collaboration with additive companies provides maximum product coverage. ExxonMobil’s EHC base stocks slate helps enable cost-effective blending of the majority of lubricant applications in the automotive, heavy-duty and industrial sectors. As a result of the expanded collaboration, a number of market-general formulations for EHC grades are available now from the main additive suppliers.

"Our goal is to provide customers with a reliable Group I and Group II offer alongside the highest standards in customer service and product integrity," said Ted Walko, Global Basestocks & Specialties Marketing Manager at ExxonMobil. "The successful completion of this expansion is the result of a lot of hard work and collaboration, and while this signals the end of the project, it is only the beginning for Group II production in Europe."

Following the September announcement of an additional hub terminal for vessel and truck loading in Valencia, Spain, now fully operational, ExxonMobil Basestocks will continue to expand its Group II supply capabilities with a hub terminal in Hamburg, Germany, scheduled for late summer of 2019.

As MRC informed 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 PE 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.

Ineos Styrolution makes China move

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Ineos Styrolution has made its first production move into China with the acquisition of two 200,000-tonne polystyrene facilities from Total S.A., as per Plasticsinpack.

The deal, which includes the Foshan site in the Guangdong Province in South China and the Ningbo site in the Zhejiang Province in Eastern China, was agreed in August 2018 and has now received regulatory approval. It also includes two sales offices in Gunagzhou and Shanghai.

The increase in its Asia manufacturing footprint is part of Ineos Styrolution’s Triple Shift growth strategy, and provides access to the domestic market in China with locally produced materials.

"We continue to execute on our growth strategy," said Kevin McQuade, chief executive of Ineos Styrolution. "After the integration of the K-Resin business, the current deal marks our second acquisition in Asia, a region that we have identified as a focus growth."

Steve Harrington, president Asia-Pacific, is excited about the new opportunities afforded by this transaction: "Not only does this deal allow us to better serve our existing customers in the region, but it also provides us access to the broader market in China."

Augusta refinery of Sonatrach in Italy to begin maintenance

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Sonatrach’s Augusta refinery in Italy will start maintenance work for up to 45 days, reported Reuters with reference to a Sonatrach executive.

The Algerian state energy firm bought the refinery last year from Exxon Mobil Corp.

(Reporting by Lamine Chikhi Editing by Ulf Laessing and Susan Fenton)

As MRC informed earlier, in October 2018, Sonatrach and Total signed two agreements as part of the comprehensive partnership announced in 2017. A new concession contract to jointly develop the Erg Issouane gas field located on the TFT Sud permit, signed by Sonatrach, Total and Alnaft (the National Agency for the Valorization of Hydrocarbon Resources).

CNOOC keeps crude runs rate stable at Huizhou refinery after blast

MOSCOW (MRC) - A blast at CNOOC’s Huizhou refinery that killed one worker has not affected crude oil runs at the company’s biggest refinery, a manager from the refinery told Reuters.

The manager declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the issue. The blast, which also injured another worker, came during a trail start of one of the refinery’s secondary units on Feb. 18, a document from Guangdong Administration of Work Safety showed on Tuesday.

The blast was caused by fuel gas exceeding safe limits at a steam furnace at the refinery’s partial oxidization coal-to-hydrogen plant, according to the document published on the official wechat account of China’s Chemical Safety Association.

The work safety administration has ordered CNOOC to shut down the coal-to-hydrogen unit, which is part of its phase two expansion, according to the document.

CNOOC has already started a full maintenance program at the 240,000 barrel-per-day refinery, according to sources with direct knowledge of the matter.

A CNOOC press officer did not immediately respond to Reuters inquiry for comment. The Guangdong Administration of Work Safety cannot be reached for comment.

Evonik is fully on track to complete capacity expansions, making specialties available locally

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Evonik Industries is fully on track to expand its production capacities for tire silica, said the company.

The company is responding to the tire industry’s growing demand for innovative silica used in the production of low rolling resistance tires. At the same time, the expansions make it possible to react quickly and reliably to increased regional demand for specialty products.

"Our strategic capacity expansion came in response to regional customer requirements, and it improves the supply security and local availability of tire silica and specialty products," says Andreas Fischer, the head of the Silica Business Line at Evonik. Hark-Oluf Asbahr, head of marketing at Tire and Rubber Materials, confirms this for the current demand for specialty silicas such as ULTRASIL® 9100 GR and ULTRASIL® 5000 GR: “We are adapting our product range on site to shorten transport routes and to increase availability and supply security for the benefit of our customers."

The new plant in Americana, Brazil, commissioned in July 2016, has already reached full capacity due to high regional demand. Commercial production is also underway in the plant in Charleston, USA, which was opened in October 2018. "The new silica production in the American ‘Tire Belt’ was received very well by regional customers," Fischer reports.

Evonik produces the innovative silica ULTRASIL 7800 GR for energy-saving SUV tires at its two new sites in Americana, Brazil and Charleston, USA as well as in Chester, USA. There is large demand for this groundbreaking product, which was launched last year.

The expansion of the production plant in Adapazari, Turkey will primarily serve customers in southeastern Europe and the Middle East. Designed to increase capacity by 40,000 tons, the construction project is on schedule and expected to be completed in late 2019.

In the years to come, Evonik will further strengthen its global leadership position as a provider of silica and offer products and solutions individually tailored to the tire industry.

Evonik is a leading global manufacturer of silica. In addition to the fumed silica AEROSIL and the precipitated silicas ULTRASIL, SIPERNAT, ZEODENT and SPHERILEX, Evonik also produces matting agents made from silica under the brand name ACEMATT and other fumed metal oxides under the brand name AEROXIDE. Overall, the company has global production capacities of approximately 1 million metric tons a year for all silica products.