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ExxonMobil delaying Beaumont refinery expansion one year

August 13/2020

MOSCOW (MRC) -- ExxonMobil has put off for a year work on its refinery expansion in Beaumont, Texas. The expansion project is now slated to be online sometime in 2023, versus the original 2022 proposal, reported Chemweek with reference to sources familiar with operations' statement to OPIS.

Bloomberg first reported the delay. ExxonMobil declined to confirm the story, noting that it does not comment on the status of individual projects. The company "is evaluating all appropriate steps to significantly reduce capital and operating expenses in the near term as a result of market conditions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and commodity price decreases," the company said in a statement.

Oil companies have reduced production and cut back refining runs in response to the drop in demand caused by COVID-19.

In February 2019 ExxonMobil confirmed plans to expand capacity at the Beaumont refinery by more than 65%, or 250,000 b/d. The Beaumont complex currently hosts a 366,000-b/d refinery and chemical, lubricants and polyethylene plants.

The expansion was intended to leverage ExxonMobils increased production in the Permian Basin.

In April 2020, however, the company announced that it was cutting its capital budget by 30% and reducing operating expenses by 15% owing to the economic disruption caused by COVID-19 and the subsequent crash in energy prices.

At the time, the company said the largest share of the planned capital spending cuts would be in the Permian Basin and would impact the pace of drilling and well completions. The company also said it would also adjust the timing of expansion plans for some downstream and chemical facilities to slow spending and bring production in line with demand.

As MRC informed before, boiler work at the ExxonMobil-operated 830,000-metric tons/year ethylene plant at Mossmorran, UK, was scheduled for completion in June, 2020. Two of the three boilers at the plant exploded in August 2019, resulting in the plant being taken offline until the end of February. OPIS sources said in May that the plant was currently able to operate at full capacity with two boilers in operation but that the third boiler would be working by June.

We remind that in September 2019, ExxonMobil announced plans to spend GBP140 million over the next two years in an additional investment program at its Fife ethylene plant, which has a capacity of more than 800,000 t/y.

Ethylene and propylene are feedstocks for producing polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP).

According to MRC's DataScope report, PE imports to Russia dropped in January-June 2020 by 7% year on year to 328,000 tonnes. High density polyethylene (HDPE) accounted for the main decrease in imports. At the same time, PP imports into Russia rose in the first six months of 2020 by 21% year on year to 105,300 tonnes. Propylene homopolymer (homopolymer PP) accounted for the main increase in imports.
Author:Margaret Volkova
Tags:PP, PE, crude and gaz condensate, homopolymer PP, propylene, HDPE, ethylene, petrochemistry, Exxon Mobil, UK, Russia, USA.
Category:General News
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