Natural Gas vs Other Fuels: A Comparison

CNG Transport

natural gas signThere are over hundreds – possibly thousands – of natural gas transportation ships around the world, attesting to the fact that the fossil fuel has certainly garnered the attention of a lot of oil and fuel firms around the world. Like other fuels, it is capable of powering machines like electrical appliances, cars, generators and stoves. That said, how does it fare compared to other types of fossil fuel? Well, let’s cut to the chase and learn what we all need to know:

Natural gas vs liquefied petroleum gas (LPG)

Natural gas transportation ships do not transport LPG. Why? Well, that’s because LPG is different from natural gas, contrary to a lot of people may believe. Natural gas is mainly composed of lighter gases, namely ethane and methane while LPG is composed of heavier ones like propane and butane. These have different combustion characteristics, meaning one cannot simply be…

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19th December: refining and petrochemicals news

It’s been an interesting few weeks leading up to the end of 2013 for the petrochemical industry.  This article examines the key factors affecting decision making across the globe.


Following a fire that broke out at the REPAR refinery earlier this month, there has been an announcement that the facility should be back online in the next few days. The plant is owned by Petrobras and is responsible for providing approximately 10% of the country’s refining capacity.


Between 2014 and 2018, NOVA Chemicals is planning to increase ethylene production at is Corunna, Ontario cracker. The company wants to increase output by 20%, following the completion of revamp works next year to convert to cracker to process NGL feedstock.

The Transportation Departments in Idaho and Montana are working with Mammoet USA South on transporting refinery equipment to the Great Falls refinery in Canada. The 1.6 million lbs of equipment is part of a US$ 400 million expansion at the Calumet Montana Refining owned facility.


It has been reported that petrochemical companies in Northwest Europe are continuing to use naphtha feedstocks over propane. This is mainly due to a price disparity between the two products. Propane is now too expensive to crack when compared to naphtha.


The Gulf Cooperation Council’s (GCC) petrochemicals industry has taken positive steps over the last two years towards environmental sustainability. The above is according to the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA). The GCC has this year not only added processing capacity to its petrochemical industry but reduced greenhouse gas emissions.


The Federation of Thai Industries’ Refinery Club have announced the country’s refining figures for 2013. Thai refineries averaged at 849 000 bpd this year with a total value of Bt 1.4 trillion. Refineries in the country utilised on average 86% capacity.


A large scale product for the expansion and modernisation of the commodity and raw materials base of the Turkmenbashi oil refinery complex (TCOR) is currently underway. The plans include the construction f 12 storage tanks with a capacity of 90 000 m3. Six tanks will be located at the Turkmenbashi refinery, five at the Kenar tank storage farm and one at the Seidi refinery.


BP has started up a new coker at the Whiting Refinery. This marks the final milestone in the US$ 4.2 billion upgrade project that has been carried out at the plant. The new coker has a processing capacity of 102 000 bpd and will allow the plant to process a higher volume of Canadian heavy crude oil.

By Claira Lloyd of Energy Global

The full article is visible via the link below – Pankaj Oswal

Petrochemicals in NWE continue to shun propane as feedstock

Platts has reported that Northwest European petrochemical companies have abandoned propane for naphtha as a feedstock.  Prices weigh heavily in this consideration, as naphtha producers are now in a purple patch in the region.

Petrochemical companies in Northwest Europe are continuing to shun propane as a feedstock, according to industry sources.

Propane can be used as an alternative feedstock to naphtha by a number of petchem companies, but the delivered price of propane usually has to be below the delivered price of naphtha.

In the first half of November CIF propane prices were below CIF naphtha and propane was being widely used as a petchems feedstock.

But in the second half of November and first decade of December CIF propane prices moved above naphtha, driven by tight supply and demand to cover trader short positions.

This resulted in propane becoming too expensive to crack and according to sources most petchems either stopped or considerably reduced their usage of propane.

With weak demand from the traditional heating market in Northwest Europe, CIF propane prices have weakened recently, reaching a last published value Tuesday of $12.25/mt below CIF naphtha, based on Platts data.

But industry sources said the propane/naphtha price spread would probably have to widen even further before petchems started to crack significant quantities of propane again.

Austria-based petrochemicals company Borealis was actually a seller of propane Tuesday, concluding a deal for a 20,600 mt CIF cargo with Totsa at $950/mt and flat to balance December quotes, which based on Platts data equated to a price level just below parity with naphtha.

By Derek Hardy and Jonathan Fox of Platts

The full article is visible via the link below – Pankaj Oswal

Article: NWE butane still not attracting petrochemical demand despite falling prices

In a sign sure to alarm butane producers, petchem buyers in Northwest Europe have gone cold on butane in favor of naphtha and propane.  If these supplementary chemicals continue to be favoured by traders, at current price bands, it could force business leaders to re-examine business models.  Butane suppliers will be hoping to contain this trend to this part of the world.

Northwest European butane prices remain too high to attract petrochemical buying despite their recent slide, sources said Thursday.

“At this stage we can’t afford these butane levels,” said a trader.

Delivered prices of butane coasters, which are usually 1,000-3,000 mt in size, came off from levels around parity with naphtha to around 96% of naphtha prices Thursday.

“The price was 100% last week,” said another source, adding that prices were coming under pressure because gasoline blenders were away from the market.

Recent demand for blending butane into gasoline gave boost to prices over the previous two weeks and turned petrochemical users away from the market.

“As a petchem user we haven’t bought for more than two weeks,” said a trader.

As sentiment turned at the start of the week and prices started coming off, petrochemical buyers were said to be reassessing their buying but for now were continuing to crack propane and naphtha.

“Propane is very weak and it is much better to carry on cracking propane than butane,” said a source.

Propane coaster prices were assessed around 81% of naphtha by Platts on Wednesday, feeling the pressure of steady flow of exports from the ConocoPhillips terminal at Tees, northeast England. “The situation in Tees is changing quite fast with huge increase in loading rate,” said a source.

The terminal was restarting after maintenance faster than expected, said a trader, adding that as a result there were abundant offers at low prices.

At those levels, petchem users remain more interested in propane than butane, a trader said, adding that demand may subsequently start pushing propane prices higher against naphtha.

By Elza Turner

Edited by Jonathan Dart

The full article is visible via the link below – Pankaj Oswal