Curacao refinery gets court order for unloading Venezuelan oil

MOSCOW (MRC) - A Curacao refinery has received a court order requiring shippers to discharge a cargo of Venezuelan oil seized by maritime companies due to debts owned by Venezuela’s state-run company PDVSA, Refineria di Korsou said in a statement, as per Reuters.

Venezuela’s crude exports, which provide the bulk of its export revenue, have tumbled because of declining production, PDVSA mismanagement and U.S. sanctions aiming to oust Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. Maduro on Sunday opened the country’s maritime borders after closing them amid efforts by Venezuelan congress chief and self-declared president Juan Guaido to bring in U.S. humanitarian aid shipments from outside the country.

The 335,000-barrel-per-day Curacao refinery halted operations last spring after U.S. oil producer ConocoPhillips brought legal action to collect on a USD2 billion arbitration award. The refinery, which is owned by the island’s government and operated by PDVSA, began resuming processing last month and wants to discharge the oil so the tanker can return to Venezuela and pick up more crude for Curacao.

PDVSA restarted crude shipments to Isla in December ahead of Jan. 28 sanctions, but a cargo, on the tanker Icaro, was seized in Curacao’s waters at the end of that month by shipping firms Exotic Waves Marina SA based in Liberia and Ammon Shipping and Transport based in Jordan, according to local media reports.

"Our goal was to store the crude in onshore tanks so the Icaro could return to Venezuela to load crude bound for Curacao," the refinery said in a statement on Monday. The oil will remain under embargo until the dispute with shipping companies is solved, it said. Reuters did not have access to the court order issued in Curacao.

PDVSA did not respond to a request for comment. The parent company of Ammon Shipping did not immediately respond to an email seeking information. Exotic Waves Marina could not be reached for comment.

Several tankers with Venezuelan oil around the world have been retained by authorities or otherwise prevented from sailing because PDVSA has not paid bills for operation, hull cleaning, inspections and other marine services.

The crew of Venezuelan tankers Rio Arauca and Parnaso last week abandoned vessels that have remained anchored in Lisbon since 2017 over unpaid fees to managers Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM).

Curacao is selecting an operator to replace PDVSA when its contract expires late this year. Motiva Enterprises LLC, initially selected as preferred bidder, dropped out of the running in January. The status of two other firms involved in contract discussions has not been disclosed.

"The government of Curacao has requested the refinery to remain open so its jobs will be preserved," the statement said.

ExxonMobil Baytown large CDU overhaul may last two more months -sources

MOSCOW (MRC) -- A planned overhaul of the large crude distillation unit (CDU) at Exxon Mobil Corp's 560,500 barrel per day (bpd) Baytown, Texas, refinery may take another two months to complete, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing with reference to sources familiar with plant operations.

Exxon has called the overhaul on the 280,300 bpd Pipestill 8 CDU and associated units that began on Jan. 14 the largest in the history of the Baytown refinery.

As MRC reported earlier, 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.

Exxon's Baton Rouge refinery CDU work to take 5 weeks

MOSCOW (MRC) - A planned overhaul of the second-largest crude distillation unit (CDU) at Exxon Mobil Corp’s 502,500-barrel-per-day (bpd) Baton Rouge, Louisiana, refinery is expected to continue for at least five weeks, said sources familiar with plant operations, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The 110,000-bpd PSLA 9 CDU was shut on Feb. 11 for the overhaul, the sources said. "The average time a unit may be down can range from several weeks to several months," said Exxon spokeswoman Megan Manchester. "We continue to meet contractual commitments."

In addition to PSLA 9, the refinery’s 22,500-bpd coker was shut for the work.

The Baton Rouge refinery’s three CDUs do the primary refining of crude oil into feedstocks for all other production units, as well as producing unfinished motor fuels.

Cokers refine residual crude oil received from distillation units into motor fuel feedstocks.

Unplanned outage reported at No. 1 methanol plant of Zagros Petrochemical

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Zagros Petrochemicals has undertaken an emergency shutdown at its No.1 methanol plant at Assaluyeh, as per Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in Iran informed that the company has taken its plant off-line last weekend owing to a technical glitch. The plant is likely to remain shut for around one week.

Located in Assaluyeh, Iran, the No. 1 plant has a production capacity of 1.65 million mt/year.

We remind that, as MRC informed before, in late January, 2019, Japanese refiners loaded Iranian oil onto a tanker, resuming imports after halting purchases because of sanctions by the United States.

Dangote Industries drives global propylene capacity additions

MOSCOW (MRC) -- In Asia, China has 33 planned and announced propylene plants, with a total capacity of about 11.0mtpa by 2026, said Hydrocarbons-technology.

Capital expenditure (capex) for these plants is USD7.33bn. Major capacity additions will be from Oriental Energy Co Ltd. In the Middle East, Iran has 14 planned and announced propylene plants, expected to start operations with total capacity of about 2.8mtpa by 2026. Capex for these plants totals USD2.71bn over the next nine years. Major capacity additions will be from The National Petrochemical Co.

The US has three planned and announced propylene plants, with a capacity of about 1.2mtpa over the next nine years, and plans to spend $0.90bn. Major capacity additions will be from Formosa Plastics Group.

In the Former Soviet Union (FSU), most propylene capacity additions are in Russia, with capacity of about 1.6mtpa by 2026. Capex for these plants totals USD1.66bn by 2026. Sibur Holding is the top company accounting for the major capacity additions in Russia.

In South America, Brazil and Bolivia together plan to spend USD1.10bn and add capacity of 1.2mtpa, expected to come onstream by 2026. In Africa, Nigeria plans to spend USD1.64bn and add capacity of about 1.7mtpa, expected to come onstream by 2026.

In Europe, the major propylene capacity additions are from Belgium, with planned and announced capacity additions of about 0.7mtpa by 2026. Capex for these plants totals USD0.71bn.

Dangote Group, Oriental Energy Co Ltd, and Formosa Plastics Group are the top three companies by planned capacity additions globally over the next nine years.

Lyondell Basell Industries NV, Exxon Mobil Corp, and Formosa Plastics Group are the top global producers of propylene, with capacities of 3.9mtpa, 3.4mtpa, and 2.9mtpa, respectively, in 2017.