New owners kickstart UK petchem projects
Taunton, UK – Recent changes in ownership are enabling some long-delayed capital investment projects to begin in the UK petrochemical sector, says Protel Associates, a company that offers suppliers an inside track on prospective new business opportunities.
Takeovers such as those at Milford Haven, Pembroke and Stanlow refineries - by Murco, Valero Energy and Essar Energy, respectively - appear to have brought increased stability to the sector, reports Protel.
Another driver of project activity at other petrochemical sites is linked to requirements to remove sulphur from crude, according to a recent Protel market report.
These projects include ConocoPhillips using Jacobs Engineering to expand its sulphur removal capacity at the Whitegate Refinery in Co. Cork, said the firm’s Process Industry & Laboratories Capital Expenditure Market Trend study.
Likewise, Protel reports that Ineos is at an advanced stage of a £25-million project to enhance sulphur recovery from various refinery product flows at its Grangemouth refinery.
Meanwhile, Tees Refining Ltd, a joint venture between GE Oil & Gas and Tenergis, is planning to construct and operate a new 11,000 ktpa heavy oil refinery on Teesside. This, notes Protel, will incorporate refinery processes to upgrade low-quality, heavy oil into premium-quality, ultra-low sulphur diesel, kerosene and petrochemical naphtha.
Prospects in the UK onshore gas sector remain uncertain, though, Protel noting that a number of projects have been placed on hold, said Protel.
The projects include: Calor’s Canvey Island LNG plant conversion; Centrica’s gas storage scheme at Bridlington; NPL Estates’ £1-billion gas storage project at Rudheath; and PSE Kinsale Energy’s terminal redevelopment at Inch, Co Cork.
Other opportunities are being exploited, such as Dart Energy’s recently secured contract to extract methane from deep coal seams for injection into Scotia Gas Network’s pipeline near Airth in Stirlingshire.
WINGAS is working with Fluor on the detailed design for conversion of the depleted Saltfleetby on-shore gas field into gas storage caverns.
Perenco’s purchase of BP’s interests in the Wytch Farm oil field has enabled the Wytch Farm gathering station upgrade project to gain momentum with the assistance of WSP CEL Ltd, reports Protel.
There is also positive news at BOC’s new £20m dissolved acetylene production and filling plant at Immingham, which has received planning permission and Regional Growth Fund support and is proceeding.