Refining & marketing
Gazprom advances
1 September 2006
A $99m investment in a service-station network in Kyrgyzstan looks incongruous in Gazprom's vast and expanding energy portfolio. But the acquisition furthers two of the gas giant's important goals: to expand into the oil business and to establish a dominant position in former-Soviet Central Asia, writes Isabel Gorst
Profits boom on strong demand
1 September 2006
Refiners in key locations are benefiting from unprecedentedly high refining margins, driven by strong demand for products and by capacity constraints. With a worldwide move towards cleaner fuels, at a time when crude quality is declining, the need for intensive refining is forecast to grow, Martin Quinlan writes
Coal to liquids: Back in fashion
1 September 2006
With oil prices high and security of supply a rising concern for importing countries, interest in coal-to-liquids projects – once brushed aside as uneconomic – is growing again, writes Martin Clark
UAE catches petchems bug
1 July 2006
It was only a matter of time before the UAE caught the petrochemicals bug from its neighbours. But the possibility of a supply glut in 2010 is one reason Abu Dhabi might want to pause, writes Ayesha Daya
Good times returning
1 July 2006
The worldwide chemicals business has, at last, shaken off its years of indifferent performance. Demand, prices and profits are up, driven mainly by the growth-engines of China and the US – and southeast China is emerging as a world-scale centre of petrochemicals production, Martin Quinlan writes
Gasoline gap unplugged
1 January 2006
Some refiners are planning to boost capacity and the government is introducing policies to encourage capacity additions. But the US' refineries are – and are likely to remain for several years – unable to keep up with the country's rapacious demand for gasoline. Anne Feltus reports
Independents' day
1 January 2006
Robust crack spreads have proved a boon to independent US refiners, but they will remain conservative about expanding capacity. Together with a tougher regulatory environment, a continuation of tight products markets can be expected, says James Gavin
Surplus value
1 January 2006
With processing capacity of 2.5m b/d, South Korea is one of the Asia-Pacific region's major refining centres. The country's refiners are increasingly targeting products sales at China, reports James Gavin
Dolphin leaps into action
1 July 2005
The $3.5bn Dolphin gas pipeline project between Qatar and the UAE has reached some important milestones. James Gavin reports on the progress of one of the Middle East's grand projects
Get real
1 June 2005
Refined appetite
1 June 2005
Equity oil remains off the menu for IOCs in Saudi Arabia, but the kingdom's growing appetite for extending its downstream capability is offering foreign investors a new way in, reports James Gavin
Downstream drive
1 June 2005
Saudi Arabia has catapulted itself into the global petrochemicals big league, rolling out waves of new production capacity derived from its ethane-based feedstock advantage. James Gavin reports
Opec expanding horizons
1 May 2005
With refining margins looking robust, some of Opec's biggest hitters are piling in with ambitious grassroots refinery plans and plant upgrades. But, asks James Gavin, is it enough to cool overheated oil markets?
Downstream set for shake-up
1 October 2003
Turkey’s privatisation campaign has met unexpected reverses in both the courts and parliament since it began 23 years ago. But it looks as if the downstream oil sector is finally on the verge of radical change, with the majority sale of the market’s dominant refiner, state-owned Tupras. Nigel Ash reports
Exploiting the bottom of the barrel
1 September 2003
With refining margins under pressure, the industry must find ways to remain profitable. Delayed coking offers the opportunity to exploit bottom-of-the-barrel products, writes Graham Phillips, technology manager, refining, Michael Stewart, senior planning consultant, and Randy Wolf, regional vice-president, Foster Wheeler
US: a greener future for fuel
1 September 2003
Proposals to ban the gasoline blending additive MTBE will be expensive for refiners and drivers alike. Meanwhile, the switch to greener motor fuels will bring cleaner air – and a massive bill for the refiners as they adapt to meet new specifications. The result could be a drop in refining capacity. Derek Brower reports
A recovery in profits
1 September 2003
Refining margins, backed up by the companies’ first-half results, point to a substantial improvement in the business environment for the refining industry this year. Strong US demand for gasoline is the driver, Martin Quinlan writes