Petro Rabigh to restart cracker; downstream units to follow

12 June 2009 09:18  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--Saudi Arabia’s Rabigh Refining and Petrochemical Co (Petro Rabigh) will restart its 1.3m tonne/year cracker later on Friday following a shutdown lasting about ten days, with downstream units to be fully operational by next week, sources close to the company said.

“The cracker will be restarted by the end of today, as all the necessary works have been carried out and the engineering side is satisfied that operations will be okay from now on,” a source said.

Sources confirmed that full operations at the downstream polyolefins and monoethylene glycol (MEG) units would also be restored by next week.

The complex at Rabigh, on Saudi Arabia's western coast, houses a 300,000 tonne/year high density polyethylene (HDPE) line and a 600,000 tonne/year linear low density PE (LLDPE) facility.

These units have been running at low rates for several weeks prior to the recent shutdown due to a shortage of feedstock gas at the upstream cracker.

The 700,000 tonne/year MEG plant was also running at very low rates until the weekend of 6-7 June, and it was shut down on 8 June.

“With the rough edges smoothed out, we hope everything can run fully by July,” one of the sources said.

The complex’s fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) unit, which produces propylene, could see full operating rates “a few days after the cracker stabilises its operations”, a source said.

The FCC unit has also been running at low rates, forcing the downstream 700,000 tonne/year polypropylene (PP) plant to shut down in late May, almost immediately after coming on stream.

Petro Rabigh is a joint venture between state-owned oil giant Saudi Aramco and Japan's Sumitomo Chemicals.

For more on ethylene, proypylene, polyolefins and MEG, visit ICIS chemical intelligence
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By: Salmon Aidan Lee
+65 6780 4359

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