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Beginning of June global downstream news

Hydrocarbon Engineering,



Explosions at a PetroChina refinery in north eastern China have left two people injured and another two missing. The blasts occurred when two tanks containing residual diesel oil exploded at the Dalian refinery on Sunday.


Essar oil plans to increase the capacity of its Vadinar refinery in Gujarat from 20 million tpy to 40 million tpy over the next five years. This would involve an investment of approximately Rs 35 000 crore. Another investment of about Rs 40 000 crore would also be made in order to set up an integrated petrochemical project.

Also in Gujarat, Reliance Industries Ltd plans to shut a vacuum gas oil hydrotreater at its 580 000 bpd refinery in July.

Elsewhere, a major fire broke out at two mother plants of the Numaligarh Refinery Ltd (NRL) in upper Assam’s Golaghat district. No casualty or injury has been reported. The fire affected the crude distillation unit and vacuum distillation units.

Finally, state run refiner Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) aims to raise its high sulfur crude processing to 67% of its total refining capacity in 2 – 3 years, from 53.3% in 2012/13.


While politicians and environmentalists fight over the Keystone XL pipeline, the Bay area’s five refineries have begun to transport tar sands crude oil via rail.

With rail mishaps more common than pipeline failures, Bay area environmentalists who have previously fought the pipeline are now paying more attention to the possibility of trains full of heavy crudes materials or already refined bitumen rolling through local neighbourhoods. They claim that tar sands crude is the dirtiest of all crudes due to the manner in which it is extracted and fear that any increase in infrastructure locally will support an expansion of the oil fields in Alberta.


Total will shut down plants in Europe over the next few years due to the broad consensus for lower CO2 emissions and fuel consumption.

Europe’s refining industry is struggling with declining margins. Its plants are ageing and require heavy spending on maintenance, while demand is weak due to a slump in the region’s economies.

Total  CEO, Christophe de Margerie, has not announced which refineries the company will close.

Middle East


Iran is to lodge a complaint against the US with an international court for its ban on private Iranian companies that produce petrochemical products.

On Friday, the US blacklisted eight companies in Iran’s petrochemical industry. Most of the companies are private.

Edited from various sources by Emma McAleavey

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