▪ Saudi firm to join PTT in building Vietnam’s first refinery and petrochemical complex
Thailand’s PTT Pcl, which has completed the feasibility study for the refinery and petrochemical complex in Banh Dinh, in south-central Vietnam, has named Saudi Aramco as a new partner in the project.
The crude throughput of the refinery has been reduced from 660,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 400,000 bpd, it was announced. Investment in the complex has likewise been lowered from USD28.5 billion to USD22 billion.
The world-class refinery and petrochemical complex, Vietnam’s first, will be able to produce EURO V-compliant products, an olefin manufacturing plant and an ethylene steam cracking plant with an annual capacity of 1.4 million tonnes.
PTT and the Banh Dinh local government have submitted the report to the Ministry of Industry and Trade. If everything goes as planned, the complex could break ground in 2016 and begin commercial production in 2021.
Vietnam’s only operating refinery located in Dung Quat has one-third the refining capacity of this planned complex.
Meanwhile, two other refineries are in the works with the Vung Ro Petroleum Refinery in the south-central province of Phu Yen breaking ground this month and the Nghi Son Refinery in the north-central province of Thanh Hoa scheduled to break ground in October.
September 13, 2014
▪ Ceypetco introduces ultra low-sulfur diesel at retail outlets
Sri Lanka's state-owned Ceylon Petroleum Corp. (Ceypetco) introduced ultra low-sulfur diesel fuel at its local retail stations in August, joining some Asia-Pacific countries in the switch to cleaner fuels.
Known as the Lanka Super Diesel 4 star, the 10-parts-per-million (ppm) diesel fuel was launched at its retail network on Aug. 22.
Sri Lanka uses a combination of local production from its 50,000 barrel per day (bpd) Sapugaskanda refinery and from imports to meet the country’s diesel fuel demand.
Ceypetco recently started importing 10-ppm sulfur diesel fuel through its term supplier, Swiss Singapore.
August 26, 2014
▪ Kenyan regulator asked to review flash point of low sulfur diesel fuel
Kenya's oil product marketers have asked national standards regulator, Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), to lower the flash point parameter for 50-parts-per-million (ppm) sulfur diesel fuel on concerns over import availability once the country switches to the low-sulfur grade next year.
The Petroleum Institute of East Africa is seeking to lower the minimum flash point to 60 degrees Celsius (C), from the 66 degrees C that was set under the new 50-ppm sulfur diesel specifications that will come into effect on Jan. 1, 2015.
The new EAC (East African Community) standard reduces sulfur content from 500 ppm to 50 ppm, yet it increases the minimum flash point from 60 degrees C to 66 degrees C while the reverse should be the case, as the fuel becomes lighter when sulfur is reduced, PIEA General Manager Wanjiku Manyara said in a letter to KEBS on Sept. 22.
The EAC, of which Kenya is a part, will fully switch to low-sulfur diesel and gasoline on Jan. 1, 2015. For diesel, the maximum sulfur content will be reduced to 50 ppm from 500 ppm while its flash point will be raised to a minimum 66 degrees C from the current 60 degrees C. As for gasoline, the maximum sulfur content will be reduced to 150 ppm from 500 ppm and the lead content reduced from 15 milligrams/litre (mg/litre) to 13 mg/litre while maximum density will fall from 780 kilograms/cubic metre to 771 kg/cu m.
The PIEA is an umbrella body that handles issues affecting the oil industry. But in order to comply with the new flash point parameter for domestic diesel fuel, pipeline operator Kenya Pipeline Company requires importers to deliver diesel fuel with the higher flash point of a minimum of 72 degrees C, which could pose a challenge in buying the fuel from overseas refineries, Wanjiku added. The higher flash point requirement is needed to buffer potential losses in quality, as diesel is transported in the same pipeline system as gasoline and kerosene.
Kenya's current import specifications for 500-ppm sulfur diesel fuel have a minimum flash point of 66 degrees C, according to trade sources. Low sulfur diesel fuel from major export refineries in Asia typically has a minimum flash point below 70 degrees C that can meet East Africa's import specifications.
EAC's switch to low-sulfur motor fuels is likely to be supplied by 50-ppm or 10-ppm sulfur diesel fuel from the Middle East, India and Singapore. Exports of 50-ppm and 10-ppm sulfur diesel fuel from trading hub Singapore have a minimum flash point of 66 degrees C while supply from Indian refiners—in particular Essar Oil and Reliance Industries Limited—mostly have flash points ranging from 66 degrees C to above 70 degrees C.
Meanwhile, petroleum companies are waiting for a meeting to be set up between KEBS, Kenya Pipeline Company and marketers to address operational challenges from the higher flash point. Marketers want clarity on the issue of diesel's flash point to make adequate arrangements to import refined fuel and conform to EAC's new specifications before January.
If KEBS agrees to review the flash point specification, it will be shared and discussed as a regional specification among the EAC-member states, as member countries share an oil products pipeline system from Kenya. The multi-product pipeline from Kenya's Mombasa port through Nairobi to Kisumu and Eldoret in western Kenya handles fuel for local consumption as well as export to Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda.
Kenya and fellow EAC-member state Tanzania are large importers of diesel fuel and gasoline. On average, Kenya and Tanzania import around 150,000 metric tonnes (mt) of diesel fuel and 100,000 mt of gasoline each month.
September 27, 2014
▪ Pemex awards contracts for clean fuels program
Mexico’s state-owned oil company, Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex), awarded five contracts totaling USD2.8 billion for refinery upgrades to produce ultra low-sulphur diesel fuel as part of its clean fuels program.
Designed to improve the qualities of air and fuels, the fuel quality project will involve the construction of new plants and upgrading of existing plants to reduce the sulfur content of Mexico’s diesel fuel to 15 parts per million (ppm) from 500 ppm, which will lower the country’s greenhouse gas emissions by more than 12,000 tonnes per year (tpy), said Emillio Lozoya Austin, Pemex’s chief executive officer.
Pemex, currently a monopoly as the only producer of motor fuels in Mexico, is already involved in a USD6.7 billion program at its refineries to produce cleaner gasoline.
According to Pemex, these five contracts are for specialized plants at five of its six refineries that will remove sulphur from diesel fuel and process the chemical for use in fertilizers.
Due to lack of refinery capacity, Pemex imports about 40% of its gasoline and one-third of its diesel fuel, most of it coming from the United States.
At a contract signing, Miguel Tame Domínguez, head of Pemex’s refining division, said that the investments will raise the company’s production of cleaner diesel fuel to 60% of its output by mid-2015, and to 100% by the end of 2017 when most of the recent contracts are expected to be completed.
Juan José Guerra Abud, Mexico’s environment minister, said that environmentalists and the oil industry have wanted Pemex to begin producing cleaner fuels for a long time, but this had been repeatedly postponed.
Pemex’s monopoly is soon to be challenged. In August 2014, an energy overhaul was signed into law, which will open up all aspects of the industry to private and foreign players.
August 21, 2014