Taiwan’s CPC runs crackers at 95% on robust ethylene

20 January 2010 04:54  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--Taiwanese state-owned cracker operator Chinese Petroleum Corp (CPC) has increased operating rates at its three crackers to 90-95% on robust ethylene margins, an industry source said on Wednesday.

Operating rates at the plants were around 85-90% in late December, the source added.

High naphtha demand helped buoy Asian prices, keeping the spread between first-half March and second-half March contract at a wide backwardation of $9/tonne, ICIS pricing data showed.

“The (naphtha) market is driven up by ethylene, so the crackers are running at higher rates of close to 95%,” said the source who insisted on anonymity.

Asian ethylene spot prices were pegged at a firm $1,280-1,320/tonne (€896-924/tonne) CFR (cost and freight) NE (north east) Asia, underpinned by tight supply of the petrochemical building block, according to ICIS pricing.

CPC had floated a tender to buy at least 30,000 tonnes of heavy naphtha for March delivery amid high operating rates.

Its biggest cracker with 500,000 tonne/year capacity, is located in Kaohsiung, while the 385,000 tonne/year No 4 and the 230,000 tonne/year crackers are located in Linyuan. CPC was expected to take its No 4 cracker off line for maintenance in the fourth quarter.

($1 = €0.70)

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By: Felicia Loo



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