More Petrochemicals Refining News

OFFSHORE TEXAS HAS THIRD OIL SPILL OF SUMMER

Aug 20, 1990 Another sizable oil spill has occurred off Texas, less than 48 hr after cleanup of last month's spill in Galveston Bay was complete. A barge that buckled and ruptured during loading at Lyondell Petrochemical Co.'s dock spilled about 500 bbl of No. 6 fuel oil into the Houston Ship Channel. Environmental damage was minimal, and cleanup was expected to be complete at the end of last week.

PROPOSED OSHA SAFETY REGS TARGET PROCESS PLANT PROCEDURES

Aug 20, 1990 Richard A. Corbett Refining/Petrochemical Editor Existing codes, standards, and good engineering practices, already adhered to by much of the U.S. hydrocarbon processing industry, will gain the force of federal regulation when the process plant safety standard proposed by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) goes into effect, possibly late this year or early next (OGJ, July 23, p. 18).

MOBIL TO BUY ESSO UNIT IN AUSTRALIA

Aug 20, 1990 Mobil Oil Australia Ltd. has reached preliminary agreement to buy Esso Australia Ltd.'s downstream business unit for a reported $500 million (Australian). Pending expected approval by Australia's Foreign Investment Review Board, the deal is to be complete by yearend. The acquisition will cut the number of refiner/marketers in Australia to five, boosting Mobil to a tie for second in market share with BP Australia at about 21% each. Market leader Shell Australia Ltd. has about 25% of the

UNLEADED GASOLINE SALES STILL RISING IN MOST EUROPEAN MARKETS

Aug 27, 1990 Roger Vielvoye International Editor Unleaded gasoline continues to expand its share of European markets, although the pace of change from leaded fuels is still uneven. Market penetration by unleaded gasoline has a strong regional bias. Northern Europe, where unleaded was first introduced in West Germany 6 years ago, has high levels of unleaded consumption. But in southern Europe, unleaded sales are slow, reflecting limited supply and in some cases absence of any incentive for drivers to make

COMMENT PRIVATE SECTOR FUNDS KEY TO MEXICAN ROLE AS MAJOR U.S. OIL SUPPLIER

Aug 27, 1990 George Baker Oil Consultant Berkeley, Calif. Baker is executive secretary of ProfMex, an international group of academic research programs concerning Mexico sponsored in part by the University of California at Los Angeles. The author of Mexico's Petroleum Sector (PennWell Books, 1984), he previously was an analyst and editor at Lundberg Survey Inc. Mexico's return to the world oil market as a major player is unlikely but should not be ruled out.

ANALYSIS SHOWS PROCESS INDUSTRY ACCIDENT LOSSES RISING

Aug 27, 1990 John A. Krembs, James M. Connolly M&M Protection Consultants Chicago An analysis of the 150 largest losses caused by accidents and natural phenomena in the hydrocarbon processing and chemical industries during a period of 30 years ending Jan. 1, 1989, shows that the cost and number of losses is increasing. The analysis is taken from data gathered for, "Large Property Damage Losses in the Hydrocarbon-Chemical Industries: A Thirty-Year Review," published by M&M Protection Consultants.

INTERNATIONAL BRIEFS

Aug 27, 1990 ULTRAMAR PLC of the U.K. let a $212 million contract to Samsung Shipbuilding & Heavy Industries Ltd. of South Korea to build three crude oil tankers for Canadian unit Ultramar Canada Inc. They will service the Ultramar Quebec refinery on the St. Lawrence River. The 148,500 metric ton vessels with 1 million bbl capacity will be ice strengthened and double hulled. Two are scheduled for 1992 delivery, the third in 1993.

INTERNATIONAL BRIEFS

Sep 3, 1990 MTBE MALAYSIA SDN. BHD. let contract to an international group to design and engineer a plant at Kuantan, Malaysia, with capacities of 300,000 metric tons/year of MTBE and 80,000 metric tons/year of propylene. Kellogg Malaysia Inc. will design, construct, commission, and provide procurement and start-up advisory services for the project. Group members are M.W. Kellogg Co., Houston, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. and Nichimen Corp. of Japan, and Pilecon Engineering Sdn. Bhd. of Malaysia.

ALTERNATE FUELS TESTS PLANNED

Sep 3, 1990 ANR Pipeline Co., General Motors Corp., Wisconsin, and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee will conduct a 4 year alternate motor fuels research project. The project will chart emissions, costs, and performance of compressed natural gas, ethanol, methanol, liquefied petroleum gas, and reformulated gasoline in 65 state owned ,vehicles.

CAPITAL OUTLAYS FOR GASOLINE REFORMULATION CAN BE MINIMIZED

Sep 3, 1990 Robert H. Gilman Akzo Chemicals Inc. Houston To reduce the financial impact of impending gasoline and diesel regulations, it will be necessary to reevaluate refinery unit operations in conjunction with innovative catalyst and process technology. The challenge will be to comply with these regulations without excessive retail gasoline prices.

PROCESSING PLANTS FACE OSHA SURPRISE VISITS

Sep 3, 1990 A rash of refinery and petrochemical plant accidents has spurred the Occupational Safety & Health Administration to begin surprise safety inspections at 26 big U.S. processing plants. OSHA inspectors last week began verifying adequacy of safety precautions in plants in 1 0 states with high concentrations of hazardous work involving refining, petrochemical, and gas processing operations. Targeted are Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, New Jersey, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, West Virginia,

WORLD ETHYLENE CAPACITY STILL GROWING

Sep 10, 1990 Richard A. Corbett Refining/Petrochemical Editor Despite declining prices and a softening market for ethylene worldwide, capacity growth continues on the upswing. About 3.9 million metric tons/year (8.6 billion lb/year) of ethylene capacity came on stream during 1989, according to the Journal's survey of worldwide petrochemical plants. Capacity rose to 54.043 million metric tons/year (119.1 billion lb/year) as of June 1, 1990, from 50.142 million metric tons/year the previous year (Table

SAUDI ETHYLENE PLANTS MOVE TOWARD MORE FEED FLEXIBILITY

Sep 10, 1990 A.K.K. Lee, A.M. Aitani King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals Dhahran, Saudi Arabia Demand for basic petrochemicals, such as propylene, butenes, and aromatics, is increasing in Saudi Arabia. Increased demand for these materials will require a change to heavier feedstocks, such as butanes, naphtha, and gas oil, for the next generation of Saudi Arabian ethylene plants. Changing to heavier ethylene plant feedstocks would also take pressure off of limited ethane supplies in the region.

SPANISH PETROCHEMICAL OPERATIONS TO GROW

Sep 10, 1990 West Germany's Bayer AG, BASF AG, and Hoechst AG plan to spend about $1 billion during 1990-93 to expand their businesses in Spain. Most of the spending will boost their already significant petrochemicals and plastics operations in the country. The aim is to meet growing domestic demand and increase exports of Spanish-made products, mainly to other European Community nations. E.I. Du Pont de Nemours Inc. also is moving ahead with plans to build a $1 billion complex in Spain to produce

INTERNATIONAL BRIEFS

Sep 10, 1990 ERCROS SA of Spain is negotiating a fertilizer marketing alliance with Italy's Enimont SpA, focusing on the European market. Ercros has 4.4 million metric tons/year of fertilizer production capacity, Enimont 5.1 million tons/year.

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