Mammoet completes heavy lift project at Orpic refinery

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Mammoet was contracted by Larsen & Toubro (L&T) to support heavy lifting activities during the turnaround of Oman Oil Refineries and Petroleum Industries Company’s (Orpic) Sohar Refinery in Oman, according to Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The scope included removal of the existing RFCC Reactor in one piece and installation of a new reactor, external riser and associated components during Turnaround 2019.

Mammoet was chosen because of their expertise in turnarounds and shutdowns, focus on safety and ability to minimize downtime. Also, Mammoet’s knowledge of the site played an important role in the decision: in 2005 Mammoet assisted in the construction of the Sohar refinery and installed the original reactor using its ultraheavy lift ring crane - PTC 35.

The PTC crane is the ideal crane for construction and revamp projects in refineries with complex, congested spaces because of its vast lifting capacity, long reach and relatively small footprint, hence Mammoet proposed to re-use this crane for the exchange of the reactors. Project-specific challenges were overcome in the positioning of the PTC crane at site which included limited working space to assemble the crane and minimum clearance for lifting maneuvers. Mammoet, in close collaboration with L&T developed detailed erection and lifting plans, and procedures, where in some cases clearances of only 500mm were possible, requiring close coordination and cooperation on site. As a result, the 1600-ton crane safely removed the old reactor and successfully positioned the new 37-meter-long reactor, weighing 740 tons onto its foundation. The lifts were carried out effectively within the lifting height of 99 m.

Commenting on the lift, Hamed Faqir Al Balushi, Manager Project Management, Orpic said “On behalf of Orpic, I take this opportunity to congratulate the entire L&T Team for having completed all the Heavy Lifts of RFCC Reactor Replacement Project successfully and safely. The flawless execution of these critical Turnaround activities demonstrates L&T’s strength in planning & execution of such high-risk jobs. Kudos to entire construction team for converting plan into reality ahead of time, particularly engineering, manufacturing teams of L&T and heavy lift crew of Mammoet, as the components went into the place as they were expected to.” Concluding the note: ‘Excellent planning, execution & team work’.

Anupam Ghosal, Head of Modification, Revamp and Upgrade (MRU) business of L&T Heavy Engineering commented "It’s a proud moment for L&T. Conclusion of this very critical project of RFCC Revamp to the satisfaction of Orpic once again establishes world-class competencies of MRU business. As part of this project, Reactor and Riser assembly was manufactured in the state of art facilities of L&T Heavy Engineering located at Hazira, India. All activities for the turnaround, from engineering to execution, were planned over a course of more than a year. Reactor lift, weighing 740t, was challenging with several variables affecting the flexibility and needed a meticulous planning over a course of several months by L&T in coordination with Mammoet. Flawless lifting of the reactor was a momentous occasion. We are indeed happy with the end result and thank Mammoet team for their professionalism."

As MRC informed before, Orpic conducted a planned maintenance at its polypropylene (PP) unit in Sohar, Oman during October, 2019. Maintenance work at 340,000 tons/year PP unit was scheduled to start on 6 October and it lasted until the end of November, 2019.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, the estimated PP consumption in the Russian market in January-October 2019 totalled 1,066,520 tonnes, up by 7% year on year. Supply of block copolymers of propylene (PP block copolymer) and homopolymer of propylene (homopolymer PP) increased, demand for statistical copolymers (PP random copolymer) decreased.

Orpic (Oman Oil Refineries and Petroleum Industries Company) is one of the leading companies in Oman and has two refineries in that country, in Sohar and Muscat. ORPIC is owned by the Government of the Sultanate of Oman and Oman Oil Company SAOC, the trading company created by the Government of the Sultanate of Oman for managing investments in the energy sector.

Сhemical activity barometer is stable in the USA in December

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The Chemical Activity Barometer (CAB), a leading economic indicator created by the American Chemistry Council (ACC; Washington), was stable (0.0 percent change) in December on a three-month moving average (3MMA) basis following a 0.1 percent gain in November, said ACCA.

On a year-over-year (Y/Y) basis, the barometer rose 0.4 percent (3MMA) and follows two months of negative year-earlier comparisons.

The unadjusted December data were flat (0.0 percent change) following a revised 0.5 percent gain in November, ACC says. The diffusion index fell to 47 percent in December. The diffusion index marks the number of positive contributors relative to the total number of indicators monitored. The CAB reading for November was revised upward by 0.19 points and that for October up by 0.26 points.

“The CAB signals slow gains in U.S. commerce into the third quarter of 2020,” said Kevin Swift, chief economist at ACC.

The CAB has four main components, each consisting of a variety of indicators: 1) production; 2) equity prices; 3) product prices; and 4) inventories and other indicators.

Production-related indicators eased in December. According to ACC, although trends in construction-related resins, pigments and related performance chemistry were mixed, they suggest further slow gains in housing, which has been on an upward trend. Plastic resins used in packaging and for consumer and institutional applications were mixed. Performance chemistry eased, reflecting weakness among industrial end-use markets. U.S. exports were weak. Equity prices rose sharply again this month, while product and input prices were mixed. Inventory and other indicators were mixed.

The CAB is a leading economic indicator derived from a composite index of chemical industry activity. Due to its early position in the supply chain, chemical industry activity has been found to consistently lead the U.S. economy’s business cycle, and this barometer can be used to determine turning points and likely trends in the broader economy. Month-to-month movements can be volatile, so a three-month moving average of the CAB reading is provided. This provides a more consistent and illustrative picture of national economic trends.

Applying the CAB back to 1912, it has been shown to provide a lead of two to 14 months, with an average lead of eight months at cycle peaks as determined by the National Bureau of Economic Research. The median lead was also eight months. At business cycle troughs, the CAB leads by one to seven months, with an average lead of four months. The median lead was three months. The CAB is rebased to the average lead (in months) of an average 100 in the base year (the year 2012 was used) of a reference time series. The latter is the Federal Reserve’s Industrial Production Index.

As MRC informed earlier, Russia's output of chemical products dropped by 3.2% in November 2019 month on month.
However, production of basic chemicals increased by 3.6% in the first eleven months of 2019, according to Rosstat's data. According to the Federal State Statistics Service of the Russian Federation, the largest increase in production volumes on an annualized basis accounted for mineral fertilizers and polymers in primary form. Last month, 255,000 tonnes of ethylene were produced versus 210,000 tonnes in October; by November, Russian producers had completed all their scheduled works. Thus, 2,721,000 tonnes of this olefin were produced in January-November 2019, up by 0.3% year on year.

Huhtamaki to acquire full ownership of its Brazilian joint venture company Laminor

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Huhtamaki to acquire full ownership of its Brazilian joint venture company Laminor, said the company.

Huhtamaki has agreed to acquire full ownership of its joint venture company Laminor S.A. in Brazil. Laminor is specialized in high-quality tube laminates, particularly for oral care applications, and was set up in 2002 as a 50/50 joint venture together with Bemis Company, which is now part of Amcor.

The acquisition enables Huhtamaki to expand its tube laminate business, an important part of the Group’s flexible packaging offering. Laminor has approximately 130 employees and its net sales in 2018 were approximately EUR 25 million. Following the acquisition Laminor will be consolidated as a subsidiary in the Group’s financial reporting and reported as part of the Flexible Packaging business segment. The additional shares are acquired at a price of approximately EUR 30 million.

The transaction is subject to the approval of competition authorities in Brazil and it is expected to be closed during the first quarter in 2020.

As MRC informed earlier, Russia's output of chemical products dropped by 3.2% in November 2019 month on month.
However, production of basic chemicals increased by 3.6% in the first eleven months of 2019, according to Rosstat's data. According to the Federal State Statistics Service of the Russian Federation, the largest increase in production volumes on an annualized basis accounted for mineral fertilizers and polymers in primary form. Last month, 255,000 tonnes of ethylene were produced versus 210,000 tonnes in October; by November, Russian producers had completed all their scheduled works. Thus, 2,721,000 tonnes of this olefin were produced in January-November 2019, up by 0.3% year on year.

Huhtamaki is a global specialist in packaging for food and drink. With our network of 80 manufacturing units and additional 24 sales only offices in altogether 35 countries, we’re well placed to support our customers’ growth wherever they operate. Mastering three distinctive packaging technologies, approximately 18,800 employees develop and make packaging that helps great products reach more people, more easily. In 2018, our net sales totaled EUR 3.1 billion.

BP to shut two Azerbaijan oil and gas platforms for maintenance in 2020

MOSCOW (MRC) -- British oil major BP plans to close down two of its oil and gas platforms in Azerbaijan for planned maintenance next year, BP’s regional vice president told Reuters.

Bakhtiyar Aslanbayli, BP’s vice president for Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, said the maintenance would take place in the second half of 2020.

He said that maintenance shutdowns would take place at Chirag and Shah Deniz-Alfa platforms.

A BP-led consortium produces oil at Azerbaijan’s giant Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli (ACG) oilfield and natural gas - at the major Shah Deniz field.

The Shah Deniz I field has been pumping gas since 2006, while output from Shah Deniz II is expected to reach 16 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas per year, with 10 bcm earmarked for Europe and 6 bcm for Turkey.

Aslanbayli said the consortium planned to produce 16.6 bcm of gas at Shah Deniz this year.

"Gas output will be rising, while oil production will be declining as expected," he said, adding that peak gas output would be in 2022-2023.

He said seismic works at bloc D-220 as well as drilling the first exploration well at the Shafag-Asiman gas field had been postponed to January next year due to bad weather conditions. Drilling will take 12-13 months.

As MRC reported earlier, in December 2019, several companies announced the formation of a new consortium that aims to address the problem of plastic waste by speeding up the commercialization of BP Infinia enhanced recycling technology that was developed by London-based BP. Businesses involved in the partnership include those that manufacture, use, collect and recycle polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic packaging. BP Infinia is designed to turn opaque and hard-to-recycle PET plastic scrap into recyclable feedstocks that can be used to make high-quality PET packaging with no loss in quality, according to BP.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's overall estimated PET consumption reached 42,020 tonnes in October 2019, down by 32% year on year. PET consumption in Russia increased to 593,480 tonnes in January-October 2019, up by 5% year on year.

BP is one of the world's largest oil and gas companies, serving millions of customers every day in around 80 countries, and employing around 85,000 people. BP’s business segments are Upstream (oil and gas exploration & production), and Downstream (refining & marketing). Through these activities, BP provides fuel for transportation; energy for heat and light; services for motorists; and petrochemicals products for plastics, textiles and food packaging. It has strong positions in many of the world's hydrocarbon basins and strong market positions in key economies.

Russian industrial enterprises actively contributing to Gazproms goals

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The Gazprom Board of Directors took note of the information about the engagement of Russian industrial and machine-building enterprises in the implementation of the Company's strategic goals, said the company.

Gazprom is actively employing various organizational mechanisms to enhance its cooperation with domestic enterprises. These mechanisms include long-term contracts with manufacturers for batch production, supply and maintenance of hi-tech equipment; roadmaps signed with Russian regions to increase involvement of local enterprises; agreements and cooperation programs with leading metal and pipe companies, state-run corporations and the military-industrial complex. In total, Gazprom signed more than 60 instruments of this kind.

It was pointed out at the meeting that the systematic steps Gazprom has made in this direction are producing comprehensive results. The Company is further improving its operational efficiency: the economic effect from the import-substituting technologies, equipment and materials applied at the Gazprom Group's facilities in 2016–2018 is estimated at RUB 20.7 billion. In addition to that, the investments made by Russian companies in upgrading and creating new production facilities have already reached RUB 17.8 billion under long-term contracts with Gazprom alone.

Among the results of the steps taken is the creation of the first domestic equipment prototypes for subsea hydrocarbon production systems through joint efforts of Gazprom, the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade, research institutes and machine-building enterprises. A full range of the key equipment for operating offshore fields was presented at the St. Petersburg International Gas Forum in October 2019.

As MRC informed earlier, Gazprom and Sinopec discuss potential avenues for cooperation. A working meeting between Alexey Miller, Chairman of the Gazprom Management Committee, and Li Yong, Vice President of China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec Group), took place in St. Petersburg. The parties discussed their potential areas of cooperation.

As MRC informed earlier, Gazprom Neft and the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) have entered into a Framework Agreement on Strategic Cooperation. The companies will explore opportunities for implementing joint projects in the upstream and downstream sectors, as well as in information technologies, artificial intelligence, and other areas.

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

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 1,589,580 tonnes in the first nine months of 2019, up by 7% year on year. Shipments of all PE grades increased. The estimated PP consumption in the Russian market was 976,790 tonnes in January-September 2019, up by 4% year on year. Shipments of PP block copolymer and homopolymer PP increased.