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
Majors cast their eyes east
29 November 2005
BP AND OTHER majors are showing renewed appetite for investing in China's downstream. But large-scale equity partnerships still present a risk for IOCs and may not be to Beijing's liking, writes James Gavin.
Downstream oil reform lags
1 November 2005
Squaring the circle
1 October 2005
The country's band of downstream players are looking to ramp up production, while operating in a subsidised pricing environment, a difficult balancing act reports James Gavin
An upturn, at last
1 September 2005
The worldwide chemicals business climbed out of its long slump last year and achieved its best results since 1997. The sector's characteristic cyclicality points to an acceleration of the recovery this year – but high prices for feedstocks and energy could check the upturn, Martin Quinlan writes
Devising a winning strategy
1 September 2005
Refining margins have risen in recent years and should stay high for several more. Brad VanTassel, vice-president and director, and Oliver Steen, practice area manager, The Boston Consulting Group, Houston, examine the factors behind the change in the industry's structure and how investment should be handled
Big profits, big decisions
1 September 2005
Refiners in many locations are making substantial profits, mainly as a result of constraints in the industry's conversion capacity. The same constraints are a contributing factor to the present high prices for light crudes. The long view says a new wave of conversion investment is needed – but many refiners prefer the short view, Martin Quinlan writes
Shell Chemicals: a constant in a changing world
1 September 2005
The petrochemicals industry has altered immensely over the last century, but there remain certain constants. Shell is one of them, writes Martin Clark