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Europe’s Fuel Supply Fears Worsen As Major Refinery Malfunctions

Europe’s Fuel Supply Fears Worsen As Major Refinery Malfunctions

The biggest refinery in Europe, Shell’s Pernis in the Netherlands, suffered a malfunction late on Wednesday, which could exacerbate an already worsening fuel supply situation in northwest Europe due to the strikes in France.

Shell Pernis said late on Wednesday that “Due to a malfunction on one of our installations, we are forced to flare.”

Shell is investigating the cause of the malfunction and is doing everything it can to solve the problem as soon as possible, and to limit the nuisance for the residents in the vicinity of the refinery near Rotterdam, the company said.

Governments have been informed about the malfunction at Europe’s largest refinery, Shell said in a statement carried by Bloomberg, but didn’t go into details about potential losses of fuel supply.

Fuel supply is already tight in Europe amid an ongoing strike at most of France’s refineries, and if the Dutch refinery malfunction leads to further supply losses, the European diesel market will find itself even shorter on supply, less than four months before the EU embargo on imports of Russian fuels by sea.

France’s fuel distribution continues to be disrupted by the ongoing strikes at refineries, with no end in sight to the industrial action that has left more than 60% of French refining capacity offline. Earlier this week, France said that it would requisition essential workers to staff Exxon’s French oil depot, and threatened to do the same for Total’s French refineries if talks failed to progress. But workers at Total’s Donges refinery decided on Tuesday to strike beginning on Wednesday, French union CGT said.

French ministers said today that TotalEnergies should raise the salaries of the workers, who have been on strike for two weeks now.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Department of Transportation declares regional emergency following BP refinery fire in Indiana

Kirklareli / Turkey – Aug, 30, 2021: Lighted Sign Board with Large British Petroleum, BP Logo Placed on a poll in the highway gas station.

A Department of Transportation agency declared a regional energy emergency for four Midwestern states on Saturday after a fire at an oil refinery in Indiana forced the facility to shut down.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration made the declaration to address the need for the immediate transportation of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel for Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin.

The declaration allows the states to be exempt from certain federal regulations to manage the emergency.

It will permit motor carriers and drivers providing direct, related assistance to the impacted states not to abide by regulations setting a maximum driving time.

The declaration states that drivers are required to take a 10-hour break when moving from emergency relief efforts to normal operations if the total amount of time they engage in emergency relief efforts exceeds 14 hours. This regulation also applies if the total amount of time combined from emergency relief and normal operations exceeds 14 hours.

Reuters reported on Wednesday that BP shut down some of its units at its Whiting, Ind., refinery due to an electrical fire. The fire was extinguished, and the company said it was deciding when the affected units would restart.

There were no injuries. The refinery handles more than 430,000 barrels per day, according to Reuters.

It provides about 20 to 25 percent of the refined gas, diesel and jet fuel that the four states collectively use.

Whiting is located on Lake Michigan, near the state’s border with Illinois.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Refinery Shuts Down Due To Lack Of Crude

Refinery Shuts Down Due To Lack Of Crude

A South African refinery has shut down operations and declared force majeure on the supply of petroleum products due to a delay in the shipment of crude, which highlights the fact that the physical market for crude is tight these days despite a slump in paper-traded oil futures.

Sasol, the biggest fuel producer in South Africa, was forced to declare force majeure on refined product deliveries because of delays in the crude oil supplied to its 108,000 barrels per day (bpd) refinery Natref, a company spokesperson told South Africa-based financial news outlet Fin24 on Saturday.

“These delays have impacted availability of crude oil feedstock for processing at Natref, which necessitates the shutdown of its Natref refinery,” the spokesperson said.

“In the circumstances, Sasol Oil will not be in a position to fully meet its commitments on the supply of all petroleum products from July 2022,” said the company, adding that it hopes the issue would be resolved soon and the refinery could resume production at full capacity by the end of this month.

The stoppage at Sasol’s Natref refinery now means that South Africa’s entire oil refining capacity is currently out of service, according to Bloomberg’s estimates. Other refineries have closed down production since COVID erupted, either because they would be converted to terminals or because of operational issues. Only Sasol’s synthetic fuel output using coal as a feedstock, of which South Africa has huge amounts, remains fully operational.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Insanity of Aotearoa New Zealand Closing it’s One and Only Oil Refinery

The Insanity of Aotearoa New Zealand Closing it’s One and Only Oil Refinery

Aotearoa New Zealand is in the process of making the biggest strategic blunder in it’s contemporary history by closing it’s one and only oil refinery, leaving us at the mercy or lack there of, of the fossil fuel industry and the super powers arguing over the lasts of the planets resources.
“One of the changes with the transition is we’re less dependent on a single refinery than we were previously. And our supply will be coming from a range of refineries around the Asian region.”
– Naomi James, speaking on Newsroom Pro Talks

Having exactly Zero oil refineries in Aotearoa makes us less dependent? Smell a neoliberal rat anyone?

New Zealand pre-ordered more oil stocks just before Russia invaded Ukraine, increasing government reserves this month – at a critical time.

“The Government and New Zealand fuel companies together hold more than 1.7 million tonnes of oil in tanks, ship holds, and international ticket contracts acquired just in time for last week’s international action.”
“Just in Time”, this is how this culture teeters like the proverbial Jenga Stack.
Read and watch the Orwellian neo-liberal double speak embedded below. In one foul swoop we are now depending on BP and Exon Mobil to keep our trucks rolling. Watch the dystopian interview with this puppet here; NZ bolsters emergency oil stocks backed by offer of Marsden Point storage

This is late stage capitalism, risking everything because the balance sheet says it’s more profitable importing 100% of the nations refined fuel needs, than this entire country having One Oil Refinery !
Can the reader see how dependent this insane decision makes our isolated country to biosphere incinerating corporations? It’s clear to me that the government should nationalise this strategic asset asap.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

“Major Industrial Accident” Reported At Exxon Refinery In Texas

“Major Industrial Accident” Reported At Exxon Refinery In Texas

Gasoline futures rose more than a percent early Thursday morning after an explosion was reported at an Exxon/Mobile refinery in Baytown, Texas.

The Harris County Sheriff’s Office tweeted, “deputies are on the scene of a major industrial accident at 3525 Decker Dr. in Baytown. The Exxon/Mobile plant. Some injuries have been reported.”

A follow-up tweet said, “there have been 4 confirmed injuries, 3 of which were life flighted and 1 was taken to the hospital via ambulance. No fatalities have been reported. There is currently no shelter in place.”

ExxonMobil Baytown Area released a statement that said the “fire” occurred around 0100 local time.

Images of the refinery that produces more than 584,000 barrels of crude oil per day show part of the facility was on fire early Thursday morning.

As a result, gasoline futures in New York surged more than 1.5%.

“Our Industrial Hygiene staff continues air quality monitoring at the site and fence line. Available information shows no adverse impact at this time,” ExxonMobil continued, adding that it was “coordinating with authorities as appropriate.”

Exxon Mobil’s refinery closure in Australia: peak oil context

Exxon Mobil’s refinery closure in Australia: peak oil context

Exxon Mobil’s Melbourne refinery is closing and will be converted into a fuel import terminal. The Australian public broadcaster has found the right title for its article:

Australia loses another oil refinery, leaving our fuel supply vulnerable to regional crises
11/2/2021
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-02-11/australia-loses-another-oil-refinery-risking-fuel-supply/13139648

Fig 1: Exxon-Mobil Altona refinery in Melbourne

The refinery has a capacity of 86 kb/d, around 10% of Exxon Mobil’s Asia Pacific capacity.

Fig 2: Exxon Mobil’s refineries in Asia Pacific

“The Altona refinery produces up to 14.5 million litres of refined products per day.
Petrol represents approximately 60 percent of production [8.7 ML/d], with diesel representing a further 30 percent [4.35 ML/d] and jet fuel around 10 percent [1.45 ML/d]. The percentage of each product depends on the type of feedstock used – different types of crude oil, for example, will produce more or less LPG from the refining process.

Around 90 percent of products are transported by pipeline from the refinery to Mobil’s Yarraville terminal and other industry terminals for distribution by road.

The refinery supplies feedstock for the nearby Altona chemical complex, which in turn supplies feedstocks to a number of petrochemical manufacturing plants at Altona. These plants produce the raw material from which a multitude of consumer products are made.”

https://www.exxonmobil.com.au/Energy-and-environment/Energy-resources/Downstream-operations/Altona-Refinery#AltonaRefineryfacts

How much is that compared to Victoria’s fuel sales?

Fig 3: Victoria’s petroleum sales by product

Between 2010 and December 2019 Victoria gasoline sales were practically flat at 400 ML/month or 13.2 ML/day. In contrast, Diesel sales increased by a whopping 5.5% pa from a trend average of 290 ML/month in July 2010 to 440 ML/month or 14.4 ML/day by end 2019. Jet fuel sales increased from 100 ML/month in 2010/11 to 200 ML/month or 6.5 ML/day in 2018/19 (jump due to international flights)


Let’s stack it all up:

Fig 4: Total Victoria fuel sales

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

Energy Expert Warns Oil Shocks Hit The Economy With Incredible Speed, Usually Within Thirty Days

Energy Expert Warns Oil Shocks Hit The Economy With Incredible Speed, Usually Within Thirty Days

The lasting damage from the weekend’s attacks on Saudi oil infrastructure is yet to be fully assessed.  Having said that, we can make some broad statements about supply outages and economic cycles.

Although we tend to forget it, almost all of the major US recessions since 1945 have been triggered by wars in the Middle East involving Persian Gulf countries and oil politics.

Specifically:

  • The 1956-1957 Suez Crisis led to the closing of the Suez canal and rapidly precipitated a recession in the advanced economies
  • The Yom Kippur War of 1973 led to an embargo on oil exports to the US and other western countries, precipitating the first US post-peak oil shock
  • The Iran-Iraq War created another price spike, triggering the Second Oil Shock, two back-to-back recessions in the US (1979-1983)
  • Price increases associated with Saddam Hussein’s preparations for the First Gulf War tipped in the US into recession in 1991
  • The Arab Spring of 2011 created supply shortages which sent oil prices back over $100/barrel, leading to a two year recession in Europe

In recent times, only the 2001 Dot.com bust and the 2008 oil price spike were not associated with supply outages related to a conflict in the Middle East. A conflict-induced recession would not be an exception to the rule, but rather the typical trigger ending a late stage expansion in the west.  

Oil shocks hit the economy with incredible speed, usually within thirty days.  

The magnitude necessary to precipitate a price spike and a resulting recession is probably less than a loss of 3 mbpd, 3% of global supply.  Over the weekend, Saudi outages totaled 5.7 mbpd.  The oil price would have to reach around $110 / barrel to push the world into recession, before taking into consideration the phase of the business cycle.  The closest parallel is 1991, when a brief oil price spike pushed an already tottering US economy into recession.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Philly Oil Refinery Files For 2nd Bankruptcy In 2 Years After Massive Fire

Philly Oil Refinery Files For 2nd Bankruptcy In 2 Years After Massive Fire

Following a massive fire at a Philadelphia refinery that sent gas prices higher across the Northeast, Philadelphia Energy Solutions LLC has filed for bankruptcy protection as the fuel-making company grapples with the aftermath of a June explosion and fire at its oil refinery that forced it to shut operations.

Fire

Now, for the second time in two years, the company has filed a Chapter 11 petition at the US Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware, BBG reports. It only just emerged from Chapter 11 in August 2018. But this time, its estimated liabilities are as high as $10 billion, according to the filings.

Last month, a leak at an alkylation unit, which is used to make high-octane gasoline, triggered an explosion that started a massive fire at the refinery, which forced the halt of activity at the refinery’s Girard Point section. The Point Breeze section, which had been running at a reduced rate, has likely run out of crude.

The East Coast’s largest oil refiner said in June that it was dismissing more than 1,000 workers and shutting its plant, which could process 335,000 barrels of crude oil a day.

The company had also been been putting the finishing touches on $150 million of DIP financing from owners and existing lenders, a person with knowledge of the matter said earlier this month.

The loan will allow the refinery to shut down safely, while pursuing $1.25 billion of insurance claims, the individual said.

Watch footage of the fire below:

A unit of Dallas-based Trinity Industries Inc. holds the largest unsecured claim, of almost $4.1 million, the court filings show. Other claims are held by CSX Transportation Inc. and BNSF Railway.

Alkylation Unit At Largest East Coast Refinery “Completely Destroyed” After Inferno, Restart Unclear

Alkylation Unit At Largest East Coast Refinery “Completely Destroyed” After Inferno, Restart Unclear

Following the explosion and subsequent inferno at Philadelphia Energy Solutions’ oil refinery last week, its alkylation unit has been “completely destroyed”. After fire tore through the east coast’s largest refinery, workers are now getting a chance to finally assess some damage that will hamper the normal production of fuel going forward.

According to Reutersthe refinery could remain shut down for an extended period of time even though NBC Philadelphia reported on Sunday that the blaze had finally been extinguished and air quality testing in the area was taking place. Philadelphia Deputy Fire Commissioner Craig Murphy said that the cause of the fire remained unclear on Friday, but reports did say that “the gas valve that had been fueling the blaze was shut off and the tank involved in the explosion was isolated”.Following the plume from the explosion – NBC Philadelphia

So far, air quality testing has not found anything unsafe, according to officials. 

After a leak in an alkylation unit, an explosion sent the complex ablaze, forcing the Girard Point section of the refinery to shut down. The Point Breeze section had already been under repair due to a fire earlier this month. Due to the fact that it is a chemical fire, officials said last week that it could burn for a lengthy amount of time.

Embedded video

@6abc @CBSPhilly @FOX29philly Philadelphia energy Solutions Refining Complex at about 4:15 am

Four staff members are reported to have suffered minor injuries as a result of the explosion.  Mayor Jim Kenney said: “My initial reaction was ‘Damn, this is bad. It was a frightening scene. I’m thankful that no one got killed or seriously injured.”

“We will see what the federal and state authorities say, if that’s what is called for that’s what we will do,” Kenney continued.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Negative Oil Prices Arrive: Koch Brothers’ Refinery “Pays” -$0.50 For North Dakota Crude

Negative Oil Prices Arrive: Koch Brothers’ Refinery “Pays” -$0.50 For North Dakota Crude

Do you have some extra space in your garage or attic? Or perhaps you own an oil tanker you aren’t currently using. Or maybe you have a storage unit that’s got a little extra room next to an old mattress and box springs.

If so, you may want to call up oil producers in North Dakota and ask if they’d care to send you some free oil, because the crude glut is now so acute that the Koch brothers are actually charging $0.50/bbl to take low grade oil at their Flint Hills Resources refining arm.


North Dakota Sour is a high-sulfur grade of crude and “is a small portion of the state’s production, with less than 15,000 barrels a day coming out of the ground,” Bloomberg notes, citing John Auers, executive vice president at Turner Mason & Co. in Dallas. “The output has been dwarfed by low-sulfur crude from the Bakken shale formation in the western part of the state, which has grown to 1.1 million barrels a day in the past 10 years.”

High-sulfur grades are more expensive to refine and thus fetch lower prices at market. As Bloomberg goes on to note, “Enbridge stopped allowing high-sulfur crudes on its pipeline out of North Dakota in 2011, forcing North Dakota Sour producers to rely on more expensive transport such as trucks and trains [and] the price for Canadian bitumen — the thick, sticky substance at the center of the heated debate over TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL pipeline — fell to $8.35 last week, down from as much as $80 less than two years ago.”

So there you have it. The global deflationary supply glut has now reached the point that the market is effectively forcing producers to pay to give their oil away or else see it sit in bloated storage facilities until Riyadh decides enough is enough and until the world comes to terms with the return of Iranian supply.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Erasing Mossville: How Pollution Killed a Louisiana Town

Erasing Mossville: How Pollution Killed a Louisiana Town

ALLEN LEBLANC LED A VIGOROUS LIFE as a young man growing up in Mossville, Louisiana. He had a sheet-rocking business, drove trucks, and worked at the Conoco oil refinery. He helped his mother and stepfather run their nightclub, where Tina Turner and James Brown used to play. He also helped out at home with his five children, and he would paint, fix broken windows, and mow lawns for neighbors who couldn’t afford to maintain their houses. Now, at 71, LeBlanc is on disability, and for most of the last decade he has refused to leave his house. Seizures, liver problems, a stroke, tremors, insomnia, fatigue, and depression plague him. He can no longer drive, and he can’t walk from his front door to the sidewalk without collapsing.

Allen LeBlanc sits on his front porch in Mossville, La., Oct. 22, 2015.

Allen LeBlanc sits on his front porch in Mossville, La., Oct. 22, 2015.

LeBlanc attributes his debilitation not to heredity or unhealthy habits but to the toxic emissions from industrial plants that have proliferated in the neighboring town of Westlake. Just beyond the curtain of pines and cypress trees surrounding Mossville sits an oil refinery, several petrochemical plants, and one of the country’s largest concentrations of manufacturers of vinyl chloride, a main ingredient in polyvinyl chloride, the plastic known as PVC. As a matter of course — and most often within permitted levels — these facilities emit millions of pounds of toxins into the air, water, and soil each year. “Living here has messed me up,” LeBlanc said. Although his appearance was disheveled, he spoke clearly and coherently, upright in his chair. “If I could have another life, I’d take it. This one ain’t worth 10 cents to me,” he said in his thick Louisiana drawl. “I’d like to do things for myself again — I’d give everything I’ve got for that.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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