Venezuela begins importing Iranian heavy crude oil for its domestic refineries

Venezuela begins importing Iranian heavy crude oil for its domestic refineries

Venezuela has begun importing Iranian heavy crude to feed its domestic refineries, documents from the state-run oil company PDVSA showed, a deal that widens a swap agreement signed last year by the U.S. sanctioned countries, reported Reuters.

The two nations last year initially agreed to a swap deal, with PDVSA importing Iranian condensate to dilute and process its extra heavy oil for export. In return, Venezuelan crude is being shipped via the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC).

Iran's heavy crude, which is similar in quality to Venezuela's Mesa 30 crude, is set to augment domestic oil fed to PDVSA's refineries, according to the documents.

As part of the cooperation pacts, Venezuela in recent years has received Iranian equipment to revamp its refineries. The 146,000-bpd El Palito refinery is restarting a crude distillation unit this week after extensive repairs and upgrading that relied on equipment imported from Iran.

PDVSA did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

At least 200,000 barrels of Iranian heavy crude were delivered in mid-April to the 310,000-bpd Cardon refinery, Venezuela's second largest. Another 400,000-barrels of Iranian oil, which arrived on the very large crude carrier Dino I, is discharging this week at the country's Jose port, the documents showed.

The Dino I is scheduled to set sail later this month carrying Venezuela fuel oil for NIOC unit Naftiran Intertrade Co, according to one of the documents.

As MRC informed earlier, in November 2021, Venezuelan petrochemicals produced by joint ventures between state-run chemical firm Pequiven and foreign partners have arrived in the United States, despite Washington's efforts to limit trade with the OPEC oil and gas producer. At least two cargoes of methanol, a widely used industrial product whose prices have soared this year, have discharged at Houston area ports since October amid a rapid expansion of the South American country's global sales of petrochemicals and oil byproducts, according to tanker tracking and US customs data.

We remind that from January to October, 2021, PDVSA and Pequiven exported about 1.75 MM tons of petrochemicals and byproducts, putting the trade on track this year to double the 1.03 MM tons exported for the whole of 2020. Shipments of methanol this year ranged between 20,000 and 60,000 metric t per month, mostly bound for the Netherlands, Spain, Japan and China, according to the data and the three people.

Lotos is not processing oil for TotalEnergies Leuna refinery in Germany

Lotos is not processing oil for TotalEnergies Leuna refinery in Germany

Poland's Grupa Lotos said it is not processing oil for TotalEnergies' Leuna refinery in Germany, referring to a statement by the Polish climate minister that this was the case as a "slip of the tongue", reported Reuters.

Poland's Climate Minister Anna Moskwa said on Friday the Gdansk refinery owned by Lotos was processing oil for the Leuna refinery.

"The statement that the Gdansk refinery is processing oil for TotalEnergies Leuna refinery in Germany should be treated as a slip of the tongue," a Lotos spokesperson said in an emailed statement. "The words spoken at the press conference of Poland's climate minister Anna Moskwa on May 6, 2022, concerned Naftoport, an oil and fuel terminal owned by the PERN Group."

Naftoport, Poland's oil terminal in Gdansk on the Baltic Sea, is linked to a pipeline system that allows the shipping of crude via Poland to Germany.

It has a capacity of 36 MMtpy of oil, above the needs of Polish refiners that process some 27 MMtpy.

As MRC informed before, in late February, 2022, TotalEnergies condemned what it called Moscow's military aggression in Ukraine but stopped short of joining rivals Shell and BP in planning to exit positions in resource-rich Russia. The French oil major, which holds a 19.4% stake in Novatek, Russia's largest producer of liquefied natural gas, said it "will no longer provide capital for new projects in Russia".

We remind that Total Petrochemicals and Refining USA, the US petrochemical major and part of TotalEnergies, restarted all of its three polypropylene (PP) units in La Porte as of 17 June 2021. At the same time, the force majeure (FM) at this plant with an annual capacity of 1.15 million tons/year remains in place as the company attempts to stabilize operating rates and build inventories ahead of the hurricane season. Previously, Total Petrochemical declared FM on its PP output after an abrupt loss of electricity supply during a severe weather condition on 18 May, 2021.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, PP shipments to the Russian market totalled 1,494.280 tonnes in 2021, up by 21% year on year. Deliveries of homopolymer PP and PP block copolymers increased, whreas shipments of PP random copolymers decreased significantly.

ConocoPhillips plans USD1.1 B investment as Norway oil sector heats up

ConocoPhillips plans USD1.1 B investment as Norway oil sector heats up

ConocoPhillips submitted on Monday a plan to develop an oil discovery in the Norwegian North Sea for 10.5 B Norwegian crowns (USD1.10 B), the first of an expected rush of new petroleum projects to be launched in Norway this year, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Known as Eldfisk North, the development is part of the wider Ekofisk area, where ConocoPhillips has pumped hydrocarbons for more than 50 years. The U.S. operator said the new reserves are expected to come on stream in 2024. The Eldfisk North reservoir contains mostly oil and some gas and is estimated to hold between 50 MM and 90 MM barrels of oil equivalent, ConocoPhillips said.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Norway introduced tax incentives for fields covered by development plans introduced by the end of 2022, part of the country's bid to extend the life of its oil and gas industry for decades. As a result, the country expects to receive "a large number" of development plans in 2022, Minister of Petroleum and Energy Terje Aasland told Reuters on the sidelines of an energy conference. "This is an exciting year, and shows that the oil tax package is yielding results," he said.

Among plans likely to be presented this year is Equinor's Wisting discovery in the Arctic Barents Sea, which is set to become the world's northernmost oilfield. "I've spoken to them and they are optimistic with regards to the progression of the plans," Aasland said of Equinor. An Equinor spokesperson confirmed the company remains on track to submit a development plan in 2022. The company said late last year that Wisting could cost some 75 B Norwegian crowns to develop.

The Eldfisk North plan is meanwhile subject to customary approvals from Norwegian authorities. "We are going to process the development plan as fast as possible," Aasland said. Ekofisk is operated by ConocoPhillips, which holds a 35.1% stake, while TotalEnergies owns 39.9%, Vaar Energi 12.4%, Equinor 7.6% and Petoro 5%. Norway is western Europe's largest oil and gas producer, pumping around 4 MM barrels of oil equivalent per day, but some of its major fields face depletion in the coming decade.

As per MRC, ConocoPhillips has posted a quarterly profit that trounced market expectations as supply bottlenecks and a global economic recovery helped drive a rebound in crude prices. Oil prices have gained nearly 63% since the start of 2021, with global crude benchmark Brent rising above USD86 a bbl to its highest level in about three yr after the pandemic depressed fuel demand in 2020.

Shenghong Petrochemical starts trial operation at its greenfield refinery in east China

Shenghong Petrochemical starts trial operation at its greenfield refinery in east China

China's private refiner Shenghong Petrochemical, a subsidiary of textile giant Shenghong Group, has started trial operation at its greenfield refining complex in east China, reported Reuters with reference to industry sources.

The refining complex, with a daily crude oil processing capacity of 320,000 barrels, was initially scheduled to begin operating in late 2021.

Shenghong, based in Lianyungang port of Jiangsu province, will be one of the two major greenfield refineries expected to start up this year.

PetroChina's Jieyang refinery and chemical complex, in the southern province of Guangdong, is expected to start trial production in the third quarter, said another industry official.

Traders and analysts expect Shenghong to enter commercial operation in the second half of this year.

The refiner has received 7.95 MMtons of crude oil import quotas from the Ministry of Commerce for 2022.

Apart from the refinery, the 66.7 B yuan (USD9.93 B) Shenghong Petrochemical complex also includes a 2.8-MMtpy aromatics unit and a 1.1 MMtpy ethylene plant, according to the company website.

As MRC informed before, initially Shenghong Petrochemical planned to start test runs at its 320,000-bpd crude unit in August or September, 2021.

Ethylene and propylene are the main feedstocks for the production of polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), respectively.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 2,487,450 tonnes in 2021, up by 13% year on year. Shipments of all grades of ethylene polymers increased. At the same time, PP shipments to the Russian market totalled 1,494.280 tonnes, up by 21% year on year. Deliveries of homopolymer PP and PP block copolymers increased, whreas.shipments of PP random copolymers decreased significantly.

SABIC donates supplies in Shanghai COVID-19 fight

SABIC donates supplies in Shanghai COVID-19 fight

To help with the recent COVID-19 outbreak in Shanghai, SABIC, a world leading diversified chemicals company, recently announced plans to donate protective equipment and basic necessities to meet the urgent need from patients and medical staff in makeshift hospitals, as well as volunteers and workforce at quarantine frontline in communities, said the company.

The donations will be delivered in batches, the total value of which will exceed 5 million yuan. Li Lei, SABIC Vice President and Regional Head, North Asia, said, “Since entering China in the 1980s, SABIC has been actively fulfilling its corporate social responsibility by leveraging our innovative materials and solutions to help as much as we can when emergencies arise. During the current COVID-19 outbreak in Shanghai, we are actively making timely contributions and providing support on the ground for our customers, employees and communities, especially those most vulnerable to the pandemic. Our heart goes out to them and the entire city."

Following the briefing from Shanghai Charity Foundation, SABIC has recently conducted targeted procurement according to the latest COVID-19 situation to cover the materials supply of more than 28,000 people, reaching patients under quarantine, medical staff and community volunteers in makeshift hospitals as well as the elderly in nursing homes. In addition, 8,000 children’s masks have been provided to the Children’s Hospital of Shanghai, which will continue to receive supplies from SABIC, to bring light and companionship to the quarantined young patients.

In addition to donations, SABIC has also made full use of the company’s business capabilities to ensure the supply of raw materials through emergency deployment, providing prompt assistance to the construction of makeshift hospitals in China and supporting the production of pandemic prevention and livelihood materials. With excellent antibacterial and chemical resistance properties, SABIC’s various innovative technologies and solutions are widely used in protective and medical equipment manufacturing and cold-chain packaging of vaccines, etc., empowering COVID-19 pandemic prevention and control comprehensively.

As per MRC, SABIC has completed the acquisition of Clariant’s 50% stake in specialties company Scientific Design. The purchase makes SABIC a 100% shareholder of Scientific Design, which is a licensor of high-performance process technologies and catalysts producer.

As MRC informed previously, in January 2022, ExxonMobil and SABIC announced the successful startup of Gulf Coast Growth Ventures world-scale manufacturing facility in San Patricio County, Texas. The new facility will produce materials used in packaging, agricultural film, construction materials, clothing, and automotive coolants. The operation includes a 1.8 MM metric tpy ethane steam cracker, two polyethylene (PE) units capable of producing up to 1.3 MM metric tpy, and a monoethylene glycol (MEG) unit with a capacity of 1.1 MM metric tpy.

Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) ranks among the world's top petrochemical companies. The company is among the world's market leaders in the production of polyethylene, polypropylene and other advanced thermoplastics, glycols, methanol and fertilizers.