Oman oil minister excited to be part of Sri Lanka oil refinery project

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Oman’s oil minister said he was excited to be part of a Sri Lanka oil refinery project in a sign that plans for the sultanate’s involvement may be back on track, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Sri Lanka said last week that Oman Oil Co had made clear it was interested in taking a 30 percent stake in the new refinery on Sri Lanka’s south coast. But an Omani official denied the Middle Eastern country had agreed to invest in the project.

Rumhy joined Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe at the laying of the foundation stone for the planned USD3.85 billion oil refinery at Hambantota on the south coast, which would potentially be the island’s biggest foreign direct investment.

"This is not a project just for three years. This is a life long project,” Rumhy said at the launch ceremony held at the Mirijjawala investment zone in Hambantota. “We will work very hard to deliver this project to the people of Sri Lanka."

However, he did not comment on whether Oman planned to have a direct stake in the refinery. The refinery will be built near a USD1.4 billion port controlled by China Merchants Port Holdings.

The India-based Accord Group is the main investor in the refinery project, through a Singapore entity it controls. The project will be Sri Lanka’s first new refinery in 52 years after Iran built a 50,000 barrel-per-day refinery near the island’s capital city of Colombo to blend Iran light oils.

The new refinery will export all products it refines, officials have said. "We have Chinese investment, we have Indian investments, we have Oman interest for investment, and we have investment interest from many other countries,” Wickremesinghe said at the event. “It shows that Hambantota will become the multinational investment zone."

A senior Sri Lankan minister, who declined to be identified because he is not authorized to talk to the media, told Reuters Oman had given a commitment to invest in the refinery and there would not be any turning back. But on Wednesday, Salim al-Aufi, the undersecretary of Oman’s oil and gas ministry, said “no one on this side” was aware of the investment.

Sri Lanka’s investment board said last week that another Oman entity, Oman Trading International, was willing to supply all of the refinery’s feedstock needs and take on the marketing of the oil products it would produce.
India and China have been vying for political influence in Sri Lanka in recent years, with investment a key part of the battleground.

China is the biggest buyer of Omani oil. In January it imported about 80 percent of Oman’s crude exports, Oman government data shows. An investment zone is planned by China Harbour Engineering Corp alongside the port.

Lubrizol boosts Sonjiang TPU capacity

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Lubrizol has completed construction of a new thermo-plastic polyurethane (TPU) line at its Songjiang facility in Shanghai, China, as per Apic-online.

The TPU line, which will begin production next month, will support the growing demand for specialty elastomers. It will increase capacity for specialty applications by nearly a third, said the company.

Lubrizol also launched a new TPU compounding line at the facility last year. Capacities of the lines were not available.

Multiple staged investments and expansions are un-derway at Lubrizol's facilities around the world, in alignment with the company's ambitious growth strategy, Lubrizol noted.

As MRC informed previously, in February 2016, speciality chemicals major Lubrizol Corporation announced the commencement of its USD50 million chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC) compounding plant in Dahej. This was the company's first CPVC compounding plant in the country, and it claimed that it is the first such in India by any global major.

The Lubrizol Corporation, a Berkshire Hathaway company, is an innovative specialty chemical company that apart from its production develops and supplies technologies to customers in the global transportation, industrial and consumer markets. Lubrizol is providing innovative solutions for its customers high-performance application needs and remains committed to ongoing investment in its CPVC capabilities that support future growth. With headquarters in Wickliffe, Ohio, Lubrizol owns and operates manufacturing facilities in 17 countries, as well as sales and technical offices around the world. Founded in 1928, Lubrizol has approximately 8,000 employees worldwide.

Refinery stops processing unit for planned works

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Russian oil giant Rosneft said its refinery plant in Ryazan has stopped a primary crude processing unit to carry out planned maintenance, reported Reuters.

The energy ministry said earlier on Thursday that Rosneft’s Ryazan refinery had stopped its primary crude processing unit on March 17, and that it would remain closed until March 31.

As MRC informed before, Russia's largest oil producer Rosneft, which owns downstream assets in Germany including stakes in a number of oil refineries, plans to invest around EUR600 million (USD690 million) in the German downstream market.

Earlier, in January 2017, Rosneft and its shareholder BP completed dissolution of Ruhr Oel, their refining joint venture in Germany. Rosneft said with the restructuring it had embarked on developing its own business in Germany and had created a new subsidiary called Rosneft Deutschland.

Rosneft became Russia's largest publicly traded oil company in March 2013 after the USD55 billion takeover of TNK-BP, which was Russia’s third-largest oil producer at the time.

Planned U.S. oil storage boom faces new scrutiny after tank-farm fire

MOSCOW (MRC) -- A three-day petrochemical fire that spread a cancer-causing chemical and thick smoke over Houston suburbs has spurred calls for tougher safety regulations that could affect a nearly dozen crude-export terminals proposed for the U.S. Gulf Coast, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Federal, state and local officials have begun investigating whether Mitsui & Co’s Intercontinental Terminals Co (ITC) met safety and environmental regulations after the fire in Deer Park, Texas, spread quickly among rows of giant tanks that hold up to 3.3 million gallons of fuel each.

The blaze released toxic benzene which led five school systems with more than 108,000 students to shut for two days, and prompted two cities to tell residents to stay indoors. It burned for three days and destroyed 11 tanks holding fuels used to make gasoline and plastics that sat along the nation’s busiest petrochemical port and among nine oil refineries.

On Friday, a leak from a containment dike at the facility prompted new travel restrictions in the immediate vicinity of the plant. Results from those reviews could affect proposed terminals that would add millions of barrels of oil storage capacity, to cater to a shale boom that has made the United States the world’s top oil producer with more than 12 million barrels pumped each day.

There are already some 90 million barrels of oil storage capacity in above-ground tanks near Houston, estimates data provider Genscape. Harris County, which oversees the ITC tank farm, plans to review the investigations and may propose changes to state regulations, said the county’s chief executive, Lina Hidalgo.

Environmental groups said the fire and lack of notice to residents exposed Texas’s weak oversight of energy and chemical storage sites. “I would like to think there will be a huge push and elected officials would do their due diligence,” said Elena Craft, senior director for climate and health at the Environmental Defense Fund. “We want accountability,” said Bryan Parras, a spokesman for environmental group Sierra Club.

ITC, which had 242 storage tanks holding about 13 million barrels of fuels, is not required to comply with county fire codes because it was built before the county adopted codes in late 2014, said Rachel Moreno, a spokeswoman for the county Fire Marshal.

ITC adheres to fire-prevention guidelines set by industry group the National Fire Prevention Association and the American Petroleum Institute, said ITC spokeswoman Alice Richardson. A temporary loss of water pressure on the first day of the blaze contributed to its spread.

However, critics say the NFPA guidelines set minimum standards and the use of advanced fire-protection systems could have more quickly extinguished the fire before it spread and released millions of tons of carbon monoxide, and thousands of pounds of nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and other pollutants.

The fire prevention group expects the investigations into the ITC fire could prompt changes to its guidelines, said Guy Colonna, NFPA’s senior director of engineering. Its existing recommendation for petrochemical tanks, called NFPA 30, does not require fixed fire suppressants, Colonna said.

Sun Chemical building new PPS production line in Wisconsin

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Sun Chemical has announced plans to build its first-ever North American production line for its polyphenylene sulfide (PPS) compounds at its DIC Imaging Products USA facility in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, said Canplastics.

The new PPS compounds production line is scheduled to begin operation in the fall of 2020. Combined with four other manufacturing sites located in Japan, China, Southeast Asia and Europe, the investment in North America will increase DIC Corporation’s overall annual PPS compounds production capacity by 3,000 metric tons to 46,000 metric tons.

“The decision to establish a production line in the United States is our response in meeting the expanding demand for PPS in North America and ensures a stable supply, shortened lead times and reinforces our ability to develop products that satisfy the quality requirements of our customers,” said Mehran Yazdani, president of Sun Chemical Advanced Materials.

PPS compounds are super-engineered plastics that are used widely as an alternative to metal materials in automotive components and other products, and are growing in popularity: The global market for PPS compounds is expected to be 20 per cent higher in 2021 than in 2017.

Headquartered in Parsippany, N.J., Sun Chemical produces pigments, polymers, liquid compounds, solid compounds, and application materials. Together with its parent company DIC Corp., Sun Chemical has annual sales of more than USD7.5 billion and over 20,000 employees worldwide.