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Australian capacity shrinks further: Asia/Pacific downstream update

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Caltex Australia Ltd. has said it will close one of two gasoline refining units at its Kurnell facility in Sydney. This represents the latest move by Australian refiners to cut capacity in the face of mounting competition from large, low cost Asian rivals.

Caltex, which is half owned by Chevron Corp., said it will cease using a catalytic cracking unit with a capacity of 21 500 bpd at Kurnell by February 2013. It will also close a bitumen manufacturing unit.

Its decision comes after Royal Dutch Shell PLC. converted its Clyde refinery in Sydney into a fuel import terminal earlier in the year.

Clyde and Kurnell are Sydney's only refineries and two of Australia's seven. Caltex owns another in the Brisbane suburb of Lytton; Shell owns one at Geelong near Melbourne; and the others are owned by BP PLC. in Brisbane and Perth and ExxonMobil Corp. in Melbourne.


Sinopec is building a 160 000 bpd crude processing unit at an east China subsidiary, expected to be completed by the end of 2013. The expansion, which will double the refining capacity of Yangzi Petrochemical Corp, will treat lower quality crude oil. The new refining capacity is largely to serve petrochemical expansion at the same plant, under which Yangzi planned to add 800 000 tpy of ethylene capacity by the end of 2014.


Royal Dutch Shell Plc will restart the third crude distillation unit at its Singapore refinery within the next couple of days, just under a month after a blaze shut the plant. With the restart, approximately 50% of the plant's 500 000 bpd capacity will be back onstream, following progressive restarts of the other two CDUs over the past two weeks. Shell's largest refinery will return to normal in the next month, but the fire and resulting shut down cost the company approximately US$ 150 million.


Construction of the US$ 7.5 billion Nghi Son oil refinery, Vietnam's second such facility, is likely to be delayed until the first quarter of 2012 instead of the last quarter this year. The 200 800 bpd plant will process sour Kuwaiti crude oil. 

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