05 September 2005 00:01 [Source: ACN]
26 August. Chinese Petroleum Corp (CPC), the Taiwanese state-owned major, expects to restart its No 3 cracker in mid-September, two months after an outage forced it to bring forward a turnaround, a company source said.
CPC started the turnaround for the 230 000 tonne/year Kaohsiung cracker in July, after a gas leak at an old pipeline caused an explosion and forced it to shut the plant on 1 July.
A restart date has not been confirmed as the labour authorities have to inspect and approve repairs to the pipeline before operations resume completely, she added.
26 August. Petrochemical Corp of Singapore (PCS) is to shut both a cracker and aromatics units on 29 August in order to carry out repair work, sources close to the company said.
The aromatics capacity that is to be shut comprises 90 000 tonne/year of benzene, 49 000 tonne/year of toluene and 30 000 tonne/year of mixed xylenes. However, a 55 000-tonne/year butadiene unit will continue to operate.
29 August. LG Chem will shut its Naju oxo-alcohols plant for a two-week turnaround in the first week of September, a company source said.
The shutdown of the facility, which has a 95 000 tonne/year n-butanol/2-ethylhexanol (2EH) swing line and 150 000 tonne/year dioctyl phthalate (DOP) unit, is likely to exacerbate the tight spot supply situation in Asia.
DOP producers are finding it increasingly hard to find Asian material, with several 2EH makers’ September cargoes sold out by early August. Due to the tight supply situation and high propylene costs, 2EH deals reached US$1015/tonne cfr China last week – up from US$870/tonne cfr China at the start of 2005. LG’s 90 000 tonne/year DOP plant at Ulsan will continue normal operations in September.
29 August. Nymex crude futures touched a record US$70.80/bbl on Monday morning, surging almost US$5/bbl in opening trade on supply concerns as Hurricane Katrina forced the shutdown of oil production facilities in the US over the weekend.
The prompt month October contract was up US$3.65 at US$69.78/bbl at 09:33 hours in Singapore as Katrina left the Gulf of Mexico, which accounts for 30% of the total US oil production, and raced towards Louisiana. Oil majors like Shell Oil, ConocoPhillips, Chevron Corp, and Valero Energy Corp had shut their refineries. The Louisiana Offshore Oil Port, which accounts for around 11% of US oil imports, was also shut on Sunday, according to reports. The storm could also affect petrochemical production along the Gulf Coast.
29 August. Nan Ya Plastics, Asia’s largest seller of bisphenol-A (BPA), will shut one of three lines in Taiwan for an unplanned one-month turnaround in September, a company official said.
The shutdown of the 100 000 tonne/year No 3 line at Mailiao in the first half of September follows a two-week shutdown at the 100 000 tonne/year No 2 line, which resumed operations on 18 August. The official declined to say why the lines were having unplanned turnarounds.
30 August.Mitsubishi Chemical India has restarted its purified terephthalic acid (PTA) plant in Haldia, but a force majeure on 15% of its supplies that was declared on Sunday remains, two of the company’s customers said.
Mitsubishi Chemical India informed its end-users on Sunday that it would cut 15% of their supplies for September from the 440 000 tonne/year plant. ‘They said that there was a mechanical fault at the plant, forcing it to shut over the weekend,’ said a customer.
The other customer said the plant restarted around 12:00 hours Indian time: ‘So far, we’re all monitoring whether the plant will run smoothly,’ he added. The first source said that the company tried, and failed, to restart the plant on Monday. There was no official word from the company on when the force majeure would be lifted.
31 August. Singapore’s Ellba plans to shut its propylene oxide/styrene monomer (PO/SM) unit for around one week in September for a turnaround, a company source said. Despite speculation that the plant was being taken offline for repairs, the source said that it was for a routine maintenance. He could not confirm when in September the plant would be shut.
31 August. Taiwan’s two petrochemical majors expect to emerge unscathed from Typhoon Talim, which is expected to sweep across the country’s northeastern regions late on Wednesday, said company sources.
Chinese Petroleum Corp, which has plants in the Southwestern city of Kaohsiung, said its facilities are unlikely to suffer a major impact from the typhoon, which reports say could reach wind speeds of up to 191km/h.
1 September. Mitsubishi Chemical may hike Japanese domestic petrochemical prices and cut output due to rising crude oil values, a company spokesman said.
‘Record crude oil prices have severely raised the cost of naphtha feedstock and squeezed our margins,’ he said. ‘We raised the October prices for polyvinyl chloride (PVC) by 30% in August, and are looking at a range of increases for our other petrochemical products,’ he added.
30 August. US September ethylene spot prices zoomed to a record 48.5-50 cents/lb (US$1068.94-1102/tonne) delivered Mont Belvieu, Texas, on cracker shutdowns caused by Hurricane Katrina, traders said. Katrina worsened the already tight supply. Louisiana crackers which were shut down included Williams and Gulf Liquids in Geismar, Dow in Taft and Shell in Norco.
ChevronPhillips was shut down in Pascagoula, Mississippi. Louisiana crackers operating at reduced rates included ExxonMobil in Baton Rouge and Dow in Plaquemine, Louisiana.
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