02 June 2009 12:32 [Source: ICIS news]
SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) confirmed on Tuesday that water supply at its Al-Jubail operations "is currently tighter than usual" but said the problem should be resolved by the middle of the month.
"Marafiq, our water supplier, has confirmed water supply levels will return to normal by 15th of June," the Saudi Arabian petrochemical giant said in an e-mailed statement.
"The current situation is having no impact on SABIC’s manufacturing plants in Al-Jubail," it added.
Industry sources, meanwhile, said SABIC's downstream operations in the industrial city have been affected by the water supply problem, which has been going on for about three months now.
The plants affected include the 720,000 tonne/year styrene monomer (SM) plant, which has been down since last week, market sources said.
SABIC's methanol plants with a combined capacity of 5.7m tonnes/year and its five monoethylene glycol (MEG) plants with a total capacity of 2.9m tonnes/year have been running at reduced rates of about 90% due to water problems, they said.
The company'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, according to data from global chemical intelligence service ICIS pricing.
There were expectations that the recent dearth of water supplies in Al-Jubail would lead to reduced outputs and potential shutdowns of plants.
Other producers that have facilities located in Al-Jubail are Saudi Polyolefins Co and Al-Waha Petrochemical Co but market sources said none of them were heard to be experiencing production difficulties.
The industrial city of Al Jubail houses up to 8.75m tonnes of ethylene capacity as well as a myriad downstream mono ethylene glycol (MEG), polyethylene, styrene monomer and ethylene dichloride facilities. Al Jubail also has eight methanol units having a total combined capacity of 7.63m tonnes/year.
With additional reporting by Salmon Aidan Lee
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