Processing news briefs, May 26

Idemitsu Kosan Co. Ltd. ... Belnaftokhim ... Mitsui & Co. Ltd. ... Sonangol ... Technip Angola Ltd.

Japanese unlisted major oil refiner Idemitsu Kosan Co. Ltd. said it shut down the crude distillation unit at its 160,000 b/d Aichi refinery in western Japan after a fire broke out Wednesday in a crude distillation unit. The fire was extinguished quickly. An Idemitsu spokesman said it was unclear when the refinery will be started up again. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Belarus's state oil and gas company, Belnaftokhim, confirmed that it has begun negotiations with Mitsui & Co. Ltd. of Japan on a project to modernize the Novopolotsk refinery, also known as Naftan. Belnaftokhim hopes Mitsui will agree to carry out upgrade work that will increase the refinery's output of light petroleum products to 900,000 tonnes/year. The fuel will be sold on the domestic market. Mitsui has signed a framework contract for the $90 million project, and Belnaftokhim said last week it had invited representatives of the Japanese firm to Minsk for talks on possible sources of financing. Belarus has said it plans to privatize Naftan, currently 100% owned by Belnaftokhim, and the international energy company Itera has said it would be willing to take a controlling stake in the plant as compensation for the former Soviet republic's gas debts.

Angolan state firm Sonangol let a contract to its new 40-60 joint venture with Technip SA�Technip Angola Ltd.�under which Technip Angola will as project manager for construction of a new refinery in Angola (OGJ Online, May 26, 2000). Technip also will act as adviser to the Interministries Committee, headed by the petroleum minister. That committee is assessing the products market, the refinery project, the investors, and the financing for the proposed project. Details on the possible scope of the project were not disclosed.

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