Processing news briefs, Dec. 20

Lyondell Chemical Co., Houston, and Bayer AG , Leverkusen, Germany, have formed a 50:50 venture for their previously announced propylene oxide/styrene monomer facility under construction near Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Start up is expected in early 2003. Bayer bought a 50% share in the plant from Lyondell. The facility will be rated at 285,000 tonnes/year of PO and 640,000 tonnes/year of styrene.

W.R. Grace & Co. has selected Aspen Technology Inc., Cambridge, Mass., to provide technology, training, and consulting services as it launches a new service offering for the fluid catalytic cracking unit business. W.R. Grace will use AspenTech technology to optimize FCCU performance.

Royal Dutch/Shell Group is considering investing in up to four proposed middle distillate synthesis plants over the next 10 years. Shell had said it could spend up to $6 billion on SMDS construction over the next 10 years (OGJ Online, Oct. 5, 2000).

China Petroleum Material & Equipment Corp., a PetroChina Co. Ltd. (CNPC) subsidiary, awarded to German firm Linde AG a contract to engineer and build a gas cracking furnace for the production of ethylene from ethane and propane feedstock at CNPC's 300,000 tonnes/year ethylene plant. Linde designed the plant, which began operation in 1996.

Premcor Inc., St. Louis, Mo., started its new 80,000 b/d coker at its Port Arthur, Tex., refinery. The company is completing an $835 million heavy oil upgrade project that will allow the refinery to process heavy, sour crude oil of up to 80% of its 250,000 b/d capacity. Other new units were a 35,000 b/d hydrocracker and a 417 long tons/day sulfur complex.

Tesoro Petroleum Corp., San Antonio, Tex., reports that higher electricity prices forced it to reduce runs at its 108,200 b/d Anacortes, Wash., refinery. It said electricity costs for the fourth quarter are estimated to be $3 to $5 million higher than in the third quarter. It said it reduced operations to slash electric consumption by a third.

Murphy Oil USA Inc., El Dorado, Ark., has awarded ABB Lummus Global Inc. a turnkey contract to implement a clean fuels project at its 95,000 b/d Meraux, La., refinery. ABB's portion of the project, valued at $160 million, includes a 32,000 b/d hydrocracker, a 12,000 b/d deasphalted hydrotreater, and a central control room.

Mossgas (Pty.) Ltd., the South African state-owned gas to liquids company, has selected France's Institut Fran�s du P�ole to build a 70,000 tonnes/year deep hydrogenation unit for an olefins-to-distillates plant at Mossel Bay. Construction will begin in the first quarter and start up is due in late 2002.

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