UpdatePetro Rabigh cracker outage to delay PE, PP, MEG start-ups

15 April 2009 10:31  [Source: ICIS news]

By Prema Viswanathan

(adds expected impact on downstream plants, further details)

SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--An unscheduled shutdown at Rabigh Refining and Petrochemical Co’s (Petro Rabigh) new cracker in Saudi Arabia could push back the start-up deadlines of its derivative plants, a source close to the project said on Wednesday.

“The entire cracker complex was shut down three days ago due to a technical problem, and is expected to restart today,” the source said.

The cracker, which started up on 8 April, feeds into a slew of downstream plants located at the same site.

The complex in Rabigh, Saudi Arabia houses a 300,000 tonne/year high density PE (HDPE) line, a 250,000 tonne/year easy processing PE (EPPE) unit and a 700,000 tonne/year polypropylene (PP) plant.

The complex also includes a 600,000 tonne/year MEG plant and a 350,000 tonne/year LLDPE (linear low density polyethylene) facility.

The MEG plant was supposed to begin on-spec production early this week, but the schedule has been delayed due to the cracker outage, the source said.

“The HDPE line has already achieved on-spec output, while the remaining PE lines are set to begin on-spec production by end-April,” he added.

The PP plant may just achieve on-spec production in early May due to extensive fine-tuning at the fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) unit which will provide propylene feedstock to the plant, the source said.

Petro Rabigh is a $10bn (€7.6bn) joint venture between state-owned oil giant Saudi Aramco and Japan's Sumitomo Chemicals.

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By: Prema Viswanathan
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