Major oil company to quit US refining lobby over climate disagreement

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Royal Dutch Shell became the first major oil and gas company to announce plans to leave a leading U.S. refining lobby due to disagreement on climate policies, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

In its first review of its association with 19 key industry groups, the company said it had found "material misalignment" over climate policy with the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) and would quit the body in 2020.

The review is part of Shell's drive to increase transparency and show investors it is in line with the 2015 Paris climate agreement's goals to limit global warming by reducing carbon emissions to a net zero by the end of the century. It is also the latest sign of how investor pressure on oil companies is leading to changes in their behaviour around climate.

"AFPM has not stated support for the goal of the Paris Agreement. Shell supports the goal of the Paris Agreement," the Anglo-Dutch company said in its decision. Shell said it also disagreed with AFPM's opposition to a price on carbon and action on low-carbon technologies.

AFPM Chief Executive Chet Thompson thanked Shell for its "longstanding collaboration." "Like any family, we aren't always fully aligned on every policy, but we always strive to reach consensus positions on policies," Thompson said in a statement.

"We will also continue working on behalf of the refining and petrochemical industries to advance policies that ensure reliable and affordable access to fuels and petrochemicals, while being responsible stewards of the environment."

AFPM counts around 300 U.S. and international members including Exxon Mobil, Chevron, BP and Total that operate 110 refineries and 229 petrochemical plants, according to its 2018 annual report. Shell's review was welcomed by Adam Matthews, director of ethics and engagement for the Church of England Pensions Board, which invests in Shell and led discussions with the company over its climate policy.

"This is an industry first," Matthews said. "With this review Shell have set the benchmark for best practice on corporate climate lobbying not just within oil and gas but across all industries. The challenge now is for others to follow suit."

Sinopec successfully starts-up largest composite ionic liquid alkylation unit

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Well Resources Inc. announced the successful start-up of a brownfield Ionikylation unit in Sinopec’s 161,000 barrel-per-day refinery in Jiujiang City, Jiangxi Province, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The unit, capable of producing 300,000 tonnes-per-year of high quality alkylate, is the largest commercial adoption of the Ionikylation technology to date. Sinopec is on track to commission two additional Ionikylation units of the same capacity at its Anqing and Wuhan refineries later this year.

The construction of the Ionikylation unit at Sinopec Jiujiang refinery started in February 2018 and completed in December 2018. Unit start-up preparation began in mid-March 2019. On March 31, 2019, the catalyst and feed were introduced into the Ionikylation reactor and subsequently Sinopec reported that the first batch of high-quality alkylate was successfully produced.

Ionikylation is a commercially proven and environmentally friendly alkylation process that uses a proprietary composite ionic liquid as the catalyst. Unlike traditional alkylation processes that use dangerous and hazardous hydrofluoric or sulfuric acid as the catalyst, the Ionikylation catalyst is safe to handle. Ionikylation is a cost-effective option for refiners that are looking to improve the safety of their operations without sacrificing product quality.

As MRC informed before, in September 2018, Sinopec Corp joined a group planning to build an oil refinery in Alberta, an enterprise that would strengthen demand for the Canadian province's heavily discounted crude. State-owned Sinopec, formally known as China Petroleum & Chemical Corp, along with an Alberta indigenous group, China State Construction Engineering Corp and Alberta management company Teedrum, plan to build a refinery to process 167,000 barrels per day of crude into gasoline and other product.

China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation, or Sinopec Limited is a Chinese oil and gas company based in Beijing, China. It is listed in Hong Kong and also trades in Shanghai and New York . Sinopec is the worlds fifth biggest company by revenue.

Hexion files for chapter 11 bankruptcy

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Hexion Inc., a thermoset-resins controlled by funds affiliated with Apollo Global Management LLC, on Monday said it filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy after reaching a restructuring agreement with the vast majority of its lenders, as per the company's press release.

All of Hexion’s global business segments are continuing to operate as normal, and Hexion’s operations outside the U.S. are not included in the Chapter 11 proceedings.

Under the RSA, creditors representing all tranches of the Company’s notes have agreed to support, and the Company has agreed to pursue, confirmation of the Plan. The RSA contemplates that the Plan will provide for, among other things: (1) significant de-leveraging of the Company’s capital structure by over $2.0 billion, (2) an infusion of $300 million in equity capital through a fully-backstopped rights offering, (3) a committed exit facility of over $1.6 billion, and (4) payment in full of the Company’s trade creditors, employees, and other general unsecured creditors. Consummation of the Plan will be subject to confirmation by the Bankruptcy Court in addition to other conditions to be set forth in the Plan.

Mr. Rogerson continued, “We appreciate the support of our creditors, and this agreement reflects their confidence in our business and our team as we continue executing our strategy and providing our customers with the high-quality products and service they expect. We are also committed to operating our business safely and efficiently while maintaining productive relationships with all of our business partners. I would like to thank our outstanding team for their continued dedication to our company. Supported by innovative research and development capabilities, strong strategic partnerships, an enviable global manufacturing footprint, blue-chip customers and a world-class team, this process better positions Hexion for investing in our long-term growth."

Hexion has received commitments for $700 million in debtor-in-possession (“DIP”) financing, a portion of which will be used to pay off its asset-based revolving credit facility. Following court approval, this financing, combined with cash generated by the Company’s ongoing operations, is expected to be available and sufficient to meet Hexion’s operational and restructuring needs on a global basis.

In conjunction with the filing, the Company has filed a number of customary first day motions. These motions should allow the Company to continue to operate in the normal course of business without interruption or disruption to its relationships with its customers, suppliers, vendors and employees. The Company expects to receive Court approval for these requests. The Company intends to pay suppliers to the U.S. operations in full for all goods received and services rendered on or after the filing date. Payments to suppliers supporting operations outside of the U.S. will continue without interruption and in the normal course.

Refinery to begin CDU overhaul in April

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BP Plc plans to begin a planned overhaul of a crude distillation unit (CDU) at its 413,500 barrel-per-day (bpd) Whiting, Indiana, refinery in early April, a source said, as per Nytimes.

The overhaul of the 75,000 bpd CDU was postponed from March, the source said. The overhaul is expected to take at least a month to complete.

A BP spokesman declined on Friday to discuss operations at the Whiting refinery.

CDUs do the primary refining of crude oil into hydrocarbon feedstocks for all other units at the refinery. The Whiting refinery has three CDUs. The two smaller units each have a capacity of 75,000 bpd.

AS MRC informed earlier, BP bowed to pressure from investors, including the Church of England, by backing a plan to explain how its strategy and investments are consistent with the Paris climate agreement. The UK oil and gas company supported a resolution, put forward by a group of shareholders including the investment arms of HSBC, Legal & General and the C of E, forcing it to be more transparent on climate change. But BP urged investors to reject a tougher climate resolution brought by a Dutch shareholder activist group, which it said was too prescriptive.

Cutbacks continue at two oil refineries after petrochemical disaster

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Lyondell Basell Industries may keep production cuts at its 263,776 barrel-per-day (bpd) refinery for a week because of shipping disruptions in a key oil port from a chemical spill, sources said, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Lyondell cut production by at least 14 percent following the shutdown of the upper Houston Ship Channel last week after a chemical spill on March 22 from Mitsui & Co’s Intercontinental Terminals Deer Park facility.

Lyondell spokeswoman Chevalier Gray said on Friday the company was contending with constrained barge and ship traffic. The Deer Park refinery, which is a 50-50 venture of Shell and Mexico’s national oil company Pemex, shut a vacuum distillation unit.

On Wednesday, ships began moving though the area of the channel contaminated by the spill. A crude oil tanker reached the Deer Park refinery on Wednesday, staving off a temporary shutdown because of a dwindling on-site crude supply. Shell spokesman Ray Fisher declined comment.

The Lyondell refinery has been receiving crude from a pipeline originating at the Texas City, Texas, terminal at the southern end of the channel, which is not affected by the spill, the sources said. Production was cut at the Lyondell refinery because barges could not haul away sulfur produced in the making of motor fuels.

Though barges began carting away sulfur on Wednesday, Lyondell wants to be sure it receives an adequate supply of the caustic chemicals needed to prevent the heavy, sour crude it processes from fouling distillation units, the sources said.

The Coast Guard, which oversees channel ship traffic, was aiming to increase the number of ships moving through the contaminated area, said Captain Kevin Oditt on Friday.

The Coast Guard hopes to move 49 vessels in and 18 ships out of the upper channel, Oditt said. Twenty-three ships, or about 50 percent of what usually transits the upper channel, moved through on Thursday.

Some adjacent areas of the waterway, which connects the Port of Houston to the Gulf of Mexico, remain closed, trapping more than 100 barges.

The Intercontinental Terminals Deer Park facility was the site of a massive fire last week in which 11 storage tanks containing gasoline blending stocks burned. The chemicals that spilled were released by the blaze.

As MRC wrote previously, in September 2016, LyondellBasell selected its La Porte, Texas, manufacturing complex as the site for a new high density polyethylene (HDPE) plant. The plant will be the first commercial plant to employ LyondellBasell's new proprietary Hyperzone PE technology and will have an annual capacity of 1.1 billion pounds (500,000 metric tons). Construction began in early 2017 with start-up planned for 2019.

LyondellBasell is one of the world's largest plastics, chemical and refining companies. The company manufactures products at 57 sites in 18 countries. LyondellBasell products and technologies are used to make items that improve the quality of life for people around the world including packaging, electronics, automotive parts, home furnishings, construction materials and biofuels. LyondellBasell sells products into approximately 100 countries and is the world's largest licensor of polyolefin technologies.