FPCC may delay ethylene cracker start to Q2 2007

12 October 2006 05:12  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--Formosa Petrochemical Corp (FPCC), the Taiwanese chemicals and refining major, may delay the start-up of its new ethylene cracker by three months to May or June 2007, due to problems faced with labour and securing building materials, industry sources said on Thursday.

A FPCC company source also agreed, saying a second quarter completion was more realistic.

If FPCC gives official confirmation, the company would have pushed its completion date further from the first quarter of 2007. Originally, the 1.2 million tonnes/year new ethylene plant in Mailiao – poised to be the biggest ethylene cracker in Asia- was to have started up by the end of this year.

"Mechanical completion at the plant is now scheduled for end February 2007 or March, from the initial schedule of end September this year," said a source at the project’s main contractor, CTCI Corp.

"I don’t see how the cracker can start up so quickly in the first quarter….more likely in the second quarter," he added.

The project start-up was delayed again because of a shortage of labour and some problems it faced with securing construction materials, the CTCI source said.

"This is a very big project and there is heavy volume of work to be done," he added.

Officials at Formosa Petrochemical Corp. said completion of the new cracker in the first quarter of 2007 is "a very optimistic target."

"I think second quarter target completion seems more realistic to me and it’s quite normal for a huge project like this to experience some delays," a company source at Formosa said.

The new cracker is expected to produce 600,000 tonne/year of propylene, and the project also includes a 250,000 tonne/year metathesis unit. FPCC will also be increasing its propylene capacity at its refinery from 400,000 tonne/year to 1,900 tonne/day (684,000 tonne/year).

FPCC’s total propylene capacity will reach 2.5m tonne/year in the first quarter of 2007 and its ethylene capacity will be close to 3m tonne/year.

By: Nurul Darni
65 6789 4359

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