Processing news briefs, Aug. 4

Takreer � Methanex � Pacific Northern Gas � Syntroleum ... Ultramar Diamond Shamrock ... Tosco

Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. subsidiary Takreer has finished building the second train at its condensate refinery in Abu Dhabi, and commercial production was expected to start by the end of this week. The first train began commercial production the last week of May; it has ramped up to full capacity of 140,000 b/d. When the second train is on stream, total refinery capacity will be 280,000 b/d. The refinery will produce LPG, naphtha, jet fuel, and diesel.

Methanex Corp., Vancouver, BC, has proposed a risk-sharing plan aimed at reopening its methanol plant at Kitimat on the British Columbia coast. The company proposes that Pacific Northern Gas Ltd. and the British Columbia government share in Methanex�s margin, assuming 40% and 20%, respectively. Methanex said that, if the proposal is accepted, the Kitimat plant could operate at least until 2009. Poor economics plaguing the plant caused its closure (OGJ Online, July 7, 2000). The Kitimat plant was the largest customer for Pacific Northern, a natural gas distributor, accounting for 65% of its volume.

Syntroleum Corp. has signed license and loan agreements with Australia, finalizing earlier preliminary agreements (OGJ, Feb. 28, 2000). The nonexclusive license agreement gives Australia the right to use Syntroleum's proprietary gas-to-liquids technology to convert natural gas into synthetic liquid hydrocarbons, which can be refined into ultraclean fuels. The $40 million (Aus.) 25-year, interest-free, nonamortizing loan will support further research, development, and commercialization of Syntroleum's GTL technologies in Australia. Australia will pay Syntroleum $30 million (Aus.) in licensing fees, half of which will be held in escrow and distributed upon satisfaction of certain conditions. Syntroleum is to complete a feasibility study for a large-scale GTL plant in Australia. Loan proceeds are to be made available to Syntroleum in three advances. Proceeds will be held in escrow, pending satisfaction of certain conditions.

Ultramar Diamond Shamrock Corp. gas signed a definitive asset purchase and sale agreement for Tosco Corp.'s 168,000 b/d Avon refinery in the San Francisco Bay area. As detailed in the July 5 announcement, the purchase price will be $650 million, plus a contingency payment of up to $150 million, to be paid over the next 8 years, if annual West Coast refining industry margins are above-average (OGJ Online, July 5, 2000). Transaction closure awaits regulatory approvals.

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