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Saudi Aramco has confirmed that full production capacity at its Abqaiq and Khurais plants will be fully restored by the end of September.
The company's president and CEO Amin Nasser said during a new conference that the synchronised attacks were timed to create maximum damage to its facilities and operations.
'The rapid response and resilience demonstrated in the face of such adversity shows the company's preparedness to deal with threats aimed at sabotaging Aramco's supply of energy to the world.'
Production at Khurais resumed 24 hours after the attack. Production at Abqaiq is currently two million barrels per day and its entire output is expected to be restored to prior rates by the end of the month.
Nasser added: 'We have a hard-earned reputation for nearly 100% reliability in terms of meeting our international customers' requirements and we have defended that.
'Not a single shipment to an international customer has been or will be missed or cancelled as a result of these attacks. We have proven that we are operationally resilient and have confirmed our reputation as the world's leading supplier.'
Following the attacks by UAVs on Saturday, which knocked out 5.7 million barrels of crude oil per day, accounting for 5% of global supply, oil posted its biggest ever intraday jump on Monday.
However, crude futures settled lower Tuesday as traders were reassured over Saudi Arabia restoring its full production capacity.
The International Energy Agency says that the oil markets are well supplied with ample commercial stocks.
The US approach to energy policy seeks to maximise the benefits of energy abundance and to push the country to be a global leader in energy technologies.
The effects of the US shale revolution have had far-reaching implications on the country's energy landscape and has reshaped its approach to energy policy from a 'mind set of scarcity to one seeking to maximise the benefits of energy abundance', according to the International Energy Agency's (IEA) in-depth review of US energy policies.
As a result of the shale boom, the US is now the world's top oil and gas producer and a leading exporter for the fuels. Continued innovation in oil and gas extraction through additional refinements in horizontal drilling along with hydraulic fracturing has made oil and gas production a 'mainstay of the US energy landscape and the world', the review notes.
In just 10 years, domestic oil production increased by a considerable 124% driven by light tight oil production from shale formations.
In its review, the IEA notes that the country is poised for further production growth over the coming years, which places greater emphasis on the buildout of supporting infrastructure in order to maximise the benefits of shale. Future production growth and exports will depend on the buildout of complementary oil and gas pipelines. Despite efforts to streamline federal licensing for energy infrastructure, midstream infrastructure is still outpaced by shale production growth.
The review says that the country's growing energy exports are playing an important role in diversifying global energy supplies and help mitigate the potential impact of disruption events.
As a result of this seismic energy shift, the country's approach to energy policy has also changed. Current policy focuses on energy dominance, which reflects a strategy to maximise energy production, benefit from larger energy exports and be a global leader in energy technologies.
Fatih Birol, the IEA's executive director, says: 'Since the last in-depth review five years ago, the US has reshaped energy markets both domestically and around the world.
'In this context, the IEA commends the lifting of the US ban on crude oil exports as well as efforts to streamline regulatory approvals for LNG exports, which have helped bolster global energy security by diversifying supply options for importers.'
Dr Birol adds: 'The US is a cornerstone of global energy security and will play a critical role in any future IEA collective responses.'
Qatar Petroleum has launched a tender process for the EPC of additional liquid products storage and loading facilities and mono-ethylene glycol storage and distribution facilities in Ras Laffan Industrial City.
The new facilities under this tender, which will be part of the North Field Expansion project, include a new propane storage tank, vapour recovery compressors for propane and butane tank refrigeration, a plant condensate storage tank, a MEG storage tank and distribution system, a new liquid products export berth and liquid product lines from the main NFE plant location to the liquid products storage area.
Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, minister of state for energy affairs, president and CEO of Qatar Petroleum, says: 'The release of this tender package reflects the continuing progress Qatar Petroleum is making on the expansion of our LNG production capacity.
'With the volume of associated liquid products, the NFE project will generate from offshore production and onshore gas processing, it was necessary to expand our existing storage and loading facilities. The unique approach in our contracting strategy for the multiple EPC packages allows us to match the execution expertise in the EPC contracting community to this specific scope of work.'
The NFE project involves the addition of four mega LNG trains as part of Qatar Petroleum's plans to expand Qatar's LNG production from 77 million to 110 million tonnes per annum by 2024.
SemGroup has entered into a merger agreement with Energy Transfer, one of the largest, diversified midstream energy companies in North America in a transaction valued at $5.1 billion.
The transaction values SemGroup at $17 per share and represents a 65% premium to SemGroup's closing share price of $10.28 on September 13. Upon closing, SemGroup shareholders are expected to own 2.2 % of Energy Transfer's outstanding common units.
The acquisition will increase Energy Transfer's scale across multiple regions and provide increased connectivity for Energy Transfer's crude oil and NGL transportation businesses.
Energy Transfer will significantly strengthen its crude oil transportation, terminaling and export capabilities with the addition of the Houston Fuel Oil Terminal, which has 18.2 million barrels of crude oil storage capacity and five deep-water ship docks and seven barge docks. It is supported by stable take-or-pay cash flows from diverse, primarily investment grade customers.
Energy Transfer has announced plans to build a new 75-mile crude oil pipeline, the Ted Collins Pipeline, to connect the terminal to its Nederland Terminal.
Additionally, the acquisition expands Energy Transfer's crude oil and NGL infrastructure by adding crude oil gathering assets in the DJ Basin in Colorado and the Anadarko Basin in Oklahoma and Kansas, as well as crude oil and natural gas liquids pipelines connecting the DJ Basin and Anadarko Basin with crude oil terminals in Cushing, Oklahoma.
Carlin Conner, SemGroup CEO, says: 'This strategically and financially compelling combination will result in SemGroup joining one of the largest midstream energy companies in the country, with a strong footprint in all major US production basins. The combined entity's size, scale and financial profile will ensure that SemGroup's assets, including our Gulf Coast terminal, mid-continent footprint and our Canadian joint venture SemCAMS Midstream, benefit from significant growth well into the future.
'We look forward to leveraging the increased pipeline connectivity and expanded terminaling infrastructure that the combined entity provides.
The transaction is expected to close by late 2019 or early 2020.
LBC Tank Terminals has appointed Frank Erkelens as its new group CEO, replacing Walter Wattenbergh who is set to retire.
Erkelens, who has extensive international leadership experience in the tank terminals and logistics sector and was recently CEO of Odfjell Terminals, will start on October 15. Wattenbergh will retire from the company on September 30.
Erkelens says: 'It is a privilege and I am very excited to lead LBG into the next phase of its development and to deliver long-term growth and value creation. Under the leadership of Walter, LBC underwent a substantial turnaround and the company is well positioned to capture the growth opportunities in the markets it is serving.
'With the support of LBC's strong shareholders and together with the team at LBC the focus will be on delivering value for LBC's customers, shareholders, partners and employees, as this will continue to drive LBC's success and growth in the future.'
LBC Tank Terminals' chairman Haroun van Hövell adds: 'Suring nearly five years with the company, Walter has successfully led LBC through a significant turnaround by streamlining the business and refocusing on growth initiatives in order to better serve client needs. We are very grateful to Walter for the many contributions he has made
'[Frank's] vast experience, track record and strong reputation will be of great value to LBC. Frank will build on Walter's legacy and steer the business through the next phase of its strategic development.'
Wattenbergh says: 'It was a great pleasure to work with so many talented professionals at LBC and to see the company flourish. I am pleased to leave the organisation in the very capable hands of Frank.'
A drone attack on the world's biggest crude-processing facility removed 5% of global oil supplies and caused London's Brent futures to surge $12 when trading opened on Monday.
The attack on Saudi Aramco's Abqaiq facility and its Khuaris oil field on Saturday resulted in the production suspension of 5.7 million barrels of crude oil per day, which accounts for more than half of Saudi Arabia's global daily exports.
Following the UAV attack, oil posted its biggest ever intraday jump to more than $71 a barrel according to Bloomberg. London's Brent futures increase is the most in dollar terms since they were launched in 1988 and experts says that crude could still post its biggest one-day percentage gain in nearly three years.
The news agency reports that the US blames the attack on Iran and says that it is the single worst sudden disruption ever.
Amin Nasser, Saudi Aramco president and CEO, says: 'We are gratified that there were no injuries. I would like to thank all teams that responded timely to the incidents and brought the situation under control. Work is underway to restore production.'
Saul Kavonic, an energy analyst at Credit Suisse Group, says that the market has never seen a supply disruption and price response like this in the oil market.
Alan Gelder, Wood Mackenzie VP for refining, chemicals and oil markets, says: 'This attack has material implications for the oil market, as a loss of five million barrels per day of supplies from Saudi Arabia cannot be met for long by existing inventories and the limited spare capacity of the other OPEC+ group members. A geopolitical risk premium will return to the oil price.'
Vima Jayabalan, Wood Mackenzie's research director says that China, South Korea, Japan and India are the biggest takers of Arab Extra Light and Arab Light crude oil, which Abqaiq and Khurais are the main processing centres for and that Asia's dependence on Saudi Arabian crude has increased significantly over the last year-and-a-half.
'The impact and the next course of action will depend on the duration of the outage,' he says. 'Saudi Arabia has enough reserves to cover the shortfall over the next week, but if the outage extends, then filling the gap with the right type of crude quality could be a challenge.
'In terms of refining and petrochemicals, the spike in crude oil prices will dent margins further.
'A prolonged outage and/or further upside above-ground risks in the near term could have an impact on the preparation ahead of the IMO marine bunker specifications change, but at the moment it is still early days to assess.'
Black Diamond Gathering, the joint venture between Noble Midstream Partners and Greenfield Midstream, has formed a strategic relationship with Saddlehorn Pipeline Company.
The relationship includes an option for Black Diamond to take a 20% ownership in Saddlehorn. This investment option expires in April 2020. Black Diamond, which provides crude oil gathering and storage services to producers in the Denver Julesburg Basin, made commitments during Saddlehorn's recent open season.
Saddlehorn can currently transport 190,000 barrels per day of crude oil and condensate from the DJ and Powder River Basins to storage facilities in Cushing, Oklahoma owned by Magellan and Plains.
Following the open season, the pipeline will be expanded by 100 mbbl/d and will have a new total capacity of 290 mbbl/d. This is expected to come online in late 2020. Upon an option exercise by Black Diamond, Magellan and Plains would each sell-down their equity interests in Saddlehorn to Black Diamond on an equal 10% basis while WES would retain its 20% equity ownership.
Brent Smolik, Noble Midstream's CEO, says: 'Saddlehorn is an important long-haul outlet from the DJ and Powder River Basins with premier midstream equity partners and commitments from high-quality producers. This opportunity is a natural expansion of Black Diamond's strategic footprint, with the ability to realise economics further down the crude oil value chain while enhancing the all-in value proposition for our customers.
'We are excited by another potential long-haul pipeline investment and believe this opportunity reflects our strategic advantage and differentiated playbook for long-term growth and value creation.'
Additionally, Black Diamond also added a 15-year oil gathering dedication from Verdad Resources, which comprises 85,000 acres and more than 750 potential drilling locations in the DJ Basin. This increases the total acreage dedicated to the Black Diamond system to 243,000 acres.
As of Monday, September 9 total oil product stocks in Fujairah stood at 17.355 million barrels. Stocks fell by 2.54 million barrels week on week. This is the first time they have stood around 17 million barrels since the end of 2018 when they fell to 17.348 million barrels on December 31, 2018. Overall product stocks fell by 12.8% with a drawdown across all three product stock categories.
Stocks of light distillates fell by 438,000 barrels reflecting a fall of 7.2% week on week. Total volumes stood at 5.654 million barrels. This is the lowest level since late August last year when they stood at 5.225 million barrels on August 27, 2018. Gasoline East of Suez remained supported sources noted with refinery outages in Asia propping up the market, sources noted. The FOB Singapore 92 RON gasoline crack against front month ICE Brent was assessed at $5.68/b on Tuesday, reflecting a rise of $1.14/b week on week, S&P Global Platts data showed
Stocks of middle distillates fell by 24.8%, drawing down 486,000 barrels to stand at 1.472 million barrels at the start of the week. This is the lowest level since late January when they stood at 1.269 million barrels on January 28 this year. Sentiment in the East of Suez gasoil market remained bearish amid tepid demand, sources said. 'Demand for gasoil cargoes in North Asia is quite bad now, and there are a lot of prompt cargoes around...the front-month backwardation is also starting to flatten out,' an industry source said.
Stocks of heavy distillates fell by 13.6%, drawing down by 1.616 million barrels on the week to stand at 10.229 million barrels. Tight availability in Singapore for delivered bunkers in comparison to Fujairah was leading to the persistence of a relatively wide price spread between the two ports. The spread between 380 CST delivered bunker in Singapore and Fujairah was assessed at $33.25/mt yesterday with the South East Asian port seeing premiums compared to the Arab Gulf port fall $12.25/mt week on week.
Valero Energy and Darling Ingredients have initiated an advanced engineering and development cost review for a new renewable diesel plant in Port Arthur, Texas.
The proposed facility under review would product 400 million gallons of renewable diesel annually as well as 40 million gallons of renewable naphtha. It would help address the growing demand for renewable diesel in global, low-carbon markets.
The new plant would be owned and operated by Diamond Green Diesel, the 50/50 joint venture between the two companies.
The plant, which would be the first renewable diesel facility in Texas, would be located to leverage Valero's existing refinery and optimise logistics management. The production from the facility would increase Diamond Green Diesel's annual renewable diesel production to 1.1 billion gallons with nearly 100 million gallons of renewable naphtha production.
The final investment decision is expected in 2021, with expected operations commencing in 2024.
Joe Gorder, Valero chairman, president and CEO, says: 'We expect low-carbon fuel mandates across the globe to continue to drive demand growth for renewable fuels. This project would meaningfully expand our renewable diesel segment, which continues to generate strong results, and demonstrates our commitment to environmentally responsible operations.
DGD's future total annual capacity includes production from its Louisiana plant, which is currently being expanded to produce 675 million gallons of renewable diesel and 60 million gallons of naphtha. This expansion is expected to be complete by the end of 2021.
Vopak has acquired a 49% stake in Sociedad Portuaria el Cayao, an LNG import facility in Cartagena, Colombia.
The facility is the only LNG import facility in Colombia and has been in operation since 2016.
It comprises an LNG jetty, onshore infrastructure and a 9.2km gas pipeline that connects SPEC to the natural gas grid. A chartered FSRU is receiving the LNG and sending the gas on shore. SPEC holds long term contracts with three local gas-fired power plants.
The shareholders are now Promigas, with a 51% share and Vopak, with 49%.
Eelco Hoekstra, chairman of the executive board and CEO of Vopak, says: 'We are very much looking forward to the partnership with Promigas and to enter into the growing Colombian LNG market. This is another growth step in our LNG portfolio and it fits very well in our ambitions to grow and diversify our service offering in LNG.'
The first expansion phase at Vopak's Veracruz terminal in Mexico has started operations.
Phase 1 began operations early in September with the launch of new fillers and 200 auto-tanks operating daily 24 hours a day.
Vopak says that along with its customer, it now supports the commercialization of diesel and gasoline in the Mexican market, which will allow supply, especially to the state of Veracruz, Puebla and in some cases Mexico City, with imported fuel and diesel.
Oman Oil and Orpic Group have signed an MoU with SK Engineering & Construction for the development of the storage and terminal business in Duqm.
The MoU covers the development of a storage and terminal business in the country's special economic zone. Both parties will work closely to establish an anchor customer base and explore interest from strategic partners for the project.
The project will focus on utilising natural caverns to store oil and taking advantage of Oman's geological formations and geographical location.
Delta Western has paid a $400,000 penalty and committed to install internal floating roofs to three tanks following alleged Clean Air Act violations.
The US-based independent distributor, which distributes diesel and gasoline to commercial customers in Alaska from its Juneau facility, was alleged to have violated the Clean Air Act's new source performance standards for storage vessels and gasoline distribution terminals.
The Environmental Protection Agency alleged that the company failed to comply with the National Emission Standards for hazardous air pollutants that apply to bulk gasoline distribution and dispensing facilities.
Ed Kowalski, director of EPA's enforcement and compliant assurance division in Seattle, Washington, says that the scope and scale of the company's operation required them to install adequate air pollution control equipment and technology at their facility.
'When terminals handle a certain volume of petroleum, more sophisticated pollution controls must be installed to reduce emissions of hazardous pollutants and better protect people and the environment. We are glad to hear that the required equipment to reduce harmful air emissions is either now installed or will be shortly.'
The company will be installing internal floating roofs to control emissions from three high capacity gasoline storage tanks and install additional controls to reduce emissions from gasoline delivery trucks loading at its terminal. These upgrades are scheduled to be complete by the end of October 2019. Installation of these controls will significantly reduce the emissions of toxic vapours from the terminal.
The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has accepted Commonwealth Projects' LNG project application.
The project comprises the construction of one LNG plant, including six gas liquefaction trains and appurtenant facilities. Each train will have a liquefaction design capacity of 1.4 million metric tonnes per annum for a total nominal liquefaction capacity of 8.4 mtpa.
It will also include six LNG storage tanks, each with a capacity of 40,000 m3, one marine loading berth and a 3.04-miles long, 30-inch diameter pipeline that will connect the LNG facility with existing intrastate and interstate pipelines for the purpose of supplying gas to the project.
Paul Varello, president and CEO of Commonwealth, says: 'FERC's formal acceptance of Commonwealth LNG project's filing application marks another significant milestone achieved by the Commonwealth LNG team and represents an important step in progressing the project and moving closer to a final investment decision.
A final investment decision on the project is expected to be taken in the fourth quarter of 2020. Commonwealth remains on schedule to start operations of the 8.4 mtpa facility in the first quarter of 2024.
Saudi Aramco has signed an MoU to facilitate the acquisition of a stake in a refinery and petrochemical complex as well as using a storage facility to serve its customers in Asia.
The company plans to acquire a 9% stakes in the Zhejiang integrated refinery and petrochemical complex. The MoU also includes a long-term crude oil supply agreement and the ability to utilise Zhejiang Petrochemical's large crude oil storage facility for its customers in Asia.
The agreement solidifies Saudi Aramco's participation in the 400,000 barrels per day refinery from Phase III of the Zhoushan Petrochemical Greenfield project, and also allows the parties to evaluate potential opportunities for investment in other pars of the value chain. These may include refining and petrochemical production, storage and trade of crude oil and natural gas, retail, as well as distribution of oil products within the Zhejiang Free Trade Zone.
Chye Poh Chua, founder of ShipsFocus, explains how big data and artificial intelligence was used at Singapore's port to reduce wait time and enhance storage terminal utilisation
The prospect has never been brighter for the tanker shipping and tank terminal industries in dealing with wait time and utilisation in ports.
The advent of big data, AI & Industry 4.0 technologies has given rise to new applications that help overcome many problems that those in the energy and chemical industry have learnt to live with.
Tanker arrivals at Singapore’s port make up the highest share among all cargo ship arrivals1 at 38%. Of these arrivals, 51% are for cargo operations at the more than 45 tank terminals and almost 200 jetties among them. Many
of them spend up to three days in port. Once in port, there are many intrinsic activities and events including getting to and staying at the terminal & berth until the ship departs from the port.
Wait time occurs in each of these various junctures until resources are appropriately allocated. This means that in Singapore port’s self organised ecosystem including the absence of a daily ‘port line-up’ these terminals and jetties work in silo without the visibility of resource readiness or availability beyond a disparately and bilaterally dependent communication.
Last but not least, due to the dynamic resource allocation problem along with other issues, many of the stakeholders rely on manual systems to conduct their operations. Even though many have kept records of their activities, their non-digitised data is often incomplete, erroneous, non-standardised, which limits meaningful usage of the data. Portview was developed to try and mitigate these problems.
Due to an absence of data from the stakeholders, Portview was based on ships’ AIS data2. Consequently, Portview was offered as an online tool that provides near-time and visualised clarity of ships and their arrivals in port, terminals and jetties in Singapore.
The aim for Portview is to be a data-driven, AI-enabled, decisionsupport coordination platform to facilitate tanker operations in port, to improve productivity and optimise efficiency. As a result, ShipsFocus entered into a collaboration with the Institute of High Performance Computing (an A*Star member) in 2018 to develop predictive and optimiser engines for this purpose.
Portview users now have near-time access ships’ data, their positions, wait-time at the anchorage, stay-time at the jetty, plus a slew of visualisations and interactive data and analytics of the performance of tank terminals.
BIG DATA & AI APPLICATIONS
As most of the stakeholders in the port network rely on analogue systems in their daily operations, concepts such as big data and AI, which are founded on a digital system, could be unfamiliar to them.
To move on to these applications, these stakeholders must digitise first. However, such change can be enormous for it is fundamentally a change of system that will involve several things. Portview is used as a ‘short-cut’ as a way to help these stakeholders digitise from 0 to 1. The platform shares suitable data and analytics with the relevant stakeholder.
WAIT TIME AND TERMINAL UTILISATION
For carriers and tank-terminals, a ship’s wait time and terminal utilisation are key concerns, even though most have come to accept these as norms. Portview can help them to identify systematically where the exact nodes on the chain that generate most wait times and why. Often, the stakeholders realise that they did not have sufficient data to explain intelligently the true causes of these wait times in spite of their regular occurrence.
In this process, stakeholders are proactively seeking digitisation solutions. ShipsFocus usually suggests an ‘entry-level’ approach and identifies a small or ‘data-capturing’ operation, for example the terminal’s jetty scheduling.
A scheduling tool is then recommended to capture data digitally and naturally in the work process of the scheduler. This requires a change of habit for the scheduler. But consistent usage ensures that this new skill is acquired quickly. Manual data-recording activity is completely eradicated as a result.
More applications are being added to Portview as different stakeholders combine their own data, some of which is proprietary, to create new values, specifically in reducing wait time, demurrage and improving utilisation.
During the development of Portview, ShipsFocus identified several key takeaways that can help key stakeholders:
1. The company’s domain understanding was much appreciated as some were frustrated with the inability to ‘keep up’ to the hype, as most research and materials available were for the container segment, which was unsuitable;
2. Many erroneously believed an analogue system was needed for dynamic operations like booking, scheduling, and event recording. These involve tediously repetitious work and data-entry processes. Also, the data generated is often dirty due to entry errors, omissions and non-standardised practices;
3. Many liked the SaaS (Software as a Service) subscription model, which reduces heavy upfront cost and risk of non-delivery;
4. Many did not know how to link big data, or AI with their current operations. Portview eradicates the need to understand big data and AI and integrates with the company’s day-to-day operations acting as a tool and providing supportive decision-making insights;
5. Even with many stakeholders hesitant to share data, Portview was able to identify ship call-patterns that show benefits of coordination among the terminals.
1. Based on MPA 2018 figures.
2. The automatic identification system (AIS) is an automatic tracking
system that uses transponders on ships and is used by vessel traffic
services (VTS). When satellites are used to detect AIS signatures, the
term Satellite-AIS (S-AIS) is used.
Chye Poh Chua will be talking more about the application of big data and AI in reducing waiting times and to enhance terminal utilisation, along with Mark Lim from Stolthaven Terminals, during the second day of the Tank Storage Asia conference on September 26. For more information visit www.tankstorageasia.com.