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  • Asia’s refining, petrochemical majors look to cut costs as Iran’s oil returns to market

    Posted by: HP News Services

    Tuesday July 28, 2015


    Asian oil buyers, already sucking in barrels from as far away as Alaska and Mexico, are anticipating more bargains when Iran finally returns to world markets.

    In a region that’ll account for more than half the growth in global oil demand this year, refiners are poised to be the winners as the Persian Gulf state raises overseas sales when Western sanctions are lifted. Iran’s oil minister has said he will woo Asian customers and seize market share.

    Processors including Hindustan Petroleum in India and Taiwan’s Formosa Petrochemical Corp. have signaled they may buy more from Iran. Cheap oil has been a boon for many Asian nations, helping to cut budget deficits by reducing fuel subsidies and boosting emergency crude stockpiles.

    Iran’s deal “could trigger another price war with Saudi Arabia, Iraq and the UAE,” said Gordon Kwan, the...

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    Tags:Asia, refining, petrochemicals, Iran, oil

  • COLUMN: Should US raise the gasoline tax for consumers?

    Posted by: HP News Services

    Thursday July 23, 2015


    Tesla’s latest announcement was big. The electric carmaker said it planned a modification that would give its autos the ability to accelerate faster than cars that cost two to three times more and keep up with those that cost 10 to 20 times more. 

    That's an astonishing accomplishment. 

    I made the supposition that if you squint, you can see the beginning of the end for gasoline-powered internal combustion engines. They won’t go away for a while, but they have a credible challenger in electric battery-powered vehicles.

    Let's assume for the moment that my wild-eyed speculation is correct. Play this out and it means that at some point in the future, sales of gasoline-powered automobiles will peak and begin to fall. This has enormous ramifications for the US transportation grid, and the health of the American economy -- and for anyone...

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    Tags:US, gasoline, tax

  • Industry Metrics: US, Asian refiners find rising margins, demand in 2015

    Posted by: HP Editorial Staff

    Tuesday July 14, 2015

    US refineries are running at record levels and delaying their scheduled 2015 maintenance until 2016 to take advantage of very high margins and demand for refined products, including gasoline. In the Asian market, refinery margins strengthened on the back of higher regional demand amid tightening sentiment due to the maintenance season.





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    Tags:industry metrics

  • US ethanol advocates hope promotional E-15 use in NASCAR sways public opinion

    Posted by: HP News Services

    Friday June 26, 2015


    Jeff Broin’s silhouette shines in the glossy hood of the modified grass-green Chevrolet SS. It’s moments before the start of Nascar’s Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan, and Broin is having a quick chat with young driver Austin Dillon.

    A racing fan for a decade, Broin is now a Nascar sponsor. And what really has him revved up is what’s splashed in bold white letters across the hood of Dillon’s racer and the stuff in its fuel tank: “E-15,” spelled out more precisely as “15% Ethanol.”

    The 49-year-old Broin, founder of Poet LLC, the biggest US ethanol producer, is the architect of a promotion by which Nascar uses gasoline mixed with 15% concentrations of the corn-based fuel to power its $150,000 supercars. He and the trade group American Ethanol...

    Continue reading "US ethanol advocates hope promotional E-15 use in NASCAR sways public opinion"

    Tags:ethanol, gasoline, fuel, NASCAR

  • Industry Metrics: Crude pricing supports higher cracking margins in US, Europe

    Posted by: HP Editorial Staff

    Wednesday June 17, 2015

    US refinery utilization rates have returned to summer operating levels. Crude oil pricing supports higher cracking margins for gasoline in US and European markets. Asian margins fell as increasing supplies outweighed strong regional demand. Supply-side pressure on the European middle distillates caused margins to fall. HP






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    Tags:industry metrics

  • GALLERY: Scenes from the 2015 International Refining and Petrochemical Conference

    Posted by: Ben DuBose

    Wednesday June 03, 2015

    NOTE: For live video coverage of IRPC discussions, follow Hydrocarbon Processing on Periscope

    By Ben DuBose
    Online Editor

    ABU DHABI -- The agenda for the 2015 International Refining and Petrochemical Conference (IRPC) began Sunday, May 31, and extended through Wednesday, June 3.

    Now in its sixth year, the 2015 conference and exhibition provides a high-level business and technical forum in which key players in the global petrochemical and refinery sector meet to share knowledge and learn about best practices and the latest advancements.

    The 2015 conference program is put together by an industry advisory board and covers refining/petrochemical integration, energy policy, heavy oil, emerging technologies, maintenance and reliability, plant design and more.

    IRPC is hosted by Gulf Publishing Company and Hydrocarbon Processing, in conjunction with DMG Events MIddle East, the organizers of ADIPEC.

    Posted below are ongoing highlights from, including news stories, pictures and videos. For further event details,...

    Continue reading "GALLERY: Scenes from the 2015 International Refining and Petrochemical Conference"

    Tags:IRPC, international, refining, petrochemicals

  • COLUMN: Corn ethanol emits more carbon than Keystone XL would

    Posted by: HP News Services

    Wednesday June 03, 2015


    For years, environmental activists have opposed the Keystone XL pipeline, claiming that development of Canada’s oil sands will be “game over for the climate.” But if those same activists are sincere about climate change, why aren’t they getting arrested outside the White House to protest the use of corn ethanol? 

    That’s a pertinent question, given a new analysis from the Environmental Working Group, which finds that corn ethanol produces more carbon dioxide than Keystone XL would -- presuming, of course, that the pipeline ever gets built. Making the issue even more relevant, last Friday, the EPA outlined new requirements for the minimum amounts of ethanol that retailers must blend into their gasoline. 

    Before looking at the EWG’s findings, a quick refresher on Keystone XL: Proposed in 2008, it would carry crude from Canada’s oil sands to the US...

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  • Low crude oil prices, increased gasoline demand lead to high refiner margins

    Posted by: HP Editorial Staff

    Wednesday May 20, 2015

    Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, from Bloomberg, Thomson Reuters
    Principal contributor: Rebecca George

    The lowest crude oil prices in several years, robust US gasoline consumption and exports, and higher than expected demand for liquid fuels in Europe and some countries are contributing to the global rise in gasoline cracking spreads.

    Gasoline crack spreads in the US, especially on the East Coast, have reached several-year highs in recent months. Crack spreads, which reflect the difference between wholesale product prices and crude oil prices, are a good indicator of refiner profitability.

    Note: Dubai/Oman crude oil spot price is the average spot price of Dubai crude oil and Oman crude oil.

    In April 2015, wholesale conventional gasoline in New York Harbor averaged $1.79/gal and the Brent crude oil spot price averaged $1.41/gal ($59.39/bbl, divided by 42 gallons per bbl). The difference in prices results in a crack spread of $0.38/gal, the highest...

    Continue reading "Low crude oil prices, increased gasoline demand lead to high refiner margins"


  • Industry Metrics: Global product markets, refinery margins show steady improvement

    Posted by: HP Editorial Staff

    Thursday May 07, 2015

    Global product markets and refinery margins, particularly in the US, have seen steady improvement since January. Worldwide gasoline demand has soared in recent months in both OECD and non-OECD regions. New refinery capacity coming onstream in the Middle East could lead to increased competition in the global gasoil market.

    See tables below for specific data:







    Continue reading "Industry Metrics: Global product markets, refinery margins show steady improvement"

    Tags:industry metrics

  • Industry leaders outline steps to ensure operational integrity in safety, security

    Posted by: Mike Rhodes

    Wednesday April 29, 2015

    By Mike Rhodes
    Technical Editor

    DALLAS -- Test it, test it and test it again. This was the theme of Wednesday morning’s keynote address and opening session of Day 2 of Schneider Electric’s Global Automation Conference. 

    Scott Mourier of Dow Chemical (pictured) and Andre Ristaino, head of ISASecure, discussed the three basic steps to ensure operational integrity with regards to safety and security, respectively.

    • Do we understand what could go wrong?
    • Do we know what our systems are to prevent such incidents?
    • Do we have the information we need to assure us that they are working effectively?

    Mr. Mourier and Mr. Ristaino agreed that the measures employed to maintain plant safety and security have a lot in common. “Unfortunately, our industry has learned through accidents and incidents, and so we have established regulations that lay out a safety lifestyle,” Mr. Mourier said. “This lifestyle, or...

    Continue reading "Industry leaders outline steps to ensure operational integrity in safety, security"

    Tags:Schneider Electric, automation, safety, security

  • Schneider Electric opens first global automation conference to focus on technology

    Posted by: Mike Rhodes

    Tuesday April 28, 2015

    By Mike Rhodes
    Technical Editor

    DALLAS -- Schneider Electric opened its first annual Global Automation Conference (GAC) this week, bringing together over 500 experts, operators and key customers for four days of learning and collaboration.

    Sixty breakout sessions and 40,000 ft of exhibits will help attendees get the most out of their existing technology assets and protect the technological assets of their plant. The conference will challenge current thinking on how global trends will impact business. Sessions will feature users sharing their practical experience—from challenges to value gained, plus tips and tricks to apply to your own operation. In the Marketplace, go one-on-one with Schneider Electric and our partners to discover the right solutions to suit your specific needs.

    In its inaugural event, Schneider Electric announced the winners of the Global System Integrator Excellence Awards for Industry, distinguishing its dedicated partners responsible for the innovations, achievements and great...

    Continue reading "Schneider Electric opens first global automation conference to focus on technology"

    Tags:Schneider Electric, automation, technology

  • Book review of John S. Mitchell’s “Operational Excellence”

    Posted by: Heinz P. Bloch

    Thursday April 23, 2015

    By Heinz P. Bloch
    Reliability/Equipment Editor

    Before sinking his teeth into Operational Excellence (interchangeably called “OE” or “OPEX”), John S. Mitchell has known and taught Asset Management (“AM”) for over four decades. He has widely published on the subject and has seen AM’s strengths and deficiencies. That makes him uniquely equipped to explain why and how AM as an organizational initiatives had to (a) progress to the far more all-encompassing endeavor we now call Operational Excellence and why (b) OE is very important to process plants. We define OE as the commendable goal of safely creating sustainable value. That said, Mitchell was among the first to recognize that OE is anything but a narrow stand-alone effort to improve output, or energy efficiency, or equipment reliability, or whatever. His book teaches us about value prioritization. Value prioritization is the core; a sound Operational Excellence program must be organized around it with...

    Continue reading "Book review of John S. Mitchell’s “Operational Excellence”"

    Tags:review, operations, Bloch

  • Industry Metrics: Lower crude prices support consumption in developed nations

    Posted by: HP Editorial Staff

    Wednesday April 15, 2015

    Compiled by Editors at HydrocarbonProcessing.com

    US commercial crude oil inventories are at elevated levels and are expected to increase. Lower crude oil prices have supported consumption in developed economies, removed budgetary constraints in emerging economies, and allowed central banks to maintain stimulus and implement new measures. HP







    Continue reading "Industry Metrics: Lower crude prices support consumption in developed nations"

    Tags:industry metrics

  • EIA studies economic, technical options for growing US light tight oil production

    Posted by: Mike Rhodes

    Thursday April 09, 2015

    By MIKE RHODESTechnical EditorThe US Energy Information Administration (EIA) has released a study that examines the economic and technical options for growing the production of light tight oil (LTO) within the US. Domestic oil production has grown rapidly recently: EIA data reflects that combined crude oil and lease condensate production shows a rise of approximately 3.1 MMbpd from 2011–2014. Increasing production of LTO from low-permeability resource formations in regions like the Bakken, Permian Basin and Eagle Ford, accounts for nearly all the net growth in US crude oil production.EIA's March 2015 Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) forecasts US crude oil production averaging 9.3 MMbpd in 2015 and 9.5 MMbpd in 2016. Further production growth has sparked discussion on how rising crude volumes might be absorbed. The easing of restrictions on US exports of crude oil is one of several ways to accommodate growing near-term flows of domestic production, and it holds...

    Continue reading "EIA studies economic, technical options for growing US light tight oil production"

    Tags:EIA, study, LTO, light tight oil

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