Petronas starts naphtha cracking unit at new Pengerang oil refinery

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Malaysian state oil company Petroliam Nasional Bhd, or Petronas, and Saudi Aramco have started operations at their new 1.2-million-tonnes-per-year naphtha cracker, reported Reuters with referenece to multiple sources familiar the matter.

The cracker is part of the USD2.7 billion joint-venture oil refinery and petrochemical project known as RAPID - or Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development - located in Pengerang in the state of Johor, at the southern tip of peninsular Malaysia.

As MRC informed before, Petronas started trial runs at the Malaysian oil refinery in early 2019 and started offering some products in April.

Petronas, short for Petroliam Nasional Berhad, is a Malaysian oil and gas company wholly owned by the Government of Malaysia. The Group is engaged in a wide spectrum of petroleum activities, including upstream exploration and production of oil and gas to downstream oil refining; marketing and distribution of petroleum products; trading; gas processing and liquefaction; gas transmission pipeline network operations; marketing of liquefied natural gas; petrochemical manufacturing and marketing; shipping; automotive engineering; and property investment.

Petrobras signs deal with Brazil regulator for sale of refining assets

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Brazil’s state-controlled oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA said it has signed a deal with local antitrust regulator CADE regarding the proposed sale of some of its refining installations, reported Reuters.

According to a securities filing, the company said the agreement will allow for increased competition in Brazil’s refining sector, by attracting new players to the business.

Petrobras, as the oil firm is known, will sell eight refineries in seven different Brazilian states.

Under the terms of the deal, some of the assets cannot be acquired by the same buyer, the company added in the filing.

Petrobras will hire an external agent to make sure it follows the commitments made to CADE.

After the announcement, Petrobras shares added to early gains and were trading near session highs, with common stocks up 2.3% and preferred stocks rising 1.84%.

As MRC wrote previously, in October 2017, Petrobras’s minority stakes in Braskem and Deten Quimica was excluded from Petrobras’s divestment program, according to a government decree published in Brazil’s Official Gazette. The decree prevented Petrobras from immediately selling its minority stake in Braskem, which had been announced last year. A new decree will be required to release the stock sale.

Headquartered in Rio de Janeiro, Petrobras is an integrated energy firm. Petrobras' activities include exploration, exploitation and production of oil from reservoir wells, shale and other rocks as well as refining, processing, trade and transport of oil and oil products, natural gas and other fluid hydrocarbons, in addition to other energy-related activities.

Aramco Trading Company opens Fujairah office in UAE

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Aramco Trading Co. (ATC), which expects to see its oil trading volume rise to 6 million barrels per day (bpd) by next year, has opened its second international office in Fujairah with the firm’s chairman and senior vice president of Downstream with Saudi Aramco, Abdulaziz M. Al-Judaimi, and ATC president and CEO Ibrahim Q. Al-Buainain in attendance, according to Hydrocarbonprocessing.

ATC’s expansion plans are expected to propel the Dhahran-based company into the top tier of global fuel trading companies. The wholly owned subsidiary of Saudi Aramco opened the office in the UAE’s Fujairah as part of a global push into new markets to secure buyers for refined products, as well as crude oil.

The new facility, Aramco Trading Fujairah (ATF), will handle all Aramco Trading gasoline and fuel oil storage and blending activities.

"We’ve been in Fujairah for a number of years and as our trading business expands globally - between Singapore, Saudi Arabia, London, and Houston - we trade across different time zones, and with Fujairah as the center of our blending operations, we thought it’s important to be here physically doing trading as a business in Fujairah," said Al-Judaimi. "We are very happy with the relationships here - be it with our clients, our suppliers and the government - they have been very open and have welcomed us to be here for many years."

"Aramco Trading has experienced significant growth in recent years," said Al-Buainain. "We started in 2012 with 600,000 to 700,000 bpd and now we’re operating at more than 4 million bpd - and as the downstream business grows to the level that we want to reach 8-10 million bpd - Aramco Trading will grow together with that business.

"At Fujairah, we have a growing business that started with 100,000 bpd and now we have 350,000 bpd between gasoline and fuel oil. So, for this reason, Fujairah would be the optimum location that is close to our assets and close to the free zone."

The inauguration of the new office facility comes only a month after Aramco Trading announced that it had sold its first LNG cargo - the first of many more to come.

In 2012, ATC was established to market refined products, and bulk petrochemicals. Beginning with refined products from its overseas refineries in the past years, leading them to introduce trading non-Saudi crude oil in 2017 as the world’s largest oil exporter successfully optimizes profits.

As the UAE’s only emirate on the Arabian Sea coast, Fujairah is at the heart of the new energy corridor opening east of Suez to Asia. The emirate is already established as a world-scale storage and bunkering center alongside Rotterdam and Singapore, and is set to benefit in the next few years from plans to expand crude and petroleum product facilities to avail of the state-of-the-art physical infrastructure on offer.

As MRC informed previously, in October 2018, state oil giant Saudi Aramco signed an agreement to invest in a refinery-petrochemical project in eastern China, part of its strategy to expand in downstream operations globally.

Saudi Aramco, officially the Saudi Arabian Oil Company, is a Saudi Arabian national oil and natural gas company based in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Saudi Aramco"s value has been estimated at up to USD10 trillion in the Financial Times, making it the world"s most valuable company. Saudi Aramco has both the largest proven crude oil reserves, at more than 260 billion barrels, and largest daily oil production.

YNCC to complete maintenance at No. 1 steam cracker

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Yeochun Naphtha Cracking Centre (YNCC) is in plans to restart its No. 1 naphtha cracker following a maintenance turnaround, as per Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in South Korea informed that the company has planned to complete turnaround at the cracker in end-June, 2019. The cracker was taken off-stream on May 20, 2019.

Located at Yeosu in South Korea, the cracker has an ethylene capacity of 860,000 mt/year and propylene capacity of 485,000 mt/year.

As MRC informed before, YNCC also has two other crackers at this site. Thus, the production capacity of its No. 2 naphtha cracker in Yeosu is 578,000 tonnes of ethylene per year ant that of its No.3 cracker - 470,000 tonnes of ethylene per year.

South Korea’s Yeochun NCC (YNCC) pyrolyzes naphtha to produce basic feedstock materials for the petrochemical industry. YNCC, a joint venture between South Korean firms Hanwha and Daelim, is a key exporter of ethylene and propylene in the country.

McDermott wins technology contract for Ningbo Union PX Unit in China

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Ningbo Union King Polyester Material Ltd. has awarded a technology contract to McDermott International for a new grassroots paraxylene (PX) plant at Ningbo Union's petrochemicals facility in Ningbo, China, according to Apic-online.

The contract, valued at between USD1-million and USD50-million, involves the technology license, process design engineering and operator training services for a 1.6-million-t/y PX facility.

A schedule for the project was not given.

The PX plant will utilize BP's PX technology, for which McDermott's Lummus Technology is the exclusive licensor. The technology "offers PX production at purities of 99.8%, with lower energy consumption and lower capital costs compared to more traditional PX technologies," McDermott noted.

As MRC reported earlier, in May 2019, McDermott International, Inc. was awarded a sizeable technology contract by MOL Petrochemicals for the basic engineering, technology license, catalyst and Front End Engineering Design (FEED) for an Olefins Conversion Technology (OCT) unit at MOL’s petrochemicals complex in Tiszaujvaros, Hungary. Once complete, this unit will have a production capacity of 100,000 MTA of polymer grade propylene from steam cracker and refinery feedstocks, utilizing Lummus’ proprietary OCT, and CDHydro Deisobutenizer. The unit will also produce an isobutene-rich stream.