REFINERY NEWS ROUNDUP: Gasoline demand rising in Middle East
Fujairahâs 95 RON gasoline market could rise to pre-pandemic levels in the coming months on increased demand and limited supply, according to regional traders.
Gasoline availability has been tight as supply has not been matching demand. âThere are minor refinery shutdowns and demand is picking up as summer comes,â a trader said. âPeople drive more as there are no lockdowns in the region.â
According to S&P Global Platts data, Omanâs Sohar refinery was undergoing unscheduled maintenance after unexpected outages affected its gasoline output.
Separately, Saudi Arabiaâs Jazan refinery is ramping up, with a total 8.72 million barrels of crude discharged in March, according to commodity data company Kpler. The Jazan refinery is facing regular missile attacks launched from just across the border with Yemen, though sources say it remains unclear when the much-delayed facility will enter full commercial operation. The 400,000 b/d refinery, also known by the alternate spelling Jizan, lies in the far southwest of Saudi Arabia on the Red Sea, about 60 km from the Yemeni border. Aramco has yet to formally announce its commissioning, with analysts citing weak market conditions and the persistent security threats from Iran-backed Yemeni Houthi rebels as reasons for the more than year-long delay. The most recent attack came April 15 â at least the third targeting Jazan since the beginning of March â though Saudi officials have said their defense forces have intercepted every missile.
On April 12, the Houthis targeted Aramco facilities in Jeddah and Jubail in a ballistic missile bombardment. This followed several similar attacks in March aimed at infrastructure on Saudi Arabiaâs east and west coasts. Most attacks have been intercepted, or missed their intended targets, and have not resulted in significant damage or disruption in production. Oil facilities have become increasingly frequent targets for Houthi attacks.
New and ongoing maintenance
New and revised entries
** Saudi Satorp refinery is gradually coming back after partial works, according to trading sources. The scheduled partial works have been ongoing since the second half of February.
** Syriaâs Banias refinery has resumed operations after receiving fresh supply of crude oil, the countryâs SANA news agency reported April 10 citing the refineryâs director general. The refinery has returned to work following a one-month shutdown because of the lack of crude oil. Separately, a fire occurred on April 6 at the crude distillation unit 21 at Syriaâs Homs refinery though it was immediately put out. Homs completed maintenance work on the atmospheric distillation unit 21 in mid-January, S&P Global Platts has reported previously. The refinery also completed maintenance of the atmospheric distillation units 10 and 22 in early December. Currently the refinery is undergoing staggered maintenance, which will next involve the delayed coker unit 11 and a coal unit.
** Some units are offline at Qatar Petroleumâs Mesaieed refinery, which has impacted the refineryâs production, according to traders. The units, which have been down since mid-March, were expected back shortly.
** Unexpected units outage at the end of March at Omanâs Sohar refinery has affected the refineryâs gasoline output. The gasoline-related units were due back shortly.
** The gasoline platformer unit at Bahrainâs Sitra refinery remains offline for economic reasons, according to trading sources. It is likely to restart in April as gasoline demand is gradually recovering. Previously traders suggested the unit could be back in March. No maintenance works are currently being carried out at the refinery, traders said.
** Kuwait National Petroleum Co., or KNPC, has postponed planned major works at its Mina al-Ahmadi refinery to 2022, according to a source close to the matter. The works, involving CDUs, had been originally planned for this year. The refinery carried out partial works last year. As part of KNPCâs clean fuels upgrade project, Mina al-Ahmadi is being integrated into a single 800,000 b/d capacity complex along with the Mina Abdullah refinery.
New and revised entries
** Iraqi oil minister Ihsan Ismaael laid the foundation stone for the 55,000 b/d FCC unit at the state-run South Refineries Co in the southern province of Basra, the minister said in an April 11 statement. The unit, being built by Japanâs JGC, will turn excess refinery residue into clean products such as 92 RON gasoline, gasoil, naphtha and fuel oil meeting Euro 5 standards. The minister also said that the ceremony included the launch of Naphtha hydrotreater unit with a capacity of 31,000 b/d and a new 17,000 b/d Continuous Catalytic Reforming unit, which will be the first of its kind in Iraq and will allow the country to produce 100 RON gasoline. South Refineries Co. expects to expand this year following advanced construction work on a fourth refining unit with a processing capacity of 70,000 b/d that is expected to be finished in October. Another project is the 11,000 b/d isomerization unit which is due to be completed by July. Earlier Axens said its technologies will be used for an upgrade of Iraqâs Shuaiba refinery near Basrah. Those include a diesel hydrotreater, a VGO hydrotreater, an FCC unit and an oligomerization unit, which uses the Polynaphtha technology, S&P Global Platts has reported previously. The upgrading project has reached an EPC phase carried out by JGC Corp. Japanese company JGC Holdings Corp. won a $3.8 billion contract to upgrade the Shuaiba refinery for Iraqi South Refineries Company. JGC said the project consists of a fluid catalytic cracking unit, vacuum distillation unit and a diesel desulfurization unit. The project was scheduled to be completed in 2025. The project aims to convert the excess fuel oil produced by the existing refinery units â 45% of the yield â to lighter products. When completed, the new units will increase production of the Shuaiba refinery by 19,000 b/d of prime grade gasoline (92 RON and 95 RON) and 36,000 b/d of diesel fuel. Both products will meet international environmental standards.
** Ecomar Energy Solutions has agreed to expand its refinery and build new storage capacity at Fujairah. Refinery capacity will be increased to 62,000 b/d from 22,000 b/d currently, and inland storage capacity will be increased more than fivefold to 1 million cu m in the phase 3 expansion, which should be completed by the end of 2024, Leigh Shaddick, Ecomarâs trading director, told Platts. Ecomarâs refinery will add an additional crude distillation unit, bringing it to 2 CDUs. Ecomar is looking for a long-term contract for supply of crude from regional producers of sour crude, including Iraq, the UAE, Oman and Saudi Arabia, Shaddick said.
** Iranâs Isfahan refinery aims to complete an upgrade aimed at reaching Euro 5 specifications for all diesel production in the Iranian year which started March 21. Isfahan managing director, Morteza Ebrahimi, said the plant produces 30 different types of oil products and ranks first in the country in terms of products diversity. He said hexane and pentane have been added to the refineryâs basket recently. The refineryâs gasoil purification unit was expected to go on stream to process 20 million l/d of gasoil into high-quality fuel. âThis refinery will have all its products produced matching Euro 4 and Euro 5 standards by 2025,â Ebrahimi said.
** The project to upgrade the quality of heavy products at Bandar Abbas was 40% complete. It started about two-and-half years ago and is due to become operational in September. Iranâs Bandar Abbas and Imam Khomeini refineries plan to build coke plants. The units, which will use fuel oil as feedstock, will take three years to complete and will produce high value products. They will produce around 700,000 mt/year of mostly needle coke. Hashem Namvar, managing director of Bandar Abbas oil refinery, said the refinery has put on its agenda to produce coke in a bid to stop imports of the material used by industrial plants in the country. âFor the implementation of upgrading quality of heavy products three years have been considered. Given the coordination and planning made, the executive operations with a $1.5 billion credit will start in the middle of the year 1400,â Namvar said, referring to the Iranian year that starts March 21. He said several units have been foreseen in this project to improve the quality of products including solvent deasphalting, DAO purification, delayed coker, calcined coker, as well as downstream units such as for purification of naphtha and gasoil. Other units will produce and purify propylene, LPG, tar, hydrogen. Fuel oil production in the plantâs basket will be cut below 10% and its sulfur will reach up to 1% of weight percentage, Namvar said.
** Kuwait has commissioned a naphtha treatment unit at its Mina Abdullah refinery as part of its Clean Fuels Project upgrade, the official Kuna news agency reported Dec. 30. The naphtha unit has an output capacity of 23,500 b/d and will clean minerals, sulfur and nitrogen from the fuel, the report stated, quoting KNPC Deputy CEO Wadha al-Khatib. KNPC recently commissioned a new crude distillation unit 111 at its Mina Abdullah refinery, which is âthe main gatewayâ to the Clean Fuels Project. The CDU has a 264,000 b/d capacity and will contribute to raising the refinery capacity from 270,000 b/d to 454,000 b/d. Work on the Clean Fuels Project has been ongoing since 2014. It will see the Mina al-Ahmadi and Mina Abdullah refineries integrated into a single complex. Upon completion, Mina al-Ahmadi will have 364,000 b/d capacity and with adding Mina Abdullah, the whole refinery will have 800,000 b/d capacity. In June 2020, the company completed the project at its Mina Al-Ahmadi Refinery.
** According to Syrian Prime Minister Hussein Arnous, there is a program in the Ministry of Oil for the Homs Refinery to reach the highest possible production capacity. Arnous also said after maintenance, production at the Banias refinery has become âexcellentâ and there is plan to continue upgrades until âall distillation units return to their normal state.â ** Bahrain Petroleum Co., or BAPCO, is aiming to phase out all fuel oil production by 2025 and focus on diesel and jet fuel, according to the companyâs chairman Dawood Nassif. A $6 billion upgrade and modernization project of BAPCOâs flagship Sitra refinery is now 60% complete, Nassif said. The program will also see the refineryâs capacity expand to 380,000 b/d from 267,000 b/d. BAPCO will announce two further investments in 2021, which will see it target zero fuel oil, and focus on jet fuel and diesel, and also see its current naphtha production upgraded to petrochemicals, Nassif said. âWeâre going to make jet fuel for delivery in 2023, which we believe will be smack on the recovery,â Nassif said. In the summer of 2020, BAPCO said the refinery expansion had been delayed due to COVID-19. The project, whose original timescale was four years, had been slated for completion in 2022, but that plan has changed, Platts reported previously.
** Iraqâs Oil Minister Ihsan Ismaeel has laid the foundation stone for two units of total capacity 20,000 b/d at the Haditha refinery site in the western province of Anbar. The units will raise the capacity of the plant to around 35,000 b/d from 16,000 b/d. International companies will be approached to bid for building an additional 35,000 b/d at the refinery, which will raise its overall capacity to 70,000 b/d.
** Iraq is forging ahead with plans to boost its refining capacity by about a third by the first quarter of 2022 to reduce dependence on imports of gasoline and gasoil, its deputy oil minister told Platts.
The ministry plans to rehabilitate and develop the Baiji complex north of Baghdad, where three refineries were damaged during the war with the Islamic State group, Hamed al-Zobai said. Currently one refinery is operating at 70,000 b/d, a second 70,000 b/d unit will come online by the year-end, and a third 140,000 b/d facility should be operational in the next two years. The third refinery would take total capacity at the Baiji complex back to 280,000 b/d, making it again the largest facility in the country.
** Iraqâs oil ministry Sept. 6 announced plans to upgrade the countryâs 20,000 b/d Qayyarah refinery, with the aim of adding a second 70,000 b/d production unit that would take the total capacity of the plant to 90,000 b/d.
** Abu Dhabi National Oil Co reported Aug. 17, 2020, âsignificant progressâ on the crude flexibility project, or CFP, at its Ruwais refinery, with â73% project deliveryâ of the ongoing upgrade.
Upon completion in mid-2022, the CFP will allow ADNOC to process up to 420,000 b/d âof heavier and sourer grades of crude oilâ at Ruwais.
** Iranâs Persian Gulf Starâs 420,000 b/d condensate refining capacity will be raised by 60,000 b/d.
** Iran will accelerate the expansion and upgrade of the Shiraz refinery. The expansion, which started in 2017, was due to be completed in three years but was slowed down due to sanctions. The first phase of the expansion and upgrade will involve upgrading the gasoline quality, with the second phase involving a diesel upgrade. An isomerization unit and diesel hydrotreater will be built under the project, estimated at $300 million. Shiraz has around 50,000 b/d current capacity. The expansion will add 26,000 b/d.
** Phase 2 of the upgrade at Iranâs Abadan refinery, which includes modernizing units to produce Euro 4 and Euro 5 compliant products, started in February 2017. Phase 2 includes building atmospheric and vacuum units, as well as gasoline, diesel and kerosene distillation units, a sulfur unit and a catalytic cracking unit. Abadan, with 400,000 b/d nameplate capacity, aims to stabilize its throughput at 360,000 b/d. It ultimately expects, following the four-phase upgrade program, to reduce fuel oil output by 40%.
** Following a major upgrade project, Iranâs Tabriz refinery expects to reduce its fuel oil production. The refinery currently produces 4 million l/d (1.416 million mt/year) of fuel oil, which is primarily used as a feedstock for tar. By about 2022, the refinery is expected to reduce fuel oil, or mazut, production from around 25% of product output to below 5%.
** The Kermanshah oil refinery in the west of Iran plans to raise capacity by 15,000 b/d and upgrade its products output. âWith the implementation of this project, Kermanshah oil refining capacity will reach 40,000 b/d and quality of its products will be upgraded to Euro 5,â the head of the refineryâs board of directors, Sohrab Barandishan, said. No target date for the start or completion of the work was given.
** A gas condensate project is under construction in Iran as part of eight planned 60,000 b/d condensate refineries around Siraf, Bushehr province. The National Development Fund is financing one of the plants.
** ENOC is currently undertaking a $1 billion expansion program to boost the Jebel Ali refineryâs capacity to 210,000 b/d and meet Euro 5 emissions standards. It signed a contract with Franceâs Technip in September 2016 for the engineering, procurement and construction of a new 70,000 b/d condensate processing train.
** Saudi Arabiaâs Rabigh Refining and Petrochemical Co., or Petro Rabigh, has awarded US-based Jacobs a contract to provide front-end engineering and design work, as well as project management consultancy, for a fuel oil upgrade project dubbed âBottom of the Barrel.â The project aims to convert residue from crude distillation. The refinery is in the process of launching the phase 2 expansion, which adds 15 chemical units in the Petro Rabigh complex.
** Saudi Aramco plans to complete a $2.5 billion clean fuels project at its Ras Tanura refinery in the first quarter of 2021. Work on the clean fuels project at Ras Tanura, which started in 2018, is 62% complete. The clean fuels project will produce lower sulfur diesel with low benzene content.
** Saudi Aramco has awarded a contract to KBR to provide technology, license, basic engineering design and equipment for its solvent de-asphalting for the Riyadh refinery residue upgrading and clean fuels project. The solvent de-asphalter technology assists refiners in complying with new International Maritime Organization fuel regulations in 2020, KBR said.
** US engineering company CB&I has been awarded a $95 million contract for the expansion and modernization of Sasref.
** Iraq has added another 10,000 b/d of refining capacity after completing the rehabilitation of a CDU at the Kasik refinery in the north of the country, the oil ministry said. Rehabilitation work continues at the refineryâs other 10,000 b/d CDU.
**Jordan Petroleum Refinery Co. has awarded a contract to US engineering company KBR for the design of a new residue hydro-processing unit as part of its expansion of the Zarqa refinery in Jordan.
New and revised entries
** Saudi Arabiaâs Jazan refinery is ramping up with a total 8.72 million barrels of crude discharged in March, according to commodity data company Kpler. The Jazan refinery is facing regular missile attacks launched from just across the border with Yemen, though sources say it remains unclear when the much delayed facility will enter full commercial operation. The 400,000 b/d refinery, also known by the alternate spelling Jizan, lies in the far southwest of Saudi Arabia on the Red Sea, about 60 km from the Yemeni border. Aramco has yet to formally announce its commissioning, with analysts citing weak market conditions and the persistent security threats from Iran-backed Yemeni Houthi rebels as reasons for the more than year-long delay. The most recent attack came April 15 â at least the third targeting Jazan since the beginning of March â though Saudi officials have said their defense forces have intercepted every missile. It had previously been expected to be commissioned at the end of 2019 and be ready for full operations in the second half of 2020. t was expected to start primary distillation units around February-March and proceed with secondary units start-up in April-May, according to market sources.
** The new Al-Zour refinery in Kuwait is expected to put more units in operation around Q4 and start producing a full range of products by the end of the year, according to a source close to the matter. The refinery started test runs in late 2020, S&P Global Platts has previously reported. In September 2020, Fluor Corp. said its joint venture with Daewoo Engineering & Construction and Hyundai Heavy Industries had started up two boilers which began generating steam at the Al-Zour refinery. The refinery has been targeted for completion in 2020, while the petrochemicals complex at Al-Zour is due for completion in 2023, with start-up expected in 2024. The refinery has six trains of the worldâs largest ARDS units (atmospheric residue units), and sulfur recovery units with 99.9% recovery, according to its website.
** UAE-based Brooge Energy expects its 25,000 b/d refinery planned in the UAEâs Fujairah to be developed, constructed, installed and operating by Q1 2022. Last November, the company was expecting launch in the second half of 2021. The refinery is planned to produce IMO 2020 compliant 0.5% sulfur content shipping fuel.
** Iraq is looking to build a 100,000 b/d refinery in the southern Dhi Qar province with a Chinese-led consortium, the countryâs oil ministry said. The Southern Refineries Co. signed a memorandum of understanding with a consortium consisting of Chinese companies Norinco Power China and CNEC along with a UAE-based private company. Hussam Wali, director general at the Southern Refineries Co., said the final contract was expected to be signed after the companies submit an economic model for the plant.
** Iraq plans to invite international companies to compete to build a 300,000 b/d refinery in the south of the country, the oil minister said Nov. 18. The refinery, to be built in Fao in the Basra Governorate, will be offered under the Build Operate Transfer or Build Own Operate Transfer investment model, Ihsan Ismaael said in a statement. A petrochemical facility could be integrated into the refinery at a later stage, he added.
** Iranâs Khatam al-Anbiya has started construction work on a 120,000 b/d plant to process gas condensate from the offshore South Pars gas field. The construction is scheduled to finish in two years, according to the commander of the Khatam al-Anbiya Construction Headquarters, Saeed Mohammad, speaking on state television. Khatam al-Anbiyaâs headquarters is the construction wing of The Revolutionary Guard.
** Iraq is forging ahead with plans to boost its refining capacity. A new 140,000 b/d refinery in Karbala is expected to come online in the first quarter of 2022. Plans are also underway to build a new 70,000 b/d refinery in Qayara, near the Qayara oil field in the north. Besides these projects, the oil ministry is seeking to encourage investors to finance âinvestment refineries,â in several locations, including Zubair and Fao in the south. Iraq is in talks with Eni to build a 300,000 b/d refinery near the Zubair oil field operated by the Italian company in the southern part of the country. The first phase of the project includes commissioning 150,000 b/d by 2025.
** Iraq opened a downstream tender, hoping to attract engineering and construction companies to build a new refinery in Basra province.
** Iraqâs oil ministry is seeking investors for a 100,000 b/d refinery in Wasit province, a 70,000 b/d refinery in Samawa province and a 70,000 b/d refinery in Kirkuk. It has also added a 70,000 b/d site at Diwaniya, in Qadisiya province, south of Baghdad, a new 150,000 b/d project to be built in the west Anbar province. Work has yet to start on the 150,000 b/d Missan refinery.
** The Duqm refinery project in Oman was expected to start up in 2022. Construction of the plant, located in the special economic zone in Duqm, began in June 2018.
** Construction of the Anahita Oil Refinery in the western province of Kermanshah will start by the private sector in the current Iranian year that started March 20, the provincial governor Houshang Bazvand was quoted as saying by official news agency IRNA. According to Shana, the Anahita refinery has been designed to process 150,000 b/d of crude oil.
** Angolaâs state-owned oil company, Sonangol, is working with Iraqâs ministry of oil to build a complex refinery in Mosul. The discussions between Sonangol and the ministry are for a refinery with a capacity of 100,000-150,000 b/d of complex products.
** Kuwait may add a new refinery in the south of the country, which could add 130,000-160,000 b/d of capacity.
** Canadaâs Pacific Future Energy has been awarded a contract to build a 150,000 b/d refinery outside the southern Iraqi town of Nassiriya.
** Houston-based GTC Technology has agreed to a deal to provide a gasoline production unit to Iraqâs Al-Barham Group, which plans to build a refining complex in the northern city of Kirkuk.