Iran oil minister inspects cyber security at key refinery

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh discussed cybersecurity and production bottlenecks during a visit to a major refinery and petrochemical plants on Iran’s Gulf coast, the official news agency IRNA reported, as per Reuters.

"Investigating the refinery’s civil defense situation and related topics is among the goals ... of the oil minister’s one-day trip to Bandar Abbas," IRNA reported.

Iran’s civil defense body is in charge of issues including cybersecurity.

IRNA said Zanganeh inspected several petrochemical plants and the 350,000-barrels per day Persian Gulf Star refinery, which helped Iran declare self-sufficiency in gasoline after the inauguration of its third phase in February.

In 2016, Gholamreza Jalali, head of Iran’s civil defense, said Tehran had detected malicious software from two of its petrochemical complexes, but added that this was not linked to petrochemical fires.

Iran has long been on alert over the threat of cyber attacks by foreign countries. The United States and Israel covertly sabotaged Iran’s nuclear program in 2009 and 2010 with the now-famous Stuxnet computer virus, which destroyed Iranian centrifuges that were enriching uranium.

As per MRC DataScope, at present, Iran is the third largest country supplying polystyrene (PS) to Russia after Belgium and South Korea. Thus, the share of Iranian material was 14% in January-August 2019, whereas that of Belgium was 37% and of South Korean - 22%. Shipments of general purpose polystyrene (GPPS) and high impact polystyrene (HIPS) from Iran to Russia increased in August almost by four times from the previous month, totalling 920 tonnes versus 240 tonnes in July.

PetroChina Dushanzi Petrochemicals resumes PP production

MOSCOW (MRC) -- PetroChina Dushanzi Petrohemicals, an affiliate of the Chinese petrochemical giant PetroChina, has brought on-stream its Polystyrene (PS) plant in Xinjiang, according to Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in China, informed that, the company has resumed operations at the plant on September 20, 2019. The plant remained under maintenance for about two months.

Located in Xinjiang province, China, the plant has a production capacity of 130,000 mt/year.

As MRC reported earlier, PetroChina Lanzhou Petrochemical, another subsidiary of PetroChna, conducted an unscheduled maintenance at its PP plant in China from end-April to mid-June. Located at Gansu province in China, the PP unit has a production capacity of 110,000 mt/year.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, the estimated PP consumption in the Russian market was 796,120 tonnes in January-July 2019, up by 11% year on year. Shipments of PP block copolymer and homopolymer PP increased.

PetroChina Company Limited, is a Chinese oil and gas company and is the listed arm of state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation, headquartered in Dongcheng District, Beijing. It is China's biggest oil producer.

Icahn opposes new directors chosen by Occidental CEO

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Activist investor Carl Icahn, who has launched a proxy fight to win seats on Occidental Petroleum's board, said he opposed efforts by the Houston-based company to name new directors without picking from his slate, said Hydrocarbonprocesiing.

Icahn cited a Bank of America Merrill Lynch analyst's report published on Monday that quoted CEO Vicki Hollub as saying the oil producer's board planned to make governance changes, including the appointment of two "qualified" directors.

Occidental had previously dismissed his candidates as inadequate. The activist investor owns nearly $2 billion in shares of oil and gas producer Occidental, and last month launched a battle to remove four Occidental directors and replace them with his own, four-person slate.

He blasted Hollub for looking for directors "anywhere but in our direction," asking in an open letter to shareholders why his candidates had not been considered. A spokesman for Occidental did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

"We're going to keep fighting them," said Icahn in an interview on Wednesday. "Unless we get on the board, we're not going away until the annual meeting" next year, he said.

Icahn, who continues to seek support for a consent solicitation, predicted he would get 20% of Occidental shareholders to call on the company to set a record date for a vote. "We have proposed four highly-qualified director candidates," Icahn said in his letter. His slate includes two executives of his hedge fund, the former finance chief of a U.S. consumer products company, and the former president of Royal Dutch Shell's U.S. arm.

Occidental completed a USD38 billion purchase of rival Anadarko Petroleum this month, a deal that Icahn had opposed, calling it "hugely overpriced."

He criticized the firm's existing directors for failing to give shareholders a say on the purchase. He has claimed Occidental pursued Anadarko to avoid becoming a takeover candidate.

A suit against Occidental, seeking documents on its pursuit of Anadarko and deal with Berkshire Hathaway Corp will be heard in a Delaware court next month, he said.

Berkshire committed USD10 billion to bankroll the Occidental-Anadarko deal on terms that Icahn said were too favorable to Berkshire.

As MRC said earlier, Occidental Petroleum Corp shareholders have voiced opposition to the oil company's USD38 billion bid for rival Anadarko Petroleum Corp that now includes a pricey financing deal with billionaire Warren Buffett.

PKN Orlen to develop a new generation bio-refinery

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The ORLEN Group’s ORLEN Poludnie signed a contract for the construction in Trzebinia of Poland’s first unit producing eco-friendly propylene glycol. The new unit’s annual capacity will be 30,000 tonnes, covering 75% of Poland’s total demand, said the comany.

Propylene glycol is a safe and environmentally-friendly product, with applications in medicine, cosmetics and the food industry. The project will be carried out by a consortium of two Polish companies at an estimated cost of approximately PLN 400m.

“In line with our previous declarations, we are developing and strengthening through investments the various companies of the ORLEN family. The construction of Poland’s first unit producing environmentally-friendly glycol is a major step in transforming our plant in Trzebinia into an advanced bio-refinery. Its main focus will be on eco-friendly, high-margin products,” said Daniel Obajtek, President of the Management Board of PKN ORLEN.

The Trzebinia project will see its completion in 2021 and will be constructed by a consortium formed by two Polish companies: Technik Polska Sp. z o.o. and Biproraf Sp. z o.o. The turnkey contract provides for engineering, procurement and construction of a propylene glycol unit (1.2 – MPG) together with auxiliary systems and additional infrastructure.

The construction of Poland’s first unit for the production of environmentally-friendly propylene glycol will strengthen ORLEN Poludnie’s position both as a player on the Polish biocomponents market and an employer in the region. Today ORLEN Poludnie has a workforce of over 650, more than a half of them employed at the refinery in Trzebinia. After the unit is placed in commercial operation in 2021, several dozen new jobs will be created.

The manufacture of eco-friendly propylene glycol will help utilise Trzebinia’s glycerine output, which is a by-product of biodiesel obtained mainly from rapeseed oil. The project will also benefit other Polish biodiesel producers, from whom ORLEN Poludnie will source glycerine following project completion.

The project can be pursued thanks to the company’s sound financial condition: in 2018 ORLEN Poludnie posted a net profit of PLN 89m. The propylene glycol unit, as the first project in ORLEN Poludnie’s history, has qualified for inclusion in the Polish Investment Zone programme by the Krakow Technology Park.
The propylene glycol output will be sold both to Polish and foreign companies.

As MRC informed earlier, in H1 September 2019, Honeywell announced that PKN ORLEN had licensed the UOP MaxEne process, which can increase production of ethylene and aromatics and improve the flexibility of gasoline production. The project, for the PKN ORLEN facility in Plock, Poland, currently is in the basic engineering stage. Honeywell UOP, a leading provider of technologies for the oil and gas industry, first commercialized the UOP MaxEne process in 2013. The process enables refiners and petrochemical producers to direct molecules within the naphtha feed to the processes that deliver the greatest value and improve yields of fuels and petrochemicals.

Ethylene and propylene are feedstocks for producing polyethylene (PE) and polyprolypele (PP).

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 1,255,800 tonnes in the first seven months of 2019, up by 9% year on year. Shipments of all PE grades increased. At the same time, the estimated PP consumption in the Russian market was 796,120 tonnes in January-July 2019, up by 11% year on year. Shipments of PP block copolymer and homopolymer PP increased.

PKN ORLEN would be the first refining and petrochemicals company in Europe to use the Honeywell UOP MaxEne technology for molecule management of a naphtha stream to produce high-quality products including olefins, aromatics and gasoline.

ExxonMobil begins work on crude unit at Baton Rouge refinery

MOSCOW (MRC) -- ExxonMobil Corp has begun planned maintenance on a small crude distillation unit at its 502,500 barrel per day (bpd) Baton Rouge refinery in Louisiana, reported Reuters with reference to sources familiar with plant operations.

The oil major was removing excess carbon from the 90,000 bpd PSLA-8 CDU’s furnace, the sources said. PSLA-8 is one of two 90,000 bpd CDUs at the refinery. They are the smallest in capacity of the four CDUs at the Baton Rouge plant.

PSLA-8 is expected to be shut for about 10 days.

ExxonMobil also operates a cracker at this site with a capacity of 1 mln tonnes of ethylene and 575,000 tonnes of propylene per year.

As MRC wrote earlier, Exxon Mobil Corp is planning to spend more than 500 million pounds (USD650 million) to upgrade the UK’s largest oil refinery, Fawley, on England’s south coast.

Besidea, we remind that, a little more than two years after announcing it had selected San Patricio County as the site for its new ethylene cracker plant, ExxonMobil and Saudi Basic Industries Corp. celebrated the groundbreaking for the new facility. This marks the symbolic start of construction on the USD7 bln Gulf Coast Growth Ventures facility near Gregory.

Ethylene and propylene are feedstocks for producing polyethylene (PE) and polyprolypele (PP).

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption was 1,081,100 tonnes in the first half of 2019, up by 8% year on year. Deliveries of all PE grades increased. Meanwhile, the estimated consumption of PP in the Russian market totalled 694,210 tonnes in January-June 2019, up by 14% year on year. The supply of propylene block copolymers (PP-block) and propylene homopolymers (PP-homo) increased.

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.