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Refinery news roundup: Planned spring works in Japan, launches in focus

London — In the Asia-Pacific region, refinery maintenance is planned and ongoing in Japan, along with works in India, China and Malaysia. Launches are also in focus, with full production planned for Malaysia's Pengerang in Q4 and also the start of the Hengyi Brunei PMB Petrochemical Project in Pulau Muara Besar, Brunei, planned this year.

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--Japan's JXTG Nippon Oil & Energy has shut its sole 115,000 b/d crude distillation unit at the Osaka refinery in western Japan on March 4 for scheduled maintenance until early April.

--Chinese independent refinery Haiyou Petrochemical, in eastern Shandong province, plans to restart its 70,000 b/d crude distillation unit in May or June, following a restructuring process after filing for bankruptcy reorganization last year, a refinery source said. The CDU has been shut since May 2018, just before Haiyou Petrochemical declared bankruptcy in July 2018. The refinery has been operating only its 600,000 mt/year coker since last May, while the 600,000 mt/year heavy oil catalytic cracker has operating only occasionally since mid-2018. Despite the restructuring of the company's business, Haiyou has been building a new 1 million mt/year coker, which is expected to be completed by late April and commence operations in May. The refinery also plans to start up the heavy oil catalytic cracker in mid-March.

--Taiwan's Formosa Petrochemical Corp. commenced a planned turnaround on March 1 of the 180,000 b/d No. 2 CDU at its Mailiao refinery Friday, which will last until April 13, market participants said.

--Indian Oil Corp's Panipat refinery began a 25-day shutdown of its atmospheric vacuum distillation unit (AVDU) in February for regular maintenance, company officials. The shutdown started in stages on February 14. Officials said the restart would also be staggered. "This activity will go on till mid-March," an official said. A hydrocracker, a sulfur unit, a diesel hydrotreater and a coker will also be taken offline as part of the shutdown.


--ExxonMobil's Singapore refinery, located at Jurong Island, shut some units for planned maintenance on February 20, which is expected to last several weeks, an ExxonMobil spokesman said. "Some of [the refinery's] operating units will be shutting down during this time," the spokesman said. "Shutting down the units will provide an opportunity for detailed inspections of equipment that are normally in continuous operation, routine maintenance, and installation of facility improvement projects."

--PetroChina's Wepec refinery plans to start a 40-day maintenance April 1-May 10.

--PetroChina's Urumqi refinery will be shut for a full turnaround April 21-June 19.

--Sinopec's Qingdao Refining and Petrochemical will shut May 10-July 24 for a full turnaround.

--Japan's JXTG Nippon Oil & Energy will shut in mid-March the sole 129,000 b/d crude distillation unit at its Chiba refinery in Tokyo Bay for a scheduled turnaround lasting around one month.

--PetroChina's Lanzhou Petrochemical Company in northwestern Gansu province will shut for a scheduled full maintenance from the end of April, a refinery source said. The 10.5 million mt/year refinery, as well as the 1 million mt/year ethylene plant, will be shut down for around 50 days.

--State-owned China National Offshore Oil Corp. Huizhou has shut its 12 million mt/year phase 1 refinery for around two months for scheduled maintenance starting February 18, a company source said. Scheduled maintenance is routinely carried out for refineries every three to four years, the source said. CNOOC Huizhou's phase 1 refinery last shut for full maintenance in October 2014. CNOOC Huizhou runs the phase 1 and phase 2 refineries at a combined processing capacity of 22 million mt/year.

--Sinopec Qilu Petrochemical plans to process 11.8 million mt of crude oil in 2019, down 1.5% from 2018, due to a partial maintenance in early March, a source with the refinery said. "We have a partial maintenance for about a month from early March," the source said. "But it will not cut our throughput significantly as we will take turns to shut the two crude distillation units in order to maintain operation in the refinery." In addition to the CDUs, the refinery will also have turnarounds on some secondary units such as the residue hydrotreater and hydrocracker, the source added.

--Sinopec will shut its Luoyang refinery in northern Henan province from April 20 for a 55-day entire maintenance, a source at the refinery said. "The maintenance had been scheduled in autumn 2018 but delayed to 2019 on the back of effort to maintain production amid good refining margins last year," the source said.

--Indian Oil Corp. plans to shut the vacuum gasoil hydrotreating units at its refinery at Vadodara in March to upgrade capacity, company officials said. Previously, the company had planned to shut the hydrotreater in January for 50 days to raise its capacity by 4.8% to 2.2 million mt/year. The refinery also plans to hike the capacity of its continuous catalytic reformer to 780,000 mt/year, up 30%. In addition, it plans to shut the diesel hydrodesulfurization unit for 48 days from May 15, when its capacity will be raised by 24% to 2.2 million mt/year. IOC has a $2.3 billion expansion project in place for the Gujarat refinery to raise its overall capacity to 18 million mt/year by 2020, which will make it the state-owned company's biggest facility.

--India's Reliance Industries Ltd. shut one of the CDUs and the coker unit at its Jamnagar refinery in Gujarat for routine maintenance and inspection activities from January 16, company officials said. The two units are part of Reliance's domestic-focused refinery at the complex. The other crude distillation and secondary processing units are operating normally. Reliance runs two refineries at the Jamnagar complex -- one with a capacity of 33 million mt/year focused on the domestic market and an export-focused 35.2 million mt/year plant.

--Petronas has scheduled a near one-month maintenance program for the Kertih refinery in Terengganu, Malaysia, in March, a source close to the company said. The turnaround program involves the 75,000 b/d condensate splitter and the 50,300 b/d CDU at the site.

--Japanese refiner Idemitsu Kosan said it plans to shut the sole 190,000 b/d CDU at the Chiba refinery in Tokyo Bay in the spring for a scheduled turnaround of about a month. Currently, Idemitsu has a combined capacity of 500,000 b/d over three refineries in Japan. Its capacity will be increased to 1.09 million b/d over seven refineries in Japan on April 1, when it merges with fellow refiner Showa Shell.

--Thai refiner Thaioil plans to shut its No. 3 CDU and major secondary units for 30-45 days of scheduled maintenance from the middle of June. Thaioil will be idling its 180,000 b/d CDU 3 from mid-June for 30 days of maintenance. The refiner also plans to shut its CCR 1 and No. 2 hydrocracker from mid-June. The CCR will be shut for 30 days and the hydrocracker for around 36 days. Thai Paraxylene Co. Ltd. will be shutting its aromatics production units from mid-June for 45 days of maintenance. The units will return to normal operations in the third quarter, Thaioil said, adding that other units will be operating normally during the turnaround period.

--The 30,000 b/d No. 2 diesel hydrodesulfurizer at Taiwan's 200,000 b/d Taoyuan refinery remains offline following an explosion in 2018 that damaged the unit, according to market sources.

--State-owned Hindustan Petroleum Corp. Ltd. plans a 7-10-day shutdown at its Mumbai refinery for CDU maintenance in the first quarter of 2019. The refinery will carry out the interlinking process at the 4 million mt/year crude unit.

--PetroChina has delayed the start-up of the new 5 million mt/year CDU at its Huabei Petrochemical plant due to oversupply of oil products in central and northern China, market sources said. The company had originally planned to start trial runs in October 2018. However Huabei Petrochemical was still making preparations to start up the CDU in February.

--Vietnam's Nghi Son refinery is expected to produce below 80% of capacity in 2019 as it plans to run two months of scheduled maintenance over spring and summer 2019. All the units at the 200,000 b/d Nghi Son refinery will be shut during the scheduled maintenance.

--Japan's JXTG Nippon Oil and Energy planned to shut the 30,000 b/d fluid catalytic cracker at Marifu from the middle of February for an annual maintenance. The FCC was due to be shut until the middle of March.

--Japan's JXTG Nippon Oil and Energy plans to shut the 46,000 b/d fluid catalytic cracker at Sakai from the end of May to mid-July for annual maintenance. The FCC is able to produce 105,000 mt/year of propylene.



--Chennai Petroleum Corporation Limited plans to shut down a 60,000 b/d crude distillation unit at its Manali refinery in August for a month to undertake a regular maintenance program, company officials said. The refinery has three crude distillation units and specializes in processing high-sulfur crude grades.

--Indian state-run Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd's refinery at Kochi will undergo a shutdown for 15 days to replace a catalyst in a hydrotreater during the fourth quarter of 2019, company officials said.

--Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd's refinery in Mumbai plans to shut down a 6 million mt (120,000 b/d) crude distillation unit in July-August for regular maintenance for 25 days, company officials said. The refinery has two CDUs.


--Japan's Cosmo Oil said it has no plans for scheduled spring maintenance at its three refineries -- Yokkaichi, Chiba and Sakai -- with a combined capacity of 363,000 b/d. The company plans to shut the 75,000 b/d No. 1 CDU at Chiba as well as at the sole 100,000 b/d CDU at Sakai in the autumn.

--PetroChina's Daqing Refining and Petrochemical refinery in northeastern Heilongjiang province will shut in August for a scheduled maintenance of around 40 days. The refinery usually undergoes a complete turnaround every three years, with the last maintenance carried out in July-August 2016. Due to the maintenance, the refinery will only process about 4.7 million mt of crude, down 6% from last year.

--Japan's JXTG Nippon Oil and Energy plans to shut its 46,000 b/d fluid catalytic cracker at Mizushima-A from the end of September to the end of November for annual maintenance.

--Thai refiner PTT Global Chemical plans to conduct scheduled maintenance across its entire refinery at Map Ta Phut in October-November for 54 days.

--Japan's JXTG Nippon Oil and Energy will suspend production of petrochemicals and oil products at the Muroran plant in Hokkaido on March 31 and turn the facility into a refined products terminal from April.

--Hindustan Petroleum Corp. Ltd. plans maintenance at its Vizag refinery for secondary units as well as the three CDUs for three-four weeks in July-September.

--HPCL plans to shut its Mumbai refinery for four weeks in the first quarter of 2020 to revamp the motor spirit block.

--Vietnam's Binh Son Refining and Petrochemical expects production at Dunq Quat to fall to 5.57 million mt in 2020 due to planned maintenance of around two months. Production is expected to be about 5.67 million mt in 2021 because BSR plans to shut the refinery for two months to connect the facility with an expansion project.



--Sinopec's 6 million mt/year Jingmen Petrochemical in central Hubei province plans to complete the construction of three units this year, including a 2.8 million mt/year heavy oil catalytic cracker, a 550,000 mt/year lubricant hydrogenation unit, and a 200,000 mt/year alkylation unit. The startup of these units will help update the processing capacity at the refinery to around 8 million mt/year, from the current 6 million mt/year, it added.

--Indian Oil Corp. plans to shut the vacuum gasoil hydrotreating units at its refinery at Vadodara in March to upgrade capacity. The company had previously planned to shut the hydrotreater in January for 50 days to raise its capacity by 4.8% to 2.2 million mt/year. The refinery also plans to hike the capacity of its continuous catalytic reformer to 780,000 mt/year, up 30% from the current capacity. In addition, it plans to shut the diesel hydrodesulfurization unit for 48 days from May 15, when its capacity will be raised by 24% to 2.2 million mt/year. IOC has a $2.3 billion expansion project in place for the Gujarat refinery to raise its overall capacity to 18 million mt/year by 2020, which will make it the state-owned company's biggest facility.

--Reliance Industries Ltd. has received clearance to raise the capacity of its export-oriented Jamnagar refinery on the west coast of India by 17% to 41 million mt (820,000 b/d). An expert committee of the environment ministry granted an exemption from fresh environmental clearance and public hearing to Reliance's proposal. The clearance is subject to compliance with additional terms and conditions, including recovering sulfur emissions from the refinery complex at 99.92% efficiency, and that volatile organic compound emissions should not exceed 0.1%. By 2030, RIL aims to raise its total refining capacity -- including its domestic-focused refinery -- at Jamnagar to 98.2 million mt/year.

--India's IOC plans to raise the capacity of its Panipat refinery to 25 million mt/year by 2021 to meet growing demand for oil products. The refinery's capacity is 15 million mt/year. The expansion program is moving ahead as planned.

--India's cabinet has approved a project to expand the capacity of the Numaligarh refinery to 9 million mt/year from 3 million mt/year. The project involves laying a crude oil pipeline from Paradip on the east coast to Numaligarh in the northeast, and a product pipeline from Numaligarh to Siliguri, West Bengal. The project is due to be completed within 48 months, after approval and receipt of statutory clearances.

--Sinopec has started construction of an ethylene and refining expansion project at Hainan refinery in southern Hainan province. Some refining units, such as a 5 million mt/year CDU, which were originally included in the expansion project, are not on the latest construction list. "Our expansion project will mainly focus on the petrochemical side...the refining part will not be included this time," a refinery source said.

--In China, Sinopec's Zhenhai refinery in Ningbo, eastern Zhejiang province has issued four tenders for pre-construction works of its 1.2 million mt/year ethylene expansion project, according to Sinopec's ebidding platform. The 1.2 million mt/year ethylene complex is part of Zhenhai refinery's expansion project. The project also includes 15 million mt/year of refining capacity. Sinopec Zhenhai Refining and Chemical currently operates the country's largest 23 million mt/year refinery and a 1 million mt/year ethylene complex. Once the expansion project is completed, its crude refining capacity will be raised to 38 million mt/year and ethylene production capacity will be lifted to 2.2 million mt/year.

--State-owned Hindustan Petroleum Corp. Ltd. plans to revamp the motor spirit block at Mumbai for 35-45 days in April-June. Earlier, the revamp was scheduled for the January-March quarter of 2020.

--South Korea's Hyundai Oilbank plans to expand its residue desulfurization unit's capacity from the current 100,000 b/d to 130,000 b/d in May 2020. Hyundai Oilbank also is set to complete works to expand its CDUs, increasing its refining capacity to 650,000 b/d from 560,000 b/d. Once the works are complete, the No. 1 CDU with a capacity of 120,000 b/d will be expanded to 160,000 b/d, while the No. 2 CDU with 310,000 b/d will get expanded to 360,000 b/d.

--Nayara Energy is seeking the renewal of environmental approval to double capacity at its Vadinar refinery as the previous approval had been given to Essar Oil. Nayara Energy is an integrated downstream oil company that operates India's second-largest single-site refiner at Vadinar, Gujarat. Russia's Rosneft, as part of a consortium, acquired Essar Oil in a $13 billion deal. Essar Oil was renamed Nayara Energy after the acquisition by the consortium. It had planned to double the refining capacity at Vadinar to 40 million mt/year.

--Petron plans to expand and upgrade its Bataan refinery in Limay, increasing its capacity by 55% to produce 75,000 b/d of refined products and 1 million mt/year of aromatics. There was no timeline for when the expansion will take place. The refinery's capacity will be increased by 100,000 b/d of condensates and light crude oils to produce aromatics and automotive fuels. The Bataan refinery currently has a capacity of 180,000 b/d.

--An expansion plan is underway to increase the production capacity of Thailand's Bangchak Petroleum refinery to 140,000 b/d by 2020, from 120,000 b/d.

--South Korea's SK Innovation will build a 40,000 b/d heavy upgrader at Ulsan by 2020, which will produce 34,000 b/d of 0.5% sulfur fuel oil and 6,000 b/d of gasoil.

--HPCL's $3.2 billion project to expand Vizag's 8.3 million mt/year capacity to 15 million mt/year is scheduled to be completed by March 2020.

--State-owned Indian Oil Corp. has signed up energy technology and infrastructure solutions provider CB&I for a residue upgrading unit at its Mathura refinery in north India.

--India's IOC is exploring an option to build a petroleum coke gasification plant at its Paradip refinery on India's east coast. IOC's $2.3 billion expansion project for the refinery to raise its overall capacity to 18 million mt/year (360,000 b/d) from 13.7 million mt/year by 2020 is on schedule.

--The Philippines' Petron Corp. has been considering a plan to more than double capacity at its 88,000 b/d Port Dickson refinery in Malaysia by 2020 to 178,000 b/d.

--Japan's Cosmo Energy Holdings plans to raise the capacity of the coker unit at its Sakai refinery to 31,000 b/d during a scheduled maintenance in 2019 as part of its response to the International Maritime Organization's 2020 low sulfur mandate.

--Company officials said IOC's $2.3 billion expansion project for the Gujarat refinery to raise its overall capacity to 18 million mt/year (361,000 b/d) by 2020 from the current capacity of 13.7 million mt/year was on schedule.



--Haldia Petrochemicals Ltd's proposal to invest $4.05 billion in an integrated refinery and petrochemicals facility in Balasore, India, has been granted approval by the Odisha government, the company said in a statement. The site of the future facility will be on 2,000 acres near the proposed Subarnarekha Port, the company said. "The first phase of the Haldia Petrochemicals project is expected to be operational within five years of allotment of land," the company said.

--The new Pengerang refinery and petrochemicals joint venture between Petronas and Saudi Aramco in southern Malaysia, which commenced its start-up in late January, is expected to reach full operations in Q4, Petronas said. The steam cracker started operations in February, and the company reported mechanical completion. The refinery, known as PRefChem, is part of the Pengerang Integrated Complex in the Malaysian state of Johor.

--The Hengyi Brunei PMB Petrochemical Project in Pulau Muara Besar, Brunei, is over 90% complete, with the "procurement, civil engineering, project comprehensive design and steel structure installation" all completed, the company said. The first phase of the project, which has an investment of $3.45 billion, envisages crude processing capacity of 8 million mt/year, 1.5 million mt/year of paraxylene and 500,000 mt/year of benzene, as well as producing gasoline, kerosene, diesel and other products. Testing is expected in the second quarter of 2019 with full production shortly after. In the second phase, 14 million mt/year of crude oil processing capacity will be added, bringing the overall capacity to 22 million mt/year. Production will include 2 million mt/year of paraxylene and 1.5 million mt/year of ethylene, as well as refined products.


--Saudi Aramco is boosting its downstream investments in China, creating a joint venture to build a $10 billion refinery and acquiring a stake in the greenfield Zhejiang Petrochemical refinery and petrochemical complex. The Saudi oil company has signed a deal with China's North Industries Group (Norinco) and Panjin Sincen to form Huajin Aramco Petrochemical Co. The JV plans to build a 300,000 b/d integrated refining and petrochemical complex in northeast China's Liaoning province with a 1.5 million mt/year ethylene cracker and a 1.3 million mt/year PX unit. The project is still in the planning phase and a timeline for construction has not been decided.

--Saudi Aramco announced it will acquire a 9% stake in the greenfield Zhejiang Petrochemical project in an agreement signed with the Zhoushan city's government. Zhejiang Petrochemical, established in 2015, is a joint venture between textile companies Rongsheng Holding (51%) and Tongkun Group (20%) and chemicals company Juhua Group (20%). The Zhejiang Petrochemical project is located on Yuashan island in Zhoushan city, a logistics hub in the free trade zone of Zhejiang province. Phase I of the project will include a new 400,000 b/d refinery with a 1.4 million mt/year ethylene cracker and a 5.2 million mt/year aromatics unit, Aramco said. Phase II will see a 400,000 b/d refinery expansion. Zhejiang Petrochemical started trial operations January 31 on the first 200,000 b/d crude distillation unit.

--Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are in talks to develop a 200,000-300,000 b/d refinery in Balochistan's Gwadar district for $10 billion. Construction is set to start by the end of the year.

--State-owned Indian Oil Corp. is hopeful of Iranian investment in subsidiary Chennai Petroleum Corporation Limited's proposal to set up a new 180,000 b/d refinery at Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu state. IOC holds a 51.9% share in CPCL, while Iran's NIOC holds 15.4% through its Swiss subsidiary Naftiran Intertrade. IOC's board approved CPCL's initial proposal to set up the refinery at Nagapattinam in September 2017.

--Construction work of India's 60 million mt/year mega-refinery on the west coast will start from 2020 after the process of land acquisition is complete, a leading company official said. "Land for the project should be available by the end of next year," The CEO of Ratnagiri Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd., B Ashok, said. The refinery, when commissioned in 2025, will have a processing capacity of 1.2 million b/d and produce around 18 million mt/year of petrochemicals products.

--The Chinese petrochemical producer Shenghong Group started construction on its greenfield 16 million mt/year refining and petrochemical complex in Lianyungang, eastern Jiangsu province. "The project is slated for completion in 2021," Shenghong said. The project will include a 16 million mt/year refinery, a 1.1 million mt/year ethylene plant, a 2.8 million mt/year paraxylene plant, a 300,000 dwt crude receiving dock, 3.5 million cu m of storage tanks and some auxiliary facilities. Shenghong's refinery will only have one CDU with a processing capacity of 16 million mt/year.

--China's greenfield Hengli Refining and Chemical Co. in Dalian, northeastern Liaoning province, has started trial runs at its 400,000 b/d newly-built refinery. Crude oil was fed into the refinery's No. 1 CDU and the unit started running in mid-December 2018. Hengli is likely to start marketing its petrochemical and oil products in the first half of 2019.

--PetroChina officially started construction work at its greenfield 20 million mt/year Guangdong petrochemical refinery in the southern Guangdong province on December 5, 2018. Trial operations at the refining complex are expected to start in October 2021, while trial operation at the petrochemical units will begin two months later. The construction work includes setting up 41 units, including a 20 million mt/year refining complex, a 1.2 million mt/year naphtha cracker, and a 2.6 million mt/year aromatics plant.

--China's coal chemical producer Xuyang Group has announced plans to build a greenfield 15 million mt/year refining and petrochemical complex in Tangshang in central Hebei province, that is slated for completion in three years. However, there is still no timetable when the construction will begin, as the company needs the approval from the provincial government.

--China's Sinopec has started construction works at its greenfield 10 million mt/year (200,000 b/d) Zhongke (Guangdong) Refining & Chemical complex, also known as Zhanjiang refinery. Sinopec had targeted completing construction of the entire complex by October.

--Mongolia has launched construction of its first refinery, which will be financed by the Indian government, according to a media report. The refinery, which is planned to have a processing capacity of 1.5 million mt/year and would be Mongolia's first, is due for completion in 2022.

--A new HPCL project in Barmer, India, is due for completion by March 2023.

--India's big refinery project in Maharashtra, being developed by state-owned IOC, HPCL and BPCL, will start up around 2022-23.

--Indonesia's Pertamina has signed a joint venture agreement with Russia's Rosneft to build and operate a proposed integrated 300,000 b/d greenfield refinery and petrochemical facility in Tuban, East Java, targeting completion in 2024.

-- Elza Turner,

-- Edited by James Burgess,