Croatia has ambitions to become the energy gateway for the European Union as it continues to develop several energy initiatives.
Maroš Šefčovič, European Commission vice president, leading the Energy Union project, said in a speech at the New Croatian Energy Strategy conference that EU has financially supported several energy projects in the country, including a new heat and power plant, as well as a new grid project.
The EU has invested funds of more than €100 million in the Krk LNG terminal and earlier this week an additional €16 million was approved for its pipeline.
Šefčovič said: 'This is great news for Croatia, which will be able to import gas and export to its neighbours.
'It is great news for the region which will see more competition (meaning higher security and lower prices). And it is great news for Europe, which will have more gas available to replace more CO2 intensive energy resources.'
He concluded: 'Croatia does indeed have a tremendous role within the Energy Union.'
Total oil product stocks at the UAE port of Fujairah stood at 16.779 million barrels as of January 29, up 3.2% on the week, with a divergent trend emerging between light product stocks and record lows for heavies, according to latest data from the Fujairah Energy Data Committee, or FEDCom.
Stocks of light distillates rose by 4.5% week on week to 7.525 million barrels. They remained at an eight-month high, reaching the second highest total on record, and are currently 50% or 2.5 million barrels higher year on year, S&P Global Platts Analytics said in a report. The regional petrol market has seen heavy supply due to high refinery runs and somewhat weaker demand, the report said. A number of Asian petrol cargoes were heard to have been shipped to the Middle East in recent weeks, despite ample supply in the region. The front-month time spread for Arab Gulf RON 95 gasoline has remained in contango for the past five weeks. Stocks of middle distillates rose by 36.7% or 696,000 barrels to 2.592 million barrels. Despite reaching a three-month high, middle distillate stock levels remain relatively low. The middle distillates category averaged 3.27 million barrels in 2017, but has not risen above the 3 million barrel level since last September.
The front-month time spread for Arab Gulf gasoil swaps was at a four-month high Tuesday, indicative of tight supply fundamentals in the East of Suez markets. Additional barrels from the Middle East are expected to be drawn eastwards given the limited arbitrage pull from the west, the report said. Stocks of heavy distillates and residues fell by 6.9% to 6.662 million barrels, reaching a record low for the second week in a row. Heavy stocks have fallen by 46% since December 4, and are currently 19% lower than a year ago.
One source noted the eagerness of market players to sell off inventories given the recent surge in oil prices and market structure for fuel oil, which was in backwardation as recently as last week. Local sources also noted a number of cargoes headed to Pakistan's Port Qasim. These could be the final few volumes shipped to Pakistan from Fujairah for a while, following Pakistan State Oil's decision to suspend fuel oil imports. The government is looking to restrict fuel oil burning in the power sector because of pollution concerns while demand for fuel has been reduced by increased LNG imports. PSO has typically tendered for around 500,000 mt (3.175 million barrels) each month of utility grade fuel oil loading from Fujairah.
Challenging cautious attitudes and stimulating a more innovative spirit is a core philosophy for iTanks. In an interview with Tank Storage Magazine ahead of its Innovations in Storage showcase day at StocExpo Europe on March 21, Cor van de Linde explains more about the importance of innovation
'Innovation - whether it is innovation in port-related industries or elsewhere - is extremely important,' says Cor van de Linde, managing director of Rotterdam innovation engine iTanks.
'Especially now that we are on the verge of a transition. Those who do not innovate stand still while their competitors catch up with them and this is the case for the oil & gas and tank storage industries. Not everyone in this sector is fully aware of this yet and a cautious, conservative attitude is still very often adopted.'
iTanks, as a knowledge and innovation platform, aims to challenge this attitude and stimulate innovations. It connects companies, knowledge institutes and industry experts, introduces them to new technologies and innovations and initiates various innovative processes.
'It is difficult to estimate when the transition will take place - in five or 20 years - and to what extent this will have an impact on our industry, but there will be a lot of changes in the foreseeable future,' van de Linde says.
'You can already see that with emerging trends and technologies that are increasingly being used more and more in the industry.
'For example, there is a strong movement towards digitisation and robotics. With more computing power, speed and artificial intelligence, all sorts of algorithms are created, making it possible to deal with data much more intelligently.
'Think for example of predictive maintenance with which more and more companies are experimenting. With the emergence of 3D printers, sustainable materials are coming more onto the market. What you hear less about, but also has a lot of potential, is nanotechnology. This can play an important role in cleaning and applying special coatings. These technologies are gaining more traction in our sector.'
Other storage purposes
Van den Linde suspects that with more focus on sustainable energy, crude oil will be treated differently in the future. 'Through a transition to a more sustainable energy-intensive industry, oil becomes a valuable asset that is used more sustainably and intelligently.
'Refineries are likely to gradually lose ground, which also has consequences for storage companies. The tanks that now store crude oil may become superfluous or will have to be converted for other purposes. I can imagine that in such a transitional phase, in which margins become smaller and everything comes under pressure, you try to stay around as long as possible until you have something new.
'Smart innovations can help to keep ahead of the competition during this period with the use of smart technoloiges.'
However, implementing pioneering innovations takes time and co-operation is a key part of a successful implementation phase.
'That is why it is so important to think about innovation, new business models and already taking the first steps as a company.'
iTanks wants to stimulate innovation as a knowledge and innovation platform. It does this by connecting companies and bringing new technologies to their attention through events, conferences, brainstorming sessions and breakfast seminars.
Through this knowledge exchange, new ideas are created that lead to new concepts, which then grow into innovations.
'We also try to solve problems and challenges from the industry and to find concrete solutions,' van de Linde explains.
'We do this first by examining what already exists and connecting parties. This essentially prevents the wheel from being reinvented. If there are no solutions yet, we will initiate a project team with, among other things, an end user, knowledge institute and supplier. They will then work together with a problem or idea to try and find a solution that can actually be implemented.'
Innovation in practice
A number of projects that iTanks has initiated are the Extractor, Cyclone and iWeld. The 7XE Extractor is the first welding torch to extract welding fumes directly at the source without sacrificing weld quality.
Welding smoke contains harmful substances and gases. The welding torch was developed in collaboration with Translas and TNO and sucks 90% to 95% of all welding fumes at the source. This innovation was put on the market in 2014 and is now sold worldwide.
Due to the success of this welding torch, iTanks are currently developing a compact filtration system - the Cyclone - together with TNO and Translas.
This system uses an old filtering principle. During welding, poisonous smoke is released that is absorbed by 200 cyclones and then rotated in such a way that an internal cyclone is created. The cyclone ensures that forces are released that pull down the tiny, toxic particles of the welding fumes and collects them in a container.
Because these particles are extracted from the source, clean air is created that is immediately blown into the atmosphere. 'The design originated from a combination of old techniques. The disadvantage of these techniques was that they were often too large and inefficient while the extraction was too far from the source, causing the welder to inhale a lot of toxic welding fumes. Thanks to the Extractor this is now a thing of the past.
'The welding torch sucks the welding fumes at the source and immediately pumps them to the Cyclone which, unlike its predecessors, is small and compact. The development of the Cyclone is currently in full swing. The system is extensively tested in the production hall of Heerema Fabrication Zwijndrecht.'
More innovative projects
Other projects that iTanks have been, and continue to be, involved in is a cleaning robot that is suitable for cleaning multiple piles and scaffolding poles and then coating them; a welding robot (iWeld) with allows the laser welding of tank bottoms to be done faster, cheaper and more safely, as well as solutions that have been created thanks to brainstorm challenges.
The brainstorm challenges concept involves taking a problem that a company has raised, mapping it out and then offering solutions from different perspectives.
'For example, one of our partners was looking for a solution for a challenge in maintaining an important traffic bridge. The mix of their employees and external professionals, including a lawyer, a sensor designer and an offshore installation technician, resulted in surprising technical solutions from which one was chosen in a short amount of time.
'In a mottled group, valuable solutions and lively ideas often come about.' In less than six months, all steps - from problem definition, concept, prototype, demonstration to implementation - were successfully completed.
Van de Linde explains that Innovations do not have to be immediately disruptive or involve significant changes to business models.
'Innovation can be done in many ways. For example, we also contributed to the Sam Safety digital learning environment.
'The link to innovation may not be immediately crystal clear, but artificial learning is applied in this learning environment, for example by applying adaptive technology by continuously varying questions and by measuring retention value.
'It measures what knowledge remains, for how long and when further training is needed. In this way, knowledge is better secured than before. That too is innovation.'
So, what should companies do if they do not know where or how to start?
'Clearly formulating wishes and goals is sometimes difficult. That is why it is important to look for cooperation and start small projects step by step. In doing so, one learns and small steps forward can lead to great innovations.
'Watching and waiting from the sidelines is no longer an option – not even in this sector.'
StocExpo Europe innovation theatre
ITanks will be hosting an Innovations in Storage showcase day on Wednesday, March 21 on the show floor. Innovations in maintenance will be extensively discussed by speakers from its network. The programme includes:
• Innovation & maintenance by Angela Hulst, CFO of iTanks
• Debate about game changers by Wim Raaijen, CEO/editor-in-chief of Industrielinqs
• Artificial intelligence & maintenance by Simon Jagers, technology enthusiast & founder of Semiotic Labs
• RoboHouse, fieldlab cognitive robotics by Arthur de Crook & Jaimy Siebel, managing director & manager, RoboHouse RoboValley
• Working with exoskeleton by Ruud van Doorn, CEO, Bilfinger
For more information and to register for free to attend, visit www.easyfairs.com/stocexpo-europe-2018/stocexpo-europe-2018/visiting/seminars/ or email@example.com.
Prostar Capital has reportedly purchased a storage terminal in Fujairah.
Reuters reports that the Australia-based fund has bought the Socar Aurora Fujairah Terminal, located off the Gulf of Oman.
Reuters quotes that sources with knowledge of the matter did not say what the size of the deal was.
The terminal, a joint venture between Azerbaijan's state oil company, a Swiss commodity house and the government of Fujairah, has 14 storage tanks with a total capacity of 352,000 m3. Another 315,000 m3 of capacity is currently being built.
Contanda has announced that it has withdrawn its permit application to handle and store crude oil at its Grays Harbour terminal.
It has submitted a new application to the City of Hoquiam, which officially starts the permitting process for cleaner fuels.
As previously reported, the storage operator is seeking to handle and store a portfolio of cleaner fuels, including biodiesel, renewable diesel and ultra-low sulphur diesel in anticipation of increasing demand for low-carbon, cleaner fuels.
Contanda has operated the facility in the Port of Grays Harbour since 2009. The revised application is for eight new storage tanks capable of storing 1.1 million barrels of liquid.
G.R. 'Jerry' Cardillo, CEO of Contanda, says: 'We heard the community, met with our customers and developed a revised strategy involving the storage of clean products.'
No timeline is in place for the revised project, but Contanda has said it will work with the City of Hoquiam and the Washington Department of Ecology.
Additional land has been made available for a storage facility in Walvis Bay as work continues on another strategic storage facility.
Speaking at the S&P Global Platts European Oil Storage Conference in Amsterdam, Elias Mwenyo, acting senior manager commercial at Namibian Ports Authority, said that the new liquid bulk terminal for oil should be commissioned by mid-2018.
The facility will increase the country's security of fuel supply from 10 days to 40 and that it will cater for the entire southern African market.
Once complete, the facility will have total capacity of 75 million litres, which will be able to storage various grades of diesel as well as unleaded petrol, heavy fuel oil and aviation fuel.
He said that in addition, there is 82 hectares of available land for more storage and that they are 'open to investment opportunities'.
'There is the potential for an additional oil storage facility in Namibia,' he added.
Phillips 66 and CLH Pipeline System have entered into a long-term throughput contract to December 2033.
Under the contract, Phillips will continue to supply a significant volume of petroleum products from its Humber Refinery into the CLH-PS pipeline at Killingholme, UK, each year.
CLH-PS will transport the material to the Bramhall Terminal, from where it will be delivered to Phillips 66 wholesale and retail customers via the Bramhall Terminal road rack.
As part of the agreement, Bramhall Terminal will be operated and maintained by CLH-PS.
Bramhall is a key fuels supply terminal in the UK network and an important hub in Phillips 66's logistics infrastructure. It comprises storage capacity of 44 million litres and is capable of supporting increased demand for fuel supply in the coming years.
Mary Wolf, managing director, UK marketing at Phillips 66, says: 'As part of this contact, extensive capital investments have been made to enhance Bramhall Terminal's capability and significantly expand our customer offering in the region.'
Nacho Casajus, CEO of CLH-PS, adds: 'This continues our strategy of insourcing our terminals into CLH operation so we are able to offer an integrated, first-class service to our customers.'
INEOS has launched six new oil and gas businesses covering shale gas as well as assets in Denmark, Norway and the UK.
The announcement follows the completion of a number of North Sea oil and gas acquisitions that began in 2015. In addition to the acquisition of DEA UK and Fairfield Energy Assets, it has also acquired DONG Energy's Oil and Gas business, the Forties Pipeline System from BP, significant onshore and offshore exploration licenses and expanded its own upstream services business.
INEOS Oil and Gas is led by Geir Tuft as CEO and comprises:
- INEOS Oil and Gas Denmark – operated and non-operated oil and gas assets in Denmark
- INEOS Oil and Gas Norway
- INEOS Oil and Gas UK – the Ineos Breagh assets and all assets mainly in the West of Shetlands
- INEOS FPS – the Forties Pipeline System, the Kinneil terminal and gas processing plant, the Dalmeny terminal, sites at Aberdeen, the Forties Unity Platform and associated infrastructure
- INEOS Shale – focused on onshore gas development
- INEOS Upstream Services – a new venture that will provide a broad range of high quality upstream services to Ineos and the wider upstream market.
Tuft says: 'The North Sea continues to present new opportunities for Ineos. These six units will allow us to run out businesses even more effectively than before.'
Total refined oil product stocks at the UAE port of Fujairah were 16.255 million barrels in the week to Monday, January 22, down 2.4% from the previous week, latest data from the Fujairah Energy Data Committee, or FEDCom, showed.
The relatively small change in total stocks masked larger movements in individual product categories, with light distillates up sharply, while heavy residues set a new record low, S&P Global Platts Analytics said in a report.
Stocks of light distillates jumped 21.1% on the week to an eight-month high of 7.2 million barrels. The petrol market is in the midst of seasonally low demand and heavy supply on high refinery runs rates in all regions. Demand in the Middle East in particular has cooled, with Saudi Arabia's petrol demand lower, especially for premium grades, after the January 1 domestic price rise.
So far this month, the crack for Singapore RON 92 petrol against Brent crude has averaged $7.50/b -- the lowest monthly average since August 2016. The front-month time spread for Arab Gulf petrol RON 95 remained in contango at minus 44 cents Tuesday, the report said.
Stocks of heavy distillates and residues fell 16.1% or 1.374 million barrels to 7.155 million barrels, the lowest total since FEDCom began reporting stock figures in January 2017. It was also the first instance where heavies did not represent the largest of the three product categories. Bunker demand in Fujairah has been dampened by the recent crude price rises, although buying interest has picked up in recent days as Brent futures have steadied at around $70/b. Nevertheless, overall weak demand in the Middle East is resulting in continued heavy volumes heading to Singapore despite narrowing price differentials between Singapore and Fujairah. Pakistan State Oil's recent decision to suspend fuel oil imports could also be impacting appetite to hold stocks. The company typically tenders for around 500,000 mt, or 3.175 million barrels, each month of utility grade fuel oil loading from Fujairah.
The market structure for middle distillates is in backwardation, a dis-incentive to hold stocks, and as a result inventories fell 13.1% or 287,000 barrels to a four-week low of 1.896 million barrels. Both supply and demand fundamentals are buoyed by seasonally high refinery runs and heating demand in the Northern hemisphere. But gasoil demand in Europe is said to be normal for this time of year and set to decline as winter gives way to spring.
Plans are underway to turn a beach into a new oil storage terminal in Zanzibar.
According to local media reports, a feasibility study has started, supported by the world bank, to develop a storage facility on 399.25 hectares of land for the distribution of fuel and natural gas.
Ministry of land, water, energy and environment’s principle secretary Ali Halil Mirza is reported as saying: ‘Provisional assessment indicates that Mangapwani-Bumbwini coastal area is geographically suitable because of proximity to other ports in East African region and sufficient sea depth.’
The new site for the facility would include a gas depot.
Kinder Morgan's Utopia Pipeline, stretching from Ohio to Canada, has been put into service.
The pipeline allows for product delivery of ethane from Harrison County, Ohio, to Windsor, Ontario, Canada.
The pipeline system has an initial capacity of 50,000 barrels per day and can be expanded to more than 75,000 bpd.
Don Lindley, president of natural gas liquids, products pipelines, says: 'The project team, in coordination with local, state and federal agencies, has done a tremendous job developing a project that provides ethane takeaway capacity from the Utica shale to the growing petrochemical industry.'
Saudi Aramco has signed a joint development agreement with CB&I and Chevron Lummus Global to commercialise its thermal crude to chemicals technology.
The innovative technology at Saudi Aramco's research and development centre enables higher chemicals yield than previously achievable. This technology also bypasses conventional refining steps by employing a proprietary direct conversion process.
Amin Nasser, Saudi Aramco president and CEO, says: 'Saudi Aramco is going beyond the quick wins and is instead prioritising investments in groundbreaking R&D and technology. Today's joint development agreement is a technological first which will position Saudi Aramco to maximise the value of each barrel of crude oil it produces in the near future.'
The partnership will accelerate the scale-up and de-risking of the technology.
OPEC and participating non-OPEC countries have achieved an average monthly production cut conformity of 107% in the first year of the cuts.
At the OPEC/non-OPEC joint ministerial monitoring committee meeting in Muscat, members considered the joint technical committee report that showed 129% conformity level for December 2017.
The committee agreed that, across a broad range of indicators, the first year of the declaration of cooperation, which involved 14 countries curbing their total oil production outputs, the first year had been a great success.
Conformity levels have increased on a monthly basis from 87% in January 2017.
In a statement, OPEC says: 'Once more, the unwavering resolve of participating countries to rebalance the market has been amply demonstrated.'
The committee expressed satisfaction with the overall results and urged all participating countries to continue and, to the extent possible, intensify their collective and individual efforts, in the interests of bringing stability to the oil market.
Recent data has confirmed that global oil demand growth will continue on a positive trajectory in 2018, buoyed by the strong performance of the global economy.
'This stellar performance by participating countries in 2017 launches the new year on an extremely positive footing, preparing the path for further successes in 2018,' the statement says.
Plains All American Pipeline will proceed with the construction of a new pipeline system from the Permian Basin to the Corpus Christi/Ingleside area.
Following a successful open season, the Cactus II Pipeline has received sufficient binding commitments to proceed. Permitting, right-of-way and procurement activities are underway and the pipeline is scheduled to be operations in the third quarter of 2019.
The pipeline includes a combination of existing pipelines and two new pipelines. The first new pipeline will extend from Wink South to McCamey, Texas and the second pipeline will extend from McCamey to the Corpus Christi/Ingleside area.
There has also be sufficient customer interest to conduct a second binding open season related to Cactus II Pipeline. Based on market demand, this second open season will include additional committed tariff rate structures, but is otherwise consistent with the terms of the first open season.
Stocks of light distillates fell by 5.1% to 5.948 million barrels, retreating from a 20-week high seen last week.
The front-month time spread for Arab Gulf petrol RON 95 fell further into contango and was at minus 53 cents yesterday, indicative of seasonally lower petrol demand. Naphtha cracks have fallen sharply recently as Asian petrochemical producers expect to see the end of peak run rates with the upcoming Lunar New Year, adding further downward pressure on the light distillates complex.
Arbitrage routes out of Asia are heard to be closed with the Middle East and the US West Coast already being sufficiently stocked. One source commented, 'the (Middle East) market is a bit long, but in the coming months ... it will be balanced with all the tenders and the turnarounds'.
Stocks of middle distillates rose by 5.5% or 113,000 barrels to a nine-week high of 2.183 million barrels. The price impact on gasoil of cold weather in Europe and North America has moderated, with markets in those regions seen as flat at best. Four LR2-sized vessels each carrying around 90,000 mt of gasoil that loaded from East of Suez locations are currently en route to the US East Coast, but this arbitrage has now closed in line with a falling spread between the NYMEX heating oil and ICE low sulfur gasoil futures.
Stocks of heavy distillates and residues fell by 6% or 545,000 barrels to 8.529 million barrels. Bunker demand in Fujairah was reported as sluggish in recent days, with the rally of ICE Brent prices to $70/b raising prices and dampening buying interest. The front-month time spread for Arab Gulf 180 CST remained in contango at minus 75 cents/mt yesterday. Added to the suspension of fuel oil tenders by Pakistan State Oil and a narrowing differential between Singapore and Fujairah cargo prices, fuel oil stocks could well rebound in the coming weeks.