Houston Ship Channel Re-opens to Some Vessel Traffic
The Houston Ship Channel re-opened to some vessel traffic on Tuesday afternoon, the U.S. Coast Guard said, after an early morning tanker fire prompted closure of the waterway. The U.S. Coast Guard Houston Vessel Traffic Service said it would commence with tow vessel transit outbound from Old River and San Jacinto River. That would be followed by inbound movements, it said. The Houston Ship Channel links the busiest U.S. petrochemical port to the Gulf of Mexico. Four Houston-area refineries were unable to receive crude oil from tankers on Tuesday after a portion of the channel was shut by an early-morning fire aboard an empty tanker. The fire began shortly after midnight CDT (0500 GMT) aboard the 810-foot (247-meter) tanker the Aframax River and was extinguished within a few hours.
Hvide And Tesoro Commence Double Hull Service
Hvide Marine and Tesoro Maritime have begun a new double-hull petroleum transport service in Alaskan waters. The 46,000-ton HMI Cape Lookout Shoals - one of Hvide's new U.S.-flagged Lightship-class double-hull tankers - began charter the first week of August. Operating under a three-year contract with Gold Star Maritime, which is a subsidiary of Tesoro Maritime Company, the vessel will service a trio of refineries owned and operated by Tesoro. The refineries are located in Nikiski, Alaska on Cook Inlet; Anacortes, Wash.; and Kapolei, Hawaii. The tanker, which will for the most part be employed in northern waters, will have a typical itinerary that includes transporting Cook Inlet crude from the Drift River Loading Platform to the Kenai Pipe Line Company dock…
French CGT Oil Sector Workers to Join May Strike
French oil sector workers of the CGT trade union will join a national strike at refineries and other installations from May 17 to May 20 against a planned government reform of French labour law, a CGT union official told Reuters on Friday. The union will also propose to shutdown production at refineries and other oil sector sites during a May 20 meeting, Thierry Defresne, CGT union official at Total, said after a general assembly meeting of the trade union. "What we have decided this morning is to launch a strike on all refineries in France from May 17 in the morning until midday on May 20," Defresne said, adding that the strike will affect Exxon Mobil and Esso facilities.
PDVSA's Cardon Refinery Slowed by Equipment Outages
Venezuela's state oil company PDVSA said its 310,000 barrel-per-day Cardon refinery was hit by an electrical fault during a weekend storm, resulting in the halting of some units. A storm on the Paraguana peninsula knocked out electricity late on Saturday, the company said in a statement. "Operating personnel took immediate control of the installations and proceeded to halt the affected units as a preventative measure," it said. A PDVSA spokesman on Monday could not say what units were affected or whether they had been restarted. The nearby 645,000 barrel-per-day Amuay refinery is being restarted after a blackout had shut it down Tuesday night. PDVSA said it still had enough fuel inventories to cover domestic and international demand. By Andrew Cawthorne
Part of Houston Ship Channel Shut; Tankers Stopped to 4 Refineries
Four Houston-area refineries were unable to receive crude oil from tankers on Tuesday after a portion of the Houston Ship Channel was shut due to a fire aboard an empty tanker, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. In Texas, Valero Energy Corp's Houston refinery, LyondellBasell Industries' Houston refinery, Petrobras' Pasadena refinery and Royal Dutch Shell's joint-venture Deer Park refinery have crude on-site in storage tanks and also have access to long-distance and short-haul pipeline systems. The four refineries have a combined crude oil throughput of 761,505 barrels per day (bpd), equal to 4 percent of U.S. refining capacity. The Coast Guard was conducting assessments about how long it would take to move the Aframax River…
Shell Geelong Refinery for Sale
Shell Australia announced its Geelong Refinery is for sale. The proposed sale of the 120 kb/d refinery is in line with Shell’s global strategy to concentrate investment on large scale sites, such as the company’s world scale Pulau Bukom refinery in Singapore. The announcement underpins Shell’s local strategy to grow its retail and bulk fuels business, along with terminals and pipelines. Shell recognizes that other parties, with a different portfolio, may have a different strategy and want to enter or expand in the Australian refining market.
News: Barge/Refinery Explosion Shakes Staten Island, NY
The maritime industry makes local headlines when something goes wrong, but the headlines on February 21 went national. In a spectucular eruption of flame and smoke, the like of which New York had not seen since 9/11, an estimated million gallons of gasoline erupted from a barge near the southwestern tip of Staten Island. The barge captain and mate were killed in the 10 A.M. explosion, and a nearby worker at the ExxonMobil facility suffered third-degree burns. The New York Times the next day showed a plume of dense black smoke over the city, but reported that the calamaty had been quickly controlled. Almost certaiinly it was not the work of terrorists and, being a gasoline fire, The Times reassured, it could burn itself out without leaving a slick to endanger the birds.
Bulk Equipment is Delivered to Syzran Refinery
A reactor and a cold high-pressure separator is delivered to the site of Rosneft subsidiary Syzran Refinery for the constructed diesel hydro-treater. The unit is designed for the removal of sulphur and nitrogen compounds, as well as of other solids to improve diesel-fuel and to bring its environmental specifications to Euro-5 level. The weight of the reactor is 400 tons, the length is 36 m, and the diameter is 4.5 m. The weight of the cold high-pressure separator is 345.5 tons, the length is 26.5 m, and the diameter is about 4.5 m.
Huge Heavy Lift Project Wraps up in Colombia
Mammoet USA informs it has completed a heavy lifting and transport project at the largest refinery in Colombia, the Reficar Refinery. Mammoet was contracted to assist in the modernization and expansion of the refinery in 2011. The scope of lifting and transport services for this project was large and diverse with more than 1,000 lifts and moves with 150 of the lifts weighing 100 tons or more. Mammoet served as a key contractor, handling all overland transport, inland shipping and on-site lifting.
Mexico's Pemex Sees Restart of Salina Cruz Refinery
Mexican state oil producer Pemex said on Thursday that it expects to restart operations on July 30 at Salina Cruz, its largest oil refinery, after it was hit last week hit by flooding and subsequent fire that forced a shutdown of the plant. The program contemplates three-way actions: Restarting operations; cleaning and rehabilitation of the affected site and general maintenance, taking advantage of the shutdown of the process. This last activity would allow for the advancement of the maintenance that was scheduled for next April…
Total Refinery Plans Revealed by Next Spring
La Mede/Lavera plant merger project failed; Total may invest 300 mln euros in La Mede near Marseille. Total, Europe's biggest oil refiner, is giving itself until the spring of 2015 to review its options for the French refining sector, which could include capacity cuts but no site closures, union sources told Reuters on Friday. Total's European refining margins have dropped to near four-year lows this year, as the sector struggles to compete with more efficient plants in the Middle East, overcapacities in Europe and a decline in gasoline and diesel consumption. The French group held a works council meeting on its refining strategy on Thursday evening, where head of refining Patrick Pouyanne replied to a list of 25 questions presented by unions on the future of the industry in France.
KNOC Sells Aging Newfoundland Refinery to SilverRange
Korea National Oil Corp said on Friday that it would sell its 115,000-barrel-per-day refinery in Come by Chance, Newfoundland, to SilverRange Financial Partners LLC for an undisclosed price following a months-long search to find a buyer. KNOC's Harvest Operations Corp unit is selling the aging refinery, as well as 53 gas stations and convenience stores, to SilverRange. The New York-based merchant bank has entered into a multiyear refining deal with an unspecified global oil company, Harvest Operations and SilverRange said in a release. "(The refinery) is strategically located along Atlantic crude oil shipping routes and provides access to petroleum markets in Europe and the U.S. Eastern seaboard," SilverRange official Harsh Rameshwar said in the release.
PES to Begin Operating Benzene Terminal in November
Philadelphia Energy Solutions plans to start operating a new benzene offtake terminal next month at its 335,000-barrel-per-day refinery in Philadelphia, two people familiar with the plans said. While most U.S. refiners are either selling benzene or refining it further, Philadelphia Energy Solutions is using the new terminal to help bring the chemical into the facility, according to an IPO document filed last month. The benzene facility is the latest step in building up infrastructure at a plant that was nearly shuttered in 2012. Benzene boosts the octane level of gasoline and reduces knocking in car engines, but is also a carcinogenic and the federal Environmental Protection Agency requires refiners to strip most of it out of the finished product.
New Marine Terminal for Delaware River
Holt Logistics Corp. says it has entered into a partnership with the South Jersey Port Corporation (SJPC) for the construction of a new, state-of-the-art marine terminal in Paulsboro, New Jersey. The announcement was made at a press conference attended by Governor Chris Christie, Senate President Stephen Sweeney, the Board and staff of the South Jersey Port Corporation, various Gloucester County executives and representatives of Holt Logistics at the future site of the facility, located at the former Paulsboro BP refinery on the banks of the Delaware River in Paulsboro, Gloucester County.
POLB Gives New Oil Terminal a Green Light
The Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners inks Letter of Intent to study development of a a 28-acre site on Pier T. The project is to construct a deep-water terminal for crude oil and petroleum products including gasoline, and the port has chosen Vopak Terminals North America Inc. to study the development. The preliminary agreement between the Port and Vopak sets basic deal terms and green-lights an environmental impact study of a “liquid bulk” terminal for petroleum tanker ships.
Chinese Bulk Carrier Bao Jiang Capsized, Sank
Chinese bulker Bao Jiang 88 capsized and sank in Jinshan Fairway, near Yangshan Port of Shanghai while enroute from Ningbo to Nanjing with 4,600 tons of ore concentrates. 12 crew went into life raft and were rescued by a nearby cargo ship. Vessel loaded with 4600 of ore was en route to Nanjing. Reports say the cause of the capsizing was due to improper trimming of cargo. The local authorities started investigation for the root cause of the accident. According to preliminary information and witness evidences the ship capsized after cargo shift, caused by not trimmed product in the holds.
Uganda to Auction Oil Blocks
Uganda will auction new oil exploration acreage by December and compensate land owners at the site of a planned crude oil refinery, a government official said on Friday. Investor interest in Uganda's hydrocarbons potential has been growing since the east African country discovered commercial crude reserves in 2006, now estimated by government geologists at 6.5 billion barrels. Last month, the energy ministry issued a tender for a consultant to help prepare and package seismic and other data for the exploration fields that will be up for auction.
Houston Ship Channel Re-opens
An evacuation alert was rescinded Wednesday afternoon for a one-mile ring around a Rohm and Haas Co. chemical plant near Houston after a dangerously overheated tank of highly flammable acrylic acid was cooled by firefighters, the company said. A mile-long stretch of the Houston Ship Channel, which had been closed as a precaution on Wednesday morning, was reopened at about 6:00 p.m. local time. It was the second evacuation along the row of refineries and plants near Houston in three days. On Monday, one person was killed and 74 injured by an explosion at the nearby Phillips Petroleum Co. plastics plant in Pasadena, Texas. A Rohm and Haas spokeswoman said workers at the plant detected the high temperatures at the tank on Wednesday morning.
T&T Bisso Refloats Sunken Tug
T&T Bisso refloated a tugboat that sank in the Houston Ship Channel. The company used the C/B Curtis T to prepare the sunken tug for lifting after its dive team recovered the body of a missing crewmember onboard the vessel. The vessel then was lifted to the surface by a derrick barge and dewatered. The 56-ft tug sank with five people aboard near the Sims Bayou turning basin. The other four crewmembers were rescued by nearby refinery workers. Before the tug was refloated, the T&T…
CG Photo: Oil Skimming
Crewmembers monitor the oil skimming set-up aboard Coast Guard Cutter Walnut, a 225-ft sea-going buoy tender based in Honolulu, while Coast Guard Cutter Resolute stands off nearby. The Walnut is skimming oil near the BP oil spill site after transiting the Panama Canal. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class John Masson.
Schoolenberg Appointed VP, Wärtsilä Global R&D
Trudy Schoolenberg, PhD (Tech), has been appointed Vice President, Global R&D in Wärtsilä Industrial Operations as of August 15, 2010. Schoolenberg will be responsible for global Research and Development of the Wärtsilä products. Schoolenberg has a successful career in Shell in several leading positions with strategic, operational and technology experience since 1989. Most recently she held the position of General Manager, Strategy for Shell Chemicals in London, leading overall strategy and portfolio development.
Shell Mulls Refinery Upgrade to Meet 2020 Sulphur Rules
Royal Dutch Shell is considering expanding the capacity of one of its German refineries to make oil products that meet an upcoming cap on the sulphur content of fuels used in shipping. In the past few days, Rheinland refinery representatives met local officials and environmental groups to present preliminary plans for an investment at the plant's 140,000-barrels-per-day Wesseling site, Shell said on the refinery's website. Shell is considering "a modernization of the residue processing unit at Rheinland refinery and to enhance the desulphurisation plant there", Shell told Reuters in an emailed statement. Shell declined to give further details on the project, saying it was in the "very early phase of the planning process".
Fire Shuts Shell Platform in GOM
Royal Dutch Shell Plc's Enchilada oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico has been shut and all associated production has been stopped after a fire on Wednesday, the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) said. The Coast Guard said the fire has been reduced to a small flame from a pipe on the platform, located about 112 nautical miles south of Vermilion Bay, Louisiana. Two people were injured and the crew of 46 were evacuated to a nearby platform, the Coast Guard said, adding that there was a report of a light sheen north of the Shell platform. (Reporting by Swati Verma and Nithin Prasad in Bengaluru Editing by Marguerita Choy)