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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Convent Refinery News

Chinese Diesel to be Shipped 'west' in VLCC

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / (c) Carabay)

Newly built vessel to load from Tianjin refinery a cargo of10ppm sulphur diesel meeting summer specs. In a rare shipment, a diesel cargo will be loaded into a very large crude carrier (VLCC) from a refinery at China's Tianjin port next month before heading to Europe or West Africa. The newly-built 'Maran Aphrodite', which can carry about 285,000 tonnes of diesel, has been chartered by oil major Total to load from Chinese state-run giant Sinopec's refinery in the northern port to head "west", two people familiar with the matter said.

Shell Bringing First US Import of Malaysian Condensate

A cargo of Malaysian Bintulu condensate bought by Royal Dutch Shell is sailing to New Orleans, Louisiana, a trade source in Asia familiar with the matter said on Tuesday, in what appears to be the first U.S. import of that grade of offshore oil according to Thomson Reuters Trade Flows data. The Polaris, a medium-range vessel, loaded 200,000 barrels of the condensate at Malaysia's Bintulu terminal in early February, before stopping at Singapore's Jurong Port to pick up another parcel, the source said. It sailed west from Jurong in late February toward the United States, around Africa's Cape of Good Hope, Reuters' vessel tracking data show. A Shell spokesperson was not immediately available for comment. U.S. oil imports from Malaysia are rare.

Saudi Aramco, Shell to Break up, Divide Motiva Assets

image: Royal Dutch Shell

Shell and Saudi Aramco on Wednesday announced plans to break up Motiva Enterprises LLC and divide up the assets, almost two decades after the U.S. oil refining and marketing joint venture was formed. Under the terms of a non-binding letter of intent, Saudi Aramco will retain the Motiva name, assume sole ownership of the Port Arthur, Texas refinery, the biggest in the United States, and retain 26 distribution terminals, according to a statement. It will also have an exclusive license to use the Shell brand for gasoline and diesel sales in Texas…

BOEM $249,000 Grant for Louisiana Pump Station

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Regulation and Enforcement (BOEM) announced it has approved a grant for $249,000 to St. James Parish in Louisiana through the Coastal Impact Assistance Program (CIAP), for the second phase of a project to construct a waterline booster pump station along LA Highway 44 in Convent, La. Created by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, CIAP provides funding to the six Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas producing states to conserve and protect the coastal environment. CIAP is an ongoing program with grant funding that is allocated based on the offshore energy revenues collected by the United States. “BOEM will continue to work with the state of Louisiana and its parishes on important coastal restoration efforts through the CIAP program…

U.S. GoM Energy Producers Evacuating Ahead of T/S Nate

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / (c) mode_list)

Oil and natural gas producers began evacuating staff at U.S. Gulf of Mexico platforms on Thursday ahead of Tropical Storm Nate, the second storm in as many months to threaten Gulf Coast oil and refining facilities. Nate, which has already killed three people in Costa Rica, according to local authorities, is forecast to scrape past Honduras and Mexico, enter the Gulf and strengthen into a hurricane before making landfall early on Sunday in Louisiana, near several major refineries.

Russia Ramps up Fuel Exports in Fight for European Market

© Mikhail Perfilov / Adobe Stock

Russia plans to sharply increase fuel exports and carve out a larger share of the European market following an extensive $55 billion modernisation of its refineries, companies' plans and analysts' reports show. Russia embarked on a modernisation of its biggest refineries in 2011 following a fuel shortage crisis. It also changed its tax system to favour production of cleaner and higher-quality fuel. The modernisation, which has not been completed yet, led to a surge in output of light products and exports, which has hurt European refineries' margins.

Refinery Strike Affects One-Fifth of U.S. Capacity

The largest U.S. refinery strike in 35 years entered its fourth week on Sunday as workers at 12 refineries accounting for one-fifth of national production capacity were walking picket lines. Sources familiar with the negotiations said talks may resume by mid-week to end the walkout by 6,550 members of the United Steelworkers union (USW) at 15 plants, including the 12 refineries. Representatives of both sides said no date has been set to restart negotiations, however. The strike comes as U.S. workers seek more pay in a strengthening economy. Wal-Mart Stores Inc has said its U.S. workers will get a raise to at least $9 an hour, while West Coast port workers have reached a tentative deal for a new contract after a months-long dispute. The refinery work stoppage began on Feb.

Distillate Demand Boost from Shipping Sulphur Rules to be Brief

File Image: A typical Middle East Refinery (CREDIT: MELCAL)

A sharp increase in demand for distillates following new shipping fuel rules will fade quickly, the International Energy Agency said on Monday. New rules implemented by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) will significantly cut the amount of sulphur that the world's ships can burn in their engines from 2020, leading to a close to 1 million barrel per day (bpd) rise in gasoil consumption at the expense of high-sulphur fuel oil. While ships can continue to burn higher sulphur fuel if they install scrubbers…

U.S. Crude Exports to Asia Slump as WTI Outperforms

File Image: the U.S. crude export hub of Corpus Christi, TX is upgrading its facilities for anticipated growth. (CREDIT: Port of Corpus Christi)

Exports of U.S. crude oil to Asia appear to be starting to struggle under the weight of a narrowing discount for its domestic benchmark crude to international grades and efforts by other suppliers to maintain competitiveness. Vessel-tracking and port data suggest Asian imports of U.S. crude were equivalent to about 560,000 barrels per day (bpd) in February, down sharply from 676,190 bpd in January. March's figure may be even weaker with data compiled by Thomson Reuters Oil Research and Forecasts pointing to Asian imports of only about 290,000 bpd.

Shale Growth could Overwhelm U.S. Refiners, Fuel Exports

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / (c) Leeylutung)

Rising U.S. shale oil production will overwhelm the nation's refining capacity, with three-quarters of the additional oil produced in the United States by 2023 shipped to Europe and Asia, according to a new study by consultancy Wood Mackenzie. The research points to the continued impact of U.S. shale on global markets and the mismatch between domestic refining capacity and rising crude output. The oil could bottleneck at U.S. Gulf Coast ports unless new infrastructure is built, researchers said. U.S.

Runaway Crane Barge Sinks on the Mississippi

The U.S. Coast Guard is working with a team of responders to recover a runaway crane barge that sunk near Convent on the Mississippi River.   The crane barge broke free of its mooring and sank along with an excavator crane and backhoe near mile marker 160 Monday morning, according to Coast Guard Sector New Orleans. No injuries were reported.   The Coast Guard said it is working with the barge’s owner and oil spill response organization ES&H to determine the amount of diesel fuel in the tank at the time of the incident, which could reportedly be up to 8,000 gallons.   The Coast Guard is working with salvors McKinney Towing & Salvage to develop a salvage plan.   The cause of the incident is under investigation.

Bisso Salvages Collapsed Crane

Bisso Marine Company, Inc., in New Orleans, has successfully completed the salvage of the 1,200 ton Gantry Ship Unloader from the Mississippi River at the IC Railmarine Terminal, Convent, La. The crane collapsed from the dock during testing procedures last June. Bisso cut the unloader into three main sections, utilizing shape charge type explosives. The sections were lifted by Bisso Marine derricks and transported to a secure lay down area on the batture behind the dock for forensic investigation. The 90 ton trolley, test weights, counterweights and other miscellaneous equipment from the crane were recovered from 80 to 135 ft. water depths by Bisso Marine divers and equipment.

BP enters into partnership with New Zealand companies

Oil major BP said it entered into a joint partnership with New Zealand Refining Co Ltd and Z Energy to procure and process crude oil through New Zealand's only refinery, according to a report on Voxy's website. BP and Z Energy, the refinery's two largest customers, currently import their own cargoes of crude when required, which means the refinery has to manage production independently, and often not at optimum levels, the report said. "The refinery is a key energy infrastructure asset and this partnership will enable it to operate more efficiently and competitively," the website quoted Matt Elliott, BP New Zealand Managing Director.

Washington State Refineries To Use Benchmarking Methodology

Solomon Associates has  announced it has been working in collaboration with the refining industry and state officials in Washington to assist in establishing a regulatory framework designed to help control greenhouse gas emissions from Washington’s five petroleum refineries. The Washington Department of Ecology has begun the process of controlling greenhouse gas emissions by adopting a new rule under RCW 70.94.154. The rule requires all Washington stationary sources to have reasonably available control technology (RACT). Refineries are being presented with two options to meet the requirement. The first compliance option requires refineries to use Solomon’s Energy Intensity Index® (EII®) to benchmark their energy efficiency against other similar-sized refineries in the nation.

Flare Refinery in Northern Mexico Leaves One Dead, 11 Injured

  A blaze Friday at the coking plant of the refinery of Mexico's state Pemex in the northern state of Tamaulipas killed one worker and left another 11 wounded, said the oil. Pemex said the coking plant Madero refinery was in maintenance and operations of the refinery, the smallest of the six Pemex and processes an average of 130,000 barrels per day (bpd) were not affected. The company did not elaborate on the status of injured workers. Pemex processes an average 1.24 million bpd in its six refineries. (Reporting by Adriana Barrera)  

Petrobras Starts Furnaces at RNEST Refinery

Petroleo Brasileiro SA began operating the furnaces in the atmospheric distillation unit at its Abreu e Lima or "RNEST" refinery near Recife, said the state-run oil company in a statement on Thursday. Those approvals mean the refinery can soon start producing both gasoline and diesel fuel, the ANP said on Thursday. The refinery was originally expected to start operations four years ago. The Brazilian state of Pernambuco has limited processing capacity at the first train to processing 45,000 barrels a day of crude, or 39 percent of the train's capacity, until sulfur and nitrogen control systems are fully operational. A second 115,000 barrel a day train is expected to start operation sometime in the second half of 2015.

EU Approves Klesch Refinery Purchase

Regulator sees no competition concerns; Klesch announced purchase in July. EU regulators cleared U.S. entrepreneur Gary Klesch's purchase of the Milford Haven oil refinery on the coast of Wales, the European Commission said in a statement on Friday. Klesch agreed in July to buy the 135,000 barrels per day refinery from Murphy Oil for an undisclosed sum and said the struggling plant would restart operations. It refines gasoline, diesel, fuel oil, jet fuel, LPG and propylene, as does the Heide Refinery in Germany, also owned by the Klesch Group. But the European Commission, the EU executive, concluded there would be no antitrust concerns as any overlap was limited and the Milford Haven refinery would face strong competition from other players.

French CGT Oil Sector Workers to Join May Strike

French oil sector workers of the CGT trade union will join a national strike at refineries and other installations from May 17 to May 20 against a planned government reform of French labour law, a CGT union official told Reuters on Friday. The union will also propose to shutdown production at refineries and other oil sector sites during a May 20 meeting, Thierry Defresne, CGT union official at Total, said after a general assembly meeting of the trade union. "What we have decided this morning is to launch a strike on all refineries in France from May 17 in the morning until midday on May 20," Defresne said, adding that the strike will affect Exxon Mobil and Esso facilities.

Atlantic Tanker Rates Drop

Atlantic clean tanker trades have been hit by refinery maintenance schedules in the Caribbean, while bouyant Asian trades will be boosted further by earthquake disruption at Indian refineries, brokers said. "Caribs upcoast rates have really slipped," said a U.S. tanker broker. "A lot of refineries are shut down for maintenance and to get themselves ready for increasing gasoline demand." He cited the Hovensa and Citgo refineries as two of those that had interrupted products output. The market for 30,000 tonrs from the Caribs to New York currently stands at W384, having fallen 10 points since last Friday. Transatlantic rates have also slumped, now standing at around W394, compared to W414 at the end of last week.

Achinsk Refinery Resumes Operation on Tight Schedule

Rosneft had Halted Achinsk Oil Refinery After Explosion Kills Seven

Achinsk Oil refinery, suspended after the incident of June 15, 2014 has recovered the processes of primary crude oil processing on a tight schedule, according to the plan of repair activities. From the 1st of September the enterprise has commenced production of the main types of oil products: straight-run gasoline, diesel fuel, marine fuel and aviation fuel, as well as WLHF (wide light hydrocarbon fraction). Concurrently with the primary crude processing plant a VT-Bitumen unit, producing petroleum bitumen, resumed to operating.

ExxonMobil to Upgrade Slagen Refinery Project

Slagen Refinery Project to be Upgraded

ExxonMobil affiliate Esso Norge AS announced today plans to install a new processing unit at the Slagen refinery to enable production of high quality vacuum gas oil, a higher-yield feedstock used to create finished products such as diesel. The new residual flash tower is an upgrading unit that will improve the facility’s overall crude distillation process by replacing production of heavy fuel oil with lighter, higher-value gas oil. “The new investment in Slagen builds upon other…

Exxon eyes expanding Texas refinery


Exxon Mobil Corp is considering a multi-billion-dollar plan to expand its Beaumont, Texas, refinery into the country's largest, the first major refining investment of the U.S. shale oil boom, people with knowledge of the deliberations said. The expansion of the 344,600 barrel-per-day (bpd) Beaumont refinery, if carried out, would be completed by 2020 and potentially double its size with the addition of a third crude distillation unit (CDU), the sources said. More modest near-term projects to renew and expand so-called coking units to help refine more heavy crude already are under way…

UK Oil Imports Exceed Exports for First Time in 30 Years

Britain imported more oil products than it exported last year for the first time in 30 years, an official report shows, and analysts say the country is likely to stay dependent on overseas oil as its refineries close. Britain exported 26.2 million tonnes of products such as diesel, kerosene and jet fuel from its refineries last year, but imported 28.2 million tonnes, due to the closure of two major oil processing plants. "The U.K. was a net importer of petroleum products in 2013 for the first time since 1984, the year of the miners' strike," the UK's Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said in its annual report. Coryton oil…

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