ExxonMobil completes Singapore expansion to enhance Group II base stocks supply

MOSCOW (MRC) -- ExxonMobil said that it has completed an expansion at its Singapore refinery to upgrade its production of EHC Group II base stocks, strengthening the global supply of high-quality base stocks and enhancing the integrated facility’s competitiveness, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The expansion will enable customers to blend lubricants that satisfy more stringent specifications, help lower emissions and improve fuel economy and low-temperature performance. Customers will achieve short-term and long-term cost savings through blending optimization and reformulation.

"The safe, on-schedule completion and successful startup of this expansion further enhances ExxonMobil’s competitiveness in manufacturing Group II base stocks," said Bryan Milton, president of ExxonMobil Fuels & Lubricants. 'It further establishes ExxonMobil as a key producer of fuels and petrochemical products and affirms our confidence in Singapore, where we operate ExxonMobil’s largest global integrated refining and petrochemical complex."

Supply to customers is expected in the third quarter of 2019, and builds upon recent expansions at ExxonMobil’s Rotterdam facility, which along with existing production in Baytown, Texas strengthens the global supply of high-quality base stocks.

ExxonMobil’s EHC product line has been designed to maximize the performance of all major automotive engine oil grades and to enhance the performance of finished lubricants used in multiple industries.

Construction of the expansion began in 2017 and was completed safely and on schedule with 1 million workforce hours. At peak construction, more than 300 workers were employed.

Earlier this year, ExxonMobil announced a final investment decision on a multi-billion dollar expansion of the Singapore integrated manufacturing complex as part of the company’s plan to significantly increase earnings potential of the site.

As MRC wrote previously, 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.

Chin May crude runs drop from peak

MOSCOW (MRC) -- China’s crude oil throughput in May rose from a year earlier but eased from a record reached in April, government data showed, as refiners curbed output amid weakening fuel demand, reported Reuters.

Crude throughput last month climbed 2.8% from a year earlier to 51.9 million tons, or 12.22 million barrels per day (bpd), data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed. That compared to an all-time high in April of 12.68 million bpd.

Seng Yick Tee, senior director of consultancy SIA Energy said lackluster domestic fuel demand, for gasoline in particular, prompted refiners to curb production amid weakening margins.

The refinery throughput, the lowest in four months on a daily basis, also occurred as industrial output growth unexpectedly slowed to a more than 17-year low in May.

China’s new car sales declined for the 11th month in a row in May due to a lack of consumer confidence in a slowing economy.

"The negative growth in the auto-making industry is slowing China’s incremental fuel demand," said Tee.

Refinery throughput in China, the world’s biggest oil importer and second-largest consumer, is expected to rise as two new plants start up.

Privately owned Hengli Petrochemical ramped up its new 400,000-bpd refinery to full operation in late May, while similar-sized Zhejiang Petrochemical also started trial runs last month.

For the first five months of the year, Chinese crude throughput rose 4.4% from a year earlier to 259.49 million tons, the NBS reported. The NBS data also showed China’s crude oil production in May climbed 1% from a year earlier to 16.23 million tons, or about 3.82 million bpd. That was flat from April.

Output in the January to May period increased 0.7% from a year earlier to 79.29 million tons, as national oil majors stepped up drilling amid a government call to boost domestic supply security.

Natural gas output was 14.4 billion cubic meters (bcm) in May, 12.9% higher than a year earlier.

Output in the first five months expanded at a robust 9.8% from a year ago to 72.5 bcm. Natural gas output increased faster than crude oil as state companies prioritized increases in spending on the cleaner burning fuel to meet strong demand growth.

Copersucar sees 50% ethanol demand rise in U.S. with new E15 policy

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Brazil’s Copersucar SA, the world’s largest sugar and ethanol merchant, projects that ethanol demand in the United States could increase by 50% when the new policy to year-round sales of E15 is fully implemented, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Copersucar’s Chief Executive Joao Roberto Teixeira said in a call with reporters on Monday that the company sees strong potential for ethanol sales in the U.S., where it operates with its subsidiary Eco-Energy, in the next two to three years.

As MRC informed earlier, in December 2017, Copersucar, one of the world’s largest ethanol merchants, and BP’s Brazil unit said on Thursday they will form a 50-50 logistics JV in the country. The venture will operate Copersucar’s recently built ethanol storage complex in the Brazilian city of Paulinia, the country’s largest fuels hub.


Saudi Energy Minister hopes OPEC agrees to extend production cut

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said on Sunday that OPEC would probably meet in the first week in July in Vienna and that he hoped it would reach consensus on extending its agreement to cut oil output, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Falih said earlier this month that OPEC was close to agreeing to extend the agreement beyond June, although more talks were still needed with non-OPEC countries that were part of the production deal.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries plus Russia and other producers, an alliance known as OPEC+, have a deal to cut output by 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) from Jan. 1. The pact ends this month and the group meets in coming weeks to decide their next move.

“We are hoping that we will reach consensus to extend our agreement when we meet in two-weeks-time in Vienna,” Falih told reporters on the sideline of a G20 energy and environment ministerial meeting in Karuizawa, northwest of Tokyo.

Asked when the meeting will be held, he said: “Probably the first week of July”. It was not completely clear whether the agreement would also include OPEC+.

OPEC was set to meet on June 25, followed by talks with its allies led by Russia on June 26. But Russia suggested a date change to July 3 to 4, according to sources within the group. Falih said that oil demand usually picks up in the second half the year, with refineries coming back from maintenance and with seasonal demand boost, and that the new agreement would help rebalance the market.

“I’m fairly confident that fundamentals are going in a right direction,” he said.

Clariant continues the advance of propane dehydrogenation technology

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Clariant, a focused and innovative specialty chemical company, has announced the launch of its latest propane dehydrogenation catalyst, CATOFIN 311, according to Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The new catalyst continues the CATOFIN success with a solution that delivers even greater selectivity and a longer lifetime of service, resulting in increased overall profitability for propylene producers.

With over 60 years of continuously improved performance, CATOFIN dehydrogenation is a highly reliable and productive method for light paraffin dehydrogenation. The process operates at optimum reactor pressure and temperature to maximize conversion of propane to propylene, while reducing investment and operating costs.

As an ongoing commitment to advance catalyst technology, Clariant and its licensing partner McDermott’s Lummus Technology consistently improve the CATOFIN process with innovations such as Heat Generating Material (HGM) and new catalyst generations. Thanks to its extraordinarily high reliability and selectivity, CATOFIN delivers excellent production output annually compared to alternative technologies. Over the last two years, CATOFIN technology has been selected for 11 new PDH projects worldwide, resulting in a total of 7 million tons of annual propylene production capacity.

Now, CATOFIN 311 further enhances the proven benefits of previous generations through improvements in selectivity and longevity. For a typical 600 kta PDH unit, customers could benefit from increased productivity of up to USD20 million over the lifetime of the CATOFIN 311 catalyst.

Stefan Heuser, Senior Vice President & General Manager Business Unit Catalysts at Clariant, commented, "With the successful development of CATOFIN 311, we have reached yet another milestone in our advanced propane dehydrogenation technology. It is through this relentless commitment to innovation that we continue to add value to our customers’ businesses."

As MRC reported earlier, in March 2017, Clariant was awarded a contract by Dongguan Grand Resource Science & Technology Co. Ltd. to develop a new propane dehydrogenation unit in cooperation with CB&I. The project includes the license and engineering design of the unit, which is to be built in Dongguan City, Guangdong Province, China.

Clariant AG is a Swiss chemical company and a world leader in the production of specialty chemicals for the textile, printing, mining and metallurgical industries. It is engaged in processing crude oil products in pigments, plastics and paints.