26 November 2009 10:30 [Source: ICIS news]
TOKYO (ICIS news)--Japan’s largest naphtha cracker operator, Mitsubishi Chemical Corp (MCC), has started commercial production at its 150,000 tonne/year olefin conversion unit (OCU) at Kashima in Ibaraki prefecture, a company official said on Thursday.
According to the firm, the start of commercial production at the OCU unit on Wednesday had increased MCC’s total propylene capacity to 830,000 tonnes/year.
The OCU would also be able to supply propylene feedstock for the firm’s 300,000 tonne/year polypropylene (PP) unit at Kashima, the company said.
According to the company official, the PP unit, which is operated by the firm’s subsidiary Japan Polypropylene, came on stream in September.
The official declined to disclose the operating rate of the Kashima PP unit, but added that the overall operating rate for Japan's Polypropylene’s PP units was 75-80%.
MCC had scheduled the start of commercial operations at the OCU in line with the start up of the PP unit, the official said. However, the start up of the OCU unit was delayed, partly due to turnarounds at the company’s No 1 and No 2 crackers at Kashima, the official added.
The OCU unit start-up was also delayed to maintain a balance in propylene production levels, the official said.
"Just because we have started up the OCU, it doesn’t mean we will end the purchase of propylene from other producers, though there’s a possibility the quantity of purchase will decrease. But it depends on the operating rate [of Japan Polypropylene’s PP units]," the official said.
"With the construction of the OCU, our options [for propylene sources] have widened. We aim to seek the best propylene balance," the official added.
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