November 28, 2006 at 12:20 pm #4098
Cosmo Oil to spend $850 mln on refinery upgrades
TOKYO, Nov 21, 2006 (Reuters) – Cosmo Oil Co. , Japan’s fourth-largest refiner, said on Tuesday it will spend 100 billion yen ($850 million) on refinery upgrades to boost exports of distillates to more profitable overseas markets and purchase cheaper, heavier grades of crude oil.
Cosmo Oil will build three new refining units at its Sakai plant in Osaka, western Japan, President Yaichi Kimura told reporters.
The new units are a 25,000-barrel-per-day coking unit to process heavy crude and asphalt-like feedstocks; a 25,000-bpd gas oil desulphuriser; and a 17,000-bpd naphtha desulphuriser.
Cosmo Oil will also export and sell between 400,000 and 600,000 kilolitres (2.5 million and 3.8 million barrels) of low-sulphur gas oil, or carb gas oil, every year on the U.S. West Coast in 2007, and it may boost sales volume further after the start-up of the new units in 2010, Kimura said.
“Overseas markets are more profitable than the domestic market, and the overseas markets reflect cost (at refiners) more reasonably than Japan,” Kimura said. Resource-poor and import-oriented Japan has a limited capacity to export refined oil products, and the country’s refiners have missed opportunities to take advantage of better market conditions overseas, such as elsewhere in Asia and in the United States.
At the same time, slowing domestic demand has made it difficult for oil refiners to pass on higher costs of crude oil purchases as they negotiate with retail sellers. That has eroded domestic refiner margins along with past economic slowdowns and increased energy efficiency.
Cosmo plans to boost exports of distillates, or kerosene and gas oil, to 2.3-2.4 million kl, including the planned sales to the United States, in the year starting next April from an estimated 500,000 kl this year.
The new coker would help Cosmo Oil to boost cheaper, heavier grades of crude oil, shifting from lighter, more expensive Abu Dhabi crude, Kenji Hosaka, the company’s senior managing director, said at the briefing.
“We understand the cost difference of one degree of API gravity is 90 cents (a barrel),” Hosaka said.
Through the investment, the average API of all crude oil grades Cosmo Oil buys would be down to 34.4 or 34.5 from 35.9 now, he said. A lower API value denotes a heavier crude. “Specifically, we are looking at (boosting purchases of Saudi Arabia’s) Arab Heavy and Kuwaiti crude,” Hosaka said.
November 28, 2006 at 12:35 pm #7504
FYI – update on new coking addition in Japan that plans on sending Gas Oil exports to US West Coast. They also have a 90 cent/API value on crude difference between Abu Dhabi & Arab Heavy / Kuwait crude.
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