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REFINERY NEWS ROUNDUP: Mixed run rates in Asia-Pacific

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REFINERY NEWS ROUNDUP: Mixed run rates in Asia-Pacific

London — Run rates vary across refineries in the Asia-Pacific region.

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The BPCL Mumbai refinery on the west coast of India is currently running at full capacity even as partial lockdown has been introduced in many parts of the western region. It recorded a 118% run rate in March compared with 116% a year ago, while the run rate for 2019-20 (April-March) was 95%, compared with 115% in 2019-20, reflecting the impact of lockdown in 2020.

However, India's Reliance Industries Ltd. in March ran at 84% at its two refineries at the Jamnagar integrated refinery complex, down from 96% a year earlier, with overall runs still to attain pre-pandemic levels. In March, the domestic refinery ran at 101%, compared with 108% a year earlier, while the export-focused refinery ran at 69%, from 84% in the year-ago month.

Reliance recorded a combined run of 89% at its two refineries at Jamnagar for the fiscal year ended March 31, compared with a 100% run in the previous fiscal year, oil ministry officials said April 23, reflecting the impact of the last year's coronavirus pandemic related lockdown in the country. Reliance operates the world's biggest refinery complex at Jamnagar in Gujarat on the west coast of India. The domestic-focused refinery ran at 103% in 2020-21, compared with 100% in 2019-20. Its export focused refinery ran at 76% in the last fiscal year, compared with 102% in the previous fiscal, as global demand for oil products shrank amid the COVID-19 lockdowns.

South Korea's third-biggest refiner S-Oil Corp. raised its average crude run rate to 94.4% in the first quarter from 93.4% a year earlier, a company official said April 27, adding it planned to keep crude throughput high this year in anticipation of a rebound in oil products demand. The refiner's crude run rate in Q1 was lower than the 100.8% average in Q4 2020. Its crude run rate averaged 96.1% over the full year 2020, up from 95.4% in 2019, despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. "We have no plan for maintenance of CDUs and upgraders this year and will keep crude throughput high to meet potential rebound," the company official said. The refiner shut its 90,000 b/d No. 1 crude distillation unit and 76,000 b/d No. 2 residue fluid catalytic cracker for maintenance in Q3 last year. S-Oil sold 693,000 b/d of oil products, petrochemicals and lube in Q1, down from 714,000 b/d a year earlier and 723,000 b/d in Q4 2020, the official said. Of the total, 343,000 b/d was exported, accounting for 49.5%. This was down from 52.4% a year earlier and from 49.7% in Q4 2020.

Separately, Pakistan's refining capacity is expected to rise sharply in coming years as the pace of current upgrades and construction picks up ahead of the approval of the country's new refinery policy, paving the way for the country to sharply reduce its dependence on imports for gasoline and other oil products.

Meanwhile, a number of plants in Asia-Pacific are planning to reduce capacity or halt.

** Shell will halve the crude processing capacity at its Pulau Bukom refinery in Singapore as part of the energy major's initiative to reduce its CO2 emissions to net zero by 2050. "Bukom will pivot from a crude oil, fuels-based product slate toward new, low-carbon value chains," the company said. "We will reduce our crude processing capacity by about half and aim to deliver a significant reduction in CO2 emissions."

** Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. plans to shut its Tabangao refinery and transform the facility into an import terminal, the company said in a statement. The refinery has been shut since May 24, 2020, having been idled due to weak demand for domestic products.

** Petron Philippines took its Bataan refinery -- located in the Philippines' region of Limay -- offline in February with the temporary shutdown aimed to last at least four months, industry sources with close knowledge of the matter said. The shutdown was spurred by economic reasons, with the refiner noting in a Dec. 14 statement that the "refining business remains challenging both here and around the world." The facility was originally scheduled to shut in mid-January, but was pushed back to February due to operational reasons, Platts reported earlier. Industry sources have also highlighted that the shutdown of the refinery is only temporary, as earlier fears the refinery would be permanently shut have been dispelled.

** New Zealand's Refining NZ said it has made "significant progress" assessing the option to transform its Marsden Point refinery into an import terminal. The proposed terminal would have an annual capacity of around 3 billion liters. "Refining NZ is now well progressed in its assessment of the import terminal option," the company said in February, adding that "any decision to proceed with a conversion to an import terminal will be a decision voted upon by the non-customer shareholders following an Independent Appraisal Report." "Refining NZ has been negotiating with each of its customers," the company said, adding that it has reached an "in-principle agreement" with BP, but negotiations with ExxonMobil and Z Energy are ongoing. "Reaching in-principle agreement on key terms with BP is a significant milestone, which now allows us to progress preparations for the required approvals while continuing to negotiate to reach an agreement with our other customers," the company said. ExxonMobil is one of three wholesalers that takes cargoes from Marsden Point, along with BP and New Zealand's Z Energy. During 2020, the refinery was operating its facilities on a rotating basis, which enabled it to "produce at substantially lower rates" and also carried out a full six-week shutdown in the middle of the year "to help balance fuel supply across New Zealand." Its throughput was 29.9 million barrels versus 42.7 million barrels in 2019. From January, the refinery has implemented a plan to simplify refinery operations, which will enable it to "continue to operate the refinery safely in 2021 at a low margin environment and providing time to properly assess the import terminal option." The simplification involves reducing total refined fuels production and ceasing bitumen production.

** Australia's second-largest refiner, Viva Energy, has decided to avoid the closure of its Geelong refinery, as the company takes up a payment lifeline extended by the Australian federal government. The grant, also known as the "interim Refinery Production Payment," will last for six months from January-July 2021. Refineries that take part in the grant will have to agree to maintain operations at least during the tenure of the program, committing to "an open book process and long-term self-help measures to further inform the development of the long-term Refinery Production Payment." Should refining margins stay on an upward trajectory, "the company expects to be able to maintain refining operations once the interim Refinery Production Payment concludes at the end of June 2021," it said in a separate statement.

** Ampol, formally known as Caltex Australia, will complete the comprehensive review of its Lytton refinery by the end of H1 2021, which would provide an indication on the refinery's future in Australia, the company said in a statement on its website. The review will come amid a challenging refining landscape in early 2021, with "headwinds including Australian dollar strength" and "ongoing COVID-19-related travel restrictions impacting fuel volumes," the company said in a statement. The company had said previously that "the review will consider all options for the facility's operations and for the connected supply chains and markets it serves." Ampol has also said that "these options include closure and permanent transition to an import model, the continuation of existing refining operations and other alternate models of operation, including the necessary investments required to execute each of the options."

** The Maritime Union of Australia has urged the federal government to nationalize BP's Kwinana oil refinery, rather than allow it to be closed. BP Australia on Oct. 30 said it was planning to shut its Kwinana refinery and convert it into a fuel import terminal, in a strategy aimed to better meet the needs of a changing oil market.

** ExxonMobil Australia plans to shut its Altona refinery in Melbourne and convert it into a fuel import terminal, the company said in a statement released Feb. 10. "The decision was made following an extensive review of operations at Australia's smallest refinery...the review considered the competitive supply of products into Australia, declining domestic crude oil production, future capital investments and the impact of these factors on operating earnings," the statement said. The refinery will remain in operation while transition work is undertaken, the statement added.

In other news, Australia's imports of automotive gasoline surged on the month in February, compared with shipments of most other oil products, including aviation turbine fuel, kerosene and heating oil, diesel oil and fuel oil, which slumped, the latest data from the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources showed. The jump in gasoline imports came largely on the back of increased driving activity. According to mobility data from Apple, driving activity in Australia in February was almost 30% above baseline levels on average, up from 20% in January. Further contributing to higher imports was the announcement of the closure of ExxonMobil Australia's 80,000 b/d Altona refinery in Melbourne.

India's Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd. has re-routed 48 km length of the 252 km long, 18-inch diameter pipeline network connecting its Mumbai Refinery with the Manmad fuel installation, company officials said April 23. Over the last 20 years, when this pipeline was laid, infrastructural development, including residential buildings have come up around it, making the network inaccessible for repairs and risk to the lives in the vicinity. This pipeline has been a lifeline for the Mumbai refinery as it ships over 80% of diesel and gasoline produced by the refinery, a company statement said.

Byco Petroleum Pakistan has changed its name to Cinergyco PK Limited, the company said in a filing to Pakistan Stock Exchange April 26. The company said IGCF Oil and Gas Limited (previously known as ABRAAJ Mauritius Oil and Gas SPV Ltd.), one of the shareholders of Byco Industries Incorporated (BII), is willing to reduce its indirect equity investment in Byco Petroleum Pakistan Ltd., now Cinergyco, divesting up to 22% of its shares. BII intends to appoint advisors for the potential sale by way of private placement to local and international investors, subject to market conditions.

NEW AND ONGOING MAINTENANCE

Refinery
Capacity b/d
Country
Owner
Unit
Duration
Geelong
120,000
Australia
Viva
Part
2021
Bataan
180,000
Petron
Philippines
Full
Temp shut
Mailiao
540,000
Taiwan
Formosa
Fire
Jul
Mumbai
130,000
India
HPCL
Full
Apr
Daesan
650,000
South Korea
Hyundai Oil
Part
May
Ulsan
840,000
South Korea
SK Energy
Part
Back
Nghi Son
200,000
Vietnam
Joint
Part
Aug

UPGRADES

Vizag
166,000
India
HPCL
Expansion
2020
Mathura
160,000
India
IOC
Upgrade
N/A
Paradip
300,000
India
IOC
Upgrade
N/A
Panipat
500,000
India
IOC
Expansion
2021
Gujarat
275,000
India
IOC
Expansion
2020
Vadinar
400,000
India
Nayara
Expansion
NA
Jamnagar
1,360,000
India
Reliance
Expansion
NA
Numaligarh
60,000
India
BPCL
Expansion
2025
Kochi
310,000
India
BPCL
Expansion
2025
Haldia
150,000
India
IOC
Upgrade
2023
Mumbai
130,000
India
HPCL
Expansion
Apr
Port Dickson
88,000
Malaysia
Petron
Expansion
2020
Bataan
180,000
Malaysia
Petron
Expansion
2020
Bangkok
120,000
Thailand
Bangchak
Expansion
2020
Barauni
120,000
India
IOC
Expansion
2021
Balikpapan
260,000
Indonesia
Pertamina
Expansion
2024
Balongan
125,000
Indonesia
Pertamina
Upgrade
2026
Tuban
100,000
Indonesia
TPPI
Upgrade
2024
Byco
155,000
Pakistan
Byco Group
Upgrade
NA
Cilacap
348,000
Indonesia
Pertamina
Upgrade
2023
Plaju
133,700
Indonesia
Pertamina
Upgrade
Pakistan Ref
50,000
Pakistan
Pakistan Ref
Upgrade
NA
Hengyi
160,000
Brunei
Hengyi Ind
Expansion
2024
Dung Quat
130,000
Vietnam
Binh Son
Expansion
NA
Attock
53,400
Pakistan
Attock
Upgrade
NA
Dumai
170,000
Indonesia
Pertamina
Expansion
NA
Bongaigaon
54,000
India
IOC
Expansion
NA
Pulau Muara Besar
160,000
Brunei
Hengyi
Upgrade
NA

LAUNCHES

Barmer
180,000
India
HPCL
Launch
2023
Maharashtra
1,200,000
India
Joint
Launch
2022-23
Tuban
300,000
Indonesia
Joint
Launch
2024
Dornogovi
30,000
Mongolia
Government
Launch
2026
Nagapattinam
180,000
India
Chennai
Launch
NA
Mumbai
1,200,000
India
Ratnagiri
Launch
2025
Gwadar
300,000
Pakistan
Joint
Launch
NA
Balasore
NA
India
Haldia
Launch
NA
Hambantota
NA
Sri Lanka
Joint
Launch
NA
Hambantota
NA
Sri Lanka
Sugih
Launch
NA
Tanjung Bin
30,000
Malaysia
Vitol
Launch
NA
RAPID
300,000
Malaysia
Joint
Launch
Started
Bontang
300,000
Indonesia
Pertamina
Launch
NA
PARCO
250,000
Pakistan
PARCO
Launch
2025
Nagapattinam
180,000
India
Chennai
Launch
NA
Ratnagiri
1,200,000
India
Joint
Launch
2025
Trans Asia Refinery
120,000
Pakistan
Joint
Launch
NA

New and ongoing maintenance

New and revised entries Asia-Pacific

** South Korea's SK Energy restarted the VRDS unit at Ulsan on schedule April 21, according to a company source, and it is expected to gradually ramp up low sulfur fuel oil production from an estimated 250,000 mt in April to nearly 300,000 mt/month in May and June.

** Taiwanese Formosa Petrochemical has planned to raise run rates at Mailiao to around 74% in May, up from the 62% it has been running at since the start of the year, as gasoline crack spreads have steadily improved, industry sources with close knowledge of the refinery operations told S&P Global Platts. The privately owned refiner will raise the operational capacity at its 540,000 b/d Mailiao facility to 74.07%, or around 400,000 b/d, one source said. Previously, it was operating at about 340,000 b/d of capacity, or 62%, having reigned in output due to tepid regional demand for refined oil products and ongoing maintenance at secondary units, Platts previously reported. One of the refinery's secondary units, an 84,000 b/d residue fluid catalytic cracking unit, will also come online in May in light of healthy gasoline cracking margins. The RFCC unit had been shut from end-February, and will restart in early May, a second source said. Formosa Petrochemical idled one of its crude distillation units of 180,000 b/d in November due to weak margins and low secondary unit operations. The idled CDU is expected to restart in the second half of the year, when the company's No. 2 RDS unit restarts following the completion of repairs. The company's No. 2 RDS was shut July 15 after a fire.

Existing entries

India

** State-run refiner Hindustan Petroleum Corp. Ltd. will shut its Mumbai refinery in the April-June quarter for a revamp, company officials said. The revamp will add 2 million mt/year capacity, raising the total processing capacity of the refinery on the west coast to 190,000 b/d. The capacity enhancement program was originally scheduled for completion in March 2020, a plan that was overtaken by the coronavirus pandemic.

Asia-Pacific

** Vietnam's Nghi Son refinery has finished maintenance at one of its two residue hydrodesulfurization units in April. The second unit, which was in operation during the maintenance of the first, is scheduled to undergo maintenance in August.

** South Korean refiner Hyundai Oilbank's Daesan refinery's 50,000 b/d residue desulfurization unit is due to go in for a 15-17 day turnaround in early-May to complete a catalyst change, a company source said. "However, the unit is a 2-train system, so one will be shut while the other will run, so one train will always be operational at any time during the maintenance," the source added.

** Petron Philippines has taken its Bataan refinery, located in the Philippines' region of Limay, offline in February and the shutdown is aimed to last at least four months. The shutdown was spurred by economic reasons, with the refiner noting in a Dec. 14, 2020 statement that the "refining business remains challenging both here and around the world." The facility was originally scheduled to shut in mid-January, but was pushed back to February due to operational reasons, Platts reported earlier. Industry sources have also highlighted that the shutdown of the refinery is only temporary, as earlier fears the refinery would be permanently shut have been dispelled.

** Viva Energy, Australia's second-largest refiner, said it was delaying planned maintenance at its hydrofluoric acid alkylation unit at Geelong to 2021 from late 2020.

Upgrades Existing entries

** Pakistan Refinery Limited is seeking to upgrade and expand its refining capacity to produce Euro V grade road fuels such as gasoil and gasoline, based on a tendering document provided to S&P Global Platts on April 12. "For this purpose, PRL intends to purchase a pre-owned refinery complex for relocation to Pakistan," it said. "The size of the preferred units shall correspond to 50,000 to 100,000 b/d design throughput refinery." PRL is seeking to improve the refining of bottom-of-the-barrel streams through hydrogen addition or carbon rejection. Other units being sought include hydrotreater, hydrofiner, reformer, isomerization, alkylation, hydrogen manufacturing, and sulfur blocks.

** Pertamina will start producing biodiesel at its Cilacap Refinery Unit IV from December 2021 onward, with production set to rise further in coming years, industry sources with knowledge of the matter told S&P Global Platts. From December onward, the state-owned oil and gas giant will begin to produce around 3,000 b/d of D-100 bbm, with an increased production of an additional 6,000 b/d of combined D-100 bbm and B30 biodiesel blend set to come on stream from December 2022 onwards, one source said. D-100 bbm is gasoil which is 100% made from "palm oil that has been refined to remove free fatty acids and purification to remove color and odor," while B30 biodiesel blend consists of a mix of palm oil and diesel, Pertamina explained in a previous statement. In January, Pertamina had conducted trials to test the refinery's capability to produce D-100 bbm, with testing of the B30 biodiesel production having already been conducted. Aside from biodiesel production, Cilacap is also producing B20 gasoline, with production of the ethanol blended gasoline having started April 2020. According to market sources, the B20 gasoline has an octane rating of 92 RON, akin to the domestically consumed Pertamax brand.Units are also currently being built at Plaju refinery, for the production of an additional 20,000 b/d in biofuel production. Indonesia's state-owned oil and gas company Pertamina will use Honeywell UOP technologies to produce advanced biofuels at its Plaju and Cilacap refineries. The biorefinery in Plaju will produce 20,000 b/d of vegetable oils and fat to produce renewable jet fuel, renewable diesel fuel and green LPG at the Plaju refinery. The Cilacap refinery will be revamped to process 6,000 b/d of vegetable oils and fats to produce advanced biofuels.

** The upgrade of Pakistan's Cinergyco (former Byco) refinery, which aims to enable it to convert fuel oil into gasoline and diesel meeting Euro 5 and Euro 6 specification, is planned to be completed in the next three years, thus meeting the government's requirement for cleaner environment and lower sulfur content, the company said in a statement April 2021. The Upgrade-1 project consists of constructing 10 new units grouped into four categories which will enable Byco to reduce the sulfur content in the diesel it produces and convert fuel oil into gasoline and diesel, the company said. These include a vacuum distillation unit, which will distill fuel oil to yield heavy vacuum gasoil; a fluidized catalytic cracking unit, which breaks heavy VGO large molecules into smaller ones such as olefinic gases, cat naphtha, cat diesel and other products; olefin-to-gasoline conversion units, which convert propylene and butylene into gasoline blending components; and hydro treating units and sulfur recovery units to desulfurize diesel and gasoline down to 10 ppm sulfur. Byco has started building the diesel hydro desulfurizing unit (DHDS) and the FCC. The upgrade will enable Byco to reduce production of low value fuel oil and enhance product quality, making the products better for the environment, Mohammad Wasi Khan, Byco's board chairman said. Earlier in April, the company changed its name from Byco Petroleum Pakistan to Cinergyco Pk Limited following the merger of five companies over the past years, the company said in statement at the time. The change is still to be notified to the Pakistan Stock Exchange.

** State-run Indian Oil Corp. has awarded an engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning (EPCC) contract to Paris-based Technip for its expansion project at the Barauni refinery in the eastern state of Bihar, company officials said April 2021. The contract involves the installation of a 1 million mt/year "once-through" hydrocracker unit (OHCU), a fuel gas treatment unit (FGTU) and associated facilities. The OHCU, in combination with downstream units of the refinery, will enable the production of Euro 6 equivalent fuels and petrochemicals. The expansion project will increase its capacity by 50% to 180,000 b/d and add petrochemicals such as polypropylene to the product portfolio.

** Hengyi Industries will use "advanced reforming and aromatics technologies" from Honeywell UOP for the integrated petrochemical complex in Puala Muara Besar, Brunei. The Brunei complex will include aromatics block consisting of CCR Platformer to convert naphtha into aromatics, as well as Light Desorbent Parex aromatics complex to recover high-purity paraxylene from mixed xylenes. The latter will produce up to 2.3 million mt/year of paraxylene. The complex will also include naphtha hydrotreater and Olefin Removal Process unit amid others. In addition, UOP is providing VGO Unicracking unit and Diesel Unicracking unit targeting maximum naphtha production. When the project is completed, Hengyi Industries will have capacity to produce more 3.8 million mt/year of paraxylene. The first phase of the project envisages crude processing capacity of 8 million mt/year while in the second phase, the refinery will add 14 million mt/year of crude processing capacity, bringing overall capacity to 22 million mt/year, S&P Global Platts has reported previously.

** Indonesia's Pertamina late February started upgrade work at its Balongan refinery as part of Indonesia's Refinery Development Master Plan, which aims to boost the country's overall refining capacity. The first phase of the RDMP project at the Balongan refinery kicked off with upgrade work at the facility's crude distillation unit, to raise "the refinery's ability to process different types of crude," a source said. In addition to increasing the flexibility of the refinery's crude slate, the CDU upgrade will raise the plant's refining capacity. The project is expected to be completed in 2026. Pertamina will build the project in three phases. The first phase is to increase refining capacity from to 150,000 b/d by 2022 from 125,000 b/d currently. The second and third phase will increase the product yield from the refinery, including from the new petrochemical plant, The RDMP project is also being carried out at other refineries across Indonesia, such as Pertamina's Cilacap, Balikpapan, Dumai and Plaju refineries. Works at the Balikpapan refinery have reached one third completion. Upon completion of the project, the Balikpapan facility's refining capacity will increase to 360,000 b/d from 260,000 b/d and it will be able to produce higher quality gasoline that meet Euro 5 standards. Completion was expected in 2023. Separately, Pertamina will go ahead and revamp its Cilacap refinery without Saudi Aramco, raising capacity from 348,000 b/d to 370,000 b/d. In May 2020, Pertamina and South Korean Consortium DH Global Holdings Co signed a memorandum of understanding for the upgrade of the Dumai refinery complex, with plans to increase the refinery's operating capacity.

** Indonesia's TPPI has laid out the next steps of its upgrading works at its Tuban refinery, setting 2024 as the target for the completion of its new Olefin Project. The new Olefin Project, which will consist of the construction of a new naphtha cracker as well as the necessary downstream units, will provide the facility an additional "1 million mt/year Polyethylene products and 600,000 mt/year Polyethylene," according to the company statement. In addition the Olefin project, TPPI will also continue its Aromatic Revamping project, which will "increase petrochemical production in the form of Paraxylene from 600,000 mt/year to 780,000 mt/year," added the statement. The Olefin Project is slated for completion by 2024 while the Aromatic Revamping project will complete by 2022.

** Two separate consortiums have submitted bids for the engineering, procurement and construction contract to build, upgrade and expand project of Dung Quat refinery in central Vietnam. They is a consortium of Hyundai Engineering & Construction Co. Ltd. and Hyundai Engineering Co., Ltd.; and consortium of Technip Italy, Technip Geoproduction (M) Sdn Bhd, Technip France, PetroVietnam Technical Services Corp. and Vietnam's Lilama Corp. The upgrade will raise the capacity of Dung Quat to 8.5 million mt/year from current 6.5 million mt/year. The project will enable the refinery to diversify its crude inputs and meet Euro-V standards for its fuels.

** Pakistan's Attock Refinery has planned to install a hydrocracking facility, Attock Refinery Limited told analysts. Attock Refinery is considering two upgrade projects, including the hydrocracker as well as a Continuous Catalyst Regeneration, CCR, the company's officials told the analysts. After the implementation of these projects, Attock Refinery would be able to produce Euro V compliant gasoline and diesel along with full conversion of naphtha into mogas.

** Pakistan's National Refinery has issued shares in order to upgrade and expand the plant into a deep conversion refinery, according to market sources and company documents. The proceeds will be used to revamp units and increase the gasoline and diesel yield.

** State-run refiner Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd will shut its Mumbai refinery in the April-June quarter for a revamp, company officials said. The revamp will add 2 million mt/year capacity, raising the total processing capacity of the refinery on the west coast to 190,000 b/d. The capacity enhancement program was originally scheduled for completion in March 2020, a plan that was overtaken by the coronavirus pandemic.

** Indian Oil Corp. owned Bongaigaon refinery has plans to raise its annual capacity to 4.5 million mt.

** Numaligarh Refinery Ltd., a subsidiary of Indian state-run Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd., has selected Axens to provide technical support and licensed technology for its planned expansion, Axens said. Axens will provide technical support and license a naphtha hydrotreating unit, continuous catalytic reforming unit, isomerization, and fluid catalytic cracker to produce lower sulfur gasoline cargoes, the French company said in a statement Feb. 16. Numaligarh Refinery Ltd is planning to expand its refinery capacity to 9 million mt/year (180,000 b/d) from the current 3 million mt/year by installing a new crude distillate unit with associated secondary units at its plant in Golaghat district, Assam. The approval for the expansion of Numaligarh refinery was granted in 2019 by the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas of India. Debanjan Saha, commodities risk management team at BPCL said the company was aiming to complete the expansion project by 2025, S&P Global Platts reported earlier.

** Indian Oil Corp's Haldia refinery will launch a second catalytic dew axing unit (CIDWU) with 270,000 mt/year capacity in 2023, company officials said. The unit will produce advanced Group III Lubes Oil Base Stock (LOBS). The unit is expected to be commissioned in January 2023.

** State-run Indian Oil Corp.-owned Gujarat refinery's capacity expansion project is set to be over by Sept. 30 2024, company officials said, a delay of one-and-a-half years from the previous deadline. The delay is primarily due to the rescheduling of the project execution timelines for the pending projects as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The initial deadline for the capacity expansion project was contemplated for 2020. The expansion plan will help the refinery on the west coast to process cheaper heavy crude grades and improve profitability. Under the expansion project, the existing smaller capacity atmospheric unit and vacuum units will be replaced by a large atmospheric vacuum unit (AVU) for raising the operational efficiency of the refinery. The project also involves a revamp of the existing hydrogen generation unit for the production of syngas and hydrogen, a new n-butanol processing unit and a revamp of the linear alkylbenzenes (LAB) unit. IOC plans to raise the capacity of the Gujarat refinery to 360,000 b/d by March 2023 from the current 275,000 b/d.

** Indian Oil Corp. owned Paradip refinery will install the first stage of a Grassroot Needle Coker Unit by using its own in-house technology. The proposed unit will have a Calcined Needle Coke, or CNC, production capacity of 56 kilotons/year. Currently, the entire Needle Coke requirement of the country (80-100 kilotons/year) is met via imports. The company does not plan any expansion for its Paradip refinery, whose overall capacity is 15 million mt/year.

** HPCL's $3.2 billion project to expand Vizag's capacity to 300,000 b/d is in advance stage of completion, company officials said. Originally, the expansion project was scheduled for completion in July 2020. But officials did not provide any specific timeframe for the completion of the project. The project aims to install primary processing units such as a CDU, replacing one of the three existing CDUs, a hydrocracker, and a naphtha isomerization unit.

** 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). By 2030, RIL aims to raise its total refining capacity -- including its domestic-focused refinery -- at Jamnagar to 98.2 million mt/year. Reliance currently is 1.37 million b/d, of it 707,000 b/d for the export and 660,000 b/d domestic. The export one will increase capacity to 820,000 b/d. By 2030, it aims to raise its overall capacity to 1.96 million b/d.

** 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.

** 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. It had planned to double the refining capacity at Vadinar to 40 million mt/year.

** IOC has signed up energy technology and infrastructure solutions provider CB&I for a residue upgrading unit at its Mathura refinery in north India.

** At Thailand's Bangchak Petroleum an expansion plan is under way to ramp up the 120,000 b/d refinery's production capacity to 140,000 b/d, through installation of a continuous catalyst regeneration unit. Under the expansion plan, the company will also debottleneck the hydrocracker, which could expand the refinery's production capacity by 10%.

** Saudi Aramco and S-Oil signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on a $6 billion steam cracker and olefin downstream project at Onsan due for completion in 2024, which will produce ethylene and other basic chemicals from naphtha and off-gas.

** ExxonMobil announced a final investment decision at its Singapore complex. The project includes an expansion aimed at converting "fuel oil and other bottom-of-the-barrel crude products into higher-value lube base stocks and distillates." Startup is set for 2023. The expansion will add capacity to increase cleaner fuels output with lower sulfur content by 48,000 b/d.

** 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, from current capacity of 180,000 b/d.

** 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 to 178,000 b/d.

Launches

Existing entries

** Flow Petroleum Ltd., or FPPL, a Pakistan based oil marketing company, has signed an agreement with Al Ghurair Investments, a large investment group in UAE for the 100% ownership of a 120,000 b/day of refinery named Trans Asia Refinery This refinery will be set up on 200 acres of land leased from Port Qasim Authority, Karachi, Pakistan. FPPL said that the company has awarded contract for engineering, procurement and construction to a Chinese firm. The complete machinery with spares available at site and ready for assembly, it added.

** Malaysia's Pengerang Refining and Petrochemical, also known as PRefChem or RAPID, will delay the restart of its refining units to "sometime in H2 2021," delaying the restart of its 300,000 b/d complex once again as the lingering impact of the COVID-19 pandemic clouds Malaysia's refining outlook, industry sources with close knowledge of the matter told S&P Global Platts. The decision to delay the restart comes after PRefChem had previously announced in early March that it had to review the restart date due to the extended Movement Control Order that was imposed by the Malaysian government. This would be the third time that the RAPID refinery had delayed its restart, following a fire that broke out at the diesel unit in March 2020. The restart was initially scheduled for September but this was pushed back to the first quarter of 2021. The plant, part of the Pengerang Integrated Petroleum Complex at Johor in the south of the Malay peninsula, was launched in late 2019.

** Indian Oil Corp. has given its go-ahead to set up a 9 million mt (180,000 b/d) grass-root refinery at Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu with its subsidiary Chennai Petroleum Corp Ltd at an estimated cost of around $4.3 billion, IOC Chairman Shrikant Madhav Vaidya said. The new refinery will produce gasoline and high-speed diesel meeting Euro-6 norms and polypropylene with a capacity of 540 kilo tonne per annum (ktpa) as a value-added product. Last year, the proposal to set up the new refinery at Cauvery Basin in South India received clearance from an environment ministry panel. IOC and its subsidiary CPCL will hold a 25% stake each in the joint venture while the rest of the share will be with financial investors. The refinery would be built in 48 months from investment approval, Vaidya said. The refinery will have capacities to produce around 4 million mt/year diesel, 1.8 million mt/year gasoline, both Euro 6 grades, and 0.6 million mt/year of LPG and 0.3 million mt/year jet fuel. The refinery will be designed to process 50% each of a mix of Basrah Light and Basrah Heavy and 100% with respect to Iranian Light.

** India is committed to timely completion of Mongolia's maiden refinery project in Dornogobi (Dornogovi), oil ministry officials said. India has given a $1 billion loan towards construction of the project, with state-owned Mongol Refinery scheduled for completion in 2022. State-run Engineers India Ltd (EIL) is the main consultant to the green field refinery project. The refinery was expected to reach 70% of installed capacity by 2024 and run at maximum by 2026. It is operated by the state owned Mongolian Oil Refinery. Mongolia will be able to process its own crude with the start-up of the refinery, around 400 km from Ulaanbaatar.

** India's proposed new 1.2 million b/d Ratnagiri refinery on the west coast is still facing delay due to "local issues", the country's Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas and Minister of Steel Dharmendra Pradhan said. Construction at the site was expected to start in 2020 but there have been issues relating to land acquisition which had stalled the project. The location of the project has already moved once, from Ratnagiri district to Raigad district. The refinery is now expected to be commissioned in 2025, according to industry sources.

** Pak-Arab Oil Refinery Limited will start physical works on its coastal refinery in H1 2021, after almost 13-years of consecutive delays to the project, industry sources with close knowledge of the matter said. Following the start of the works, the refinery is expected to come online in 2025-2026, and will increase the country's refining capacity by 250,000 b/d. PARCO also operates the 100,000 b/d Mid-Country Refinery in Mahmoodkot. The project for the coastal refinery was approved in 2007, but construction was subsequently delayed due to issues regarding funding.

** Indonesia's Pertamina decided to postpone the construction of a proposed 300,000 b/d Bontang refinery in East Kalimantan. "Bontang is still on the list, but currently we are focusing on the existing ones," Pertamina's mega project refinery and petrochemical director Ignatius Tallulembang said, adding that upgrading the existing refineries is "our priority". Ignatius Tallulembang said that the construction has been going on "but our partner stopped. So we hold the project while we are assessing more detail on oil supply and demand. If everything is clear, we will discuss again with our stake holders." The proposed refinery is targeted to produce at least 60,000 b/d of gasoline and 124,000 b/d of diesel and the products will meet Euro IV specifications, with Pertamina prioritizing domestic marketing first.

** A Rosneft and Pertamina joint venture has signed a contract with Spanish Tecnicas Reunidas to design the construction of an oil refinery and petrochemical complex in Tuban, Indonesia, Rosneft said.

Primary processing design capacity is planned at up to 15 million mt/year, planned capacity at the petrochemical complex includes more than 1 million mt/year for ethylene and 1.3 million mt/year for aromatic hydrocarbons.

** Sri Lanka has approved a $20 billion refinery project at the port town of Hambantota. The announcement follows the inauguration of a smaller refinery complex at the port, which has backing from the Oman Oil Company.

** Global trader Vitol is looking to build a 30,000 b/d refinery in southern Malaysia's Johor state. The project involves a simple refinery to be built at Tanjung Bin at VTTI's ATB tank farm. ATB, or ATT Tanjung Bin Sdn Bhd, is a terminal 100% owned by VTTI. Vitol co-owns VTTI.

** 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.

** 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.

** 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.