NewsFlashPetrokemya to restart Al-Jubail crackers

04 August 2008 11:46  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) will restart the No 1 and No 2 crackers run by its subsidiary Arabian Petrochemical Co (Petrokemya) at Al-Jubail by 8 August and 16 August respectively, a source close to Petrokemya said on Monday.

The crackers, with a capacity of 650,000 tonnes/year and 700,000 tonnes/year respectively, were shut down early last week following a power outage.

"Petrokemya’s 800,000 tonne/year No 3 cracker, which was running at 50% operating rate, reached full production this weekend," the source said.

A 350,000 tonne/year high density polyethylene (HDPE)/linear low density PE (LLDPE) line run by Petrokemya, which was shut down along with the crackers, was also expected to restart soon, a second source said.

Eastern Petrochemical (Sharq), a joint venture of SABIC and Japan’s SPDC, also expected to achieve full production at its other LLDPE lines by mid-August, a source close to Sharq said.

The lines were currently running at reduced rates due to shortage of ethylene feedstock, a source close to Sharq said. The two lines were restarted last week, following a shutdown due to the power outage.

Sharq sources its ethylene feedstock from the Petrokemya cracker complex.

None of the companies were immediately available for comment.

The production disruptions had tightened PE supply in the Middle East although there appeared to be minimal impact on the ethylene market, traders said.

SABIC’s total nameplate ethylene capacity in Al-Jubail - including joint ventures - is more than 6m tonnes/year, while its PE capacity at the site totals around 2.7m tonnes/year.

Hong Chou Hui and Peh Soo Hwee contributed to this article

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By: Prema Viswanathan
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