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Global petrochemical and refining news: 12 November 2014

Hydrocarbon Engineering,


It has been reported that National Petrochemical China is going to fund two petrochemical projects that have already commenced in Iran. NPC has already put in place letters of credit for the units at the values of 350 million and 400 million Euros. The units are designed to convert methanol to propylene.


Petronas has announced plans to purchase all shares that it does not already own of Malaysia Refining Company. The company are going to buy the 47% of the company from Phillips 66 Asia Ltd at a cost of US$ 635 million. It is thought that the completion of the transaction will take place at the very end of this year.

Saudi Arabia

KBR has been awarded a contract by SABIC. The FEED contract is for the debottlenecking and expansion of the Petrokemya butadiene extraction plant in Al Jubail. The site has an installed capacity of 5.15 million tpy of petrochemicals which includes olefins, PVC, polystyrene and polyethylene plants.


On November 10 it was reported by Phillips 66 that over 450 workers at the Humber refinery in South Killingholme had taken unofficial walk out action over communication issues. However, a counter report from the GMB union said that over 600 employees at the refinery had walked due to concerns over safety after a gas leak at the facility recently injured two workers. The company is an employer of 1000 contractors and 750 staff. The Union has said that it wants ‘reassurance that the site is safe and same safety issues addressed. Unfortunately, the employer has failed to do that and because of that then men have reacted. This is the straw that broke the camel’s back.’ Today the unofficial strike at the facility continues after a meeting of engineering construction employees resulted in a decision not to return to work. Phillips 66 has said that it ‘has been in ongoing dialogue with contractor management over the last week to discuss the workers’ concerns over onsite communications, and we will continue to work with them to reach a satisfactory conclusion.’


Following a chemical leak a refinery near Corpus Christi, Texas, the clean up operation is still underway. Chemicals were leaked from the facility into the Corpus Christi Ship Channel. Parazylene leaked from the plant and vacuum trucks are now in action at the site.

Atlantic Basin Refining has agreed to purchase the Hovesa LLC refinery in St, Croix. The 300 000 bpd refinery has been offline since January 2013. The deal between ABR and PDVSA is now subject to a vote by the legislature of the US Virgin Islands.

A final report has been released by the US Chemical Safety Board (CSB) on a leak at the Chevron owned Richmond refinery in California in August 2012. The report received unanimous approval from the entire board and outlines worker safety requirements for the plant.

Employees at a refinery in St. Paul Park were evacuated earlier this week after a fire broke out at the facility. The fire is thought to have started in a sulfide vessel at the Northern Tier Energy facility and no injuries were reported. The company confirmed that no hazardous materials were released due to the fire which is thought to have been caused by cleaning work.

Edited from various sources by Claira Lloyd

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