PDH plant brought on-stream by Hyosung Corp

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Hyosung Corp has completed a maintenance turnaround at its propane dehydrogenation (PDH) plant following a turnaround, as per Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in South Korea informed that the company has resumed operations at the plant in mid-March 2019. The plant was taken off-line for maintenance in mid-February 2019.

Located in Ulsan, South Korea, the PDH plant has a propylene production capacity of 300,000 mt/year.

As MRC informed before, Ningbo Haiyue New Material Co has undertaken a planned maintenance at its propane dehydrogenation (PDH) plant. The company started maintenance at the plant on March 4, 2019. The turnaround is expected to remain in force for around four weeks. Located in Ningbo, China, the plant has a propylene production capacity of 600,000 mt/year.

PP imports to Russia down by 18% in January-February 2019

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Polypropylene (PP) imports into Russia slumped in the first month of 2019 by 18% year on year to 23,800 tonnes.
Propylene homopolymer (homopolymer PP) accounted for the greatest decrease, as per MRC's DataScope report.

February imports of homopolymer PP into the country grew to 15,200 tonnes, compared with 8,500 tonnes in January. The deliveries of propylene homopolymers from Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan have increased by several times. In general, total PP imports into the country increased to about 23,800 tonnes in January - February compared with 29,000 tonnes year on year. Imports of homopolymer PP decreased most of all.

Overall, the structure of PP imports by grades looked the following way over the stated period.

February imports of homopolymer PP increased to 5,000 tonnes against 1,900 tonnes a month earlier, shipments of homopolymer PP raffia from Turkmenistan increased several times. A new plant in Azerbaijan began shipments of PP. Thus, overall imports of homopolymer PP to Russia totalled about 6,900 tonnes in the first two months of 2019, compared to 9,600 tonnes a year earlier.

February imports of PP block copolymers in Russia were about 4,300 tonnes against 2,500 tonnes in January on increased demand for pipe PP several times. Imports of PP block copolymers into Russia reached 6,800 tonnes in January-February 2019, compared to 7,100 tonnes a year earlier.

February imports of PP random copolymers were about 2,800 tonnes versus 1,600 tonnes a month earlier, the volume of purchases increased by local producers of film products.

Total imports of PP random copolymers in Russia were 4,400 tonnes in January - February 2019, compared with 5,200 tonnes year on year.
Imports of other propylene polymers for the reported period increased to about 5,600 tonnes compared with 7,100 tonnes in the same time a year earlier.


BP teams up with EDF to tackle methane leaks

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BP urged the US government to tighten rules limiting methane leaks from oil and gas operations as it teamed up with a prominent environmental group to develop technologies to limit emissions of the potent greenhouse gas, according to Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The London-based company joined rival Royal Dutch Shell in a call to President Donald Trump's administration to tighten methane regulation, rather than weaken Obama-era rules as it has planned.

"We believe in direct federal regulation of methane for new and existing sources here in the United States," Bernard Looney, head of BP oil and gas production, told Reuters at the CERAWeek conference by IHS Markit in Houston on Tuesday.

Methane leaks from oil and gas production, storage and transportation are a major source of greenhouse gas emissions that are blamed for climate change. The energy industry is the largest source of US methane emissions, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency.

BP aimed to reduce methane emissions to 0.2 percent of its overall oil and gas production by 2025, and was able to achieve that target in 2018, Looney said.

The company is about to deploy a drone carrying infrared cameras to monitor around 1,500 wells in its US onshore shale operations to detect early signs of leaks, he said.

BP announced on Wednesday a three-year partnership with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), a New York-based nonprofit environmental advocacy group, aimed at developing further technologies to detect and prevent methane leaks.

Leaks are rising as natural gas production increases to meet growing demand for electricity. Methane is the primary component of natural gas, and has more than 80 times the heat-trapping potential of carbon dioxide in the first 20 years after it escapes into the atmosphere, scientists say.

With investors ramping up pressure on companies to reduce carbon emissions and focus on clean energy, limiting methane has become central.

"For us at BP, gas is absolutely central for the world's need for more energy and at the same time less emissions," Looney said.

EDF President Fred Krupp said that methane is responsible for more than a quarter of the global warming experienced today.

If all energy companies achieved methane emission targets similar to BP, it would be equal to shutting roughly 2,000 big coal-fired power plants, Krupp said.

"The reputation of natural gas is going to be determined not only by BP's performance but by the performance of the fuel overall," Krupp said.

As MRC reported earlier, in February 2018, BP announced that it would increase investment in the United States after the lowering of tax rates under President Donald Trump, Chief Executive Bob Dudley. BP invested USD90 billion in the United States over the past decade, excluding USD65 billion in fines and clean up costs over the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, making it the country's biggest investor in the energy sector, Dudley said then.

Aruba to resume refinery refurbishment

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Aruba will resume a refurbishment project at a 209,000 barrel-per-day refinery operated by a unit of Citgo Petroleum Corp, after a change to U.S. sanctions on Citgo parent PDVSA, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing with reference to the island’s prime minister.

The United States levied sanctions in January on Venezuela’s state-owned oil company Petroleos de Venezuela aimed at the removal of socialist President Nicolas Maduro, whom the United States and about 50 other countries no longer recognize as the country’s legitimate leader.

The sanctions prompted Citgo Aruba to put on hold a USD685 million agreement with the government of Aruba, reached in 2016, to refurbish and reopen the idled refinery previously run by U.S. refiner Valero Energy. The company laid off workers as a result, and Prime Minister Evelyn Wever-Croes asked the United States to allow the project to continue.

Last week, the US Treasury gave Citgo - a US refining company owned by PDVSA - a further 18 months to buy crude and make debt payments while under sanctions against his parent. Wever-Croes said the move would allow the refurbishment projects to continue, and the workers to return to their jobs.

"American authorities allowed the unblocking of the necessary funds to continue," Wever-Croes said in a statement. "We will keep fighting so that all the refinery workers can get their jobs back."

The statement did not say when the project would continue.

As MRC informed before, in late January 2019, Citgo Petroleum Corp idled the small gasoline-producing unit at its 157,500-barrel-per-day (bpd) Corpus Christi, Texas, refinery for economic reasons. The 13,000-bpd FCCU 1 was shut for "non-operational reasons" the company said in a notice filed with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. The sources said FCCU 1 was not profitable for the refinery to operate.

Refinery reduces gasoline output after fire

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Exxon Mobil Corp has reduced gasoline production at its 560,500 barrel per day (bpd) Baytown, Texas, refinery after a hydrotreater fire on Saturday, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

There were no injuries reported in the blaze at the Hydrofining Unit 9 on Saturday, the sources said. In an emailed statement, Exxon said it had now contained the fire, which started at about 12:30 p.m. local time (1730 GMT). It confirmed no injuries had been reported.

"We are cooperating with necessary regulatory agencies, and a thorough investigation will be conducted to determine the cause of this incident," Exxon said.

The unit uses hydrogen and a catalyst to remove sulfur from gasoline in compliance with U.S. environmental rules.