Sinopec H1 ethylene output dips 10%; crackers op rate at 94%

21 July 2009 09:53  [Source: ICIS news]

GUANGZHOU (ICIS news)--China’s biggest oil refiner Sinopec produced 10% less ethylene in the first half of the year at 2.97m tonnes, with its crackers running at 94% of capacity, based on company statistics released on Tuesday.

Its ethylene output in the first six months was less than half its current annual capacity of 6.3m tonnes.

Production may have declined due to maintenance shutdowns at Sinopec’s crackers, analysts said.

Sinopec’s mainstream ethylene plants - the 1m tonne/year plant of Maoming Petrochemical in Guangdong, the 760,000 tonne/year unit of Yanshan Petrochemical in Beijing and the 850,000 tonne/year cracker of Shanghai Petrochemical - were running at full capacity from January to June 2009, company sources said.

The company's production statistics mirrored the broad decline in China’s petrochemical output.

China’s total ethylene output in the first half fell 6.8% year on year to 4.8m tonnes while imports of the same chemical soared 44% to 420,000 tonnes, according to official data.

With good margins on downstream olefins, Sinopec is expected to keep high operation rates of its ethylene facilities, industry sources said.

“Unless there’s [a] flooding of [ethylene] imports, we will run our unit at full swing in the coming months,” said a source from Shanghai Petrochemical.

High olefin prices provide cracker operators with stimulus to produce more, he added.

“Our sales of downstream PP and PE have always been good. We haven’t seen signs of demand falls and will keep high production,” said a source from Yanshan Petrochemical. 

Sinopec’s production of synthetic resins decreased 4.19% to 4.7m tonnes in the first six months of the year, while its synthetic fibers output fell 7.64% to 629,000 tonnes.

Its synthetic rubber output was also down 11% to 409,000 tonnes in the same period.

Sinopec also produced 149m barrels of crude oil in the first six months of the year, up 1.2% year on year, with crude throughput rising 1.82% to 639m barrels based on the company’s statistics.

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By: Fanny Zhang
+65 6780 4359

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