Processing news briefs, Feb. 7

BASF AG and Basell, a 50:50 joint venture of BASF and the Royal Dutch/Shell Group, shut down their 410,000 tonnes/year styrene plant at Wesseling at the end of 2001 because of a worldwide drop in demand for styrene and styrenic polymers.

Petroleos de Venezuela SA awarded a contract for the engineering, procurement, and construction of facilities to increase the production of gasoline and other refined products at its 126,900 b/d El Palito refinery in Cabobo state, Venezuela, to the Otepi-Inelectra-Sadaven Venezuelan consortium and the Japanese engineering group TOYO. The project aims to increase fluid catalytic cracker load to 70,000 b/d from 54,000 b/d and increase alkylation load to 26,000 b/d from 20,000 b/d.

Sinopec Beijing Yanhua Petrochemical Co. Ltd. completed expansion of its ethylene plant to 660,000 tonnes/year from 450,000 tonnes.

Shell Deer Park Refining Co. awarded Emerson Process Management a $12 million reinstrumentation contract for its 333,800 b/d refinery. Engineering is already under way, with initial startup of the new instrumentation and automation system scheduled to begin in October.

Enterprise Products Partners LP acquired a propylene fractionation business from three joint ventures of Valero Energy Corp. and Koch Industries Inc. for $231 million in cash. The deal includes a 66.66% equity interest in a 45,000 b/d polymer-grade propylene fractionation facility in Mont Belvieu, Tex.; a 50% equity interest in a polymer-grade propylene export terminal located on the Houston Ship Channel; and equity interests in four pipelines that distribute product to customers and to the export terminal.

Frontier Oil Corp. and the local membership of the Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical & Energy Workers International Union at its 104,500 b/d El Dorado, Kan., refinery ratified a 4-year contract, effective until Jan. 31, 2006.

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