HP Informer - Published by Hydrocarbon Processing

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  • Japan embarks on quest for sustained energy balance

    Wednesday May 25, 2016

    By Mike Rhodes, Hydrocarbon Processing

    Asia consumes 75% of the world’s liquefied natural gas (LNG), and Japan and South Korea have long dominated the LNG import market. However, top Asian LNG importer Japan is approaching a ceiling on its ability to accept more LNG imports with respect to its gas-fired power plant capacity.

    Japan announced in mid-2015 that it intends for nuclear power to account for as much as 22% of its energy needs by 2030. The remainder of the mix includes gas (27%), coal (26%), renewables (22%) and oil (3%). Prior to the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, nuclear power made up roughly 30% of Japan’s total energy requirement. This greater-than-anticipated reliance on nuclear power will impact global LNG trading patterns, as exporters to Japan will need to find alternative outlets for some of their product.

    Japan imported 89 MMt of LNG in 2014,...

    Continue reading "Japan embarks on quest for sustained energy balance"


  • US refiners buoyed by forecasts for near-record Memorial Day travel

    Posted by: HP News Services

    Thursday May 19, 2016

    NEW YORK, May 19 (Reuters) -- The number of Americans traveling by car for the Memorial Day holiday will hit an 11-year high this year, fueled by a growing economy and low gasoline prices, the nation's largest motorists' advocacy group said on Thursday.

    AAA projected 33.9 million people will hit the road and drive 50 miles (80 km) or more from home during the upcoming Memorial Day holiday period, the most since 37.3 million in 2005.

    The expectation for strong driving numbers is welcome news for US refiners, who are banking on the summer driving season to resurrect profits that plummeted during the recent fall and winter seasons.

    The 2.1% increase in driving volumes for the May 26 to May 30 period from the holiday weekend a year before will bring the auto share of holiday travel to 89%, the highest since AAA began tracking in 2000, underscoring how...

    Continue reading "US refiners buoyed by forecasts for near-record Memorial Day travel"

    Tags:US, gasoline, fuel, Memorial Day, travel

  • Industry Metrics: US, Asian fuel markets recover while European margins fall

    Posted by: HP Editorial Staff

    Wednesday May 04, 2016

    US refinery margins recovered as product markets were supported by strong domestic gasoline demand and temporarily tight sentiment fueled by the switch to summer-grade gasoline. In Europe, the lack of gasoline and fuel oil export opportunities caused margins to continue falling. Asian margins saw a slight recovery on the back of stronger regional demand and the onset of refinery maintenance. HP






    Continue reading "Industry Metrics: US, Asian fuel markets recover while European margins fall"

    Tags:industry metrics, crude oil, natural gas, gasoline, diesel, utilization rates, fuel oil, kerosine, margins

  • Global refining margins help lift crude oil prices

    Posted by: HP News Services

    Wednesday April 20, 2016

    By John Kemp

    LONDON, April 20 (Reuters) -- Global refining margins have improved significantly in recent weeks, which should support strong demand for crude and lend some strength to both spot prices and spreads in the short term.

    While diesel markets remain oversupplied and margins poor, gasoline consumption is booming and margins have improved sharply, improving economics for many refineries.

    There is no straightforward way to estimate the profitability of turning crude into products in real time since every refinery processes a different slate of crudes and produces a different slate of products.

    Even for the same refinery, crude and product slates can vary significantly over short periods as the refinery's planning department takes advantage of short-term opportunities in the market place.

    But the multitude of indicators on refinery margins all point to an improvement in the United States and globally since the lows hit in February, which is helping support...

    Continue reading "Global refining margins help lift crude oil prices"

    Tags:refining, margins, crude oil, pricing

  • Industry Metrics: US, international product markets show weakness

    Posted by: Hydrocarbon Processing

    Tuesday April 05, 2016

    US product markets weakened despite strong domestic gasoline demand. Gasoline crack spreads lost ground due to oversupply and rising inventories. European markets were impacted by the lack of export opportunities for light distillates and fuel oil. Asian markets weakened sharply, as higher light distillate inventories in Singapore amid oversupply caused gasoline and naphtha crack spreads to suffer sharp falls. 






    Continue reading "Industry Metrics: US, international product markets show weakness"

    Tags:industry metrics, crude oil, gasoil, natural gas, diesel, kerosine, margins, cracking spread, utilization rates

  • Big Corn finds unlikely allies in US biofuels push: carmakers and drivers

    Posted by: HP News Services

    Thursday March 24, 2016

    By Chris Prentice

    NEW YORK, March 24 (Reuters) -- US corn producers may have found two unlikely allies in their decade-long battle with big oil to get ethanol into the nation's fuel stream: automobile manufacturers and American drivers.

    The auto industry's slow, somewhat grudging acceptance of government policy on renewable fuels and bumper car sales will ultimately challenge the petroleum industry's concept of a "blend wall" -- a 10% saturation point for ethanol in motor fuel if there is no overhaul in vehicles and at the pump.

    Reuters' analysis of vehicle sales and government data shows that almost a fifth of the vehicles on US roads can safely handle E-15 fuel, a gasoline with 15% ethanol content, or 50% more than the typical US blend.

    That is considerably above the 14% estimate from June 2015 from the American Automobile Association (AAA) and that share could climb to nearly a quarter by the...

    Continue reading "Big Corn finds unlikely allies in US biofuels push: carmakers and drivers"

    Tags:US, ethanol, gasoline, refining, blending, transport fuels

  • Shell, Aramco’s US refining breakup allows both to pursue ambitious goals

    Posted by: HP News Services

    Thursday March 17, 2016

    By Ron Bousso

    LONDON, March 17 (Reuters) -- The breakup of Royal Dutch Shell's and Saudi Aramco's giant US refining joint venture draws a line under an often rocky relationship and allows Aramco to accelerate an ambitious public offering and Shell to push ahead with a large asset sale.

    The two energy giants' plan to dissolve Motiva Enterprises after a near 20-year partnership leaves both with fully-owned refineries and gas stations in the US.

    Refineries have recently enjoyed a boom time as a near 70% plunge in oil prices since mid-2014 spurred demand for gasoline from around the world, helping many oil companies recover revenue lost from oil production.

    "The deal gives both companies a lot of flexibility," said Jason Gammel, an analyst at Jefferies.

    Saudi Arabia's oil champion Aramco, which will own the largest US refinery in Port Arthur, Texas, and retain 26 distribution terminals, could fold the assets into...

    Continue reading "Shell, Aramco’s US refining breakup allows both to pursue ambitious goals"

    Tags:Shell, Aramco, refining, US

  • Daily editions of the AFPM 2016 Annual Meeting official newspaper

    Posted by: HP Editorial Staff

    Wednesday March 16, 2016

    SAN FRANCISCO -- Enclosed are digital copies of all three daily editions of the official conference newspaper of the AFPM 2016 Annual Meeting, held at the Hilton Union Square.

    Day 3
    Day 2

    Day 1

    The Annual Meeting is the world's premier refining meeting, assembling key executives, decision-makers, and technical experts from refining businesses, technology providers, contracting and consulting firms, and equipment manufacturers around the world. 

    The general session features high-profile speakers addressing current issues of importance to the industry. Leading experts share valuable insights on major issues, including energy and environmental initiatives and the latest technical developments impacting the refining and petrochemical communities.

    Published by Hydrocarbon Processing as two print editions, March 13/14, March 15 and as an electronic-only edition on March 16. If you wish to advertise in a future version of this newspaper, or to submit a press release for website consideration, please contact the editor via email at Mike.Rhodes@GulfPub.com....

    Continue reading "Daily editions of the AFPM 2016 Annual Meeting official newspaper"

    Tags:AFPM, annual meeting, show daily

  • Industry Metrics: Global refining margins diverge based on region

    Posted by: Hydrocarbon Processing

    Friday March 11, 2016

    Refinery margins weakened in the US due to lower winter demand. In Europe and Asia, stronger regional demand amid a tightening environment and export opportunities allowed for a recovery in crack spreads at the bottom of the barrel, which, along with continued strength in the gasoline market, allowed refinery margins to rise. Refinery utilization rates rose, mainly in Asia, following the end of the heavy maintenance season.




    Continue reading "Industry Metrics: Global refining margins diverge based on region"

    Tags:margins, utilization rates, cracking spreads, kerosene, natural gas, industry metrics

  • STAR Global Conference ’16: Engineers examine evolution of simulation software

    Posted by: Mike Rhodes

    Monday March 07, 2016

    By Mike Rhodes
    Managing Editor

    PRAGUE -- The STAR Global Conference 2016 opened today in Prague, Czech Republic. “Discover Better Designs. Faster,” is the focus of this exclusive three-day event, scheduled for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. 

    This is one of the most important gatherings of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and simulation engineers spanning all of industry. The simulation business is evolving at an accelerated rate. Top engineers from around the world will assemble in Prague for SGC 2016 to explore the latest developments in engineering simulation technology and discuss how it can be deployed to solve industrial problems, reduce costs and empower innovation on a global scale.

    The STAR Global Conference serves as the official launch release of STAR-CCM+ v11, the latest version of CD-adapco’s flagship engineering software tool. The computational solid mechanics capability brings structural mechanics to the STAR-CCM+ toolbox, and dives further into...

    Continue reading "STAR Global Conference ’16: Engineers examine evolution of simulation software"

    Tags:STAR, engineering, simulation, software, conference

  • IHS CERAWeek: Strong global petrochemicals demand fuels optimism for Chevron Phillips

    Posted by: Ben DuBose

    Wednesday February 24, 2016

    By Ben DuBose
    Digital Editor

    HOUSTON -- Operating within the challenge and uncertainty of the current energy environment, Chevron Phillips Chemical’s executive vice president Mark Lashier outlined the company’s growth strategy this week at the IHS CERAWeek conference.

    “We have an enthusiastic long-term view for petrochemicals thanks to a one-two combination of strong global demand and competitive feedstocks from the US shale resource boom,” Lashier said in a panel discussion. "By 2030, the global middle class is predicted to grow to nearly 5 billion people from under 2 billion today, according to the United Nations.

    “The economic growth that accompanies this rise of the middle class will fuel demand for plastic consumer products, meaning billions of people will have access to better quality-of-life products such as flexible packaging to store and transport food and beverages, enabling modern living,” he added.

    To begin accommodating...

    Continue reading "IHS CERAWeek: Strong global petrochemicals demand fuels optimism for Chevron Phillips"

    Tags:IHS CERAWeek, Chevron Phillips Chemical, ethylene, polyethylene, petrochemicals

  • As US shale sinks, pipeline fight sends woes downstream

    Posted by: HP News Services

    Monday February 22, 2016

    By Tom Hals

    WILMINGTON, Del., Feb 22 (Reuters) -- Within weeks, two low-profile legal disputes may determine whether an unprecedented wave of bankruptcies expected to hit US oil and gas producers this year will imperil the $500-billion pipeline sector as well.

    In the two court fights, US energy producers are trying to use Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to shed long-term contracts with the pipeline operators that gather and process shale gas before it is delivered to consumer markets.

    The attempts to shed the contracts by Sabine Oil & Gas and Quicksilver Resources are viewed by executives and lawyers as a litmus test for deals worth billions of dollars annually for the so-called midstream sector.

    Pipeline operators have argued the contracts are secure, but restructuring experts say that if the two producers manage to tear up or renegotiate their deals, others will follow. That could add a new element of risk for already...

    Continue reading "As US shale sinks, pipeline fight sends woes downstream"

    Tags:US, pipelines, downstream, shale

  • ARC Strategy Forum navigates an industry in transition

    Posted by: Mike Rhodes

    Tuesday February 09, 2016

    By Mike Rhodes
    Managing Editor

    ORLANDO, Florida -- The ARC Strategy Forum opened Monday in Orlando, bringing together industry leaders to discuss how companies are beginning to move beyond the computer-enhanced business models of the late 20th century.

    Many are embracing new models that take advantage of intelligent connected products coupled with potent software and analytics.  Sessions and discussions are focusing on innovations in smarter products, new service and operating models, new production techniques, and new approaches to design and sourcing.

    The  Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Smart Manufacturing, Industrie 4.0, Digitization and Connected Enterprise are all concepts that are clearly moving past the hype stage to the point where real solutions are emerging, backed by strong associated business cases.

    Sessions included a discussion of the challenges of the growing global lack of skilled automation professionals across industry. Working with the US Department of Labor, The Automation Federation...

    Continue reading "ARC Strategy Forum navigates an industry in transition"

    Tags:ARC, strategy, forum

  • Industry Metrics: US gasoil crack spread tumbles to multi-year low

    Posted by: HP Editorial Staff

    Monday February 08, 2016

    US product markets weakened despite unseasonably strong gasoline demand, and the gasoil crack spread hit the lowest level seen in more than five years, under pressure from increasing supplies amid thin demand due to warmer winter weather. Asian margins remained relatively healthy due to stronger regional demand for gasoline and naphtha. European markets exhibited mixed performance. HP







    Continue reading "Industry Metrics: US gasoil crack spread tumbles to multi-year low"

    Tags:industry metrics, fuel oil, gasoil, margins, utilization rate

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