Petronas Chemicals budgets USD6B for specialty portfolio deals

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The chemicals arm of Malaysia’s state energy firm Petronas plans to spend roughly USD6 billion over the next 15 to 20 years to expand its specialty chemicals portfolio through acquisitions and partnerships, reported Hydrocarbonprocessing with reference to the unit’s chief executive's statement.

The budget is part of Petronas Chemicals Group Bhd’s efforts to make high-margin specialty chemicals a central part of its business, Sazali Hamzah said in an interview with Reuters at the Asia Oil & Gas Conference.

"By doing that we are going to diversify our portfolio and our dependency on crude and gas will be a lot less," he said.

Petronas Chemicals has been looking to grow rapidly in specialty chemicals, which are raw materials used to manufacture consumer products such as high-performance tyres, medical gloves and LED televisions.

Other major oil companies such as Saudi Aramco have also been expanding into petrochemicals in recent years to diversify from crude oil production.

In May, Petronas Chemicals acquired Netherlands-based Da Vinci Group BV for 163 million euros (USD186 million) in the first acquisition of its specialty chemicals push.

An immediate growth area for the company is the Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development (RAPID) business, a 50-50 partnership with Saudi Aramco in the southern Malaysian state of Johor.

RAPID, which is part of Petronas’ USD27 billion Pengerang Integrated Complex, will contain a 300,000 barrels-per-day oil refinery and a petrochemical complex with a production capacity of 7.7 million metric tonnes per year.

Petronas Chemicals is spearheading the petrochemicals component of RAPID, which is expected to start commercial operations in the fourth quarter.

Sazali said Petronas Chemicals had lined up customers for products from RAPID - mostly from South East Asia, but also from China, Japan and South Korea.

The company is studying further expansion of the petrochemicals operations in Pengerang, he said.

"We are focused on Pengerang because it has all the facilities for future growth. We are now doing studies with a few potential partners," Sazali said.

The company is budgeting another USD6-USD7 billion over 20 years for expansion in Pengerang and existing Malaysian operations in Kerteh and Kedah, he said.

As MRC informed earlier, Petronas plans to build a C6-based metallocene linear LDPE plant and a low density polyethylene (LDPE)/ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) swing plant at its greenfield integrated refinery and petrochemical complex in southern Johor state by mid-2019. The proposed metallocene LLDPE will have a capacity of 350,000 tpa, while the LDPE/EVA will have a capacity of about 150,000 tpa. The two plants are part of Petronas' planned Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development project in Pengerang at Johor.

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.

LyondellBasell sites honored for safety by American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers Association

MOSCOW (MRC) -- LyondellBasell sites have been honored for safety by American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers Association, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Companies in the refining and petrochemical industries continue to improve on workplace safety as evidenced by the number of honors handed out at the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers Association (AFPM) Annual Safety Awards event. The trade association’s mission is to create safer and healthier environments for tens of thousands of workers across the country.

Among the businesses leading the way is LyondellBasell. Three LyondellBasell plants earned the Distinguished Safety Award (DSA), AFPM’s top safety award. The sites are located in Chocolate Bayou, Texas, Clinton, Iowa and Channelview, Texas.

"Only seven facilities in the country won the DSA this year. Receiving this level of recognition at three LyondellBasell plants which represent a small, medium and large site, shows that no matter the size of the facility or staff, we can deliver excellence every day," said Dale Friedrichs, LyondellBasell Health Safety and Environment Vice President. "Our ultimate goal at LyondellBasell is that everyone who comes through our gates, goes home safely to their families."

LyondellBasell leaders wanted to build on the momentum of 2018 where the staff achieved its lowest Total Recordable Incident Rate in company history. For some of the locations, it was a repeat performance.

"Chocolate Bayou is dedicated to continually improving our programs and it’s because the stellar staff here that this site has made the list again,” said Yarelis Hernandez, LyondellBasell Chocolate Bayou site manager. ЭWe take pride in our work and look out for each other and it shows in our company culture."

Site managers like Hernandez have found continually focusing on safety as the best way to battle complacency. Strong programs and support from the top make the difference.

"It’s only when you instill a comprehensive approach like LyondellBasell’s that you get this type of outcome," said Lara Swett, senior director, AFPM Safety Programs. "What this translates to is thousands of people who know they work in an environment where safety is a top priority and that dedication extends to the community and neighbors as well."

As MRC wrote previously, in August 2016, LyondellBasell made the final investment decision to build a high density polyethylene (HDPE) plant on the US Gulf Coast. The plant will have an annual capacity of 1.1 billion pounds (500,000 metric tons) and will be the first commercial plant to employ LyondellBasell's new proprietary Hyperzone PE technology. The start-up of the new plant is scheduled for 2019.

LyondellBasell is one of the largest plastics, chemicals and refining companies in the world. Driven by its 13,000 employees around the globe, LyondellBasell produces materials and products that are key to advancing solutions to modern challenges like enhancing food safety through lightweight and flexible packaging, protecting the purity of water supplies through stronger and more versatile pipes, and improving the safety, comfort and fuel efficiency of many of the cars and trucks on the road. LyondellBasell sells products into approximately 100 countries and is the world's largest licensor of polyolefin technologies.

Further tests confirm Druzhba pipeline oil not contaminated

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Further tests confirm oil flowing via the Druzhba pipeline is not contaminated and Czech refiner Unipetrol, a unit of Poland’s PKN Orlen, will restart accepting deliveries in the afternoon, reported Reuters with reference to Czech state reserves chief Pavel Svagr's statement.

"Unipetrol told me that the results in control samples are fine," Svagr told Reuters. "The tests show that the oil is absolutely normal... and it can be processed."

“Based on this analysis, Unipetrol will begin accepting oil from the Druzhba pipeline this afternoon. The situation is standard and normalised.”

Czech oil refiner Unipetrol stopped taking oil from the Druzhba pipeline on Monday due to chloride contamination detected at the Ukraine-Slovakia border.

As MRC wrote earlier, in April 2019, Unipetrol trusted its engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) contract to McDermott International for its Litvinov refinery in Czech Republic. Under the contract, McDermott will be responsible to provide EPCM services for the upgrade of a hydrocracking unit at the Litvinov refinery.

Unipetrol , a.s. is a group of companies operating in the petrochemical industry in the Czech Republic. In 2005 Unipetrol became a part of the PKN ORLEN Group, the largest oil processor in Central Europe. The UNIPETROL Group is oriented mostly towards oil processing, fuel distribution and petrochemical production. In all of these business areas the Unipetrol Group is among the key players both in the Czech Republic and on the Central European market. The Group ranks among the leading firms in the Czech Republic in terms of its revenues, and employs almost 4,000 people.

Saudi Aramco advances global chemicals strategy with S-Oil expansion project in Ulsan, South Korea

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Saudi Aramco is advancing its global chemicals growth strategy with today‘s inauguration of S-Oil’s new Residue Upgrading Complex and Olefin Downstream Complex, said the company.

The new facilities feature the latest refinery technologies, which have raised S-Oil’s petrochemical portion from 8% to 13% and includes high-value products such as propylne and gasoline.

The inauguration of the complex was celebrated in the presence of His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al-Saud, Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defense and His Excellency Moon Jae-in President of the Republic of Korea. Also in attendence were His Excellency Khalid Abdulaziz Al Falih, Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources, and Sung Yunmo, the Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy of the Republic of Korea.

“Today‘s inauguration marks a historic moment for both S-Oil and Saudi Aramco. S-Oil serves as a role model for Saudi Aramco’s international downstream strategy and plays an important role by providing the vital energy needed for economic growth in South Korea. These two new facilities will supply high-value products to major Korean industries, whose global brands are part of our everyday lives and rank among the world’s very best in technology, innovation, creativity, and quality,” said Saudi Aramco President and CEO Amin H. Nasser.

The inauguration also included the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the two companies to collaborate on a US$6 billion Steam Cracker & Olefin Downstream Project which is expected to be completed by 2024. The new world class steam cracker will produce ethylene and other basic chemicals out of naphtha and refinery off-gas.

This new agreement supports Saudi Aramco’s plan to increase its global petrochemicals footprint over the next decade. It will further include the deployment of Saudi Aramco’s Thermal Crude-to-Chemicals Technology, shifting S-OIL’s focus from “oil to chemicals” to better position the company in the future energy market.

Aramco Overseas Company is a major shareholder in S-Oil which is South Korea’s third-largest refiner.

Saudi Aramco initially invested in S-Oil in 1991, and their relationship continues to grow stronger, with the refining capacity increasing from 90 thousand bpd in 1990 to roughly 700 thousand bpd in 2018.

HMC Polymers plans fourth PP plant

MOSCOW (MRC) -- HMC Polymers announced today plans to construct a fourth Polypropylene plant at its Map Ta Phut site, Rayong Province Thailand, bringing HMC’s total PP capacity to over 1 million tons and maintaining position as SE Asia’s largest PP producer, as per the company's press-release.

“HMC will continue our mission to push the boundaries of Polypropylene product performance” stated President, Mr. Martyn Tickner. “We believe our key markets in NE and SE Asia, Japan, India and Australia will continue to evolve towards more advanced product requirements. HMC has unique capabilities to meet those requirements and combined with our strong support from Joint Venture partners PTT Global Chemical, LyondellBasell and leading Thai investors, we can further expand our differentiated product offering and achieve substantial value growth. Our new capacity will also ensure that we can continue to support the growth of our long standing and very loyal base of Thai customers”.

Mr. Tickner further explained that HMC have entered into a License Agreement with leading PP Technology provider LyondellBasell, and have now completed the process design of the most advanced Spherizone plant in the history of this superior technology. The new plant will produce approximately 220 ktpa of specialty PP resins, targeting both consumer and industrial markets, and is expected to start-up in first half of 2022.

HMC Polymers is a leader in the manufacture and marketing of polypropylene for Asia and worldwide. We offer exceptional value to our customers through a broad product portfolio manufactured in our latest technology production facilities.

Through operational excellence, industry leading technology and customer focus, HMC Polymers delivers products that improve the quality of life for people in Asia and around the world.

As MRC informed earlier, in 2010, HMC Polymers increased the production capacity of its PP plant by 300,000 tonnes from 450,000 tonnes in a bid to serve growing demand for polypropylene both domestically and internationally.

HMC Polymers is one of the leading companies in the manufacturing and marketing of polypropylene (PP) for Asia and worldwide. HMC Polymers is the first PP manufacturer in Thailand with its first PP production facility to have been established in Rayong Province, Thailand in 1987. The company's PP production facilities output is over 750,000 metric tons per year and comprise two Spheripol lines and a latest technology Spherizone line from LyondellBasell. HMC Polymers produces a wide range of Moplen polypropylene grades including homopolymer, heterophasic and random copolymer resins, as well as specialty polypropylene resins such as Adstif, Clyrell and Purell. In addition, a strategic investment in upstream integration was made in parallel with the construction of a Propane Dehydrogenation plant (PDH) at a site adjacent to our Map Ta Phut plant.