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REFINERY NEWS ROUNDUP: Plants in China raise runs

The average utilization rate at China's four state-owned refiners rebounded by two percentage points to 82.6% in November, from a five-month low of 80.6% in October, while independent refiners also raised run rates with refining margins remaining good.

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The four state oil companies -- Sinopec, PetroChina, CNOOC and Sinochem -- planned to process a total 7.8 million b/d of crudes in November, against their nameplate capacity of 9.44 million b/d, Platts data showed. This compared with a planned throughput of 7.67 million b/d in October, against their nameplate capacity of 9.52 million b/d.

In December, these state-run refiners are likely to keep their throughputs relatively stable, since there is no need to continue to boost gasoil output in some regions, according to refinery sources.

Sinopec led the utilization increase among the state refiners in November. It raised run rates by two percentage points from October at 84%, processing 4.376 million b/d in November. The increase came despite scheduled maintenance at three of its refineries.

Its Gaoqiao Petrochemical and Guangzhou Petrochemical have shut their units since Oct. 8 and end-October, respectively, till December. The Fujian Refining & Chemical was also scheduled to shut an 80,000 b/d CDU for maintenance from early-November till January 2022.

However, the impact of a shutdown at these plants was offset by other refineries under Sinopec, as 17 out of the total 23 refineries covered in the data, raised throughputs month on month.

PetroChina has raised its run rates by one percentage point further to 77.4% in November, the second straight on month increase.

Among the independent refiners, the average run rate at Zhejiang Petroleum & Chemical has generally improved after the allocation of the 12 million mt quota to its Phase 2 project of 400,000 b/d around Oct. 25. The fourth CDU started from around mid-November, with the average run rate for the month lifting to around 80%, from around 70% in October.

Run rates at the Hengli Petrochemical (Dalian) in northeastern China have been relatively stable, at around 90%, compared with 90% in October, and 91% in September. Prior to this, the refinery had been operating at above 100% of utilization rate. The November run rate was capped by the maintenance at its 3.8 million mt/year hydrocracker, which will be completed soon and help lift its run rate back to 100% in December, according to a refinery source.

Separately, PetroChina's Dalian Petrochemical in northeastern Liaoning province will further cut its product exports by 86.7% month on month to 75,000 mt in December due to limited quotas, according to sources with knowledge of the matter. This will be a third monthly consecutive drop, with overseas sales declining 41.7% month on month in November, and 42% month on month in October. Dalian will further cut gasoline exports to just one cargo of 35,000 mt this month, from around three cargoes totaling 100,000 mt in November, sources said. At the same time, it will continue to skip gasoil exports in December, while it will export 40,000 mt of jet fuel in the month, largely unchanged from November.

Japan's refinery run rates rose to 78.5% over Nov. 21-27 from 75.9% in the previous week as refiners raised their crude throughput by 3.4% week on week to 2.71 million b/d, Petroleum Association of Japan data released Dec. 1.

NEW AND ONGOING MAINTENANCE

Refinery
Capacity b/d
Country
Owner
Unit
Duration
Negishi
270,000
Japan
ENEOS
Part
Closure'22
Chiba
177,000
Japan
Cosmo Oil
Part
Oct
Aichi
160,000
Japan
Idemitsu
Full
Oct
Wakayama
127,500
Japan
ENEOS
Full
Back
Guangzhou
264,000
China
Sinopec
Full
Autumn
Fujian
280,000
China
Sinopec
Part
Nov
Gaoqiao
260,000
China
Sinopec
Full
Nov
Quanzhou
240,000
China
Sinopec
Full
Nov
Hainan
184,000
China
Sinopec
Full
Mar

UPGRADES

Zhenhai
230,000
China
Sinopec
Expansion
NA
Jinling
420,000
China
Sinopec
Upgrade
NA
Haiyou
70,000
China
Haiyou
Upgrade
On hold
Huizhou
440,000
China
CNOOC
Upgrade
NA
Luoyang
160,000
China
Sinopec
Upgrade
2020
Chiba
190,000
Japan
Idemitsu
Upgrade
2020
Changling
230,000
China
Sinopec
Upgrade
NA
Qinzhou
240,000
China
Guanxi
Upgrade
2023

LAUNCHES

Tangshang
300,000
China
Xuyang Group
Launch
2021
Jieyang
400,000
China
Guandong
Launch
2021
Huajin Aramco
300,000
China
Joint
Launch
NA
Lianyungang
320,000
China
Shenghong
Launch
2021
Yulong
400,000
China
Yulong
Launch
2022
ZPC
800,000
China
Joint
Launch
Launched

Near-term maintenance

New and revised entries

China

** Sinopec's Guangzhou Petrochemical shut an 8 million mt/year CDU for maintenance from late-October until early-December. The original plan was to shut the unit from mid-October.

** Sinopec's Gaoqiao Petrochemical has shut its entire refinery for maintenance from Oct. 8 until early-December.

** Sinopec's Fujian Refining and Petrochemical has shut a 4 million mt/year CDU and some secondary units for maintenance from Nov. 10 until Jan. 11.

** Sinochem's Quanzhou Petrochemical will shut the 12 million mt/year CDU and related units for maintenance from early-December. The shutdown is planned for about 40-50 days.

** China's Zhejiang Petroleum & Chemical, or ZPC, started its fourth CDU, part of Phase 2, around mid-November. The refinery's run rate has generally improved after the allocation of the 12 million mt quota to its Phase 2 project of 400,000 b/d around Oct. 25. ZPC involved two phases, each of which led to two 10 million mt/year CDUs.

Japan

** Japan's ENEOS restarted the sole 127,500 b/d crude distillation unit at its Wakayama refinery in the country's west Nov. 26 after completing scheduled maintenance that began Sept. 21, a spokesperson said Nov. 29.

Existing entries

Japan

** Japan's Cosmo Oil shut the 75,000 b/d No. 1 crude distillation unit at its 177,000 b/d Chiba refinery in Tokyo Bay Oct. 19 until mid November for scheduled maintenance, a company spokesperson said.

** Japan's Idemitsu Kosan shut the sole 160,000 b/d crude distillation unit at its Aichi refinery in central Japan on Sept. 14 for planned maintenance. This is a large-scale turnaround carried out once every four years, and the suspension period ranges from two to three months.

** Japan's ENEOS said it will decommission the 120,000 b/d No. 1 CDU at its 270,000 b/d Negishi refinery in Tokyo Bay in October 2022. It will also decommission secondary units attached to the No. 1 CDU, including a vacuum distillation unit and fluid catalytic cracker. ENEOS will also decommission a 270,000 mt/year lubricant output unit at the Negishi refinery.

China

** Sinopec's Hainan Petrochemical refinery in southern China plans to completely shut for scheduled maintenance over March-April 2022, a source with the refinery said. This is a routine maintenance that is normally carried out by Chinese refineries every three to four years, according to the source. Sinopec Hainan refinery last carried out complete maintenance over November 2017-January 2018.

Upgrades

New and revised entries

** Chinese Sinopec's refinery Zhenhai Refining and Chemical in eastern Zhejiang province, has successfully started up new hydrogen units Nov. 19, according to a refinery source. This brings the total hydrogen capacity by using coal and petroleum coke as feedstock to around 300,000 cubic per hour, including the first phase of 120,000 cubic per hour, according to the source. The hydrogen produced will be supplied to the refining complex, which will also help diversify its supply of hydrogen. The construction work of three gasifiers in the second phase was started March 18, 2020. These units are designed to produce hydrogen with 99.9% purity. Zhenhai currently has a 27 million mt/year refining capacity and a 2.2 million mt/year ethylene plant, after its phase 1 expansion project of 4 million mt/year crude distillation unit and a 1.2 million mt/year ethylene unit was delivered end-June. The company aims to grow its refining capacity to 60 million mt/year and 7 million mt/year of ethylene by 2030.

Existing entries

** PetroChina's Guangxi Petrochemical in southern Guangxi province plans to start construction at its upgrading projects at the end of 2021, with the works set to take 36 months. The projects include upgrading the existing refining units as well as setting up new petrochemical facilities, which will turn the refinery into a refining and petrochemical complex. The project will focus on upgrading two existing units: the 2.2 million mt/year wax oil hydrocracker and the 2.4 million mt/year gasoil hydrogenation refining unit. For the petrochemicals part, around 11 main units will be constructed, which include a 1.2 million mt/year ethylene cracker.

** Sinopec's Changling Petrochemical in central Hunan province plans to start construction for its newly approved 1 million mt/year reformer in 2021 and to bring its port upgrading project online by end-December.

** Japan's Idemitsu Kosan plans to start work on raising the residue cracking capacity at its 45,000 b/d FCC at Chiba.

** China's Sinopec Luoyang Petrochemical expects the start-up of the 2 million mt/year CDU expansion to be delayed to H1 2021.

** Axens said its Paramax technology has been selected by state-owned China National Offshore Oil Corp. for the petrochemical expansion at the plant. The project aims at increasing the high-purity aromatics production capacity to 3 million mt/year. The new aromatics complex will produce 1.5 million mt/year of paraxylene in a single train.

** Construction of a new 1 million mt/year coker at Chinese independent refinery Haiyou Petrochemical, in eastern Shandong, has been put on hold.

** Sinopec's Jinling Petrochemical refinery in eastern China will build a new 600,000 mt/year vacuum distillation unit.

Launches

Existing entries

** China's Shenghong Petrochemical, a privately-held refining complex, is unlikely to start trial runs in November due to slower-than-expected construction work, which led to delays in the delivery of facilities, a company source said. The greenfield refining complex is more likely to start by end December, the source added. The construction of the complex started in December 2018.

** Saudi Aramco continues to pursue and develop the integrated refining and petrochemical complex in China with Norinco Group and Panjin Sinchen. The joint venture plans to build an integrated refining and petrochemical complex in northeast China's Liaoning province Panjin city with a 300,000 b/d refinery, 1.5 million mt/year ethylene cracker and a 1.3 million mt/year PX unit.

** Chinese privately owned refining and petrochemical complex Zhejiang Petroleum & Chemical is scheduled to start up the second 10 million mt/year CDU at its 20 million mt/year Phase 2 project. It launched the first CDU of the second phase expansion project in November 2020. The refinery first came online in December 2019.

** Honeywell said China's Shandong Yulong Petrochemical will use "advanced platforming and aromatics technologies" from Honeywell UOP at its integrated petrochemical complex. The complex will include a UOP naphtha Unionfining unit, CCR Platforming technology to convert naphtha into high-octane gasoline and aromatics, Isomar isomerization technology. When completed Yulong plans to produce 3 million mt/yr of mixed aromatics. Shandong's independent greenfield refining complex, Yulong Petrochemical announced the start of construction work at Yulong Island in Yantai city at the end of October 2020.

Construction work is expected to be completed in 24 months. The complex has been set up with the aim of consolidating the outdated capacities in Shandong province. A total of 10 independent refineries, with a total capacity of 27.5 million mt/year, will be mothballed over the next three years. Jinshi Petrochemical, Yuhuang Petrochemical and Zhonghai Fine Chemical, Yuhuang Petrochemical and Zhonghai Fine Chemical will be dismantled, while Jinshi Asphalt has already finished dismantling.

** PetroChina officially started construction works at its greenfield 20 million mt/year Guangdong petrochemical refinery in the southern Guangdong province on Dec. 5, 2018.

** 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.